by Mike Ratliff
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15 (NASB)
False prophets have infiltrated the Church since the very beginning. Also, disingenuous professors have always plagued churches. There has not been a time when the church has been free from enemies within. However, in our time the church is the sickest it has ever been. False prophets beget false doctrine, the doctrine of demons, for the false believers that flock to them. Sound Doctrine is no longer tolerated. Expository preaching and teaching is ignored or shouted down. This is happening not between Christians and non-Christians, but between professing Christians in the “name” of Christ. The Church has become polluted with the ways of the world, which demands no offense to anyone. If doctrinal disagreements happen, the resultant “debate” soon resembles some sort of all out gang war. Those holding sound doctrine will often be condemned and threatened and pressured to abjure to their opponents view using every imaginable tactic. When he or she refuses to give in to the onslaught then those on attack will escalate it to something like this, “either you ‘repent’ and apologize publicly for this (not giving in) or I will ruin you. I will warn everyone about you.” Of course those other ravenous wolves demanding that he or she give in are chiming in with all sorts of threats such as, “either you … or I will pull my support for your ministry” Again, what was their crime? They held a doctrine and presented it as the truth. Those in disagreement did all they could to silence the offender for good. They did not try to understand the point of the accused even when it was given plainly. The fact that he or she would not cave in to the pressure made them a target. Interestingly, the only and best way to end this is to simply do the Christlike thing, end the discussion and walk away. Of course, then they will be accused of being spiritually proud, etc. However, didn’t our Lord get accused of much worse than that?
No folks, these are not non-Christians doing this but supposed Christians doing this to other Christians. We can no longer disagree on anything. If we do, then we will have the thought police down upon us to make sure we knuckle under to their will. How did we get here? How did the Church become full of factious war with hit squads and secret police?
14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. 1 Peter 4:14-19 (NASB)
Is God judging the Church? I believe He is. I believe that the Church is lurching forward toward the culmination of a couple of centuries of bad doctrine and compromise with the World. The sick Church we have now is the product of the downgrade that began in the 19th Century. Some may even go back to the compromises that came upon the Church after the Puritan era. In any case, it is full of false prophets and false professors who will not endure sound doctrine or those who hold it and teach it. Why would God allow this to happen to the Church?
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. Romans 1:18-19 (NASB)
This is the key. Unrighteousness suppresses the truth. Why? The ungodly cannot endure the truth. They hate it. What does this tell us then? The Church has many ungodly in it who suppress the truth. Many are leaders. Many have ministries. Many have been in the ministry a very long time and looked great and wonderful for decades, but now their apostasy is being revealed for all to see. God always judges unrighteousness. Since the Church is being ravaged then we must believe that God is allowing this to happen for His purposes. He is judging the Church.
However, I have good news. God always works with a Remnant. There is always the invisible True Church within the visible Church that has the godly and ungodly side by side in it. The Remnant of godly believers will be the targets of the thought police who are Satan’s seed being used by God to cleanse the bride of Christ. When the attacks come upon them because they hold to sound doctrine, they must not lose heart, but keep their eyes fixed upon their Lord while continuing to run the race set before them by God.
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)
Persecution will come. We must not lose heart, but simply continue to obey our Lord in all that we do.
Soli Deo Gloria.