by Mike Ratliff
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 ESV)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
The great divide between what is genuine Christianity and what claims to be, but isn’t, is becoming more and more clear, it seems, everyday. We have seen the type of “Christian” that the Purpose Driven Church paradigm produces in the sorry situation in which a PDC apologist, Richard Abanes, attempted to get a Christian blog taken off line by threatening the blogger’s ISP with a legal action implying that a certain post contained objectionable, slanderous, or libelous material against him. I am convinced that this is only the beginning. This incident was the result of a “debate” in which the blogger, Ken Silva, refused to back down against the insistence by Abanes that any attempt to show the unbiblical nature of the seeker-sensitive, church growth, or Purpose Driven paradigms was inherently devious and wrong.
This apologist’s form of debate takes the form of seeking to overwhelm whoever he is confronting with point-by-point critiques that are designed to frustrate any response. He implies that whoever he is debating has been judged by God on the scales of justice and has been found lacking. He used that one on me once. In any case. The article on Ken Silva’s blog which he wanted removed was over 3 years old. The message we are receiving from the Purpose Driven movement is that it is not to be criticized by anyone. They will not allow any negative exposition that shows the unbiblical nature of it or of Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E plan.
I read a comment today from a youth pastor who frequents a blog that is highly critical of Christian Research Network. In response to the fact that slander was never proved, this young man stated that slander doesn’t have to be proven as long as Richard Abanes felt like he had been slandered. Now think with me here. What does this reveal to us? Isn’t this the same thing that is preached in the counterfeit Church in that our religion is one of choice, and that how we serve God is up to us, and that the Purpose Driven method of doing church by what the majority of people desire is right while preaching the Word, and Worshiping God according to His will is old-fashioned and ineffective? Instead, the New Evangelism, the Purpose Driven Church Paradigm along with the Word of Faith Movement all “do church” according to what pleases people. This is all focused on pleasing men not God. The result is tragic as the gospel they preach is neutered by removing any mention of sin, judgment, and hell.
Watch the video below as a worldly youth Pastor argues with a street evangelist insisting that telling people they are sinners is ungodly and wrong.
I have been saying for sometime now that God is clarifying His church. The counterfeit church is the predominate form of Christianity right now, however, it takes many forms itself. There are Unitarians and other Universalists. There are many forms of Liberal Churches. There are some who are all wrapped up in works salvation. Then there are the Word of Faith churches and their leaders. Even though they all appear quite different, they all have one thing in common. They are all about being men-pleasers. They insist on being called Christian and seek to be unified together as mainstream churches with the cry that we should ignore our doctrinal differences and simply unite because we claim the same saviour. However, our Lord’s standards are quite a bit higher and more demanding.
“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)
I have always understood that fruit in our Lord’s parables usually equated to works, however, what we must never forget is that the doctrines we hold are also part of that. What we teach and preach is part of our fruit. Therefore, how can we know false prophets and preachers and churches to stay away from? We look at their doctrines and if they are not biblical then we have nothing to do with them. This implies that we must know proper doctrine. That is important, but fortunately genuine Christians also have the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must pray and know the Word of God so that we can know the truth and never compromise it. The number one indicator that a church or preacher or teacher is false is whether what they teach and preach is focused towards God’s glory alone or if its focus is to please men. The former are Biblical Churches, preachers, and teachers. The latter are false churches, false preachers, and false teachers.
Never forget that no one is saved by religiousity. They are not saved by witnessing signs and wonders. They are not saved by being part of a ministry that is lead by a charismatic leader. No, that is just religiosity and it saves no one. The only way a person can be saved is to hear the Gospel preached . This Gospel is the whole Gospel which includes the Law, Sin, the coming of Christ to be our redeemer and advocate, the bloody cross, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. All are necessary components of the genuine Gospel. The genuine Gospel is confrontational as we see in the video below. A word of caution. About halfway through this video Ryan, the street preacher, is interrupted by a man shouting obscenities which are extremely audible.
Follow this link to a post by my friend Loretta Heiden about her recent experiences in taking part in a street preaching push in the San Francisco Bay area. The video above is part of that push. Did you notice how that young man, Ryan, was accosted and interrupted, but never stopped preaching? I wept through that part. How sad! However, the worldly lost people out there are not our enemies. The enemy of the Church right now is Satan and he is working overtime in the Counterfeit Church to stifle the Gospel by placing ungodly men in the pulpits of those churches. That is why we focus so much here on teaching the truth from God’s Word so that those reading it will learn and then know how to tell the difference between God’s Truth and the world’s truth, which is straight from the mouth of Satan.
Soli Deo Gloria!