How to Know if Your Church Leadership is Grounded in God’s Word

preach Christ

Months ago, I wrote about a pastor from a Southern Baptist church in Richmond. He has gone the way of the Emergent church. He pastors a church of over 1000 people. He believes and teaches that the God of the Bible is the same as Allah. He is also bringing teachings and practices of the RCC into his church.  I spoke to him on the phone, and that did not go well at all. He was enraged with me that I would question his beliefs.

I had such a burden for his congregation. I wrote to his deacons and staff members. I showed them clearly that our God is not the god of the Qu’ran.  I never heard back from any of them. Now, I just pray for them.

I spoke with a board member of the Southern Baptist Convention. He told me that each Southern Baptist church is autonomous, and that they cannot control individual churches. I must say that his words saddened me greatly. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the people who trust their leaders in churches, when their leaders are not following Jesus. How many are destined for hell because they trusted the pastor?

The Apostle Paul said:

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

WHAT CAN WE DO?

If you are looking for a church home, it is imperative that you set up a meeting with the head pastor, and even some of the elders or deacons, and ask questions. It has never been more important to know what a pastor and his team believe about the Word of God.

If you are a part of a church, and you have a feeling that something is just not right, you too should speak, one on one, with your pastor and ask questions.  The believers in the church of Berea never simply believed what they heard. They searched the Scriptures to make sure that what they were told matched the Word of God.

“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:10-11)

DEMONS IN THE PULPIT

Taken from blogos.org

“Today, Satan and his entourage of demonic helpers stand unchallenged in many church pulpits around the world. Deception is Satan’s most powerful weapon against believers and would-be converts. He cloaks himself in the liturgical vestments of the clergy while using smooth oratory to win over undiscerning believers to doctrines of demons. He is an accomplished speaker, liar and deceiver. He is the master of disguise. From the very beginning of creation, he is the enemy of our soul and has used deception to change the truth about God into a lie. His burning passion for deception and destruction is relentless. His tactics are deadly and carry the sting of eternal ruin. The church needs to learn and understand just how skillful he is at deceiving believers through false doctrines, half truths, and counterfeit spiritual experiences.” [1]

I am placing a list of questions that should be asked. This is in no way an exhaustive list. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to show you important things to discuss with the leadership.

  • Do you believe that the Word of God is perfect and inerrant?
  • Do you believe that the Word of God is God-breathed, yet penned by men who were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you believe that the Bible is sufficient and that words should never be added to it, nor taken away from it?
  • Do you believe that God is not Allah?
  • Do you believe that there is only one way to get to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe that Eastern mystical mediation has no place in the church?
  • Do you believe that Yoga is not for the follower of Jesus Christ, since it is grounded in Hinduism?
  • Do you believe that the miracles in the Bible truly happened, and are not allegorical?
  • Do you believe that men and women are born into sin, and therefore need to repent and trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins?
  • Do you believe that homosexuality is an abomination unto God, and that we are to love the homosexual, but reject the lifestyle as sinful?
  • Do you believe that abortion at any stage of gestation is murder?
  • Do you believe in a literal hell, and that all of those who reject Christ will be in hell eternally?
  • Do you believe that Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient as payment for our sin, and that we, who believe, are no longer under the curse of the law; but that we are under the better Covenant of Grace?
  • Do you believe that Israel is still under the Abrahamic Covenant, and that a follower of Jesus Christ should not hate Israel, or the Jewish people?
  • Do you believe and teach the heretical belief in “Replacement Theology” – that Israel was replaced by the Church?
  • Do you believe that Jewish people need Jesus in order to be saved?
  • Do you believe that extra-Biblical prophecy is against God’s will, and that the Bible is sufficient and contains everything a follower of Jesus needs to know?
  • Do you believe and teach pre-tribulation Rapture, that the Lord Jesus will return in the clouds and take His people (the Church) to heaven with Him? (this is not the Second Coming)
  • Do you teach about End Times prophecy, and about the Tribulation?
  • Do you believe that we who follow the Lord should be sharing salvation with the lost?
  • Do you believe and teach that the Bible instructs that women should not be in a position of authority over men in the church; and that women should never be a pastor?

If you are a serious follower of Jesus Christ, and want to be sure that you are worshiping in a church whose foundation is the Word of God, then you will be proactive in this process. A true born-again Bible believing pastor will be overjoyed that you are being careful. He will gladly answer all of your questions.

Brethren, heretical teaching abounds, and it’s going to get worse. I pray that the readers of this piece will take this to heart.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4: 3-4

Blessings in Christ.

MARANATHA

(read rest of article on blogos.org)

[1] http://www.blogos.org/keepwatch/apostate.html

Are You Attending the Church of Laodicea?

new-churches-lukewarm1

I can just hear the evil one whispering to church leadership “If you would just make it more fun, more worldly, you would attract more people. They won’t even feel like they’re in church!”

And so goes the slippery slope in the Seeker Sensitive churches. The Word of God becomes obscure — almost obsolete. Surely people know how to pack their church pews, right?  They make sure that the name of Jesus is mentioned, at least a few times. But the main thing is that everyone has a good time. After all, we want them to come back!

Why not throw in some Eastern Meditation? Most of the women in the congregation attend Yoga each week anyway, so why not create a Christian form of meditation. Not the meditation of which God speaks in the Word — not filling our minds with His Word.  No, no…..just emptying our minds of all noise and trouble. Maybe some visualization; yes, you’re at the beach and you hear the birds and the waves and smell that salt air…..and then ohm ohm ohm……..

Then there is that business of God. Is He the same god as other religions worship? Well, certainly there is only one God, so He must be the same as the Muslims worship, right?  We don’t want to alienate people. We want everyone to feel a part of the experience of worship. God can be called by many names, right? What does it matter…..Jehovah or Allah?

ENOUGH!!!!!

Do these people not know that their hearts are far from the Lord?

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  (2 Timothy 3:5-7)

Can these people actually believe that Jesus Christ would come to earth to die the most horrific death at the hands of wicked men, so that they could come once a week (maybe twice) to a building to socialize and have fun?  Do they never read the Word of God? Has no one ever told them that they are wretched sinners, and that Jesus came to pay their sin debt? Have they not heard of repentance and placing their trust in Jesus for salvation?

When these Sunday socialites approach Jesus, they will hear the most dreaded words in the Bible:

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  (Matthew 7:22-23)

They will be distraught and dumbfounded. All the good deeds they did in His name. All the people they served from their church pantries. Why would He say these words to them?

SALVATION IS A GIFT

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

WE MUST BELIEVE

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:11-13)

CHRIST DIED FOR US

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

GOD LOVED US SO MUCH

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE US

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

WE MUST CONFESS

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE WILL NOT BE SAVED

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)

WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE SINNERS

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

WE MUST DO GOD’S WILL

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

What is God’s will?

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

These Scriptures about salvation are key to our becoming children of God. They have nothing to do with how many good things we did in church.

All of the so-called “Righteous deeds” that we have done in our flesh, are as filthy rags before our Lord:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

So, that means that all of the things that church goers do to try to enter the Kingdom of heaven are to no avail.  IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS!!

If a person has not come to the place in their life where they know that they are sinful, desperately in need of a righteous Savior (Jesus) and they have not repented of their sinful life, and have not placed their trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, then they have not been born again.  When a person comes to God with a broken spirit, and kneels before Him and confesses their need for Him; only then are they truly born again. This is a supernatural event!

After a person has been born again, then their good works are very important — they are the evidence of genuine salvation!

And until that takes place in the persons’ life, the Word of God will not make sense to them.

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  (1John 2:27)

When we are truly born again, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. He guides us; teaches us, and leads us unto righteousness.

Have you been trying to reach God by good works?  Do you notice that there is an emptiness inside of you?  You are trying to do that which only God can do. He is the one who saves you.

Commit your life to Christ today. Tell him how sorry you are for your past sins. Tell him that you know that you need Him. Ask Him to come into your life and your heart and transform you into a child of God.  He will do it!  He waits for you.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8)

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA!

http://www.raptureready.com/soap2/ungurean45.html#_top

Separating the Wheat from the Tares

MARTYR

Are you in a church which adheres to the Word of God? Does your church leadership believe that no matter what happens in society, God and His Word never changes? Will your leadership refuse to marry members of the same sex? Does your leadership consider abortion to be murder and always proclaim that adoption is the right and moral way to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

Well, first of all, congratulations for being part of the true church – the kind of church that Jesus would have good things to say about, and would encourage you and praise you for standing strong for His Word.

There is the flip side of this coin, and that is what is coming to churches and pastors and leadership of these solid Bible believing churches will pay a heavy price. We will be persecuted and possibly put in jail for our beliefs.

You see, the LBGT movement has manipulated the law makers to equate their standing in society with the Civil Rights movement of Rev. Martin Luther King. They are considered to be a group that has been ostracized by society, and kept from rights that they are due. They have even had the Biblical meaning of marriage – between one man and one woman – changed, so that that marriage is now between any two people.

And you must understand, that because of these new laws, we Christians are considered intolerant and speakers of hate speech. Yes, brethren, we are now the enemy.

Isaiah 5:20
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

WHAT SHALL WE DO?

We must stand firm, no matter what. We must share the glorious Gospel of Christ with everyone. If we are placed in jail, then our mission field will be our guards.

I am not telling you these things to alarm you, but to prepare you.

If you have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling inside you, He will give you everything you need to stand in Him. We owe Him everything. He gave His life for us. Shall we not do the same for the brethren?

1 John 3:16
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

Keep your eyes on the Prize!!!

MARANATHA!!

The Cross and How Jews Perceive It

CROSS TO JEWS 

Through the years, I’ve shared by testimony of becoming a Jewish Christian. Upon telling my testimony to people in church, I have seen two reactions:

  1. People are SO excited that a Jewish person has been born-again from above!
  2. People give me the deer in the headlights look, nod and move on.

I have come to a conclusion based on these two distinct reactions:

The people who are happy and excited about my testimony belong to Jesus and really adore Him.

The deer in the headlights folks just might be lukewarm, and we know what Jesus says about them:

“So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

I am SO blessed that the couple who shared the message of salvation did not pass me by because they knew that I am a Jew. They were obedient to God and His Word, and shared truth with me that night. They knew that everyone must come to the Father through Jesus Christ. Praise God, I came into His family that night.

Everyone knows about the Holocaust. But in this article, I will be taking my brothers and sisters in Christ back in time, to give you a better understanding of why the Jewish people are so offended by the Cross of our Lord Jesus.

The Early Church

Here is an account of the anti-Semitic view of Replacement Theology, which surprisingly started with the early church.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) who was a Christian apologist, defended Christianity against its enemies.In his work titled, Justin Martyr With Trypho a Jew. He said that the seed of Jacob now referred to Christians and not the Jews. So began the infamous teaching of Replacement Theology.

Tertullian (A.D. 160-220) a church theologian from North Africa, wrote a derogatory and very anti-Semitic book titled, An Answer to the Jews around A.D. 200. This man twisted Scripture to fit his errant theology by claiming that the statement made to Rebekah about the twins (Esau and Jacob) within her (Genesis 25:23) was actually a reference to Jews and Christians.

He said that the older brother, Esau, represented the Jewish people. Jacob, the younger brother represented Christians. His premise was that the Christians would overtake the Jewish people. He said that the Jews would serve the Christians.

Origen (A.D. 185-254) was president of the school of theology in Alexandria, Egypt. He had a profound effect upon the church, by preaching that much of what is written about Israel in the Word, should be seen as allegorical – spiritualizing his interpretations. We know that the promises made to Israel are not open to interpretation. They should be taught and understood to be literal.

Origen took such liberties with the Word, claiming that the word Israel can mean the church. Not seeing and preaching God’s Word correctly (rightly dividing) becomes a slippery slope into myriad of heretical teachings. He was a Christian Universalist, believing in universal salvation for all people, and for the fallen angels.

Cyprian (A.D. 195-258) was a bishop of Carthage. He wrote, Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews. He maintained that the Jews departed from the God who loved them, and that because they had departed from God, they lost His favor. He taught that God sought out a people who would obey him, and all promises were taken from Israel and bestowed upon the Christians.

John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) known as the greatest preacher of the gospel in the Eastern church, preached messages titled, Against the Jews in Antioch of Syria.Many preachers followed suit, and preached anti-Semitism from their pulpits.

An influential bishop of Milan, Ambrose, considered the Jews to be infidels, wholly perverse, and incapable of thinking any good thought. He said that the burning of synagogues was no crime and encouraged it.

Augustine (A.D. 354-430) was known as the most influential person since the apostle Paul. He wrote, Tract Against the Jews and influenced the church so dramatically against Jews, that derogatory comments about Jews during the Middle Ages were usually called “Augustinian.”

Augustine decreed a new eschatological view called Amillennialism, which actually means no Millennium. In doing this, the prophecies in Scripture could be spiritualized, and taught that these were all referring to the church.

The Roman Catholic church adopted and adhered to all teachings of Augustine. [1]

Martin Luther in his later years turned on the Jews and wrote: “On the Jews and their Lies.” This sermon caused in one night the burning down of synagogues, and the slaughter of over 2000 Jews.

Adolph Hitler used Luther’s teachings on the Jews, to justify slaughtering Jews and finally ridding the world of them.

John Calvin, another father of the Great Reformation said:

“Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” (Ad Quaelstiones et Objecta Juaei Cuiusdam Responsio, John Calvin)

As you can see, Replacement Theology is NOT a new teaching in the history of the church.

Eschatology Affected by Replacement Theology

The original view of eschatology in the church was called Chiliasm. This word is from the Greek word for “one thousand.” It taught that Christ will return to earth at the Second Coming and that He would establish His Kingdom upon the earth and rule for the last thousand years of earth’s history. Today, we call this view Premillennialism. Even though this view of eschatology was based on the Old Testament, and taught by Jesus and His Apostles, the anti-Semitic teachers of the Word rejected Chiliasm as being a “Jewish view.”

This anti-Semitic view so permeated the Eastern Gentile Christians, that the book of Revelation was removed from the canon beginning in the fourth century, and it was kept out for many centuries – in hopes that Chiliasm would die and be remembered no more.

Persecution of Jews in the Name of Christ

Because of the teaching that the Jews had been discarded by God, Gentiles who professed to be Christians increasingly referred to the Jews as “Christ killers.” I remember as a child in the synagogue, learning that the Ecumenical Council had decreed that the Jews actually were not solely responsible for the death of Christ.

I remember thinking “So this is why they call me dirty Jew.”

Constantine, the first Roman emperor to call himself a Christian was hostile toward Jews. In 329 A.D. called for the death penalty for all who embraced the Jewish faith. He referred to the Jews as “beastial.”

Roman emperor, Theodosius I, from 379-395, decreed that Christianity was to be the only recognized religion. Declaring that marriage between a Jew and a Christian would be forbidden, he said that such a union would be deemed adultery.

Theodosius II, was the Roman emperor from 408-450. He restricted the Jews from building any new synagogues. He would incite mobs to enter the established synagogues and take possession of them – handing over all property and possessions of the Jews to the Christians.

Justinian I was the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire from 527 to 565. He was a professing Christian and did everything in his power to make the lives of Jews unbearable. He made sure that all Jews occupied the most hated civil offices in government. He decreed that Jews could not observe Passover before Easter, and told the Jews what they could and could not do in their synagogues. He finally took control of the synagogues away from Jews and proclaimed them to be churches.

In 589, King Reccared of Spain joined with Roman Catholic leaders and forced children born to Jews to be forcibly baptized as Christians. The penalty for not complying was death.

Around 629 A.D., Dagobert who was the ruler of the Frankish empire decreed that all Jews must convert (embrace Christianity) or face death.

Near the end of the seventh century, a law was passed that all Jews in Spain be enslaved and that their sons be taken away from them at the age of seven and reared as Christians.

The popes of the Catholic Church were brutal to the Jews throughout the Middle Ages. They made sure that Jews suffered and were separated from others because they were considered sub-human and beyond help.

The execution of Jews has been happening in every century, and all done in the name of Christ!In 1298, after a rumor that Jews had desecrated the sacred Roman Catholic host, Jews were burned at the stake. This was considered a horrendous holocaust – in the course of six months, approximately 120 congregations of 100,000 Jews perished. [2]

This is a quote from Graetz, the author of the work titled, History of the Jews:

From the thirteenth till the sixteenth century, the persecutions and massacres of the Jews increased with frightful rapidity and in intensity, and only alternated with inhuman decrees issued both by the Church and the state, the aim and purport of all of which were to humiliate the Jews, to brand them with calumny and to drive them to suicide….The nations of Europe emulated of another in exercising their cruelty upon the Jews; and it was always the clergy who, in the name of a religion of love, stirred up this undying hatred. It mattered little to the Jews whether they lived under a strict government or under anarchy, for they suffered under the on no less than under the other. [3]

There is not enough room in this one article to elaborate on all of the persecution and slaughter of the Jews done in the name of Christianity. In our generation, most people think of the Holocaust during World War II. They think of an insane man named Adolph Hitler. Certainly he was inherently evil, and his attempt at annihilating the Jews could never have been based in Christian thought, right?Wrong.

Hitler felt that he was just carrying out the final solution for the Jews, because of what he knew had been done throughout history by the church. He simply wanted to finish the job.

When Jews see the Cross of Jesus, they do not see or understand the love that sent our Savior to willingly die upon it. They know nothing about the blood of Jesus and how He died for the sins of the whole world. How could they think these things? They remember the pogroms, the forced conversions, the burning of their synagogues, the mass slaughter of millions of them – all done in the name of Christ.

Of course, they read about Corrie ten Boom and those like her, who had the love of Jesus in their hearts toward the Jews. But these stories pale compared to the horrific persecutions.

When I was a babe in Christ, I bought a cross to wear. I knew what the Cross meant. I knew why He willingly went to that Cross. The scales had fallen from my eyes when I was born-again.

One day I went to a Jewish doctor who had been my pediatrician. He was now an allergist. He had known me and my family for years. He came in the room with a smile, but that smile turned to an angry scowl when he saw my cross. He snapped at me “And WHAT is that?”

I said to him “I am a Messianic Jew!”I’d never seen this man angry in all the years I had known him until that day. He yelled at me “DON’T call yourself a JEW!! You are no longer a Jew if you wear that cross!”

I do know that God is in control. He allows certain things to happen for His reasons. He knew that so-called preachers of the gospel would turn on His people, and He has allowed it. I have pondered this a lot lately.

If we look at the persecution of the Jews, starting with the early church and fast forwarding to 1948, we see that God did use the harsh mistreatment of the Jewish people to fulfill this prophecy:

“Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel’” (Ezekiel 11:17).

Much Jewish blood has been spilled throughout history.If it had been at the hands of crazed killers or mass murderers, the Jews might feel differently, but they know that these deeds were done by those who claimed to love Jesus.

Satan has been there from the beginning. He hates God. He hates Jews. He hates Christians.

I can just hear him say to the preachers of the gospel:

“Did God REALLY say that the Jews are His people? Surely these Christ killers have forfeited any promises made to them. God is certainly FINISHED with them.”

And if only these preachers had clung to the Word and read Romans 11 more carefully:

“I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!” (Romans 11:11-12).

“From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28-29).

Pray for your Jewish friends. Pray that God would draw them to Himself. We are approaching the end, brethren. It thrills my heart to think of my fellow Jews saying:

“BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!”

Endnotes
[1] A historical account of anti-Semitism in the church and accounts of persecution of the Jews taken from: The Coming Apocalypse: A Study of Replacement Theology vs. God’s Faithfulness in the End-Times, Dr. Renald E. Showers.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

Contact email: grandmageri422@gmail.com