THE FATAL EFFECTS OF LIBERAL THEOLOGY

A few years ago I was engaged in a friendly spiritual dialogue with a former childhood friend on facebook. The conversation was spawned from a status I had just posted on my timeline. What I shared was a diagram of two photos, exposing in a dichotomy, the hypocrisy of liberal values. The photo on the left portrayed two homosexuals in festive, colorful attire kissing each other in what looked like a gay pride parade. Below the photo was the word “encouraged”. The photo on the right portrayed two little children sitting at their desk in school with hands folded in prayer. Below that photo was the word “unacceptable”. In other words, Liberalism encouraged homosexuality while deeming school prayer unacceptable.

My friend pointed out that the photo of the children was upsetting to him as he believed that no one should discourage children from praying, but the one of the homosexuals kissing didn’t bother him.

Here is the exchange between us:

Friend: “As for the picture on the left, get over it. Homosexuality has been around for hundreds of years, and it will remain for hundreds of years to come. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.”

Me: “The loyalty of true devoted Christians is to the truth and testimony of the Word of God, David. The Scriptures, which you probably doubt are God-inspired, are clear on homosexuality. It is an abomination to God (Leviticus 18), unnatural (Rom 1), and in opposition to God’s nature and sacred order (Rom 1). No one in this lifestyle can inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-11), but will incur God’s wrath unless they repent and seek help and deliverance. Homosexuality has always been rejected throughout history. It is biologically abnormal and gay people know that deep inside. They are forever trying to get society to accept it in order to remove the heavy burden of guilt they are under. The good news is God loves them, did not make them this way, and can change them and set them free. I know a number of people who were in that lifestyle but are living normal lives today. David, I say this to you with all love and kindness: To say that homosexuality is no big deal reveals to me that you are not a true Christian and have not yet been enlightened and come to repentance from sin and faith toward Jesus Christ. I also discern that because you know a number of whom you say are “good” people in this lifestyle, you have concluded that it must be okay. But once more, this too is error. Our loyalty must be to the truth of the inspired Scriptures, and not to men, be it loved ones or close friends. Do not be deceived. He that is born of God cannot practice a lifestyle of sin because his nature has been changed by the grace and power of God (1 John 3:9).”

Friend: “The church I grew up in, and continue to attend on a very regular basis is an open and affirming church. During my faith journey in this church, I have been a deacon, an elder, and president of our church council. Since our church is open and affirming, and my Christianity has been brought into question, one can conclude that the faith of all 763 members of our church is in question based on your position. I choose to love and respect all people regardless of their own faith, culture, or lifestyle. I have been married to women twice, and divorced twice. If two men or two women are perfectly content with each other, and truly love each other, I am perfectly content in that and would be supportive of them in any way I can. I often think the manual used in justifying our individual faith or agenda can be extremely damaging. We will agree to disagree, and I have enjoyed this little debate. I will forever choose to love and respect all people regardless of the journey they choose to take while on this earth.”

Me: “David, that is not my position, but the position of the Word of God and the Scriptures that I referenced. That is the manual! And not adhering to the manual is what is extremely damaging!!! Can anything be clearer than 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? Ephesians 5:5-6? Rev 21:7-8? And if time permitted I could list a host of many other scriptures. This is the great deception of Christianity in America today, and one that I am currently and passionately speaking on and writing about. I know of what I speak. I love and respect all people for they are God’s own creation, but I don’t respect people’s sinful lifestyles that are contrary to the Word of God. True love and respect speaks the truth, and warns people of death, hell, and the judgment to come commanding them to repent. Be not deceived, David! Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s eternal Word will last forever. Our faith must be based on that Word.”

My friend’s comments actually represent a large segment of professing Christians in America today, both on the liberal and even now on the conservative wing. His comments are also indicative of how secular humanism has penetrated in one form or another into the mainstream of our culture and infiltrated many of our churches; be it denominational, evangelical, and even Charismatic/Pentecostal churches. This wide departure from the faith, in what has now become a sort of post modern Christianity in America, signals the death knell for many. The celebrated philosophy of the day of “no absolutes, no right or wrong – whatever makes you happy – be tolerant and accepting of everything and everyone” is eroding the core of Judeo-Christian Biblically-based values, and greatly weakening real Christianity in America and in other nations as well, especially in Europe. I fear for the multitudes of the deceived who shall soon be the deceased. This could indeed be the final acceleration of the great apostasy the Bible speaks of will happen in these last days.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim 4:2-4).

By the world’s standards, my childhood and now facebook friend, is a good church going citizen. I can tell you that he is nice and kind to people, willing to go out of his way to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, well-liked and even esteemed by others, but he is still deceived. His stand on homosexuality and sin is unbiblical, ungodly, and most of all eternally fatal. His beliefs are the product of a false gospel.

Think of it: Here is a man, now in his 50’s, who’s been in the same church all his life, has held various positions in the church, and still has not been converted and entered into the real faith. Like millions in America, he is a product of a liberal theology birthed from secular humanism that can’t tell you for sure, or won’t tell you for sure, if there’s a heaven and a hell, but will try and keep you happy while you’re still alive, all in the name of God and love.

This is why a person can be a member of a church and yet be living a gay lifestyle. He can carry a Bible and be in an adulterous affair. He can adhere to a form of doctrine but have no peace. This is the sad state of things in much of America.

To be continued…

Similar themes are a part of our book, The Real Gospel. One seasoned pastor called it the greatest presentation of the gospel he’s ever read in 35 years of ministry. Check it out. I know you’ll be greatly enlightened. 

 

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THE KEY TO THE DELIVERANCE OF A CHURCH IN CAPTIVITY

Why did Jesus die? The most common answer from the average Christian would be: So that our sins could be forgiven.

That sounds right. It even sounds Biblical. But it falls so short of striking at the core of God’s heart and purpose for mankind and for His glorious Church.

This common response reveals just how far we’ve drifted from God’s true purpose in saving us. And I will even go out on a limb and say that it is the very reason for a weak and anemic church, and her lack of power, character, and endurance. You may be asking, “how is this so?”

Instead of going back to the cross to uncover God’s original purpose for us, let’s go further back to creation. Have you ever asked yourself what was in the mind of God when He created man? What was His original intent and purpose? You really cannot even understand the cross or the gospel until you understand that, because sin was not yet an issue. At creation the fall of man was not yet a reality.

Some will say that God’s purpose was to have a relationship and fellowship with man. Yes, that is definitely true, but how is that relationship defined? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Here is a key scripture that will shed more light in determining God’s eternal purpose:

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Col. 1:16-20). 

We tend to interpret the cross through self, or a shallow “what’s-in-it-for-me” attitude, but God had something greater in mind than just forgiving us of our sins. He wants to have preeminence in all things. This means He wants to be your Lord. He wants ownership of you. Jesus died to establish His Lordship over your life and not just to forgive you of your sins. This means He wants ownership of your time, your talents, and your treasury or money. But He wants you to surrender that to Him out of love and choice, and your own free will. We are not robots and God is not a dictator. We love Him because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).

In Christendom today it is becoming rare to hear such basic truths. Instead, we hear of who we are, what we have, what God will do for us, etc. Although this can be a good beginning place in the faith, many never seem to graduate from it. The snare of it all is this: Teaching and instruction that focuses on us breeds selfishness. Selfishness is contrary to the gospel and the purpose for which Jesus died. (See The Real Gospel).

“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Are you living for yourself? Or as the late Leonard Ravenhill so succinctly stated: “Are the things you’re living for worth Christ dying for?”

Charles G. Finney said it even much stronger:

“Nothing, which is selfish, is Christian. There is nothing faithful in any selfish act. A man may just as much commit sin in praying, reading the Bible, or going to a service as in anything else, if his motive is selfish. Suppose a man prays with a view to simply promote his own happiness. Is that God fearing? It is no more than attempting to make God his Almighty Servant!  It is nothing but an attempt to put the universe and God in a position to make the self happy. It is the greatest degree of wickedness. It is so far from piety and goodness that it is superlative wickedness.”

Wow! That quote always arrests me and causes deep reflection and self-evaluation. The heart is indeed deceptive.

The enemy disguises himself. He offers you substitutes for the true life of God and obedience. He offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world (Lk. 4:5), and He offers us the same through subtle substitutes of material comforts and a lifestyle of ease and convenience that produces a false peace.  Sadly, when given the opportunity most believers will choose a comfortable lifestyle and the things of this world above obedience to God; and pleasure seeking over God seeking, simply because they are still living for themselves.

Do not be deceived by these things for they are not the hallmarks of true disciples. True disciples long to obey God even in difficult times. If your motive is comfort and convenience, bigger and better possessions, a lifestyle of ease, and always taking the path of least resistance, you will be forever deceived and faint in the day of adversity.

More than ever before, we need to be careful about our associations and who we listen to. Be careful of those voices who feed your hearts with false motivations. Many preachers are putting people at ease and even denying the Lordship of Jesus (2 Pt. 2:1) (Jude 3-4). The tenor of a lot of  the spiritual instruction we receive today is on how much God loves you and wants to bless you. Of course He does, because that is the nature of our good and loving heavenly Father, but a saturation of this kind of teaching tends to corrupt our motives. It results in our approaching God only to get something from Him. It breeds arrogance as we determine our own course in life without consulting God or having regard for His perfect will for our lives (Jam. 4:13-17).

There’s a reason Jesus began His public ministry with teaching on the beatitudes and the motives of our hearts when we pray, give, and fast (Mt. 5 and 6). The character and motivation of our hearts is the most critical principle in the kingdom of heaven. It keeps us from being deceived and corrupted and its the foundation of all of God’s judgements.

One of the great tragedies of the modern Western gospel has been the accentuation of the blessings and benefits of salvation at the exclusion of other components of the cross. There is a very large movement that has swept through many churches today that major on life-enhancement, self-help, and self-esteem. This is contrary to the cross. Jesus did not just die to forgive you of your sins and purchase blessings for you, but He died to purchase you. This is at the heart of the gospel.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

We’ve been purchased with holy Blood. We are not our own! We’ve robbed God, not because we haven’t given Him our tithes and offerings, but because we’ve not given Him our lives. This is at the core of the Church’s captivity and reason for all our failures in producing true converts and true disciples who live for God’s glory, obey Christ’s commands, and carry out His great commission. Jesus has little access to His body and the ownership of His people. We dump sin but remain selfish. We make decisions outside of God’s will and plan for our lives.

God is interested in restoring His character in His people, and it begins with truly making Jesus Lord of our lives.

Now we have available a compelling tetralogy of books: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Spirit of Revival, and the newest release, The Real Jesus. Get your copy of these life changing books now in paperback or kindle. I promise you they will leave lasting deposits in your spirit and deepen your walk as a true disciple of Jesus. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO NOT FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES?

Knowing Jesus Christ will eventually lead a person to desire the corporate experience of assembling with the body of Christ. There is a love in our hearts to gather face to face with other believers and saints. Many have gotten lax with this expression of our faith.

We need revelation and understanding of the importance of the assembly, and what constitutes this meaningful expression. If you are hungry for the Lord Himself you will love to gather with those who are hungry, too. The love and hunger we have for the Lord is the piece that holds the assembly together. In today’s age this is becoming difficult to find. People gather for other reasons – to hear a sermon, to hear good worship music and singing (a band and choir), to socialize with others, to be entertained, etc. Many gather strictly out of duty, obligation, and tradition. Others gather only in the name of their church or denomination instead of truly in the Name of the Lord.

When people get lax and neglect the corporate assembly pastors will often admonish their people with a particular verse of Scripture. Hebrews 10:25 is often wielded to make people feel guilty about not attending a religious worship service. The message is, “If you don’t attend ‘church’ — which for them means a two-hour service, or now a one hour service, in a building on Sunday morning — you are ‘forsaking the assembly.’”

But is that what Hebrews 10:25 really means? Here’s the full text beginning with verse 24:

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Notice the words, “consider one another” and “exhorting one another” and “so much ore more as you see the Day approaching”. These verses are referring to gatherings where God’s people mutually participate in exhorting each other. It is vital to the life of the body to do this until the return of the Lord. The “assembling together” are open-participatory gatherings where the body of Christ functions, and the members share the Lord “with one another”.

Consequently, if none of your church gatherings allow for open participation and mutual exhortation from other members of the body, then you can’t use Hebrews 10:25 to put the Lord’s people under guilt and condemnation.

Now before anyone accuses me of sowing rebellion and disrespect in believers hearts toward the corporate assembly, let me explain. I’m not suggesting that we turn all our gatherings into a free-for-all where anyone can share whatever they feel like sharing.

First of all, we need to understand that there are different kinds of Christian meetings with different purposes. There are worship services, prayer meetings, teaching or seminar type meetings, revival services, evangelistic services, healing meetings, etc. In some of these types of meetings usually one minister will do the bulk of the teaching and preaching and ministering. But it is my personal conviction that the most common meeting in the early Church was the one described and outlined in 1 Cor. 14:26 where there was participation from the body. Of course, in those early days the believers met mostly in homes, so the setting for 1 Cor. 14:26 is more than likely in someone’s living room.

Now before anyone jumps to unfounded conclusions, I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong to attend a traditional Sunday morning church service in a building. Not at all. Actually, my wife and I prefer the larger corporate expression when the Lord is present and the Spirit of God is moving, but we need both. There is a current house church, or so called “organic church” movement that still falls short of the 1 Cor. 14:26 expression. We’ve ministered in some of these house churches, and sadly, there is not a move of the Holy Spirit in most of them. In many of them people just sit around and share whatever is on their hearts. There is not the order of the Spirit and seasoned ministers to lead and direct the flow of the Spirit. Thus, there is a deadness that seems to prevail in many of these smaller house churches with minimum edification.

In a bigger building I find that you can still conduct 1 Cor. 14:26 type of meetings, but you should place some limitations on who can minister and have some form of protocol as to what those assigned to minister should do if they have something from the Spirit. And there should always be an interpreter present. If not, you could have a mess on your hands. In other words, allow seasoned ministers or those who’ve been trained to minister according to the leading of the Spirit. Give them liberty with some limitations according to 1 Cor. 14:27-31. From my experience this team ministry strikes a great balance, and adds an exciting dynamic to the corporate expression.

There is no perfect church, but we cannot disobey the Scriptures and forsake the assembly. You cannot love the Lord and despise the assembly. Jesus and His body, and the Father and His family, are forever joined together. And He has commissioned us to make disciples of all nations. Find the best vehicle and the best way to fulfill this mission, while refusing to neglect the assembling of ourselves together, whether in a building, a home, a barn, a tent, under a tree, etc or wherever. It’s not important where you assemble, but that you do assemble.

 

CHURCH MUST DRAIN THEIR OWN SWAMP OF DIRTY MONEY

Filthy lucre is mentioned several times in the New Testament, especially in regards to ministers. Filthy lucre is dirty money, or money obtained through greed. Ministering with a motive for money would qualify, or dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits belonging to a ministry office. Love for money disqualifies you for ministry and from the kingdom of heaven.

Not only is the love of money the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10), but money in itself is also deceitful. The deceitfulness of riches is one kind of thorn that Jesus said chokes the Word and causes it to be unfruitful in one’s life (Mk. 4:19). Money by itself is not bad or evil; it’s a tool and we all need it, but it’s deceitful.

Paul warned Timothy about it and told him not to fellowship with anyone who considered gain to be godliness. Sounds like what many preach today, doesn’t it?

“…supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8-9).

THE JEWS EQUATED WEALTH WITH GODLINESS

In Bible days the Jews equated wealth with godliness. To them it was a sign of God’s blessing. In other words, if you were blessed financially it was because you were righteous and good. So you can see that from this doctrine and belief system of that day many rich Jews thought they would inherit eternal life and go to heaven based on their riches. This is the reason Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This is not just an account of the reality of heaven and hell, but the main subject here is money (Lk. 16:19-31). That is why the rich man seemed surprised when he found himself in hell (v. 25).

“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented (v. 25).”

That is also the reason the disciples were greatly astonished when Jesus told them that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19:23-26). The back drop to this teaching was when they heard Him tell the other rich young ruler to sell everything he had and give it to the poor and then follow Jesus if he wanted to inherit eternal life (Mt. 19:16-22). As they say, money makes a great servant but a lousy master. Unless you become a bond servant to Jesus and can give it all away if He asked you to, money could just be more of a master to you than you thought. Be careful. Recently the Lord dealt with us about being in a fully consecrated position so that if He decided to bless us with large amounts of money we would not be ensnared or fall into temptation. If you want to be rich and desire wealth it can be a great temptation and a snare or trap that could hurt and destroy you.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Tim. 6:8-11).

Can it be any more clearer than this?

THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS

The Church of the Laodiceans had the same problem. They trusted in their riches and believed they had favor with God because of it. They thought they were rich, increased with goods, and had need of nothing, but Jesus told them that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17). What a deception!

Many Bible scholars believe the Laodicean church is the apostate church of the last days just before the return of the Lord. Just like the two rich men, they equated wealth, riches, and possessions with the blessing of God.  They didn’t know their true spiritual condition. Yet all that was necessary for them was to know what the Scriptures really said concerning money, instead of just believing what the rabbis and spiritual leaders of that day told them. Then they could’ve gotten in touch with their own hearts on the matter by communing with God, and He would’ve revealed the true condition of their hearts.

Isn’t that what we are seeing in our day? Many Christians believe more what the elevated teachers in our Christian culture say than what the Bible really teaches. I can tell you right now that some of the most popular teachers and preachers in the marketplace of Christianity today are on their way to destruction or will lose their reward if they don’t experience a rude awakening. Wealth and riches have become a snare to them and they are falling into foolish and hurtful lusts and erring from the faith, and piercing themselves through with  many sorrows. May God have mercy on their souls and help them to recover from this snare.

Here’s what’s happening on the earth today.

Both citizens of heaven and hell are being numbed and dulled by the effects of their flesh and senses, so that they cannot feel the full force of the atmospheres of their respective kingdoms. There is a spirit and an effect in the atmosphere of this world that stops conviction, and this effect is in the worldly church as well. 

THE YOUNG DEMONIAC THAT I CAST THE DEVIL OUT OF

I don’t have time to go into the details of this marvelous deliverance, but I will share the high points. Several years ago I cast the devil out of a 19 year boy while conducting meetings in the nation of Gambia, West Africa. We brought him to Jesus, got him filled with the Holy Sprit, and enrolled him in Bible school afterwards. Praise the Lord!

Immediately following his deliverance I interviewed him. I discovered that evil spirits had visited him since he was seven years of age and enticed him to enter into a covenant with them. For  a dozen years or so the devil would grant the boy pleasures and then inflict pain upon him and beat him, more pleasures and then  more pain, until it became almost unbearable for him. I asked him if he had sought freedom and help from other Christians and churches. He said he had, but none were strong enough to help him. In one incident the evil spirit in him ransacked the office of a large Charismatic church and slapped the pastor in the face when they tried to cast the evil spirit out of him. Here’s what the evil spirit spoke: “This church has no power because they don’t live holy and all they talk about is money!” Can you believe a devil said that? Demons know churches. Demons know men.

“And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15)

This church had no power over the evil spirit in this boy because they were unholy and full of greed and covetousness. Their powerlessness was due to these impurities. Don’t think that these things don’t matter because they do. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I know that God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable and God may use individuals for a time even when they are living in sin, but soon judgment catches up with them if they don’t repent. But when it comes to the corporate anointing and power in a church, money impurities and greed dilute it and make the church ineffective.

We’ve got to repent and drain the swamp in the church of dirty money before true restoration can come. God’s house must be a house of prayer and not a den of thieves.