After seeing yet another example of a disturbing lack of biblical discernment and conviction by church leaders who bear the name Christian, I thumbed out a text to our children motivated by a deep desire for them to avoid falling into errors within the church. Sometimes a mom just needs to pour out her heart even if it comes in the form of a long text. Our children are grown (one married and a college graduate and one at home and in college), and their choice of Christian fellowship is in their hands. But their age does not stop me from reaching out and continuing to encourage them in the Lord. I love them and will never stop caring about their spiritual well-being. I decided to share the personal message I sent them because my concern for the church extends beyond my family to yours. We must contend for the faith in every way needed. (Jude 1:3)
My dear children, I know I’ve told you this before, but it’s worth repeating. There’s a strong deception in the church today. The church has long needed to be aware of false teachers and prophets. (Matthew 7:15, 2 Peter 2:1) Every generation has faced their own challenges. But in my lifetime, I have not seen things as backwards as they are now. Instead of being corrected, identified, or avoided, all too often false teachings and prophets are being embraced. That this is happening should not surprise us (2 Timothy 4:3), but my heart still breaks. I fear for many. I pray for you to stay grounded in your faith and to be aware.
Here’s just a few examples I’ve seen recently.
Some well known Christian speakers/pastors/artists/leaders (some who themselves have varying degrees of troubled teachings) will be joining with Pope Francis (via video) in Washington DC this month for a big event called Together 2016. It is said that they “are coming together with as many people as possible who believe Jesus changes everything“. They want to “stand together for Jesus.” Some will cheer: “Unity!” I cannot. They may be unified, but not around fidelity to the Scriptures. Instead there is a vague confession that is not too hard to agree with. The unity I can cheer is one that maintains the standard of biblical faith and truth. Some might cry: “Unloving!” Please always remember, it is not unloving or unchristian to identify the line in the sand between doctrinal distinctions and to honor that by keeping a certain amount of respectful distance. Quite the opposite actually. It could be eternally harmful to ignore or erase the line.
Not too long ago, this same Pope joined together in “unity” with well-known Word of Faith preacher Kenneth Copeland. The unity was cheered. My reaction? Dismay. Two heads, representing different and erroneous stores of doctrine, embraced each other. There is lack of discernment even amongst those leading others astray.
Besides the Together 2016 event, mainline and well known church leaders that you’d think would do better, join at conferences with Word of Faith, prosperity, and other unbiblical teachers. It happens all too often. It will likely happen again.
Along a different vein, recently at a General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA, prayers were offered to Allah. In those prayers, Jesus was relegated to one of the prophets; and it was asked that those in attendance be led “in the straight path” i.e. Islam.
Online, Christians – even those who have been saved for years – Share and Like quotes on Facebook from authors/teachers/preachers with unbiblical teachings. Sometimes they also attend their events. The acceptance of false teachings and false prophets is rampant. Lack of discernment is rampant.
Concurrently, the Sword of the Spirit, the convicting word of God, is watered down and accepted in paraphrases, supplemented with feel good positive sentimentality, or abandoned all together. It’s easy to be misled when these things happen.
Please be diligent. Pray for discernment. Stay alert so as to not be deceived. Test everything by the Bible. Hold on to what is good. Hold on to truth. It does exist. Stand firm in the gospel of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed of it. Gently correct those in opposition. Beware of the false brethren. Remember that God is sovereign. We can take comfort in that. Remember His wrath too. Pray for the lost. Be a light. Rescue some from the fire. Walk in a manner worthy of your calling. Stay safe.
As I wrote the last paragraph of my text, exhortations from the Scriptures kept coming to mind. They helped me write what was in my heart to say to our children. I’ve listed some of the related verses below because God’s word is sharp, and it provides what we need to hear to do well. May we obey it to His glory and for our spiritual well-being and sanctification.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
“The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:10-11
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;” 1 Thessalonians 5:21
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,” 2 Timothy 2:24-25
“But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.” Galatians 2:4
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude 1:22-23
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1
After a lot of praying and weighing of options, my husband and I have decided that it is time for me to turn most of my writing energy towards a major project that I have wanted to finish for years. Though I will be posting less often while I work on my big project,I’m not planning on stopping all together. READ MORE
The type of “following” I happily accept and invite is through blog subscription, Facebook, Twitter, & etc. But my prayer is that my work faithfully points you to the only One who is truly worthy to be followed.
“Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.” (Psalms 25:5)