There are warnings of many different kinds in Scripture. The most serious are in relation to those that purport to teach the truth but don’t preach the Gospel. Those who use Scripture trying to pull off being Christian are to be identified… noted… opposed… and exposed. Thus the purpose of this post.
Recently I talked with a man who is struggling with this in his church. After hearing him and the struggles he has regarding what his pastor has said, I thought it proper to include the comments for illustration. Consider the things his pastor has said directly to him:
When asked if Jesus is the ONLY way to God, he replied: WHAT IF there is another way to God than Jesus? (For a pastor to pose that question to a parishioner is improper!)
When asked about Jesus being God’s only Son he said: I don’t know if Jesus is God’s ONLY son. He may have had others we don’t know about.
When asked if people of other religions were going to heaven and worshiped the same God we do he said: It may be that other religions are worshiping the same God as us, but using different names.
When asked why he hadn’t preached or referred to God’s judgment on sinners for rejecting Christ (hell) over the span of ten years, he replied: I don’t want to offend visitors that may be present in the services.
Regarding salvation… (In a message on Rich Young Ruler passage) he said: When we examine the words “inherit eternal life,” we have to consider that “eternal life” and “salvation” may not be the same thing.
The things this ravenous wolf (Pastor) has said are called heresy. My counsel to this person was to expose the pastor’s heresy… but if he doesn’t, to leave the church and tell the pastor why he’s leaving… and tell anyone who asked why he left the truth behind his leaving.
Pastors/Ministers who fail morally and/or ethically are bad enough. But the worst thing to happen in a church is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that is the SHEPHERD (A Pastor)! It is one who stands in the pulpit week after week and either knowingly, or unwittingly, does not present the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. A wolf stands before the sheep teaching something other than The Gospel! A wolf with a Shepherd’s staff does much more damage eternally than one who fails morally. With this in mind, consider the following warnings in Scripture…
Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Col 2:8 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.
1 Tim 6:3-5 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
2 Tim 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
1 Jn 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.
2 Pet 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (Wow!)
Think about it… while a pastor who falls to immorality is dangerous and should be relieved of his duties… it is a greater stumbling block for a heretic to be allowed to deliver a false gospel to God’s people week after week after week! The sad thing is that many don’t know or realize when they’re being fed doctrinal heresy.
What to do?
First… know the Gospel well yourself!
Second… be discerning as you listen to messages.
Third… test what you hear by the Scripture to see if it is sound.
Fourth… if you hear something you’re not sure of, go talk to the preacher for clarification. If what you heard was a mistake and is corrected… don’t worry (But keep listening close).
Last… if the “mistakes” and/or heresy continues… go where you hear sound Bible Truth.