The true church is defined in the Bible as a called-out assembly of those who are true followers of Jesus Christ. Of his true disciples, Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50) The corollary would then mean that a false belief does not do the will of the Father. We know the will of the Father by what His Word says. It follows that false disciples must deny what scripture teaches:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed, they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Therefore, it can be said that a “false church” is one that does not proclaim the plain things of the Bible. I like this definition:
The false church: The body of self-identified Christians who may, or may not, have begun the process of sanctification through belief upon…Christ. The false church either rejects the infallibility of scripture outright or seeks to rationalize and radically “reform,” revise or reinterpret scripture to justify sin.
False churches exist because of false believers or false converts. They do not want to hear the truth of the Bible, so these false brethren join together and create a church of their liking, complete with a false teacher:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
If all the preaching and teaching at a false church suddenly became good and Biblically sound, do you think the people that attend would also become true disciples? Perhaps a few would, but for the most part, they would no longer attend that particular church. They would either go elsewhere or stop going anywhere. French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) said: “In democracy, we get the government we deserve.” With the freedom to choose one’s government, comes the responsibility for that government. The same is true in countries with religious freedom, where a group can easily set-up a church of their liking. It could be said, “With religious liberty, we get the church we deserve.” Source
The Prophet claims to be gifted by God to speak fresh revelation outside of Scripture—new, authoritative words of prediction, teaching, rebuke, or encouragement. In reality, though, he is commissioned and empowered by Satan for the purpose of misleading and disrupting Christ’s church. John offered an urgent warning about him. “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” (1 John 4:1). Christians must “test the spirits” to determine if they originate with the Holy Spirit or with a demonic spirit. Later, John declared that God has spoken fully and finally in Scripture and offered the most solemn warning against anyone who claims to bring revelation equal or contrary to Scripture. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
The Prophet appears throughout the history of the church. As early as the second century, Montanus and his disciples claimed to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. In the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith claimed to receive The Book of Mormon from the angel Moroni. Today the airwaves are chock-full of people claiming to speak in the name of God through the power of the Spirit. Personal prophecies are just a phone call away. Sarah Young, the author of the top Christian bestseller of the decade, boldly claims that her book contains the very words of Jesus. The Prophet continues to speak, to lead astray.
“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs
and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” —Mark 13:22
THE BEST PLACE TO HIDE A LIE IS BETWEEN TWO TRUTHS!
Since its earliest days, the church has been plagued by false teachers and deadly doctrine. Never has there been a period of rest, a time when Christians could relax their guard. Satan has opposed the church since the day of its founding, and he will continue to oppose her until the day of his destruction.
Naturally, then, Paul was seriously concerned about false teachers and deadly doctrine, warning of them in almost every one of his letters. As he comes to the end of his letter to the Romans, he reminds the church to be on guard, since false teachers are skilled at using flattery and smooth words to deceive even believers. Paul loves this church and wants them to be aware of the challenges they will face from predatory teachers. But his solution may strike us as surprising. He tells these Christians “to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19b).
Paul seems to be echoing Jesus here. In the book of Matthew, we read of Jesus sending out his disciples and warning them of impending persecution from enemies of the gospel. He tells them how to behave in the midst of such trials: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Jesus and Paul both call for wisdom and innocence. Let’s see how these two passages instruct us on protecting ourselves and our churches from false teachers and their deadly doctrine.
Serpents and Doves
Jesus had taught and mentored his disciples, and he was now ready to send them on a short-term mission. They would go to their fellow Jews to tell them of the Messiah. They were like sheep being dispatched into a pack of dangerous wolves. Wolves are vicious, and sheep are helpless. Wolves are crafty, and sheep are dumb. How could these sheep survive? They would need to learn from two other creatures—snakes and doves.
Snakes are shrewd animals, able to make astute judgments. They are able to evaluate circumstances and behave in a fitting manner. When they see the danger, they slither out of sight without hesitation. Doves, meanwhile, are innocent animals. Doves are simple, pure creatures who cause no trouble. Yet their simplicity is prone to lead them into danger, for they may not take flight when a predator draws near. Their purity is associated with their gullibility.
We are to be godly but not gullible—snake smart, but not snake sneaky.
Where Christians are prone to be as innocent as snakes and as shrewd as doves, God calls us to something far more noble and far more effective. Douglas Sean O’Donnell puts it this way: “We are to be godly but not gullible—snake smart, but not snake sneaky. For our character commends Christ; our godliness proclaims the gospel.” We are to behave in a way that draws attention to the gospel, not to ourselves. We are to ensure that any offense we give is the offense of the gospel, not the offense of our own depravity. We are to preach the gospel wisely, evaluating situations to discover the most appropriate way to speak the clearest truth. Wisdom and innocence best serve the cause of the gospel.
Wise and Innocent
Paul borrows the words of Jesus and applies them to a different context. If Jesus calls for a pure witness, Paul’s call leans toward a pure mind. Paul leaves us no simile to unpack and interpret. Knowing that false teachers and their deadly doctrine are close at hand, Christians are “to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19b). J.B. Phillips paraphrases it this way: “I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners in evil.”
Becoming an expert in truth by studying error is dangerous and wasteful, a backward, perilous approach.
Paul was aware of the temptation to grow so concerned about evil that we develop an obsession with it. We may assume that the best way to guard our faith is to become experts in false doctrine, to study the fine details of error so that truth may stand out. But there are at least two grave problems with this approach. First, we are too weak and evil is too strong for us to immerse ourselves in evil and remain untouched. Our acquaintance with evil can soon become an attraction to evil. Second, defending the truth by studying error is a fool’s errand. God’s truth is profitable, but evil is a useless counterfeit, a perversion of the truth. God’s truth is fixed and unchanging, but evil is always morphing, always adapting to the trends of the age. Becoming an expert in truth by studying error is dangerous and wasteful, a backward, perilous approach.
Paul offers a far safer and far more effective solution. We must focus the best of our attention on what is good and pure and lovely (Philippians 4:8). We must make truth, rather than error, the focus of our studies and the delight of our hearts. We must trust that the foolproof way to identify false doctrine is to become experts in true doctrine. As John MacArthur says, “Don’t study false doctrine, don’t study sin, don’t study error. Stick with the truth and godly obedience.”
Our priority must always be the truth. We defend the Christian faith best when our grasp of sound doctrine is both deep and wide. The believer with great knowledge of truth is equipped to defend against every error.
The Posture of the Christian
When it comes to false teaching, the appropriate posture is acquaintance without obsession. We do well to know of the existence of error and its strategy for infiltrating the church. The shrewd Christian will be familiar with the primary challenges of his day, the most prominent errors, the foremost peddlers of heresy. Yet he will remain innocent by equipping himself with truth, rather than obsessing about the error. As heresies arise, he will respond by increasing his familiarity with God’s Word, trusting that the light of God’s Word will expose the darkness of every error.
We must never allow the study of error to hinder our pursuit of the truth.
I will grant, of course, that there will be times when it is wise to gain greater familiarity with prominent and pernicious errors—the kind of errors that threaten to “deceive the hearts of the naive” (Romans 16:18). Some believers are specially equipped to study false doctrine so they can refute it with the Word of God. Many of us have benefited from the labor of such men and women. Yet, as Robert Mounce says so well, “God never intended his children to become intimate with evil in order to communicate the gospel to those in its grasp.” We must never allow the study of the error to hinder our pursuit of the truth. Source
Destruction of the World Church
According to prophecy, the apostate World Church (the ecclesiastical Babylon of Rev 17) will suffer sudden and catastrophic destruction. How? Destruction comes from the other end time Babylon – the commercial and economic Babylon of Rev 18. This final world system, controlled by a humanistic World Government and the powerful ten-horned beast of Rev 13.1 conspires to destroy ecclesiastical Babylon:”And the ten horns … and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, … and will burn her up with fire” (Rev 17.16)
Why does this happen? A plausible explanation is that the political beast of Rev 13.1-10 is godless and its leader, the end time world dictator, demands that the world worship him alone (2 Thes 2.4)(Rev 13.8). The end time World Church, although corrupt and ‘Babylonish’, will probably still acknowledge God as supreme above all creation, and so stands in the way of the aspirations of the end time world ruler.
Dear reader: if you are seeking the true and faithful church, beware of deception. Bible prophecy foresees a powerful but apostate world church and many see this as headed by the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformers recognized this and came out from Papal control. Today, Jesus calls to the faithful who find themselves in an apostate church: “COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE” (2 Cor 6.17)
John Wesley who said that what we tolerate in our generation, will be embraced by the next. Wesley is 100% correct! We are living in sick times.
HNewsWire- “All political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” Just look at some of our modern day examples: torture is “enhanced interrogation techniques”; murder is “collateral damage”; the aggression initiation of war is a “pre-emptive strike”; the theft of taxpayers’ money is a “bailout”, and the theft of depositors’ money in a bank is a “haircut” or “bail-in”.In a blatant example of Newspeak, the New World Order controllers (through the psychiatric DSM V) have tried to rename pedophiles as “minor-attracted persons” and redefine pedophilia as “sexual orientation”. This makes no sense since sexual orientation has to do with gender, not age, with whether you are attracted to males or females, not how old they are. There are even organizations (like B4UAct.org) which are claiming that pedophiles are being unfairly stigmatized for their feelings!
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“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. Let me tell you something, friend, it is not loved and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth, then to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie. There is only one Gospel and Paul said, ‘If any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Proverbs 31:8 (NIV)
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