Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1, NASB)
Tuning Out The Ways Of God To Tune In The Traditions Of Men
It is true that I don’t happen to agree with everything the late evangelist and church planter Leonard Ravenhill ever taught. Now with that said, I sure do believe Ravenhill was dead-on-target when he said: “If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”
Indeed there’s certainly no shortage of man-centered seeker sensitive movements, which are currently littering the landscape. Most of these being rooted in the deeply flawed Church Growth Movement vomited out of Fuller Theological Cesspool Seminary; whether it be the Purpose Driven fulfillment of so-called “felt needs” for the older set, or, the Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism of the Emergence rebellion against Sola Scriptura for alleged “seekers.”
The whole of this centered on the self gospel pictures God as if He has a man-shaped hole in His heart. This is then portrayed largely in words of peace and love to people who are not really sinners, but rather, have only made a few mistakes before God. However, if this really was the message that the Christian Church is to bring the world, then, why in the world would the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth—Himself pure love in human flesh—ever have said:
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37-38)
And further, ask youself why would the Master even risk saying this to a mankind who is supposedly mildly disobedient but basically good? Simple; because our Creator God deserves this kind of devotion, for only He alone is worthy of glory. You know, soli Deo Gloria; to God alone be the glory! Frankly, it’s tragic that so few still remember the Lord’s Protestant Reformation anymore.
Ah yes; but look, and here now we watch as the cowardly counterfeit church kneels to pay its homage to the “great” preachers of the past. Let us take but one as an example. Charles Haddon Spurgeon; the exalted “Prince of Preachers.” Is there a Christian ministry website that doesn’t at least pay lip service to the “great” C.H. Spurgeon upon it somewhere?
Well, truthfully, I personally would have walked for miles to hear this particular man of God speak; but on the other hand, I can also honestly say that I wouldn’t walk across the street to hear far too many puppet “preachers” within our Lord’s evangelical community today. Hardly worth the effort; period.
Gathering Great Story-Tellers Sharing Their Spiritual Bed-Time Stories
Rick Warren? Rob Bell? Nah. How about America’s “Sweetheart” preacher, the ever ebullient Joel Osteen? Nope. Can we really be expected to believe these pallid people-pleasers really are the spiritual descendents of godly men who fearlessly preached the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ e.g. like Martin Luther or Jonathan Edwards or Charles Spurgeon?
In the end, during what became known as the Downgrade Controversy, the Baptist Union of his day would all but throw Spurgeon—a man who was so powerful in Christ—right out of its decaying and dying ranks. But at least Spurgeon knew his Lord, and the Bible, sufficiently to turn his back on the compromises of the Cult of Liberalism—having the guts to walk away—as these parasites began to eat away at foundational Christian truths.
And yet today, if the truth be told, the vast majority of evangelical preaching today has far more in common with the philosophic psycho-babble of Robert Schuller than it does with the God-honoring Bible exposition of Charles Spurgeon. Doesn’t anyone see the incredible downhill slide we are currently experiencing in this rapidly accelerating apostasy?
If Spurgeon was still here he would most certainly call it “the New Downgrade No-Controversy.” How much longer must the Church militant kowtow before self-righteous and self-centered sinners, literally begging them to “accept” the glorious and majestic LORD God Almighty! The truth is, if they do not repent, they will not avoid an unalterable eternity of conscious torment in a literal place Christ Jesus called Hell.
It’s one thing to be critical in the safety of an office within your local church; but it’s quite another entirely, to actually make a stand out in the public arena. Years ago the aforementioned Leonard Ravenhill asked the crucial question in his book Why Revival Tarries — “Where are the Elijah’s of God?” O yes, dear Lord, where are these watchmen? Please, send us the watchmen! But, you know, God has sent them before.
For example, A.W. Tozer sounded an alarm; and one that the Church had best begin to heed, right now, before it’s too late:
Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God… This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit.
Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be.
“Try the spirits” is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church (1 John 4:1). We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine… To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world (Tozer On The Holy Spirit, August 3).
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Church…and obey Him…to obey is better than sacrifice…