CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Apostates Destroying Our Churches

Aug 10, 2017

The Bible is full of warnings about those who would lead God’s people astray with lies and false teachings, and drag them into sinful, immoral lifestyles. We should steer clear of such people and have nothing to do with them. Yet sadly we seem to find these apostates regularly doing their worst as they lead so many to perdition.

A key example of this are all the so-called Christian leaders who are siding with sodomy and siding against God and his word. I have written often about such false shepherds. My daily reading at the moment is in the prophets, and it seems like almost every chapter has something to say about such false teachers and fake leaders.

For example, why does Jeremiah 15:1 come to mind as we consider all these apostate religious leaders supporting sodomy? It says: “Then the Lord said to me: ‘Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!’”

atheism 4Wow, those are some very strong words. Yahweh is saying he wants nothing to do with them, and it is no use even trying to intercede for them. That is heavy duty stuff indeed – yet many Christians today would totally reject such a passage.

They would claim that God could never be like this. They would argue that God is always merciful and gracious, and he would never drive anyone away from himself. And they would insist that God would never tell anyone to stop praying for others.

Well, I prefer to side with God and his word on such matters. In fact, on a number of occasions we read about how God actually says that we should stop praying for certain people. The book of Jeremiah contains other examples of this. Here are a few more:

-Jeremiah 7:16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.”
-Jeremiah 11:14 “Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.”
-Jeremiah 14:11 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not pray for the well-being of this people’.”

Such admonitions not to pray for certain people, or how their prayers will go unanswered, are found elsewhere. For example, consider just three more such texts:

-Psalm 80:4 O LORD God Almighty, how long will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?
-Proverbs 28:9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
even their prayers are detestable.
-Isaiah 1:15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;

And we find similar things in the New Testament. Consider one such passage. 1 John 5:16 says this: “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.”

The point is, there are times when even a loving and gracious God says we should save our breath and not pray to him or pray for others. Sometimes people reach a point of no return. Sometimes it is pointless to pray for them. Those are hard words, but they are biblical words.

Chris Wright in his commentary on Jeremiah says this about the four times Jeremiah is told not to pray for his people:

Prophets not only preached, they also prayed. It was part of the prophetic calling. Moses, the model prophet, was the model intercessor. Samuel, Isaiah, and Amos did the same. Jeremiah, then, would have been praying for his people – until God told him to stop. This people were so far gone in rebellion that they were past praying for. It was such a habit for Jeremiah, however, that God had to repeat the instruction several times – making it even more stark in its implications. The triple prohibition of 7:16 is empathetic, and shows the kind of urgent, pleading prayer that must have exercised Jeremiah’s voice when it wasn’t being used for preaching to the people; prayers, pleas and petitions, all now must fall silent.

For I will not listen to you – or to them (11:14; 14:11-12). The words seem harsh and unfeeling, until we set them in the context. Who was not listening to whom? The fact that God now refuses to listen to his people’s prayers is set in the context of repeated emphasis on how they have persistently refused to listen to God’s commands and appeals. Those who will not listen will in the end not be heard either.

If this was true for God’s people back then, how much so for God’s people today? We really have no excuse here. We have the entire revelation of God available to us. The Old and New testaments are readily available to us. We can all read the plain teachings of Scripture of such sins as homosexuality.

If we refuse to listen to and obey God’s word, then he has every reason to stop listening to us. Things are that serious. We need to wake up and get real here. Rejecting the clear teachings of Scripture means that we are rejecting God himself. When we get to that place, we are in dire straits indeed.

We all can rejoice in the grace and mercy of a loving and forgiving God. But contrary to so many worldly Christians, God will not extend his forgiveness and mercy to us forever. There are limits. And when we say no to God often enough and defiantly enough, then he is bound to say a clear no to us.

I have often quoted R. C. Sproul on these matters, but his words are so very good here that they are worth once again running with:

God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite. God sets limits to his patience and forbearance. He warns us over and over again that someday the ax will fall and His judgment will be poured out.
Since it is our tendency to take grace for granted, my guess is that God found it necessary from time to time to remind Israel that grace must never be assumed. On rare but dramatic occasions He showed the dreadful power of His justice. He killed Nadab and Abihu. He killed Uzzah. He commanded the slaughter of the Canaanites. It is as if He were saying, “Be careful. While you enjoy the benefits of my grace, don’t forget my justice. Don’t forget the gravity of sin. Remember that I am holy.”

And again:

We hear all the time about God’s infinite grace and mercy. I cringe when I hear it. God’s mercy is infinite insofar as it is mercy bestowed upon us by a Being who is infinite, but when the term infinite is used to describe his mercy rather than his person, I have problems with it because the Bible makes very clear that there is a limit to God’s mercy. There is a limit to his grace, and he is determined not to pour out his mercy on impenitent people forever. There is a time, as the Old Testament repeatedly reports, particularly in the book of the prophet Jeremiah, that God stops being gracious with people, and he gives them over to their sin.

Those believers – and especially their leaders – who are now shaking their fists at God concerning his intentions for human sexuality, marriage and family had better carefully reconsider. This blatant unbelief and rebellion will not be allowed to continue forever.

The best thing these apostates and false shepherds can do – indeed, the only thing they can do – is to get on their faces before Almighty God, repent, and ask for his mercy before it is too late.

[1370 words]

27 Responses to Apostates Destroying Our Churches

  • Another brilliantly written article and on point!

    How can we truly say we truly love the homosexuals in our communities, when when we do not tell them the truth? The so-called progressive leaders (Apostates) such as the the very Reverend Peter Catt in Brisbane are in error and are leading so many astray.

    I believe, they are the ones who are instrumental in pushing same- sex marriage, today and belching “conservative Christian you are out of touch, you do not speak for me!” (Apostate leaders are you aware that some of the LGBTQI do not want you to speak for them either? The do not want same-sex marriage legalised and are very happy in their recognised civil unions?)

    God’s Word does not change. My heart is breaking. How much more does it break our Heavenly Father’s heart.

    Thank you Bill. Blessings abundant!
    Samantha

  • Lately I have been told I am narrow-minded, bigoted and lacking in compassion because of my firm stance on the homosexuality issue. Others are saying it only applies to Christians and so I have no right to judge non-Christians who don’t believe the Bible anyway. According to these people they are free to do as they like. My response has been, “Do you mean that their stance is unimportant because they are going to hell anyway?”Some of these folk were once strong believers (to the best of my knowledge). Even a well known Christian Minister appears to be saying that this issue is quite low on the agenda of what he cosiders to be important.

  • Like you, Bill, I prefer to side with God and his word on such matters.

    My greatest fear is not that sodomite marriage will become state sanctioned but that if it ever does will see a drift of our churches and the faithful towards accepting homosexual couples as legitimately married, and even in the case of churches, marrying them.

    What can we do?

    I have so far only thought of two things.

    We need our Christian (and Catholic) leaders to declare unequivocally that under no circumstances will they ever attend a sodomite marriage ceremony. Especially Tony Abbott. I admire his resolute defence of marriage but I was to know the sincerity of his beliefs. He has a lesbian sister – if sodomite marriage is legalised will his objections whither away and will we see him smiling at her sinful wedding to her so-called ‘wife’? If we witness our leaders who claim to have deep religious convictions do that what can we say to our flock to keep them strong in the midst of a world normalising sin?

    Secondly, I believe we need additional protections if the marriage law is ever changed. Not only should pastors and ministers be exempt from having to perform sodomite marriages, they should be legally prohibited from doing so on the grounds it is against long established Christian teaching.

    Let me share my experience. My family and I are members of a suburban church. Our church building is a 1970’s brick structure, perfect for worship but none of the young ones ever want to get married at our church. Usually they choose a more picturesque stone church like St John’s or All Saints in Parramatta, even though we are not Anglican they are quite happy to loan their building to us. On Saturday’s, St John’s and All Saints see all these different church congregations pass through them in rapid succession, with couples married by pastors from their own church, with even music provided by their own worship team. I am horrified at the thought that we might in future have to share these sanctified wedding venues with congregations from homosexual-accepting and affirming churches. Imagine turning up early to the wedding of friends and seeing people who have just witnessed two sodomites being ‘married’ streaming out. Imagine your friends getting married standing where the two sodomites stood an hour ago!

    I know Sydney Anglicans are very conservative but I doubt their resolution and fear their position may change under societal pressure. We needs laws to protect our religious freedom and to keep the sodomites out of the church facilities we traditionally use — so the apostates cannot let them in. If marriage is ever changed we need laws to say no apostate Christian pastor or minister (or Catholic priest or Islamic imam for that matter) can ever preside at a sodomite wedding ceremony.

  • May I indulge in a little Shakespeare from his Sonnet 129?

    The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
    Is lust in action; and till action, lust
    Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
    Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
    Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,
    Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
    Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
    On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
    Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
    Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
    A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
    Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

    The bard knew more about the hell he wrote of than do some of our 21st-Century theologians and philosophers… True love is a five-letter Greek word, not a four-letter English one… Loving God and his rebel human creatures all at once is no comfortable experience.

  • Thank You Bill,
    Absolutely Brilliant.
    I’m sending this to my MPs Both State and Federal.
    Also to my local councillor.

    I sent another of your articles a short time ago but haven’t heard anything.
    Blessings to you

  • As Samantha says, a very thought provoking article. The difficulty is, how do we know when a person, or a church has reached the point where God washes His hands of them and no longer wishes to hear their name in His presence?

    I do wonder if maybe just as God punished Israel by enabling foreign empires to conquer them, the West’s embrace of apostasy and sin, might not see the imposition of Sharia Law as a means of punishment, and as a way of separating the sheep from the goats. On a plus note, and despite the dangers, it seems like God is really moving in the Muslim world according to what I’m reading.

  • AMEN Bill

    And yes, Samantha, how much do we love Our God if we do not proclaim His Truth?

    When talking (or trying to) about homosexuality or defending traditional marriage with elders (I mean chronologically not spiritually) of my lost church (those who have children in that lifestyle or those who are friends of these ‘important’ people in our community) they are fiercely opposed to any teachings OR they have no idea of the limits on God’s Mercy.

    They laugh it off, tell me to lighten up or plain just get nasty – Great Christian attitude.

    For heaven’s sake – I’m 25-30 yrs younger than many of them – What has gone wrong?

  • Bill has written so many similar articles, this one is just as good as all the others. It feels as though there are no leaders, especially in the Western churches in all the rich countries who will speak out. If anything, as Bill writes they are siding with sodomy and siding against God and his word. Not only will they not speak out, they may actually have the nerve to rebuke people who hold on to God’s Word and do His will. There are pastors and priest who now say homosexuality not a sin. They accommodate them. They may as well accommodate adulatory, thieving, slander etc. I have said many times this is so disheartening. Maybe Christians have it so good in these Western nations, our faith (and freedoms) have not come at a cost. Western Christians don’t know what it is like to be truly persecuted. We are taking all our freedoms for granted. I could go on but all I am doing is repeating Bill’s article.

  • Your article is what the fear of God is all about.
    Reading the old testament prophets is a fearful thing when God gives His people over to judgement for their sustained and total rebellion to suffer all the curses God said would happen if they rejected him.
    They were literally spewed out of the land with great violence and carnage.
    On the point about apostates in the Church, this article below confirms, again, that the overt strategy of the sodomites is to insert impostors into the churches and pervert the doctrines of God. Anyone who does that must be excluded from the fellowship.
    www.wiltonpark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/WP1488-Report.pdf

  • The lack of SPIRITUAL leadership is a ubiquitous issue be it in the church, family or the nation. As individuals we need to focus on our own alignment to the word of God and make sure that the things, that God has, given us, are maintained in alignment. The thing people are missing here is, that ‘the Spiritual’ is moved by prayer and then the physical realm follows suit. We seem to think that it work s the other way around…

  • Thank you, Bill, for saying yet again what so many pastors and so-called Christian leaders will not speak from their pulpits. This false belief in God’s infinite grace has led many to universalism, as you know better than me. Though I too want it to be true that all will make it to heaven, Scripture tells us clearly that this is not the case. Grief and sorrow overwhelm me at times (as I am sure it did with Jeremiah and the other prophets) when I consider the impenitence and rebellion of the world at large and in particular my own beloved children.
    You have been a source of inspiration for me in recent years. It was through you that I first came to learn about R.C. Sproul, A.W. Tozer, and many other great Christians. I just want to say thank you for having the courage to speak the truth, O man of God. God bless you.

  • Dear Bill. So appreciate your comments here. So true that many Christians forget that God’s grace isn’t the whole picture. There’s little discussion about “be holy as I am holy”. But the greatest truth is that grace is not just lots of forgiveness through Christ but POWER to not sin in the first place, becoming more Christ-like.

  • A great website which has been exposing apostates is www.shoebat.com.

    It has been exposing the evils of not only some ideologies, which everyone in the Church loves to target, such as islam, but also, if not more so, the homosexual agenda which everyone in the Church except for a few want to expose.

  • Sodomy is a taboo subject at most social events. It will be interesting to listen to the conversations as the postal plebiscite proceeds. Most people don’t even want to talk about it now and others are just sick of the subject. Conversations may open up whilst others will be angry. Hope everyone votes.

  • Greetings Ndugu, Bill. Loved your article. #1) for posting it, #2 ) preaching it #3) for ITS truth. Love it when “shepherds” include Scripture. Your article was sent to me by a Ndugu (Brother in Christ) from Perth. Australia in response to my post on my timeline and fb. Certainly the Gospel message you shared is NOT often (rarely in fact) spoken from the pulpit. Again. Asante sana (thanks much) I shall be looking into your site more now that I have been made knowledgeable of it and you. A most Godly day to ye.

  • Hi Bill. Love perusing the comments from your readers. They inspire me to keep standing for the faith. Joan Blanchard’s comment about being overwhelmed with sorrow and grief moved me. Been there so many times. And Dave Sammons: Reminding us to “Be holy as I am holy”. I’m disheartened when a Christian’s perception of Jesus is so humanistic that they morph Him into a false image that suits their lifestyles. Breeds so much confusion! I especially loved his comment that we have been given power from Christ’s resurrection to not sin in the first place. We should always be moving in the direction to not sin. This brings ultimate glory to God. A thank you to your faithful commenters!

  • Totally Agree with the comments here folks.
    Thank for this post Bill
    I think this ‘push’ for Same Sex Marriage isn’t really about marriage equality . It is really about ‘one upmanship’ upon true Christians eg Bible believe and ‘practicing’ Christians . I’m afraid there are not too many bold preachers around the traps these days. Pastors don’t tend to talk about the ‘big ‘ issues affecting people in the congregation , just concentrate on the ‘program’ that brought upon the ‘vision’ of your Church . Having said that the SSM marriage thing in my congregation with only brought up last week as an act of prayer and to mention what is really going on .
    In the days before my time we battle fighting between ‘denominations’ and now the enemy is within with Apostate and liberals taking over in the guise of the following .
    Hipster Christianity
    The Emergent Church
    Contemplative Prayer Movements
    Universalists
    New Testament Only Christians
    There is so much rebellion in the Churches , we really need to discern who we hand around with.
    It breaks my heart daily

  • The teaching of Lord Jesus on marriage is crystal clear, it is between a man and a woman. According to this teaching, sodomites and lesbians can not marry– end of story.
    So far I have not heard any clergy or political leader speak this out. Speak it out, don’t argue and wait for the response. Most average ‘Joes’ are not willing to ‘shirtfront’ Jesus- there is still some respect. Only hardened atheists and lefties are brutal enough to do this. This teaching of Jesus is the most powerful weapon the Church possesses.

  • I would like to thank James Waddell for providing the Wilton Park address and article. What a revelation! The thing that strikes me is that all the focus is on the homosexual and “transgender” people and their words and not on Jesus Christ and His words, and this is allegedly by Christians! Laid out in full is the takeover plan for Churches, Education systems, Governments, and the minds of every man and woman, in short, the world.
    The article is not full of foul words, swearing, blatant hatred of Christians, of heterosexual people, or mockery of the “non existent sky god” as are some of the Facebook posts I have read in the past few days, but it leads to the same thing, the triumph of evil over good, by the denial of the authority of God and His Word. I might add, though most will probably know, that all the abuse and filth that is spewed forth is in the name of “love, inclusivity, respect, compassion and tolerance of diversity”.
    I have yet to see such hatred and judgementalism, etc on the pro marriage side.
    Also we need to stop debating on the enemies terms by using their language. The issue is not about love, marriage, or equality. It is about legalising and making moral a perversion of the natural God given order. It should be called as this in a spirit of grace. People have to receive the love of the truth that they might be saved, especially in the spiritual realm. The design of our bodies points towards only one type of physical union, and more importantly, it is only the natural God given order that produces life.
    The homosexual position is parasitic, they need the sperm or eggs of others, when if they had married a person of the opposite sex, they could have easily brought new life into the world, instead of depending on “heterosexual homophobes” or demanding adoption “rights”.
    The militant homosexual position and relationships should not be given equal value to heterosexual relationships and marriage, because it is not of equal value, as It doesn’t bear fruit of equal value.
    How we need to pray for those who stand for marriage in the political sphere, that they do not fold, and for ourselves, that we are not overwhelmed by despair. Even if we lose this battle, if we remain steadfast to Christ to the end, we will not lose the war for our souls.

  • JESUS DID COME TO CONDEMN THE WORLD! BUT THROUGH HIM
    THE WORLD SHOULD BE SAVED. JOHN 3V 17. JESUS SAID I DO NOT
    CONDEMN YOU!!! GO AND SIN NO MORE!!!
    YES JESUS CORRECTED IN LOVE!!! THAT IS WHAT ALL CHRISTIANS
    SHOULD DO!!! JESUS SAID THE WORLD WILL KNOW YOU BY YOUR LOVE!!!
    THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GREATER THAN THE GIFTS! BECAUSE
    IT DEALS WITH THE INNERMAN !!! THE GIFTS ARE OUTWARD !!!
    JESUS SAID MANY SHALL SAY LORD LORD DIDNT I DO THIS AND THAT!!!
    HE WILL SAY I NEVER KNEW YOU!!! BECAUSE THEY WERE PUFFED UP
    AND TOOK THE GLORY FOR THEMSELVES!!!!!!!

  • Robert Greggery

    DITTO
    “Also we need to stop debating on the enemies terms by using their language. The issue is not about love, marriage, or equality. It is about legalising and making moral a perversion of the natural God given order. It should be called as this in a spirit of grace.”

  • Dear Gary,

    We changed our Church Constitution to proclaim “Marriage is an institution created by God as the foundation for a lifelong faithful union of a man and a woman.”

    We did this on the advice of the Baptist Union of NSW and all scripture-based churches should consider doing something similar.

    While our adult and evergreen church membership stands strongly against sodomite marriage, our youth leaders do everything they can to avoid reiterating correct Biblical teaching on homosexuality. They do occasionally teach that the practice of homosexuality is wrong but then they place more emphasis on “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” Shockingly they and other youth leaders equalise the sin of sodomy by equating it with the sin of masturbation.

    Our churches are also asked to send our young folk to evangelical events to affirm their faith and bring their friends to Jesus. Sounds good. Unfortunately the “hipster” Australian Chinese youth evangelism movement here in Sydney — now setting up in Melbourne btw — has gone very soft on homosexual sin. Basically they try their hardest to not mention it. Teaching what the Bible says is not “hip” apparently.

    The final straw was when I received an invitation to their annual fundraising dinner and the invitation said meals would be prepared by a recent Masterchef contestant who is a well known practicing homosexual. I am informed of this fact by my son who is at university and apparently all the university age Christians boys and girls know this, it’s only the parents who are kept in the dark.

    When I found this out I asked one of the organisers why they chose a practicing homosexual to do catering. I was told basically, “He’s a celebrity, he’s very popular right now, and with him on board we will sell more tickets and raise more money.”

  • The Wilton Park link.

    I think it is very skewed in one direction. It is trying to sound congenial but….
    mentions 30. Beware of “language creep” Hmmm ? How can dialogue occur?

    I see much expense incurred for these conferences.
    So sad when we have the Word of God available.

  • YES I AGREE WITH SANDRA!!! THE WORD OF GOD IS QUICK AND
    POWERFUL AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD ETC ETC
    WHY. WHY. WHY ISNT IT USED BY THE CHRISTIANS MORE!!!
    I PUT THE WORD OF GOD ON FACEBOOK EVERY DAY!!! IT IS THE
    SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. ONE OF OUR WEAPONS AGAINST THE ENEMY!!!

  • Thanks Bill, thought provoking messages like this are what we need to hear more often. Thanks.

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