Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, - Philippians 2: 12 (NIV)
Test all things; hold fast what is good. - 1Thessalonians 5: 21 (NKJV)
I once saw an interview with a congregant from Osteen's Lakewood Church who said that Pastor Joel gives her "just what she needs to make it back to him next Sunday." What a horrible way to live! We are supposed to read the Bible for ourselves. Get our own word from God. Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. There is no more fear of God in the modern church because the jesus that is portrayed is only their for our use not for our salvation. You do not fear someone you control.
It is the theologians that help point out these errors. If you belong to a church that is focused on you - run! If you are in a church where God exists to bless you - run! If you are in a church that uses guilt and manipulation of Scripture to extort money from you - run! If you are in a church that seeks to bring glory to man instead of God - run! If you are in a church where the pastor does not adhere to his own teachings - run! If we cannot call evil evil then we are of no use as theologians. Remember - correct doctrine means the difference between heaven and hell!
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV)
Not only that but without correct doctrine we start to falter in persevering in our lives as well! The real damage however is on the falsely converted. Those people who will attend a church for many years. Be assimilated into its ministries to discover their alleged "purpose." Be assured of their salvation by the man picking their pockets. Never be challenged to change who they are. Never be challenged to examine their sin and repent. Then one day that person stands before Christ only to discover He does not know them. Don't tell me doctrine is unimportant.
The Bible talks about a great apostasy that will happen before the second coming of Christ. A great falling away from the faith. I often wondered how that will happen. How so many could walk away from the saving grace and faith of Jesus Christ. Then God started to show me that it does not happen overnight. It is a gradual erosion not so much of doctrine itself but in caring about doctrine. A shift from valuing the eternal things of God to the temporal things of this earth. The great apostasy has already started. It starts when people who consider themselves Christian start marginalizing theologians instead of false teachers. That the one who demands doctrinal purity is looked down upon and the one who sings kumbya the clearest is our closest brother. People have asked me how I think Christians will be duped into taking the mark of the beast found in Revelation and my answer is always the same. Their churches will tell them its OK. Is there anyone who honestly thinks someone like Joel Osteen would not advise his congregation to participate in whatever world system there is? How else could you buy his books?
The Gospel is simple. Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Too many false teachers and the people that want to hold hands with them can spoil that simplicity. The ruination of sound doctrine can then result in the eternal damnation of many who have been promised they are saved. Let the clarion call go forth from those truly called of God to be theologians, studied hard to show themselves approved.
Reverend Anthony Wade - January 15, 2014