I’d like to have a little heart to heart talk:
Pleasing Men, or Pleasing God?
When some of you get the information I send out to my email list, or if you read it on my blog, do some of you reflexively say to yourself: oh no, not again, why is he stirring up the waters? Why is he causing me to get upset because my favorite preacher or Christian book writer is being criticized? How can Manny say that about someone who I admire so much? When you read my emails and posts,do you at least consider the information and prayerfully think about it? Has it ever been disturbing enough that you wanted to call me, or write me, and ask me to explain what I have written? I always pray that if I offend one of my friends with my postings, that they can talk to me privately and express their concern to me instead of keeping it to themselves and perhaps staying angry at me.
My question for you today: Is your goal always to please God, or do you sometimes try to please men or women at the risk of displeasing God? I suggest that if your goal is to truly please God, rather than men, then what I suggest that you could do with my postings, is to at least prayerfully consider it, and if necessary, ask additional questions, or do some more research. If my warnings to you sound too crazy to be true, do you then wonder if I am crazy, or over-reacting to something that is not serious, or perhaps obsessed, or do you wonder if there may be something there?
My desire is to always please God first. It is not always an easy decision to make. What I started doing since last year, including my blog, was not an easy decision. I could just be going along to get along right now, with no one taking offense, keeping my concerns to myself. My decision was made with the realization that I was not always going to please every person who read my postings. I risked not only getting friends upset at me, but family as well. Perhaps even my wife. And believe me, no man who really loves his wife, wants to ever get her upset, at least intentionally. But even my wife has to take a back seat to God. I must please God even above her. (I am thankful that she gives me her full support on this).
Let’s look at what Paul said in Galatians 1:10:
- For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
That’s simple enough without a need for “interpretation”, as the vast majority of the Bible speaks plainly enough and is not open to “various” interpretations. If I find myself trying to please others over God, I am not truly serving Jesus Christ. Hard words.
It is interesting to note the preceding verses that led him to say this:
- 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
- 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Again it’s interesting how Paul repeats what he said for emphasis. There may be other passages in the Bible like this, but it’s the only one I know that is repeated like this. I believe that one of the reasons he did this was that perhaps he knew that what he said in verses 8 and 9, could bring such a strong, negative reaction from many readers. By saying what he said in verse 10, this is part of the message I believe he is sending:
- “this is so serious, that I knew some of you would dislike how strongly I have put this. You know what, though, friends? I would love to please all of you, but this is too serious to really worry about that. I care too much for you to say this any other way. I would prefer pleasing God, and losing friendship with all of you, rather than not telling you the truth. Whenever truth needs to come out, I will speak it, at whatever risk to me there is to be. So there is no room for any other gospel, no matter how nice it sounds.”
You see, this is why I do what I am doing. There are many others out there like me; many of them a lot more articulate, a lot more learned in the scriptures, and perhaps with more time to be able to research and expose the apostasy and heresy that is infiltrating the Christian denominations, universities and seminaries, including my own denomination. (More to come later on this).
This is not a game we are playing. This is not being done to cause strife or division, just for the sake of causing strife or division. This is eternal life at stake for many people. Eternal life is at stake for those who are not Christians, but who might get roped in by a false gospel and believe they are Christians, when they have never had a chance to repent and receive Christ’s forgiveness, and actually get to know the real Jesus. For Christians, they are in danger of falling for dangerous, non-biblical practices being ushered in by the New Agers and the heretical Emergent church movement. The false leaders of these movements seem to think that they are the new enlightened ones, and that 2000 years of orthodox Christianity has all been wrong. How foolish!
- Acts 20:28-31 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!
Do not mistake what we are doing out here for anything other than all out war against the powers of darkness. The Emergent church high priests, the New Agers, the churches of Oprah and Schuler, and many others, have an agenda to subvert the very authority of the Word of God. They have a universalist agenda as well, deceiving many into believing that there are many ways to God, or that all somehow are following Jesus, regardless of what religion they practice. They want to associate and work with any and all religions in whatever cause there is that might seem right, even though we are admonished to “do not be unequally yoked with non-believers”.
They will argue with us that “the Word of God is really Jesus, not a book. So stop idolizing that book, and get to know Jesus”. I have heard these arguments, and they are false, and deceiving, or just plain unintelligent. I have had to stop responding to many of these people, because of their silly arguments that don’t use scripture to back them up. They prefer to use their own reasoning, since they do not respect the authority of God’s Word, but in their wisdom proclaim that it is just a collection of stories from the past. If my father were still here to listen to all the “fables” that they invent, it would not go over well with him. He was a real gospel preacher who never compromised with anyone.
Once the authority of God’s Word is undermined, you may as well pack up and leave. You may as well become a Buddhist who follows Jesus. In fact, why not be an agnostic who follows Jesus? Have you noticed that many emergents are calling themselves “Christ-followers” and do not like using the word “Christian?”. Yes, that’s it. A Christ-follower can be someone from another faith following what Jesus did, but never has to leave their own faith! Isn’t that what Brian McLaren suggested? See article at LightHouse Trails Research on “Christ-followers”.
- Colossians 2:4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
- Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
There is a great lesson based on the book of Hosea that I read several months back, by a preacher, Jeremiah Burroughs, who wrote it back in the 1600’s. It’s called “Plead With Your Mother”. I came upon it remarkably on the same day I was wrestling with the very question of “what should I do, who should I warn, or should I stay silent?”
(You can read it at: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/12/plead-with-your-mother-plead.html)
We are pleading with the various denominations we belong to, to look at themselves and see what has gone wrong. Do not let yourself continue to be at risk and become part of the great apostasy, or falling away, that is coming.
Use the Bible as your guide, and see what needs to be removed from that body, before the cancer spreads so badly it cannot be eradicated. If some new practice comes along, see if it comports with the scriptures. Men in their vanity will often come up with new ways of “doing Christianity” which are not based on sound doctrine.
Consider those of us laboring on this out here as “humble” physicians who have spotted a cancer, and rather than negligently wait until it has spread all over, we now are pointing out the cancer and asking you to join us in attending to the body of Christ before the cancer spreads even more and “kills” more. The danger here, of course, is not physical death, but spiritual death.
Prescription number 1: Trust in God and His Word, and throw out anything that does not line up with the Word of God.
Prescription number 2: Don’t trust your feelings, or the words of men, without “testing the spirits”; again, trust the Word of God. It will never fail you!
Prescription number 3: Did I already say this?…. Ground yourselves in the Word of God! :-)
In humble service to the one true God and the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who overcomes.
Contending for the faith…