Sunday, February 26, 2017


Should we be criticizing false and defective gospels? One sister took issue with me on this account:

·       You know, Daniel, with all the horrific sin in the world and all those unbelievers out there needing to know the Gospel of Christ, I do not see the benefit in criticizing any ministry regardless of doctrine provided that they adhere to the basic tenets of the faith. Mega ministries such as these, have the resources to send missionaries all over the world, spreading the gospel, providing millions of dollars to feed the destitute. I believe Christ's bride in all its forms, will be contended with by the bridegroom in his own time. It is NOT our mission to dissuade people by these posts from attending Churches.

While it is true that we are in no position to separate the wheat from the tares (weeds), the Bible is filled with admonitions for us to be alert to false teaching. Paul had written:

·       See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

·       Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one DISQUALIFY YOU, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Colossians 2:16-19)

If we can be “disqualified,” shouldn’t the love of God and of His Church require us to warn? Jesus certainly did His share of warning:

·       “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15; Mark 8:15)

Mustn’t we follow suit! I therefore wrote to this sister:

“I think that people must be warned against other gospels. The NT certainly speaks a lot into this area:

·       Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

I think that we need to ultimately be concerned about loving God by abiding in His Word and being a light. Consequently, considerations about how much “good” a defective gospel is achieving or how many people are being “saved” through it must be secondary.

But where to draw the line? This is not an easy question. There are certainly honest disagreements that do not seriously impact the Gospel. I just want to point out that Paul regarded some seemingly innocuous digressions as quite serious:

·       1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

Is teaching against marriage and certain foods that consequential? Paul claimed that because of such teaching, “some will depart from the faith.”

Please notice that I am not even calling Osteen or Campolo false teachers or false brothers. I am merely pointing to the fact that their teachings depart from the Bible, and that this is something that we required to do:

·       2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, CORRECTING his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

This applies especially to preachers of the Word. We are instructed:

·       1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

What if we do not test these false prophets and their teachings? We are culpable before God. The Ephesians had been commended for this:

·       Revelation 2:2 “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.”

Other churches were criticized because they failed to exercise biblical discernment and tolerated teachings that they shouldn’t have tolerated (Rev. 2:14, 20). When we remain silent, we endorse false teaching and sin, if we know to do good and do not do it (James 4:17).”

Can we truly weigh the fruits of a defective gospel? If our calculated silence about the conflict between evolution and the Bible has enabled the Gospel to penetrate into the university, isn’t this justification enough? If mega-churches have been built upon the prosperity ministry and, seemingly, many have come to the Lord through it, do we have any basis to preach against it?

The US South had been a godless place. Missionaries, preaching an anti-slavery message, had tried to penetrate it for years without success. However, subsequent missionaries found that the Gospel could take root as long as they didn’t preach against slavery. Who could argue against such results? Time could!

We have payed dearly for this omission. However, this isn’t the primarily consideration. Rather, we have failed to love God enough to preach His full counsel (Acts 20:26-32).

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