Heresies Overtaking Churches Today, Pt 3
In our first two parts – here and here – we discussed the problems of specific heresies that have gained an audience not only inside the Church but within and without Christendom as well. We zeroed in specifically on a relatively new (since the 1990s) heresy that has been called a variety of things, like “Latter Rain,” “Joel’s Army,” “Manifest Sons of God,” and lately The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
We also discussed the major players and the main beliefs. Essentially, we talked about the fact that many within this loosely knit movement (it has no real headquarters or sole base of operations) become part of many churches simply because of the belief that God wants Christians to take back America for God. This exudes patriotism and hymns and songs like “Star Bangled Banner” or “Oh Beautiful, for Spacious Skies,” many of which reference God. Often, conservatives today (whether Christian or not) believe that America should be taken back to a time when the Bible (or at least biblical principles) were elevated and so many aberrant practices accepted today are put back in the closet.
In many ways, the NAR has roots all the way back to the Moral Majority, headed up by Jerry Falwell (founded in 1979), and spoke to people who were increasingly feeling disenfranchised by the increasingly “progressive” (think: Marxist) politics of the left. Thought widely accepted as true, the Moral Majority failed to fully galvanize people and had no real lasting effect on society. The goal then was to put more Christians in power politically and ultimately place a conservative Christian in the White House.
Today, the NAR is trying to do things differently. Today, the goal is more along social welfare lines. As we previously noted in our first part, Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan seeks to eradicate what he calls the “five giants” of Spiritual emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, Disease, and Ignorance (or illiteracy). Notice all the but the first one are simply very general and anyone can be involved in working to eliminate those things. In fact, as Christians, we should do what we can to help in those areas. The first – Spiritual emptiness – while sounding spiritual really is not. Many today talk up Yoga, Buddhism, and other practices in order to create a sense of fulfillment and well-being in people.
Christians have been involved from the start in starting orphanages, doing charity work, and generally helping people in foreign countries to meet the needs of impoverished people. But doing these things should never replace spreading the gospel. Preaching the truth that Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life” should be first and foremost with anything that every Christian does. Yet, too often, with movements like NAR, the necessity of being taught that salvation comes from no other under heaven except through Jesus is absent from the picture.
In other words, the Church is becoming far more focused on the ills of society rather than the ills that destroy the soul. Too many think that by eradicating disease, starvation, and other things, people will be in a better mindset to hear the gospel. This simply is not true and we can easily prove that from Scripture. There is no better time to hear the gospel than now.
Please notice in Acts 3:6, Peter, after being confronted by a paralytic who was begging responded to him the only way he knew how.
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene– walk!”
Peter gave credit to Jesus Christ. By doing so, he gave full glory to Jesus and left the man unmistakably knowing that it was Jesus – not Peter – who healed him. Peter had no power, no ability to heal anyone. The reaction of the man is interesting because we are told in verse 8 that the man “…jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” As word got around, average people in the vicinity also began praising God for this miracle.
But today, we have people who prefer simply prefer to correct the ills of society without dealing with the state of a person’s soul. Even Jesus said that the poor will always be part of society (cf. Matthew 26:11; John 12:8). By saying this, He didn’t mean we should not try to do something about it, but in that particular case, Judas was acting more like a socialist of today when the woman broke open the alabaster jar and poured it over Jesus for His upcoming death and burial.
Jesus’ statement is also a slam to those who, like the NAR, believe that we should concentrate on eliminating situations in society that cause people to be poor. They will always be with us until Jesus returns. There are many reasons people are poor today and at least some of them have to do with a complete lack of desire on the part of the individual who is poor. They are not motivated to help themselves at all for one reason or another.
For those who see the problem and are opposed to it, what should be done? Is God’s Kingdom of this world? We’ll discuss that next time so join me then.