In this issue I was going to write about some famous people who had been seemingly converted to Christ over the last few years. I have decided not to name them because I am sure we all know their names. It does us good to learn from their mistakes but it does no good to publicly criticise them when they might have backslidden only temporarily – only God knows that.
A young pop idol who claimed to be a born again Christian, and gave thanks to God for his success, and was eagerly promoted by his Church pastor and large numbers of Christian young people, has last year renounced his faith.
Apparently the showbiz world he adored has had its inevitable result on his beliefs and character. In a magazine article he has denied Jesus is the only way to God and has even declared his support for homosexual marriage.
Don’t get me wrong: I feel very sad for those whom Jesus described in His Parable of the Seeds, as having the world strangle the good seed.
But I feel very angry about those false teachers who have not taught young Christians how to withstand the wiles of the devil nor how to use the real spiritual armour Paul describes in Ephesians 6.
A household name for winning so many horse races a few years ago announced he had been converted to Christ and was going to study to become a pastor in a Pentecostal setting. Most evangelical Christians rejoiced, expecting him to show his salvation in a renewed life, as the apostles preached.
After two years of theological study, he decided to return to the racing world, giving one reason as ‘I missed the camaraderie of the jockey’s room’. A serious accident not long after sealed his retirement from racing forever.
Was this man’s conversion genuine? We are not to know, but we should use his example as a warning to ourselves.
The New Testament is crystal clear that if one’s declaration of faith is not matched by a change of lifestyle, then that faith is not real. We cannot judge what is happening between another person and God, unless it becomes obvious to all that there is no renewed life and Jesus is not really Lord. [James 2:22]
In any case, we should try and reinstate our brother, otherwise he will slide away with eternal consequences.
With such a great weight of responsibility on their shoulders, Christian leaders cannot afford to do less than teach faithfully that all of us should ‘count the cost’ in deciding to accept Christ’s salvation.
Luke 14:28 sets out the principle for all to see.
Remember the Evangelist?
Quite a few years ago an Australian evangelist was a leading light in the Open Brethren movement and conducted evangelistic rallies across the country.
No biblically-based person would have disagreed with either his theology or his emphasis.
Quite amazingly he has recently morphed himself into a world-centred motivational speaker to the detriment of the gospel. What has happened?
He has become involved with the Pentecostal-based New Apostolic Revival [NAR], which is led in America by the false apostle C. Peter Wagner.
This group, supported in Australia by very many Pentecostal Church leaders, promotes a swag of self-appointed ‘apostles’ who are teaching that the Lord is ‘establishing the foundations of the Church for the new millennium … built upon [new] apostles and prophets.’
Anyone who has studied the New Testament knows that this foundation was laid in the early Church years. God is not laying another foundation, despite what these self-important heretics say. We must “be a Berean” as my pastor says.
Who Is Misleading Whom?
It is therefore not illogical to ask just who is misleading whom in regard to the New Apostolic Revival? [NAR]. Is it the new, self-styled apostles, or is it God?
God, through the real apostle Paul, wrote:
‘Now therefore, you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.’ [Eph 2:19-20]. Note the past tense [‘are built’].
Question: Who has established the foundation of the Church if not Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone?
Another question: Who then established the new apostles and prophets? If it was themselves then this is akin to saying that the original apostles and prophets might as well have established themselves on Christ’s cornerstone.
However, if it was God who did the establishing and building of the originals then the whole NAR movement is misleading at best, and heretical at worst.
This NAR teaching is supported by so many leaders and I believe many have fallen away because of this.
Please Reject the NAR
If you are a member of a Pentecostal Church, or of ‘Australian Christian Churches’ [formerly Assemblies of God] please find out from your leaders if they accept the teachings of the NAR.
If they do you can be pretty sure, despite the commendable outreach programs or friendly spirit, that your particular Church has been infected by an apostasy new in just the last twenty years or so.
It is man-centred, despite declaring otherwise, and it will lead to many other problems. There have been a number of examples in these types of Churches where false doctrine has been closely associated with immoral behaviour, autocratic leadership and further doctrinal aberrations.