Awesome quote by A.W Tozer..
People can get saved under a false preacher or ministry. People can also be healed even though the preacher is a fraud. People can even receive a genuine prophetic word from a genuine false prophet, but why? Because God’s word will never return void. Isaiah 55:11 states, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
However, just because someone comes to Christ under a false teacher, or healed by a false servant, or hear from God by a false prophet, that does NOT place a stamp of approval upon that individual, they are what they are – false. Too many times I’ve heard sound preachers condone, defend and approve ministries which are false, and they do so with a condemning tone toward anyone who dares touch their “anointed” vessel. This doesn’t show their intelligence, it simply shows their spiritual ignorance.
Jesus proved this in the word itself of many who would stand before him, declaring their righteousness by gifts, works and knowledge, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:23)
It doesn’t matter if someone has an altar call at the end of their sermon, or they mention the cross, or even tell sinners to repent, if their doctrine is wrong, if their ENTIRE message is wrong, then what you have is a perfect example of what we have been warned about to flee from – deceivers, deceiving and being deceived. We live in a day like no other right now within the modern church world, much less the real world around us, and it’s important now more than ever to KNOW who labors among you! This is why I don’t jump at the latest preacher who pops up on Christian television. Nor am I overtaken by someone who has a massive following, whose charismatic, who can say a fast word and it seems to be true, or someone who can sway a crowd. Listen, Christians are some of the most gullible people on earth, especially Western Christians. They’ve bought into the Hollywood version of American Christianity which is about entertainment, style and glamor. Never about Christ.
Did you know that there is a set criteria to get on the two biggest Christian television networks such as TBN and Daystar? When a preacher submits his or her demo tape to either of these networks, they are judged NOT by content or the message as much as they are judged by how the person looks physically, or how they would look on camera. This means that if a preacher is overweight, or is not very good looking, or does not dress in a more fashionable and appealing way, they are less likely to be selected for a test run. Again, it’s about style and less about substance.
We must test ALL things, because if the message is not the cross, if it’s not about crucifying the flesh DAILY, or turning away from sin, then something is wrong, and I don’t care how many millions of fans and followers that man or ministry has, they are false – period. But again, that’s American culture impacting the modern church, because today we judge how successful a ministry is by numbers, not by anointing. If a ministry has world appeal, then it must be successful. But once again, Jesus himself tells us that it’s not about numbers, style or fleshly appeal, but it’s about him.
There is a counterfeit Christianity growing across America and the rest of the world, and Jesus himself warned us it was coming, and it’s all part of the spirit of antichrist. The word tells us that this deception would appeal to many – even the very elect. And if the elect can be swayed, then what does that say of the heart of the modern believer? Again, we must always test the message and ministry to see if it’s truly of God. The problem however is that many have fallen into the trap of political (religious) correction where it’s now wrong, or somehow unchristian to ask questions about any preacher or ministry, or be labeled a troublemaker. Nothing will get a questioning believer shown the door, or a fast rebuke by many who follow a particular ministry than to question the message these people preach. But that’s what we are called to do! It’s not judging, it’s simply calling into question doctrine. And for the record, doctrine does matter!
So the next time you know someone who goes to hear the latest popular preacher, or travels to the latest conference and they say the cross is being preached, or repentance is told the sinner, remind them this, that a broken clock is right twice a day, and Mormons preach Jesus too, but that doesn’t make them right, it just means they know how to use the name of Jesus, and use it well – to deceive.
My thoughts from China.
“I refuse to allow my relationship with God to be limited by my understanding of theology.”
~ A.W Tozer
So true, many have a relationship with “theology” but not the Living God. Head knowledge is great but if we don’t actually have the JESUS that we are learning about in seminary then what good does that do? It puffs us up with knowledge but we will have zero power to actually live holy or walk in God’s power becuase all we have is the “letter” and not the “LIFE”.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, But you WON’T COME TO ME that you may have life.” (John 5:39)
~ Blaze Martyr
In these days when all kinds of strange ideas are being heralded as helping the Church accomplish her task, it may be necessary to remind ourselves that:
The purpose of Christ’s Church is not to promote the Church (or worse A Church), but rather the LORD of the Church.
The goal of Christians is certainly not to exalt “Christianity” but to extol Christ.
Gospel preaching is not meant to magnify the skill of the preacher, but to proclaim the glory, wisdom and mercy of the Saviour.
And the ONLY seed available that grows into eternal life is the word of God, as found within the pages of the Bible.
Much error results with confusion on these issues; for if we misinterpret our role or our goal; pragmatism, proselytism and professionalism and will dull the sword of our evangelism.
Article by Darrell B. Harrison
Few things in this world give us insight into the theology of individuals who profess to be Christian than the death of a well-known celebrity.
In advance of a celebrity’s earthly demise, most Christians are staunch particularists, ardently dogmatic that salvation is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). Yet, once his or her earthly life is over we become ardent universalists, equally immovable in our belief that the doctrine we believed just the day before no longer applies.
Self-Sanctification: No Atonement Required
Though the Bible is unambiguous in its proclamation that saving faith in Christ is the only means by which anyone will experience eternity with God (John 14:6;Romans 10:9), many Christians treat it as optional when it comes to the death of the celebrities they revere. This mindset represents a theological duality that was widely expressed by Christians when Prince, who was aJehovah’s Witness, died several weeks ago, and again in the aftermath of the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, himself a devout practitioner ofIslam.
That both Prince and Muhammad Ali subscribed to worldviews that deny the deity of Jesus, is apparently of no consequence to many Christians today. The only thing that really matters is that they appear to have lived a “good life”, employing their talents, gifts, and resources to bring happiness to countless millions of people all over the world. After all, isn’t that why we’re here – to live a moral life by doing good to one another and treating each other with respect? What in the world does the deity of Jesus have to do with anything? Besides, we are all God’s children, aren’t we?
“We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the center: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, you must make a decision.” – C.S. Lewis
What is so disheartening about this banal mindset, is that it renders moot the necessity that our sins be atoned for.
That our sin, which the Bible says has separated us from God (Romans 3:23), can be atoned for by God (Romans 5:8), is what distinguishes Christianity from all other religious worldviews. But, if my “good behavior” is ultimately the primary factor in determining my eternal destiny, the question then becomes: why did Jesus have to die at all?
Certainly there must have been good works being performed by people long before Jesus came into the world? If that’s the case, then, why did Christ have to come to earth to begin with, let alone die a humiliating death on a cross for someone like me? Wouldn’t it have been much easier for Him to just remain in heaven and then, when I die, simply weigh my good deeds against my bad to see if I “made it in”?
A Theology of Likability
For professing Christians to so easily set aside what is undoubtedly thefundamental tenet of Christianity, namely, the deity of Jesus (John 8:58;Colossians 1:15, 2:9), in exchange for a theology rooted in the belief that our works are somehow determinant of our eternal destiny, as opposed to faith alone in the atoning work of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16), is, sadly, a testament to the reality that many Christians today have no genuine conviction about what they profess to believe (if in fact they even know what they believe to begin with).
“Secular people still believe there’s sin, judgment, and punishment. But secularism defies any universal standard established by God, much less moral culpability before this God. Of course, people make mistakes and hurt each other. But if people are held guilty, the punishment, of course, has to be in this world, not the next. Secular people don’t burn in hell, they burn in the court of public opinion.” –Barry Kosmin (as quoted in the book Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church by Michael Horton)
When a celebrity dies who possessed the level of worldly acclaim and notoriety as Muhammad Ali – and few there are today who have attained to such rarefied air – it is interesting, to say the least, to observe how quickly we who profess to be Christian will go on the defensive about where the soul of that person is spending eternity.
It is an attitude borne not out of a desire to defend the veracity of what the Bible objectively teaches about death and eternity, mind you, but to promote their own subjective determination about where the person they so ardently admired must certainly be at this present time. Invariably, the conclusion drawn by such argumentative Christians is alwaysthat their beloved idol is in heaven.
They never are in hell.
Hell Is For Hitler
Most Christians today would profess to believe in the existence of hell. But since God judges us solely on the “Santa Claus Principle”, that is, on whether we’ve been bad or good, a person would pretty much have to live a life resembling that of an Adolf Hitler to actually go to hell when they die.
It is this works-based perspective of salvation which, on the one hand, makes Christians comfortable with the idea that such heinously violent individual would be viewed as the “poster child” for people we personally deem deserving of hell, while at the same time wrestling with the unfathomable notion that someone as likable and accomplished as Muhammad Ali could actually spend eternity apart from God given that, in our human estimation, he was such a “good person”.
“Do you believe in divine judgment? By which I mean, do you believe in a God who acts as Judge? Many, it seems, do not. Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weakness and folly and sin, and their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge and they frown and shake their heads. Their minds recoil from such an idea. They find it repellent and unworthy.” – J.I. Packer, Knowing God
If we were honest, we would have to admit that the real issue here is that we love our celebrities more than we love our God.
In fact, our adoration of these individuals runs so deep that we are willing to build an entire theology around our fondness for them. As was the case with Prince, so it is with Muhammad Ali. What we believe about the eternal destiny of these individuals is shaped not by what the Word of God says, but how highly we esteem them for the life they lived and the legacy they left behind (which is idolatry).
To continue in this mindset is to demonstrate how superficial our theology of God truly is. Rather than stand on what Christ – who is God – has declared about the eternal destiny that awaits those who refuse to believe in Him (John 3:36), we would much rather engage one another in emotion-fueled arguments about whether the person we idolize, who died without having confessed Christ as Lord or whose life did not bear the fruit of a regenerated heart (Matthew 3:8), is actually with God in heaven when the truth is Jesus has already settled the issue – and definitively so (Romans 3:20, 28; 1 John 5:11-12).
“The Bible’s bad news is not to be glossed over, hidden away, or avoided. Without the Bible’s bad news, its good news will have no meaning. The center of biblical theology is nonnegotiable for evangelism precisely because God saves people through judgment for His glory. If a man does not perceive that God is holy, righteous, just and personally offended by transgressions, he will see no need for Jesus. God is holy, righteous, just, and personally offended by the sins we commit, and the more clearly we see this, the more deeply we will feel our desperate need for Jesus. God’s wrath make His mercy beautiful. Without His wrath, His mercy has no meaning and no one has any need for it.” – James H. Hamilton, Jr., God’s Glory In Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, p. 566
You will get no argument from me that Muhammad Ali was without a doubt one of the most admired and well-respected human beings to ever live. He will be remembered for centuries to come for exhibiting many admirable moral and ethical attributes, not the least of which is the courage of his personal convictions while enduring years of targeted racial and religious discrimination.
No one likes to think of anyone dying and spending eternity in hell, not even God Himself (Ezekiel 18:23). Nevertheless, as Christians, the death of Muhammad Ali invites us to ponder an unavoidable question: do we truly believe salvation is through the substitutionary atonement of Christ alone or do we see our own morality as salvific?
The gospel leaves no room for a “hybrid salvation” (part Jesus and part good works). It is one or the other. Either faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven or it is not.
It cannot be both.
Humbly in Christ,
I was challenged by brother Thabani Mnyama Jr. to answer the question “Why do you think Christianity is the right religion?”
This is among those questions you can write a zillion books about and still feel like a whole lot is left out, unless Christ hasn’t touch you.
I’ll go about it in two different approaches. One, with comparison to other religions. Second, my own experience after coming to Christ who is the center/heart of Christianity.
First, almost all religions recognize some form of divinity, i.e. praising a supreme being or praising themselves. Generally, people of different religions have attributes they assign to their gods, have some dos and don’ts that guide their lives as a way of setting a line between what is good and evil which may or may not dictate their lifestyles, they define LOVE in a certain way, and have some sort of concept concerning what happens “afterlife”.
That said, judging all the above, namely the attributes of their gods, their perception of morality, their definition and application of LOVE and afterlife concepts proves Christianity to be the only genuine, right and true religion.
The attributes and qualities of the gods of many religions are centered on the adherents’ needs rather than on the gods themselves which conveys enough evidence that they create, shape, mold, and ordain them as their “gods” to suit their needs and their way of life. The attributes of the God of the Bible are unique, unchanged, unmanipulatable and independent. People of other religions believe in “subjective” morality and I am pretty sure their application of LOVE is some form of hate when compared to Mat 22:37-40.
Second, Christianity is best described as a relationship with our Maker through His Son Jesus Christ. I personally experienced changes I would not otherwise have experienced without Christ entering my life, through His love, mercy and grace. Whereas many religions focus on doing and living life a certain way by respecting a set of rules, Christians are changed from the inside out to lead godly lives and to honor their Maker.
(I tried so hard not to use scriptures since using them would mean all religions regard the Bible as the sole written authority for religion and divinity.)
Written by A.W Tozer, The Root of the Righteous.
“Our Lord Himself, St. Peter and St. Paul appeared to have been defeated.”
– De Tourville
It is often difficult to tell in a given instance whether we have been defeated or are victorious in a conflict. Sometimes what looks like a defeat will be seen later to have been a positive victory.
When Joseph was sold into slavery, the end appeared to have come for the young dreamer. Years later when the deep ways of God had come to light he could say to his now repentant brethren, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Joseph’s humiliating defeat had turned into personal victory for him and preservation for his entire family. God might have accomplished the same end in a different way. All we know is that He did not.
When the three Hebrew children disappeared into the seven-times-heated furnace no doubt many who watched turned away shaking their heads in pity; but things looked different the next moment when the king discovered that the men of God were preserved whole without the smell of fire upon them. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had not been sure how the whole thing would turn out. They had told the king boldly, “God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods.” And possibly for one breathless minute they thought their time had come. But God saw otherwise and turned their defeat into victory.
And it must not be forgotten that this principle works just the same as in reverse. When David had succeeded in stealing Uriah’s wife he no doubt felt he had scored a real conquest, but subsequent events showed instead that he had suffered a stunning defeat. He was never the same after his “conquest”. What the armies of the alien could never do on the field, David himself accomplished by one act of wrongdoing; that is, he brought about his own defeat. When he met Goliath he turned what looked like defeat into victory. When he met Bathsheba he turned a long record of victories into shameful defeat.
One thing about all this is that we cannot always be sure at the time just who is winning unless we keep our hearts very pure and our minds cool and God-possessed. When the soldiers of Pilate flung Christ to ground and began to drive in the nails, everything looked as if our Lord has ended a failure. Surely this ignominious death would not come to a man of God. There must be some mistake. The man Jesus had been an idealist, a visionary, but now His hopes and the hopes of His followers were collapsing under the brutal attacks of tough, practical men. So reasoned the onlookers. But our Lord could die with the same calm in which He had lived. He had known all along how things would turn out. He had looked beyond the cross to the triumphant resurrection. He knew His apparent defeat would eventuate in universal glory for the human race.
A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 1955.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of me.
– Matthew 5:13
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
– Colossians 4:6
SUGAR COATED PREACHING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR SOUL!!!
Amazing how often some professing follower of Christ will take his place before the cameras of an unbelieving world and cravenly declare Christ is wrong on some subject or other, and that the new poll driven, sin pandering, populist view is right.
They say with a straight face, and twisted thinking, that Jesus may have taught that He created the world in 6 days but “experts” in white lab coats say otherwise and so we must bow to unbelieving scientists rather than the King of Glory; or that while Jesus clearly calls pre marital, extra marital or gay “marital” sex, hell deserving sin; we know better today and Jesus just doesn’t understand the new “modern”, “tolerant” view.
Or, they will say, Christ may have had an exclusive view of Himself and His gospel, but “everyone” agrees this is wrong and all faith traditions lead to God.
Incredibly, these religious charlatans will present their views as the height of open minded mercy and humility… But it is NOT humility for a supposed believer to trample upon the word of God in order to exalt the faulty, everchanging opinions of frail humanity; it is, in fact, the epitome of pride, man pleasing cowardice and perverted pragmatism.
True humility is standing on, and unapologetically proclaiming, God’s holy, inerrant, inspired and sufficient word, while, when required, exposing the sinking, stinking, thinking of unregenerate men… especially if these men falsely present themselves as pillars in the Church.
Mark 8:38 Jesus said; “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels.
– Glenn C.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:10, KJV
Confession is a good thing because when we tell the truth we let go of burdens and not have to think about hiding our secrets. Lying is a burden because you’re trying to cover one thing after another and then forgets the first lie. Imagine being in the interrogation room. You lie and then change stories over and over. No one will believe you until the truth comes out. Right? You may think you will get away with it but you will be held accountable for the private and public things you do on earth ( 1 Corinthians 4:5). It is why confessions are better. We confess to God with open heart and willing to be changed. It’s a stepping stone to being set free.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16, KJV
Prayer is a great way to talk to God and let it out to Him. Even though He knew already, still it pleases Him to hear you.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9, KJV
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32, KJV