by Hadley Robinson
To better acquaint today's Christian with the historical theological positions of the Church in order that he might better recognize, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the particular errors of our day. Modern evangelical leaders might want to consider the fact that most of them would be excommunicated by any bishop of the Early Church. Will martyrs like Polycarp and Irenaeus condemn the American evangelical church at the Judgment? It seems likely. They would be mortified by the doctrine-by-democracy, the disobedience, and widespread immorality, especially divorce and adultery, that has become epidemic in the Church in the West. As the Greek Primate purportedly said, "Protestants wake up in the morning and ask, 'What doctrine am I going to believe today?'"
That the Christian would be strengthened in the faith that is based on the Rock – Jesus Christ – and nothing else. That the forgiven sinner would recognize with even greater intensity and thankfulness that he will not have to appear before the Judge at the End of the age and be charged with countless deeds of evil. Instead, the Savior will stand with him and say, "This one belongs to Me."
To help the obedient Christian recognize the flood of misleading, false, and heretical teaching that is being spread throughout the land via the Internet, radio, television, and printed media by the smooth and charismatic teachers within the evangelical Protestant church community.
Many are troubled by it all. It is a sure sign that the indwelling Holy Spirit is testifying to the believer's spirit that things are amiss. We need to be comforted and encouraged that the Church was established by Him who – even in these times – loves and cherishes His people, blemished as they are by sin. Our hope is in Jesus Christ not in those who presume to represent Him, a great comfort.
The influence of popular American evangelical teachers among churchgoers is astonishing – indeed the Church staggers under the load these self-seeking wolves place on the body of Christ. Most of them read each other's material – and not much else. They occasionally look at Scripture in a backward sort of way, starting with an opinion and then scratching away in the Sacred Text until they find something to back up their opinions. Rick Warren often does this.
Ear-tickling of the average church-goer succeeds well because he finds the Bible generally dull, dry, and boring so he – along with much church leadership – rarely take the time to study it or critically examine their own theology. Worst of all, these actors sense that God demands repentance to be saved and they, like Rachael, endeavor to skillfully hide their idols and lusts from others. But He who made the eye sees all and, at the Judgment, will deliver His sentence upon them: banishment into the place of the Devil where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth and the most horrific punishments imaginable.
The Bible has abundant discussions of sin – a repulsive subject to the unrepentant and something that elicits yawns in the churches. This writer has rarely heard any modern evangelical quote Augustine, Polycarp, or the Shepherd of Hermas. If they have read any of the Church Fathers, these modern teachers would not quote them anyway as they wrote about core Biblical doctrines, especially holiness and obedience – strange doctrines for the Church of this day. No Christian body is immune. The Church of Rome also staggers from the sin of homosexuality among her clergy and their attacks on the most helpless among us: our children.
Sadly, most Christians accept teaching uncritically and rarely examine the Scriptures to see if what they hear or read is in agreement with God's Word. It is an ignoble and lazy attitude (Acts 17:11). For example, how could anyone as fatherly, gentle, and respectable as James Dobson teach anything but the truth? "If he sounds good – and I feel good – it must be true."
Billy Graham, another popular Protestant icon, has said some unconscionable things. In particular, this accomplished and intelligent public speaker waffled both on Christ being the only way to the Father and the issue of abortion. On the latter, he takes the so-called "middle road" which goes like this, "I have come to preach the Gospel not abortion.... Paul never spoke about abortion nor will I." He also said, "“But there are occasions, I think, when abortion is the only alternative.”1 He said this without qualification and the interviewer, your usual anti-Christian bigot, got her pound of flesh for the abortionists. And the blood of the aborted continues to cry out from the ground for vengeance with no comfort whatsoever from one of America's greatest Protestant leaders. When Mr. Graham appears at the Judgment, he will have to explain why he said these dreadful things when he had the opportunity to rebuke the godless heathen for their evils.
Furthermore, Mr. Graham's gospel is a different gospel than that which is given in the New Testament. As his own tracts demonstrate, he shares the views of other evangelical leaders: Biblical repentance is not necessary. Again, he has led millions and millions to Christ. But where are they? How come Bright's and Graham's "millions and millions" do not seem to be anywhere? Why are churches here becoming more godless, more heretical, more immoral if they are filled with true converts? The truth is they are filled with the unconverted who pride themselves in a useless faith in an unknown god.
We need to be more like the Berean Christians of Acts 17:11 and examine our doctrine and lives closely, as the Spirit exhorts us in 1Tim. 4:16.
But, like the ancient Pharisees, too many of today's Protestant church leaders love the money, the titles, the tax exempt perks, and the sycophantic admiration fawned on them by their followers. Too often, evangelical doctrine is determined by majority vote (doctrine-by-democracy), not from prayer and careful analysis of the Sacred Text. Our nation was founded in rebellion (Romans 13) and a disregard for the established civil authority, so why is it so unusual that the Church behaves the same way? Our fleshly nature ensures it.
A true shepherd of the flock is uncommon. A man who, like Jesus, loves the flock, is willing to lay down his life for them (John 10:11), is not a self-promoter, and has the courage to confront sin and evil -- even it means being fired. What if these false teachers had to face death for preaching the truth? It is unlikely to happen here as the Russian novelist, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn noted in his speech to the Harvard University graduating class of 1978. Again, too many pastors just want to make people happy. Great pastors like Charles Spurgeon, on the other hand, told people in his congregation to leave and go back to their own churches rather than sit there and be entertained. Has anyone heard that exhortation lately?
Nonetheless, in the great darkness here, there are pastors unknown and often scorned who faithfully serve His flock: Who love them, faithfully teach them, and discipline them according to the Word of God. May our Savior richly reward these men in both this life and the life to come for their faithful service to the Head of the Church. Pray unceasingly for your pastor that God's anointing would be on him; that he would be filled with love, wisdom, courage, and complete humility and gentleness.
Are the popular teachers careful of the Truth? Ignorance of the Bible and the tendency we all have to mix attractive trends in our culture with Biblical Christian faith unite together. This creates comfortable falsehoods in the believer's mind which are easily exploited. The author of this site personally knows that this can happen. This tendency is known as syncretism and has so often weakened faith throughout the ages.
"I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." - 2Corinthians 11:3
Paul preached a simple Gospel but many teachers modify it in subtle ways – proving who their father really is (c.f. John 8:44).
Seminaries have taken on the character of the men of ancient Athens as they promote and endlessly discuss the latest fads rather than teach future pastors to be loving, courageous, and faithful to the Scriptures in the face of the widespread wickedness among those in the Church. If there is anything today that characterizes church pulpits is that there is great fear in addressing sin.
An example of the adulterated gospel is (the late) Bill Bright's ubiquitous tract The Four Spiritual Laws (TFSL). Bright exploits the narcissistic and self-serving attitude we have as fallen men: "Doesn't God want me to be happy?" Mix this with "I am not really such a bad person" and we have the ingredients that send souls to the Lake of Fire. However, few care because the tract has led millions to Christ. Or has it?
Jesus stated clearly that His message would be universally despised and hated and His messengers murdered (Matt. 10:22, 23:34, 24:9-11; John 16:2). How does this square with "God has a wonderful plan for your life" as written in TFSL? The truth is that it does not.
What is worse, tracts like Bright's convince the naive and unrepentant that Jesus came to give them personal peace and affluence - the pernicious idols of our time, particularly here in the United States. When they do not get what they want, they accuse God of being a cheat.
False gospels like this have filled the churches with unconverted people who prey on and/or harm the flock of God (Matt. 13:38). These tares are often in positions of authority where, filled with pride and arrogance, they abuse and exploit others. As Francis Schaeffer remarked years ago, meanness and self-serving are endemic in the evangelical church. I can say that the meanest people I have ever met have been in the evangelical Protestant church. Meanwhile, the Flock of God suffers terribly.
Outsiders are not altogether ignorant of the tactics of hucksters and actors in the Church. They see the too frequent displays of pride, meanness, arrogance, and the appeals for money which often attempt to link blessing from God with the extent of the generosity of the giver. It often goes something like, "...if you sow generously [in order to enrich my ministry] God will enrich you." Everyone wants to be a friend of God and help Him, right?
But this connection between someone's giving to XYZ ministry and receiving blessing from the LORD is a false connection, as if God is some genie whom we can manipulate into giving us what we want. But people love to hear it.
As a result, outsiders who see this manipulative behavior have cause to blaspheme the Name as they witness the actions of corrupt church leaders.
Evidence of the contempt with which outsiders hold the Christian faith and their leaders can be found almost anywhere. Nearly anyone who has a television has seen the disgrace of the religious frauds begging for money and the foolish who are too happy to hand it over. This is to say nothing of the begging for money from church pulpits. It is a scandal which puts just another nail in the coffin of the American Church: "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you." - Romans 2:24
Nonetheless, TFSL and its clones can be used in God's plan to save the lost, including the writer of this essay. But so has the Jehovah's Witness altered New World Translation "bible"....
It is the Holy Spirit who saves a man from Hell, not Bill Bright's or anyone else's charismatic or slickly written tracts.
The Prophets do not give praise to "mostly true." As a result, the true catholic Church rejects "mostly true" books of the Bible that some add to the sacred canon. Another example of "mostly true" not being satisfactory is found in 3John. Diotrephes, a lover of being first, was condemned. He undoubtedly was a Christian and a charismatic leader in the Church. Was John being too harsh in rejecting Diotrephes? Some would argue so.
While we can praise God for the good in tracts, especially Scripture, which God may use to save sinful men, we must be careful not to embrace falsehood. Men can be saved by hearing what God wants them to hear despite it all. However, these types of teachers are not those mentioned in Philippians 1:18. These men taught the true Gospel but had false motives, an important distinction.
We live in a land filled with Christians who indulge – without repentance – in some of the most terrible sins mentioned in Scripture: Immorality and, particularly, adultery and divorce. As Exodus 23:2 exhorts against, so many have gone along with the crowd.
These brothers often attempt to justify these sins. As Galatians 5:9 warns, others are infected by the same yeast and the travesty spreads. As a result, the churches have a general attitude of tolerance for grievous sin in their midst. Rather than adhere to the explicit command of Scripture, "See that no one is sexually immoral" (Hebrews 12:16), shepherds look the other way rather than face the wrath of the wicked among them, especially their financial underwriters.
This website is a resource for those who question and want to know more about the altered gospels and false teachings of many of America's most popular teachers. It contains other helpful information, quotes, statements of faith, and essays on matters relevant to the Way of Righteousness, a.k.a. the Christian faith. It is no holes barred in discussing the un-discussable that most popular teachers ignore including: Abortion, contraception, revolution, 7th century Islamic crazies, and inaccurate Bible translations. The site includes a translation from Elizabethan English of the marriage vows found in the Book of Common Prayer and a more accurate American English translation of the Apostle's Creed.
This writer is particularly indebted to the teaching of the 19th century German theologians, Keil and Delitzsch, Kendall H. Easley, Ph.D., John Piper, Steve Barracca, Ph.D., R.C. Sproul, David F. Wells, John Calvin, Augustine of Hippo, among others. How can anyone discuss these matters without the help of the Holy Spirit as He has moved in other Christians, including this one?
This site references both the Authorized Version of the Bible (KJV) and the New International Version 1984 (NIV). The NIV is often used in the interest of clarity as most readers may not fully understand Elizabethan English. As one formally trained in both Hebrew and Greek, this writer is painfully aware of the few but glaring shortcomings of the NIV and diligently makes this clear, when necessary, especially the NIV's liberal views on sexual immorality and on adultery, in particular.
Nonetheless, the NIV 1984 is one of the best American English translations ever made. In the Old Testament it is without peer, assiduously avoiding both the awkward and unnatural cadence that often characterizes the NASB, the RSV, and its recent relative, the ESV.
It does have some serious errors where the theological opinions of the translation committee revealed themselves e.g. Mal. 2:14, Mt. 19, 1Cor. 7. However, the latter two passages share the translation tradition that was set down in The KJV. The translators of the time were all working with a Greek text that had been altered in order to justify the dissolution of a marriage due to immorality. Presumably, this alteration in Matt. 19 was made so that the Greek text would agree with the Latin Vulgate.
While the KJV is written in the finest of old English, it can lack clarity for the modern reader. It supports the sacred cows of the Reformation including language that eases the Biblical proscriptions against divorce. However, it and the NASB demonstrate greater faithfulness to the Hebrew than the NIV in the tough passage in Malachi which labels men who leave their wives as those who commit treachery. The moral character of translators of the Bible is as important as the moral character of the people who watch your child in Sunday School or of your babysitter when you go out at night. The people on translation committees who have dumped wives or husbands cannot be trusted to render accurately Biblical themes on adultery, immorality, and divorce.
Few realize how influential the Septuagint is - a 3rd century BC translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into the Greek of the day. Often, its errors, as the German scholars Keil and Delitzsch note, were incorporated into the translations of the Reformation period. This was especially true of the more obscure passages of the Old Testament such as 1Chron. 4:9.
On rare occasions, this site may present the author's own translation of the Sacred Text. Suffice it to say, Protestant translations, including the KJV, have been influenced by renaissance humanism which swept through the churches of the Reformation period and continues to exercise great influence in the American church, especially Christian schools.
It is the author's prayer that he will be faithfully led by the Holy Spirit in all that is written here. His main concern is to preserve the theological integrity of the Bible which, in its entirety, is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Corrections and suggestions are welcome. The author hopes everyone will be blessed and strengthened in their faith by the material on this website.
"Love Him, study His Word, and follow His ways."