There is nothing new about false teachings, heresy, and apostasy in the churches. They have been occurring for two millennia now. Jesus himself warned about this often. He made it clear that ravenous wolves would tear about the flocks, and false shepherds would cause great damage.
Both Testaments warn repeatedly of such matters. They are found all over the prophetic writings, and elsewhere. Given that I have just finished Isaiah and started Jeremiah in my daily reading, simply offering a few warnings found there will do for a start.
Isaiah 30:9-11 This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!
Jer. 5:31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?
Jer. 14:14-15 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. Therefore this is what the LORD says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine.
Jer, 23:1-2 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings.” says the Lord.
Jesus also had much to say along these lines. Consider just a few verses from Matthew 24: “Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many’” (vv. 4-5). “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (vv. 10-11).
So we should not be surprised to see plenty of false teaching in the churches, and a falling away from biblical truth. We see it happening throughout our churches today. A clear example of this concerns the issue of homosexuality. Sadly, many church leaders have thrown away biblical truth here and embraced the world’s agenda instead.
The homosexual activists of course love it that so many church leaders are stumbling over themselves to promote their cause for them. And it is all going nicely according to plan. Earlier strategy manuals by the activists specifically mentioned how the churches must be neutralised if their agenda is to succeed.
And that is now happening big-time. The activists – and the father of lies behind them – have managed to dupe and deceive many believers and their leaders into embracing the entire radical cause of the militant homosexualists. We have seen this for a few decades now at least.
Another example of this was on proud display in today’s Melbourne Age. It seems twenty gullible and undiscerning church leaders have hopped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon, and think it is all just peachy-keen; something Jesus would be very proud of in fact.
The piece begins this way: “Twenty faith leaders have signed a letter urging people to declare their support for same-sex marriage to two federal parliamentary inquiries on the issue. The move follows six Victorian Catholic bishops writing to their parishioners to tell them that allowing gay couples to marry would be a ‘grave mistake’ and would undermine the institution of marriage.”
You can read the entire depressing article for yourself. While nothing new, the attempt to justify this by these leaders is just frightening. The inability to engage in clear thinking, moral reasoning, and faithfully adhere to the biblical text is mind-boggling really.
Consider one of the remarks made in defence of all this. It is appalling that anyone claiming to be a long-standing minister of the gospel could even make such a morally, mentally and biblically vacuous statement. Here is the argument for SSM:
“How can I, a heterosexual who’s been very happily married for 50 years, tell anyone else they don’t have the right to form a loving, committed, lifelong union and enjoy the fruits of marriage as I have done? Marriage is not a club to be restricted to some. Like the Gospel, it is a blessing to be shared.”
Actually it is very easy to tell others why – so let me explain. The institution of marriage, like every other social good, is not an open-ended pool which anyone can just jump into. There are obvious limits and requirements. All social institutions operate this way.
The simple truth is, I cannot get married, nor can this mixed-up minister. That is because we are both already married. Thus we are now ineligible for marriage. Marriage is open to anyone provided they meet at least three universal criteria: they are of the right gender, of the right age, and are not too close as family members.
Thus a man and a woman are required; children cannot marry; nor can close relatives. Meet those three simple qualifications, and anyone can marry. It is that simple. There is no discrimination or inequality going on here at all. How any intelligent person and church leader to boot cannot see such simple realities is beyond me.
Sorry, but marriage very well is a club which is restricted to some. Why is that so hard to understand? And why is all reason, logic and moral discernment being thrown out of the window here? More importantly, why are these leaders trampling underfoot the Word of God in order to push radical secular agendas?
Marriage may be a gift but it is clearly not for everyone. So comparing it to the gospel is both disingenuous and misleading. That Jesus died for all people is one thing. But marriage is clearly not for all. Indeed, Jesus himself and many of the disciples were not married.
The way these theological revisionists are carrying on, one would think everyone must get married to be a complete person. This is clearly nonsense. Singleness is a gift of God just as much is a married heterosexual relationship. Go back and read about this in 1 Corinthians 7 if need be.
To argue that destroying God’s institution of heterosexual marriage is somehow on a par with people hearing or partaking in the gospel is just ridiculous. This shows just how far the revisionists will go to try to make their case. They are obviously quite desperate to have to engage in such foolishness.
And we need to look at the nature of the gospel a bit more closely as well. It goes without saying that these wayward pastors and leaders have embraced theological liberalism big time. Many of them would undoubtedly embrace the heresy of universalism, the idea that in the end everyone will get saved anyway.
But no one reading the New Testament can hold to such a perverted view. Everywhere we are informed that while the gospel is open to all, it is restricted to those who meet the God-ordained criteria. Repentance, turning from sin, and faith are among the entrance requirements.
In that sense the church is of course not an open club. While anyone can attend a church and hear the gospel proclaimed, not everyone is part of the company of the redeemed, the Body of Christ. Jesus more than anyone made this crystal clear. Consider just a few of his words from the gospels:
Mark 1:14-15 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
John 5:24 I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.
So the family of God, like the institution of marriage, is very much a closed club in one sense. Not everyone belongs to it, nor wants to. We either do things the way God has ordained, or we miss out. It is that simple. Both of these great goods are clearly bounded membership clubs.
Obviously these revisionists have no biblical grounds whatsoever to stand on here, so they will twist and pervert both Scripture and logic to push their radical and misguided agendas. As so-called church leaders they really should know better. They really do have a lot to answer for in this area.
Those wishing to take this further are advised to grab a copy of my new book in which I go into far more detail on all these matters. I carefully examine both the social science data as well as the biblical material. The book can be found in various places, including: