(This article was originally printed in August, 2009)
A conspiracy of silence is controlling the modern church! Many Believers who used to love God are being destroyed because of false teachings that are rampant in the church, but no one is allowed to talk about it! Modern Believers are preconditioned, or should I say “brainwashed,” thinking that if they point out someone teaching false doctrine they are a “troublemaker” or worse, a “religious bigot.” They are shamed into silence, and in so doing, choose their own deaths as they leave false teachers free as birds to spread their poisonous doctrines! Remember, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9). But, prayerfully there will soon be a remnant of the Lord who will be able to assuage this false guilt and condemnation put upon them by the enemy and his followers; hopefully, this remnant will have the Fire of God “shut up in their bones,” which will Overcome and speak the Truth no matter the opposition (Jer. 20:9)! In fact, the truth is that if any one of us preaches anything contrary to what the Bible teaches, cries should go up from other pulpits all over the country, but shepherds are no longer protecting the sheep! Instead, pastors today stare off into space like zombies refusing to spot the wolves, whether the wolf infiltrates as a leader or layman. We must ask ourselves, however, if such men are true shepherds because Jesus told us: “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd . . . sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep . . . The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep” (Jn. 10:12-13). Perhaps, if you are one such “shepherd” who prefers leaving your sheep to the wolves, you should try “fleeing” your Pulpit first!
THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING!
Christians today are also being told that they need to fellowship with and work with men who do not know God, men whose doctrines are just as unscriptural as those of the Pharisees. And, in the process, of course, discerning Believers are not supposed to rebuke such men for any of their doctrinal compromises. Yes, the silence is deafening! People are failing to hear the Truth! Don’t you know, Believer, that Christ gave you authority, in His Name, to silence demons? They aren’t supposed to silence you! “And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spoke . . . ” (Mat. 9:33). And in accordance with this devilish conspiracy, our Lord and Savior is also being presented today as if he had been a Pharisee’s doormat, as if He was only meek, lowly, kind, and very loving to the false teachers. This, however, is a totally false picture of the Jesus Christ of the Bible! Have we forgotten the day Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the Temple with a whip (Jn. 2:15)? When Jesus dealt with false teachers His Words were sharp, even harsh at times, and His Actions were completely plain. No one could have misunderstood.
LOYALTY TO THE WORD
Jesus did not sugarcoat anything, turn a blind eye, or leave anyone with a false impression. In Matthew 23:23-34 false preachers were called: “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind,” “whited sepulchers,” “serpents,” and a “generation of vipers.” Dear Christian, just because someone is a high-ranking leader in the church doesn’t put him above mistake; much less make him a god. When the people tried to worship the Disciples due to the Miracles God worked through them, Barnabas and Paul were tremendously grieved and asked the people, “ . . . Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you . . . ” (Acts 14:15). At times a religious leader happens to be a true man of God who is temporarily deceived, and sometimes he is an actual wolf in sheep’s clothing. But, either way, your loyalty must always be to God and His Truth, not to human leadership. Christ, in fact, admonished true Believers to do what is right in the sight of the Lord even when our leadership does not. “Then spoke Jesus to the multitude, and to His Disciples, saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Mat. 23:1-3).
A FORM OF GODLINESS
The Church at Ephesus was commended because they had “‘tried’ them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Rev. 2:2). The church at Pergamos was rebuked because they tolerated those that held “the doctrine of Balaam” and the “doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate” (Rev. 2:14-15). God hates the doctrines of men, so it is never right to tolerate a false teacher. Men who teach unscriptural doctrines are to be “tried” and/or “judged” by the Word of God and exposed expressly as a false teacher. Unfortunately, preachers today seek every means possible to avoid their duty to discern and judge, despite the Light given to us in Scripture regarding such. Romans 16:17: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned (refers to the fact that false teachers are to be identified); and avoid them (turn away from and shun these).” We are also to rebuke them: “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the Faith” (Titus 1:13). We are to have no fellowship with them: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). We are to withdraw from them: “Now we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how you ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you” (II Thess. 3:6-7). We are not to receive them into our house: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this Doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he who bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II Jn. 1:10-11). We are to turn away from them: “Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth” (II Tim. 3:5-7). Now, how can Believers turn away from false teachers if we do not identify them?
COMPARE IT WITH THE WORD
Every message we hear must be compared to the Word of God. A true man of God will always do this. “Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and Doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2). God-called men and women are to be just as faithful as Paul was in the task of exposing false ministers and openly rejecting their messages. We are to judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God: “By the Word of Truth, by the Power of God, by the armour of Righteousness on the right hand and on the left . . . ” (II Cor. 6:7). Look at II Corinthians 11:13: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ.” Then Verses 14-15: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Paul says these preachers are ministers of Satan! False doctrine is, therefore, not to be brought into our homes in any fashion. We must guard what we allow into the hearts and minds of both ourselves and our loved ones. In other words, we should not read the literature of false teachers, listen to their music, nor listen to them by radio or T.V. The enemy is too sly; we should not give him room. “Neither give place to the Devil” (Eph. 4:27).
God’s Word goes even further and tells us we are to separate ourselves from false teachers. God’s People must come out of apostasy and religious error. Paul did not hesitate to stand strong and firm.
He once had to name Peter publicly: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the Circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the Truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If you, being a Jew, live after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Gal. 2:11-14).
Paul named Demas: “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica . . . ”(II Tim. 4:10).
He named Hymenaeus and Alexander: “This charge I commit unto you, son Timothy, according to the Prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare; holding Faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning Faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Tim. 1:18-20).
He named Hymenaeus and Philetus: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does a canker of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the Truth have erred, saying that the Resurrection is past already; and overthrow the Faith of some” (II Tim. 2:15-18).
You see, false doctrine causes Christians to stumble and lose their way with God. This is the reason we must expose it.
Paul also named Alexander the coppersmith because he was the enemy of Truth: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom you beware also; for he has greatly withstood our words” (II Tim. 4:14-15).
John named Diotrephes: “I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the Brethren, and forbids them who would, and casts them out of the Church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He who does good is of God: but he who does evil has not seen God” (III Jn. 1:9-11).
Moses called the name of Balaam: “He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the Earth, and they abide over against me” (Num. 22:5). Jude exposed the error of Balaam: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 1:11).
Nathan identified the man: “And Nathan said to David, You are the man. Thus says the LORD God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul” (II Sam. 12:7).
The world of religion has become quite dangerous as false teachers have broken down the barrier of separation between God’s People and false religions. In some ways King Jehoshaphat was a good king, but he did not practice separation, causing his son to marry the wicked King Ahab’s daughter. Jehu named King Jehoshaphat for his error. Read II Chronicles 18:1-21. In Verses 1 through 6 of this Chapter, Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Ahab and went to battle with him. But, he was rebuked by a man of God. “And Jehu the son of Hanani the Seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Should you help the ungodly, and love them who hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon you from before the LORD” (II Chron. 19:2). We could ask that question today: “Is the Church to partner with ungodly religions even if the motive is to help cure AIDS or other social problems?” No! In the first place, we can’t cure any problem, but secondly because partnering with the ungodly will only lead to apostasy just as Jehoshaphat found out the hard way. Thank God, we later find Jehoshaphat repenting and going out among the people to bring them back to God. “And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers” (II Chron. 19:4).
TWISTING OF SCRIPTURE
Rick Warren tells the church today that we are to partner with false religions in the spirit of cooperation for the common good of all Americans. Those who love God know better than this! The church was not established for this purpose. Warren, however, grossly twists Scripture to try to justify working with the unsaved crowd. Referring to Matthew 10, Warren says that, “There’s a man of peace in every village, in every government, in every business, in every church . . . When you find the man of peace, if he’s open and he’s willing to work with you, you bless him and you start your work there . . . The man of peace is open and influential . . . The man of peace does not have to be a Christian Believer. Could be a Muslim. Could be Jewish.” (Warren interview with Charlie Rose, Aug. 17, 2006.) This is not what Matthew 10 teaches! “And if this house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you” (Mat. 10:13). You see, false teachers have to misuse Scripture to promote their private agendas and interests. They want as many people as possible to follow them, but they don’t care about their spiritual condition. The Lord, on the other hand, is concerned with the souls of lost people rather than the manpower those people can offer. “Say not you, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (Jn. 4:35). The massive social works of apostate religious leaders have nothing to do with the True Work of God!