When The Leadership of the Church Fails: The Sin of Silence

(Pastor Joe Staniforth) – Reposted from June, 2011

[This post by Pastor Joe Staniforth is more relevant now than it was eleven years ago]

[On June 6, 2011] I awoke to hear some tragic news. The Reverend David Wilkerson had been killed in a car accident in our own state of Texas. Although I had never met Wilkerson, you could say that I had grown up with him. At about the age of 12, I was absorbed by his ministry in the slums of New York, when I read “The Cross and the Switchblade.” In more recent years, I have been particularly inspired by his boldness to stand for truth. No matter how popular the questioning of truth may have been, he would not be silent. He spoke as one crying in a wilderness of heresy, and served to prepare us for the second coming of Christ. His dying words to the church are recorded in his final blog entry, “When All Means Fail.”: “Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.”

In this first essay, I would like to focus on the title of Brother David’s last words, “When all Means Fail.” Though the contents of this essay may be dire, I assure the reader that there is great reason for hope. In the next essay, I will be focusing on the hope that we have if we “stand fast in His Word.”

Injustice has become common place in the 21st Century. Wherever we look, to the courthouse, the Whitehouse or the workhouse – your place of employment – we see such injustice. Systems designed by man to assure man that justice will be served have fallen short of expectations. Criminals go unpunished and the innocent are unrewarded for crimes against them. Men whom we have elected as Justices of the Peace have failed to uphold the promises that their title demands. All means of justice seemed to have failed us.

Many have turned to a denomination or a parachurch for solace. Like boats in a dark and dangerous harbor, cast about by the wickedness of the age, they have expected to see a lighthouse that would “hold fast” to the rock that is Christ – “the Holy One and the Just” (Acts 3:14). Instead, they have only found a “church” made by men out of mirrors. There is no light of divine justice going out, only a dark reflection of an unfair world. The lighthouse has become just like the courthouse, the Whitehouse or the workhouse. In the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness” (Isaiah 59:9). My dear friends, please understand, I take no delight in judgment. My heart weeps with prophets such as David Wilkerson who spoke these words with tear-stained eyes: “The hour is getting late and its getting serious. Does it matter to you at all that God’s spiritual Jerusalem, the Church, is now married to the world?” (“A Call to Anguish” by David Wilkerson)

Many false teachers have risen among us, and have served to corrupt souls, as criminals corrupt society. No one denomination or parachurch is immune. Christian universities, colleges and houses of worship have become contaminated with professors and pastors who simply will not “hold fast” to the authority of scripture. They would rather pump a humanistic gospel* into the minds of the young and unaware student, as the insubordinate serpent perverted the mind of Eve with his venom. They have no regard for God’s condemnation of humanism: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man” (Jeremiah 17:5). I can only think of the abominable practice of sacrificing a child to the god, Moloch (Lev. 20:2) when a young student enters into one of these institutions. What is worse? A child that burns as a sacrifice to a foreign god, or a soul that burns in hell because he was deceived in a so-called “Christian” college? Are they not both the outcome of false teaching?

However, I do not believe that my grief is due to false teaching or false teachers. If you buy a dog, there is a certainty that it will bark. If you hire a false teacher, or invite one to a conference, you can be sure that he will bark his heresy. Furthermore, a dog will do other things that you will regard as revolting: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly” (II Peter 2:22). The failure within the church lies at the feet of the leader who knows better, yet says nothing when a heretic howls or heaves his teaching. The man of God is not a Justice of the Peace who has been elected by man. He has been elected by the Just Judge to stand firm against foul doctrine.

When God warned the Israelites about sacrificing their children to Molech, there was a death sentence pronounced for those who did nothing, as well as those that committed this foul deed:

“And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.” (Leviticus 20:4,5)

According to the law, “the people of the land” had a duty to ensure that justice was done when heresy reared its ugly head. Instead, many would “hide their eyes” like an ostrich with his head in the sand, and the demands of the law were not met. They knew better, but refused to act, and the justice of God was not served.

This justice must now be served by the leadership within the church. They are God’s chosen means through which justice must come – “to judge them that are within”! (I Corinthians 5:12). The Apostle Paul did not to put his head in the sand when he stood before the elders of Ephesus. He didn’t count his life dear to himself (Acts 20:24). He declared to all who would 3 dare to stand behind a pulpit to “take heed.” There would be two types of wolves – false teachers – that would prey on their flocks: Those that would enter the church from the outside (Acts 20:29), and, the most dangerous of all, those that would rise up among them from the inside (Acts 20:30) – the ones with sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). His word of command for all shepherds to heed – “watch”!

The word “watch” is not an inactive verb, indicating that the shepherd merely serves as the casual observer of wolves, as these four-legged heretics enter the fold to devour the sheep. A shepherd was called upon to put his life at risk when danger came. This was an indication that he loved the Church, “as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus told Peter, the first elder in the Christian church, that the love of God resulted in taking care of the sheep (John 21:16).

The young shepherd, David, served as an Old Testament type of the New Testament pastor. When the bear and the lion came and took a lamb from the flock, he did more than hide his eyes. He defended the sheep. This was his calling and his command. Also, these were his credentials (I Samuel 17:34) when he stood before the giant wolf, Goliath, on the battle field and rebuked him publically: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom thou hast defied” (I Samuel 17:45). With his sling in hand and the faith of a true warrior of the Lord, he was used by the Almighty to bring about justice.

Nevertheless, there are elders who have failed the church. Their office walls are crowded with paper credentials, but they lack the courage to “watch” when the wolves come prowling. They would rather “hide their eyes” in the sand of meaningless duties, as the devil mocks the armies of the living God and lambs become open season for his pack of softly-spoken deceivers. This is not a time for faint-heartedness, in this age of great apostasy. The faint-hearted were removed from the ranks of Israel before captains were chosen to lead them. Such leaders were dangerous because they caused others to be faint-hearted (Deuteronomy 20:8.9). A faint-hearted pastor causes the flock to be faint-hearted when the wolf prowls!

The Scriptures have demanded that the leaders in the church, like Timothy, respond with personal and public rebuke (I Timothy 5:19,20; 2 Timothy 4:14; 2 Peter 2:15-16a; 3 John:9-10). This is the sling of justice that must be used on the battlefield, against the subtleties of the serpent, to bring his giants of academia to the ground. We cannot be in fear of their intellects, as the human mind can do nothing against the weapons of God that are not carnal. The “weapons of our warfare” are for “casting down imagination** and every high thing that exalteth itself against God” (II Corinthians 10:4-5). No matter how big and impressive “the fruits of their thoughts” and books may appear, the Lord will bring evil upon them, because they have rejected the wisdom of God (Jeremiah 6:19). Like Goliath, they have openly “defied” the Almighty! (I Samuel 17:45).

If such rebuke is not heeded, then there remains only one option – removal! False teaching is a spiritual harlotry that will corrupt the body of Christ, just as the human body is defiled by a promiscuous lifestyle. The prophet Hosea defined the harlotry of Israel as a “departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2). This “departing” was instigated by false teaching (Hosea 4). Paul was grieved by the church in Corinth because they kept company with fornicators (I Corinthians 5:11). To ensure that justice was done within the church, God breathed His command through the pen of the apostle: “put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Corinthians 5:13; see also Romans 16:17). As the head of Goliath left his body because his mouth had offended the Lord, so must the false teachers and their teaching be cut from the bride of Christ, lest she become defiled.

Many brothers and sisters, who have been grieved by the state of the church or have had loved ones deceived by false teachers, have pleaded with leadership.  Their cry for justice has been in vain.  Instead of rebuke and removal, they have received nothing but silence from those who have been called to watch.     

As a member of a group called “Concerned Nazarenes”, a group that is united by a common grief over false teaching, I have heard many heart-breaking stories from men and women who have been faithful to both Christ and His church.  This was the first story to capture my attention. 

Several years ago, a young man attended a Bible study in Southern California where I presided as a youth pastor.  He was excited about the teaching of the Word, and wanted to stay.    He had to return to a school known as Point Loma Nazarene University to complete his theological training.  After two years of liberal teaching he joined an emergent church with a gay pastor.  His grandparents were broken-hearted.  People pleaded with the administration for answers, but received only silence.  There was the usual politeness, but no one was held accountable for the soul of this young student. 

The stories are many, but the answer still remains the same – silence.  This epidemic of “hush-hush” has worked its way, like leaven, through the lump of entire denominations.   Anywhere from the local church to these academic institutions that train future shepherds, leaders who are supposed to be “separated unto the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1) have chosen silence instead of scripture.      

To the Silent Elder

Paul opened his mouth to warn the church, so that the blood of the bride would not be upon his hands.  He warned the church before the wolves came, but you have heard the wolves howl from lecterns and pulpits and said nothing!  Do you believe you will be acquitted with the blood of souls on your hands when you stand before Christ?  Do not neglect the warning of James: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is a sin” (James 4:17)

*The purpose of this essay is not to expose false teaching.  There are many fine apologists who have done this time and time again.  Just understand for now that in the heart of every false teacher there is a desire to elevate man to a status of a god.  This is accomplished by making God look more human, or man more divine.  The father of all false teachers first fed mankind this lie in the garden – “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) – and many have fallen prey over the centuries.

** Reasoning that is contrary to the Christian faith.


Does Anyone Have A Match?

(By Lige Jeter)

The Church of the Nazarene was founded upon holiness, leading its followers into the experience of entire sanctification. Without being judgmental, given the laissez-faire direction many have chosen drifting away from moral living, the church can no longer ignore its spiritual state and continue on its current path. Unless we return to holiness, its teaching, and experience, as warned in (1 Samuel 4: 21) we may as well write “Ichabod” over our door “The glory has departed.”

If the church ever needed to return to its beginning heritage, it is now. When was the last time you saw someone redeemed from sin or sanctified at an altar of prayer? How long has it been since you heard a message concerning salvation or sanctification. Has the church lost its edge or have we “Misplaced it?” To misplace something simply means to leave it in the wrong place, or to lose it, temporarily forgetting where you placed it. The normal thing to assume is that it will still be there when and if we search for it.

Do not take this as one throwing stones or casting aspersions, nor slandering the church or saying anything false or malicious. Only to probe the question “Has the church lost its edge or have we misplaced it?” A large number of those professing a relationship with Christ upon leaving the church service conduct their lives on par with those in the world who do not profess anything. It is a sad day in Christendom when it becomes difficult to distinguish the church group by their behavior from the un-churched. The church is allowing customs that are pagan in nature and questionable teaching (as Manny has pointed out) in our Churches, Universities, and Seminary that weakens God’s word in truth and provide no spiritual benefit to those who practice or endorse them.

Holiness was and continues to be, the Biblical standard for living. The command to live a holy life is found in both the Old and New Testament. “Be holy for I am holy (Leviticus 11: 44) and (1 Peter 1: 16).” In the Old Testament, man was not only to worship God, but was to imitate Him in their lifestyle. Their lives were to be a carbon copy of their Creator reflecting His moral character. Nothing that suggested even the least corrupt can be associated with God. They believed because they were commanded to be holy, which carried a dual responsibility, one positive and the other negative. The positive is; they are to emulate God, and keep His laws and do the right things. The negative and most difficult to achieve was the withdrawal from things impure and loathsome, and not to do the things you should abstain.

It was the duty of every Israelite to strive as was attainable under the law, whether it was physical or spiritual. They were to avoid whatever would defile them and keep them from living holy lives. The intention of imitating God may have had its’ roots in the Old Testament, but it also found its way into the New Testament. Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and Philippians gives support to this. “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children (Ephesians 5: 1).” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God (Philippians 2: 5 – 6).”

For moral reasons, correctly imitating God is in no way robbing God of what rightfully belongs to Him. To the contrary, we are ascribing to God what is His already. Jesus as our example while here upon earth was to glorify God through His life, and do the work that He was to accomplish. Our role is to emulate that of a servant, as Christ taught His disciples. Pointing out our Lord’s interest now becomes our interest.

Jesus asked the question in Matthew 6: “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” The light Jesus is talking about has a direct correlation to our conscience that regulates or controls our spiritual conduct. If our conscience is impaired, meaning not focused heavenward, it will become distorted and take on a different character determined by the amount of darkness that has crept into the church.

Lige Jeter

Attacks on the Scriptures Disguised as Support for the Bible

(By John Henderson)
There are at least two ways to talk about bologna. A favorite way, especially among those who are trying to undermine an established belief, is to begin with the raising, feeding, and slaughter of the animals. That is followed by a description of the processing of the meats and animal parts involved—parts you would never eat otherwise— all the way through to plopping down a loaf of bologna for the slicer.

It is then sliced and packaged nicely and sold as sandwich meat. You know it is bologna but enjoy the sandwich meat so much that you never think about the ingredients—which if you did, you might find the “sandwich meat” unappealing.

I prefer to talk about bologna by telling you at the start that it is bologna and working back from there. You have a better chance of not becoming confused about whether or not I am always talking about bologna.

So, what is the bologna to which I refer? To be fair, I have to identify it by name, and that includes the name of the writer and who published it so you can check behind me if you wish. I intend no ridicule of the publisher or the writer because I am interested only in the content of the article.

The article was published in “Holiness Today,” September/October 2012 and was written by Al Truesdale. The name of the article is, “Why Wesleyans Aren’t Fundamentalists.” It is available online at  NCN News.

I call the article’s conclusions and arguments bologna because they are false or unnatural meat with no resemblance to the meat of the Word. It begins with a bias, uses a host of logical fallacies, and concludes with circular reasoning that uses its on premise as the evidence for its conclusions.
I begin with a clearly stated biases. My bias is this: Christians have no other source for what they know and believe about the things of God other than what is written in the Bible. That leaves writers who take the approach as represented in this article with no external sources of legitimate authority so they must rely on what they can conjure up philosophically. One cannot discredit the Scriptures by referencing the Scriptures, especially since they are internally self-evident.
They will argue, as is done here, that they actually represent the inspired Scriptures but by the time they are finished with the qualifications for their reasoning, one is still left questioning the whole Bible, if only portions of it.
Truesdale’s arguments are focused on the presumed inadequacies of the argument for the inspiration of the Scriptures by “fundamentalists” (whom he narrowly defines to suit his narrative) and the supposed adequacy of the “soteriological” inspiration of passages ensconced in a collection that is not ”soteriological”. By “presumed”, I mean that he makes no case for what he accepts as a given. It is as though what he says about those matters are self-evident based on his description of them.
There is no need for me to take apart his argument here. There are ample published repudiations that do that very well. I am looking only at the pattern of his logic and approach. His data are pre-biased because they are arbitrarily selected and narrowly defined to fit his narrative, rather than to fit his narrative to a more comprehensive understanding of key elements such as fundamentalism in a wider-ranging definition.
For example, he neglects to tell us that Nazarene leaders of a previous generation at least, boldly declared Nazarenes as being fundamentalists.
Also, he calls his position Wesleyan but never directly quotes John Wesley or any of the early Wesleyan leaders in support of his “soteriological” position on inspiration. In fact, he never supports his claims for “soteriological” inspiration either from the Scriptures or reason.
There is no definitive identification of the “soteriological” versus “non-soteriological” passages. Especially he has not demonstrated how a perfect, infallible God would allow such a mixture of iron and clay in the only Book that is the sole source of revelational truth about the things of God. He breaks down and tears apart but he never builds. He leaves us with no alternative, from his argument, but a Bible that is part-inspired and part-pagan. However Wesleyan the writer thinks himself to be, John Wesley has already spoken on this issue that contradicts the entire argument: “Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.” – John Wesley – Journal (24 July 1776).

For additional reference:




95 Theses To The Modern Evangelical Church

​(​Greg Gordon​)​

I have revised many of these and also all of them are of a size that will fit on twitter and facebook easily to re-post. Pray about sharing these with others and sharing each theses individually. I believe many need to hear these truths and they are shared in the humility of my weakness and lack in my own Christian Life. May God in His mercy come and revive North American Christianity for His glory alone. “May the Lamb of God receive the reward of His sufferings in our lives today!”  – Greg Gordon (founder of SermonIndex.net)

1. The “church” at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God. (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 6:20; Mt 6:9; 1Cor 10:31)

2. Christians ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in the book of Acts. (Acts 2:42,44; Acts 2:46; Acts 2:38)

3. Many treat “church” like any other social club or sports event that they might attend. (Acts 2:46; Heb 10:25; Acts 1:14)

4. We’ve made Christianity about the individual rather than the community of believers. (Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:12; 2Tim 4:16)

5. In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged as the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)

6. The “church” as a whole has lost the concept of their being grafted into the promises given to Israel. (Rom 11:15, 17-18, 20, 25)

7. There needs to be a recovery of teaching the whole counsel of God, especially in expository form. (Acts 20:27; 1Tim 4:6, 2Tim 2:15)

8. We take it too lightly, the blessing and honor of having God’s Scriptures in our possession. (Ps 119:16; Acts 13:44; Neh 8:9)

9. There has never been more access to the Word of God, yet so little reading of it. (1Tim 4:13; Neh 8:1-3; Ps 119:59)

10. Some read the Scriptures to attain knowledge, but do not practice what they read. (Jam 1:22; Mt 7:21; 3Jn 4)

11. Worship has become an idol in many “churches”. The music often resembles the world. (Amos 5:23; Phil 4:8; 1Jn 5:21)

12. The world is shaping the views of the “church” more than the “church” shaping the world. (Rom 12:2; Mt 5:13; 1Cor 1:22-23)

13. The “church” spends more money on dog food than on missions. (2Cor 9:6; Lk 21:2; Acts 4:34-35)

14. We take lightly the cost of discipleship laid out by Jesus Christ and do not deny our lives. (Lk 14:33; Lk 14:26-27; Mt 8:19-20)

15. There is a lack of true discipleship and making others to be obedient disciples. (Mt 28:20; 2Tim 2:2; 2Tim 2:14)

16. Many subscribe to the error that parts of life are to be spiritual while others are to be secular. (1Pt 4:2; Col 3:3; 1Jn 2:6)

17. Modern Christians often find Jesus’ command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent. (Phil 2:21; Jam 3:16; Rom 12:1-2)

18. Self disciplines in the Christian life such as fasting and praying are considered legalistic. (2Tim 2:21; 2Tim 1:8; Mt 6:17)

19. Little thought and contemplation is put towards the lostness of men, the seriousness of the Gospel. (Phil 3:8; Gal 2:20; Heb 10:34)

20. We are living with an epidemic of cheap grace with flippant confession and shallow consecration. (Lk 14:28-30; Lk 14:26; Jam 4:8)

21. Since the inception of the Church, the Gospel had the requirements of repentance and discipleship. (Acts 2:38; Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31)

22. Now forgiveness is offered without repentance, discipleship without obedience, salvation without sanctity. (Heb 10:29; 4:11; Lk 13:24)

23. Introspection, counting the cost, godly sorrow over sin, are all foreign to many in the “church”. (Acts 2:37; Ps 119:9; Heb 6:1-2)

24. The modern church loves itself more than its neighbor. (1Cor 3:3; Gal 5:13; Phil 2:3)

25. The church must repent of its idolization of personality, and business principles. (2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 3:5; 1Cor 12:23)

26. Many elders and pastors of the “church” sadly are fleecing the flock to supply their own wants. (Jn 10:12-13; 1Pt 5:2-3; Rev 2:15)

27. The qualities most in demand in today’s pastorate are frequently foreign to the Scriptures. (1Tim 3:2-3; 1Tim 3:5; 1Tim 1:5-7)

28. The professionalization of the pastorate is a sin and needs to be repented of. (2Cor 11:13; Gal 3:1; Gal 2:6)

29. There must be repentance for the ambitious desire and idolization of the celebrity pastorate. (3Jn 9; Jer 17:5; 1Cor 12:22)

30. Pastors must trust the Spirit, not statistics. (2Sam 24:1; 1Cor 1:25; Rom 8:14)

31. Modern day prophets are being stoned by criticism and neglect. (2Tim 4:3-4; Gal 1:10; Jer 1:7-8)

32. God’s prophets are ill-treated and shunned by most “christians” considered too harsh or extreme. (Jer 6:10; Isa 6:9-10; Gal 4:16)

33. The prophets prophesy falsely, priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. (Mt 24:4, 11-12; 1Cor 1:19, Jude 8 )

34. There are many false gospels being preached from pulpits in our day. (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8-9; Jude 16)

35. There is an epidemic of a “mock” salvation message. It is correct in doctrine, but false in reality. (2Cor 3:6; 1Jn 5:11-12; Rom 8:9)

36. A salvation that does not make men holy is trusted in by a deceived many. (Jude 4; Rom 8:1; Rom 6:17-18)

37. There is a needed perseverance in the truths of the Gospel without unbelief. (Eph 1:1; Heb 6:11-12; Heb 10:26-27)

38. A great need is to see “christians” become saints in actual experience. (1Jn 2:29; Col 3:5-8; Tit 3:8)

39. Many professors of religion are forbidding people to be a part of the holy body of Christ. (Mt 23:13; Ps 119:1-2; 2Pt 1:3-4)

40. Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God. (Jn 6:26; Rom 4:20; 1Pt 4:11)

41. Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke. (Jer 6:14; Pro 1:23; 1Tim 5:20)

42. Run from gospels that focus on your success and prosperity in name of Jesus Christ. (Jn 2:16; Acts 20:33; Jer 6:13)

43. Run from gospels that focus on self-improvement. (1Tim 6:5; Heb 12:14; Jam 4:14)

44. Run from churches where men, and not Christ, are glorified. (Col 1:18; Jude 25; Jn 16:14)

45. Run from churches where there is no Bible, no cross, no mention of the blood of Christ. (1Pt 1:18-19; Eph 3:13; Rev 1:5)

46. Run from churches where the worship leaves you cold, where there’s no sense of God’s presence. (1Cor 5:4; Ps 80:14-15; Jer 12:11)

47. Run from churches where you’re comfortable in your sin. (1Cor 14:25; Heb 10:30-31; Heb 4:13)

48. Run from churches that use the pulpit of God for a personal agenda. (Jude 10-11,19; 3Jn 9)

49. Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. (Jam 2:4, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9)

50. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. (Jer 5:13; 1Cor 14:33, 1Jn 2:16)

51. Run from preachers who tell mostly stories and jokes. (Eph 5:4; Tit 1:8; 2:12)

52. Run from those that are only after money, who use one gimmick after another to get your money. (2Pt 2:3; 2Cor 12:14; 1Cor 9:18)

53. The phrase “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour” is not found in the Scriptures. (Rom 10:9-10; Col 1:13; Acts 26:20)

54. Evidence of true conversion does not seem important to modern day Christians. (1Jn 2:6; 1Jn 4:17; Mt 7:20)

55. Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute: Love! But continue in sin. (Rom 1:18; Acts 5:11; Ps 2:12)

56. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” has hindered true evangelism. (Rom 3:19; Acts 26:18; Phil 3:18-21)

57. A Gospel of love and grace only, without the law of God being preached. This is a doctrine of Satan. (2Tim 4:3-4; Rom 2:4-5; 3:19)

58. There has clearly arisen a careless mixture of 20th century reasoning with God’s revelation. (Col 2:8; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:6)

59. Decisionism and the “sinner’s prayer” has been a major cause of false conversions in the “church”. (2Pt 2:1-2; Eph 2:4-5; 2Cor 5:17-18)

60. Many will be surprised to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you, depart from me.” (Mt 7:22-23; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21)

61. Men have taken the place of the Holy Spirit in confirming men in their supposed salvation. (1Jn 2:3-5; 2Ths 1:8; Gal 6:12-15)

62. The doctrine of hell and eternal suffering is something little grasped by most professing “christians”. (Mt 13:42; Jam 5:1; Ps 9:17)

63. The judgment seat of Christ is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the modern pulpit. (2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 3:13)

64. The second coming of Christ needs to be re-instated as the church’s general thrust and burden. (1Jn 3:2-3; Col 3:4-6; 1Ths 4:14-17)

65. The church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God. (Heb 12:28-29; Lk 12:5; Heb 10:31)

66. The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals. (Acts 8:1,4; Acts 4:29; Rom 10:14)

67. Repentance is considered a one-time act in modern evangelism rather than a way of life. (Rev 3:19; Heb 12:17; 2Pt 3:9)

68. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is something that is not taught in many pulpits. (Acts 2:36; 1Cor 12:3; Rom 6:18)

69. Many in “churches” are not open to correction, church discipline or rebuke. (1Cor 5:5; 1Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:7-9)

70. Some preach salvation as a theory instead of persuading men to come to Christ. (Jn 5:40; Col 1:28; 2Cor 4:5)

71. There has been a loss of the fullness and majesty of the gospel. (1Tim 1:11; Jude 25; Rom 15:29)

72. There is little mention of sin or the depravity of man from “church” pulpits. (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5)

73. Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling of the world’s goods does not appear wrong. (Jer 22:17; 1Jn 2:15-16; 1Tim 3:3)

74. Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. (1Cor 15:14-15; Acts 4:10, 33)

75. The “church” has relied more on technology than God. (Zech 4:6; 1Cor 1:21; 2:4)

76. The prayer meeting is considered one of the least important meetings in the “church”. (1Tim 2:1; Acts 4:31; Phil 4:6)

77. Pastors have never prayed less than they do in the “church” today. (Jer 10:21; Phil 2:21; Eph 6:18-19)

78. Very few are waiting on God for His direction and purpose for His Church. (Eph 1:11; Ps 37:7; Isa 40:31)

79. The “church” has many organizers, but few agonizers. (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 9:1-3; Jer 9:1)

80. We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the “church”. (2Tim 4:2; 1Cor 14:39; 1Cor 12:31)

81. A serious, sober, self-controlled Christianity is very seldom found or preached. (2Pt 3:11; 1Pt 4:7; Jude 3)

82. The “church” at large has forgotten how to pray. (1Jn 3:22; Acts 6:4; 1Ths 5:17)

83. Many “churches” are more dependent on tradition than the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Mk 7:13; Acts 16:6; Acts 13:2)

84. Multitudes of professors preach and teach: that you cannot be freed from sin. (Rom 16:18; Rom 6:1-2; 2Pt 2:1)

85. The Apostles and Christ always preached the possibility to walk free from sin. (Tit 2:11-12; 1Pt 1:14-16; Rom 6:19)

86. Sinners are not saved to sin, but rather, saved to holiness and good works. (Rom 6:13; Eph 2:10; 2Pt 3:14)

87. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. (2Tim 2:19; 1Pt 4:17-18; 2Tim 3:12)

88. A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. (1Tim 6:3; 2Ths 3:6; 2Ths 2:13)

89. Many are confused about obedience, and good works that are readily mentioned in the Scriptures. (Tit 3:8; Jn 10:32; Rev 3:15)

90. Little emphasis is put on the plan of God to make us like Jesus Christ in “churches”. (1Pt 1:14-16; 1Jn 2:6; 1Pt 4:1)

91. Christ did not die on the cross to obtain a worldly “church” but for a “glorious Church.” (Eph 5:27; Tit 2:14; Col 4:12)

92. Christ does not come into an unregenerate and impure heart as many contemporary theologians say. (2Cor 5:17; Mt 5:8; Eze 18:31)

93. A holy Church is God’s blessing to the world; an unholy “church” is God’s judgment upon the world. (Mt 5:14,16; Eph 4:1; 1Ths 2:12)

94. If Christianity is to make any headway in the present time, it must be proved to be more than a theory. (2Ths 3:6-7; 1Ths 4:1,11-12)

95. Unbelief has gagged and bound us as risen Lazarus, we need release in this final hour! (Heb 3:12-14; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 11:6)

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.”

[2] http://missionventureministries.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/test-the-spirits-to-see-whether-they-are-from-god-1-john-41-6/.