I have a burden on my heart. For those of you who visit this blog frequently you know that primarily I include devotional posts or posts on “Christian Living.” Mainly a topic comes to mind or is placed on my heart and then I study the Bible to examine the truths that it contains about that topic, attempting to always draw implications from those passages. While my all encompassing burden is to reach people with the Gospel and through the message of the Bible awaken Christians who were asleep like I was, from time to time I feel like I must address the “wolves” that have crept into the fold unnoticed. (Jude 4 NKJV) My burden stems from the fact that while I pray that I “preach” an effective Gospel, other more nationally renowned “pastor/teachers” or those with a larger platform are preaching a different Gospel. Because of that platform or the name recognition they have developed quite a following though one that lacks discernment. There are two specific things that I pray for regarding this blog and its readers: 1) Biblical Wisdom and 2) Spiritual Discernment. I believe each of these are spiritual gifts that the Apostle Paul talks about in I Corinthians 12. Each of us who follow Christ as Lord and Savior have varying gifts of the Holy Spirit that God wants us to use for His glory. While we’ll save the larger discussion on spiritual gifts for another post, I wanted to just emphasize the importance of discernment, determining biblical truths from the lies of the world.
One important aspect of the false teachings of today that must be understood is that none of it is new. The seeker sensitive movement, prosperity gospel, purpose driven, best-life now, emerg- ing/ent/ence church all of these apostasy’s (and like it or not, this is what they are) are not new. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says there is nothing new under the sun. None of these movements are new, they simply rehash or repackage old ideas that infiltrated the church throughout its history and try to present them in a new, or watch this…RELEVANT manner. Christian, there is nothing more relevant than the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 NKJV, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Think about that verse just for one minute. Go back and read it again. The Word of God is living and powerful, that alone is enough to pause and give all glory to God, but to read it is sharper than any sword and can divide soul and spirit down to the joints and marrow of your bones, that it discerns (there’s our word again) the thoughts and intents of the heart. Wow! If you don’t believe that verse, I challenge you to read the Bible for 1 month and I promise you it will do all of that and more.
I’ve debated internally about whether or not I should expose those false teachers and false resources for what they really are, not in any attempt to smear or demean, but to inform you the reader of what to look out for and I’ve done this in the past to a degree, see The Wolves are Emerging. But as I read the Bible, there is less emphasis on individualizing people as there is on identifying false movements and that makes sense because if for example an Emerging Church leader disappears from the scene, the movement won’t stop, just that person’s individual ministry ceases to exist. I think it equates best to shining a light on a macro-scale vs. a micro-scale.
So what does this mini-diatribe all mean? What it means is that I’m praying for your discernment about these matters. I can’t force you to put down a book that leads you to a false destination about who God really is, I can’t stop you from listening to a pastor that teaches everything but the one true living King of Kings, and I certainly cannot dissect for you with the precision of a surgeon those teachers who are so close to the truth that it’s scary, yet their beliefs are so dangerously false that their words broaden the gate with every breath. But what I can do is pray. Pray that God exposes each and everyone of these false teachers and pray that He gives each of you discernment to recognize them. Jesus’ words ring so true today, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:22-23 In those verses the ones that say Lord, Lord claim to have prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders in the name of Jesus, yet Jesus will declare to them that He never knew them because they practiced evil. They take the appearance of having the Truth, yet are far from it. This verse should be a sobering wake up call because it is telling you that just because you hear the name of Jesus preached, or just because you see someone holding the Bible, DOES NOT mean they are of God. Satan wants to take you so close to the truth that you think its real; that’s the heart of deception. In the passage from Matthew, those preachers/workers actually professed the name of Jesus. Just as James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble!” In closing I want to include two videos which show just how close the apostasy is moving to the truth without being true, because it now spreads to perverting the Word of God (please realize there is no way to illustrate this point without including “individual” opinions). Listen to both and let the discernment of the Holy Spirit lead you. As always, comments or questions are welcome.
Dr. John MacArthur