God is Not Mocked: Exposing the Authority Heresy

You may be wondering why I chose to reference Galatians 6:7 in the title of my series. Here is why:

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Those that sow to the flesh reap corruption. In other words, corruption is proof that someone is ignoring the Spirit and indulging the flesh. And it seems that day by day, more corruption is coming to light in America’s churches. Ministries under investigation for tax fraud. Prominent pastors accused of sexual harassment and assault. Elders exposed for turning a blind eye to pedophiles in the pews. Church discipline that has been flagged as damaging and discriminatory. The scandals continue to pile up.

For decades, many of the leaders embroiled in these scandals have written hundreds of books and preached countless sermons on “spiritual authority.” They have presented themselves as being near the top of a “God-ordained” hierarchy that requires lay believers to submit—unquestioningly—to their direction. They have then used their subsequent success in ministry to “prove” that they have God’s blessing and approval in this system of power and control.

But God is not mocked. The laws of sowing and reaping cannot be subverted. Sowing unto unbiblical authority is sowing unto pride, and pride always reaps corruption. Always. As the Bible says, a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17). Unbiblical church authority is churning out bad fruit by the bushels. It is not God’s will for His Church. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Follow Matthew 18 for False Teachers

My series on Biblical Counseling is coming to a close. But before I wrap up with the final post, I want to address what it means to deal with false teachers.

Many times, when a Christian blogger publishes a post that reveals an unbiblical doctrine or practice of a well-known pastor or teacher, a lot of hand-wringing tends to occur. Fellow Christians come out of the woodwork saying, “Oh, why must you be so critical! Doesn’t Pastor so-and-so love the Lord just as much as you do? You’re causing division among the saints! Can’t you just chew up the meat and spit out the bones?? If you have such a problem with his teachings, approach him privately first! That’s what Matthew 18 says to do!”

True. But Matthew 18 was not written for false teachers. Continue reading

5 Ways to Recognize a False Gospel

Image found at stephenblack.org

Thanks, dear readers, for bearing with me through some heavy posts. It’s so good to get back to some practical teaching! I really think this kind of teaching is needed today. Jesus said that in the last days, many false prophets and teachers would appear. According to the Internet, just about every person who has written a Christian book in the past 15 years has been labeled a false prophet at some point: everyone from Joyce Meyer to John Hagee. The label is losing its power. So how can the average believer discern the true gospel from a false one? Here’s a handy guide. Continue reading

Heretical Ministry, or How to Make Atheists

https://i0.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/204/494149544_5857986986.jpgWhile researching for my series on the Holy Spirit, I came across an atheist forum engaged in a discussion on speaking in tongues. What I read disturbed me. It wasn’t that the forum participants were calling it “satanic gibberish” and mocking the Bible. That’s to be expected. It’s that some shared stories that reveal just how deep the roots of heresy have grown in the charismatic movement–and how it’s tearing people away from God.

This is the story I can’t get out of my head. Fair warning: it contains strong profanity. I won’t remove it all because it expresses exactly what this young man felt, and he deserves to be heard with his own voice. However, I have edited elsewhere for length and clarity. Continue reading

The Problem with Charismatic Churches

Earlier today, I did some gardening. I love gardening because it lends a certain clarity to my thoughts. As I pulled weeds and rearranged a flower bed, I meditated on the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, in which Jesus illustrates the different ways the gospel is received among hearers:

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away” (verses 3-5).

He goes on to talk about the seed that fell among thorns and the seed that fell on good soil. Afterwards, he explains the parable to his disciples:

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (verses 19-21).

I believe that part about rocky soil describes many charismatic churches today.

I was raised in the charismatic faith. It’s a denomination that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (see Acts 2) and emphasizes operating in the gifts of the Spirit. Worship is often characterized by enthusiastic singing, dancing, and the raising of hands.  All of that certainly makes church exciting.

However, I’ve watched far too many people get burned out in these churches and completely forfeit their faith as a result. The modern charismatic church is riddled with problems that, I believe, make them more susceptible to heresies and deception than other denominations. I say this not as a bitter critic, but as one who is honestly concerned. It’s time these problems were addressed–and for good reason!

Continue reading