17
Jan
14

Counterfeit vs Truth


A few years ago I wrote a lot about the false beliefs and practices of extreme charismatics. Recently I’ve been writing quite a bit about the equally false beliefs of cessationists.

I see these vastly different groups as the opposite sides of the SAME counterfeit coin – a coin minted to dishonour the Holy Spirit.

Almost five years ago I wrote the following article. It seems relevant enough to recent discussion to repost it and add the question: How much do we genuinely desire the Truth?

TRUTH or Tolerance and Compromise?

(originally posted here 26 May 2009 http://onefiles.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/truth-or-tolerance-and-compromise.html )

17 jan 2It is becoming increasing evident that the teachings of men have replaced the authority of scripture in the church’s theological foundations. The evidence has become overwhelming. Rather than accept and trust scripture, people will go to all kinds of lengths to explain why it doesn’t mean what it is clearly saying.

We have Calvinism redefining salvation and the means by which God has made it available. Then there are the extreme charismatics who have redefined signs and wonders and have turned God’s love into an expression of His desperation to be accepted. And what about the “extreme prophetic” and the “New Apostolic Reformation”? They’ve created new definitions of the prophetic and apostolic.

No matter which direction we turn there’s someone trying to improve on the truth God has provided in His written word.

I don’t know how many feel the same kind of frustration that I’ve been experiencing increasingly over the last year. From regular involvement with a variety of blogs and forums I’m coming across more and more people who are content to tolerate clear cut doctrinal error.
The first clear (recent) examples came in response to concerns about Todd Bentley and his Lakeland “revival”. No matter how weird and perverse things became there were always those who jumped up to defend what was happening. No matter how aberrant the preaching; no matter how many flaky prophecies were given; no matter how much occultic mysticism was mixed with a sampling of bible quotes – there was always a stridently vocal cheer squad singing the “revival’s” praises and condemning the ‘heresy hunters”.
Even Bentley’s open immorality was not enough to open the eyes of many. Instead the support continues.

But the modern day charismanic circus is only one aspect of the problem. The deceiver knows that you can’t tempt everyone with the same flavours. There are other things he provides for the unwary to taste. Those without a sweet tooth, who are not attracted to fluffy, sugary carnival treats, might prefer something a bit meatier; something with more substance. While the extreme charismatics prefer a scripture-lite approach that shuns “traditional interpretations”, others cling to traditional teachings as if they have the authority of scripture itself. They prize scripture – as long as it’s been filtered through a trained and ordained intermediary. We are made to think scripture is beyond the average believer and contains mysteries that are best left to those more qualified to seek out its truths.
And so centuries’ old traditions are passed from generation to generation and defended ferociously should they be challenged.

My personal journey over this last year (and more) has included experience with these opposite extremes of Christian tradition. One group interprets scripture through a centuries old theological system while the other group seems to make things up as they go along.

One group gives lip service to the authority of scripture while in reality authority is given to their theological tradition and how IT interprets scripture.
The other group gives lip service to scripture while in reality giving authority to spiritual experiences and glib clichés.

One group esteems long dead theologians the other adores the flamboyant man (or woman) of the hour.

In these different groups it seems that the Word of God and the Spirit of God are pitted against each other. One is governed by established doctrines, and interprets scripture according to those doctrines. The other is governed by “the Spirit” and interprets scripture according to “spiritual” revelation.

There are obviously some very distinct and irreconcilable differences between these two groups. And yet they have at least one common factor. Both in reality have applied some kind of condition to their approach to scripture that takes away the average believer’s relationship with God’s word. Those average believers are TOLD what can be believed and how it should be believed. They are told that scripture doesn’t necessarily mean what it seems to mean, promoting the understanding that a (traditionally) college trained or a (charismatically) anointed teacher is required to convey what scripture really saying.

Of course, the extent of how this affects the church is immense and it would be impossible to go into every aspect of the problem. But to the person who wants to know and understand the truth, and is willing to spend the time and make the effort required, the truth is easily accessible. Everyone reading this blog has the means and the ability to search the scriptures for themselves because they can obviously read. But are they willing to utilise that ability?

To a great degree we have been conditioned to believe that scripture is hard to understand and that we need someone to explain it all and to share its hidden secrets. We lack confidence. But we should recognise that it is not only a lack of confidence in ourselves – we are lacking confidence in the God who desires to make Himself known through the revelation of scripture. We lack confidence in the One who promised to send His Spirit to be our teacher, and we lack confidence in His Spirit’s ability and willingness to teach us.

The conditioning process that has distanced us from scripture has also worked by giving us an expectation of how scripture should be approached. Our exposure to scripture has been through “texts” – often meaning isolated verses that are expounded upon at length by an appointed teacher of the word. In most cases little attention is given to context and meaning is given to the selected “text” that indicates some kind of special insight has been needed to get to what was really meant by that text.
Through this experience, we ourselves then try to delve into parts of scripture according to the same method used by the teacher. We dig around and try to find the deeper things hidden within those parts of scripture. And this is usually done before the student has developed even a rudimentary understanding of how the whole bible fits together, and what its overall revelation is about.
There is little understanding of how God has related to mankind throughout history and there is little understanding about the significance of God’s relationship with Israel. To most believers, the Old Testament account is a total mystery – beyond a few half remembered stories of certain bible characters.

Now I’ve waffled on and on about this for long enough. A lot of it I’ve touched upon before on this blog and on others. But is the message getting through? Is what I’m saying having any effect?
It seems not. From what I’ve read elsewhere people are quite content to cling to their personal traditions and to tolerate the traditions of others. Relativism is alive and thriving within the “church” and it has been demonstrated time and again in some of the responses my writings have received.
While I have made it abundantly clear that I am totally opposed to Calvinism and its abhorrent “doctrines of grace” – those Calvinists that have been most ferocious in their responses to me have at least shown a devotion to those things that they believe. They recognise the exclusivity of their beliefs and see little room for compromise. The same can not be said for so many others who demonstrate (though they would surely deny it) that they accept the relativity of “truth” – that what is true for one person is okay for that person, and what is true for me is okay for me. There is a clear opposition to any idea of bringing correction to others – such actions would be seen as divisive, and it seems like division should be avoided at all costs, even if it meant compromising on the truth.

Recently I have seen time and again how people will twist scripture in every direction possible to avoid accepting what it clearly states. All kinds of mental and logical gymnastics are performed to come to an understanding that contradicts or ignores what would be unavoidable if only the actual words of scripture were accepted for what they actually said.
Why do so many persist with this wilful blindness? And why do so many let them persist, all in the name of keeping the peace?

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10 Responses to “Counterfeit vs Truth”


  1. January 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Many are called, few are chosen. God bless you:)
    Calvin was a man who got his doctrine from another man, Augustine, the father of the Catholic church.
    http://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/christs-return/

  2. January 20, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Yes Eliza, Calvinism’s origins are in Augustine’s teaching.

  3. 3 Steve
    January 23, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Hi, Tim:

    Very true ! The enemy crafts his deceits to suit every taste which opposes Truth. If Truth is One, as Jesus said He and the Father ARE (John 17), the enemy has an unlimited number of avenues from which to attack, many seemingly contrary to each other.

    That fact lends itself to a habit-of-mind we often embrace in western society, and which the enemy also uses to his purposes. I’ve heard even thoughtful Christians opine, as you probably have, that the way to find truth is to balance the claims of one “side” against those of its opposite: and that “truth” will be the point between the two.

    It works, more or less, for sorting out the contrary “truths” of human political factions. As an operative method for spiritual warfare, it can only lead to half-truth. That’s never Jesus.

    In Jesus, Steve

  4. January 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

    HI Steve,
    Truth is often extreme and doesn’t come across as “balanced”.
    Whenever you hear someone referring to “hard sayings of Jesus” or “difficult” parts of scripture – it is often an indication of how “extreme” the truth can be.

    Sadly, people often approach those things trying to discover ways of making them “balanced” – effectively to make them more palatable and hearer friendly so the “extreme” requirements can be avoided.

  5. 5 Steve
    January 23, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    That’s it exactly ! “Hard sayings,” in the KJV version:

    “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ ”

    John 6:60-64

    In our time, “Christian” disbelief continues. Someone has said, “Christianity has not been found wanting. It has been found difficult, and not tried at all.”

    In Jesus, Steve

  6. February 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Wow, thanks for the info! I did not know this!

  7. April 28, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Augustine was one of many early church fathers who was later made a saint by the Catholic church. The implication you make Eliza, is that because Calvin was influenced by the later teachings of Augustine after his conversion to Christianity, this somehow links him to what the harlot church of Rome teaches. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even ardent opponents of Calvinism will not make that link. All five points of Calvinism are directly opposed by the Roman Catholic church.

  8. April 28, 2014 at 8:17 am

    So the Catholic church has at least got ONE thing right even if everything else is wrong.

  9. April 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Much of what the Catholic church holds to as its doctrines came from Augustine. Much of what Calvin held onto came from Augustine. Limited atonement is one such heresy, directly contradicting God’s Word in a number of places.

    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:3-6

    For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:8-11

    My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

    Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in Him, and he in God. 1 John 4:13-15

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

    Calvin also held onto error that the Catholic church holds to and that is the baptism of infants bringing them into a special relationship to the church and recipients of God’s grace. Calvin compares baptism to circumcision, something the Scriptures never do! This error has been used by the enemy to bring false assurance to the lost. The rolls of churches are full of members who never enter the church but were baptized as infants.

    Who are we following? Are we following Christ or are we following man? Those who follow man are offended when their favorite teacher, pastor, author, etc. is questioned or pointed out to be in error through comparison of what they taught with what the Bible says. We must stand for the Lord and reject error no matter who teaches it. God bless you:)

    http://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/the-grid-3/

  10. April 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Eliza,
    I refer to infant baptism as “Vaccination against salvation”.

    It can give a false assurance that “baptism” (baby sprinkling) is all that is needed to ensure a person’s salvation.


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