Friday, 31 October 2014

False teachers - Part 1

Should a Christian judge false teachers?

Should a Christian judge false teachers, call them out and condemn false doctrine? Should I even be stepping on your toes asking this? The answer to both is absolutely yes! The abuse of Matthew 7 to claim you can never judge is usually used by those who want to remove the pressure from themselves when convicted of sin. It would also mean the Apostle Paul was wrong to confront the Galatians and the Apostle Peter and it would also mean Jesus was a hypocrite and a sinner as He called out the Pharisees most vocally and would introduce a contradiction into His word. Clearly such an idea is blasphemous in the extreme. In truth we as Christ's Ambassadors must confront and condemn sin. To not do so would then be like saying the One we represent accepts those actions. Proverbs 17:15 says.

Whoso is justifying the wicked, And condemning the righteous, Even both of these are an abomination to Jehovah. (YLT)

The Hebrew word for abomination here is very strong indeed and means 'exceedingly disgusting and hateful'. In fact it is the very same word used in Leviticus 18:22 to describe a man who lies with another man and the penalty for that under the Mosaic Law was death. This is why the Apostle Paul firstly said:

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them (Romans 16:17 NASB).  And then to the church at Ephesus he wrote,

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11, NASB).

We cannot by any means be passive and keep silent. The very Greek word for expose (elegchō) means reproof, correction or discipline.

Then Paul escalated this in 2 Timothy 4:14 while the Apostle John did in 3 John 1:9–10 by actually naming people. Did this contradict the other passages on love? Not if you have a biblical definition of love.  A love that does not openly expose and oppose sin for the good of the sinner is not biblical love. Love not only “does not act unbecomingly” but it “does not rejoice in unrighteousness”. (1 Corinthians 13:5–6 NASB) This is an essential part of our Ambassador role in daily evange-living.

The early church knew how to do this. We know many heresies by the names of their proponents such as the Montanism heresy names after Montanus, Apollinarism names after Apollinaris and a very interesting one called Arianism. Like the others this was named after its proponent Arius whose heresy is virtually identical to that of the Jehovah's (False) Witnesses who deny the deity of Jesus Christ and claim He had a beginning.

Joyce Meyer

One good way of spotting false teachers is by their view of salvation and who God is. Such is the case with Joyce Meyer. Widely known author of many books, she is in fact a heretic who has said: “He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands, at that point he couldn’t do nothing [sic] for himself anymore. He had become sin, he was no longer the Son of God.” Clearly this is utter blasphemy.

Jesus has always been the Son of God as He has always been God. The Hebrew word Echad, used in Deuteronomy 6:4 to describe God denotes plurality but not the exact nature of it. How then could one God be separated from Himself in such a way? If this wasn’t bad enough she also says. "I am not poor. I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I were [sic] and if I still was then Jesus died in vain. I'm going to tell you something folks. I didn't stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn't a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that's heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I am righteous and I can't be righteous and be a sinner at the same time."

Now this is just willful deception. Even a new Christian, hungry for the Word of God will have read “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 2:28 KJV). We, as filthy, wicked sinners deserving death, are clothed in the righteousness of God. Isaiah, 700 years before Christ knew better when he said: “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10 NIV). and again in Philippians 3:9 Paul said “......not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

Lastly, Joyce Meyer believes there are things that even the Bible can’t explain. What is this? Revelation. She states in an ironically elusive tape What Happened From the Cross to the Throne?: “The Bible can't even find any way to explain this. Not really. That's why you've got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I'm telling you. I've got to just trust God that He's putting it into your spirit like He put it into mine.” In the first place, her title is a replica of other people’s work as well as the theme. Second, and far more seriously, her statement all but says God and His Word is insufficient and she is completing it by revelation. At the very least she is equating herself with the Apostles and quite possibly far worse.

She is also highly prideful, stopping every 5 minutes for applause if she doesn't get it,  she is likely to say something like, “I’m preaching better than you’re acting.” This smacks of manipulation, pride, and an inflated view of herself. She would have to if she claims she is not a sinner, nor poor and wretched.

Finally, as is typical with such people, Meyer and her ministry refuse to tell how much the ministry pays Meyer, her husband, her children and her children's spouses of which most, if not all of whom, work for her. "I don't make any more than I'm worth,"  says Meyer. How much is she worth? Since 1999, the ministry has spent at least $4 million on five homes for Meyer, she has her own airplane and multiple vehicles. While riches are not evil in themselves, she has gained her wealth by deceiving millions of people into believing she is a shepherd when in fact she is nothing more than a ravenous wolf, sent by Satan to blind people.

Joel Osteen

Another highly popular false teacher is Joel Osteen. Famous senior Pastor of Lakewood Church in Texas with over 5 million likes on Facebook and a weekly attendance of 43,000 as of 2013. Why is he so popular? In his first book Your Best Life Now he says, “If you develop an image of success, health, abundance, joy, peace, happiness; nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.”

Worse yet, the essence of his message bares a striking resemblance to that of Satan himself. Osteen says, “I believe one of the main ways that we grow in favor is by declaring. It's not enough to just read it. It's not enough to just believe it. You've got to speak it out. Your words have creative power. One of the primary ways we release our faith is through our words. There is a divine connection between you declaring God's favor and seeing God's favor manifested in your life.”

What did Lucifer say before the fall? I will do this and I will do that. Osteen tells you to declare success, declare abundance as if God is just waiting to shower us with whatever we want because we say it, regardless of what we do. Osteen continues with his falsehood by openly refusing to admit a non-Christian will not go to heaven. He said to a popular TV presenter when asked, “You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know.”

The incredulous presenter tried again, asking if Osteen believed non-Christians were wrong, only to be told:
“Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.”

This displays total unbelief in the Word of God which clearly has Jesus saying:

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6 NASB).

Belief in God is not enough. Sincerity is not enough. Millions upon millions of people are very sincere in what they believe and yet are lost, hell-bound, and without hope because they do not believe the Gospel. Osteen, in the same interview stated, “I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them.” Clearly he is not preaching the message of Christ. Jesus Himself said:
Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed….(John 3:18 NIV).

1 John gives the test as well as James. One who claims to be a Christian must display the fruits of it. Faith without (being evidenced by) works is dead.  Joel Osteen knows 100% he is a liar and he is deceiving people. How can I be so sure of this? What gives me the right to make such a dogmatic statement?

Osteen states after his interview, “Jesus declared in John 14; I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn't until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.” Now this sounds good and one may think he learned. This, however, went on his blog in 2005 and in March 2014 and a sermon was entitled ‘Be Comfortable With Who You Are’.

So if he believes Jesus is the only way to salvation how come Osteen has a message with such a title? How come the same old rhetoric was preached by a woman who sounded like she was simply trying to massage the egos and the prideful, sinful natures of the 42,000 blind sheep lapping up her words? No, his ‘repentance’ was nothing of the sort and he is still the accursed (Galatians 1:8) false prophet he’s always been.

Sadly they are not on their own. Many other popular preachers belong to the Word Faith Movement. In essence The Word Faith movement is a mix of Christianity, Christian Science, and New Age thought. At it’s root, it promotes a theological system that deifies man, diminishes God, and virtually puts Him in subjection to man. And of course, as we have seen, it distorts the Gospel. Or as Paul so aptly put it in Galatians 1: Another gospel:

Not that there is [or could be] any other [genuine Gospel], but there are [obviously] some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel] and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) [into something which it absolutely is not]. (v7 AMP)

There are other false teachers pretending to be shepherds and we will cover those in Part 2

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