I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. -- Romans 9: 1-4 (NIV)
The Bible is replete with references and warnings of the false prophets we now see running rampant through the modern American church. These pages have seen more and more writings about this as the wave of heresy has become mainstreamed and those that dare oppose it are accused of sowing discord or being against unity. I write compelled by the Holy Spirit as Paul did in our key verses today. Paul was lamenting the fact that his own people were rejecting their Savior. He was sorrowful that their man-made religiosity was more important to them than their Messiah. He was anguished that so many would follow after so much false teaching and reject God Himself when He walked in their midst. That is what we are facing today as well in the church. It is the church now that is in covenant with God yet has more faith in their religions than their relationship with Jesus. It is the church now that chases after myths instead of staying true to the Bible. I speak the truth in Christ -- I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit -- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. I have great sorrow when I look at what the people called by God's name are willing to follow. I am anguished when I look at the Bride of Christ falling farther and farther into an apostate system. I am saddened because many will get to the last day and say Lord Lord only to be turned away like the five foolish virgins. I am grieved because of the manifold damage done to the witness of Christ in these end days which will result inevitably with less people coming to salvation. This is not a joke. It is about eternal life or eternal punishment.
I was asked recently to write about what we should do as believers regarding false teaching in the church. Many who speak out are unfairly attacked as stated above for sowing discord amongst the brethren, something that God clearly hates according to Scripture. A staple of false teaching however is to misuse Scripture to fit their pre-determined end. The reality is that it is the false teaching that is sowing the discord. The exposing of it allows people to realize they may be following the wrong gospel and as such need to get back on the narrow path. The reality is we should want there to be discord amongst false teaching so that the souls of men would be justly saved and those that are straying from true Gospel would come back. Paul dealt with this early on in the life of the Church in
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant. -- Galatians 1: 6-10 (NLT)
Was Paul sowing discord in the Church he founded? Of course not. A movement started by a faction known as the Judaizers were poisoning the Gospel message and the Galatians were falling for it. Paul gives us clear instruction in unequivocal terms that if anyone presents any Gospel contrary to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ -- let them be accursed! What if it was an angel bringing the false gospel? Accursed! This is serious business beloved because the eternal souls of men are on the line. So what should we do as believers when faced with such a growing apostasy?
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. -- Ephesians 5: 10-11 (NLT)
The instructions are threefold. First, we must carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Carefully indicates that we must take great caution in what we do. Modern Christianity has lost this sense of caution when it comes to the things of God. Irreverence marks the times. It also indicates the seriousness with which any accusation of false teaching must be made. The object is not to disagree about pettiness or matters which have no eternal value. For example, while the old hymns are often beautiful there is plenty of contemporary worship music that stays true to Scripture and blesses God. Arguing over minutia as if it is heretical does not serve the purposes of God. It is when the principle message of the Gospel has been compromised that we have entered into heretical territory. When the emphasis is on works and legalism instead of the grace of God. When the emphasis is on prosperity and tithing instead of humility and servant hood. When the secular world has so infiltrated the church that you can no longer tell them apart. When the spirit realm is seemingly ignored and Scripture is used instead of exposited.