After nearly forty years in Christian ministry, I have never seen a spirit of confusion and deception, like that which has been released in the church today. The Apostle Paul warned us that a time would come when Christians would be unable to digest sound teaching but would instead crave messages that feel good and confirm their own agenda. There is no longer any doubt that this day has come and it’s all the more reason we should be diligent to study what is being presented and not merely accept what is popular? The Bible tells us that the Bereans were noble minded and though they received the word with eagerness, they examined the Scriptures daily to see if the things being said were true. They didn’t check their brains at the door and neither can we. They were able to receive the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as well as the restoration of His truth to the church? They were truly spiritual. Today however, many have accepted the notion that being spiritual or loving is to be accepting of another preacher’s position as a “unique perspective” regardless of whether it is Biblical. This kind of love and acceptance looks good and even godly on the surface, but is it really love or fear of man or even worse a Universalist spirit? No one in their right mind seeks confrontation, yet true love and friendship often demand it. That is why we must speak the truth in love and not what is popular or accepted. The love chapter is clear that true godly love does not rejoice with unrighteousness but only with the truth. Ironically, this type of truth speaking is supposed to be a result of the equipping of the Five-Fold ministries. But as the so called “New Apostolic Age” enters its second decade, the church seems to be less concerned with what is true and even delighting in confusion. For instance; it is not unusual to have speakers bring seriously conflicting and even doctrinally opposed messages on the same platform and then stand together and declare how wonderful and anointed it all was. Consequently, the followers come away with the conclusion that truth is subjective and flexible so long as the experience or agenda are the preoccupation. It’s as though the church is bi-polar and ok with it. Why not just speak the truth in love? Why not be willing to have one’s point of view challenged in order to arrive at the truth as the early church did? Why not have enough love to listen, and disagree if we must, without being disagreeable? How is debating in a spirit of love and Christ likeness considered divisive while promoting confusion and double-speak is godly and unifying? Is there a double-standard here? Of course the truth must be presented in love and not in judgment, but where is the love in allowing or disseminating confusion? I would rather have two preachers disagree on the same platform and affirm one another than have them speak contrary words and pretend to be in agreement! The former attitude encourages one to seek and love the truth, whereas the latter produces a disdain for it. Yet there is a sort of a “good old boy” network in the church today that seeks to suppress any ministry that does not fit their agenda. As long as you submit to the “apostolic” authorities all is well, you will be granted, ministry, money and notoriety regardless of what you preach. But should you challenge the message or find difficulty with the packaging, you will quickly be demoted to the margins of obscurity. But take courage my friend for so the prophets of God have always been treated. Humble yourself and God will exalt you at the proper time.
The Bible has so much to say about the truth. We are told to speak the truth, walk in the truth, obey the truth, love the truth and that the truth will set us free. We are also told that if we do not love the truth God will send a deluding influence upon us. Is that what has happened? Has God put a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets? It seems that they are willing to preach anything so long as it is deemed “positive.” But should anyone bring a hint of challenge or a morsel of correction they will label them “divisive” or a having a “religious spirit.” This is of course is a more sanctified type of name-calling.
No doubt someone will exclaim, “The truth is a person and His Name is Jesus!” Of course! But why do you respond with that? Is it because you seek to honor Christ or because you wish to make truth subjective and based on your personal experience? However, the truth of God’s Word is objective and the word of Christ is infallible and not subject to a private interpretation. Thus, all teaching must be based on and in harmony with it.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17
The “All Scripture” in the above verse means that every word in the Bible from start to finish is in harmony and agreement and contains in it all that is needed to establish or correct any teaching that is presented today. Paul the apostle, who gave us those words, also told us to examine everything carefully and hold on to what is good. Therefore, there must be a place for challenging false teaching and throwing it away without throwing the truth away as well. Yet, these days the mere mention of error will land you a seat with the infamous “Heresy Hunters.” These are the multitude of “internet people” who have devoted their lives to what they call “apologetics” which is understood as defending the faith. Though some of what they say has merit, the problem lies more with the way they say it. Another issue is that the majority, besides lacking grace in their speech, have what seems to be a very narrow view of Christianity with almost no role for the Holy Spirit other than giving us intellectual knowledge. As a result they declare nearly everyone to be a “Heretic.” Indeed, if you are a Charismatic or Pentecostal you are almost guaranteed to be on the list. This has caused most Christian leaders to despise any kind of corrective teaching whatsoever which is also throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Consequently, almost nothing is examined anymore and all “revelations” are considered valid, unless of course the individual is famous – then they are essential. But this kind of absurdity places the Apostles of Our Lord on the “divisive” list since they were consistently challenging false teaching and were the first to use the “H” word. Indeed, most of the New Testament is in fact correction of false teachings and teachers.
The word heresy means a belief or opinion that is at variance with the established beliefs and customs. Today however, it is generally viewed as a teaching that is contrary to the core beliefs of our faith and makes the one who originates it an apostate who has fallen away. Yet, the word heresy does not necessarily mean apostasy. This is probably why Peter added the word “destructive” in 2Peter 2:1. Technically, heresy refers to a teaching that is contrary to Biblical teaching and is thus false teaching. It does not necessarily imply that the person teaching it has fallen from the faith or is no longer a genuine brother or sister – depending of course on the content of the teaching. This is the problem with labeling someone a “heretic.” It implies that they themselves have fallen from the faith and are denying the master – that they themselves are corrupt. However, false teaching is still false regardless of what we call it and all teachers and preachers need to be willing to have their teaching examined for Biblical orthodoxy. A good challenge sends a humble spirit back to the Word to see if these things be so regardless of where the challenge comes from, whereas; an unteachable spirit will dig in its heels even if it is planted in error. In addition, the number of adherents or movements associated with a teaching or practice does not in itself validate it. Just a casual glimpse at church history will confirm this. Therefore, it is imperative for the sake of the body of Christ that we examine these new teachings and movements that are sweeping the church and do so without attacking the character of brothers and sisters who love the Lord as we do! However, may we also put aside attacks on the character of those who challenge our teaching, and for the good of all, concern ourselves with the accuracy and trustworthiness of the things we boldly proclaim.