I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady--not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning--that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. -- 2John 1: 4-11 (ESV)
The devil knows his time is short beloved. We are living in the end times the Bible warns us about so much if we would only discern the times. Because he knows his time is limited he is stepping up his offensive attacks, hoping to limit the number of people who are saved before Jesus Christ returns. As the chosen vehicle for the Gospel, the church is always under withering attacks. These attacks are primarily from within however. They are entirely avoidable of people who claims Christianity would only read His Word. The Bible contains the final revealed will of God. It is entirely sufficient for any situation we face here in this life. It is not swayed by the whims of public opinion or human emotion. Unlike the heart which we know is wickedly deceitful above all else and desperately sick. So it should come as no surprise that one of the strategies the enemy has employed in these last days is to undermine the Word of God through the very people who ought to defend it. To seek to supplant the Word of God with our own human experience, carnal desires, and subjective opinions. Consider these three quotes:
Jesus did not say, 'My sheep will know my book'. -- Bill Johnson
"God did nottell you to memorize Scripture! He told you to become it!" -- Todd White
"Much of today's church relies more on a book the early church didn't have, than the Spirit they did." -- Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson and Todd White are just two examples of this sloppy agape, lovey-dovey, experiential Christianity. It is the central underpinning of the New Apostolic Reformation, IHOP, The Kansas City Prophets, and the false signs and lying wonders movement. To these heretics, and that is what they are beloved, experience trumps doctrine. What we feel in our wickedly deceitful hearts is to be pursued with zeal while theology and religion are denigrated into religiosity and legalism. Let us first deal with the inane stupidity of these three quotes so no one is confused. It is true that the Jesus said "My sheep will know my voice." This of course is in the very Bible Johnson seeks to put down in this quote. More importantly, one of the primary ways we hear the voice of God is through reading His Word. According to John 1, He is His Word! Johnson tries to cheapen the view of the Bible by reducing it to a mere "book." Yet what does Scripture teach us?
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. -- 2Timothy 3: 16-17 (ESV)
We believe that all scripture is literally breathed out by God Himself and we would rather trust our lying hearts? We can find profit in being reproved, corrected and trained by the Word. So it is not that my sheep will know my book Bill. They will know His Word. The second quote is even more asinine. Todd White is the huckster the Bible warns us about. He traffics in fake healings, false signs, and lying wonders. God did not tell us to memorize Scripture? You sure about that Todd?
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. -- Psalm 119: 11 (ESV)
And Jesus answered him, "It is written, - Luke 4: 8a (ESV)
God never told us to become Scripture. That is absurd on its face no matter how pious it might sound. He has told us that the more we hide Scripture in our hearts -- you know -- memorize it; the less likely we are to sin against God. The verse snippet from Luke is taken from the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. Every time the devil tried to tempt Jesus did He answer with His vast experience? No beloved, He responded with the Word of God.
The third quote from Johnson again is very similar to the nonsense Andy Stanley was trying to sell last year. While it is true that the actual Bible did not exist as a book until after the Council of Nicaea, what they are inferring here is simply untrue. The early believers, as the church was being established, still relied solely upon Holy Scripture.
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. -- 2Peter 3: 15-16 (ESV)
Note how Peter refers to the writings of Paul here! He refers to them as Scripture! When Bill Johnson and Andy Stanley try to teach that the early church did not have nor rely upon Scripture they are flat out false. In Acts 2 as the church was forming it says they devoted themselves to the teaching of the disciples, not their personal experiences. Please keep in mind that this scheme from Satan is not merely being carried out by Johnson and White. The entire purpose driven models of church growth all rely upon dumbing down Scripture and changing the Bible to be a book about spiritual lessons we can glean from the stories to fulfill some dream destiny thingy here on earth. Religion is turned into a dirty word. Instead of doctrine, they shift the focus of Christianity to love. Not biblical love though because they abandon the Bible in their pursuit of their false version of love. Let us reason together today beloved regarding these matter and see what God has said through His Word, using the key verses above:
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.