I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
False Converts Teaching False Doctrine Are Leading Professing Evangelical Christians Astray
Labors in the Lord like this one here at Apprising Ministries would never have been necessary had the mainstream evangelical Christian community not decided to follow the mainline denominations, who’re now mortally wounded by adherence to the religious slavery of liberal theology. It was a serious error from which evangelicalism may indeed never recover.1
Yet in His mercy, as the Internet started to gain more influence within Christendom, Jesus would begin to raise up a few initial ministries to pioneer the mission field of online apologetics and discernment ministry (OADM). Unfortunately self-righteous, and largely self-appointed, evangelical leaders chose to ignore these early watchmen.
Even so, over the past couple of decades—as God would begin calling His elect away from these false shepherds—He’s still graciously continued to try and reach them while spreading His truth through the work of a growing number of OADMs. At the same time Satan would launch his Christian counterfeit aka the Emerging Church (EC) via evangelicalism’s Leadership Network (LN).
The critical function LN provided for enemy forces was to steer the visible Christian community away from the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura. By doing so, Satan was able to bring about a rebirth of pietism—quite similar to what history shows us happened circa 17th century not so long after the Protestant Reformation. Sadly, the church visible decided not to learn from its history.
As postmodernism rooted—an extremely centered of the self philosophy—the stage would be set for the devil’s EC to launch its repackaged version of pietism through Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM); a romanticized Roman Catholic mysticism. Now we see such a confusion of Law and Gospel that the proper proclamation of the Gospel has taken a backseat to a sappy sentimentality of legalism.
So-called “spiritual disciplines” and humanitarian acts considered good works rule this tragic hour. This perversion of the God’s Gospel is convincing scores of people who have never been regenerated that these religious and social works are genuine Christianity, when they are not. That’s why I’m bringing you the following devotional teachings.
For you see, no one credible is saying that the actual Christian faith doesn’t involve good works. That would be foolish because God Himself has told us that His regenerated (i.e. born gain) believers — are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Therein lies the crucial difference between false faith and the real.
The Reformers stated it as soli Deo gloria, for the glory of God alone. He is the One Who ordains what good works are and guides us into them. We, as fickle and sin-flawed, human beings don’t get to decide what they might be. Against this background I point you to Extraordinary Fruit by Martin Luther, which is followed by For Jesus from Charles Spurgeon.
As you make the time to read through these short pieces you should be able to see through the man-centered messages of way too many evangelical teachers and pastors, who may not even be regenerated themselves. Such is the time we now find ourselves in. The spiritually disastrous fruits of the Church Growth Movement2 that slithered out of Fuller Theological Seminary are now being harvested.
Years of the spread of false gospels throughout the very heart of the visible church have actually resulted in unbelievers manning positions of leadership within virtually all of the major evangelical denominations, their church-related schools, as well as the churches which are extending from them:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
False Christians cannot understand what Jesus is saying in this verse. They wonder, “What kind of Christians are these people? They can’t do anything more than eat and drink, work in their homes, take care of their children, and push a plow. We can do all that and better.”
False Christians want to something different and special—something above the everyday activities of an ordinary person. They want to join a convent, lie on the ground, wear sackcloth garments, and pray day and night. The believe these works are Christian fruit and produce a holy life.
Accordingly, they believe that raising children, doing housework, and performing other ordinary chores aren’t part of a holy life. For false Christians look to the external appearances and don’t consider the source of their works—whether or not they grow out of the vine.
But in the passage this verse is taken from. Christ says that the only works that are good fruit are those accomplished by people who are first in Him and remain in Him. What true believers do and how they live are considered good fruit—even if these works are more menial than loading a wagon with manure and driving it away.
Those false believers can’t comprehend this. They see these works as ordinary, everyday tasks. But there is a big difference between a believer’s works and an unbeliever’s works—even if they do the exact same thing. For an unbeliever’s works don’t spring from the vine—Jesus Christ.
That’s why unbelievers cannot please God (cf. Romans 8:1-17). These works are not Christian fruit. But because believer’s works come from faith in Christ, they are all the result of genuine faith.3
Luther’s right; unless one is doing these works in Christ—no matter how good they look before the world—they are but filthy rags. And as you’ll see in the following from Spurgeon, genuine believers in Christ don’t see anything worthy of praise in any works we do because it is God’s Spirit within us that compels us to do them, for Jesus:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'” (Matthew 25:34)
Now, notice that Christ, as it were, inferentially tells us that the actions that will be mentioned at the judgement day, as the proof of pour being the blessed of the Lord, spring from the grace of God, for He says, “Ye blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
They fed the hungry, but sovereign grace first fed them. They clothed the naked, but infinite love first clothed them. They went to the prison, but free grace first set them free from a worse prison. They visited the sick, but the Good Physician in His infinite mercy first came and visited them.
They evidently had no idea that there was anything meritorious in what they did; they had never dreamed of being rewarded for it. When they stand before the judgement seat, the bare idea of there being any excellence in what they have done will be new to the saints.
For you see, they have formed a very lowly estimate of their own performances, and what they have done seems to them too faulty to be commended. The saints fed the hungry and clothed the naked because it gave them much pleasure to do so.
They did it because they could not help doing it; their new nature impelled them to it. They did it because it was their delight to do good and was as much their element as water for a fish or the air for a bird. They did good for Christ’s sake.
They performed works such as these because it was the sweetest thing in the world to do anything for Jesus.4
- CHRIST OUR LIFE—SOON TO APPEAR
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- Mainline denominations developed liberal theology as they followed the false philosophy of modernism and attempted to cobble together a Christian faith to please the world around them. And you’ll see e.g. in Big Tent Circus of Postmodern Liberalism and Postmodern Liberalism Pits Jesus Against the Bible that evangelicalism also tried to come up with a Christianity to please the world in which we now live and has itself become entangled within a new postmodern form of liberalism. ↩
- Christian apologist Bob DeWaay gives you a good working knowledge of this people-pleasing and ill-fated idea here: http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue89.htm, accessed 8/23/14. ↩
- Martin Luther, Faith Alone [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], August 23. ↩
- Charles Spurgeon, At the Master’s Feet [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], August 23. ↩