False Teachers: Tactics, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 29, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

I left off last week describing how a false teacher is going to insert himself into a Christian circle by declaring himself a Christian and doing everything he can to look the part. I’ve noticed that this tactic is sometimes used when the false teacher is challenged on what they are teaching. They start out by presenting their teachings by seeking a discussion and open floor session. But when called out when checked out with Scripture, they will be quick to say, “We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. This is just another way of looking at this secondary doctrine. Can’t we all just get along?”

Whenever you hear that type of thinking, you can be assured it is attached to a false teaching. It is extremely likely said person is not saved at all. I have seen this several times by the same person and then I have seen the tactic change. While in the same circle I am in, without realizing I am there, he starts out by first identifying himself as a Christian. It occurred to me the other day: How is it that people can blast me if I question the validity of someone’s claim to be a Christian when the teaching and fruit show anything but, but also expect me to believe without question their claim to be a Christian? A false teacher will seek to have it both ways. They MUST have their double-standards and they need us to be asleep so we don’t catch them on it.

These false teachers will demand open tolerance of differing opinions but will not let theirs be challenged. I had someone tell me she was open to hear differing opinions on her Facebook wall but to expect to be challenge on them. I asked if she was willing to have her opinions challenged and was met with total resistance. The door of tolerance is one way: their way. These people are just as dogmatic as they accuse us of being. But there is a difference between us and them: our dogmatism is based on a standard outside of us.

False teachers use a sneaky tactic by targeting “secondary doctrines.” The intended target is still Christ, but by attacking a secondary doctrine, it allows them to get in and then go after Christ. That is why the origins issue is so critical. In terms of salvation it is secondary, but as the tactic is to use a “less important” teaching to “allow grace in” all it takes is a little yeast to infiltrate the whole loaf. Cold air doesn’t need the front door to be open to chill a house, when an open bathroom window can do the same. Likewise, a false teaching doesn’t have to directly oppose Christ to be false and still deny Christ. It can come in through a secondary issue and affect how the whole thing works.

John Bevere in his book The Bait of Satan caught my attention on Jesus’ statement on being watchful for wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s one thing to watch out for false teachers in the pulpit, but the far more dangerous ones are the wolves pretending not to be shepherds, but to be sheep. That is, in and among the laymen, among the congregation. The reason these wolves are more dangerous is because they are harder to detect and harder for the sound Christians to locate.

Because Biblical knowledge and discernment is rare to find in many churches today, these laymen wolves can infiltrate committees, small groups, and general discussions and slip in their false teachings while meeting little resistance. Frank Peretti showcased how this might show itself through his book Piercing the Darkness. A woman in the church was part of the prayer chain, so as the phone calls went through, this woman would start gossiping, all in the name of prayer, and got the church into a massive internal fight. This woman in the story was part of a Satanic group seeking to destroy this small church which was being used to establish a legal precedent against Christian schools. But this is an illustration of how this works. The false teacher will sneak in, plant themselves among a small group, and little by little work in false teachings through the small group, hoping it will spread like cancer. Once an unsuspecting member latches on to the false teaching, they began to spread it too. And without divine intervention, which comes when there is an intercessor on his/her knees in prayer, there will be little that can stop it once it gets going. Many church fights and splits take place because someone listened to a false teaching and it spread. And often the true culprit walks away without detection, only to repeat the process.

These false teachers, whether leaders or congregants, often will know Scripture, usually more than the average congregant in the church. But they will not use that knowledge properly. Some time ago, Worldview Warriors president Jason DeZurik was promoting the ministry on Facebook and showing people following how they could donate to the ministry. It wasn’t because we were in desperate need of funds per se but simply to show where to go to donate. We weren’t asking for money. But a woman approached us on Facebook and condemned us for our greed for doing that. She cited Acts 8 where Simon the Sorcerer asked to buy the Holy Spirit from the Apostles so he could do his show with more pizazz and power. Not joking. She seriously equated us presenting a method to donate to the ministry as asking to buy the Holy Spirit for our own selfish desires. Both Jason and I engaged her, and we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Twisting Scripture is a staple tactic for false teachers. They will challenge the direct clear meaning, while inserting their own opinions about what the text should say. Among the clearest examples of this is in the Genesis “debate.” The Deep Time believers will always question the clear meaning of the word “day” and the clear genre of history of Genesis so they can insert their opinions about what the text says, when it says nothing of the sort. But they expect us to believe them without question because they have studied the topic.

That’s what a false teacher will do. They will come up with some kind of Scripture they twisted to use against us, when nothing of what we were doing as anything to do with the charges. One of my favorite uses of such Scriptures I’ve seen was when I read the book The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth. It’s written by eleven geologists, and a number of them claim to be Christian and in the endorsement page is the full quotation of Proverbs 18:17. They made the declaration that Young Earth models will sound good until someone else comes up and gives another testimony. I laughed HARD because when I read the book, I could not tell if they even had a remote understanding of what they were critiquing. In my opinion, it was terrible. And anyone who had any knowledge of Biblical truth and basic scientific knowledge would be able to read that book, apply that verse to these very authors and discover virtually none of it holds any water (pun intended). One of the authors confronted me on my Facebook page when I posted a not-so-pleasant ‘rapid-reaction’ to it and actually did more to make my case for me than refute me. This is another tactic by false teachers: they will demand one standard for you and not apply that standard to themselves. They are not willing to be held to their own expectations of us.

When we stand up to speak the truth, if we are going to preach it, we had best be living it. It’s hard for me to do that, because I know the theory so well, but it doesn’t mean I always know how to live it. I do not want to be a parrot of the true preachers, leeching off of them. I have to be pursuing God myself. If I am not, then I will be susceptible to a false teaching myself, because no person alive has 100% correct doctrine except Jesus Christ. Even the good preachers have something wrong with their teachings. But it will be clear if they are pursuing Christ or pursuing something else. This series is about how to discern between them. I’ll continue this more next week.

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Psalm 136

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 25, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As we enter this week where we celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s quite appropriate that our psalm to dig into is one that focuses on being thankful to God. When I put together the list of psalms to write on this year, I didn’t intentionally put this psalm on this date with that in mind, so it still amazes me how God works in little things like this!

Psalm 136 is the last of the Hallel psalms (read more about those here) which focus on praise, from the Hebrew verb meaning praise, hallel. From a literary perspective, this psalm is clearly in the form of a hymn. It has a beautiful symmetry to it as well. It starts with an introduction, then moves to a creation hymn, then has two sections of a redemption hymn, then back to a creation hymn, then a conclusion. It focuses on how God continued to be involved in the lives of Israel, and how thankful they are because of that.

One of the great things about this psalm is the repetition throughout. After each phrase, it repeats, “His love endures forever” in the NIV. How’s that for emphasis! The phrasing of this repeated line is different in other English versions, however, In the NASB, it’s “For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” In the ESV, it’s “For his steadfast love endures forever.” In the NLT, it’s “His faithful love endures forever.” While these all have generally the same meaning, why is there such a difference in wording?

The reason, of course, is that this psalm (like all of them) was originally written in Hebrew, not English. The Hebrew phrase is literally, “ki leolam chasdo.” The ki is a preposition usually meaning for. The le on the next word is a preposition mean to or for, and olam is a noun meaning a long time, future, or eternity. These two words together gives the idea of “to the future” or “eternity.” The last noun is from the root chesed, which we don’t have a good English word for, but it conveys the idea of unconditional love, mercy, kindness, and goodness all wrapped up into one. The o on the end simply is a pronominal suffix meaning “his.” So all that to say, there’s some ambiguity when translating. All of our English translations are correct, even though they differ.

The psalm opens with an introduction of thankfulness in verses 1-3. In this introduction, we see that God is good, He is the God of gods, and He is the Lord of lords. While we as humans may think that there are other gods, or may place things in the position of God in our lives, He is truly the only one. He is the only one we should truly be thankful to!

In verses 4-9, we see the first hymn of creation. God is the only one who has done “great wonders” (verse 4). It then gives us a recap of the first 4 days of the creation narrative in Genesis 1, how God made the heavens, the earth, and the great lights. All the while discussing what God made, it keeps repeating that phrase - His love endures forever. He created everything out of love for us, His created people.

Verses 10-22 move on to the first redemption hymn. It starts out in verses 10-15 recounting some of the events of the Exodus, where God rescued and redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt. It then moves on in verses 16-20 to discuss God leading Israel through the wilderness and striking down the kings of foreign peoples who stood in their way of the Promised Land. In verses 21-22, we see how that conquered land became Israel’s inheritance, their gift from God for being His people.

The psalm goes on to have another short redemption hymn in verses 23-24. Whenever Israel strayed from God, God remembered them and continued to redeem them. The Lord’s continually remembered Israel as a result of the covenant that He made with Abraham back in Genesis 15. God didn’t break His promise to them, even when they were continually disobedient to Him.

Verse 25 is another short creation hymn, sharing that God provides for His people. The psalm concludes with thanksgiving in verse 26 by saying, “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”

While those of us reading this psalm today did not experience the mighty works of God in the Exodus and are likely not biologically a part of the nation of Israel, this psalm helps us remember what God has done in our lives as well. What has God rescued you from in your life, like how He rescued Israel from slavery? Or, what are you praying for God to rescue you from? We need to remember that Israel was enslaved for many years before their rescue came, so God will not always rescue us in what we think is good timing.

This psalm also helps us remember that God is the one who created the whole world, including humans. He created us out of love, so we could live to worship, thank, and praise Him in all things. He gave us this world to live in and enjoy.

Most importantly, this psalm helps remind us that God’s love, His steadfast and faithful love, endures forever. His lovingkindness is everlasting. His love will never fail! Even when our lives may seem difficult (and maybe difficult is an understatement), remember that the writer of this psalm repeated that phrase about God’s love in every single verse. That’s how important it is to remember. Can you imagine telling a story, but every other sentence is reminding your listener of God’s love? That’s exactly what this psalmist did because everything that he wrote about God points to His love because God is love.

If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember this one important thing all the days of your life: God’s love endures forever. We should always be thankful for that above all else.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


False Teachers: Tactics, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 22, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

For any who are socially aware, who are able to read audiences and know what kind of reactions you will get, speaking the truth and calling out false teachings can be one of the most difficult things to do. That is an advantage and a disadvantage I have. I don’t pick up on social readings very easily, so as a result I will speak the truth even if it means being socially awkward. The downside is that can get me into trouble if I’m not watchful. Speaking truth requires tact, but not fear of how your message will be received.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about different false teachings and the characteristics they have. Over the new few weeks, I’ll be looking at the tactics that individual teachers use to get their doctrines across and into our circles. Now, I have purposed to avoid giving specific names in this series, but not out of fear. This series is meant to cover tactics and characteristics and I have only mentioned specific types of teachings and some examples to showcase how the tactics are being used. John Piper gives a good case for when to speak names and when not to. When addressing principles, there should not be a need to give names. But if a particular preacher is being an active threat to a given audience, then there is a time to address the name. That said, if you are going to name a name, you need to be familiar with what that name is saying by reading or listening firsthand to what is being said, so you can make direct comment on what is said.

For the next few posts, the tactics I am going to be addressing are predominately those I’ve seen being used, among a few others. Because the best deceptions are mostly true, they are going to look legit except there will be something off with them. If you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, He will let you know to be alert if something is off. It is not often the Holy Spirit will tell you exactly what is wrong with something, but He will give off that “Warning! Warning!” alarm that we know as our conscience. Whether you are listening to a sermon, reading a book, or talking with a friend, if you love the Truth and hear something that is false, you will have an alarm go off.

We are commanded to test the spirits behind every teaching that comes our way, not just the bad ones but the good ones too. We are to take every thought captive to the will of Christ Jesus, both good and bad. So, when we deal with any teaching, we must inspect it at the gate of the mind, frisk it, find out where its coming from, what its intentions are, and only allow in that which originates from God and will return back to God.

Jesus warned of wolves in sheep’s clothing coming to devour the people. We will know them by their fruit. A wolf may dress like sheep and attempt to talk like a sheep, but he can’t act like a sheep. He can’t help but drool when he sees his prey. Then he waits until the shepherd is away or distracted to pounce. As Christians, we are commanded to mark and identify who is speaking the truth and who isn’t. We are commanded not to listen to nor have anything to do with those who aren’t. We are not called to determine who is going to heaven or hell; we are only called to determine if the fruit is matching the claimed label of the tree.

We must first understand that false teachers are in our midst but they are not of us. They are not from within us. They are outsiders. When they leave us, it shows they never were of us. So, we must understand that false teachers are from an enemy camp. They are called spies. Sun-Tzu wrote a masterful book The Art of War and he devotes a whole chapter to the types and uses of spies. One type of spy is the double agent. A double agent is someone who pretends to work for one side when in actuality they are working for another. They have two primary jobs: to get information of enemy plans, positions, strengths, and weaknesses, and to plant false information amongst enemy troops so they think one thing while the enemy is plotting something else. The false teacher is a perfect fit for the double agent, someone who claims to be a Christian but works for the devil. Some of them started out from within us but were bought out with lucrative rewards. Others were sent in from the get-go. But when one works for the enemy, he has tell-tale signs giving himself away. That is part of what this series is for.

The easiest way for any spy and false teacher to get into the Christian ranks is through an open door. If a church is not being discerning and alert, letting just anyone in, a false teacher can get in undetected. If back doors are open or if there are side windows open, those make it easy for infiltration. But if there are security and guards are around, the false teacher must somehow convince the guards they are legit. How do they do this?

First, they identify themselves as Christians. They are quick to make sure we know they are among us and that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Be watchful. This is not a game. I do not know a true, born-again Christian who has had need to announce himself as a Christian to a group of Christians. I will never meet one. Why? Because Christians can sense within each other a common spirit, bearing the fragrance of Christ. They have no need to announce to each other they are Christian. However, time and time again, I have seen false teachers declare themselves to be one of us and the tactic is to get us to lower our guard and let them in so they can start promoting their heretical teachings, poisoning and devouring the sheep.

You notice how true Christians have no need to go into non-Christian circles and declare themselves as a Muslim, or Hindu, or pagan, or drunkard, etc. While Hudson Taylor and C.T. Studd went to China and adopted the Chinese dress, they did not declare themselves to be Buddhist or atheist or Eastern mysticists to get into Chinese circles. We go into the darkness not to identify with darkness but to rescue people from the darkness. But the false teachers are hell-bent to get within our ranks to weaken the moorings and foundations so we will crumble from within. And most of the Christian church is sleeping at the watch. It’s a Trojan horse. The claim to be a Christian is a farce, a guise to get us to let them in. And as Judas did, they feign a friendship and intimacy with Christ all the while leading a mob to come crucify Him, betraying Him.

I’m out of space for now. We’ll continue this next week.

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If We Get the Love Part Wrong, What’s the Point?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 20, 2019 1 comments

by Jason DeZurik

I have had the privilege to have been mentored and discipled by some incredible men of God. The world would probably say these men aren’t great men, but these men who were willing to sink their lives into mine and others in hope to advance the kingdom of God here on earth. The kingdom of God is a mindset, it is a spiritual awakening, and it is a lifestyle (Matthew 6:10).

One of these men trained me to learn about Jesus Christ and others, how they lived their lives, and to put what I had learned from them into action. But before he would take any of his time to disciple me, I had to memorize 1 Corinthians 13. He told me, “If we get the love part wrong, what’s the point?” That made sense to me since we know that, according to the Bible, God is love. So, I went to work on memorizing 1 Corinthians 13.

This text is very challenging. We see in verse 1 that while someone is speaking in tongues they might actually be speaking in an angelic language. We see that love is patient and kind and that it does not envy (here’s a little more to consider). With that said, we also see in verse 6 that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 John 5:3 tells us that Biblical love isn’t just about accepting, but it is really about living out Godly ways, which includes delighting in truth.

So, since God is love, using the reason God has given to us as human beings, we can logically conclude that the God of the Bible will delight in truth. He will not promote or delight in evil ways as an okay way to live and do as we please without getting the consequences of natural law that we so justly deserve. Living this out can be very difficult. It’s difficult because our natural person wants to go our own way and not God’s way. When one chooses to live under God’s Law, now it should be the desire of that person’s spiritual “man” to follow God’s Law even if their natural “man” doesn’t like it.

Friends, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you should be striving to live out love in your life. This means for sure being patient and kind, not delighting in evil, and rejoicing in the truth. These go together. Love is not just an ushy, gushy love. It takes work. If one tries to love without pleasing God, according to the Bible that’s not Biblical love. It’s something else.

Here some other texts and writings to consider:
1 John 4:7-21
Matthew 5:17-20
Truth Without Love

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Psalm 130

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 18, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” (Psalm 130)

This psalm is part of the collection of the 15 songs of ascent (like this one and this one) that were prayed by the Israelites as they would ascent up to the temple in Jerusalem. While some of the songs of ascent focus on praise, others like this one are more of a lament. This psalm is also considered to be one of the seven penitential psalms (along with Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 143) because of its aspects of realizing the weight of our sin and confessing it.

This psalm begins in verses 1-2 with a lament, crying out to God. Being in “the depths” is a metaphor for adversity or trouble in a person’s life. It’s like that feeling of being in a pit that you can’t get out of because of the weight of the negative things going on in life. It may even feel like alienation from God because we’re so deep into a bad situation. But even in a place like that, or maybe especially in a place like that, we can and should cry out to God. The psalmist prays for God to hear his cry and to give him mercy, as it’s likely that whatever bad situation he is in is because of a sin he has committed.

In verses 3-4, the psalmist recognizes his sin and knows God will forgive him. In the courts of ancient Israel, if you were going on trial you would be asked if you consider yourself to be innocent or guilty of the crime. If you plead guilty, you would remain seated, whereas if you plead innocent, you would stand. The psalmist uses that imagery here, saying that there is no way he could stand in innocence if God remembered all his sins. But he is so thankful that God does not keep a record like that, and that there is forgiveness available to him. The psalmist knows that he needs to be forgiven of the wrongs he has committed in order to be able to serve God well.

The psalm moves on in verses 5-6 to a sense of waiting for the Lord. He knows he needs God in his life, and he must patiently wait on whatever God is going to do through him. While he waits, he puts his hope in a word from God. That likely refers to waiting on a promise of salvation or deliverance, as at the time this psalm was written they likely didn’t have the Word of God in the form of the Scriptures yet. The psalmist waits on this word like a watchman waits for morning to come. The watchmen guarded the city against attacks overnight so its residents could sleep peacefully. They know the morning will come and they wait expectantly for it.

This hope then turns to confidence in God in verses 7-8. The psalmist is putting his hope and confidence individually in God, but he also called for the whole nation of Israel to do the same. The Lord is the only one who can provide unfailing love and redemption, and the psalmist is confident that He will. He is the one who will redeem all of Israel from their sins.

While the psalmist didn’t have the Bible as we have it today, and he was writing long before Jesus came to earth, we can see even more clearly that we should put our hope in God as well. We have the true Word of God - Jesus Christ - and we have the Bible to show us how God is revealing Himself to us. We don’t have to hope in an unknown God but one that we can have a relationship with.

We need to feel the weight of our sinfulness just as the psalmist did, but from the depths of our sin we too can call out to God to show us mercy. When we have faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, we know that God will forgive us when we truly repent of our sin. Because of that, we have the certain hope of life eternal with God. We know that He is the only way to get out of the pit of our sin and be truly redeemed.

Put your hope in God and His unfailing love today, and live out this week in the confidence of His redemption of your life.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


False Teachings: Characteristics, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 15, 2019 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

As I continue my series on identifying false teachings, we must be alert to the mixing or blending of pagan ideas into Christianity and calling it “Christian.” A term that describes this is “Christian Syncretism.” This is when someone takes a teaching, practice, or idea from the world and gives it a “Christian flavor.” It is a grievous sin and blatant distrust of God whenever we do this.

James warned us that friendship with the world is enmity towards God. If we want to be friendly with the world’s way of thinking, the world’s methods, and the world’s ideologies, we will be in direct defiance of God’s way of thinking, God’s methods, and God’s ideology. We can’t have it both ways. A clue we can use to detect false teachings is if we see using the world as bait to draw people to Christianity. It’s the idea that if we look like the world, the world will like us and then embrace our message. It is very difficult for something more stupid to be said. Jesus gave a message that required renouncing of the world, denying self, and to follow Him no matter what. Most pastors and “Christians” today need to rip that completely out of their Bibles because they flat out have no hint of a desire to follow it.

Now, the common defense for these false teachings is that when Paul went to the Greeks he became a Greek, when he went to Thessalonica he became a Thessalonian, and to the Jew he became a Jew. Jesus went and ate out with the sinners and tax collectors. He hung out with prostitutes. They cite Paul’s preaching at Mars Hill by referencing their culture as evidence they should look like the world. Those are the Scriptures they use to justify looking worldly. But there’s a problem: none of these people ever did look like the world.

When Paul went to Mars Hill, he did not embrace the Athenian culture of polytheism of which the Stoics and Epicureans really did not believe. In fact, he used their own culture as a launch point to tell them, “You are all wrong and don’t know what you do. Here is the truth about this Unknown God you don’t know nor know how to worship.” He was directly counter-cultural and the responses he received of mockery and laughter showed very clearly that he was not seeking to appease anyone where they were at. Jesus did the same. He never once made any appeal to emotion or sought to make His message more appealing. He spoke the hard truth, and when people objected, He made it even harder to accept. Just read John 6.

People will say that our culture is too sensitive to hear a message like that. Give up self and repent from your sins? Let go of your education and your social prestige and start all over, relying on God? Be ready to be persecuted and suffer and be hated? Who can handle that kind of message? The answer is simple: NO ONE. No generation has ever been able to withstand the Gospel message. When the true Gospel is being preached there will be only two possible responses: resistance, if not hatred, or conversion. The true Gospel forces us to make a decision to go with God or not. No choice or waiting is simply saying, “No.” When we preach a true Gospel, those who love their sin will reject us, and those whom God calls will run to Him.

But there are a lot of counterfeits out there and they all have this characteristic: using the world as a draw card. It’s utter deception with bait-and-switch. Suck the person in with what his sinful flesh desires and then tell them that sinful flesh is a bad thing. How can anyone think that is reasonable? When you use sinful carnal desires to draw people in, the only way you will keep them is to keep feeding them sinful, carnal food. If the flesh is the draw, then no Gospel can be preached.

The majority of preachers today appeal to the flesh and teach to pray to God to feed your flesh. I’m dead serious. The modern evangelism tactic has abandoned the use of the Law of God to convict the soul and instead appeals to Jesus as a replacement for the sources of joy previously offered by sex, drugs, alcohol, education, sports, etc. It’s flesh-motivated. Jesus is used as nothing more than comfort for this bumpy ride we call life. Then it gets worse. The Christian life is preached to be a lovely, fluffy, padded, wealthy, prosperous life here and now. That is not what Jesus promised: tribulation, suffering, hardships. It’s a counterfeit. It takes the promises God offered in the next life and tries to apply them in the here and now, with no regard to eternity other than “I get to go.” It’s so dangerous. And they preach this because they are afraid their congregation will leave them unless they preach something that will appease them. It’s total fear of man.

Even the seeking after God has been counterfeited. A couple years ago, I did a study on prayer. It’s something that is not easy to learn. But a while back I was relistening to some sermons on prayer and I realized something. This too is being counterfeited. True Biblical prayer takes what God initiates and without doubt and without ceasing we pray until we get the answer God has promised. But there is a counterfeit to this. One such counterfeit is the “Law of Attraction,” which is heavily promoted by numerous BIG names in Christian circles today. It is disguised as prayer, but it does nothing but seek what self wants, visualizes it, speaks out loud, and persists until “God” answers. The problem is, when our “prayers and desires” are aligned to the flesh and not God, there are many demons who are more than capable of answering them for you. The reason these false teachings work so well in giving the flesh what the flesh wants is because they are serving their god, the devil, quite well.

When Christians start suggesting they can do “Christian Yoga,” or bands say they can do “Christian Rock” while dressed just like the heathen, or Christian scientists suggest that we can use the secular models of Deep Time to “present a better picture of truth to the unbelievers,” they are anything but Christian. Many people have suggested these are compromises, but I have grown to disagree with that term. Those are not mixing or blending of Christian and pagan ideas. They are pure pagan ideas just decorated cosmetically in Christianese. Remove all Christian references to the idea or act and virtually nothing but the wrapping changes. The concept and idea all remain. We don’t need to get the world’s approval on our messages.

Now I am not suggesting we be so isolated that we make no connections at all. We still must speak the language of our audience, but our message must not change. I use the sport of fencing as a tool to help visualize concepts and tactics of spiritual warfare. I am not taking the message of spiritual warfare and catering it to fencing, but rather using a tool to illustrate the message without changing it. Creation organizations do love the science involved in studying origins, however, it is an attempt to preach the Gospel to an academic audience. It’s never an attempt to look like the world in order to “win them over.” So, using tools or visual aids can most certainly help. However, we must not settle for a counterfeit version of the message that sells us short and people to Hell.

So, let me summarize the characteristics of false teachings from this series:
1. They LOOK like the real thing, often differing in seemingly minor but significant areas.
2. They never point towards nor glorify God as the primary. They always point towards man’s education, man’s discoveries, the “revelation” given to man, etc. God may be given credit, but only as an afterthought, hardly a footnote.
3. They seek to fulfill man’s sinful, selfish desires, and never promote death to self or surrender of self to God. They always seek to give what self wants.
4. They will use the world as a draw card and will give an appearance of spirituality, but it will be without Christ as the center. If one were to strip away all Christian references to the idea or activity, very little would change.
5. They seek the approval and applause of their audience. They want to be received, not to be ministers of the truth, especially if they never get credit.

I’m not done with this series yet. For the next few weeks, I’ll look at some of the tactics that false teachers use to get their ideas into the church. We must be alert, because these false teachers will look and act like your friend until you question them.

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Psalm 128

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 11, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you live to see your children’s children—peace be on Israel.” (Psalm 128)

Psalm 128 is another of the psalms of ascent that I mentioned last week, which were often read in connection with ascending to the temple in Jerusalem. It is a psalm of blessing, specifically relating to the blessing of family.

Verse 1 starts out with general words of wisdom: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” We see that the fear of God brings us blessings. That word “fear” has multiple meanings. It does mean that we should be afraid of God because He is the all-powerful creator and we are merely His creations. But it also means to have reverence or awe for God, again because He is God and we are not. We need to both be afraid of how He can punish us if we don’t walk in His ways, and we need to be in awe of His might and power. Because of this fear, we should walk in His ways.

If we do what verse 1 suggests and walk in obedience to God, then “blessings and prosperity will be yours” (verse 2). That doesn’t mean we’ll be immensely wealthy with the things of this world, but it refers to blessings and prosperity from God. That’s often not the same as being prosperous with material wealth and things. And, this doesn’t mean that blessings will simply be handed to you without you having to do anything. On the contrary, it says that “You will eat the fruit of your labor.” Your hard work will be rewarded, but we do still need to work to do what God is calling us to do.

Verses 3-4 provide many images of the blessing of a family. The man who works well at his labor will be blessed with wife and children, which was a sign of prosperity in Biblical times. To our ears, it may sound weird to compare kids to olive shoots, but that’s simply a cultural difference. Most olive trees do not bear fruit until around 5 years after they were planted and they may not bear fruit after 40 years, but they are still considered to be a symbol of longevity and productivity. They bear their fruit in due time, just as teaching children will bear fruit for generations to come.

In verses 5-6, we see that these blessings we receive from God are not just for a short time but for all the days of our lives on earth. In the days of this psalm being written, people often didn’t live as long as they do today, so being able to live long enough to see your grandchildren was a huge blessing.

The city of Jerusalem was (and is) of great concern to the nation of Israel. People of Israel would not only be concerned with the circumstances of their own lives and family but also with the status of Jerusalem, if the city was prospering and being properly defended from outside enemies. In Old Testament times, it was believed that God’s presence lived in the temple in Jerusalem, so this was a very precious site. Having God on your heart and mind also meant being concerned for Jerusalem, the place where God dwelled.

Jerusalem was also the center for their government and where the king of Israel would live. If a Godly king was ruling in Jerusalem, then they knew that the whole nation would be blessed by that king’s good actions. Even if a person was not in Jerusalem, having peace in Jerusalem would mean peace for the rest of the nation.

But what about for us, as many Christians today are Gentiles and not Jewish? Should we still care about Jerusalem and what’s happening there? I believe the answer is yes, as we should care for all of God’s people - both those who follow Him and those who do not. We should desire all people to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection as 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Are you walking in obedience to God’s ways in your life? Where might you be struggling to obey what God has commanded you? What blessings do you see in your life that are a direct result of following what God desires for you? I encourage you to think about these questions as you go about your week.

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False Teachings: Characteristics, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 8, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I wrote about how a false teaching will point either towards the One True God or it will point towards and glorify man, even if it gives lip service to being about God. There are more key characteristics of false teachings we must be watchful for. This week I am going to emphasize on something Jude brings up. Jude addresses two key features in false teachers and false teachings: they promote some immoral deed as being okay and good, and they deny our Lord Jesus Christ.

A false teacher will teach a moral problem as being okay to embrace or to be a good thing. A few years ago, I did a series on Matthew Vines and his argument that you can be both a Christian and a homosexual at the same time. He gives ten arguments of why the Bible supports homosexuality, and I addressed each one in my series. The logic was horrible and in no way, even in all his mangled reasoning, did any of the arguments actually demonstrate what he set out to do. He is just one example, but I have found more often than not that when a moral barrier prevents someone from seeing the truth and to promote other teachings, sexual immorality is by far the #1 moral issue.

If you find any person attempting to justify sinful behavior, that is a warning to not listen to them. And I say that knowing I am held liable to this truth myself. I can get heated in “discussions,” and I have to keep reminding myself to keep my cool and be the better man. My complete disdain for false teachings being promoted can, however, blind me from addressing the issue in love and a desire to see that person saved from said false teaching. It shows I am not fully redeemed yet. I can totally relate to Voddie Baucham when he gets into apologetic debates and “Bad Voddie” shows up to clean things up. “Bad Voddie” doesn’t do things the way Christians should do it, but he wants to smack people upside the head and enjoy humiliating them when they saying things out of total ignorance while trying to sound smart. There is “Bad Charlie” inside me that does the same thing. I need the spirit of John Hyde in whom when anyone attempted to find fault with him, he simply said, “They just misunderstand me.” When an enemy plant stayed with him for about four days to find fault, he ran out thinking Hyde was a god because he could find no fault. A true teacher will acknowledge their own faults. A false teacher will attempt to justify them. Keep in mind, though that this statement is about an overall style of life, rather than an analysis of single events.

Today, we live in a society where a mega-pastor caught in a homosexual relationship becomes the shame of the nation. The ministry he led was nearly completely destroyed, and it was a big one. Yet when a Christian author or musician publicly declares that they are leaving their families for another relationship or having serious doubts and leaving the faith, that is praised by the world. What is happening? In some cases, it’s a moral failure and instead of calling sin to be sin, there is justification for it and then more sin (abandoning wife and kids) to go live in that justified lifestyle. In other cases, it’s because a false teaching on a seemingly secondary issue began to grow and it soon affected their view of Christ.

The second issue Jude brings us is the denial of Christ. Let me be clear: there are many facets to this. It comes in the form of denial of the deity of Christ, denial of the authority of Christ, denial of the person of Christ, and more subtly, denial of the work of the cross. Among these is the replacement of the True Christ with a self-suiting image of our own liking. All of these fall under the category of denial of Christ. This is a reason I despise Old Earth Creation teachings. Because while seemingly a secondary issue, it is a direct assault on the work of the cross by denying the effects of original sin. Death is a direct result of sin, and every old earth model has death, and lots of it preceding man. This is not a secondary issue. It’s primary, because it is directly connected to Christ and the work of the cross.

Old Earth Creation is a counterfeit version of Christianity. It looks a lot like it. It seems it only differs at origins, but when you really look at it, it differs in many more areas. Those who truly follow it (not merely deceived by it and believe it without really knowing what it is or does) do not worship the same God we do. They worship a deistic god that is distant, unknowable, but there to create and come to our rescue at our desires. There is little to no submission to God in their teachings or lifestyle. They may claim to be Christian, but does Christ show through them? Do they point towards Him in their frail, broken bodies and minds? For the many I have come across, I haven’t seen it. It looks like the real thing, but it isn’t, because the teaching does not reveal the True Christ nor appreciates the work of the cross. Old Earth Creation differs from Christianity foundationally, because in OEC, man is the ultimate authority, and in Christianity, God’s Word is. OEC teachings will change as the scientific opinions change, but Biblical Christianity will never change.

One of the biggest names among the Christian Old Earth groups gave a “one-minute summary of the Gospel” and while it sounded pretty good, I saw two glaring things: the description of sin and the improper response. Sin was described as “imperfections” and “mistakes.” That’s not sin. Jesus didn’t die for those. Jesus died for our defiance against Him, for treachery, for rebellion. Then the response was simply to “ask for forgiveness and believe.” That’s not the proper response to the Gospel. The proper response is to repent and believe. Anyone can ask for forgiveness and anyone can make intellectual agreement. But to turn away from sin, from old thinking, and to turn towards God, completely trusting Him is something else. This person in this interview has been teaching a false origins model, but I do not believe he is born-again in part because he got taught a false gospel message that is far more prevalent and dangerous than the old earth issues.

When the person of Jesus is questioned, that He is just a “good teacher,” then a false teaching is coming with it. When the deity of Christ is questioned, then a false teaching is attached. When Jesus is replaced with a counterfeit “another Jesus,” then let the teacher promoting said fraud be accursed. When the work of the cross is denied, stay away. I am not done yet, but I am out of space for this post. I’ll continue more next week.

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A Homosexual Transgender Woman Came to Our Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 5, 2019 6 comments

by Chad Koons

Les (name changed for the purposes of this blog post) had walked into our church as a homosexual transgender woman. The impact upon us was undeniable, as well as life changing for all.

The Introduction
It was Les’s first visit at our church. He was decked out in a dress, high heels, and tons of makeup. I was glad to see most that people within our church warmly greeted Les without thinking twice about it, as most Christians tend to freeze up or emit disgust upon seeing a sight such as Les was that day. Extending my hand in greeting, I said “Hello, welcome to church!” It was only then that I had realized that this was a transgender woman. Les, recognizing that I had realized, stared into my eyes with a defiant yet quizzical look, as if challenging me to continue the greeting yet unsure of how I would proceed. “My name is Chad,” I’d stated cheerfully, “I am one of the pastors here. What is your name?”

“I’m Les,” he replied, slowly beginning to shake my hand.

“Thanks for coming today, Les, it’s really great to meet you!” I said with joyful earnest.

A startled expression came upon him. “Really?!” Les replied, eyes widening like saucers and a hesitant smile beginning to form upon his face. “Do you really mean that it’s ‘great’ to meet me?” Clearly Les had expected to be scorned at best or exiled at worst, especially from a leader within the church.

“Of course I mean it, why wouldn’t I?” I had exclaimed. Both of us chuckled and began to learn a little about one another. Les stayed for the Sunday morning service and for many services after that. We would always make it a point to speak, more often than not resulting in deep conversations sprinkled with laughter.

A couple of months had passed with Les regularly attending service at our church, building relationships with many within the church as time went by. He became engaged in everything and had requested prayer several times. One Sunday in particular, I remember seeing Les go forward to be born again! I sought him out afterwards and spoke with him about it. How elated he was! It was like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.

A few Sundays after that, I became concerned because I didn’t see Les in service. I walked to where he usually sat but I could not find him. “Hello, Pastor Chad,” came a voice from beside me. I turned to find a slender young man wearing a polo shirt and jeans. “Who’s this?” I’d thought. I didn’t know him but apparently, he knew me. “Don’t you know who I am?” the young man asked with a smile. That SMILE… it was Les! I hadn’t recognized him without the dress and makeup! “LES!” I shouted, giving him a bear hug while both of us held back tears. No longer was Les dressed as a woman; he was now standing before me as a well-groomed young man. This change was not of our enforcement. This happened from his heart. “God is changing my life,” Les confessed with a beaming smile. “I’m so grateful for y’all here, you’ve all shown me so much love.”

Les’s life really did change. He told me that he felt “free.” His clothing had changed, his voice changed, and his attitude changed, but that wasn’t all. We watched the Lord do what only HE could do: bringing emotional healing, breaking addiction, and even a divine healing as Les was miraculously healed of AIDS! It was a total transformation, inside and out.

So, what am I saying here?
Is this a testimony about God changing a life, or a success story for how Christians should treat LGBT people? Both, and so much more. This wasn’t the first nor the last time that an LGBT person came into our local church. We have had many. For the record, not all of them were equally welcomed. Not all of them stuck around. Not all of them had an amazing God encounter that changed their lives. Why? Maybe some of them sat beside the church gossip who gossiped about them until they left. Maybe some of them were berated by the churchgoer who found them disgusting, although they themselves were secretly engaging in sexual sin. Or maybe some of them were blatantly rejected by church people who hated homosexuality yet were somehow ok with their own unlawful divorces. If you can’t say “Amen,” you can at least say “Ouch.” Truth.

Yet some were equally welcomed. Some of them did stick around. Some of them did have an amazing God encounter that changed their lives. Why? Because we saw into the person instead of stopping on the outside. We realized that we are no better than anyone else. We realize that every single individual has limitless value, being worthy of the love and redemption of God Almighty. We understand that we are to be ambassadors to this world, the LGBT community included, allowing God to make His appeal through us. We refuse to go to the extremes of either rejecting them or supporting their sin. We understand that Jesus didn’t hole up in a building somewhere surrounded by His own people, but that He lovingly went into the world and called every sinner to repentance, regardless of which sin it is. We remember that as Christians, we are to come alongside people exactly where they are AND to lead them to Christ. We finally understand that we are all human beings together, regardless of what we may be or do at any given time, therefore we love God and love people without prejudice. No one will find repentance if we keep them from Jesus.

The Father is drawing people, but will they find Jesus within the hearts of the church? God help me to be faithful, never rejecting nor shortchanging those whom the Lord is calling to repentance, no matter what package they come in.

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Psalm 121

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 4, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121)

After writing on the very length Psalm 119 over the last two weeks, a short psalm is a nice change! Psalm 121 is only 8 verses, compared to the 22 sets of 8 verses we saw in Psalm 119.

Psalm 121 has the title of “a song of ascents,” and it is one of the 15 psalms with this title (Psalms 120-134). The Mishnah, essentially an early Jewish commentary, suggests that these psalms correspond with the 15 steps of the temple, that they would be said or sung one for each step as the worshiper ascended the steps to go up to the temple. They may not have originally been composed for this purpose, but they were used this way at the second temple in Jerusalem.

The content of this psalm also feels like an ascension. It starts with identifying God as creator, then as our guardian, then a blessing for all time. It is an encouraging psalm and can “ascend” the reader’s mood into one of feeling blessed and encouraged in our walk with God, even if we’re not literally ascending the steps of the temple while reading or reciting it.

This psalm starts in verse 1 with the psalmist lifting his eyes to the hills. Anyone who has visited a mountainous region, especially if they live in a flat area, is generally impressed by the beauty of mountains or even hills. I live in northwest Ohio where everything is super flat, so on the occasions that I’ve been able to travel to Colorado, I just love looking at the mountains! The terrain is so different and so much more beautiful, though I suppose flat farming fields have their own beauty as well.

The psalmist questions where his help comes from. We, too, can ask that same question in our own lives. When we’re discouraged, where do we turn? Do we turn to God, or do we turn to the ways of this world? God does give us people and things in this world that will help us through difficult times, but the most important place to turn is to Him - the one who created this world and all of us.

The psalmist’s answer to this question is found in verse 2. His help comes from God the creator. The one who made this world is the one who is sovereign over it and is fully capable of helping with any difficulty we encounter. God as the creator has unlimited power!

What exactly does God do for us? That answer can be found in the rest of the psalm (verses 3-8). God keeps us from slipping. God does not take naps where He’s not paying attention, but He constantly watches over us. We see this phrase of God watching over is 5 times in these verses - clearly, this is an important idea that the psalmist is emphasizing. The pagans would consider their gods to be sleeping at times, so this is in direct contrast to their ideas. The one true God never sleeps!

God shades us from the extreme heat of the sun, meaning that He will protect us from dangers. While that doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, it does mean that He is always with us to help us through anything we experience. There be many things in life that God has protected us from that we don’t even know about. He is a good God who loves His people, though we are still sinful and often cause negative things to happen in our own lives. But God is always there with us, watching over us, no matter what.

The climax of this psalm occurs in verses 7-8: “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” The psalmist has built up to this point, and this is his emphatic conclusion. The Lord will continue to watch over us in the future, even until eternity!

The God that the psalmist was writing to so many centuries ago is the same God that we worship today. He does not change. He continues to watch over His people in all things. He is still the God who created all things, and He still has power over all of His creation.

What are you going through today that feels like it may be bigger than God? Whatever it is, God is walking through it with you and He has power over the situation. Put your trust fully in Him and lift up your eyes to the hills - God is where your help comes from.

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False Teachings: Characteristics, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 1, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The old adage says that bank tellers are trained to identify counterfeit bills by studying, touching, feeling, and smelling the real thing. By knowing the real thing, any counterfeit will be easy to spot. I used to work as a cashier and without ever going through formal training on this, I once was able to spot a fake $20 bill just by the feel of it. After sensing something was wrong, I took my marker, checked it, and it sure was a fake.

A local newspaper article recently warned about fake bills going around. Some of the clues they gave included Russian letters or Greek figures. To which I thought, “Really? Making it that easy?” The problem is very few people are bothering to check things except at an initial glance. And in today’s society, if someone were to give me a fake $20 bill in exchange for goods, and I identify it as such, I would have to be prepared for that customer to demand I take it anyway because “they don’t know any better” or “just let it slide” or “why are you being so judgmental.” I’m not joking or exaggerating on this. That’s the kind of society we live in, where we are supposed to accept whatever someone wants to give us without question and don’t dare challenge them on it, as long as it’s not Biblical Christianity.

The fake currency that gets through the system is the fake currency that looks most like the authentic currency. The same is true about false teachings. The ones that are most successful are the ones that most resemble the Truth. I have had skeptics tell me frequently, “There are 500 million gods out there. What makes yours the right one?” They know that the bulk of the gods are false. A quality response would be: “There are many counterfeits out there. But what makes something a fake? Is it not by comparing it to the real thing?”

I am not going to address false religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or the like because that is outside my scope. My target for this series is that which claims to be Christianity and clearly isn’t.

I have had people in the origins debate tell me, “Young Earth, Old Earth, and Theistic Evolutionists agree on 97% of Christian doctrines. Why can’t we join forces and combat atheism? Then we can battle out our differences?” Here is my response to that: “The majority of Old Earthers and Theistic Evolutionists are holding hands with atheists, using their arguments and their thinking, and are constantly joining sides with them against Young Earth models. How can we join sides?”

Technicalities aside on origins, I want to zoom in on the “97% of commonality” claim. If two teachings agree in nearly everything but a few minor points, we should be able to get along, correct? Well, you need more information. Paris Reidhead gave such a clear image that I will never forget in this sermon. He described the right hand and left hand. They are nearly identical – five fingers, each finger about the same length, same number of knuckles, etc. The list goes on. But there is one major difference: one hand points one direction, and the other points the other direction. All but identical except the direction they point.

This is a BIG clue we can use to discern true and false teachings: to whom or to what do the teachings point? One of the reasons I can discount all origins models that include millions and billions of years as being false teachings has nothing to do with science or the study of Scripture, but who the teaching glorifies. The Young Earth models, when taught correctly, only point to God and any study man does is subservient to what God has revealed. In every Old Earth model, the scholarship and authority of men and “modern science” are the focal point: “We know the earth is 4.6 billion years because we scientists have figured it out.” While any of these models may give God credit for the creation, the credit is a footnote, not the central focus. God has nothing to do with any study of origins involving billions of years because the very methodology used in the study purposefully keeps God out. It is called naturalism.

If the model glorifies what man has studied and discovered, be alert. This is really just another version of an ancient tactic used by Islam, Mormonism, the Roman Catholic Church, and all the way back to Genesis 3 at the Garden. It is the concept of the “private revelation” able to be equal if not superior to the “previous revelation” of Scripture. Peter immediately refutes that saying no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. Ezekiel also decries such notions, condemning prophets who said, “Thus says the Lord” when God had not spoken. He called such prophets ravenous wolves, devouring the people and conspiring, in our midst, against God for selfish gain. Those weren’t my words; that was God’s Word spoken through Ezekiel. The conspirators are in and among us, and at first glance, they look like us.

Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing. Paul gives multiple warnings against false teachers but specifically told the Roman church and Philippian church to mark and identify the true and false teachers and to avoid the false. He even gave some clues on how to identify them: they serve not Christ but their own belly (selfish interests) and they use smooth, flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple. Do not be impressed by eloquence or by presentation. Always examine the message being given. There is a famous preacher (whom I will not name at this time) who does a great job at relating to his audience (notice I meant audience, not congregation), but when he says things like “God broke the Law” to save us because “The Law didn’t have enough leverage to save us,” my response is, “This man does not know nor understand the Gospel, nor God. That is heresy. God had to send Jesus to save us because He would not break the Law, lest He deny Himself.” And if I mentioned his name, I’d have a lot of people blowing up on me for exposing him.

Who are we listening to? This preacher is not pointing towards Christ, but towards a “Christ” of his own liking and making. One that will cuddle him and come to his rescue, but not one who is holy and just and righteous. If a teaching does not reveal the One True God and the FULL council of Scripture, it should not be trusted.

There’s more on this. Next week, I’ll look at some other key characteristics of false teachings.

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