by Mike Ratliff
Τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει ὅτι ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως προσέχοντες πνεύμασιν πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων (1 Timothy 4:1 NA27)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to the deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons; (a personal translation of 1 Timothy 4:1 from the NA27 Greek text)
The growing apostasy of the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) is being made tragically more obvious to those with discernment as many in its leadership are now openly endorsing the teachings of Roman Catholic mystics as part of a package of “drawing closer to God” or “responding to a hunger or thirst for God.” These are not baseless charges my brethren nor are we throwing stones simply to draw people to read posts and boost our ratings. Forget that…
No, instead, go to these posts and read the evidence for yourself:
In the last two articles, I pray that you do watch the videos of Gary Thomas. In the last post he is pushing his book Thirsting for God. I was sickened as I listened to him attempt to validate the mysticism of Catholic Mystics by including them with the solid names of Martin Luther and John Owen. In any case, what separates “Protestants” from “Roman Catholics” is a great deal more than a few mere disagreements on minor doctrinal points. The very reason the Protestant Reformation took place was not just to create other denominations outside of that Roman Catholic Church. No! The problem is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and a doctrinal position of Justification by Faith alone not works that we hold to that the Roman Church does not. As long as they preach a corrupt Gospel then we must “protest” and remain separate.
What’s wrong with “Mysticism” or as some call it now, “Spiritual Formation?” In the Old Testament, it was referred to as witchcraft and the consulting with “familiar spirits” (Leviticus 20). It was punishable by death. In the New Testament, the same thing is referred to as Demons and deceitful or seducing spirits (1 Timothy 4:1-3). Before we dig into this passage, I want to make comment about two approaches to living this Christian life this side of eternity. I used to be like most people in that I approached my walk the same way I did the rest of my life. That is, I was pragmatic and experiential. That means that I sought my fulfillment in and through my walk as a Christian in a subjective way, that is, through feelings. The second way, and the way I that God is working in my heart continually to learn and apply, is to walk objectively.
We are Christians not because we dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s. No, we are Christians because of the Monergistic work of God as is clearly revealed in Sacred Scripture. God is Sovereign and those in Christ are chosen, drawn, and justified and are being sanctified by the will of God according to His sovereign power and grace. Now, what about this walk? We grow in Christ and remain in Christ the same way, but in this, our walk is synergistic. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). In this we must pray, repent, and fail and struggle, but we are still in God’s almighty sovereign, protective hands. Therefore, we must learn to approach this walk objectively just as we look at our salvation. If we make the mistake of slipping to subjectivism then we shall become susceptible to the wolves who are everywhere peddling their books and programs attempting to seduce us with the doctrines of demons to follow all sorts of fleshly or mystical oriented methods that are disguised as ways to “fulfill our thirst for God” but who have only those teachings that are lies from the demonic realm (Ephesians 6:12; James 3:15; 2 John 7-11).) Never forget that Satan and demons constantly work the deceptions that corrupt and pervert God’s Word.
Τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει ὅτι ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως προσέχοντες πνεύμασιν πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων, ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων, κεκαυστηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν, κωλυόντων γαμεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων, ἃ ὁ θεὸς ἔκτισεν εἰς μετάλημψιν μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσι τὴν ἀλήθειαν. (1 Timothy 4:1-3 NA27)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to the deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons; through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared, forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from foods, which God created for partaking with thanksgiving by believers who know the truth. (a personal translation of 1 Timothy 4:1-3 from the NA27 Greek text)
The words “some will depart from” translate the verb ἀποστήσονταί, which is the Future, Middle form of ἀφίστημι or aphistēmi, “to withdraw from, have no intercourse with.” Those who fall prey to false teachers will abandon the Christian faith even if it appears that they remain in their churches. How can this be? It can be if their churches apostatize along with them. This Greek word is the source of the English word “apostatize,” and refers to someone moving away from an original position. These are professing or nominal Christians who associate with those who truly believe the Gospel, but defect after believing lies and deception, thus revealing their true nature as unconverted.
Never forget, the genuine Gospel message and the good doctrines of our Faith are OBJECTIVE facts which are never validated via subjective feelings. The doctrines of demons will always play on drawing the unconverted into doubt and then pushing the subjective need to feel some empty perceived “need” that they were not getting met simply by knowing and believing the truth and growing in grace (Romans 12). Thus is the nature of our enemy’s deceptions.
I pray that you noticed that deceivers like Gary Thomas and those who validate him are all about meeting their “followers” perceived subjective needs. Why not simply give them the wonderful good news of our salvation, from where we were saved and to where we are going in eternity? Isn’t that enough?
Soli Deo Gloria!