The Lord Jesus Christ knows my heart and that I long for joining with other believers to worship and serve Him and share our mutual love with one another. God hears my prayers. Recently, I have had the opportunity to check out three other churches in our area and I want to give a report on what I have found. One was unfamiliar to me, the other two I am familiar with, one we used to attend years ago.
The first experience was at the church we used to attend. My husband and I attended a memorial service for an acquaintance. Sadly, this man didn’t believe that repentance was important to salvation. He just focused on the believe part of the Bible. I am not saying he was an ungodly man, what I am saying is his doctrine wasn’t in agreement with the Scriptures. The memorial service focused on Jesus Christ which was a refreshing change from most of the memorial services we have gone to. Towards the end of the service, a pastor from a church in Tennessee shared a “message”. He was of the same doctrine as our acquaintance. The pastor said that no ones’ sins would be judged because when Christ died on the cross the sins of the whole world were judged. My beloved brothers and sisters no one protested this blatant false teaching that emanated from the heresy of repentless salvation. Our acquaintance attended this church. We left years ago when the daughters of those in leadership got pregnant out of wedlock, along with other young women in the church. This is what happens when the gospel is not faithfully proclaimed.
The second experience happened when a student let me know he was a believer and told me about the church he attended. We never just go to church to see what it is like. We have had to leave way too many churches by doing that. So I did my due diligence and went to the website. There wasn’t anything that was too worrisome, so I contacted the elders with questions I had. The answers seemed to be satisfactory then I followed our standing practice and asked that question which is a barometer for any church, whether it is led by sound men or not. I asked the elder I was corresponding with what he thought about C. S. Lewis and Billy Graham. He didn’t just answer the question, but wanted to know why I asked it. So I let him know that it would give me information about the leadership and his church. He responded that both men had done good deeds within the world and the “Christian” community, despite their nuanced theology. Nuanced? Both men denied the centrality and uniqueness of Christ in the salvation of sinners. Both men were/are ecumenists who have paved the way for the ecumenical surge throughout evangelicalism. Both men were/are agreeable to the false teaching of Rome and modernists. I had the information that I needed and decided we didn’t need to be under leadership that wasn’t committed to the truth of the gospel and the glory of Jesus Christ.
The third experience occurred when I met an old friend at the grocery store. We talked for a little bit. She asked about church and suggested that we investigate her church. I had listened to sermon on their website years ago, but the elder spoke mostly about himself. Well I decided to listen to the elders again. The one she recommended spoke in such a soft voice that I couldn’t understand him. So I listened to a message by the head elder. He spoke about his mind being boggled by the fact that Jesus Christ is the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son. My dear beloved brethren this is the false teaching of modalism and comes straight out of the United Pentecostal Church. This is the same false doctrine that T. D. Jakes champions. The error coming out of the mouth of the lead elder along with the information supplied by their bios, one graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary, another loved C. S. Lewis, convinced me this church is not sound nor does it treasure Jesus Christ, His Word or His children.
I want to share one more observation with you to demonstrate that this compromise and heresy is typical of churches here in our country, and I am sure, around the world. Many esteem Pastor John MacArthur, and he does say many commendable things, however, he compromises with the world and the false teachers from the world that are leaders within the visible church. Recently, I watched a video from the Truth Matters Conference held at Grace Community Church in November of 2009 where Philip Johnson interviewed John MacArthur with questions from the attenders of the conference. The title of the video is “Practical Concerns in the Local Church”. While MacArthur made many laudable statements, he also said things that were confusing. He clearly doesn’t understand the root danger of contemplative spirituality, and he gave a mixed message about church attendance and when it is a good idea to leave. However, it is whom he associates with that gives me pause and makes me wonder about his fidelity to the truth of the Scriptures. At mark 26:44 in the video he refers to Al Mohler as his friend. Al Mohler is a signatory to the very ecumenical Manhattan Declaration, which was released in November of 2009. Please read the included link to see all the “Christian” leaders who signed the document and then recognize the depth of ecumenical compromise to which the evangelical church has plunged. Al Mohler, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention has led the denomination in softening its tone regarding homosexuality. Al Mohler, as we can well expect, has joined with other evangelicals to support a Catholic presidential candidate for the betterment of our society. However, the question begs to be asked: “How has the release and signing of the Manhattan Declaration impeded the progress of immorality and furthered the concerns there expressed?”
The compromise and apostasy within the visible church, whatever denominational form it takes, is pervasive and without remedy. It has been my repeated experience that the leadership is not committed to the truth of the Scriptures regardless of their statements of faith or the assurances coming from the pulpit. If they were, they would warn against being unequally yoked with the worldly evangelical church that leads its attenders down the broad path of destruction. They would preach exclusively from the King James Bible and reject the defiled modern versions. They would so preach and teach that the Holy Spirit would be adding to their numbers those who are being saved. The church has one purpose, and one purpose only, to proclaim the gospel and disciple believers. Our response to our culture should always be what it has always been, to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them (Ephesians 5:11).
Based upon this introduction I would like to share the following passages from the book of Ephesians that make it clear we must not compromise with or give our stamp of approval to the visible church today.
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and the length and depth and height—19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:8-21
The church is supposed to display the manifold wisdom of God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and display the life of God in the hearts of the saints. This is the purpose of the church, period. This is how the church glorifies Jesus Christ. Anything that adds to or takes away from this purpose does not come from God, it comes from the enemy of our souls, the devil. So do you really want to attend a church that is being led by the devil?
The Lord Jesus Christ has specific work for the ones that He has called into serving the church and ministering to His saints. God the Holy Spirit spells this out for us in the following passage in Ephesians.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16
The Lord Jesus Christ appoints those He has called to under shepherd His sheep for the express purpose of protecting them from false teachers and equipping them to speak the truth (God’s Word!) in love for the edification of the body so that each individual is standing on the faith once for all delivered to the saints in the Holy Scriptures, knows Jesus Christ experientially, is following Him, and walking in the maturity of the faith, in holy conduct and godly love.
We are further warned within the book given to us by our gracious God that we must have nothing to do with false brethren. We must follow Jesus Christ by obeying His Word and relying upon the indwelling Holy Spirit.
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. Ephesians 5:5-7
That is our call to come out from among them and touch no unclean thing. We do not want to associate with those who are falling headlong into eternal destruction. Should we attend to try and rescue the deceived? No! Our rejection of them is a clear rebuke that they are on the wrong path. Those whom the Lord Jesus Christ does not lead out of the apostate church are too entrenched to be reached. They have been making excuses, enjoying the “fellowship” and idolizing their pastors for far too long. God by Paul gives us the definitive answer in the following verses.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:8-17
Since we are light in the Lord we must reject the darkness, and by our reproof expose it so perhaps some will awaken to the deceit, reject the lie and receive the truth from Jesus Christ. My beloved brethren, the days are evil, we must walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, using it for God’s glory, doing the will of our Lord as revealed to us in the Scriptures. Remember, the religious elites always reject Christ and His truth, and so they will reject us, or try to twist the truth to corrupt us and cause us to follow a false way. Beware of the wicked workers within the visible church!
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:13-17
Lord Jesus Christ, we are either Yours or we aren’t, we either follow You or we don’t. May You raise up godly men and women who are Yours and who will live to Your glory, turning away from the wickedness of the visible church, and instead follow You in faithful love and obedience. Amen!