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)
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
References. Please be discerning
Pope Francis will address crowd at D.C.’s National Mall during “Together 2016”, World Religion News
Pope Francis Sends Video Message to Kenneth Copeland – Lets Unite, Youtube
Prayers to Allah offered at PCUSAs General Assembly plenary session (update), The Layman
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Thankyou for this, I am praying for people to be more discerning, especially women, but really everyone in my church, and the Church in America.
You’re welcome, Katie. I’m praying with you.
We can’t hear this warning enough, Sharon. You quoted verses I studied just yesterday; thanks for reinforcing them.
You’re welcome, Debbie.
…I have been warning my kids for some time ever since God woke me up to the deception in my ⛪.. I confronted the leaders and was told to pray about it..I left a church I attended and loved for 26 years..thank you so much. You have expressed my concerns so fully and beautifully..I am forwarding to my kids..
Hi Karen, I’m sorry to hear about your church. How hard and disappointing that must have been.
Thanks, Sharon, for your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading. You have such wisdom and discernment and express yourself with clarity and passion.
Thank you for your kind words, Eleanore. It is all because of Him.
Excellent post. Thank you for articulating what many are trying to say to their families and friends.
Thank you, Terese. You’re welcome. I thank God that many are out there trying to communicate this. I pray others listen.
This is good, Sharon. I want to read it to my children. I’ve been watching all of this too, since the Azusa Now event at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. I imagine the same cast of characters will be involved. Beth Moore is also a big proponent of this demonic brand of unity.
Thanks, Susan. There is much to keep an eye on.
Well said, Sharon! Thank you for taking the time to share this with all of us. Your children are precious, and you are bearing faithful witness tell them, often and truthfully, to the dangers that they face, and will face with the rest of us as long as we are alive. The LONG-TIME Christians I’ve seen in my short almost 28 year walk with the Lord Jesus who have swallowed a “gospel” of “unity” or “relativism” is genuinely shocking. It’s sad and shocking.
Thanks, Kate. You’re welcome. Yes, they are precious and I will keep telling them. I am saddened too by the acceptance of those things you mentioned. We can try to shed a light wherever we can.
Amen! Excellent encouragement tuvm
Thank you for expressing what needs to be said on this topic, Sharon. Thank you for encouraging our families as you encourage yours in truth and in love.
You’re welcome, Nadine.