Recently, in our Bible study on the book of Colossians, we were discussing the practice of worshipping angels as mentioned by Paul in chapter 2.
Some were thinking, ‘who in the 21st century would even consider such a thing – most people don’t even believe in angels.’
But the Bible makes it clear that an invisible spirit world exists and has a large influence on our existence here.
In the Colossian church there were false teachings being spread by the Judaisers, pagans and Greeks. They were attempting to make Christianity more palatable by mixing in some of the currently accepted beliefs in the community.
Then we realised that we have exactly the same situation in many Churches today. Not only are some believers being encouraged to worship Mary, the dead ‘saints’, and, yes, even angels, through books and visions some authors have published, but the process of syncretism – the mixing of many beliefs together with the true gospel of salvation – is widespread among some Australian Christians. I hope you don’t get caught up in this.
The Danger of Rick Joyner
Rick Joyner is the head pastor of a Church in the USA who has written a book describing his supposed visit to heaven. He writes about talking to Jesus and the angels and the wonderful experiences he had.
I will not dignify such vain imaginings by even naming the book’s title.
While Joyner does not teach we should worship angels, he is actually encouraging those poor deluded souls who do so because he appeals to a natural curiosity we have to look into the next world. Some people can’t resist it. There have been many books written recently about people who claim they have been to heaven and returned, or those who have had ‘near death experiences’ which have changed their lives.
Now some of those stories may be true regarding the experience changing their lives, but most of them are very suspect.
For one thing, the apostle Paul describes an experience he had when he was caught up to heaven – see 2 Cor 12 – and he says he:
‘was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.’ (v4)
Now if Paul is not permitted to tell of those things he heard and saw, how come the likes of Rick Joyner are permitted?
God has given mankind enough revelation in His Word to satisfy the need for our salvation and our ‘hope of Glory’. [Col 1.]
The ‘Christian’ Bookstores
I am also concerned about the influence of the so-called Christian bookstores. On the one hand I was disappointed when our local one closed down, because they did carry some good products, but I now have become used to purchasing books I want on the internet.
On the other hand I was pleased because it meant that a lot of the heretical and semi-heretical trash that now passes for Christian literature and music would not be readily available.
However, as if to counteract the trend, many Churches now have their own book stall where they sell exactly the same rubbish that had been previously available.
I am certain that a lot of Christians’ faith, doctrine and good works have been compromised by the availability of books by Benny Hinn, Tony Campolo, C. Peter Wagner and Phil Pringle, just to name a tiny few.
So it is not only the Christian bookstores but also the Church bookstalls which, I believe, are continuing to contribute to the proliferation of false teachings about heaven, hell, angels and salvation. Church leaders will be held accountable for any souls they mislead.
Mixing the Gospel
Syncretism, or mixing of spiritual beliefs, has always been a problem in mankind’s history. So as not to risk offending some lesser known gods, man’s tendency has always been to try and please all of them, or even to downplay the importance of God’s own exclusive instructions to His creation.
This can be seen right from the beginning in the garden of Eden, when Cain thought his own idea of sacrifice to God was just as good as Abel’s humble obedience.
We see it often through the history of Israel, when the people thought it wouldn’t hurt to worship other gods as well as the true God.
We see it through the history of the Church, when additional conditions and man-made rules have been added to the message of salvation, and other legalisms of tradition, control and self-promotion have set the agenda for the big, institutional Churches.
So today – we must always guard against being hit by something IN ADDITION TO or different from the pure gospel taught by Paul and the apostles. My rule is: if it is NEW or different, be a Berean – fully check the Scriptures before you decide what to do.
Churches Ain’t the Same
Not all the Churches are equal. Don’t assume that because you were brought up as a Baptist, for example, that all Baptist Churches today are the same as they were. Or even that if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. There is as much variation in Baptist theologies in Australia as the proverbial chalk and cheese. In Melbourne alone you can find Baptist Churches which dabble in New Age practices, Catholic mysticism, extreme pentecostalism, legalistic requirements or even the Christ-denying promotion of homosexuality.
The same can be said for all the main protestant denominations – apostasy is rampant.
Fortunately I am in a very good Church led by an excellent, Bible-believing pastor.
I hope you can say the same!
How to choose a godly Church? It’s harder than buying a house – it may be less expensive but it could be much more important to you and your family’s ultimate destiny.