False Teachers and Prophets, Part 4

September 29, 2020 at 11:13 AM 7 comments

For a definition of “heretic vs false teacher,” please read the previous article in this series.

As I mentioned in our previous third article in this series, I’ve decided to focus on doctrinal error as the main point, while including a few examples of people who have adopted, believe and espouse those errors that they pass along to folks who sit under their teaching.

Inclusivism
This is the belief that a person does not actually have to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior specifically in order to become a “Christian,” and thereby, gain eternal salvation. For instance, a question connected with inclusivism may look like this:

Is personal faith in Jesus the only way to heaven (exclusivism), or did Jesus’ death also provide salvation for some who do not believe (inclusivism)?

People who hold to inclusivism say that Jesus, while ultimately being the “only” way to heaven, is not really the only way to heaven. That may sound contradictory (it is), but to the folks who hold this view, there appears not to be a problem or disconnect. This is in spite of the fact that Jesus Himself affirms the reality of exclusivism when He clearly stated, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ESV).

What is interesting of course, is that people who hold to inclusivism explain it in such a way that makes people ultimately believe that they believe salvation rests only in Jesus alone. However, the problem is with the very meaning of inclusivism itself.

Inclusivism is the view that people actually appropriate God’s gift of salvation only on the basis of Jesus Christ’s atoning work, but that the sinner need not explicitly believe the gospel in order to actually receive this salvation. Inclusivism teaches that Christianity is the only true religion (including the belief that Christ is the only Savior of men), but that this salvation could be made available through means other than explicit faith in Christ. The inclusivist believes that adherents of other religions and even atheists can be saved by responding to God’s revelation in creation or through the elements of truth contained within their non-Christian religion. [1; emphasis added]

In other words, Jesus made salvation available and through a type of “thought-based” righteousness, salvation can come to those outside of Christ (Krishna, Mohammad, etc.). C. S. Lewis implied this view in the last book of his children’s book series, The Chronicles of Narnia. There are numerous well known Christian leaders who have adopted this view primarily because it makes God’s love appear “bigger” than the Bible reveals; more magnanimous in His love. The emphasis clearly is on God’s “love,” not His “holiness” or His “justice.”

Conversely, exclusivism is the biblical doctrine that salvation is only available through Jesus and the penitent must come to the point of realizing and embracing this truth. How God deals with those who have never heard the gospel is His to decide and the Bible provides clues. However, whether we ever fully understand that or not, we should at least understand that God will deal with those folks righteously, as only He can.

Pelagianism
Another doctrinal error that is opposed by Scripture is Pelagianism, which is named after Pelagius, a monk who lived in the late 300’s to 400’s. This error teaches that Adam’s sin was not passed onto the rest of humanity, but affected Adam only. This is absolutely not what the apostle Paul teaches throughout Romans, as just one example and common sense alone negates Pelagianism.

Consider just the fifth chapter of Romans where Paul appears to drive the connection with Adam’s sin home to us. The entirety of Pelagianism is based on error. All of humanity inherited Adam’s sin. How could it be otherwise? How could a corrupt Adam and Eve not pass along the sin nature developed from their own personal sin to the rest of humanity? Sin corrupted not just Adam and Eve but the entirety of God’s Creation.

Limited Theism
This is the denial of God’s full omnipotence.

Limited Theism usually manifests itself in the particular belief that God is all-good, but that He is limited in power, denying his divine omnipotence. Usually, this is done in an attempt to explain theodicy (why bad things happen when there is a good God). [2]

So of these errors, who among Christian leaders embraces and teaches one or more of these heretical views?

Who Believes This Today?
Not only does Tony Evans embrace Pelagianism but inclusivism and Limited Theism as well. He is the father of Priscilla Shirer so that may tell us to be careful about her as well. We’ll get into some of her errors in a future article.

On “inclusivism” Evans states:

If a person believes somebody’s up there that created this…I don’t know who He is but I want to know Him… if that person were to have a heart attack at that moment, God could not condemn him and be just because God says he who seeks shall find, so since God makes that promise, if God doesn’t give him the Gospel or give him a direct revelation then He has to judge him out of another dispensation. [3]

This is so unbiblical it’s pitiful. It is man’s attempt to “understand” and expand on God’s love, while forgetting justice and holiness. God will condemn the person who never trusts in God the Son as Savior/Lord. It is that simple and terrifying, which is all the more reason why we need to be good evangelists.

On “limited theism” Evans says:

Let me define prayer by first saying what prayer is not. Prayer is not simply talking to God. Instead, prayer is asserting earthly permission for heavenly interference. Prayer is earth giving heaven authorization to intervene in the affairs of earth as heaven has previously stated it would. That permission is granted based on your legal position and rights. That’s why it is essential to study the Word of God and to know the rights He has granted you through His Word. [2]

Evans’ words sound remarkably close to many teachers within the word of faith camp; the name it, claim it based on our alleged “rights.” But let’s be clear, we do not authorize God in heaven to intervene in the affairs of earth! This is sacrilege. God’s will has been done and it will be done with or without our “permission” or our cooperation. God does not need us but has chosen to include us as part of His great plans for this earth. In doing so, He still accomplishes the fullness of His will. The writings of many prophets of the Old Testament bear this out repeatedly. Take the time to read Ezekiel 38-39 as merely one example of how God accomplishes His will while using unaware human beings to bring His will to fruition.

On Evans’ own blog, he continues with this theme of prayer and makes these statements:

Rather, prayer becomes a legal meeting where you and God get together in agreement on the same covenantal arrangement. Prayer becomes an act of holding God accountable, in the right sense of the word, to what He holds Himself accountable to: His Word.

We hold God accountable? Um…no. We submit ourselves to Him through prayer and request what we believe God wants for us, in us and through us. There is no “right sense of the word” regarding holding God “accountable.” He is the Potter. We are the clay, period.

Evans is senior pastor of a 6,000 member church in Texas and has spoken at Promise Keepers events. Promise Keepers are well known for the ecumenical push (inclusivism).

Another individual no longer alive is someone we’ve mentioned previously, Charles Finney. He denied many of the authentic biblical doctrines in favor of his own humanistic philosophizing where God is concerned.

Another person who believes in inclusivism is Joel Osteen. I watched a video clip of Osteen on the Larry King show and King asked Osteen if he believed a person had to receive Jesus as Savior in order to be saved. He essentially said “no,” that he knew “good” Buddhists and those of other religions who were likely “saved” but did not know Jesus personally (my paraphrase).

It is amazing to me that no matter how much time passes from the time a heresy is introduced into Christendom, the heretical view continues in someone from generation to generation. Like a virus, it never really goes away but stays with us.

One would think that with the completion of the Canon of Scripture, people would be able to clearly see and comprehend what God is and what He espouses. Yet, too many approach God’s Word as Satan has done, by twisting Scripture into something it is not or “re-explaining” it so that the very truth of Scripture comes into disrepute.

Many of the fallacious assertions by people like Pelagius can be easily shown to be incorrect when compared with Scripture. The problem is that people do not often go back to the Bible consistently enough to see the error that they tend to believe. Christians often take more time reading books by Christian authors that are about the Bible or aspects of it than the Bible itself.

There was a time in my life years ago when this was my focus as well. But there is a time to grow up and realize that simply reading books written by human beings that is said to teach or comment on aspects of Scripture is second best at the most. The best thing we can do is study God’s Word to show ourselves approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed when we stand before Jesus. I’m not necessarily talking about actual quality Bible commentaries either.

Years ago, I spent my devotional time reading “devotionals” written by Christian leaders. That might be a decent place to start but all too often, Scripture used in those devotionals are taken out of context and presented as stand alone verses. The best way to have “devotions” is to do so by reading through each book of the Bible and studying it as progressing through it. It’s fine to have commentaries that dig into the historical background and context, as well as providing insight into the original languages. That adds to our understanding but of course, even there, we need to be careful because not all who write commentaries hold God’s Word up as the truth that it is and too often, undermine God’s truth with their human opinions.

Reading through the Bible from start to finish provides information and enlightenment that remains within the context of each book and then allows the reader to compare individual books with other books of the Bible. But in today’s Christendom, Christian leaders are more apt to write a book about a subject and then pull from Scripture texts that support their chosen subject. I’ve really gotten tired of people who offer a Bible class at the local church which is based on an author’s particular subject that they want to discuss.

The benefit of expository preaching and teaching is that a particular book of the Bible is gone through verse-by-verse, point by point and whatever subject happens to come up within that book, is what is discussed or highlighted by the presenter. Topical preaching allows for too much error and manipulation of God’s Word.

Pelagianism, inclusivism and Limited Theism are three errors that continue to exist within Christendom. Even though I’ve only mentioned three people who believe in one or more of those things, there are many others. Discernment is needed by Christians instead of simply following after these people whole heartedly.

 

 

[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/inclusivism-exclusivism.html

[2] https://pulpitandpen.org/2016/09/21/heresies-limited-theism/

[3] https://biblethumpingwingnut.com/2019/04/19/top-3-false-teachers-to-avoid/

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, salvation, Satanism, second coming.

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7 Comments

  • 1. rob45  |  October 5, 2020 at 10:37 PM

    Great article. I’m currently reading Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith and actually read the chapter on contemplative prayer today. It’s amazing how many people are falling for this stuff. Try telling the women in most churches that Beth Moore teaches false doctrine or Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling is occultic and you better be willing to take cover. They defend their false teachers vehemently and refuse to even allow you to point out what scripture says.

    • 2. modres  |  October 6, 2020 at 8:08 AM

      Hi Rob,

      Yes, it’s amazing to me how many will become angry when pointing out the failures of people they look up to and admire. Some of the absurd things Moore has said should speak for themselves as a huge red flag but too many simply embrace it without critical thought. It is infiltrating the visible church to an alarming degree.

  • 3. False Teachers and Prophets, Part 5 | Study - Grow - Know  |  October 5, 2020 at 11:28 AM

    […] our previous article in this series, we highlighted several errors that came into the church generations ago but are still with us. We […]

  • 4. Lynn Holzinger  |  September 30, 2020 at 9:33 PM

    Thanks for this article. I sometimes am in the car when Tony Evans comes on. I have often wondered about some of the things he says but also couldn’t understand why Moody radio would have him on their station if he was teaching falsely. Moody is where I went to school and this past year at Founders Week they had Francis Chan who I also have wondered about. It almost seems like there are no okay teachers out there anymore.

    • 5. modres  |  October 1, 2020 at 6:21 AM

      It does make you wonder about whether or not there are good teachers out there, yes. Chan is another one whose error we’ll be highlighting. It seems most well known groups like Moody are no longer what they started off to be. Discernment is definitely needed.

  • 6. Maranatha Today  |  September 29, 2020 at 11:34 AM

    Thanks for this…one’s discernment radar has to be up at all times!

    “Years ago, I spent my devotional time reading “devotionals” written by Christian leaders. That might be a decent place to start but all too often, Scripture used in those devotionals are taken out of context and presented as stand alone verses.”

    Yep! I also found I really didn’t feel they were doing anything for me spiritually as I have grown in the Lord. Now I go through the bible once a year and pray a whole lot more!

    Have a blessed day.

    • 7. modres  |  September 29, 2020 at 12:01 PM

      Amen! Same here.


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