Sunday, January 28, 2007

False Teachers are So Humble...

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

False teachers have plagued the church ever since the church has been a church. From the false teaching of Satan in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, to Balaam and his attempted cursings against the Israelites, to Hymaneus, Alexander and Philetus who taught that the resurrection has already occurred, and shipwrecked their faith.

But it seems that false teachers have a way with people. Of course they do. People would never be swayed by a devil wearing red pajamas and toting a pitchfork. They would not be so stupid as to follow the devil in open array (though some still might.) Rather, false teachers have always had a charisma about them. They were strong leaders and those using persuasive words. They are like the super-apostles that the Apostle Paul had to contend with in his Corinthian correspondence. 2 Corinthians 11:4, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted -- you may well put up with it!” Interestingly, these false apostles and false teachers spoke well and won the crowd. Paul himself says 2 Corinthians 11:6, “Even though I am untrained in speech…” False teachers and those spreading lies and deception through demonic doctrines are always persuasive speakers and clever entrepreneurs. Arius, the great heretic of the 4th century, was the originator of Arianism, a heretical Christological teaching which refused to concede the full divinity of Christ. How did he infiltrate the church? He was a great entrepreneur. Arius came up with taking his ideas and put them to songs. Thus hymnody was born in the midst of the people of God where heresies were sung as jingles that could easily be remembered.

Not only are false teachers outwardly charismatic, but most of the time, they seem to be brimming with love and compassion toward the people of God, though it be false love, and with great godly morals against the wrong that has been done to them. They are equally “hurt” when their voices and ideas are shot down by godly pastors. They think themselves ill used and often put out the most humble of speeches and letters telling us all how badly they have been abused. This was even the case over the past week on the Reformed Puritanboard. Some Federal Visionists infiltrated the board, and after they had their privileges removed from interacting and no longer had the ability to post their ungodly information, they felt abused for being called out on it. After being called out on their position, they said they were, “publicly defamed” and that their “character and our motives as well as lied about.” They said that they found our behavior “disgraceful, lacking in Christian charity.” They ultimate said that the Reformed Board administrators were “wrong and are in sin”. They ended with “When you are ready to apologize and seek forgiveness from us” we know how to contact them. Such speech seems like the epitome of martyrdom. Such manipulation and craftiness brims over from the pit of hell.

But such was the case with the false apostles in the Church at Corinth. Though Paul was not necessarily the greatest of speakers, so we say with him, 2 Corinthians 11:6, “Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge.

Yes, the false teachers and propagators of heretical material and information will always feel abused and ill treated. They will make that known in earnest. They will “sniff sniff” weep and wail at the disgrace shown to them. But really, when one gets down to brass tacks, it’s very simple- they don’t like not getting their own way, and they don’t like it when the truth that sets others free, shackles them in their own schemes and banishes them from amidst the people of God. Humility, at the expense of truth, is the devil’s playground.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Our Next Evangelist

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

Evangelists. Are they for today? The Reformation and Puritanism were in agreement that Evangelists were an office specific to the time of the early church during the Apostolic Era. They agree that the properties of that office were tied to things that not only included the regular preaching of the word, but also extraordinary gifts that were also tied to the Apostolic era now ceased. As Dr. John Owen a prince among puritans, rightly says of Evangelists, “The evangelists we read of had extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, without which they could not warrantably undertake their office. That there is no need of their continuance from any work applied unto them.”

Does the contemporary church agree?

In Newsmax magazine, the December 2006 issue, beginning on page 54, columnist Dave Eberhart asks the question, who is “Our Next Great Evangelist.” As we so hoped that Billy Graham would not only step down, but that his theology would lose its heat as well, no, the devil won’t have that. His son, Franklin Graham is going to take up an iconic center of stage following in the footsteps of his misguided father.

The title of the article is “Franklin Graham Takes the Stage.” I agree. Franklin Graham is taking the stage. He is not entering the office of an evangelist, nor of the office of minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is, with many other iconic religion people, taking up the spotlight on the stage. Who are these others that he will now share in the spotlight? Eberhart makes list and comments on religious figures such as Pope Benedict 16th, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, Jack Hayford, Benny Hinn, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Kirk Cameron, Bob Coy, Joel Osteen, Luis Palau, Pat Robertson, Tony Evans, Ted Haggard, and Rick Warren. Need I go on? Graham, the dispensational Arminian, who is rescuing Pelagianism from the depth of hell, is rubbing shoulders and borrowing limelight time from heretics of all kinds. Anti-Trinitarians, Modalists, Charismanics, Pelagians, and motivational speakers with New Age advice. And these, yes, are the icons of the American Church.

But in a much somber light, the Bible speaks about deceivers who will come in the last days, and deceive many. The people of God, during these last days, stretching from the time of the early church even until now, have seen the ebb and flow of demonic doctrines and things taught by devils sweeping into the church, changing her Gospel, changing her worship, and changing the very essence of theological doctrine surrounding the being of the One True God, Jesus Christ.

No, Franklin Graham is not an evangelist, as much as one might say Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen are Christians. Rather, the history of American Enlightenment has followed the pleas of one Charles Finney, of which much of these people have bought their theology, even without knowing it. The old saw dust trail, and the seat of decision, turned Charles Finney, an avowed Pelagian, to be deemed one of the great evangelists of the religious community in the 19th century. So that kind of open air preaching (but preaching of another sort) has labeled such men evangelists.

Enter, the Bible. The Bible teaches, as in Jeremiah 3:14-17 “Return, O backsliding children," says the LORD; "for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 "And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 "Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days," says the LORD, "that they will say no more, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore. 17 "At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.” Shepherds, in contrast to false teachers, explain God’s mind to the people.

Let me give you 10 chief heresies:
1) The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament do not bind us Christians.
2) That God never loved one man more than another before the world, and that all the decrees are conditional.
3) That there is no original sin.
4) That the will of man is still free.
5) That the saints may fall totally and finally from grace.
6) That Christ died alike for all, yea, that his salvific virtue of His death extends to all the reprobates as well as the elect, yea, to the very devils as well as unto men.
7) That Jesus Christ came into the world not for satisfaction, but for publication; not to procure for us and to us the love of God, but only to be a glorious Publisher of the Gospel.
8) That God is not displeased at all if His children sin.
9) That the doctrine of repentance is a soul destroying doctrine.
10) That the souls of men are not immortal but mortal.

These could be taken from the sermons of any of those described before in part, if not in full. Be advised. They were taken from "The Nature and Danger of Heresies" by Obadiah Sedgwick in the 17th century. Surely, there is nothing new under the sun.

The Apostolic church would never have put up with “evangelists” preaching heresy. Their extraordinary office gave way to the ordinary office of elders and deacons, which now the true church of Jesus Christ thrives under when the true Gospel is preached. No, we don’t have any more evangelists, and Franklin Graham is not the church’s next. Rather, we ought to listen to the God-given elders that preach day in and day out in those churches established by the Authority of Jesus Christ as His ambassadors to the world. Graham, Osteen, Warren, Coy and others can have the limelight. God’s people prefer the pulpit.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.