Madeline Crabb
Deceiving and being deceived--the Church Part 2
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By Madeline Crabb
October 20, 2019

Deception is running rampant in America! In fact, one could say that lies and deception are the rule, not the exception. Deception is destroying the major pillars of our society, the very foundations upon which our society is built. As these foundations are eaten away by lies, the society collapses. Therefore, we are continuing the discussion about how Americans are deceiving and being deceived within the Church.

Of all societal institutions, the one we should be able to trust above all others is the Church. This is where we turn for spiritual guidance and strength, and to find the "right" way of living our lives. We think of the Bible as the ultimate source of truth – God's Truth – and the Church as the home of that truth.

Sadly, overall, the Church is no longer a credible place to find Truth. Instead, we find a form of the Gospel – a watered-down, twisted, and manipulated word that has created a so-called Church filled with so-called Christians.

Who is to blame? Teachers of the Word, whether in the pulpits or the seminaries are most responsible. In the last column, I asked the question about what our church leaders are teaching that is causing the Church to look more like the world than God's followers. Then I began reading a book by Dr. Michael Lake, the Sheeriyth Imperative. Dr. Lake contends that "our modern society (to include most of the church) has allowed Higher Textual Criticism, used in many of our seminaries, to convince us that the Bible is simply a religious book written through the efforts of man." Dr. Lake quotes from Canon Dyson Hague, "The dominant men of the movement (Higher Criticism) were men with a strong bias against the supernatural...some have had no faith in the God of the Bible, and no faith in either the necessity or the possibility of a personal supernatural revelation."

Wow! If these kinds of men are the ones teaching in our seminaries, no wonder the Church of the Living God has become a shadow of its former self. No wonder people think they can continue to live the lives of heathens and still be true Christians.

As a relatively new Christian, I was attending an Evangelical church that had a pastor dedicated to proclaiming God's inerrant Word. I was quickly learning, understanding, and growing. Then one day the pastor announced he was leaving the church. According to him, he was burned out, and instead of just taking time off, he was retiring, although he was only in his early 50s.

The next pastor came from a liberal seminary in the Midwest. He did not focus on the Word, but on nice-sounding concepts, liberal ideas. My mentor invited me to go with her to speak with this man about some things he had recently preached that even I understood did not agree with God's Word. He told us that he really didn't care what we thought. He was at this church to get a "notch in his belt" so he could write more books and get on staff at the seminary he recently graduated from. He also suggested that if we wanted to hear the Word of God, we should go to another specific church in town. We did, and it was a wonderful church where the true Word was being preached.

This man came to a college community, and to a church filled with many intellectuals and professionals, people who enjoyed hearing a fellow intellectual pontificate. Those who wanted to hear God's Word left the church. In fact, there was a church split where a new church started with the truth seekers.

But it isn't just the intellectuals and even God-deniers who are deceiving the people. There are the what's-in-it-for-me, so-called pastors/teachers who seek to be popular, and/or get rich. In a terrific book, Make the Pulpit Great Again, Pastor Mike Spaulding says that "the cult of personality that exists today related to rock star pastors is a blight upon the church, not a cause of celebration." Agreed.

As we discussed in the last column, the so-called mega churches better resemble social/country clubs than they do the Church of the Living God. Pastor Spaulding states "there are a growing number of shepherds who simply choose not to teach God's Word." Furthermore, he believes that too many shepherds have chosen a path that appeals more to the flesh than the spirit.

Also, many of today's pastors are more concerned with entertaining the people than they are in equipping the saints. And regrettably, far too many are more focused on the offering plate than preaching the undiluted Word, which may offend some people. Clue: The Word of God will offend. Webster's Dictionary of 1828 defines offend: "to displease, make angry; to disturb; to annoy." The Word of God offends our flesh because it confronts our sins, our attitudes, and our inclinations.

Scripture says:

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Heb. 4:12-13 NIV)


Perhaps this scripture alone explains why so many pastors/teachers cannot or do not proclaim God's Word. Hmmm...

But the deception within the Church is not just because of the leaders. Remember that in part one of this discussion we showed a survey explaining that only about ten percent of professing Christians have a biblical worldview, and then only about 15 percent of Evangelicals believe in Christian doctrine.

As a student of the Bible, it is hard to identify such people as being Christians. No, I do not want to judge. However, God's Word says that we can recognize Christians "by their fruit." (Matt. 7:20)

Consider this: If only ten percent have a biblical worldview, then 90 percent have a worldly worldview. That means they think like the world, look like the world, and act like the world. Ahhh...now things make more sense. Remember the old idiom...If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck.

Most of us have heard it said that unsaved and worldly people cannot be expected to act like Christians. Indeed, they can't. This applies to much of the so-called Church because the multitudes are Christians in name only. Someone has deceived millions upon millions of people into believing they can be Christians by just saying so. As a friend once told me, I can call myself a car and sleep in the garage, but that doesn't make me a car.

The Bible says that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life. (JN. 3:16) However, this does not allow us to continue in our sinful ways. While it is simple to ask the Lord Jesus to come into our lives and save us, there is a pre-requisite: A changed mind.

We must first realize that we need a Savior because of the sin in our lives. Conviction comes upon us to make us realize that our actions/behavior are wrong, which causes us to cry out for help. That conviction is what the Bible calls the Father drawing us. Jesus said, "No one comes to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (JN. 6:44 CSB)

Then we are required to confess our sins, and repent or turn away from them. Jesus instructed, "I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent." (Luke 5:32 NLT)

All types of sin are being celebrated across our land, while holiness and righteousness are mocked. And yet, if people are so happy about their sin-filled, sin-loving lives, why are so many drowning in addiction to alcohol and drugs, even anti-depressants? Could it be to escape from the reality of what sin does to us?

The devil is the great deceiver. He is the one that encourages us to sin. He says it will be fun, and that everyone is doing it. But when the devil has us in the throes of our various sins, we find he used false advertising – deception.

For the Church, those who want to be free from the deception of man and the devil, we must leave those congregations that aren't proclaiming Truth. How will we know this? One way is by the overall "fruit" displayed within said congregations. Another is by becoming Bereans who examine the Scriptures every day to see if what is being taught is true. (Acts 17:11)

We must stop deceiving ourselves and being deceived. Do we want warm fuzzies and an entertainment high, or do we want instruction that makes us acceptable to a holy and righteous God? What say you? To anyone willing to hear....

© Madeline Crabb

 

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Madeline Crabb

Madeline Crabb is a Christian, a Constitutional Conservative, and a patriot. Holding a degree in journalism and public relations, and training from the Leadership Institute, she has been a columnist since 2000, and has written for various Christian newspapers around the country. As a “watchwoman” on the wall (Is.62:67), Madeline calls all citizens to awaken, arise, and act in restoring one nation under God.

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