Majoring In Minors
The Self-Centered Church
As we pointed out in Chapter 1, satan has a purpose on this earth, and that purpose is strictly his own. Some think that he was sent here to "bring us to perfection", which is utter hogwash. He was cast out of heaven, and down to the earth, and his purpose is for nothing but to kill, steal, and destroy. Again I will point out that while many believe that satan is working on the world, I believe that he concentrates most of his efforts on the church and its members. If satan can kill the fellowship and love that is supposed to be prevalent among the brethren, he can effectively kill the testimony of Jesus to the world that the church is supposed to show. If he can steal our testimony, and thus prevent effective witness, then he is also stealing the blessings of God away from us. Since there is more joy in heaven over one lost sheep being returned to the fold, then how much joy and blessing should there be in our lives to see the same thing? If satan can effectively destroy the testimony of Christians, whether they be well--known televangelists, or small church members, is not the effect of such destruction multiplied by the numbers of worldly people that shy away from Christ and the things of God?
What better way could you devise to keep people away from knowing the truth of Christ, or to prevent professing Christians from knowing the fullness of blessings in Christ than to corrupt the Word of God, twist the truth of God into lies and half-truths, or convince others that Christianity is a half baked "religion" that doesn't really have anything to offer except some "pie in the sky"? As we proceed through this chapter, we will look at some of the biggest lies, deceptions, and concoctions that satan has fostered over the years to achieve the goals listed above. Remember also, that none of the subjects talked about, whether error or heresy, are new in his catalog of deceit. ALL are just "reruns" of error and heresy that have been around since the beginning. Jesus spoke of them, Paul, John, Peter and James wrote about them, and they are still around.
One of the most often repeated subjects that Jesus spoke about concerned the coming influx of false teachers, leaders, and wolves that would COME INTO THE CHURCH. These people would be inspired by satan, led by satan, controlled by satan, and taught by satan to do his bidding. While many would at first be unwilling dupes of his snares, eventually they would become willing, having found within his false teaching something that appealed to them personally, and fit with the way they think things should be. As we saw in Chapter 1, his methods would be to USE, MISQUOTE, OR CAST DOUBT upon The Word, thereby causing division among the brethren. As Jesus and Paul pointed out, how can a house divided stand? As long as there is division among the churches and denominations, THERE CAN BE NO EFFECTIVE WITNESS TO THE WORLD such as we see in Acts and the early Church. Jesus did not create His Church so that we will have some corner building to go to just to edify ourselves, or feel good about ourselves. He created His Church TO BE A LIGHT UNTO THE GENTILES, a witness to the world.
Our corner assemblies are necessary for strengthening and discipling so that we may go out into the world, but they have become the "be all and end all" of our Christian lives. One of the greatest times I have ever encountered over many years of ministry happened during a revival put on at a small country church in central Texas. While the sponsoring church was Methodist, they had invited a Presbyterian pastor from over in East Texas to do the preaching, and my wife Beverly and I (Baptists) to do the music. Over the weeks' period, we all had a wonderful time of fellowship, learning, and LOVE. On any given night that small church would be packed to standing room only with Methodist, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists (all kinds), Pentecostals (all kinds there, too), and just about every denomination that had a church within 50 miles. MORE IMPORTANTLY, a lot of unsaved souls came to the Lord because of the UNSELFISH, UNDIVIDED expression of Christ that could be found there. No one cared what we called ourselves, for we all KNEW that we belonged to God through Jesus Christ, and we KNEW that we belonged together. The music, the praying, and the preaching were all about ONE thing...JESUS, and Him crucified for our sins, and raised again as the first fruits of our promise.
Satan, from the very beginning, has attempted to split the Church into different factions, and he has succeeded quite admirably in this endeavor. Over the past two thousand years, he has caused this division and re-division to occur by employing the very devices he used on Adam and Eve, and he continues to use them to this very day. As we continue on to look at specific problems extant in the churches, keep your heart and mind open to the leading of the Holy Spirit concerning where these attitudes and teachings really come from While many of the teachings have some merit and basis in the Truth of God's Word, the actual application and twisting of these truths is STRAIGHT FROM THE PITS OF HELL! ANY TEACHING, ATTITUDE, OR APPLICATION OF DOCTRINE THAT RESULTS IN DIVISION WITHIN THE BODY IS NOT FROM GOD, REGARDLESS OF THE FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH USED TO DEVELOP THE DOCTRINE.
(Addendum August, 2000)
One of the most rampant heresies abounding today comes out of the Kingdom Now, Manifest Son's, Dominion movement as typified by the "Toronto Blessing/Brownsville Revival" group. These heretical tools of the devil use the division question to enforce a cult-like obedience to their every command, and plainly say that if you are not with them you are against them, and thus deserving of death. They themselves by their actions are causing a division within the Church. Remember that Paul wrote "Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM WHICH CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENSES CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; AND AVOID THEM. FOR THEY THAT ARE SUCH SERVE NOT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, BUT THEIR OWN BELLY; AND BY GOOD WORDS AND FAIR SPEECHES DECEIVE THE HEARTS OF THE SIMPLE." Romans 16:17-18.
MAJOR #1 - JUDGEMENTALISM
The number one problem within ALL churches today, and one resulting in just about all other errors encountered, is simply an amazing desire and ability on our part to be judgmental of others, simply because they are different. Jesus said "judge not lest ye be judged:. Jesus also told us to pay heed to others, and to know them by their fruits, but He did not say to judge them. Being "wise as serpents..." means being able to see and understand the wiles and crooked turns of the devils ways, and using this understanding and wisdom we know what to stay away from; but being "harmless as doves: would mean that we do not judge or cause harm to others.
While each of us has a desire to feel special, to be special in someone else's eyes, this desire results in satan being able to prey upon us, and thus causes us to look upon others in a judgmental way, making ourselves superior to others. Baptists tend to look upon mainline denominations as being lazy pew-sitters, because they aren't evangelistic enough. They also look upon the Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals as being "from the devil: because of controversy over speaking in tongues, or dancing in the spirit, or even raising their hands during worship. Catholics look at everyone else and say we're condemned because we're not Catholic, and everyone else looks at the Catholics and says they are condemned because they pray to Mary. Every denomination has ill to say about the other denominations, and as a result there is no cooperation or love for the brethren. Every person is judged by God AS AN INDIVIDUAL for what is IN THEIR HEART, and the basis for judgment is BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST. The Baptist's can't prove that God did away with tongues 2000 years ago, and the Pentecostals can't prove that Baptists don't know how to worship God in truth, and no one can prove that a Catholic doesn't believe in Jesus. All of the denominations have some kind of operational error in their doctrine.
Does that then mean then NO ONE is right in their belief in Jesus? So why the attitude of judgmentalism about others? BECAUSE OF SELF CENTEREDNESS! I want to be special. I want things my way. I don't want anyone else to disturb me. My interpretation is the only one right. I want...I want...I want....I will be like the Most High. Every person has a "right" to go to a church where the method of worship corresponds to their personality. But, just because another church doesn't do things the same way DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEYARE NOT OF GOD, or are not of the SAME FAMILY as you.
"Oh well, you say...I don't think that about others. I just don't have anything to do with them. I can love them from a distance (show me that in scripture, friend) and I do. Just don't let them bring their hand-waving (insert your favorite dislike here) around me." With that kind of attitude, you really don't know what you are missing. Paul pointed out that while the Body may consist of many members, there is still ONE BODY, and God has set members in the body where IT PLEASES HIM. Further, that ALL MEMBERS NEED THE OTHER MEMBERS. It is by the interaction and cooperation of members with others that the Body GROWS, AND IS STRENGTHENED, and comes ever closer to the FULLNESS OF CHRIST (1Cor.12, Eph. 4). It is also through this interaction that we may become CAPABLE OF DISCERNING FALSE DOCTRINE, thereby defeating the purpose of satan.
MAJOR #2 -- SECOND CLASS CHRISTIANS
Closely aligned with, and proceeding from judgmentalism is an attitude among many of "superiority" within Christianity. While I have searched and searched for the appropriate scriptures that would allow me to be superior to other Christians, I have not been able to find them. I have found, though, a scripture in Matt. 20 where Jesus tells me that I have the same "pay" (salvation) as John, or Paul, or Nicodemus, or any one else. I also found a scripture in 1Cor.12 where Paul calls me a toe, and you an ankle, and somehow I understand that I need you to be able to boogie down the street to do the Lords work, and you need me so as we boogie you won't lose your balance and fall flat on your face. Now Paul kinda says I'm better than you because I (THE TOE) am uglier than you (the ankle), so I'm less honorable, therefore to be honored more. On the other hand, that nose over there is a lot better looking than your ankle, so that makes you better than him (or does it?). Gee...where one member (toe) suffers, all the members (ankles, noses, hair follicles, etc.) suffer with me. And if the nose has a cold and suffers, so do the eyes, and sinuses, and throat, and so on. If I should win a Golden Toe award, then the ankle and heel win it too! Even the lips can smile about that!
It would definitely appear that there is no such thing as a "second class" Christian, or one who is not the "spiritual" equal of another. Now notice, Christian, that I did not say "gifted". As 1Cor.12 points out, everyone has their own gift, or even gifts, but your administration is no more and no less than my helps, or someone else's tongues, or that other persons healings. They are all necessary, the complement one another, and none can function effectively without the others. Tell me, do you, or the members of your church feel that you are "spiritually superior" to the members of some other church? I really wouldn't expect you to answer in the affirmative, but consider the question seriously. Do you proselyte for your church? Do you think your programs, or your preacher, or your teachers are better than those found elsewhere? Do you concentrate your evangelistic efforts on getting someone to "come to my church", because blah, blah, blah, blah, and so on? If so, you are operating with some sense of "spiritual superiority" to other Christians or churches in your area. The efforts of all Christians should be focused on one thing: getting people into the Kingdom of God. Let God decide where He wants them (1Cor.12:18), and what He wants them to do (1Cor.12:7). I would dare say that no denomination has any greater understanding of God than any other, nor does any denomination come closer to worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth than any other, nor does any person excel in spiritual matters more than all others. Indeed, remember the words of Peter; "...if the righteous are just barely saved..."(1Pet.4:18). Of all the snobs (spiritual) that have ever existed, we need only look to the Pharisees of Judaism in the time of Christ to see where they really stood in comparison to Gods will. Jesus had very little good to say about them, indeed He said that satan was their father, not God.
Why? Because they fell into the snares concocted by the devil, followed his error, and developed false doctrine based upon those devilish teachings. Yet, in their error and heresy, they considered themselves to be closer to God and more loved by Him than anyone else (Luke 18:9-14). Certainly we must conclude that to consider oneself superior in any way to another is to stand in the shoes of the Pharisee (unrighteous and UNJUSTIFIED) rather than in the place of the publican (humble, repentant, and justified).
MAJOR #3 - NICOLAITANISM
Nicolaitans. A word used only twice in the Bible, both times in Chapter 2 of the Book of Revelation. Little is known by scholars as to what is really meant. Most speculate that Nicolas (Acts6:5) became the leader of a group of heretics that believed in free love,, orgies, "love" feasts that went beyond eating food, and so on. I will here give my "unscholarly" (only because I don't have a Ph.D.) opinion that Nicolaitanism is the "next step" into heresy that derives from the spiritual superiority spoken of above. Notice if you will, in the letter to Ephesus (vss.1-6), the Nicolaitans are performing deeds, which thing Jesus hates. In the letter to Pergamos (vss.12-15), Jesus refers to the Nicolaitans as having a doctrine, which He also hates. If as some assert, the letters to the churches refer in part to a chronological expression of the Church, then some period of time has passed, and what were once some isolated deeds or actions have now become a doctrine, or set way of doing things.
Now, let us examine the Greek root words for Nicolaitan. Assuming that the word derives from the proper name Nicolas, or is an appellation given to describe a group makes no difference. The root words are "Nikao" and "Laos". Nikao means "to conquer" or "conqueror of", while Laos means "the people". Nicolatian could mean "those who have conquered (or taken positions of authority over) the people". It is very possible that the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitans is that they considered themselves "spiritually superior" in understanding God and His Word and in the manifestation of spiritual gifts. No different from what we talked about a few pages ago, right? Wrong. These people then began exercising their "superiority" to the extent that others (the people not so blessed) HAD to come to them for "proper teaching". Historically, just shortly after this was written (approx.95 A.D.), the Church began redeveloping the practice of a "priesthood" separate from the "common" church members. By the 3rd century, the church had fallen completely back into this system, eventually manifesting itself in the priesthood established by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. In practice, this system proved no different from that known in ages past to the pagan religions of Babylon, with the "common" believer literally required to conduct all of his dealings with the gods via the priest in the temple. Even today, within reformation movement churches, and all that have sprung from it, we make reference to "clergy" and "laity", and cling to the notion that a "clergyman" knows more about God than us, and can get us "closer" to God, or just plain "tell us what to do". Many of today's "clergymen" are continually getting more deeply involved in "counseling" people with problems, which simply means listening to "confessions: " and doling out "penance" in the form of advice. I believe that Jesus distinctly declared that we are ALL a holy priesthood...a royal priesthood...(1Pet.2:5, 9), so why this division between clergy and laity? Just because this pastor over here has "The Rev. Dr." in front of his name, is he more spiritual than I.? Certainly he might have more education, and be more scholarly than I, but is he ANY MORE CAPABLE OF LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT THAN I, OR BEING MORE OBEDIENT? No. IF he has been in Christ longer than I, or has experienced more about a given subject than I, he should be able to offer sound Godly advice and wisdom concerning the mater, and we should consider it in the SAME LIGHT AND WAY AS THE BEREANS. Conversely, if that person over there talks in more tongues than I, or I moan louder, or get slain in the Spirit more often, does that make either one of us more "spiritual" than the other, and deserving to be listened to more than another? I think not.
We, as individuals, have confidence and "boldness to enter the throne of Grace" through the blood of Jesus Christ, and further we individually have the right to ask for, and receive from God His wisdom, and He will give it to us liberally. There is no place in today's church for this spirit of Nicolaitanism.
Addendum of August, 2000:
Nowhere is the demonic spirit of Nicolatanism being exercised more than as evidenced in the "Toronto Blessing/Brownsville Revival" movement. Leadership within the movement blatantly demands that adherents or searchers accept WITHOUT QUESTION whatever they may choose to pronounce. Questioners or those who would refer to scripture are, if not just run off, threatened in diverse manners. This is not a mark of a Godly and doctrinally sound ministry. More about these later in this chapter.
MAJOR #4 - CHEAP GRACE
"Cheap Grace" is a term coined by German theologian Bonhoeffer to explain the ease with which salvation is placed before everyone's eyes by some preachers. While salvation is simple, and easy to obtain, we must remember that there is a price. Jesus, speaking to a general multitude of listeners (not yet disciples) in Luke14:25-33, delineated the COST OF DISCIPLESHIP. During this discourse, Jesus left NO DOUBT in the hearers ears (including ours) of exactly what it would cost us to gain eternal life, and what we must give up is our own life and all that we have. That means no more I, just i. no more ME, just us (brethren). No more I WANT, just what do YOU want, Lord. No more I WILL, just what would YOU have me do, Lord. This is not some kind of empty theorizing, or philosophizing about vain words. It is a requirement that can only be met through action.
Very evident in the pulpit preaching of the past 50-75 years is an element of "cheap grace" whereby counting the cost is completely eliminated, or glossed over to the point that those who hear believe that eternal life requires nothing more than a simple statement made before a congregation, a handshake, and a dunk in the water. At the same time this "cheap grace" is being propounded, the would be believers are also inundated with the completeness and finality of Jesus work (that is absolutely correct), and that once one goes through the motions (say it, shake it, and wet it), they have ETERNAL SECURITY, that is it can never be taken away (more about this next).
There is truth here. You cannot lose what you never had. You see, the cheap grace preachers, who are primarily looking at numbers to grow their churches so that they can get on to a bigger church with a bigger salary, bigger parsonage, and bigger staff (bigger is better), never say anything about REPENTANCE, or the NEW CREATION, or OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE, or what it means to GIVE UP SELF! The end result is dead preachers preaching a dead gospel to dead churches full of dead people. These people, these churches, never do anything (except come up with new programs), they never think anything (except what the convention or diocese tells them), or want anything (except to control the church), and most of them continue to live like hell Monday through Saturday, continuing in their lifestyles of sin. Oftentimes, they get worse than ever before, thinking that "now I've got it and I can't lose it). The saddest part of "cheap grace" preaching is that the people will almost NEVER listen to the Word of God that doesn't agree with this "theology". The devil has successfully stopped their ears and hearts, and the final result is for them to burn.
It is relatively easy to spot a church that is more interested in growing itself than growing the Kingdom. Look for a church that appears to be a social club, offering specialized groups and programs. "Come to our singles group to meet the right girl or boy". "Tuesday nite is our ""Aerobics for God" nite". "This year we're going to add a Scandinavian Spa to the olympic pool area". One very large church in the Houston area has all of that, and more. When asked by the news media about a furor developing in Houston over homosexualism during a political race, the pastor gravely considered the matter, and replied that he "would not say anything to his congregation about the matter".
Friends, if there is no life in the pulpit, there can be no life in the believer, or in the church, and therefore NO LIFE IN THE WORLD. Cheap grace. Expensive death.
MAJOR #5 - SAVED TODAY, LOST TOMORROW
The converse of cheap grace is the theology of saved today, lost tomorrow. Early on during the reformation movement, two theologies of salvation began to evolve. One essentially stated that with salvation comes security, or "once saved, always saved". From this theology was born the cheap grace preaching spoken of previously. The other theology, becoming prevalent within the Holiness and subsequent Pentecostal movements of the late 1800's, was that a person could be saved, then fall from grace through sin, and have to be resaved all over again. Proof texts for this theology usually derived solely from Hebrews 6, with a few Old Testament examples to prove out the theology. The end result of this thinking was "God may give you grace today, but YOU HAVE TO WORK TO KEEP IT, " thereby turning the grace of God into a doctrine of works. I believe that such thinking arose from a desire on the part of some to explain why a person could be saved, exhibit grace and gifting, and then turn right around and commit some awful sin. Certainly everyone knows that if the Spirit of God is in us, we cannot sin. Therefore, we must lose our salvation (and the Spirit), otherwise there is no other explanation for committing sin.
Now while many Pentecostal types have admitted that this is a "wrong teaching", there are far more who still believe it. They grind through their lives working hard at not committing some sin, and if they do, running tearfully to the altar to get saved again. During a two week revival, I once observed a poor sister get resaved every night for those two weeks! Others, having gotten tired of that game, harden their hearts to possible conviction, and "show their faith and spirituality" by the way they dress or act in public, thinking they are hiding the truth of their hearts from God and man. What most people don't realize about the "saved-lost-saved" teaching is that not only does maintaining grace become a matter of works rather than the strength and keeping power of God, it essentially calls Jesus a liar. No, Jesus, you can't keep me until that last day. I have to keep myself. No, God, you can't keep me from falling out of your hand without my help. This kind of thinking places NO FAITH IN GOD, but only in self. The real kicker to this whole thing is found in the words of Hebrews 6 that follow the falling away part. 'IT IS IMPOSSIBLE...TO RENEW AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE ... HAVING CRUCIFIED AGAIN THE SON OF GOD, AND PUT HIM TO OPEN SHAME".
Conclusion...if you are indeed saved, having counted the cost and having made a definite commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you do have security in Christ for eternal salvation. But, if you have not made that real and genuine commitment, running down the aisle again and again, or dressing a certain way or acting a certain way does not give you any security. I recently knew a man whose father had been a Pentecostal preacher for over 50 years, and believed devoutly in the saved-lost-saved theology. As this man was approaching his 80th year, and in failing health, his son agonized daily over his father, because his father was afraid to die. He did not know where he stood with God, and was afraid of going to hell.
Friends, our God, our Lord, our Savior, is not like this. Paul, in Romans 7, examines just this issue, and concludes "thank God for Jesus Christ...". Elsewhere, Paul says "I know whom I have believed in, and that HE IS ABLE TO KEEP THAT WHICH I HAVE COMMITTED TO HIM, TO RAISE UP IN THAT LAST DAY". Notice, friends, HE is able, not us. All we have to do is commit to Him in truth. Without faith (trust), it is impossible to please God. If we cannot trust in God to care for our souls, then we cannot trust in Him for anything, for there is no thing of greater value in His Kingdom.
MAJOR #6 -ACCEPTANCE OF ABOMINATIONS
Here we will get to a subject that will surely create a chorus of amen's on one side, and an outpouring of rage and anger on the other. It concerns the denominations that have declared openly that they not only will condone, but will accept fully and without reservation those who practice that which God has declared an abomination to Him. We speak here of homosexuality and lesbianism, and further speak specifically of the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Methodist denominations. These denominations have declared, in varying degrees over recent years, that the churches must accept homosexuals, AS they are and WHERE they are. Further, they have declared that it is acceptable for these "abusers of themselves with mankind" to not only continue their abominable practices, but to accept them as ordained ministers. Some of the denominations say that this is alright if the minister will just keep quiet about it (don't ask, don't tell), while others say open declaration and PRACTICE are ok.
This, my friends, is worse than giving cocaine to the pilot of a passenger jet at 36,000 feet! Several points must be made here. In the past, and in relation to the nation Israel, God has NEVER accepted, condoned, or allowed open practice of sin and abomination to continue, not just within His church members, but especially within His ministers and priests. God judged, and literally executed Phineas and Hophni, sons of Eli, because of the corruption and thievery which they openly committed as priests of the temple. Not only did God judge them for the matter, He also judged the nation for ALLOWING IT TO CONTINUE, by allowing the Philistines to capture and remove the Ark of the Covenant from Israel. The wife of Phineas, giving birth to a son just after the news of his death and the theft of the Ark, named the son Ichabod, meaning "The Glory of God has departed". That, my friends, was for thievery and corruption.
What about homosexuality? Well, some might say, these are different times, and besides that, we're not under the law, and God understands that these people can't help themselves, besides that God made them that way.
Second point...God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, meaning that He does not change. Period! In Leviticus 18:22 He says "thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: IT IS ABOMINATION". In Lev.20:13 we see the words "if a man shall lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination...". Still concerned that this is from the law? In 1Cor.6:9 Paul writes "don't you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED: no fornicators, or effeminate, or abusers of themselves with mankind...SHALL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD". Also in 1Tim.9-10 Paul writes: "knowing this that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners...for them that defile themselves with mankind...". The Word of God CLEARLY AND EMPHATICALLY states, over a 1500 year time span (God does not change) that homosexuality is an abomination to Him, and that those who practice it will not be saved! Repentance and turning completely away from it is the ONLY way, for it is God's way.
But, many say, God made us this way. NO HE DIDN'T! And to put that kind of blame on God is the most devilish of concoctions ever devised. Look at Genesis 1 "for God made man in HIS own image, and He looked upon what He had made, and SAW THAT ITWAS GOOD". If God later, and consistently says that homosexuality is abomination, unrighteous, unholy, ungodly and unclean, how then can it be "good"? God wiped out two cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, for their flagrant and open practice of homosexuality.
No machinations of thought or twisting of words, or application of modern psychology or political correctness can change the intent and thought of God concerning this matter. Such open and flagrant disregard for Gods Word can only result in one thing: "I NEVER KNEW YOU" for those who practice it, and ICHABOD for those who condone it.
How then should the church react? Read again the words of Jude in vs.23; "...and others SAVE WITH FEAR (by telling them the truth as found in the Word of God)...HATING the garment (sin)...". We can love the person who is a sinner, and are supposed to, but we DO NOT LOVE THE SIN, and we can show this love more perfectly by TELLING THE TRUTH than by whitewashing what they do, and accepting it as a thing to be continued. Indeed, if we do not tell the truth, we stand in jeopardy ourselves. Tell me friend, if a known murderer, or a bank robber were to come into your church, and want to be ordained so that he could minister to you, while continuing to murder or rob, would you condone and accept that? Would you accept a practicing prostitute as "Minister of Children"? How about an embezzler as your church treasurer (I've seen some of those!). Maybe we should have Sun Myung Moon become Sunday School Director.
Friends, the devil has done his dirty work again, by swaying the leadership of the church to listen to the loudest voices, and in listening to these voices to declare openly to God, "WE will ascend...WE will be like the most high...WE know better than you, God, what is important and acceptable in this day and age".
These leaders speak for YOU if you are in one of the denominations that accepts this abomination. Some (probably many) will disagree with me, but I will here state that based on what I see in scripture, that God has withdrawn His Spirit from the denominations that have participated in the "moral legalization" of homosexual conduct among its members and ministers. While the individual members are accountable before God, and may still retain a measure of Spirit and righteousness, be assured that IF THEY CONTINUE TO ACCEPT AND CONDONE SUCH BEHAVIOR, it will be Ichabod for them.
While on the subject of abominations I feel it necessary to state here that homosexuality is not the only abomination currently being accepted by the churches. Equally as important in the eyes of God, and as abominable to Him are the numbers of powerless preachers who fill the pulpits of our nation and our world. Powerless because they do not have the Spirit of God within. While protest may be raised because they are "educated" in the "best seminaries", or that they have received a "doctorate", or that they have been "in the ministry for over *** years", they are still powerless, and preach a compendium of pablum to itching ears that does nothing for the Kingdom of God. While the itching ears may help their current church grow in size, and develop all kinds of programs and ministries, the real work of Kingdom growth is left to others that spend their time in bible reading and studying, praying and communing with God about HIS concerns and desires. Where are the preachers who spend days and weeks on their faces before God seeking His will? Where are the prophetic voices that thunder out the calamity and devastation that awaits unsuspecting souls? Where are the true believers that are the LIGHT OF THIS WORLD? There are some, bur for the most part the unbelieving church has sought to still their voice, to run them out of town so that their neat little world will not fall apart in the face of truth.
Do you really seek God? Do you really want to know the truth and to be free? Do you really want to be a part of Gods Kingdom? Do you really?
MAJOR #7 - PRESENT TRUTH
Extant today among the church are numbers of what are called "present truth" teachers and preachers, mainly connected with the charismatic renewal movement, but with teachings that have slithered their way into many of the denominations. While these "teachers" claim to be Christian, and loudly proclaim that Jesus is Lord, their teachings as a whole stem directly from the New Age and eastern mysticism movements. Liberally interspersed in their words are quotations from scripture that they claim the Holy Spirit has given to them with "new insight" and "greater revelation". Relying heavily on symbolical or allegorical interpretive methods, they rush to move the church into a "new age", one in which the church, WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF JESUS, is ruler over this world, having "reclaimed dominion" from the devil. Some are even so bold as to claim that the devil himself will "hang up his horns, throw away his pitchfork, and be reconciled to God" because of the ministry of the church. All of this, mind you, without regard to what the Word says, and without Jesus being physically present.
According to them, the ONLY way Jesus is coming again is IN THE CHURCH. These mighty feats of prestidigitation occur because of this allegorization of Scripture, and with utter disregard for competent exegesis. Indeed, they loudly proclaim that such methodology is of the devil, that the "harlot church system": and the "harlot Babylonian system" (existing denominations) are to be DONE AWAY WITH. Earl Paulk, Franklin Hall, and others even advocate the REMOVAL BY FORCE of any who do not go along with their particular philosophy.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, FRIEND, that the pernicious ways of these people ARE NOT CHRISTIAN, THEY ARE NOT FROM GOD, AND FOLLOWING THEM WILL LEAD ONLY TO THE PITS OF HELL! A little strong, you say? No stronger than what the Holy Spirit led Paul to say in 2Cor.11:13-15; "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 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 IS ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS".
Present Truth teaching has no set definition, but by looking at many of the teachings, we can deduce the basics of their doctrine. A general definition would be as follows: As we grow into the deeper things of God, He will reveal to us successive and progressive truth about a matter, each one replacing the previous truth. This is usually done through the extensive use of prophecy, both personal and corporate, and "new revelation knowledge" about passages of scripture. Considered by many to be interchangeable with Present Truth are the catch phrases "Dominion", "Kingdom Now", and many others which will be touched on later. Earl Paulk (Chapel Hill Harvester Church, Atlanta, GA) states "Christ in us must take dominion over the earth...The next move of God cannot occur until Christ in us takes dominion". Present truth also pointedly emphasizes the necessity of unquestioning obedience to the leaders pronouncements and doctrine. Failure to be a true "sheep" results in threats of being cast out, cast off, thrown away, or even "taken out".
To protect against the intrusion of Gods Truth into their assemblies, they also define a false prophet as follows: " if a prophet comes who attempts to LEAD US AWAY FROM TRUTH ESTABLISHED BY REVELATION...and that prophet...shall be PUT TO DEATH". Notice that no mention is made of the Word of God, or His Truth, but only that it is "truth established by revelation", or whatever the teacher/preacher has come up with. This IS NOT CHRISTIANITY, but instead is a new religion, "another gospel" as Paul phrased it, and along with Paul I say :"let them be accursed" for preaching it (Gal.1:8-9).
1Cor.13 is the best summary of the Gospel of Christ that has ever been preached or written, and present truth teaching denies every aspect of that Gospel. Present truth teaching also places great emphasis on "order" in the church, whereby the "carnal or baby" Christian is expected to accept without question the statements, postulations, and revelations brought by the more spiritual leadership within the church.
Reliance upon the absolute necessity for the five fold ministry to be exhibited in each church is taught, with the ministry arranged in an hierarchical fashion. Pew-sitters are "in subjection" to teachers, teachers to pastors, pastors to evangelists, evangelists to prophets, and all under the "covering" of an apostle. To soften this approach, many call themselves "bishop" or head bishop" of their movements. For a carnal Christian to question any of the leaderships sayings or revelations means quick reprisal in the form of "touch not the head of mine anointed", the anointed of course being ONLY the leadership.
The practical result of such an attitude and religion can only be bondage. Bondage to the rules and doctrines of man, bondage to the same hierarchical rules that allowed the Pharisees and Sadducees to corrupt the Word of God. What did Jesus say about these men? "WOE unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! for you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; because you neither go in yourselves, or allow those who are trying to go in...you look all over to find one and make him a proselyte, and when he is made into one, you have made him TWICE OVER THE CHILD OF HELL as yourselves..."(Mat.23). In Mark 7:6 Jesus also said "...well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN".
James refers to Christ as the "Perfect Law of Liberty" (Jas.1:25). Paul makes clear that in Christ, we have FREEDOM from oppression (Gal.5:1), and the law (Gal.4:25). Paul also states that to return to the rudiments and doctrines of man create bondage (Gal.4:9), and is the same as DENYING THE GRACE AND SALVATION OF JESUS CHRIST, AND HIS ATONEMENT (Gal.4:30, 5:4). Peter makes reference to t he fact that each believer is a member of the royal and holy priesthood (1Pet.2:9). Jesus states that He will send the Holy Spirit to each believer (Jn.14:16, 26 & 16:7, 13).
How then, can a person claiming to be a Christian, with the Spirit of Christ and the Law of Love in his heart presume to inflict rules and regulations upon another? How can such a person proclaim the necessity to remove another by force? How can a spirit filled minister of the Gospel presume to EQUATE HIMSELF OR ANYONE ELSE WITH GOD? Al Jandl, writing in "The Mandate", states: "...then, all of a sudden in my spirit, these words came up, and before I thought about them, I said out loud: I DON'T CARE WHAT GOD ALLOWED, I DON'T ALLOW IT!". If Mr. Jandl should try to cop out with the excuse that the Holy Spirit was prophesying through him, and the Spirit was in control, the he obviously does not know about, or CARE about the scripture stating that "the Spirit of the prophet is SUBJECT UNTO THE PROPHET" (1Cor.14:32). This is a blatant statement, made under the control and direction of satan that corresponds directly to lucifers statement as found in Isa.14. Mr. Jandl had better care what God has allowed or disallowed, because what He allows or disallows is the ONLY THING OF IMPORTANCE.
How can such things be in the church world? How can there be people, professing Christ as Lord and Savior who continually corrupt the Word of God, twist it to their own nefarious means, and subject others to such silly statements as "I don't care..."? Jesus said in Mat.7:21-23; "Not every one that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: only he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not PROPHESIED IN YOUR NAME? AND IN YOUR NAME HAVE CAST OUT DEMONS? AND IN YOUR NAME DONE MANY WONDERFUL WORKS? and then will i say to them, I NEVER KNEW YOU! DEPART FROM ME YOU THAT WORK INIQUITY".
The Truth of God, as revealed by and in Jesus Christ and the Bible, both His Living Word, is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH, not subject to change or conflicting interpretations. Man may falter in his interpretation, he may fall short in understanding parts of it, but THAT DOES NOT CHANGE THE INVIOLABILITY OR FAITHFULNESS OF THAT WORD! Any interpretation of any part of Gods Word that does not come into FULL AGREEMENT WITH ALL OTHER PARTS IS NOT FROM GOD, but instead is a furtherance of the conspiracy and corruption introduced by satan in the garden.
The symbolic or allegorical method of interpreting scripture so heavily used by the present truthers is one that flies in the face of common sense. While many parts of the Bible do require application of this method, such as Daniel and Revelation, common sense dictates that upon first reading a portion of the Word, one must look first to the here and now practicality of that Word. What has God said? What does it mean to me? is it something that I can apply in my daily life? Will applying it be pleasing to God? When God says, in James 5:13-14 "Is any (including me) among you afflicted, let him pray..." That means that if I have a problem, I should pray! "Is any merry? Let him sing psalms". Self explanatory! Is any sick...? Call for the elders...let THEM pray...anointing with oil...and that prayer shall save the sick...raise him up...and sins shall be forgiven". If I have sickness, then MY responsibility is to call for the elders, so that THEY can anoint me with oil, pray for my healing, and that prayer, that act of faith in calling and their faith in praying shall cause the Lord to heal me, raise me up, and as a bonus unconfessed sin will be forgiven. Pretty simple method of interpretation. During many years of service to Jesus, there have been numerous times wherein someone, being sick, has asked for anointing and prayer in literal accordance with James 5:14. In every case, faithful response to that exhibition of faith has resulted in exactly what was promised. Healing and raising from the sick bed. What more is needed, friends? God said "here is what my will is" very plainly. And He delivered! It fits exactly with what the Word says, it can apply to me, and I can do it in faith knowing that it is pleasing to God because it shows faith. Additionally, this interpretation and application falls right into line with all other parts of the Word of God. There is no contradiction or conflict found.
The Bible is primarily a practical and literal work depicting certain events, and containing within these events a statement of the will of God, and that is the way it should be approached. If a passage makes no sense in its literal context, and nothing seems to be applicable, then and only then should symbolism be considered. Rarely can the two methods be successfully combined in a given passage without raising considerable problems. The second major problem with symbolic interpretation is simply that it is more than possible to attach several different meanings to any given word or passage, thereby creating a group of possible meanings, none of them being identical. When that occurs, we run into a lot of "what if" situations, and that leads to confusion, and confusion is NOT from God. No doctrine should ever be based upon a symbolic interpretation of any passage or passages, and any doctrine so based is like building a house on sand...and we all know what that leads to.
"Revelation knowledge" is very dear to the hearts of the present truth teacher. Without it, they would be hard put to sustain their theories and derived doctrines. Since revelation knowledge is so dear to them, I would like to ask them the following: if revelation knowledge is so precious, and contains truth, then why do you not accept the Book of Mormon, or the revelations of Sun Myung Moon (who preaches exactly what you do), or the writings of Buddha? What about the Koran. Mohammed claimed revelation knowledge. Is it because the only revelation knowledge acceptable to you is that which is revealed ONLY TO YOU? or to someone who agrees with you? I am sure that the Gnostics of the first century relied heavily upon revelation knowledge. The question is, from WHO DID THAT REVELATION KNOWLEDGE COME? John, Peter, Paul, James, and Jude all knew that it was straight from the pits of hell, because what was revealed to them DOES NOT MATCH UP WITH WHAT HAS BEEN REVEALED TO YOU!
I would like to here present to you some of the writings of Irene Lindsay, a proclaimed present truth "teacher of teachers". According to Irene and others, she has been gifted by God with numerous "new revelations", and has been given the specific job to TEACH THE TEACHERS WHO WILL TEACH THE MASSES. Judge for yourself. Oops! Sorry...inspect this fruit. Italics are my comments.
"Everything was created from and out of God. God is spirit. Everything visible is created from that which is invisible - out of God Substance. Spirit is invisible, so in order for it to become substance that could be seen, God had to slow down, or to lower the vibrations of the very God Substance of creative life...Angels are formed of a higher rate of vibration...Adam was created of a higher vibration than we know today...the Adam man and woman fell when they sinned NOT IN GRACE, but in vibration...Through the great victory on the cross, by the New Creation in Christ Jesus, we can now RISE UP IN VIBRATION POWER" (good, good, good, good vibrations). Read on.
"The being who visited John and carried him on various trips through time and space (an angel, Rev.1:1; Jesus, Rev.1:13-18; the Holy Spirit, Rev.4:2; one of the seven angels, Rev.17:1,3; a fellowservant, Rev.19:10) was a person, a mortal who had once lived in the earth dimension and who had been translated into a higher vibration, or realm of life." (According to Irene, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and angels are nothing more than translated mortals).
Irene also teaches on what she calls the "Rainbow angel ministry", alluding to many :mysteries of the real meaning of the rainbow that only SHE knows. Keep in mind that the New Age movement utilizes the rainbow as a symbol of the building of a bridge (antahkarana) between man and lucifer. The scriptural meaning of the rainbow is CLEARLY AND LITERALLY spelled out by God in Gen.9:14-15. On the subject of women and God, Irene says: "in the natural physical body any woman is fruitful or capable of reproducing every month. Hallelujah! This is the natural woman ability given to us through our formation in the IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF OUR MOTHER GOD"..."How can we become a part of this HOLY city (speaking of the new Jerusalem)? We become citizens by birthright, being born from above OF OUR SPIRITUAL MOTHER GOD..." This definitely strikes me as being exactly like the pagan worship accorded to Asherah (Tyre, 1500B.C) and Ishtar (Babylon), and currently in vogue today among the New Age movement and the National Organization of Women. All of this, my friends, from one who not only proclaims to be Christian, but a "teacher of teachers" bringing new revelations to the "Kingdom Kids".
Several of the present truth "Manifested Sons" teachers go out of their way to prove that Lucifer and satan are NOT the same person, indeed that satan was created by God for the purpose of "bringing us to perfection:", and that lucifer and Jesus are literally "brothers", or even one and the same. These manipulations of thought and the Word arrive at the same conclusion as Joseph Smith (Mormonism), and David Spangler, a prominent leader of the New Age Movement. These teachers, to name just a few, are Bill Britton, J. Preston Eby, and Erwin Roach. Britton states that proper translation of Isa.14:12 reveals that lucifer means "morning star", and because of this one could literally call Jesus lucifer, since Jesus is referred to as the morning star in the New Testament. He then declines to do so because of the "negative:" connotations of the name lucifer. The same kind of teaching can be found in Free Masonry and the Mormon Temple Rite of Endowment. Proper translation of the Hebrew lucifer means "bright one:, not morning star. Comparison of Ezek.28:17 will also corroborate this interpretation, plus Paul's reference to satan (lucifer) as an angel of light (or brightness).
Present truth teaching comes in a lot of disguises, and under a lot of different names. Immediately following is a compendium of some, but not all of the names used within the generic present truth movement, and a list of "catch words: or phrases that are commonly used by them. Following that is a listing of authors and books who are considered to be the main proponents of such teachings, and expound more fully on their doctrines and beliefs. Should you choose to read any of them, please remember to consider the teaching in the light of the ENTIRE WILL OF GOD AS WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE.
PRESENT TRUTH MOVEMENT NAMES
Dominion; Kingdom; Kingdom Now; Latter Reign or Rain; Manifest Sons; Manifested Sons of God; First Fruits; Manchild Company; Restoration; Melchizedek Priesthood; the Corporate Body; Age of Grace; The Walk; The Most High God; The Shulamites; Living Stones; The Porter Ministry; Gods Army; Overcomers; The Army of Overcomers; The Mandate; The Vineyard; Toronto Blessing; The Brownsville Movement.
KEY WORDS AND PHRASES WITHIN DOCTRINAL THOUGHT
New order; being under authority; having spiritual covering; restoring the church to its rightful place; being submissive; God is establishing His Kingdom on this earth; moving on with God; growing into the deeper things of god; carnal masses are being taught in the outer court by those who are in the inner court; having a rebellious spirit; it is time to empty the dead churches; leave the harlot church or babylonian church system; on-going revelation; anointed teachers are needed to make the present truth or on-going revelation understandable to the carnal christian; having a mandate from God to take a city; Christ is coming in our flesh; Christ is coming in the church; taking dominion; ushering in divine government; the corporate body of Christ; the church is to execute judgment on the unbelievers and carnal; calling out a people for His name; getting the fire on you; and yet many others.
Keep in mind that many of these excerpted quotations have their BASIS in sound theological doctrine and scripture, and are used many times by men of God in preaching and teaching. What is important to remember, though, is the CONTEXT IN WHICH THEY ARE PRESENTED. If the end result of the teaching is to deify the church, or the members of the movement, or in any way REDUCE the deity of Jesus and the FINALITY of His work, or is not ABSOLUTELY IN LINE with ALL of Gods Word, then it is wrong, and is nothing more that snare, error, and heresy.
Addendum, August 2000: Much of what was written in 1991 has been born out through the ensuing ten years. At the same time, many more have recognized the error of the movement, and have collected many writings and examinations of them. A wonderful site can be found at APOLOGETICS INDEX, and I heartily recommend reading through the volumes of material they have amassed.
- >David Hulse, Denver, Co.: Inside Out (tape) You Are Gods (tape)
- >False Prophets, Occult, Sorcery, Witchcraft: (The Discovery Foundation, 1986) Raising Your Serpents
- >Irene Lindsay, Lighthouse, Inc., Neodesha, Ks. :The Rainbow Angel Ministry, lesson 23: Attaining Kingdom Understanding, lessons 1-7: The Holy City, Jerusalem-Mother of us all, lesson 25
- >J. Preston Eby: The Two Hands of God
- >Preparation of Universal Dominion (newsletter, 1983): Royal Conquist, Green Acres, Wa.
- >Love Ministries Newsletter, Mar/Apr 86
- >The Perfected Ones, Protected Ones, and Destroyed Believing Ones at the end: Epistles of the Kingdom Unto Royal by the Spirit
- >Elwin Roach: Lucifer Rebellion, Pt.1
- >Bill Hamon, Destiny Image Pub., Shippensburg, Pa.: The Eternal Church; Prophets and Personal Prophecy, Vols. 1 & 2
- >Al Jandl, Living Stones Church, Kansas City, Ks.: The Mandate
- >Tapes, letters, collected writings and sermons by: Ray Prinzing, John and Anne Gimenez, Bill Hamon, Earl Paulk, George Warnock, Kelly Varner, George Hawtin, Charles Weller, Sam Fife, David Ebaugh, Bob Weiner, Brenda Jack, Eldon Purvis, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, et al.