Are You Following Jesus Christ or That Other Jesus?

by Mike Ratliff

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7 ESV)

When we go through trials and tests I believe we need to do a great deal of self-examination. We should seek the face of our Saviour and as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this eon, but be transformed in the renewal of your mind, in the trying of yourselves, in what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God! (Apostolic Bible Polyglot) In our tough times we are humbled by our God and as we turn more and more to Him, He changes our entire mind-set. He transforms us according to His perfect will as we respond in obedience and repentance. It is through this that God prepares us to be His servants who can help others who are suffering. However, there is another aspect of this. He also cleanses us of the pollution of compromise. Our spiritual senses become razor sharp. Yes, we do take on more of our Saviour’s character and in this we also are given a level of spiritual perception that can easily spot the counterfeit that is leading so many professing Christians into apostasy.

Of course, this perception is discernment. I pray for wisdom, discernment, direction, and vision every day. This discernment is necessary for us my brethren because we are being bombarded continually by the deceiving work of our enemy as well as that of his seed. Never forget my brethren, the enemy does not come to deceive as one who is easily spotted as such. No, when he came to deceive Eve in the Garden, she was not repulsed nor did she suspect that the father of all lies was working to cause the fall of our race from life unto death. Yesterday, I did something I rarely do. I made a comment on someone else’s blog. A good friend sent me a link to a blog article by Tim Challies about a long visit he had with Rick Warren. She suggested I comment. I prayed about that and was surprised when I was not stopped from doing so. There is only so much one can say in a blog comment, especially since the vast majority of commenters were praising Tim for his “compromise” with one who is obviously, by his handling of the Word of God and the Gospel, showing his apostasy. I basically said that I believed his visit and relaxing of his stand on the these issues after meeting “Rick” was not wise.

I thought a great deal about that afterwards. I have over the last few weeks since my seizures and the death of my nephew really came to believe that God was drawing me to explore the depths of His grace and mercy as He takes us through these things. However, as I read the words of the writers of the New Testament, I see that they not only knew about and experienced these things, but they also were stanch defenders of God’s Truth and did not hesitate to expose false prophets and false religious leaders just as our Lord did. During my morning Bible readings today I read 2 Corinthians 11. The ESV subtitle for this chapter is “Paul and the False Apostles.” As I sat down this evening to seek the will of God for this article I prayed and realized that I needed to go over to Christian Research Network to check on what my brother Ken Silva was writing about. This all came together as I read about the latest nonsense from Tony Jones and Christianity 21, but interestingly, there were several articles dealing with Rick Warren. I pray that you will prayerfully follow all those links and as you read what God’s servants are exposing about that man think of the intense spiritual blindness and deception that surrounds him and his minions. My heart aches for those thousands, or is it millions now, who are blindly following that wide road that only leads to destruction. Our Lord told us not to be fooled by that wide and easy way.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:13-20 ESV)

An exegetical study of this passage revels that the fruit of a prophet is how those teachings and leadership enable its followers to crucify the flesh or not. The fruit of the false prophets have no power or ability to do that. The broad and easy way that leads to destruction is where the large crowds go and they are attracted to those churches such as Saddleback Valley Church because the appeal is to the flesh. The “gospel” offered to them is void of any mention of the fall of man or why each of us is a breaker of God’s Law. Instead, the appeal is a “gospel” to make one’s life better or to enable one to become able to make the world a better place. Never will you hear the real gospel at that church or those copies of it all over the world. The fruits of these places are not the good fruit of a transformed life of repentance, but one of people in the idolatry of religiosity and churchianity. Did you notice that our Lord said that we will recognize them by their fruits? Well we have recognized them and we have exposed them, however, there are huge numbers who have been deceived by these false ministries. Rick Warren is now looked to by Muslims as a spiritual leader. No matter how bizarre Rick and those who copy and follow him become, notice that they still hang onto their titles of “Christians” and “Pastors,” et cetera. Even Tony Jones and the rest of the “emergents” still insist that they are “Jesus followers.”

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:1-15 ESV)

Carefully read this passage my brethren. The Apostle Paul was dealing with a group of men who were entering the Corinthian Church proclaiming that they were apostles like him, but better. What do the Purpose Driven, emergents, outlaw preachers, et cetera do to attract their large crowds? Don’t they proclaim that they have a superior way of “following Jesus” than their followers are used to? Paul tells us that these “super apostles” are actually leading those they deceive to follow another Jesus with a another gospel. However, they are nothing more than false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. They are agents of Satan himself.

Much of the defense for men like Rick Warren is that they are extremely personable. They present themselves to those they are attempting to dupe as something other than they are. I tired of reading the praise of Tim Challies last night for his defense of Rick Warren because of this very thing. Since when is salesmanship and persuasion markers of authenticity? What I am asking each of you for in this is to prayerfully consider the truth. Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Church model has done tremendous damage to the Church. I doubt if any of us can calculate how much, but I assure you that God knows. God is Sovereign and has allowed this man and those like him to arise at this time. That does not mean it is right. It is more than likely a move by our enemy to seek to destroy the Church. However, I am convinced that this is not possible. Oh, like the Dark Ages before, we are in a new form of spiritual darkness invading the Church, but our Lord does not break His promises.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18 ESV)

Never forget this my brethren. Yes, the Church is being invaded and taken over by false prophets, pagans, and outright charlatans, but God always maintains His remnant. Let us pray for another awakening or reformation like that when God caused the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century and the Great Awakening in the 18th Century. Let us pray for God to raise up evangelists like George Whitefield and theologians like Jonathan Edwards again. Those of us who know the truth should dedicate ourselves to praying for this revival and for enemies of God’s truth to be exposed and deposed. Let us seek to obey our Lord in repentance in all we do. God has allowed this evil to overcome much of the visible Church more than likely because of the failure of our Christian leadership over the last 100+ years. God is not weak. God’s arm is not slack and what He wills to happen will happen. Our part is to be the Christians we are called to be and in this I call each of you to repent as God leads.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Apostolic Bible Polyglot

Copyright 1996 by Charles Van der Pool. Download PDFs or purchase the printed edition at apostolicbible.com

34 thoughts on “Are You Following Jesus Christ or That Other Jesus?

  1. Mike,

    We are living in a time when false teachers flatter men all the way to hell. The popular teachers which are so loved by the world are doing exactly what the scriptures say, “they will seduce with flattery those who are naive..”. Even in my work this week, I have witnessed to two coworkers, one who oohs and aahs at Joel Osteen and one who seems to see right through many of the lies. The one who oohs and aahs over Joel Osteen says that he hates preachers who tell him that he is a sinner. Fortunately by the grace of God I was able to explain why Joel is a hireling who tickles men’s ears to feed men’s flesh. The unsaved men in Joel’s audience are lured in by a seducing spirit much like the adulteress who calls out to the naive stranger passing by her house. The adulteress flatters the man so that he will come in and lay with her. Yes her husband is away and the woman’s persitent flattery draws him in. Much like an ox led to the slaugher. Read the example in the Proverbs. It is a great illustration of what is going on in Babylon these days.

  2. Hi Mike
    I went and read the post at Tim Challies. He recently wrote a book review/leafllet on the Shack, which was really good and discerning and I have used to help folks here understand why The Shack is to be left on the shelf. Perhaps if he met William P Young, he might change his view somewhat too…?

    We are all open to falling, to not listen to the Holy Spirit, to be caught up in the loveliness, kindness, good works and the charismatic persona, in lieu of obedience to what God has called us to. It is indeed tough at times to divorce the issues. The cunning of Satan knows no bounds, but God has indeed made a way for us not to follow through. The question is, will we obey Him.

    All through the reading of his article and also many of the comments, I could not help hear in the background, from Genesis 3, “Yea, hath God said….” Same old enemy, same old tricks. “There is nothing new under the sun…”

    My 16 yr old son came to me yesterday and asked me if I knew an American minister called Joel Osteen. I was quite fascinated as he is not involved with any such church stuff, I have not mentioned him to my son at all, and we don’t have cable TV or TBN or anything like that. It turns out that he has a young female friend here who is “all on fire for ‘jesus’ “, who is a big follower of J.O. and who has been sharing her excitement and enthusiasm with him. He came to me not to tell me how fantastic this man is, but that he was getting warning signals that something was amiss in all he was hearing. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement. To know that the Lord has shown him this and that he responded by checking J.O. out. As a mother who has been praying for her son, that the Lord might become a real, reality and not just an experience because he once said a prayer… , was an answer to prayer. We had a chat about J.O. and off he went glad he had come to me and glad he had been able to see the difference. Soli Deo Gloria!

    I pray that Tim Challies will heed the Holy Spirit in this situation, that he will not gloss over the adoring comments of his regular followers and allow his ego to get in the way, but first look to the Lord for an answer, then the to the many comments of those who are speaking the truth in love, that he will be able to understand what it means to Biblically judge, and not be swayed by a personality and humanity of another.

    Rick Warren has, as you say and as many of the commenters said too, caused immense damage to the church. I have seen this here in South Africa, in my own small circle.

    It is already a fearful thing to step up to the place of a teacher as the accountability is greater. Then it must stand, that it ought to be an even more fearful thing to be a teacher of falsity under the guise of Truth, but no one talks much about that out there…

    Bless you
    Steph

  3. I agree with you Mike. God does send false prophets and false shepherds as a judgment. Those who are unregenerate will love the error (hence the name ‘delusion’) so much that God will hand them over so that they can’t receive the truth. When God’s people recognize the apostasy of these false shepherds, their discernment will be sharpened. False converts will excuse others as well as themselves when falling prey to false doctrine. Some will even go so far as to defend their favorite idol at all costs. This too is evidence of apostasy.
    Recognizing deception is so taboo these days. The message that Jesus brought is a hard message. His word is a sword which causes division. Joel Osteen and Rick Warren destroy many through flattery. Their is no conviction of sin which leads to repentance. God winks at sin according to these 2 men. If the Lord had winked at sin when Jesus came in flesh, then he would have thrown a party at Calvary instead of dangling by his own bloody hands and feet in agonizing pain. Cupcakes, lollipops, and gummy bears would have been the activity of the day. Jesus got a beating, a mouthful of gravel, and metal spikes driven through his heels while his flesh was ripped off of his back. Can’t imagine the exhaustion he felt having to carry his own deathbed up that hill.

  4. Steph, Thanks for that link. Also, I rejoiced as I read of your and your son’s discernment. I believe I have been given the task of teaching on these things, but it is the task of everyone to look at these things themselves and listen to the Holy Spirit like you did. I think Tim is nice guy, but is letting his desire to be liked and not be offensive allow himself to be duped by these liars and charlatans. They are nothing more than false apostles or false prophets. I would never be asked by Rick or his buddies to come and shmooze with them because they know that I detest “dialogue.” If they want a debate then let’s go, but I will not compromise on any of God’s truths. Ever! I suppose they thought that Tim was open to that. I pray that he is not.

  5. I read through the comments on Challies’ site, and was amazed at the support! I should have known better, I suppose, as I keep hoping people will become more discerning. Alas, they aren’t. Needless to say, when I saw your name, and the name of a friend, I felt comfort. I knew that at least the two of you were standing for the Truth and holding Tim accountable.

    I stopped reading his articles some time ago when I began to sense this liberal side coming out. Well, he gave Rick Warren a pass. Let’s see what happens when his reviews his new book later this year. Perhaps, if we pray, God will remove Tim’s blinders.

    All this to say, Mike, keep up the good fight.

    Heather

  6. Thank you Heather, I rejoiced as I read of your discernment here. Yes we are to be Spirit-led and should pray for and help each other, but we are also to never compromise with evil. Your take on Tim is right on my sister.

  7. As Steph as mentioned, Tim Challies had been for some time a favourite resource, indeed, I have issued to everyone I know, during the last 12 months, Internet and none, Tim Challies review of “The Shack” as a means of individual discernment resource (prayerfully delivered).

    Yesterday morning, happened to go on Twitter (have not been visiting much of late) and read a “Tweet” entitled “My Visit to Saddleback Church – Rick Warren – Tim Challies ” and discerned, with a sigh, worldly compromise afoot, confirmed upon visit and perusal of article on Mr Challies site.

    Locally, have been, as Jude, sounding the trumpet with regard to; Toronto Charismania, Alpha, Purpose Driven, Saddleback, Emergent, Liberalism, and Universalism et al., for some years now, and as such have been ostracized.

    (Similiarly, during the last 12 months on Christian Internet Forums, of which the Lord spoke to me, clearly).

    Locally, the churches are empty – void of The Gospel of Jesus Christ preached, whole counsel of God, rightly divided. All sorts of weird and whacky programs rolled out in addition to the Autumnal (Fall) Alpha Course Supper Sessions!

    Back to Mr Tim Challies, alas, upon reading his latest scribe, I was truly saddened, though not surprised in the least.

    Sadly, forsaken compromise is very much the flavor of this dark age in which we live. I do believe it is “Temptation”

    With sincerity of heart, I am praying for Tim Challies.

    Yours In Christ,

    Karen

  8. Amen, Mike, as soon as we compromise even just a bit, I have found that what begins is a slippery slope into all manner of apostasy and unrighteousness. If we fail in our walk, we confess, repent, and ask the Holy Spirit to refill us. We must forever be on guard.

    Compromise is extremely dangerous!

  9. Amen Heather, that slippery slope is almost indiscernible by those on it because it is accompanied by the deepest spiritual blindness. It is shows up in at first in making excuses for compromise then it leads to eventual complete buy-in to the lies. Oh Lord, keep us from being deceived here!

  10. Pingback: Are You Following Jesus Christ or That Other Jesus? (Mike Ratliff article on Challies and... - Rapture Forums

  11. Ecumenicalism. We were just dicussing this with another Sovereign Grace pastor. Its another gospel and we are not to ‘mingle’ with them. Then they call us unloving and hyper calvinist. We are not. We do have the truth and what Josh said was right on about the false teachers and preachers and WHO it was that sent them for the delusion. Good post Mike.

  12. Paul and Luann, right now it’s just these types of insults and exclusions, et cetera, but before long the point of decision between the narrow and wide ways will be a matter of life or death. Being Reformed is no cure for being deceived. I am seeing more and more reformed Christian leaders show their true liberal colors over these points. We are being tested through this you know. How we respond to the call to stand firm or not is an eternal decision…

  13. Thanks for standing for the truth Mike. By the way, Tim mentions in his post that Rick has read many of the works of Jonathan Edwards. This must not be the Edwards that I know, the one that wrote Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, because when I think of the polar opposite of Edwards I think of Rick Warren and Joel Osteen

  14. Paul, thanks! I agree with you about Rick. He is full of paradoxes, which makes him a lot more like the Emergents than most people think. They use these scriptural paradoxes to discount the passages they don’t like. I see a lot of that in Rick as well.

  15. Paul N, regarding Jonathan Edwards, I made just that comment the other day on a forum. What does he have in common with that sermon? Absolutley nothing!

  16. Mike,

    When God decides to expedite this nation’s final demise, I have to believe that one of the reasons for it will not only be the abortion, the drugs, homosexuality, filthy lucre (gambling and prostitution), or the lawlessness. It will be because one of our greatest exports throughout the world is our false shepherds and the false doctrines that they have spread throughout third world countries. One of your bloggers is from S. Africa. I wonder if regenerate believers over there ever get absolutely sick of the garbage that the American church (TBN Word of Faith) spreads to that part of the world. It is almost as if our false prophets go on tour with their snake oil, stopping and sucking the local peoples of their last dime. Look at Benny Hinn and his crusades around the world. People flock to him and his minions from TBN believing that if they give to them, that their pigs won’t die, their cattle will grow fat, they will never get sick, and their rice fields will always yield 100 fold.
    A lot of people say that Rome or the catholic church is the woman riding the beast. Perhaps that is true seeing that the Ecumenical movement is spiritual harlotry. It is part of the same delusion which plagues the visible church around the world. Rick Warren’s ecumenical ties show that he isn’t any different than Rome. He is still part of that system as it appears.

  17. Hi Mike, may I respond to Josh..?

    Hi Josh, those of us in South Africa who are born of the Spirit, do get sick of the TBN trail of revolting ministry and deceit and we have out own version too – TBN Africa. We have it all here in much smaller doses than you do, and some do visit here too.

    The Rhema Bible Church here invited Benny Hinn amidst great fan-fare and advertising. His daily show (can’t remember its name right now) runs here too. So many just looooove it. A friend of mine, her mom and dad are both besotted with him, even after the mom questioning me about Hinn and me having a pretty straight discussion with her. She obviously had concerns otherwise she would not have questioned what I thought of him and his ministry to begin with, and yet they still traipse after him…

    There was the “Holy Laughter” revival which got to your shores too, which I think may have begun here in Cape Town years ago, by our very own Rodney Howard Brown. It swept through many of our more liberal churches like a dose of salts. I remember that taking place and watching from a distance, very afraid of getting involved in it as some of my friends did – they absolutely craved to “get some”, but even back then as a teenager, I knew this was not a good thing. It was the Lord who held me back.

    Then we have the Nigerian crowd of evangelists who are nothing more than the Benny Hinn / WOF sorts, sucking money out of Biblically ignorant masses, believing that they will get more if they give more. These churches are really big (not by the USA standards) but big for here. We also have our own home-brewed variety of prophets and healers. There are also some men of God who are Biblically sound, but they are very few and far between.

    Todd Bentley was here night after night on God TV, like a crack drug for many….So many lives have been destroyed here because of all the lies and filth that is spewed out of mouths in the name of “God”, and people are left broken and disillusioned because of what they have been told being a Christian is all about and because they “said a prayer” somwehere…

    I could go on, but I won’t as I am sure you get the picture.

    It is as sad here as anywhere else. As long as people are people (and people are people no matter where you live) and the false gospel is preached in any form, the lure of the flesh with huge reward of some sort that comes easy, will always have many followers – Schuller, Osteen, Hinn, Jakes, Bell, Bentley, McCLaren, Hybels prove this… the list is sadly, immensely long.

    I have come to understand that these verses below are crucial to our relationship with Him.
    John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    We will never get to know His voice unless we are prepared to let go of any agenda we may have for our own lives and allow Him to help Himself to ours. Period. It begins with Him and ends with Him. I have often wondered how many go hard after God just for Him and to get to know Him on His terms and not for what He potentially could give them. To be given so much through the finished work of Jesus on the cross is above and beyond anything we deserve, and anything else the Lord chooses to bestow on us is His Sovereign right and immense grace.

    The thought of the Lord one day saying these terrifying words in this passage of Scripture below, should be enough to have all these false teachers and so called ‘prophets’, and their followers on their faces before Him in utter agony of repentance, but alas they twist the meaning around to mean that they are indeed one of His sheep, and it is us who are not saved if we follow not their ways…or they ignore these passages altogether, blaming them on bad translation or even easier, do away with the Bible and write their own…
    Luke 13: 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

    Bless you brother :-)

  18. Hi Josh,

    Ditto Steph’s posting.

    Same here in UK, and continue to endure US “Stars” of “Platform Ministry” over here, in addition to SA Rhema Church Ray Macauley; Reinhard Bonnke, and, of course, Rodney Howard Browne – false prophets, false teachers, spiritual deception.

    November 2009, we have Paul Washer arriving here in the UK – Biblical truth.

    Jesus said, clearly, there are few (Matthew 17:13-15) who walk on His Narrow Way of pilgrim Biblical Truth.

    And that, is the truth!

    Blessings to everyone.

    In Jesus precious name,

    Karen

  19. Steph and Karen,

    I enjoyed reading both of your responses. Very informative.
    I once listened to Paul Washer talked about his street preaching to a group of Latin Americans in a foreign country. He said that the people down there are so tired of the snake oil salesmen that they would have literally killed him if he began to ask for money during the time that he was preaching there. But as you know, Paul Washer is not one who will peddle the word of God for profit.

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