Even If An Angel

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a Christian tell me, “What??” every time I told them who I considered a false teacher or heretic, I’d probably have enough to buy a private beach house and quit college.

It’s true. Shai Linne put it best in his rap song False Teachers, “Today, the only heresy is saying that there’s heresy.” I don’t know what is more dangerous today: calling out a heretic or to be the heretic. What has become of our Christian culture? It’s as if we’re afraid of saying when someone is preaching a false gospel, and it is all under the guise of being “nice.”

Now, I believe in true and patient discernment, and I resent people who are quick to accuse someone of being a heretic. However, I also resent people who are too slow to call out false teaching in the Church and who are more concerned about protecting those whom they think are nice or are heroes of theirs.

Growing up, I listened to all kinds of teachers. Because I was raised in a fundamentalistic Pentecostal home, it was not uncommon to walk past a TV set and see Joel Osteen, Rod Parsely, Benny Hinn, Reinhardt Bonke, etc. The crazy thing is that most people today recognize these people are charlatans, but not because of the Gospel they preach, but money.

This is what I’ve learned so far from “discerning” evangelicals currently: 1) If the pastor is rich, he’s a heretic, and 2) If the pastor’s church is growing and he talks about Jesus, then he’s not a heretic. What’s wrong with this picture? I’ll say it: it’s a horrible way to discern between who is and isn’t a false teacher. How much a pastor makes doesn’t define whether he’s a heretic or not, and whether or not a pastor teaches about Jesus is not sufficient evidence to believe he’s sound.

The standard for what makes a teacher a heretic or a hero is the Gospel he teaches; it is not his looks and it is not his mannerisms, it is whether or not what he teaches is, plain and simple, the Gospel.

Let me give two examples.

Upon Dr. R.C. Sproul’s death, he was worth $5 million, but no true Christian would dare say he’s a charlatan. Quite the opposite, he was a great representation of Paul instruction to do nothing but “preach Christ.” In fact, I’d argue Dr. Sproul was the one who brought more attention to Christology and justification by faith alone than any other theologian in the past two-hundred years. Wealth doesn’t define your theology, rather where you stand on the authority of Scripture and your understanding of God’s role in salvation.

The second example I have is Steven Furtick of Elevation Church. He always preaches with a smile, and he looks very vibrant and in tune with the culture. I can’t even deny that he is an effective communicator to a degree, and he even uses the name of Jesus when he preaches. Nevertheless, he is a heretic. Why? In one of his sermons, he claimed that the most “amazing part about the Gospel” is that “God broke the law (click here to watch full clip). In that same sermon, he states that man didn’t have the “leverage” to obey the law. He preaches a false Gospel because the Bible clearly says we were dead in sin and that Christ paid the penalty for our sin, and it could only be possible if He never broke the law. One sin, and there would be no Gospel. Either Furtick is wrong, or we’re doomed.

It doesn’t matter how much “joy” someone may have or how much piety a person you perceive to be a saint has, if they preach a different Gospel than justification by faith alone, Christ’s imputed righteousness and God’s complete work in salvation, they are not only false in their proclamation of being Bible believers, but they are hell-bound.

It’s crazy to say that, and it’s hard for many people to hear that, but we must come to the serious realization that niceness doesn’t cut it in the Kingdom of God. What is necessary is believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and if any man or woman preaches otherwise, they must be denounced and discredited. I’ve known many nice atheists, Mormons and heretics all my life; some are good citizens and can even be trustworthy, but unless they repent, they are not saved. I would hope you wouldn’t want them to continue to be hell-bound and you would try to preach the Gospel to them. How much more do we want to make sure that deceivers to not lead people astray with a false gospel and letting them continue to pave the road to hell for many multitudes to come.

Paul was very clear in Galatians 1:8-9 (ESV) and his words still speak true today. I end my post with the very inspired word of God, and the Lord says this: “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 receivedlet him be accursed.”

The Gospel is too precious; defend the good news of Jesus Christ and call out those who go against it.

Soli Deo Gloria.

7 Comments

  1. False teaching has been laid out for us in Deuteronomy 13. If someone performs a “wonder” or says such and such and it comes to pass, but they then steer you to another El other than Yahweh, that’s a false teacher. This is exactly why, when formerly Jews had accepted Messiah in droves–even Pharisees–but then didn’t is that the church began to embroider their “god” with “done away with laws” and eating unclean stuff and “moving” the Sabbath and voiding the feast days. They had been bathed in Torah since they were in utero; these things didn’t make sense and DQ’ed that “messiah” Jesus for them. This is why the Bereans, unlike the Thessalonians who were more concerned with protecting Caesar, checked what Paul taught against the scriptures–and, by the way, they didn’t find he diverged from them at all.

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    1. So what you’re saying is that the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, which are not based on creation but culture, is part of the regulative principle of worship?
      And are you claiming that Christians like Peter and Paul, whom you just quoted, were part of the problem?
      I’m just curious about how many issues I have to address here before I do other legalism and a misunderstanding of Apostolic hermeneutics: is it correct to assume you are a Messianic Jew?

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      1. No. The sacrificial ordinances were added and resided outside the Ark. And I don’t understand what you mean by “part of the problem”? Peter himself interpreted his vision as having to do with gentiles not once, but twice (two witnesses). Paul wasn’t found to be off from the Scriptures by the Bereans that we know of. But the Sabbath, the feast days, the guidelines of what is food or not–those have never been changed except by the traditions of men.
        And as far as “culture” I presume you mean that that stuff was for those “Jews”–but that would be mistaken. There are some 25 places where the Creator who gave them said they were just as applicable to gentiles, strangers, foreigners as to the children of Israel–which included 11 other tribes besides Judah–all of whom, along with a mixed multitude from Egypt, were at Mt. Sinai at the giving of the commandments.

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      2. I highly recommend reading Galatians about this issue that you bring up. I think you’re stuck in legalism and you aren’t familiar with the purpose of the ceremonial laws’ purpose as well as the prophecies of the Old Testament being completely fulfilled in Christ.

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      3. I have indeed read Galatians, particularly the part in chapter 4 where you Christians say Paul is talking about the law as “weak and beggarly elements”–when in fact, he was writing to folks who NEVER HAD THE TORAH (4:8) He’s talking about their old pagan ways. It’s as simple as reading comprehension and good hermeneutics.

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      4. So how do you explain Hebrews then? Was the author not talking to Jews in that one when he said that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and that a New Covenant has been ushered in?

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      5. When Paul said to the church at Philippi to “fulfill my joy” did he mean for them to end it? Fulfill means to fill up–not do complete and end. If you compare Matthew 5:17 with 18, there IS a word used to end and that’s ginomai. The verse 17 one, though, is pleroo.

        And when you look at the “new” moon–is it in fact a brand new one off the shelf? Or is it the same one, having gone dark, and then in a few moments, the light is again reflected from it’s surface? This is our picture of the covenant. What will be written on men’s hearts in the new era of time? Yahweh’s law (Jeremiah 31:33).

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