How Christians Should Respond To a Counterfeit Gospel
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Acts 17:16-32 records the Apostle making a journey to Athens, Greece.
During his stay in the city he spoke at the Jewish synagogues, meetings with Gentiles, and held studies in the marketplaces.
His teaching was so effective the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers invited him to speak at their meetings at the Areopagus, the main center of Greek humanistic philosophy.
“For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (v.21).
The Apostle did not try to tickle their ears with a creative presentation of some new deep truth. He simply proclaimed the Gospel.
He spoke the truth that challenged their reasoning and their philosophy that encompassed all gods. He made it clear there is only one true God, creator of heaven, earth and mankind.
He showed them there is only one way to the One True God through repentance and receiving Jesus Christ who has risen from the dead.
Some listening that day mocked him, others wanted to hear more, and still others became followers.
America has become like the Athenians. We have embraced many gods and we have fully adopted humanistic rationalistic reasoning.
Unfortunately, this philosophy is also creeping into the church.
Theistic evolution dominates the Christian university curriculum.
Emphasis upon the humanity of Jesus Christ with an out-of-balance doctrine of grace plus a lack of emphasizing the depravity of mankind is weakening the proclamation of the Gospel and its power to transform a person’s life.
The newest adventure of the church into this Athenian culture is two-fold.
- First there is a call to “unhinge the church from the Old Testament” and no longer base our testimony and faith on the Holy Scriptures.
- The second new adventure encourages believers to study New Age teaching:
- Hawaiian Kahunas
- Trance guides, and
- Transcendental Meditation
To discover the truth that may be hidden in these false religious practices.
The Apostle Paul addressed this in his epistle to the Galatians.
They were wrestling with the influence of Gnosticism.
Their spiritual father challenged them, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9 NKJV).
There are evangelists and pastors who are “bored with the same old teaching and preaching.” They are looking for the “new revelation” or the “deeper revelation.”
Read the post: 3 Things the Church Does When the Glory Has Departed
They believe the full revelation has never been known by the church.
Even the Apostles and the first century church did not have the full revelation. They believe it is their obligation to seek out that “deeper revelation” and truth that has not yet been known.
The obvious danger, that does not seem to be so obvious to many today, is exactly what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” (3:1 NKJV)
Many in the church are being “bewitched.”
Baskainō in the Greek, meaning, to be deceived or deluded by a spirit of witchcraft. The Apostle warned his spiritual son Timothy that there would come a day when many in the church would accept doctrines of demons.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV).
The church cannot make the choice to “unhinge from the Old Testament”, resist pointing to the Holy Scriptures as the foundation of their faith, or begin exploring in New Age teachings and various forms of spiritism and remain true to God.
Jude made a great warning of this.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
There is one true faith that has been given by Almighty God.
It has been delivered into the hands of the saints, “once and for all.” It is the Holy Word of God that “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven.”
The Apostle Paul warned against seeking some new deeper revelation whether it would come by man or by an angel.
The church will only avoid this great danger if she has a deep and passionate love for truth.
Fifty years of relativism in our education system has made its way into the minds of those who fill the church, as well as the general population.
They may hear the preaching and teaching but with an inner response that says, “That is your truth.”
Even the pulpits are being influenced by humanistic relativism.
Many approach the Holy Scripture thinking the truth of the Apostle Paul may not carry the same meaning in the 21st century.
“Homosexuality in the Old and New Testament was different from the same-sex relationships today.”
“The culture and the social order of the New Testament was very different from today, so we must rewrite it to fit this generation and this culture.”
If we are to avoid these pitfalls we must sincerely ask and answer these very tough questions:
- Am I committed to loving the truth of God’s Word more than I am committed to loving my culture and being accepted by my peers?
- Am I willing to hear and to allow the truth of God’s Word to correct my thinking, my opinions, and my behavior?
- Am I willing to obey God’s Word no matter what it costs me?
When we fall in love with truth and seek it with all our heart, we will not be deceived by the counterfeit.
When we will allow the Word of God to do its full work in our heart, we will not suffer the dangers that are being experienced in the church.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV).
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