man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of
words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse
disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing
that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself [1
Pastors, teachers and ministry leaders with heretofore
unblemished reputations enjoy positions of trust in ministries and churches
and may have laid down a track record for the truth of the Lord for many
years. They may have never preached or taught anything questionable or
even remotely heretical from their venues of ministry yet they have started
taking up with known wolves. They may lack any evil intent and could be
unaware that they have been deceived and are in fact a detriment to the
blood-bought Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. These double-minded individuals
have a "form of godliness" but are in fact betraying the Lord they profess
to love. They want the grass on both sides of the fence. They preach words
of truth on the one hand, but abuse the trust that has been placed in them
and mock God by their actions. Their error is obscured behind the skirts
of truth and it is next to impossible to find a speck of error in their
actual teaching. The old adage "Actions speak louder than words" describes
this scenario perfectly. To coin a new phrase, "You are what you promote."
These teachers practice heresy by proxy. A proxy is someone
who stands in for another. They consort with heretics and thereby encourage
their followers to partake of their apostasy. They mix truth and error,
a deadly concoction. They give the impression that the truth they speak
is compatible with the falsehood they endorse. This is not â€ėguilt
by association," this is guilt by endorsement. Flirting with deluding spirits
and doctrines of demons is dangerous business and they do so at great peril.
At least emergent leaders, apostolic types and most false
teachers are upfront and honest about sharing their views and are in fact
proud to proclaim their beliefs. But those who wear their evangelical fundamentalist
hats one day and then buddy up to apostates and heretics the next pose
a greater danger than the false teachers themselves!
(What Would Paul Do?)
concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together
to him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by
spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though
the day of Christ had come [2
Certain people were putting out false teaching under the
names of the apostles. In no uncertain terms, Paul made it clear that he
and his fellow ministers had nothing to do with it. He knew his credibility
was on the line and did not want his followers to be misled.
Another example is found in Acts 16:18-23 that tells of
the slave girl who followed the apostles around saying "These men are the
servants of the Most High God who proclaim to us the way of salvation."
Now that sounds like an endorsement doesnâ€ôt it? The girl was
viewed as a legitimate source of knowledge by the community and she made
a good living for her masters with her psychic abilities. Paul and Silas
could have saved themselves a ton of grief if they had just allowed her
to follow them around and give them "credibility" with the people. He could
have reasoned pragmatically that the means justified the ends, the mentality
that is so prevalent in the Church today. No, Paul wanted nothing to do
with this false representation of truth. He knew the source was demonic
and he rebuked it. As a result the girlâ€ôs owners lost their
meal ticket and this so enraged them that they brought Paul and Silas before
the authorities where they were severely beaten and thrown into prison.
Aiding and Abetting the Enemy
What has happened to the courage to rebuke wickedness disguised
as Christianity? The Church has fallen prey to "religious correctness,"
not wanting to confront and risk being accused of judging. The fear of
offending man takes precedence over the fear of offending a holy God. Fraternizing
with the enemy is tantamount to committing high treason. Treasonous acts
against oneâ€ôs country are serious offenses but they are nothing
compared to giving a pass to the enemies of God!
Sharing a podium with an apostate or heretic is bringing
reproach upon the reputation of our Lord. Recently a highly respected,
prominent speaker in fundamental circles cozied up to false prophets of
the rapidly growing Apostolic Reformation movement. Efforts were made by
discerners to reason with him to cancel plans to speak at their event.
Since then he has not skipped a beat and continues to enjoy popularity,
a welcome guest in conferences and pulpits. One trustworthy ministry was
alerted about this brotherâ€ôs error but still shares the podium
with him. The biggest favor that could be done for this straying, errant
brother would be for those who value truth to sacrificially turn down opportunities
offered to them to appear with him and then gently and respectfully state
the reason. He should not be invited to speak until he has acknowledged
and repented of his error. Those who are going down the wrong path are
on dangerous ground and the last thing they need is for the brethren to
go along as if nothing is amiss. When will those wearing the mantle of
ministry question and even separate when necessary from those who have
drifted from the moorings of doctrinal purity and biblical truth into dangerous
waters on their way to being shipwrecked?
Those who present their hands as clean and yet share podiums
with false teachers or those who choose to associate with them give the
impression of endorsement. Guilt by association is downplayed too much.
The Bible has much to say on the subject of the company we keep. For instance
"Abstain from all appearance of evil" [1 Thessalonians
5:22]. Their actions also constitute a betrayal of
the pastors and leaders who choose to follow the Apostlesâ€ô
example and remain steadfast, often at great cost.
Jeffrey Whittaker in his pastoral
paper says it well: (Emphasis added)
Pastor Whittaker continues:
"There has been an absolute orgy of endorsement
and free association within the "Christian" worlds of publishing, speaking,
and mass mediaâ€¦..It is my conviction that this "Passive
Endorsement" (the giving of credibility through sharing convention platforms,
book endorsements, ecumenical "unity coalitions", etc.) is doing much
to confuse grass roots Christian believers, as well as creating an atmosphere
where many historical heresies are being given a fresh hearing due to the
lack of discernment, as well as courage amongst leaders who should be doing
something about it."
"The Gospel of Jesus Christ issues a very specific
and absolute call for loyalty and worship to the entire human race, leaving
no room for compromise or double-minded passivity. In his powerful
letter, Jude exhorted the church to"â€¦contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (v 3). If
current Christian leaders do not have the stomach to take an absolute and
public stand for foundational doctrine, and orthodoxy, we will see a continued
degradation of truth that will eventually deposit the "post-modern/emergent?
Church in the landfill of history or in the trophy case of hell (if
youâ€ôre still "Old School" enough to believe that there is
such a place). "Passive Endorsement" finds its roots in the political
fear of men, wrapped in a false doctrine of tolerance that has permeated
every area of American culture, as well as many churches and denominations.
To take a stand for historic, Scriptural orthodoxy today is tantamount
to professional suicide in many circles, labeling the one who dares ask
questions as "closed-minded", â€ė"contentious", "fault-finding"
and so on. As in the favorite childrenâ€ôs fable, the emperor
keeps parading himself around naked while the towns people simply smile
and go along with the farce. It takes a simple child, one without fear
or ambition, to finally blurt out the truth that "the Emperor has no
clothes!" May we all be as simple and courageous as that young lad as we
speak the truth in love to our "unity at all cost" generation."
Sloppy Agape and Greasy Grace
Any movement, denomination or fellowship that is going to
emerge unscathed by Satanâ€ôs tactics must have discernment
in its arsenal of defense and the courage to address heresy in the ranks.
Unfortunately that is not currently happening due to what I call "greasy
grace." The apostle Paul preached the doctrine of grace but he balanced
it with strong doses of accountability and respect for Godâ€ôs
Pastor Whittaker echoes my sentiments:
"I am not advocating crusade/inquisition hate
speech that alienates true spiritual pilgrims, but what I am calling for
is a deeper examination of the true nature of the courage and strength
that led the Apostles to call all men to the true Gospel of Christ without
obstruction and confusion! If Paul would have "Passively Endorsed" the
Philippian oracle through nonâ€Ēconfrontation, he would have
most certainly left a syncretistic swamp from which the Church may have
Be Ever Mindful
There is one thing we must never forget. Those who are selling
out the cause of Christ are not the enemy. They are accountable for their
actions and we are accountable for exposing them, but ultimately the enemy
of our souls is Satan, who seeks to destroy every work of God. Please understand
the intent of this writerâ€ôs heart. I think I speak for those
I call colleagues in the discernment ministries that we find no joy whatsoever
in addressing these issues. We are grieved over the state of the Church
today and we would rejoice if we never had to speak out again. We often
feel we are either preaching to the choir or verbalizing into the wind.
But if God uses our voice to touch only one compromising pastor/teacher/leader
and rescue them from their error, or save one sheep from harm, it is worth
it. We realize that as in any endeavor for the Lord, it is His work, not
ours and we leave the results in His hands. We are subject to pitfalls
just as much as those whom we address. If we are not careful we can operate
with an arm of flesh and become like sounding brass. We must guard against
becoming prideful in our God-given ability to discern and never fail to
properly mourn when a leader falls into the devilâ€ôs snare.
As we see the failings of others, we must look to ourselves and examine
our own motives.
H.A. Ironside was a hero of the faith who stood for truth.
He includes the following in one of his devotionals when he speaks about
betraying our Master and issues this solemn warning to all who profess
to be Christâ€ôs disciples:
It may not be for silver
It may not be for gold,
But still by tens of thousands
Is this precious Savior sold.
Sold for a godless friendship,
Sold for a selfish aim,
Sold for a fleeting trifle,
Sold for an empty name.
Sold in the mart of Science,
Sold in the seat of Power,
Sold at the shrine of Fortune,
Sold in Pleasureâ€ôs bower.
Sold where the awful bargain
None but Godâ€ôs eye can see!
Ponder, my soul, the question:
Shall He be sold by thee?