The Evil of Mens’ Traditions

A strong title?

Maybe it seems a little extreme?

But how else can traditions that create a false image of God be described?

Traditions that misrepresent His character.

Traditions that misrepresent His ways.

Traditions that misrepresent His desires.

Effectively those traditions result in a false gospel and lead to people to follow false paths with a false hope.

There is a big difference between those traditions of men and the Truth of God.

Where do our own desires REALLY lie?

What do WE really want?

Which do we choose?

God’s Truth Does Not Need to be Unleashed.

Today I followed a link to an article on John MacArthur’s website and found this statement at the top of the home page:

“Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time”.

Excuse me Mr MacArthur, the bible wasn’t written in “verses”. It wasn’t written to be addressed “one verse at a time”. That approach is guaranteed to lead to error, resulting in false doctrines that are supported by out of context proof texts.

It’s therefore not surprising that MacArthur has fallen for (and promotes) some very harmful theology (including, but not limited to, an unholy trinity of Calvinism, Cessationism and Supersessionism), a very scary thing when he has such a devoted following, and no less dangerous than the extreme charismanics he has been targeting recently.

spirit and truthjpgGod’s truth doesn’t need to be “unleashed” – He has already revealed His truth and it just needs to be received. A good starting point for us is to ask God to give us a love of the truth, and then receive that love when it is given. Another helpful step is to respect the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who has been sent to teach and equip followers of Jesus instead of denying His continuing work.

May our love of the Truth and desire for it exceed our love of any theology we may have been taught – and be greater than our love for the theologians and teachers who introduced us to it.

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?

MacArthur’s Return to Old Battleground

It seems that John MacArthur has caused a bit of a stir with his latest attack on Pentecostals and Charismatics. A few blogs I follow have addressed his “Strange Fire” conference.

From what I’ve read, it seems like none of the arguments presented at the conference have their basis in scripture. Instead they point at the excesses of the charismatic movement and then use those as the basis to deny the continuing validity of Spiritual gifts.

The common argument is that Charismatics are focused on experience rather than scriptural truth – and yet, aren’t those anti-charismatics like MacArthur also basing their own beliefs on experience or more accurately a LACK of experience of Spiritual gifts instead of scripture?

In the almost 40 years since I became a Christian I’ve seen absolutely NO biblical evidence that God withdrew the Spiritual gifts given to the early church. In fact I believe scripture supports their ongoing importance.

This denial of Spiritual gifts isn’t something new from MacArthur. It is merely a return to an old obsession that he’s promoted for decades, but it’s an obsession that could have a significant cost. Not only does he deny the validity of spiritual gifts, but it seems from the reports that I’ve read that he believes the gifts* that ARE evident have a satanic origin. If that is true MacArthur is stepping on dangerous ground. It was similar accusations made against Jesus that led Jesus to warn of the dangers of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; something HE said could not be forgiven.

______________________________________

* By this I’m not referring to spurious “gifts” such as the appearance of gold dust, gem stones and “angel” feathers, but to the biblically identified gifts such as tongues, prophecy, healing etc.

Powerful Delusion

The following statement can be found on Nathan Leal’s Watchman’s Cry website:

Augusto [Perez] has a very dire warning which has to do with a potential asteroid threat that he believes may strike the Caribbean Region and the area of Puerto Rico.
He believes that there is a possibility that this event may take place in the near future. According to his findings, the coming asteroid will strike in the Caribbean and cause a massive tsunami which will inundate portions of the US coastline.

puertoConsidering the success rate of prophecies form both Leal and Perez, I’d be quite confident that Puerto Rico and the Caribbean will be the safest place on earth at the time this event is expected to happen. BUT, continuing their form, the prediction is for “the near future”, so can be delayed indefinitely as each week, month and year goes by without fulfilment.

A couple of years ago this pair of false prophets were part of a group of “watchmen” predicting catastrophe in the USA “before August” of that year. A friend of mine says he is still receiving regular links from Leal to the recording making those predictions – two years after the predicted event failed to happen.

But I suppose there is a kind of logic involved. Eventually there may come a “before August” when there is a fulfilment, and they will conveniently dismiss the fact that the prediction was made in regard to a particular August in a particular year that passed without incident.

2 Thessalonians contains a very sobering statement about those who refuse to love the truth. It says that God will send a strong delusion to those who refuse the truth so that they will believe the lie. Maybe these false prophets have already received that “promise” and are no longer capable of recognising the truth. They have been thrown so deeply into the deception they chose above the Truth that they are incapable of recognising the blindingly obvious about the lying words they continually broadcast.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Is David Pawson a False Teacher?

Not_as_BadI receive many visits to this blog because of my references to David Pawson. It seems a lot of people are trying to find out more about him and his teaching. Maybe one of the most worrying reasons for those visits is demonstrated in a commonly used search term – a phrase entered into a search engine to track down relevant information. That search term is “Is David Pawson a false teacher?”

Why do I find that worrying?

 I’d have to ask why people would be asking whether Pawson was a false teacher. I assume someone out there has been telling people that he is. But the real cause for concern is that people are hearing those claims and then trying to get answers from others about the legitimacy of Pawson’s ministry. I wonder how their final conclusions will be drawn. Will they accept the outcome of majority opinion?

I have no problem with people questioning Pawson’s teaching. I have regularly heard him insisting that his hearers SHOULD question it. But turning to others for judgement is not the way to do that. The way to test ALL teaching is to search the scriptures ourselves. To become personally familiar with what God has revealed of Himself and His ways through His word so we can assess for ourselves whether a teaching is false or not.

As well as this question about Pawson, I’ve often come across people who want names named. Whenever there are general warnings about certain doctrines and practices, there will be some who ask which teachers are being referred to? They want to know who is teaching the falsehoods being exposed. But what about those who are overlooked in the naming? What if someone preaching the same error escapes a list of named false teachers? Does their omission from the list give them legitimacy?

Of course not!

It is up to each of us, individually, to take responsibility for the teaching we accept. It’s up to us to make sure it genuinely conforms to scripture. It is up to us to make sure that the teachers we heed are not merely using scripture (usually parts of scripture) to support their own agenda or theological tradition. Are they leaving something out? Are there parts of scripture they tend to avoid? Do they have to “reinterpret” parts of scripture to make it agree with what they are teaching?

So is David Pawson a false teacher?

Search the scriptures for yourself and find out.

Coincidence? – NO!

In Matthew 24 there are recorded warnings from Jesus predicting the rise of false prophets and false Christs in the days preceding His return.

Surely it is no coincidence that two of the most common terms used by some of the most questionable elements of  “the church” are “prophetic” and “anointing”. I have written elsewhere* of the relationship between the words anointing and Christ (the latter meaning “anointed one”).

So I advise, whenever those words are in frequent use, be extra cautious.

 

 

* https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/category/anointing/

What Do You Do?

What do you do with a man who prophesies over himself in the comments box of his blog? – as if God Himself is visiting to add His comments?

What do you do when he rejects the concerns of several other Christians when concerns about his spiritual welfare are raised?

What do you do when he labels those concerns: “attacks from the spirit of witchcraft”, vilifying those who have shown concern?

What do you do when this man is also a regular and prolific commenter on the well-frequented Revival School blog (not his own) where he has developed a following of admirers through flattery, through the offering of “prophetic words” through a public show of piety?

What do you do when this man has an (unrepentant) history of involvement with false prophecy, such as the failed Christchurch earthquake prediction a couple of years ago?

Not much you can do except pray:

1) For his deliverance from delusion

2) For the eyes of his “followers” to be opened.

False Gospel – recommended article

WHEN ROCK-STAR PREACHERS SPEW A FALSE GOSPEL

by Jennifer LeClaire

I am convinced that too many people who claim to be Christ-followers are not really saved because too many false teachers and false prophets are propagating a “different gospel” centered on “another Jesus” (see 2 Cor. 11:3-4). I am convinced that many self-professing saints are going to sit right next to sinners in hell when it´s all said and done – thanks, in part, to rock-star preachers presenting a hyped-up, watered-down, seeker-friendly gospel.

 full article here:

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/39350