Ignorant Elders And Lockjawed PreachersMarch 4 2004 at 6:43 AM
|Richard Guill (no login)|
from IP address 188.8.131.52
|Ignorant Elders And Lockjawed Preachers |
Knowing that the devil would do all he could to destroy the church of the Lord, God not only gave ample warnings in the New Testament against his devices, but God also placed within the church two key front-line defenses to guard against such attacks. Those two front-line defenses are the eldership and the preacher. When both fulfill their Divine obligations the church can withstand any attack, either from without or within. When either fails, much trouble is sure to follow and many will suffer the loss of their soul.
In view of false teachers who would plague God's people, either from within the church or from without, elders are charged to watch for such, warn the flock about them, and stop the mouths of such before they devour the flock (Acts 20:28-31). "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch (emphasis mine, RG), and remember, that by the space of three years I CEASED NOT TO WARN EVERY ONE (emphasis mine, RG) night and day with tears." Paul left Titus in Crete to "set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city" (Titus 1:5). Paul gave Titus a list of the qualifications elders must meet. Among those qualifications was "holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince (convict or refute) the gainsayers" (verse 9). The reason is given: "whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not" (verse 11). Thus they were charged: "Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith" (verse 13).
Surely, anyone can see that elders must not be ignorant either of the scriptures or of the efforts and devices of those "wolves in sheep's clothing" who would devour the flock. Sadly, many elderships today are very deficient in both requirements.
Although elders certainly have the personal responsibility to study the word and to know about false teachers and their doctrines, to watch diligently lest they slip in, and be prepared to refute them and shut their mouths, at least a part of the blame for elders' ignorance in such matters may be due to preachers who are afflicted with "lockjaw." They never warn elders about such false teachers in the brotherhood, in the immediate area, or in the congregation. They certainly don't warn the congregation of such. However, a faithful preacher CANNOT BE SILENT about such matters! In Acts 20:31, note that Paul said, "by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." When Paul wrote Timothy, he warned him that "some shall depart from the faith," and then added, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 4:1-6). Then, again in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul warned of some who would turn aside from truth and unto fables. Timothy was charged to "preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine," and to "watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (emphasis mine, RG).
The truth of God is such a precious commodity that the faithful preacher cannot stand by silently while some pervert it and lead precious souls into error that will condemn their souls. Rather, like Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15, he will engage in dissension and disputation with them. And, also like them, faithful preachers today will still "give place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" (Gal. 2:5). ANY PREACHER not willing to watch for, warn about, and contend earnestly against and with such false teachers ought to get out of the business! He will not only lose his own soul, but will be greatly responsible for many others who will lose their souls as well.
Elders who are not willing to make the effort to know the scriptures and about the false teaching and practices that threaten the faith, and who do not possess the courage to meet these head-on and stop their mouths, ought to resign! Perhaps the congregation has others more qualified to lead. As those who are charged to watch for souls and who must give account (Heb. 13:17), what will you say on Judgment Day if you have allowed wolves to enter the flock and devour the sheep? Will you plead, "Lord, I didn't know!?"
Many congregations of the Lord's church which do not yet have false teachers in their midst and are not yet engaging in activities which have no biblical authority, are actually paving the way for such, sometimes without even realizing it! Let me illustrate by two or three examples:
First, through youth programs and rallies. In genuine concern for their young people and wanting to provide them with activities which will interest them, build them up spiritually, and help prevent losing them, many elderships allow the young people to participate in activities without considering whether those activities are scriptural or whether those leading in such are sound in the faith. Many times the youth become involved in activities at such youth rallies that the congregation would not permit at the local congregation, at least not at the present time. But what's going to happen in a few years when those teens grow up and began to call for such things to be included in the regular services? I continue to get bulletins and brochures from our area and other areas announcing congregations' participation in some youth rally which features "contemporary singing groups", "drama groups" and such like. Do the elders of these congregations ever bother to consider if such things are scriptural? Does it make any difference that many of these groups and speakers at such youth rallies have openly fellowshipped false teachers and their programs both in the church and in denominationalism?
Second, what about class literature which actually contains false doctrine being used in the educational program of the church? Often elderships could not tell you what the children are studying in class. Add to that the church library where books that will be checked out and read by trusting and unsuspecting brethren are being filled with books written by some of the most liberal brethren in the brotherhood. Do elderships, charged with the responsibility to "feed the flock" (1 Peter 5:2), not realize how many will likely be poisoned by such and that it makes acceptance of such men and their doctrines easier in the congregation?
Third, look at the men invited for a gospel meeting or some special function, or the promotion of such events in other congregations. Sometimes the preacher invited is a known false teacher, has been marked, proven and exposed as such, and is supposed to be "avoided" (Rom. 16:17). However, some congregations will still have such men and other congregations which would not actually invite such men themselves will announce and promote such meetings at another congregation. Then there are also some preachers who may not be charged with teaching false doctrine, but who want to fellowship both the liberal and the conservative brethren. They will fellowship the liberals and their works, but also expect conservative brethren to allow them into their pulpits without a word of censure or criticism. Are such men "sound in the faith?" Do elderships not realize that brethren can be guilty of sin and error by association with those who are known to be false teachers? Romans 16:17 says we are to "mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." Ephesians 5:11 says, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; but rather reprove them." False teaching is certainly a work of darkness, not light! Second John 9-11 instructs us that such false teachers are not to be invited into our house or given greeting or in any way be bidden god-speed. The warning is given that to do so makes one guilty of their evil deeds!
Therefore, why would any eldership, if they knew it, invite such false teachers, or those who have thus compromised and fellowshipped such, into the congregation for a meeting or any other activity? Sometimes the answer to that question is that the eldership is ignorant of the danger, or of the participation of someone in such things, or both! And, the reason for such ignorance is usually because the elders have not kept themselves informed of such matters, and the preacher is afflicted with "lockjaw" and will not open his mouth to warn against and oppose such things!
Brethren, what a congregation is now, and especially what it will be ten, fifteen, or twenty years from now is being decided RIGHT NOW in the leadership of its elders and the stance of its preacher. In the apostasy of the previous century, we lost eighty-five percent of our congregations to the digression. It was virtually because of the same problem. How many of our congregations will be lost to the current digression that is assailing our brotherhood? Elders and preachers, will you be responsible for saving or losing your congregation? How many souls will perish if you fail to take a firm stand and "fight the good fight of faith?"
4865 Bates Pike SE
Cleveland, TN 37311
Seek The Old Paths, Vol. 7, No. 9
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Mar 4, 2004 8:59 AM|
WHAT SHALL THE PREACHER DO?
|March 5 2004, 6:24 AM |
WHAT SHALL THE PREACHER DO?
The job of the Gospel preacher is to proclaim God's Word. He is to "preach the word, being urgent in and out of season; reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2). He is to "do the work of an evangelist" (2 Tim. 4:5). He is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), the things which befit sound doctrine, the gospel, the truth -- the Bible (Titus 2:1). He is to condemn sin, expose error, and exhort the brethren to live faithful Christian lives with strength, courage and conviction (Eph. 5:11). He is to be a herald of God's Gospel among men both in public and private; both to the Christian and the non-Christian, yea, to "every creature" in every place (Mark 16:15-16)! He is to preach! Preach! Preach! He is to unceasingly preach the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)!
God's preachers within the New Testament were not politicians with a message on economics. Their mission was not one of counseling by utilizing psychological methods to rid the guilt of people's sins without God's forgiveness. They were not recreational superintendents full of fun and games. Nor were they entertainers or comedians full of jokes and pulpit clownery. But now days, some brethren think that if the preacher doesn't start off his sermon with a good knee-slapping joke or some funny "attention-getter," then he is boring and uninteresting. And, then some brethren think the preacher is to be nothing more than a social anchorman with an unending knowledge of all the latest news and town gossip. Bah! Brethren, away with such thoughts!
The older pioneer preachers that have gone on before us have indeed set a true example of what a Gospel preacher is to be and do. They were true, hardy men. They were not weaklings, sissies, namby-pambys, and cowards like so many of the softshell preachers of today. But they, John-the-Baptist-like, were men of boldness, courage, faith, and conviction; having committed the Bible to memory, they were full of the knowledge of God's word; being unintimidated, unashamed, and making no apologies for the pure simple Gospel they fought "tooth and nail" for or the purity of the church; and in public oral debates everywhere they plowed up denominational error root and branch! But now, it seems, that so many of our preachers are most concerned about their "speaking voice" and their "public image" before the community. Challenging the religious errors of the day and contending fervently for or the once delivered faith is to them the least of their worries!
The preacher is not to be a one-man "pastor" over the church like the denominations have it. He is not to be called a "Father" as the Catholics are known to do (Matt. 23:8-10). He is not anybody's "Reverend." Nor is he any more a "priest" than any other Christian. But he is simply to be a herald of God's truth among men. He is not at liberty to substitute God's message for little feel-good sermonettes from the pulpit. He is not to be afraid of "stepping on toes." Nor is he to be guilty of preaching a soft-soaped Gospel in order to make secure his weekly paycheck. In short, he is not to degenerate into tickling and scratching the ears of lukewarm and weak brethren with some soft, mushy, ooy-goohy, compromising after-dinner speeches. This type of watered-down preaching does nothing but rob the Gospel of its saving power and lowers the esteem and dignity of being a preacher in God's behalf. And, I am truly ashamed for those so-called Gospel preachers who are guilty of such!
The preacher must realize that he has the most urgent, the most serious, and the most important job on earth--that of proclaiming salvation from sin through God's Son to a lost and dying human race! So, preachers, let us be about the task!
208 E 1st St.
Burkburnette, TX 73654
Seek The Old Paths, Vol. 11, No. 2
|This message has been edited by ConcernedMembers from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Mar 5, 2004 9:19 AM|
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST?
|December 9 2007, 2:39 AM |
From: [email@example.com] On Behalf of John Waddey
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST?
Dear Christian reader:
Today we look at the sources of the change movement that is troubling our churches. This knowledge will be valuable to those who lead God's flock. Please read it and pass it on to your fellow-Christians. Our people must understand what we are up against.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST?
As I ponder the situation now facing our churches of Christ and the tepid response of the majority of our preachers and elders, I am forced to conclude that most of our leaders really have no idea of what we are up against. Some who are stirred to action are fighting against shadows, not having seen the real enemy. Our change agents are getting much of their ammunition from the leaders of the Emergent Church movement. Consider the following lines:
"My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ. Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right" (Emergent Pastor, Erwin Raphael McManus, interview with the Christian Examiner).Erwin McManus is a leader of the Emergent Church movement and a frequent head-liner at seminars and conferences promoting the Emergent agenda. According to McManus' book, An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind, he believes that the church must adapt to the world in order to become more culturally relevant. This faulty, anti-scriptural idea is the heart of the Emergent Church movement and message. As McManus sees it, "The church must acclimate to a changing world, or she will destine herself to irrelevance or even extinction. What this means for the pastor as spiritual environmentalist is that he must understand the changing environment in which the church has been called to serve. One of those dramatic changes in our environment is the shift from words to images. To do church in a way that is entirely text driven is the kiss of death." Erwin McManus, (An Unstoppable Force," p. 17). ["Text-driven" means Bible driven jhw].
Several sources, merging together, constitute our change movement.
These are flowing into some of our "Christian" universities where certain aristocratic academics drink this heady brew. Under its influence they feel empowered to change the faith and worship of churches of Christ to bring them into compliance with their mongrel faith. To make it acceptable to brethren, they sprinkle the mixture with a few scriptures and wrap it in our familiar terminology. By their smooth and fair speech they deceive the innocent (Rom. 16:18).
- From Fuller Theological Seminary and its Church Growth Center comes one stream, a strong mixture of denominationalism and neo-Pentecostalism
- From Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Church and Bill Hybels and his Willow Creek project comes yet another. They contribute the concept of church growth by most any means and that bigness proves rightness.
- From the neo-pagan New Age movement is yet another ... much of which is borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism.
- From Catholicism comes the contemplative spirituality aspect of this movement.
- In the Emergent Church movement, ancient mysticism and New Age paganism are homogenized.
- From the Postmodern philosophy and world view, we get the basic framework for the new religion.
- From traditional theological liberalism, we get a low view of the Bible which allows men to feel free to tamper with and change any aspect of the Christian message not to their liking.
- From the ecumenical movement comes the call for denominational unity in diversity accompanied by a low view of the Lord's one true church.
- Mix with this a fair amount of arrogance and presumption on the part of the promoters of these new systems.
This is a toxic mix of error that will poison and wreck the faith of all who embrace it. A congregation overtaken by it will no longer be a true church of Christ. Already we have reached a crisis situation. Three of our major universities have now embraced this approach. Perhaps as many as 200 of our congregations, among them some of our largest and most influential, are already in the change camp.
No one who loves Christ, His church and His Word can sit on the sidelines and watch this conflict from afar. Either you will stand up and oppose it or you by default will fall victim to it. As it was in Egypt, there are no neutral sanctuaries. Either the doorposts and lintels of your congregation are marked by the Blood of the Lamb of God, or it and those within will be like the unmarked homes of the Egyptians (Ex. 12:13). Quit ye like men! Close the gates to these deceptive false teachers. They have neither part nor lot in the kingdom of Christ. They need to go to the waiting arms of their denominational kindred. There they belong.
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now