All the way back in the first century, the apostle Paul pleaded and warned believers to be on guard against men within their own ranks who would try to “draw away disciples after them.” They would distort the truth of God’s Word, teach only selected parts of it, or take Scripture out of context to deceive the flock. These are also tactics of certain modern day evangelical leaders who some might describe as emergent, liberal, or postmodern.
Postmodernism can be traced to the early 1970s and generally questions whether truth can be known with certainty, if it even exists at all. The danger, of course, with accepting ambiguity over truth is it leaves the door wide open to debate right and wrong in terms of feelings and experiences. Postmodernism rejects there is scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which is the same for everybody.
For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard… I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:27-30)
Doubt and uncertainty are the devil’s tools going all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Adam and Eve by getting them to question God’s literal words. We can practically take those deceptive words, “Did God really say…?” and finish the question with whatever ending you’d like in order to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of believers…
We now need to take a critically important look at how big of a threat false teachings are to the stability of the church in America.
You’d think the church would be a safe place for believers, but these are dangerous times in which we live. In the same way socialism has infected America, false teachings have infected Christianity. Some well-known leaders have gone astray and have taken some of the flock with them… Please pray for discernment, test every spirit according to the Word of God, and check with other sources.
It is unwise to put our pastor or favorite national religious leader up on a pedestal. We are all fallen beings looking up to the perfection of Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Bible warns teachers to watch their doctrine closely (1 Tim. 4:16). Many emergent church leaders do not focus on the deity of Christ and the authority of the Bible as much as they call attention to themselves or a doctrine they are espousing.
Remember this: we are more likely to defend and stand up for what we love. It is imperative we get back to loving the truth – the living Word of our God. (Have you read Psalm 119 lately?)
The watering down of sin and the Bible has now spread like poison in American churches. Truth has sadly become vague or irrelevant to many Christians, and grace and tolerance are over-emphasized today, thanks in part to the seeker-sensitive church mentality. Sinners are attracted to these emergent teachings, and some end up liking what they see and hear because it is patterned after the world. It makes them comfortable, but is this the church’s job? Whatever happened to preaching the whole truth and leading people to repentance?
Many churches in America now have beautiful buildings, coffee shops, bookstores, great music and sound systems, state of the art lighting, edgy drama, video presentations, and some even offer yoga classes. Some churches seem to put more of an emphasis on entertaining the flock than on feeding them God’s word. Well, at least it keeps the young people occupied, but what will they do when the go out into the real world? Are they prepared to face spiritual warfare and withstand attacks on their faith?
The very existence of the Bible is divisive because it forces people to make a decision about its message. It offers two options; accept it as God’s Word or reject all of it. Picking and choosing verses like a spiritual buffet is not permissible. Cafeteria Christianity won’t cut it.
Jesus never backed down when it came to facing prideful religious leaders. He challenged both their teachings and their actions. Everything we hear today must be held to the standard of Scripture because the enemy is active within the church working to blot out God. We must strive to continue in the Word of God and its authority.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The better we know the Word of God, the quicker we will recognize false teachings. With a solid foundation rooted in absolute truth and a faith based on Christ the Lord, it will be harder for us to fall for counterfeits. You might be surprised by some of the statements and beliefs of some of today’s influential Christian leaders…
Theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul recently stated:
“In every age the church is threatened by heresy, and heresy is bound up in false doctrine. It is the desire of all heretics to minimize the importance of doctrine. When doctrine is minimized, heresy can exercise itself without restraint.”
Minimizing the person and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a good way to describe what many evangelical leaders do regardless of whether it is on purpose or not. Teachers will be held to account one day for everything they teach. Having said that, these men are best-selling authors, speakers at Christian music festivals and conferences, and several are mega-church pastors…
These ideas and teachings were not accepted by Christians overnight. The progressive pathways of emergent leaders have gradually merged with the wide road that leads to destruction. I don’t believe leaders set out at first with the agenda to poison Christianity, but their liberal theology has evolved to the point of contaminating the church. They intended to avoid harsh teachings regarding hell, judgment, and sin, but what has emerged is a wishy-washy, compromised and weakened message of a broad, tolerant gospel.
Conversely, Jesus was not very tolerant. He said even families would be divided over Him and that “For judgment I came into this world (John 9:39).”
And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (John 8:23-24).
“But wait,” one might argue, “look at the size and growth of our church buildings and marketing campaigns and fundraisers! Look at how hip and relevant we are! We even serve cappuccino and lattes! Our sermons are catchy, our services are attractive, the kids are having fun, and we’ve even blended in with culture!” This is my point exactly about the dangers of conforming to the world’s ways.
When the Holy Spirit isn’t invited by the preaching of solid Scripture to come in and work in our hearts, there can be no conviction. Without conviction and revelation of sin, there can be no repentance leading to forgiveness…
Jesus warns us that He is returning quickly and said Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown (Rev. 3:11). It’s up to individual Christians to live counter-culture for the Lord and resist those who oppose the light and truth of Christianity.
Thankfully, there are some good churches and pastors out there who still teach the unfiltered truth. There is also a remnant that understands the times. These committed soldiers are seeking allies, kindred spirits to encourage and sharpen one another. Take up your position! There are watchmen exposing darkness and soldiers fighting the good fight of faith who are hoping to one day hear God say, “well done.” Let’s do our best to be counted among these.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:4-6).
*Excerpts from Counterfeit Christianity & Emerging Into Confusion, (Chapters 12, 13) from ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA by David Fiorazo