They Exchange The True Gospel For A Lie

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.  Isaiah 8:20

I received this yesterday from a friend in California in response to my last post:

“The pure unadulterated sanctified Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its power has been replaced by the ‘social gospel’ of our day in our churches. They have lost sight of where to draw the line between reaching out and helping others… and that of giving them the Gospel message. So much emphasis is placed on the thousands of entities that meet the human materialist needs of the lost….yet so much so that man’s pride says, “I did a wonderful deed so that’s all that counts. I was “Jesus” to  them.”  But then ….as I said to my former pastor:  because, I like others, was hearing the lack of the Gospel but much about serving others – we are no different than goodness-based cults and religions. Many of them LOOK like Christians.  However, the often used phrase taken from St. Francis of Assisi* where the message is to BE… not to necessarily speak the Word of God… I feel has been overstated.

I have no problem giving to a poor street person – whether he is spending it on drugs or whatever, as long as I do it in the name of the Lord.. I will tell him after giving him money, that I also want him/her to know about the ‘food that feeds the soul’. If he uses the money for drugs, it is not my business if I am giving in the name of the Lord; the power of the Gospel message not only saves but is able to free him from his bondages.

How sad that the Gospel has been so tainted by all the ‘ingredients added to it’ by the church. When this happens it dilutes, twists, discounts, and waters down the wonderful powerful message of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. The Gospel needs nothing else as it stands on its own because of who God is and who His Son is.”

I appreciate what has been said here because it reflects accurately our Christian denominations of today, whether Nazarene or any other group.  Instead of preaching the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, apostate “Christians” at festivals such as Wildgoose spend their time carousing and partying in “community” in their beer and wine tents. They invite anyone to come and share whatever they have, and they downplay doctrinal differences and embrace everything under the sun that is spiritual.  Leaders look the other way in fear of criticizing their fellow colleagues, or perhaps because they approve of it all.  Any kind of spirituality is good for them now, not whether beliefs and doctrine is soundly based on Scripture or not.

The emergent church emphasizes a defective and false gospel, focusing on such things as: community and relationships in place of doctrine, rejecting the fact that there are absolute truths that are found in absolutely clear doctrine as taught through God’s infallible word.  But that is the key problem and what has led to this watering down of the gospel.  These rebellious pseudo-Christians believe they are doing a good thing by embracing the “big-tent” philosophy.  They open up soup kitchens and food pantries, feed and cloth the poor in the neighborhood, and at the same time never present a clear gospel message that those people are headed to hell on a full stomach.  Oh, they may very well say to these people something like “God bless you” as they walk out the door, but that’s about it.  And of course, there are community food pantries whose policy is to not even mention Jesus Christ, or which prevents Christians from witnessing to those to whom they serve food.  Yet they do it the name of Jesus.  How sad, but I guess it makes them feel good to feed someone.

We see General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene and presidents of major evangelical and holiness denominations holding hands with social justice advocates, thinking they are doing a wonderfully spiritual act that will please God.  They stand up for the “rights” of illegal aliens, saying it is the Christian thing to do, while at the same time they step on the rights of those who, whether Christian or not, are waiting patiently to come into our country, or who are being deprived of jobs in favor of lawbreakers.  Instead of proclaiming the real gospel, they get tangled up in social and environmental justice pursuits that do nothing to show the sinner what they really need.

We must continue to send out warnings to those who are perverting the gospel and spreading poison in our churches and universities.  But it also needs to go out to those Christians, especially pastors and others in leadership positions, who are standing apathetically by while the church is being corrupted.  Pastors, if you think that all you need to do is protect your little church by insulating your congregation from emergent ideology and never teaching them about what is going on, what will you do then after you leave, and your replacement is a wolf in sheep’s clothing?  You’ll probably see your church end up being a social club that does a lot of community good, but does nothing to feed the people the real food: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  By then, it may be too late, but you will still have to answer to God.


*Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words. (attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, this phrase sounds nice, but is contrary to what Scripture teaches)


Should Any Nazarene Leader Be Associated With Wildgoose?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

Amos 3:3: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

Well, it’s over for now.  The gathering of apostates at Wildgoose Festival in North Carolina has ended.  The thirst for more however continues, and there will be another gathering in September.  This one will be WildGoose Festival West, and will be in Benton County, Oregon.  Apparently the demand has been so great that this second gathering may lead to perhaps even more yearly gatherings at various areas of the country.  Could the rising popularity of this be an indication of the movement and work of the Holy Spirit?

Okay, I seriously do not believe it is.  However, there are many Christians who look at numbers as something that is evidence of God’s approval, or the work of the Holy Spirit in changing people’s lives.  There are Christians who for instance are sure that a preacher who otherwise preaches the gospel faithfully must not be effective or successful, if no one responds to the gospel for a long time.  Others see “success” to always be measured by the number of those who rush to the altar and profess faith in Christ verbally, or when there are massive testimonies of instant healing.  We tend to forget that a preacher or pastor is to preach faithfully the word of God, and not worry about reaching some kind of quota every month.  That is what God requires of us, and nothing else.

Back to the Wildgoose Festival.  This is perhaps my fourth time I report on this, and I will continue to report on this as needed.  I will also continue to point out something which came to my attention, via James Scullin’s post on our CN FaceBook page the other day.  He quotes from the website:

 “We are a community creating a festival at the intersection of justice, spirituality and art. We take inspiration from many places, such as Greenbelt, Burning Man, the Iona Community, SXSW, and others. The festival is open to everyone; we don’t censor what can be said;”

He went on to summarize just part of what constititutes Wildgoose: “Green Belt into social justice, bBurning Man, self-expression, including nudity, Iona, ecumenism, SXSW, film and music.”  James, don’t forget the beer and wine tent parties as well; the speaking schedule of such notables as Brian McLaren, who led the opening prayer and words for each day; the appearance of an openly homosexual “Christian” artist (Jennifer Knapp); the pro-homosexual agenda of many of the speakers there; the doctrinally challenged Brian McLaren who somehow is one of the countries to 25 evangelicals.

But finally, a question was asked that is certainly worthy of answer, and I suggested that the General Superintendents would be more than capable of giving a definitive response:

How is organizer Mike King allowed near our youth and have a position at NTS?

It’s a fair question.  Remember also that the Rev. Gabriel Salguerro, a Nazarene pastor who is also the head of the radical National Assoc. of Latino Evangelical Coalition, has promoted this festival shamelessly in the past two years.

So we have Mike King, adjunct professor at our premiere seminary that prepares future pastors, who is heavily involved nationally in influencing Nazarene youth at conferences, seminars, and through books he writes and promotes; and we have a nationally influential Nazarene pastor who is in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens and other radical ideas, both involved with Wildgoose Festival, as I reported recently.

A few other reminders also is that two General Superintendents (Stan Toler and Jerry Porter) are on the Advisory Board for Rev. Salguerro’s organization, so they are obviously connected to him that way.  Nazarene Dr. Oliver Philips is also on that board as well.  And now, as I reported recently, all six General Superintendents have signed on with an immigration group that along with Rev Salguerro, is also pushing for favoring illegal aliens over law abiding citizens and legal residents!  In what other ways are these men connected, and are these connections having any kind of influence as to why the Generals seem to refuse to address this issue to anyone who inquires about it?

How much lower do we have to go, in the Church of the Nazarene, in order to… do what?  Get more people in the church?  Bring more money in?  To show how progressive and non-judgmental we are?  To embrace ecumenicalism as far as the universe can reach?  What is going on here?  Have we no shame anymore, that we cannot rebuke our leaders when they blatantly get involved with a world that is pretending to be Christian, but has no resemblance to true Christianity?

So, General Superintendents, is it possible you can address the first question, and the following questions, in any way?

1. If the Wildgoose Festival is good for Christians, then will you recommend as many Nazarenes as possible attend this festival?

2. If it is bad, why do you tolerate the participation and promotion of this festival by Mike King and Gabriel Salguerro?

3. How do you justify your association with an “evangelical” immigration group that clearly (at least to many of us) is comprised of those who have compromised the gospel message?

3. What is in store next for the Church of the Nazarene that will shock us?  Will it be a continued watering down of the biblical position on homosexual sin?

4. Is this Wildgoose Festival a reflection of what it means to be “missional?”

5. Will you ever give any clear and conclusive answers to any question that many Nazarenes are sending to you, as a result of seeing such widespread apostasy in the church?

Manny Silva

Here are just a few of those who participated in this sham of a “Christian” festival:

Major Church Leaders Compromise; Ignore Scripture; And Twist The Gospel Message

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?… 17 Therefore come out from among them, and be separate says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  2 Cor. 6:14, 17


Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.  2 John 1:9-11


There has been a continuing paradigm shift in the evangelical denominations for quite a few years now.  The New Evangelical movement continues it degrading influence on the church by marching to the drumbeat of “ecumenicalism”, rejection of the doctrine of separation in favor of “unity”, and a big tent philosophy much in line with what the emergent church crowd likes.  But this is not, nor has it ever been a biblical approach.  Yet it seems even the major leaders from most evangelical denominations and Christian universities of today just don’t get it.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was not about the business of trying to correct all the social ills in His day, or making sure that wealth was equally distributed, nor did he get involved in political causes to make sure everyone got “their fair share.”  He came to “seek and save that which was lost.”  He came to correct the “heart ills.”  That was His mission, and yet national “evangelical” leaders from many denominations have lost focus on the true Gospel, and have gotten on the bandwagon of the fake social justice gospel.  Christ did not command the disciples to “go and bring social justice to the earth”, but to go and “teach all nations, baptizing them… and teaching them all He has commanded them and to obey those commands.”


As the saying goes, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.  On June 12, something happened that further shows the compromise with the world that the leaders of the Church of the Nazarene, and practically every major “evangelical” denomination, have taken.  A new group called The Evangelical Immigration Table announced a joint effort amongst most evangelical denominations and leading Christian organizations, to work in “solving” our national immigration problems (i.e. amnesty for illegal aliens).  Never mind that many Christians disagree with the political aims of this group and that their ideas are the same liberal ideas about “fairness and compassion” to illegal aliens, at the expense of citizens and legal residents.
I absolutely refuse to be categorized as an “evangelical Christian” along with any of the men and women associated with this group.


So when looking closely at those who are part of this group and have signed on to its goals, I cannot come away from this with anything but disgust and disappointment again at my own denomination’s general superintendents- all six of them this time, as well as other “evangelical” leaders who have become a part of this new ecumenical endeavor.  It is very disappointing to see Focus on the Family and other groups like them also getting involved in this effort.


From Brannon Howse’s website, Worldview Weekend:


Radicals and “evangelicals” unite to push for amnesty for illegal aliens.  On June 12, 2012, a Focus on the Family representative, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Neo-Marxist Jim Wallis joined others for a press conference as part of the “Evangelical Immigration Table”. Sadly, the president or General Superintendent of almost every major “evangelical” denomination has signed on to this project. Brannon believes that so many “evangelical” leaders signing on to this, and other such unbiblical projects, reveals that God is giving over America as described in Romans 1 and giving America the kind of leaders it deserves. Romans 1 describes leaders that are debased, which means they do not pass the test spiritually, and leaders that are undiscerning.”

Brannon explains why he believes this is one more unbiblical spiritual enterprise that is a perfect example of the Religious Trojan horse that has infiltrated evangelicalism. Brannon also explains how the communists are embracing an amnesty plan as well in order to push through their progressive agenda. The communists must be thrilled that so many “evangelicals” have become such “useful idiots” and are aiding in their same objective of amnesty for millions that will vote for a progressive agenda. Clearly the word “evangelical” means nothing if Jim Wallis is called an evangelical. Additionally, those taking part in this initiative redefining what it means to be a Christian as at this press conference the term “Christian” was being thrown around. Brannon plays sound clips from the press conference that includes one lady speaking of how the Holy Spirit is behind this. That is 100% false. The Holy Spirit cannot be behind that which is a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14, 2 John 9-11, and 2 Corinthians 6:14.”


Please listen to the audio from Brannon’s radio show as he discusses this travesty.  Some of the most egregious violators of Biblical principles are signatories to this new endeavor, so why do six General Superintendents* of the Nazarene church not understand that we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers and with those who pervert the Gospel into something other than what the Lord gave us?  The meaning of the word evangelical has been so perverted that it has lost its originally understood meaning.


The list of participants is far from Biblical Christianity.  There is Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a radical who will again appear this month at the blasphemous Wildgoose Festival.  This man is no evangelical.  Then there is Rev. Gabriel Salguerro, a Nazarene pastor from New York who is leader of the radical National Latino Evangelical Coalition, and also is a participant and promoter of the WildgooseFestival that is scheduled this week, which promotes anything but Christian values.  So why are two General Superintendents (JerryPorter and Stan Toler) on the leadership of Salguerro’s organization, and why do they continue to associate with this “pastor” after I reported to them twice on his involvement with the WildGoose party that spits on the Gospel?


In this group’s video news conference, you will hear Jim Wallis call this a biblical movement:


“Hear Neo-Marxist Jim Wallis call this movement Biblical (23:30). Brannon gives you a quick history of Jim’s radical agenda. Another speaker describes how no one is left out of God’s Kingdom vision. Again this is false. This same speaker talks of Jesus in terms of being a social justice advocate. Not one speaker described the gospel but in fact one speaker said the primary calling of the church is to love the poor and stranger. The primary objective of the Church is the proclamation of the gospel that is clearly compromised through this project.”


This is just another group trying to advance amnesty for illegal aliens, while stepping on the rights of law abiding citizens, and law abiding legal residents of our country.  This is not a Christian worldview that drives this.  As you listen to their press conference, it is a complete twisting of what it means to be a Christian pastor or leader, as they promote compromising of the laws of the U.S. in favor of those who break the law.


While that alone is insulting to those who worked so hard to come here legally, or those who are still waiting to come to the United States lawfully, it is even more appalling when so-called Christian evangelical leaders compromise biblical truth and join hands with those who have perverted and watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As you watch the press conference with the parade of “important” and “wise” leaders who think they know better than us, you will see a bunch of men and women who do not know the true meaning of the Gospel.  You will hear Rev. Salguerro as he praises person after person for their outstanding credentials.  “Professing to be wise, they have become fools”, and little do they know that the devil has them right where he wants them.


It would truly be inspiring if the leaders of the Church of the Nazarene (and these other denominations) would fervently spend their time fighting against all the false teachings infecting our churches and universities, than to distract themselves with unholy alliances such as this.  Yet as many of you know, they have done nothing but give empty answers to questions, or remained silent. That is a horrible failure of leadership, something which they may pay a high penalty for someday.  Instead, they continue to waste their time on trying to correct the supposed ills of society, while the real ill (the sinful heart of man) becomes more and more neglected.


Yet, its not too late to see their error and turn away from this unholy alliance.  Will they?


Manny Silva




For further reference:


Social Justice and The Bible (Mike Oppenheimer)

New Evangelicalism: Its History, Characteristics, And Fruit (David Cloud)



*Nazarenes who have signed on with this group:

Eugénio Duarte, General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

David Graves, General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

Jesse Middendorf, General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

Jerry D. Porter, General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

Stan Toler, General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

J. K. Warrick, General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

Corlis McGee, President, Eastern Nazarene College


Others who have signed on (full list at their website):


JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church

William J. Hamel, President, Evangelical Free Church of America

George Wood, General Superintendent, General Council of the Assemblies of God

Bryant Wright, President, Southern Baptist Convention

Ken Hunn, Executive Director, The Brethren Church

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals


Bill Hybels, Founding and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL)

Max Lucado, Minister of Preaching, Oak Hills Church (San Antonio, TX)

David Uth, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church (Orlando, FL)

Shane Claiborne, Emergent leader, Author and Activist

Andy Crouch, Author and Editor-at-Large, Christianity Today

David Neff, Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

Eric Metaxas, Author

Danny Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Richard J. Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary

Shirley Mullen, President, Houghton College

Mathew Staver, Dean, Liberty University School of Law

Dennis Hollinger, President, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Richard Stearns, President, World Vision U.S.

Ed Stetzer, President, Lifeway Research


Heads of the Evangelical Immigration Table

·  Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

·  Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief

·  David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World

·  Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association

·  Luis Cortés, President, Esperanza

·  Richard Land, President, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

·  Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

·  Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

·  Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners



Here is the group’s stated goals:

As evangelical Christian leaders, we call for a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

Testing The Spirits, And Wrongly Handling The Word Of Truth

Test The Spirits, To See Whether They Are From God
(Source: Mission Venture Ministries)

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

John is telling us that there are two spirits:

  • God’s Spirit, which is called the Spirit of truth because it inspires truth (vv. 4:2, 6); and
  • The spirit of antichrist, which promulgates falsehood, and does not acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ (vv. 3, 6).

And he warns us how important it is to understand that we cannot believe everyone we hear and that we cannot believe everything that is alleged to come from God, but like the Bereans we need to check the Scriptures. We are to test the spirits, to discern whether a message is the truth that comes from God. So we are not to just accept what some teacher or preacher is saying; we are to examine what is being taught.

We know that God speaks and reveals truth, and the enemy speaks lies and is a deceiver, therefore it is very critical that we be able to discern the difference. If information comes from the Holy Spirit it is life-giving, life-sustaining, life-producing and God-glorifying. If it is not sent and energized by the Holy Spirit, it comes from seducing spirits or false prophets, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This was and continues being a huge problem and those without discernment are being victimized.

It is very sad to realize that many so-called “religious leaders” are false teachers and people are having a hard time finding a church where the Word of God is being taught faithfully. What appear to be “Christian churches” are teaching things that are not in line with the Bible. They are downplaying or removing altogether the doctrines of sin, repentance, the Trinity, Salvation by grace alone, through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the deity of Jesus Christ, and replacing them by more “seeker sensitive ideas.” For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear – (2 Timothy 4:3). These false teachers are teaching their followers doctrines and practices that are not in harmony with God’s word, like “contemplative prayer” and “prayer labyrinths” which are actually taken from new age and Hindu practices are being introduced and accepted by many churches that are moving towards the Emergent Church movement today.

These teachers are hypocritical liars and are teaching doctrines of demons motivated by seducing spirits. This is an enormous problem and the world is literally drowning in a sea of demonic lies. We live in a time when we must be so close to the Father and ask Him to fill us daily with His Spirit of discernment.

John continues giving instructions on how to know the Spirit of God: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” When someone comes and affirms that Jesus Christ is God in flesh that is the divine truth taught by the Holy Spirit. But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” False teachers and demons deny the deity of Jesus Christ and therefore as believers and students of the Bible we recognize them as being controlled by the devil and his lies. So: “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

The false teacher does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He may accept Jesus Christ as a great teacher and a great religious leader, perhaps the greatest, but he does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the only way to God. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  He believes there are other ways to God. Beware!

The spirit of the antichrist was very much alive in John’s days and today our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). When we think of antichrist, we think of some future person, the beast of Revelation. However, all teaching that presents untruth about Christ is the spirit of antichrist which has been in the world for nearly 2000 years and is yet to come in its final form.

Before we accept any teaching, we need to be sure of the person’s view of Christ, their view of salvation, and their view of Scripture. Do they acknowledge that: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”? (2 Timothy 3:16). Do they manifest a regenerate life? And lastly, do they submit to the Word of God? “By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)


Wrongly Handling The Word of Truth
(Source: John Henderson)

KJV: 2 Timothy 2:14-17b –  “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth [see footnote “1”]. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker….”

NET: “Remind people of these things and solemnly charge them before the Lord not to wrangle over words. This is of no benefit; it just brings ruin on those who listen. Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.[1] But avoid profane chatter, because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness, and their message will spread its infection like gangrene.”

There are two groups of people who mishandle God’s Word and its message:  heretics and misinformed Christians.  Both are equally detrimental to the truth.  Any straying in that direction will have the same bad effect.

I may lose some friends and admirers here, but that is nothing new.  Knowing Christ in His truth means more than any of that.  Being able to go into eternity and of standing before His judgment seat without fear of being indicted for carelessness is very important.  Therefore, I say:

I can see no difference, for instance, between someone’s saying that the Bible is partially inerrant and contains the inspired Word of God and someone else saying that we must unequivocally accept the notion that only one English translation is valid, and even inspired as a translation.  Both notions are grossly erroneous and are bold denials of the true nature and authority of the Scriptures.  Both construe words and miss the revelational significance of The Word.  Both wrong ideas come from the same source—human reasoning based on false presumptuous suppositions.  Something like that never comes from the Holy Spirit who is here to guide us into all truth.

Whatever happened to “test the spirits”?  A fine article on that very question has been published by folks I consider as friends.[2]  Their opening paragraphs say:

“And he [John the Apostle] warns us how important it is to understand that we cannot believe everyone we hear and that we cannot believe everything that is alleged to come from God, but like the Bereans we need to check the Scriptures. We are to test the spirits, to discern whether a message is the truth that comes from God. So we are not to just accept what some teacher or preacher is saying; we are to examine what is being taught. [Comment:  We do that much when we visit a doctor!]

“We know that God speaks and reveals truth, and the enemy speaks lies and is a deceiver, therefore it is very critical that we be able to discern the difference. If information comes from the Holy Spirit it is life-giving, life-sustaining, life-producing and God-glorifying. If it is not sent and energized by the Holy Spirit, it comes from seducing spirits or false prophets, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This was and continues being a huge problem and those without discernment are being victimized.”

They also say a little later: “These false teachers are teaching their followers doctrines and practices that are not in harmony with God’s word….These teachers are hypocritical liars and are teaching doctrines of demons motivated by seducing spirits.”

If it was possible to hang signs on false teachers, that would make it easier to tell the difference.  The worst possible kind of false teacher, however, is the one who agrees with God’s revealed Word in ALMOST every detail or who adds to the Scriptures false notions those Scriptures do not state or support.  It is just fine to quote good stuff, but even the best must align with the truth of the Bible.  Earlier teachers may have said some great things but unless they got their ideas from the Scriptures, they are automatically questionable.

I have little problem with differences in understanding as long as the issues are couched in the authority of the Scriptures by all concerned.  I will never agree, for instance, with the Five-Points of Calvinism but will always view those who do as coming from an understanding, not a manipulation, of the Scriptures.  That is much different than superimposing human notions onto the Scriptures.  Besides, when we all get to Heaven, the Calvinists will finally realize how right I had been all along.

Returning to a more serious tone [sorry about the bad humor, but not enough to remove it], it is of vital importance that we carefully and prayerfully handle the Word of God as we should.  We are flawed and will make mistakes, but miscalculations and deceptive inaccuracies are not the same.  We must have a reverence for the Word of God that complements our reverence for the God of the Word.  God did not speak in English, Japanese, or German.  Unless speaking audibly, as He did a few times in ancient history, He never spoke in any human language.  He spoke to hearts and spiritual understanding, just as he does today.

His Word comes to us through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, not in languages per se.  Languages are only vehicles and nothing more.  Languages are limited and imperfect.  His Word is neither.  His Word IS the accurate message if truth in every detail and in every matter whereof it speaks.  It needs no modification and it is not limited to the English language or any other language.  God’s Word soars beyond translations and commentaries.  God’s Word transcends human comprehension but fits human knowing when the human heart is right with God.

 John Henderson

[1] NET Footnote: “cutting a straight road.” In regard to the message of truth, it means “correctly handling” or “imparting it without deviation.”