A major deceitful doctrine in many churches today and held by their pastors as personal conviction is conveniently that God will not judge His people (or anyone else) for their sins because “He loves us,” when, in fact, His Word consistently declares otherwise (Jeremiah 5:10-13; 11:1-17; Acts 5:1-11; Hebrews 10:26-31). I was impressed recently to read 29-year old Rap star, Kendrick Lamar, charge that pastors fearful of losing church members refuse to preach the balanced truth that the holy God of love also judges sin not forgiven by whomever and as a perfect Father, disciplines His children! He has attempted to address this by telling the balanced truth about God in his music.5
Mr. Lamar is right about the motive of such pastors, of course, since the goal many have in selfish ambition is to build big churches, not biblically astute disciples as is the Kingdom priority in Scripture (Luke 24:25-45; Acts 18:24-28; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 1 Peter 1:22-2:3). A deceitfully constructed, one-sided view of God that has Him in love only looking out to put us into our next season of blessing is patently false; the teaching, a narcissistically crafted and peddled personal conviction inspired by that ancient, false “angel of light” who sends his messengers to obstruct the true light of God’s Word brought by those faithful to Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17, 4:1-6, 11:13-15, NKJV)!
Having been a pastor, I want to assure those faithful to Christ and His Word that I am not seeking to foment rebellion against your biblically sanctioned authority as teachers and leaders in His house (John 21:15-17; Ephesians 4:7-16; Hebrews 13:7-17). However, I remind us that have such authority and would please God to consider that we have the right to be heard authoritatively only as we stand in the Word as in water, not outside of it in our own opinions, convictions and disobedience. We can and should be righteously challenged (lest you lead a cult) once we are seen to be in conflict with or disobedient to God’s Word as the apostle Paul challenged the Judaizers and fellow apostle, Peter, in sinful hypocrisy and was not labeled divisive (Acts 15:1-5, 22-29; Galatians 2:1-5, 11-21)!
Think about it; under today’s standard of what constitutes divisiveness--righteously challenging the personally held convictions of a church pastor from the Word of God--the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul would be considered divisive! And since the carnal standard of divisiveness today is actually the same as it has always been, the Lord and Paul both suffered persecution at the hands of religious men (Luke 11:27-54; Acts 18:1-17). By the way, this is another reason virile, godly men are few in churches filled largely with females and males that are passive conformists: threatened pastors and elders that cannot be challenged from God’s Word label and bar or run them off as divisive!
After warning, “Let no one deceive you by any means,” the apostle Paul explicitly foretells by the Holy Spirit that preceding the Second Coming of our Lord and even the rise of the Antichrist, “the falling away comes first,” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, NKJV). Should we really expect Christian apostasy in its steady growth toward full, global flower to look any different than it does now? Though I am not surprised to see the reality of it having ebbed and flowed for centuries until exploding in the early 20th as I previously wrote, I am amazed as any faithful Christian at the swiftness, expanding breadth and multiple dimensions of Christian apostasy with its natural corollary rebellion in my lifetime.
Indeed, everyone (and particularly leaders in their sin) are typically pleased to have the negative aspects of God’s prophetic Word fulfilled in some far off future away from their present experience and plans (Isaiah 39; 56:9-12; Ezekiel 12:26-28; Amos 6:1-7). However, the reality of our times is inescapable; professed Christians as false and deceitful brethren from the pulpits to the pews proliferate among us as seen by their sinful lifestyles and corruption of God’s Word. No greater Authority than our Lord Jesus warns about and teaches us how to identify them (Matthew 7:15-20, 28:18). It is high time faithful Christians sober up and stop denying this reality. Such persons will be of our fiercest persecutors in days ahead as I have already tasted (Matthew 10:16-39, 24:9-10)!
Nevertheless, God uses the persecution of false and deceitful brethren to expose and eternally destroy them, while certifying His faithful--even every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ--as worthy of our glorious reward! For standing faithful to God in these latter days of worldly and professed Christian rebellion from apostasy involves what it always has: standing faithful to His Word to the end (Isaiah 8:11-22; Daniel 3; Mark 14:53-65, 15:1-39; John 15:18-25; Acts 6:8-15; 7:51-60; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-17; Revelation 2:8-11, 12:11)! This means now, no longer trusting solely what your pastor, elders or any other teachers say about the Word or do as their personal convictions (Mark 7:1-13), but becoming diligent Bible students to know for yourself.6
Kendrick Lamar grew up under teaching that by the personal conviction of leadership taught only that God was love; purposeful Bible reading as an adult showed him otherwise (Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 2:11-22). Also, let every faithful pastor be humble enough like Peter to be corrected from the Word when Paul confronted him; standing firm in the same, but gentle, correcting any in opposition to it as an example of servant-leadership before proceeding with more severe biblical measures (2 Timothy 2:23-26; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Let guilty corrupters of God’s Word repent; woe to all that will not (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Galatians 1:8-10; 2 Peter 3:14-17; Revelation 22:18-21)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
5 See Faithwire.com 5/5/2017.
6 Read the May 31, 2015 blog, What Does God’s Word Say? under the category, Instruction, then download the free Bible Interpretation Document offer that is made. Do
this especially if your pastor or elders will (or can) not equip you to properly interpret and apply God’s Word. You must take the initiative to learn how to do even this for
yourself since God will hold all accountable for the right handling of His Word. And do not feel obligated to stay in any church where the word of leadership as personal
conviction corruptly takes precedence and is forcefully demanded to be accepted over the rightly interpreted and applied Word of God (Colossians 2:1-10)!
The Lord has previously led me to write about the foretold apostasy in progress within professing Christianity.1 As well, He also had me write to instruct the faithful about the distinguishing mark of a true Christian and His call to stand firm for the faith as it is written in the pages of the Bible.2 In light of these unfolding, foretold times of pervasive falsehood, the Lord would have me briefly add to those important former instructions His warning about the critical need to avoid being led into error by those professing to be Christians that are outright false as impostors or true, but deceitful in disobedience who have no compunction about corrupting Scripture to further their own ends.
How easily many professed Christians, self-styled apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, secular political, social, cultural, educational and even non-Judeo-Christian religious figures quote the Bible to support their own ideas today. In so doing, by association with His Word, God is being portrayed as endorsing all manner of evil from fornication, abortion, shacking, divorce and same sex marriage to women taking authority over men in His house and religious ecumenicalism. I often wonder, are we all reading the same Bible? And of course, that question is complicated by the fact many are boldly creating corrupt Bible translations that support their theological bents.
Persons outside of a Judeo-Christian framework are following millennia of falsehood and deceit through biblical corruption by those within it that have justified and even blessed evil calling it good (Isaiah 5:20)! Their part in this matter is understandable given their complete alienation from God. But many come ostensibly into the faith as professed Christians and deceivers as they have since the first century to this hour and getting worse as foretold (2 Timothy 3:13). They willfully generate falsehood and false doctrines by corrupting not hard to understand Bible passages, but those that are plain as false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:12-26; Galatians 1:6-7, 2:1-5)!
It is entirely as foretold in these latter days by the Lord and His apostles (Matthew 24:1-5, 11; 2 Peter 2:1-3)! The leadership of typical professed Christian churches believes they can spot and have circled their wagons against the obvious onslaught of false messiahs, prophets and teachers with their falsehood. In fact, some are so closed up as I can attest, not even those that are biblically solid may address their flocks unless they walk in exact denominational and/or personal lock step with these leaders on every single point of doctrine they hold true. Which leads to an important question: who protects us from them when they become corrupters of God’s Word and deceivers as a result?
Sadly, too many superstar pastors with their adoring, supporting cast of church elders and/or deacons are elevating their personal convictions to the level of Scripture as the final authority that cannot be challenged lest one be considered divisive. Never mind apostolic instructions about the divisive person had to do with those that were in clear sin being disobedient to authoritative apostolic revelation and teaching as well as Scripture, not the personal convictions of pastors and elders themselves guilty of the same (Romans 16:17-20; Titus 3:9-11). These are men (and today, women) who as foretold seek to draw away disciples from Christ to make them their own (Acts 20:28-30).
Some of these pastors that cannot be challenged on their personal convictions are outright rebels, impostors or willful and de facto apostates as has been reported in secular and Christian media.3 Many are religionist keepers of the manmade church status quo; unwilling themselves and not allowing anyone else to challenge creeds, covenants, traditions and practices they know are not biblical to supposedly preserve unity and peace, but in actuality, their “jobs.” Others--especially of the larger churches--are puffed up in pride and arrogance believing that they stand above correction because of their education, position or success as though success alone confirms God’s approval (reality check: false messiahs, prophets, teachers, religions and cults have great success too!).
Starting with erroneous ideas and suppositions outside of Scripture, the personal convictions of pastors and elders as final authority that conflict with and disobey it span the behavioral and doctrinal spectrum in their churches. Or, for example, how can one sit in a mixed gender congregation with a Bible open to learn its authoritative instruction under a woman pastor, speaker or teacher and ignore what it plainly teaches forbidding her to do this (1 Corinthians 14:34-40; 1 Timothy 2:11-15)? Is it not because for whatever all of the reasons in deceit to include Christianity as a unique, American cultural form of religion, the pastor’s unchallengeable personal conviction on the matter has taken preeminent authority over what the Word of God says?4
1 Read my March 20, 2016 blog, Willful And De Facto Apostates under the category, The Faith followed by those referenced in its introduction.
2 Read the March 1-29, 2015 blogs under the category Instruction that further discuss what a real Christian and the true faith is.
3 Google “Apostate Christian Ministers” to find reputable articles like this one I found by Dr. Albert Mohler in 2010.
4 See the September 4, 2016 post, Christianity The Religion American Style, under the category, Call To Repent.
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