There is lots that is right with the Church today. In this case I am defining the Church as the Body of Christ, the multitude of individual believers who are saved, living obediently and being sanctified by the Holy Spirit in their lives.
They believe in the power and ability of the Lord Jesus Christ for their justification in God’s sight even though they often fail and continually find it necessary to repent.
But within the visible Church, or organisations called Churches spread around Australia, there is a lot that is NOT right.
I have recently been reminded of this horrible state of affairs in some discussions with people from Churches around the country.
A friend recently told me about her minister’s attitude to the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ – it was totally sickening.
He told her that Jesus was not really the divine Son of God and that the accounts of Jesus found in the Bible could not be relied on for accuracy. I was astounded – here was a minister, paid by a so-called Christian Church to teach the truths of Scripture and the Gospel, and therefore being employed under false pretences. It is fraud.
Devilish False Teachers
I don’t think I am overstating the case when I refer to false teachers and false ministers as devilish.
Paul had a lot to say about them, for example:
‘The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.’ [1 Tim 4:1]
Paul and the other apostles taught about the real Jesus: virgin-born, eternal Son of God, miracle-working, crucified for our sin, raised to God’s right hand for our justification and returning for us in the future.
So when Paul criticised the Corinthians for listening to false teachers speaking about ‘another Jesus’ [2 Cor 11:4], what he obviously meant was that the ‘Jesus’ being taught was actually powerless, useless and completely different to the real one as revealed to the original eye-witnesses.
This is exactly what some ministers are doing today – but often the people in the pews are putting up with it, just like the Corinthians!
Why don’t the affected congregations rise up and throw them out? Either because they are glad to hear about this other Jesus, or because they are ignorant, or they don’t want to rock the boat or maybe for some other reason.
Whatever, the whole situation is completely devilish and Satanically-inspired, and if your Church or minister is like this you need to act to avoid being polluted by anti-Christian influences.
Apostate Theological Understanding
I was speaking to another friend who had been trained at a respectable, evangelical theological college in Melbourne. It wasn’t even one of the liberal colleges which have long been known to teach faulty interpretations of the Scriptures.
Anyway, I had reason to doubt his proper understanding of the gospel so I asked him, “When we preach salvation what do you think we are being saved from?”
He thought for a moment then answered, “From ourselves.”
I was saddened to think that he had spent all his life in Church and now had a degree in theology, but couldn’t even clearly articulate the original teaching of those who had been with Jesus and had written the New Testament.
This is just one more example of ‘another Jesus’. This one didn’t die to save us from hell, but to save us from ourselves. Where is that found in the Bible? What a load of codswallop.
There is no good future for the Church that puts up with that false teaching. Jesus says, ‘Come out of her, my people.’ [Rev 18:4]
Another Jesus in ‘The Shack’
The false Jesus in the novel ‘The Shack’ says he wants his followers to ‘grow in the freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and to move freely between and among them’.
This way, he says, his disciples will view God as being ‘much bigger than any particular religion’, in other words, bigger than the Word of God and the Christian faith itself.
What sort of ‘Jesus’ is this? He is one to avoid because he advocates a broad way rather than the narrow way recommended by the Jesus of the Bible.
This inclusive Jesus doesn’t demand belief in only Himself in order to please God, as we read in John’s gospel. He teaches that we can come to God through any religion in spite of what the real Jesus taught in John 14:6.
Novels like ‘The Shack’ teach under the radar – they have characters say very loving and believable things that the world can lap up – but they tend to reinforce wrong beliefs about the real, Biblical Jesus, and often people will soak it up because they have not properly read the Scriptures themselves, or been taught correctly.
Again the other Jesus wins and takes a bow.
It’s All Happening
All of this is happening before our eyes. Christians and others are being deflected away from the only Jesus who has the power to give us eternal life.
In the cases I have mentioned you can blame the leaders and the writers. In other cases you can blame ignorance and gullibility of the listeners.
The best antidote for accepting the insidious ‘other Jesus’ is Bible Study, fellowship and prayer with like-minded believers. Without these inputs, don’t expect a novel, a dodgy teacher or a popular leader to grow your faith. It won’t happen. As Paul told Timothy: ‘Study to show yourself approved unto God… correctly handling the word of truth.’ [2 Tim 2:15]