“Something is not right here!” Have you ever been to a so-called Christian event and found yourself asking that question? Your senses being satiated by fog machines, stage lights, wild guitar solos, people falling down, supposedly drunk in the spirit all mixed with hundreds or thousands of ecstatic people. Preachers who seem to say just what the people want to here, like; “You are special, you are precious in Gods sight, He has a you in his heart, He longs for you.” Vague scripture references taken out of context flash on the big screens as superficial commitments are made to superficial preaching leading to false converts who are worse off than nu-believers. Reported healings that do not even come close to what is illustrated in scripture. People babbling in unintelligible gibberish and calling it the gift of tongues while it does not even match what was experienced by the early church during the apostolic age.
I have. I was trapped in this false version of Christianity for over 30 years. After a false conversion experience in 1985 I was quickly drawn into the foursquare church where I taught to speak in tongues and listen for the voice of God inside me giving me direction and guidance in my life. What scripture I was being taught was all through a charismatic, foursquare lens. As far as I was taught, the real Christian movement started on Azuza street in 1906. I was taught to hold Amy Semple McPherson in high regard for her insights and supposed movement in the miraculous gifts. I was not taught the truth. Christianity and its history stretches back to the beginning of time. From the promise of the crushing of the serpents head in the opening chapters of Genesis to the lamb of God, risen and on His throne in heaven. The history of the church starts from the ascension of Christ and the first believers whose sins were washed away and who were empowered to live out the life that God called them to live.
If at this point you already do not know the difference between what would be taught in a reformed tradition versus a charismatic one, please read my articles and follow the resources I have provided in The Reformed Way part of this site.
It was through sound doctrine and faithful teachers that the Lord lead me the truth and regenerated me over 30 years after I first darkened the door of a church. The Word of God performed it’s work and I have been transformed. There is now a true work of the Holy spirit operating in me, guiding me into all truth. I was following a false spirit and and false faith. One of the greatest evidences for a true salvation was on the inside. I did not possess the ability to restrain worldly lusts that sought to destroy my life. (Galatians 5:16) Once I the Lord brought me to a saving faith I was able to find freedom from those sins that had wreaked havoc on my life and family.
Who are the false teachers? Many of the faces in the picture above may give you pause. Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Steven Furtick? So many of these men are considered to be reliable teachers. But are they? Does what they teach line up with the word of God? Sadly, the answer is no. From Ecumenism and compromise to outright heresy, the truth of God’s eternal word is being misrepresented. Some do it in ignorance while some do it for profit and personal Narcissistic gain. These are not vacuous claims. I will provide links and resources to help educate you in the way I was to bring the truth to light.
In this presentation I am not talking about digging up dirt on a particular teacher, though I will post some articles later addressing some specifics. The book of Romans quotes from the Psalms that “No one is good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12. I am talking about what is consistently taught by a person or organization claiming to be Christian. What is at the core of their theology and biblical understanding. Sadly, many bible teachers and pastors disagree with one another on even the basic tenants of the faith. This is even setting aside the cults such as the Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists and so on. By the basics I am referring to the nature and work of Christ, the means and method of salvation, the work of the Spirit, and the role and mission of the church. Some of these differences can be minor and not cross over in posing a danger to salvific areas. In many cases they are damming heresies.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
The Bible contains dozens of warnings regarding false teachers and false profits. We are commanded to guard the truth and search the scriptures for understanding. With so many false teachers in the world and with that number growing, we must be so careful not be to be drawn into false teaching that will cause us to become ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Christ.
This is a long section of scripture but it is important to read though it slowly and thoughtfully and apply it to the subject.
2 Peter 1:1-11
1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Notice the flow in 2 Peter 1:5 “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge“ Knowledge is an essential part of our faith.
Also Verse 8, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Note that God though Peter is stating that there is a ‘True Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ By contrast, if there is a true knowledge there is also a false knowledge. Do not beleive what you beleive because it’s what your parents taught you or what your church has always taught. Be like the noble Berean Jews who searched the scriptures for the truth. (Acts 17:11)
There are several links in the chain of properly understanding the Word of God.
- Being Born again – 1 Corinthians 2:14 – But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. If you are not a believer, if you have not been ‘Born again’ as the Bible describes it an if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, the Bible will be seem like foolishness at many if not all points.
- Hermeneutics – This is the discipline of allowing the bible to interpret the bible. This will help you not take verses out of context and to consider a theology based on the whole bible and not just one or two verses. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-463
- Sound Bible Teachers – There is a lot we can do on our own, however, Christianity is not a solo event. Faithful and trained Bible teachers along with faithful church attendance with other believers is essential to understanding and growing in your knowledge. Several sound, reformed teachers are listed on my resources page.
RESOURCES – There are many well trained pastors and teachers who can walk you though these issues better than I can. My goal here is to draw you in with my best understanding of these issues and then point you to those who have taught me. As you will see if you begin the journey, reformed, orthodox theology is not something new. Even many of the heresies taught in the false churches are not new. As early as the first century there were distorted doctrines being taught. Much of the new testament consists of the apostle Paul correcting bad theology. Below is a list of ministry sites to visit as well as specific teaching series that will prove enlightening. Matthew 11:15.
- Justin Peters – Clouds without water seminar Session 1
- Justin Peters – Clouds without water seminar Session 2
- Justin Peters – Clouds without water seminar Session 3
- John MacArthur – Strange fire book – There are also audio book versions of this as well.
- Grace to You – Strange Fire Conference – This is a playlist of all the videos from the conference.
Final note: My desire is not to tear down but to build up. In pointing out these issues and false teaches my goal is to bring glory to God by following his commands to call out error, point people to the truth and preach the gospel.