Friday, April 28, 2017
That you might know what God foretold of our generation: today, the evangelical church increasingly abandons the authority and inerrancy of the Holy Bible. Observable facts indicate that God’s Word is no longer sufficient for many pastoral leaders who pursue best-seller books for their congregational and classroom studies; a wide gate and broad way to spiritual failure.
Thus God warns, “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). Man has a natural proclivity to depart from truth in order to write best-seller books. You can be assured that any best-seller inspirational book today includes the work of deceiving spirits. But books like that captivate the hearts and minds of the biblically ignorant and non-discerning.
From, Patheos, 02/26/2017, “Family Christian Stores Is Closing Because They Sold Too Many “Heretical” Books, Says WND Writer – Mystical, contemplative spirituality, weird experiential-driven claptrap, and social justice progressivism passes today for Christian resources. They all contribute to the biblical illiteracy in this country.” Family Christian Stores went bankrupt and closed all its 240 stores.
Jim Fletcher of WND said, “At the Family Christian Stores fire sale, one can find books by Jen Hatmaker (a Never-Trumper, socially progressive “evangelical”), Hillsong’s Brian Houston and William Paul Young, who wrote “The Shack.”… The irony is, while Family Christian Stores has imploded, the carcass will simply remain for a while on the highway of “Christian” resources, and the road is well traveled. If books are no longer sold by Family Stores, they will be sold by Amazon, or Saddleback Church, or North Point, or Willow Creek. Et cetera.”
Fletcher concludes, “You see, a dirty secret of the Evangelical world is that if heretical books no longer have a home in bankrupt retail stores, they live and thrive in conferences, mega-churches, and media.” His observation is true. Spiritual death persists in the lives of many because Jesus’ truths are exchanged for spiritually and psychologically mind-bending best-seller books.
Since the 2002 rise and overnight spiritual sensation of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” best-seller which sold, “over 30 million copies by 2007”, (Wikipedia), many pastors and church leaders continue to feed their congregations a steady diet of books other than the Bible.
Many admire the Bible, but only at arm’s length, considering it outdated for today. God foretold this, saying, “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. 4:3–4).
The point is this: Jesus Christ is “the truth” (John 14:6), NOT Rick Warren, William P. Young, Brian Houston, Jen Hatmaker, Mark Batterson, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, T.D. Jakes and so many more. Would a man minister truth? – then let him boldly preach the enduring cross of Jesus Christ for He is the truth. But, you see, that won’t make a best-seller.
Man doesn’t need best-seller books that affirm his unbelief. That won’t save anyone. Fallen man needs the Words spoken to Mary by the Holy Spirit, that, “(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35).
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away” (Heb. 1:1–2, 2:1). “lest we drift away” from what? – God’s truth!
One cannot “drift away” (Heb. 2:1) from the truth unless he once knew and believed it. One’s faith could not have “suffered shipwreck” (1 Tim. 1:19) if he wasn’t once already in the faith. It’s impossible for one to, “depart from the faith” (1 Tim. 4:1) if he didn’t once belong to it. It’s impossible for one to, “cast off their first faith” (1 Tim. 5:12) if he didn’t once hold fast to it. It’s impossible to, “overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:18) if they weren’t once planted in it.
Nothing external to yourself can cause you to “drift away” from the truth, or suffer “shipwreck” of your faith, or “depart from the faith”, or “cast off your first faith”. That’s something that only you can do, but the influence of $best-seller$ authors and false teachers promotes that process.
For example, when William P. Young’s, 2007 best-selling book, “The Shack” hit the market, many professing Christians were amazed and joyous at the book’s disclosure that God saves everyone. But that’s a lie straight from hell, yet millions of people in the evangelical church bought it hook, line and sinker. In the AoG church I then attended, I was one of few who discerned the book as complete heresy, and was stunned at its overwhelming approval.
I hope you’ve seen the report that, Dave Aldrich, the graphic artist who helped create “The Shack”, has publically repented for his participation: “I have deep regrets. The Shack’s story wonderfully painted this picture to me of an incredibly knowable and loving God, one full of forgiveness, but without being judgmental.” (Source: Christian Research Network 04/10/2017).
“The Shack” is a spiritual abomination. Yet, many evangelical Christians did not and still can’t discern that truth. Even many pastors blessed that extravaganza of spiritually blind intoxicating lies, portraying God the Father as a black woman void of all righteous judgment. But, you see, deception $$$ and popularity are the seedbed of a best-seller, making the author very wealthy.
Other authors have written equally spiritually corrupt books that tickled the ears of millions. Aldrich adds, “…that the novel led him into reading other authors such as Rob Bell and Brian McLaren, and he found himself at the edge of accepting universalist beliefs before he came to realize the danger. I thank the Lord that He pulled me back from that edge.”
God’s Word is so very clear, that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). That’s all-sufficient. That truth renders the Holy Bible our all-sufficient truth, leading to Spirit-led discernment, conviction, righteousness and judgment, confession and repentance unto salvation.
The Bible is all-sufficient for the single; married; divorced; it’s sufficient for your work place; your home; parent / child relations; for cultural relations; it’s sufficient for all truth; it exposes lies; teaches righteousness; holiness; repentance; enduring faith; the end-times; it safely leads us to the resurrection rapture, “at the last day” (John 6:40), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), if only we believe Christ.
We live in an evil day when smooth-talking false prophets sell their words. Only knowledge of God’s Word and discernment by the Holy Spirit will expose their deceptions. Satan is craftier in deception than any man or woman absent new-birth regeneration and the indwelling power and discernment of the Holy Spirit. Have you entered by the, “narrow gate” (Matt. 7:13)?
Remember, God said, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said?’” (Gen. 3:1). Be wise to that truth, Satan still speaks that same lie today. In fact, “Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:14–15).
The Christian marketplace is flooded with deceptions, unlike any time in the last 2,000 years. And it’s so, because, “he [Satan] knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12). God is bringing this age to its end. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1:20–21). Are you now on the, “difficult way” (Matt. 7:14)?
In the Jude passage, please discern your personal obligation to keep yourself in the love of God according to His Word. The reward will be Godly discernment and knowledge and wisdom in God’s Word unto eternal life. It’s the only thing that will keep you to the end. Neither your spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter, pastor or teacher can do this for you.
For the love of Christ, is the Holy Bible all-sufficient for you, or do you read more best-seller books than God’s Word? Best-seller books fuel the flesh, but the Word of God crucifies the flesh unto conviction, calling us to repentance, to forsake our sin and unbelief for the love of Christ.
Coming to saving faith in Jesus is not a crowd event. You must come alone, empty of self, poor in spirit, broken over your sin, humbled, contrite, repenting and confessing your personal need for Jesus as Savior, and counting the cost. Because to, “enter by the narrow gate” and continue faithfully on the “difficult way” requires one giving up his life and becoming a slave of Christ.
This is what that looked like under the Law: “But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever” (Ex. 21:5–6). Has your heart been pierced, converted and born-again unto new life by the dividing sword and Spirit of Christ? Today can be your day.
Marlin J. Yoder