Recently I heard a very well-known minister make some disturbing comments. This pastor of thousands, author of several books, the son of a very well-known minister, made comments about the Bible that are simply scary. Early in the video I saw of one of his teachings, he makes it clear that the Old Testament books are nothing more than manuscripts. He further states a little further in the video that Matthew took it upon himself to add women to the genealogies of Jesus, dismissing the idea that Matthew was inspired by God to mention them.
If that wasn’t enough, referring to Matthews first recorded encounter with Jesus in Matthew 9:9, he discounts the teachings of some that are based simply on what the Scriptures tell us, that Matthew simply responded to Jesus’ command to follow Him by immediately getting up to follow Him, on the basis that there isn’t enough information to draw such a conclusion. He then proceeds to take about five minutes to throw in what he believes took place between verses 9 and 10 of the same chapter, as though it were a fact, even though there is absolutely no reference or hint of such in the passage. This is a double-standard on his part.
In response to questions the disciples of Jesus asked Him about His return and the end of the age, the very first thing He tells them in Matthew 24:4 was to “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Jesus didn’t tell this to people who were not His followers, people who are already deceived, but to those who are His followers. Despite His warning to those who follow Him to not be deceived, we can see that many within church circles, including the leadership, have become deceived in one way or another. I heard it once said that the best lie is the one that is 99% true, realizing it is the 1% that can lead people astray to “another gospel”.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and that most definitely includes what we know to be the Old Testament. Paul also goes on to say in the same passage that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Scripture is to be the final authority in the life of a Christian, and to view Scripture in any other light leads us to the “another gospel” Paul referred to in his letters. In 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Paul shares how he’s afraid that they have embraced “another gospel” just as Eve believed the lies of the serpent, and in Galatians 1:8-9 Paul makes it clear that anyone who preaches “another gospel”, different from what he had already given them, they should be accursed.
As previously indicated, Paul tells us that all Scripture, including the Old Testament, is given by inspiration of God, so any gospel that minimizes the value and role of all Scripture in the life of a Christian is a gospel different from the one that he gave us. In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul also tells us that in the last days many Christians will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of demons. Paul gives us one of the biggest reasons why Christians will pay attention to seducing spirits and the doctrines of demons in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. In that passage many Christians in the last days will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires will instead embrace teachings and teachers that satisfy their itching ears, turning from the truth and unto fables. I had a person once tell me that the doctrines of demons were in reference to doctrines about demons, but that is not what the passage indicates. Rather, it is about doctrines that are inspired and promoted by demons.
In Colossians 2:8, Paul further instructs us not to be taken captive by the hollow and deceptive philosophies of some, philosophies and teachings that are based on human tradition and the basic principles of this world. This could easily point to teachings that are based more on Christianized “pop psychology” than on what Scripture tells us. One of the biggest problems of Christianized “pop psychology” is that it attempts to deal with symptoms that interfere with life and relationships, instead of the root cause of sin and the subsequent results of unrepented sin.
It has been the attempt of the world for centuries to devalue and discredit the Word of God, a tactic of the enemy of our souls to keep us from what God has for us. In fact, we can see this all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It is in the garden that we see Eve having a conversation with the serpent, the mouthpiece of the devil, a conversation focused on the serpents attempt to get Eve to question what God had said and become disobedient to God. While it has been the world that had been trying to convince people to question and discredit the Scriptures, now we are seeing that happen within church circles. It used to be that some Christian leaders would focus their teachings on certain portions of Scripture, often ignoring or twisting other portions to conform to the beliefs they were promoting. But now, there are some that would like for us to question the intent behind what the Scriptures say, and then to interject what they believe God would have us to know despite the clear contradictions they have with Scripture. They take the apparent approach that at least part of the Bible is not inspired of God, which gives them license to change even the obvious that contradict their beliefs to promote “another gospel”. Sometimes they even have the attitude that God didn’t really mean what was written, and that God needs them to help clear up these issues and make known what God’s intent originally was. These mindsets seem to be especially common among those who believe the church and its teachings should “evolve” into what is best “relevant” to the world, teachings and mindsets associated with some “seeker sensitive” churches, as well as the “emerging church” that believes a “new church” needs to be the influential church in the days we now live in. This is a spiritual “cancer” of sorts to the Body of Christ.
Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 that we are not to be conformed to this world, but instead be transformed by the renewing of our mind. What I just described is a picture of many churches and church leaders who are being conformed into the same mindsets of the world, mindsets that question and challenge the all-inspired, infallible Scripture and God’s original intent behind it. The person I mentioned in the beginning of this blog is doing just that. He denies that all Scripture is inspired of God and infallible, he questions even the clearest of passages and those who teach accordingly, and then interjects as fact his opinions of what was going on. For this person, the Bible is not the final authority, a clear contradiction to what his dad is known to teach.
It may not be up to us to target and expose those who embrace such teachings, but it is our responsibility to study Scripture to know the truth, and to steer clear of cancerous teachings and their promoters, being careful with how we influence others in this. In 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV), Paul tells us to study [the Scriptures] to show ourselves approved to rightly divide the word of truth. No matter who the person is, never take what they say or write about as gospel without first checking the Scriptures for yourself. Don’t just focus on the Scriptures they are presenting, but check with how it holds up to all Scripture.
Deception will be rampant in the last days, the days we are now living in. Deception will manifest itself in many different forms, whether it is the twisting of or taking out of context portions of Scripture, or simply denying it as fully God inspired and being the final authority in the life of a believer, just to name a couple. The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:8 gave us some sobering advise we should heed, and even more in the days we are now living in. Don’t be deceived by those who don’t value Scripture or believe it to be the final authority in all areas of a Christians life. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can embrace what you think is good and okay while rejecting what is not, because the very beliefs and mindsets these teachers have will bleed into every other facet of their life and ministry, and before you know it you will be embracing all their teachings.
One last thing. Don’t be fooled into accepting what they teach just because the supernatural is present in their life. While it is true that the supernatural should be present in the life of a believer, we need to remember that the devil can counterfeit some of what God does in the supernatural. Scripture should be the final authority even in the midst of the supernatural. Some argue that if it’s not in Scripture then it’s not of God, but as I pointed out in a blog I wrote sometime back, just because it’s not in Scripture doesn’t mean it’s not of God since Scripture tells us not everything Jesus did is recorded. The issue isn’t whether it is or is not in Scripture, but instead whether it conflicts or contradicts with what is already in Scripture.
Don’t be deceived!!
John Johansson (Pastor John)