Why We Name Names

Many catch a good amount of flack for exposing false teachers by name. I can understand why – there are many things worthy of our attention. We can focus on the wonders of good, pure doctrine, building up our children by teaching them scripture and through intercessory prayer, edifying the church, loving our wives in a manner more consistent with how Christ loved the church, and focusing on preaching the gospel to the unreached.

However, one should note that scripture does not seem to present a dichotomy of hierarchy between what commands we are to carry out. Rather, we are to be found in obedience to all imperatival passages on the basis that we are held captive to Christ. Out of reverence for God, love of Christ, and the transformative work of His Spirit – we obey. This is summed up in the command to love the Lord with all of your being, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

All of these things are defined theologically; one’s hermeneutic is unveiled when they practice what they believe. When one clings to false teaching, the prevalent idol of self-worship attests to the state of their heart and is revealed.

We deal with false teachers as so:

  • Avoid them (2 Tim. 3:5; Rom. 16:17-18)
  • Test them to ensure they are not false teachers (1 John 4:1-6)
  • Rebuke them in the presence of all (1 Tim. 5:20)
  • Expose them (Eph. 5:11)
  • Not receive them into our house or even greet them (2 John 1:10)
  • Judge them with right judgment (John 7:24)
  • Correct them and even cast them from the church if they remain unrepentant (Matt. 8:15-20), as their condemnation has already been decided (Jude 1:4)

We are called to do these things because they:

  • Are disguised as servants of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
  • Cause divisions and create obstacles to true doctrine and faith (Rom. 16:17-18)
  • Preach a different gospel than that which has been handed down from the apostles (Gal. 1:6-9)
  • Devote themselves to the teachings of demons (1 Tim. 4:1)
  • Pervert the grace of God and deny our Master and Lord, Christ (Jude 1:4)
  • They will not spare the flock (Acts 20:29) because they are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15-20)

This dual focus shows that we must be able to test and approve what is good – yet also actively combat heresy. In either case, there must be adequate recognition to what the scriptures actually teach. Generally speaking, there is reluctance to confront poor teaching and a sweeping, biblical illiteracy. In other words, most are not simply willing to confront false teachers, nor are they properly trained to do so.

When people are trained to recognize counterfeit currency, they don’t start with the counterfeits. They start by mastering the aspects of what the genuine production looks like. If they know the true form intimately – a fake can easily be spotted. In this same manner, we ought to know the Word so well, in it’s immediate and corporate context, that when the counterfeit comes up, we can easily spot it.

However, this does not mean we ought to be ignorant to what the counterfeits look like. There is particular benefit in studying the old creeds and early councils. Know the roots of the deceiver so well that you can destroy them. Pull up the tree bearing bad fruit and cast it away to be burned.

Stop, for the sake of the church, feeling that this is unkind. It isn’t nice in the conventional sense. Who cares? We aren’t called to be nice; we’re called to be loving, patient, humble, meek, and a host of other things that have nothing to do with the vague, subjective nature of “niceness”.

If you love God and His church, you must guard it against those who revel in watching it burn. Their appetite for destruction is insatiable. They devour the church by maligning the truth, perverting the gospel, and carrying others away with them to do likewise.

We ought not have anything to do with false teachers. Anything, save calling them out by name and exposing the rotten fruit they bear by proclaiming the full counsel of God’s Word.

Word of Faith Movement: A Response

It is patently unbiblical (Not found within scripture)

The troublesome thing within this entire movement is the blatant disregard to the scriptures in their proper context. While they may utilize the scriptures to support their claims, none of them speak to the immediate context of the verse. You don’t have to be any sort of biblical scholar to see this – all you have to do is read some of the surrounding verses to know that the context does not line up.

Take for example, the Prayer of Jabez. They utilize this, quoting from 1 Chronicles 4:10 to express the promise that God will increase their possessions, and keep them from harm. His name is only included in 3 verses within the whole of scripture: 1 Chronicles 2:55, 4:9, 4:10. However, it should be noted that the usage in 1 Chronicles 2:55 is not even the same Jabez… it’s a town. In the other verses, we find this small excerpt in the midst of a long genealogy.

It is blatantly anti-biblical (Contrary to the message of scripture)

There are numerous scriptures that contradict all of these teachings, many of which can be found simply in the exact immediate context of the verses they quote to support such claims. The extraordinary thing in this though is that somehow, though the Evangelical church has strongly combated all of these heresies, the heresy still thrives – even inside the church.

They admire the proponents of these heresies for their positive attitudes, their charm, and their bold claims of faith. I know people who have been Christians for more than 20 years, who have read their bibles cover to cover every year and still look up to people in this movement.

It is damaging to the reputation of Christ, diminishes the gospel, and tarnishes the soul.

When doctrinal fallacies emerge and a false version of Christ is lifted up, those taking in such teaching are harmed. Ultimately, this damnable perversion of the truth is exalted and Christ is painfully misrepresented. If you read any of these quotes and didn’t find them all to be more than troubling, read your bible a bit more carefully.

If you didn’t find their widespread influence to be equally as enraging as the crap spewed out of their mouths, re-examine your faith. If we do not feel assaulted when the truth is maligned, when the gospel is perverted, when actions, thoughts, and words contrary to biblical teachings are purported as truth, we may not find ourselves being aligned with Christ.

While their ministry may appear to be helpful, given the fact that it is a false representation of the truth found in scripture, it is damnable. The millions of people aligning themselves with this kind of teaching have an incredibly low view of God, believing themselves to be gods, and claiming dominion and authority over that which they cannot possibly be in control. Like you and I have power in our words to speak things into being. There is no humility in them; there is no reliance upon God. YOU have the power to become a better, more affluent, sinless, god-person. How incredibly pretentious of a belief is that.

False prophets were put to death if they sought to mislead people from God by their prophecy, yet also if the prophecy did not come to pass (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:20-22). If you think He doesn’t deal in the same manner today, look at 2 Peter, speaking of the false teacher. Look at the book of Jude, condemning the ungodly ones whom reject authority and have the audacity to revile fallen angels (though the archangel Michael doesn’t even dare to pronounce judgment against the devil). We don’t put any faith in men like these. None.

We put our faith in those who saturate themselves in the Word, exposing the truth plainly and without deceit. We place our trust in those who have shown themselves to be earnest in doctrine and able to teach. We place affection in those who show us true love, through both the proper proclamation of the Word, and through their continued efforts to spur us on to a greater maturity. Yet when we play the harlot to Christ and seek after those whom we know to be false teachers, we allow ourselves to be weak in the faith, and immature in respect to doctrine.

There is no positive thing that has come from this movement, save that God in His mercy has rescued people from out of the pit of hell within their midst.

Word of Faith Movement: Quotes

I initially thought about breaking this part up into smaller segments, but I really don’t want to devote more time to this specific post than it deserves. After this, there will be two posts developing a response to these teachers and the teachings they endorse. For the time being though, here are some quotes from the aforementioned “preachers” in the Word of Faith Movement. All of these quotes come directly from their website, sermons, writings, Facebook account, or Twitter account.

 

Kenneth Copeland:

  • “I’ve had people die on me standing there saying bless God you ain’t gonna die. And they did anyway and I’m glad I stood, and I’m glad I stood, and I’m glad I stood. I ain’t never stood for anything in my own life that didn’t come to pass. I can only use my faith just so far with you.”
  • “Well, now, you need balance in this, get out there in that hyper faith. That name-it-and-claim-it- that blab-it-and-grab-it.” YEAH! We named it and claimed it and got it. We Blabbed it and grabbed it and still got it ! Hallelujah! And our bills are paid.”
  • “By getting the Word deep into your spirit and speaking it boldly out your mouth, you release spiritual power to change things in the natural circumstances.”
  • “On the cross, Jesus won the right for believers to be born again back into the god-class. Adam was created, not subordinate to God, but as a god; he lost it, and in Christ we are taken back to the god-class.”
  • “God had no avenue of lasting faith or moving in the earth. He had to have covenant with somebody….He had to be invited in, in other words, or He couldn’t come. God is on the outside looking in. In order to have any say so in the earth, He’s gonna have to be in agreement with a man here.”

Benny Hinn:

  • “God will not move unless I say it. Why? because He has made us coworkers with Him. He set things up that way.”
  • “You are a little god on earth running around”
  • “He became flesh, that flesh might become like him. He became death, so saying man can live. He became sin, so sinner can be righteous in Him. He became one with the nature of Satan, so all those who had the nature of Satan can partake of the nature of God.”
  • “as you pray in the Holy Spirit God will anoint that seed your about to sow it is worth and as God anoints the seed he also anoints the ground so it can bring forth a mightier harvest for you and your children, family and bring out of bondage in the name of Jesus. Hallelujah! Hallelujah. I want you to sow the best seed. People the grounds are wet and moist by the anointing.”
  • “What’s the big deal, for goodness sake? What am I supposed to do, drive a Honda? … That’s not in the Bible. … I’m sick and tired about hearing about streets of gold. I don’t need gold in heaven. I got to have it now.”

T.D. Jakes:

  • “O God, give me a double portion of your spirit today. I cancel every plot, plan and scheme the enemy has devised against me in the matchless name of Jesus. No weapon forged against me will prosper in Jesus name.”
  • “If you need a supernatural thing to occur from God I dare you to give tonight.  There’s an anointing I believe, there’s going to be a supernatural anointing through the word of God.  Somebody just give God any kind of praise you got right now!  Many people do not understand if you’re going to receive something from the Lord you have to be prepared to invest something!  So many times people want things out of life without any kind of investment!”
  • “My brothers and sisters the power of life and death is in the tongue.  You can have whatever you say.”
  • “It’s what you say to yourself that gets you healed.  If you say that you won’t be healed you won’t be healed.  If you say that you are broke you will stay broke.  Oh!  But I came to serve notice on the Devil.  The Bible says, ‘The power of life and death is in the tongue.  Slap somebody and say, ‘You better speak to yourself.'”
  • “We believe that it is God’s will to heal and deliver His people today as He did in the days of the first Apostles.  It is by the stripes of Jesus that we are healed, delivered and made whole. We have authority over sickness, disease, demons, curses, and every circumstance in life.”

Creflo Dollar:

  • “I declare promotion and command the angels to bring promotion into my life. I have a blood-bought covenant promise from God Almighty to multiply exceedingly. Therefore, I confess I am exceedingly fruitful and blessed, right now, in Jesus’ name! I command the angels of God to go and bring this covenant to pass in my life now! I have the power to get wealth, and release the angels to bring wealth into my life.”
  • “I declare right now that I am healthy, healed, delivered, and freed from the bondage of sin. I am the head always, and never the tail.”
  • “Because the favor of God shields me, no sickness or disease has a right to live in my body.”
  • “Like Joseph, I prosper wherever I go and in every situation I am in because the Lord is always with me. I, too, experience preferential treatment.”
  • “WCCI’s (World Changers Church International) members are faithful with the little (Luke 19:17). They are 100-percent tithers; as such, they are connected to God’s power and receive a 100-fold return on the seed they sow.”

Joyce Meyer:

  • “The Bible can’t even find any way to explain this. Not really that is why you have got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I am telling you. I have got to just trust God that he is putting it into your spirit like he put it into mine.”
  • “I am not poor. I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I were and if I still was then Jesus died in vain.”
  • “The Word is Faith, Seed Faith, Name It And Claim it. If you want money you need to ask for it.”
  • “God has got a good plan for your life. But if you don’t believe it, God is not going to be able to do it.”
  • “I believe that this is one of the most important things that we can teach people that their thoughts are extremely powerful and not only that their thoughts are powerful. But your thoughts are actually in turn your life in the future.”

Eddie Long:

  • “I know who I am! And, and, and see, when you know who you are–wherever you go, as a god, as a king–you have an entourage. You have security.”
  • “That connection is declared and because we’re like God it has to happen! Declare it! ‘We’re like God!'”
  • “Good morning! I declare this to Be a prosperous day in every area of your life!”
  • “This is the only place in Scripture where God tells us to put him to the test. In other words, He is saying, “Go ahead. I dare you. See if you can out-give me.” (Reference to Malachi 3:10).
    “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb you told God, ‘Yes,’ to TBN. Oh, you think that this is a commercial? Before you were formed in your mother’s womb you told God ‘Yes,’ to your destiny”

Joel Osteen:

  • “God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us.”
  • “If you want to rear financial blessings, you have to sow financially.”
  • “You may make some mistakes – but that doesn’t make you a sinner. You’ve got the very nature of God on the inside of you.”
  • “God has already done everything He’s going to do. The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.”
  • “There’s a belief that you’re supposed to be poor, and suffering, and show your humility. I just don’t see the Bible that way. I see that God came and Jesus died so that we might live an abundant life and be a blessing to others.”

Paula White:

  • “Anyone who tells you to deny your self is from Satan.”
  • “Jesus’ hands were pierced for your total dominion. … If you want dominion, and want to break the spirit of poverty, sickness, disease, generation curses, God really did this for you on Calvary.”
  • “Now, get up and go to the phone! When God begins to speak to you dial that number on your screen. Don’t you miss this moment! … If you miss your moment you miss your miracle! … He’s giving you a Rhema Word right now … The God that I serve is speaking to you right now! … And so the principle here is if I take for myself when it’s time to give to the kingdom I can bring a curse on myself… You will die! You will die unless you go to the phone and do what God says to do. …Don’t just listen to the Word of the Lord, you got to do the Word of the Lord! You will die! You will die unless you go to the phone and do what God says to do.”
  • “I pray that God reveals specific tactics for your purpose to be fulfilled! double portion in 2014- double results- double souls- double impact! In Jesus’ name! I declare your God-ordained purpose and destiny become fulfilled!”
  • “You have the power to release His blessing today by keeping First Things First – through the principle of First Fruits! And if I can lift you up in prayer for the coming year, please fill out a prayer request for 2014. Remember, when you make your first fruits offering it releases God to do the blessing.”

Fred Price:

  • “The whole point is I’m trying to get you to see-to get you out of this malaise of thinking that Jesus and the disciples were poor and then relating that to you thinking that you, as a child of God, have to follow Jesus. The Bible says that He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. That’s the reason why I drive a Rolls Royce. I’m following Jesus’ steps.”
  • “Do you think that the punishment for our sins was to die on the cross? If that was the case the two thieves could have paid the price. No, the punishment was to go to hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God.”
  • “But God has to be given permission to work in this earth realm on behalf of man. You are in control! So if man has control, who no longer has it? God. When God gave Adam dominion, that meant God no longer had dominion. So God cannot do anything in this earth unless we let Him. And the way we let Him or give Him permission is through prayer.”
  • “God did not take anything away from Job, just as He does not take anything from His children today, because the Bible says that all the gifts of God are without repentance. In other words, they are irrevocable. You may say, ‘But God permitted the devil to do all that to Job.’ That is right. What you may fail to realize is that God had to permit it. He gave Job, and each of us, a free will. Permitting all those things to happen was Job’s decision. If Job allowed it, God had to permit it.”
  • “At this point you may think, ‘All right, Brother Price, if God is not the person killing people, and the devil has no more legal authority to kill us, then who determines when we die?’ Are you ready for a shock? You do.”

Paul Crouch:

  • “I am a little god. I have His name. I am one with Him. I’m in covenant relationship. I am a little god. Critics be gone!”
  • “I’m tired of sad heresy hypocrites blocking the bridges when the harvest is perishing out there and God’s calling the party to get together. Let Him sort out all this doctrinal doo-doo, I don’t care about it.”
  • “If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not contributed to (the) station, you are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven.”
  • “God help anyone who would try to get in a way of TBN, which was God’s plan. I have attended the funeral of at least two people who tried.”
  • “Do you have a need? God’s law is simple and clear: Plant a seed – just like God did when He had a need. God needed sons and daughters, so He planted His very best – His only begotten Son – God could not have given more! As we have taught often, what did He receive? You know: MILLIONS of sons and daughters. Give God a seed – your best – and watch Him meet your need, great or small.”

Word of Faith Movement: History

The Word of Faith movement owes much of its heritage to evangelist E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon, formerly a Methodist minister, moved into Pentecostalism later in his life; an excellent, and I would say, supplemental article to the current one, would be on the roots of Pentecostalism here. Though many argue whether or not the New Thought Movement and Gnosticism influenced Kenyon, most scholars find agreement on his influence upon Kenneth Hagin.

If Kenyon was the “founder” of the WOF movement, Hagin is said to be the “granddaddy” of it. In his early childhood, Hagin attested to having an incurable blood disease. At age 15, he claims to have been bed-ridden, and being on the verge of death. In April of 1933, Hagin claims that during a conversion experience, he died three separate times in 10 minutes. In the moments of his multiple death experiences, Hagin claims to have seen the horrors of hell and come back to life. After this experience, Hagin claims conversion, and about two years later began a ministry as an evangelist. The rest, as they say, is history.

Some of Hagin’s contributions that continue to this day would be:

  • Faith Library Publications
  • RHEMA praise on the Trinity Broadcasting Network
  • Faith Seminar of the Air radio program
  • The Word of Faith magazine
  • RHEMA Correspondence Bible School (established in US, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Peru,Romania, Singapore, South Africa, the South Pacific, Thailand, Nigeria, Zambia, and Egypt
  • RHEMA Prayer and Healing Center

So, Kenyon influenced Hagin, who in turn influenced Kenneth Copeland (who also worked briefly with Oral Roberts). In 1967, Kenneth Copeland and his wife founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries. While Copeland is likely the most influential figure in the Word of Faith movement, one must also acknowledge that Benny Hinn, Hagin, and the Trinity Broadcasting Network played vital roles in advancing this movement as well.

Hagin’s RHEMA Correspondence Bible School has trained over 10,000 students in his theology; Benny Hinn began preaching in Canada, yet now (per the information on his own website) reaches over 200 countries with a daily telecast, has his own school of ministry, and a program that has reached over 46,000 children globally in the last year alone with holistic outreach and religious training; the Trinity Broadcasting Network is carried on over 5,000 TV stations, 33 international satellites, the internet, and cable systems all over the world, including the US, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and South America.

Regularly, each of these ministries either takes part in, or airs on television, crusade events where they demonstrate mass healing, prophecies, and exhibit the gifts of the Spirit. We will not get into the discussion on the validity of any of the like just yet – that will come in further posts. Add to this the continual advancement in technology, new ministers in this movement, and new ministries, the Word of Faith Movement continues to grow and stretch across the globe at a rapid rate. It is estimated that more than 6% of Africa’s entire population believe the health and wealth gospel. Considering the amount of easy publicity these ministries have, it is no easy task to speculate just how much of an affect they have. Single crusade events in other countries have boasted of several million participants.

From this movement, we have seen several faces embrace parts (or the whole) of teaching in their own ministries, furthering the cause for the WOF movement. Whether or not one would agree that a person only adhering to certain tenants of these teachings brings them into proponents of the WOF movement, I would. That being said, the next blog post will be on these popular teachers and exhibiting some of the quotes they have been recorded saying.

Those included will be:

  • Kenneth Copeland
  • Benny Hinn
  • T.D. Jakes
  • Creflo Dollar
  • Joyce Meyer
  • Bishop Eddie Long
  • Joel Osteen
  • Paula White
  • Fred Price
  • Paul Crouch

Word of Faith Movement: Teachings

For the length of what has been written and will be written on this subject, it seemed best to post this in small doses. Sure, I could throw the whole thing out there at once, but I haven’t written it yet, nor would you want to read a blog of that beastly length. This first post will simply involve some of the teachings within the movement. Further posts will follow within the days to come, Lord willing.

 

Within the Word of Faith Movement, there are many differing concepts that have crystallized into sub-cultures within the larger framework. Because of this, it is relatively hard to speak in generalized terms to encapsulate the entirety of the movement. However, through this initial post, we will look at three common teachings within the movement. Many of these teachings can be found within various different denominations in some fashion, though most churches within the WOF movement are largely non-denominational.

Healing – The WOF Movement teaches that healing of the believer involves the spirit, body, and soul. All of these things were included in Christ’s atonement and are available for use today for those who believe. They will use Isaiah 53:5 and Matthew 8:17 to appeal to this belief, exhibiting that the prophet uses the present tense in saying, “we are healed.” Beyond this, Matthew 8:17 evidences the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in 53:4 to evidence Christ’s ministry for all believers.

In order to be healed, one must verbally confess such scriptures in complete, unwavering faith in order to be healed. Thus, it is not denying such realities as sickness, disease, and the like – but denying the power of such things to supersede the belief drawn from Isaiah 53:4-5. They are actively denying Satan’s “ability” to deny believers of their divine right to be free of the effects of sin.

Furthermore, one’s measure of faith is tantamount to the ability for them to be healed. Thus, if a person comes to a healing crusade and is not healed, it is due to a low measure of faith. In this, generally speaking, faith healers will urge participants to give freely with their money in order to ensure God’s blessing upon them. If a person does not have the funds to give freely, this is also due to a small measure of faith, as we will see in the next section.

Prosperity – Essentially, this teaches that God wants all believers not only to live without sickness, pain, and disease, but in affluence. Men, like Kenneth Copeland express that if you are poor, it is because you have given Satan dominion over your life; God only allows something like this to happen because the person has not invited Him in to rescue them from the financial oppression of Satan.

Many verses are used to support this view, yet we will limit this to some of the more popular scriptures. Malachi 3:10, Matthew 25:14-30, John 10:10, Philippians 4:19, and 3rd John 1:2 all support their claims that believers are to live an abundant life, free from the struggles of financial strain. God wants to bless us with prosperity, and if we aren’t living in prosperity, we aren’t living under the blessing of God.

The most affective ministry that they have developed to proselytize this has been through the use of televangelism. Common elements are found within each, such as “sowing the seed of faith” and utilizing the “prayer of Jabez,” alongside these aforementioned verses to claim the divinely given dominion over poverty. However, it should be noted that prosperity does not solely mean through a means of financial gains. Naturally, successful endeavors in your life are also guaranteed – because God wants you to be successful in all things you put your hands to.

Faith and Confession – The power of words comes largely into play here, simply meaning that one can have both “positive confession” and “negative confession.” In this, the believer can positively confess verses of promise, believing fully that by the power of this confession, the promise will come to fruition. Likewise, someone can utter negatively, having adverse affect on the outcome of his or her lives. Hence, why it is vitally important for one to choose their words carefully.

The main premise this is built off of is through the scriptures in Genesis in relation to God speaking the created world into existence. From this, they extrapolate that since man is made in the image of God, we were also endowed with this divine power to speak things into existence. While it may not manifest itself in the form of literally creating something out of nothing, it does manifest itself in these areas of promise.

Built off of this teaching, we find such things as the “prayer of agreement.” Using Matthew 18:18 and the surrounding context loosely, the “prayer of agreement” has binding power through two or more fellow Christians meeting together for the intensive purpose of praying for the “positive confession” to be realized. This is said to be an incredibly powerful means of achieving the desired outcome, and claiming what is rightfully the confessor’s. However, it is urged that those who utilize the “prayer of agreement” do so in times of great need.

The Unfaithful Bride

I know full well that the Word does not return empty (Isaiah 55:11) nor will it ever pass away (Matthew 24:35; Isaiah 40:8); I know that the Word is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, training in righteousness, and correcting (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21); I know that the Word is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16); I know that the Word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18); I know and see how the Word causes us to rejoice in the Lord and see it as a great treasure (Psalm 119:14, 111, 162); I know that His Word is eternal and true (Psalm 119:89, 160; Psalm 111:8); I know that unbelievers will not see the truth of all these things and more unless the Spirit of God brings them illumination (Ephesians 1:17-18; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Romans 8:14).

I know – and rejoice in the fact that I cannot control the results of preaching the Word, yet in that same breath, I weep. My heart mourns over the darkness within the hearts of men, and the hardness of heart such darkness brings. I also know that it is the Lord who hardens the hearts of man and gives us over to our sinful desires (Exodus 4:21, 7:3, 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10; Deuteronomy 2:30; Joshua 11:20; John 12:40; Isaiah 6:9-10; Jeremiah 5:21). Just read through all of Romans 1 and 9.

There are many doctrines of scripture that people aren’t fond of, yet this is the truth. If we bear the name of “Christian,” do we have any right to stand before the God of all creation and claim any lack of wisdom in how He reigns? Do we dare stand and declare something to be “unfair” or “unjust?” Do we dare mock His sovereignty and sin in such a way as to diminish His utterly wonderful, eternal truth? Do we even dream of contemptuously twisting the Word in order to fit our own narrow thinking of mercy and love?

These hard doctrines do not cause me to weep – it is the rejection of doctrine within the hearts of man that I weep over, especially for those who bear the name of “little Christ.” I grieve over seeing others who claim to be Christian utterly reject hard truths because they don’t like them. It is a painful arrogance that boasts of being wiser than the Almighty; it is blithering foolishness, spitting at the perfection and holiness of His Word.

To what audience do we seek to please – sinful, depraved men who desperately need the truth of the gospel, or the Lord of the gospel? When we remove certain teachings from our proselytizing, we preach no gospel. An oily tongue and rancid, putrid, perversion of the gospel delivers a friendly message that does not save the soul. The gospel divides. Speaking the truth divides.

It is the antithesis to love in saying sin is ok.

Far too often the outcry is for a kinder, softer message. They ask, “What would Jesus Do?” I always reply, “keep in mind, the answer to that question could very well be driving people out of the temple with a whip and flipping tables.”

Part of what makes the love of Christ so glorious, and the gospel so wonderful, is that is saves us from the sins that only promise eternal death. If we diminish the truth of scripture by declaring something in opposition to what is revealed, we are in part, rejecting the faith. There are some incredibly phenomenal, faithful teachers of the Word – yet when we entertain the teaching of wolves, we will be devoured.

The extraordinary thing in this is that scripture shares the full, hard truth without any shame or cowardice. Why do so many feel the need to soften it if the message declares itself to be without blemish?

It is in this that I weep. I fear that the church has become too relevant; she has grown in affection toward this world, rolling happily in the muck and stench, without regard to her wedding day. She has donned the guise of false interpretation, forsaking biblical truth in order to show the world how cool and accepting she is. She has grown complacent in speculation and fruitless arguments; she has grown complacent in developing a love for external morality over the doctrines of grace. She has relished in divisions, and reveled in false doctrine. She has neglected her first love and in so doing, painfully misrepresented God to the world.

I thank the Lord that He has no desire to leave her in putrescence – but desires to reconcile her. I thank the Lord that there are faithful men and women in the church, striving to honor and glorify Him. But today I mourn. I weep for the state of the American church.

The Church Needs Solid Teachers

The church needs solid teachers. The statement in and of itself is one that most Christians would heartily agree with, yet if we were to take a closer look at the church, more specifically the American church, we would see it replete with massive errors in theology. We see long running heresies, and I mean long running heresies in every extent of that phrase, that dominate the church.

In one corner a man preaches that if you would have enough faith – you can be free of weakness and disease and death; that YOU have power and victory over such silly things as these. What do you tell the family of a faithful elder who just died of cancer? He didn’t have enough faith? He didn’t believe in the power that he has been given over death in Christ? Did all of the apostles not have enough faith because they were martyred for the sake of Christ? Then again, did Christ not have enough faith as the Son of God because He wasn’t free from suffering and died upon the cross rather than claiming dominion over it?

In another sector, you have a man like Joel Osteen preaching that you can have your best life now. I wonder what he does when he glosses over such verses like Matthew 16:24, 1 Peter 2:21, Acts 14:22, and Philippians 1:29? What does he teach when a person comes to him and says, “I want to be a godly man – how can I do this?” Does he once mention a verse such as 2 Timothy 3:12 that overtly states that all who desire to become godly will suffer? Does the preacher who is not a blatant heretic like Osteen even tell his flock this bit of information? I wonder in this, what reason would anyone have to look forward to heaven if they are able to have their best life now?

And yet again, you see a man like Benny Hinn who flagrantly and unabashedly condones literal hysterics for spirituality. How about we look at an example of a preacher who may not even take in the flailing, wild convulsions and simply endorses that we have a secret prayer language in the tongues of angels. At first glance, it seems a little odd, but it isn’t crazy right? They aren’t having people flop around on the ground wildly or crying out hysterically. Sure, they even are following things in an orderly manner and doing it in private to their own edification. But can they say that even one noise they have muttered is intelligible (1 Cor. 14:6-25)? Are they even utilizing this gift of the Spirit as they should be, scripturally speaking? I see no strong evidence for cessation, but I also do not see a prescription for babbling in an unknown language. Perhaps Paul is simply using hyperbolic speech when he says, If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Perhaps it also isn’t prescriptive because Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for their lack of understanding the gift of tongues. Perhaps he is also showing them that what they lack is not speaking in tongues, but abiding in love.

And then there are women who become pastors over men. They explain away any verses like 1 Timothy 2:12 and their surrounding context by saying things like, “He was talking specifically to those people in that time period” or “It isn’t an imperative command” or “The Greek actually doesn’t say that.” Well, first, do you even know what you’re talking about?

Even atheists who haven’t a care in the world about God will look at examples like these and see how inept they are at explaining what scripture really says. If there is one thing you can commend an atheist for, it’s their brutal honesty about how they just don’t like what the text says. The sad thing is, these are just a few examples about horribly wrong theology. There are others that are far across the board that people just aren’t willing to deal with and accept; yet they will claim the name of Christ and declare that they are His followers.

But here’s where the really important stuff comes in; here’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (Matthew 10:1-5)

His sheep not only recognize His voice, but also actively flee from the voice of a stranger. In fact, they cannot be His sheep unless they are the ones whom the Father has given Him, and they know His voice. But lets camp on the notion of those who actually hear His voice actively fleeing from the voice of a stranger. In other words, they won’t even come remotely close to the stranger because they know that he is not the One who holds the Words of life.

So what does this mean for those who do not accept the truth of scripture? It means that they love the voice of the stranger; they love false teaching. In fact, they can’t get enough of it, so they heap up teachers who will tickle their ears and they will not tolerate sound doctrine. Paul warned Timothy of this very thing, saying that a time would come when all this would take place (2 Timothy 4:1-4). All throughout church history, this is something that is not foreign or even unsuspected. This is why the church needs solid teachers. The church needs faithful men who are not afraid of proclaiming truth, week in and week out, regardless of how anyone feels about what they have to say – because they are convinced that this is the very Word of God and it is Truth. They are convinced that no matter how it is received, the people gathering inside the church to listen to them preach need to hear it. They can’t help but preach it because they know it and recognize it, and they can’t help but to flee from the one who is a stranger.