This is an excerpt from my book NOT Ten Suggestions.
The first things to go when liberal preachers gain dominance are sin and judgment. You can’t build a mega-church by preaching sin and judgment, or the Ten Commandments, so these ministers, often untrained in good seminaries, promise not to preach on sin. I heard one such preacher in Texas say on TV that he would never preach on sin but always affirm his people. Another one in California stated that Jesus never mentioned sin, which is incredibly false, and this minister built a large glass church. More than ever, Christians today want to have their ears tickled, to be told they are fine, that God does not judge. Here is the way Jeremiah put it in his day:
30 “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31, ESV).
Notice the bold, underlined words: “My people love to have it so.” False prophets are characterized by giving the people what they want to hear. Similarly, we read:
9 They are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the law of the LORD; 10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 30:9-11, ESV).
When the Twin Towers were destroyed on 9/11/2001, do you remember how the liberal news media interviewed liberal preachers who stated that it was not the judgment of God? At all costs, they wanted God, His Ten Commandments, and His judgment removed from the picture. There are many ministers who are for hire (“Have Preacher Will Travel”), who will say what the people want to hear.
16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You shall have peace” ’; and toeveryone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you’ ” (Jeremiah 23:16-17).
There comes a point in time when the Triune God will not want to hear our dead worship services anymore:
10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11 “To what purpose isthe multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. 12 When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood (Isaiah 1:10-15).
Surely the Triune God is sick of our “worship” services here in the USA. We come into His presence with sin that we have no intension of repenting of and expect Him to bless us. People take God for granted, or else don’t take Him at all, but He is the holy God who will not tolerate people claiming to know Him while not repenting of their sins:
8 Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations”? (Jeremiah 7:8-10).
There is one Episcopal denomination that has consecrated bishops who are gay, one priest elected to be bishop who is Buddhist, another priest who is Druid, another who is (or was) a priestess and at the same time Islamic, and clergy who deny the bodily resurrection of Christ. The first commandment says we are to worship “only” the one God, not Him and false gods. If the pulpit is so unreliable, what can we expect of the pew?
One of the worst sins today among Christians is either denying what God says in His holy and infallible written word, or adding to it with “God told me this.” People, Christian people, are inventing things that God allegedly says to them. But listen to what God says about this:
19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:19-20).
16 All Scripture isgiven by inspiration of God, and isprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
These passages could be repeated many times, but we see that God says His written word is all we need from Him for the content of our faith and for godliness. In other words, the Bible is not only necessary, it is enough. I’ve always used the following as a plumb line for the extra revelation that allegedly comes from God apart from the Bible: if it contradicts the Bible, it is wrong; if it says the same thing as the Bible, it is not needed; if it goes beyond the Bible’s statements, it has no authority.
Indeed, there are two ways to apostatize: (1) formally in what one believes and (2) morally in what one practices. Formally, there are so many heresies today that we need another Reformation more than the first one under Martin Luther in the 1500s. Ministers and parishioners deny the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the deity of Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His bodily resurrection, and His coming again in judgment at the Last Day. And now there are two revisited beliefs that have been consistently condemned by the Church over the centuries: that God is not omniscient (called the openness of God movement), and that all will be saved (universalism). Those who deny eternal punishment especially hate the Athanasian Creed with its doctrine of hell, even saying it is not a creed. In the days of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, these truths were believed by all major parties. But today we need a new Reformation of all Christianity—Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestant.
Also, we know of the terrible immoral problems among the clergy, such as the pedophilia of the Roman Catholic priests, the adultery among Protestant ministers, and I’m sure Eastern Orthodoxy has not been spared. The Episcopal Church consecrates homosexual bishops. Many ministers and members have given themselves over to ungodliness, such as sexual sins, covetousness, exploiting others for money, and so forth. Just read what the Apostle Peter wrote not long before the Lord took Him home:
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority (2 Peter 2:1-10).
In 1958 when I was 13, I had a step-father who was a preacher. He tried to murder my mother, who was pregnant with his son, so he could marry another woman in his congregation who had suddenly come into a lot of money. He began having sex with this woman. Unknown to my mother, he had gotten into sexual problems in another state in a former church before they were married. His murderous plot did not work, but he was never prosecuted. He broke the entire law of God and never repented, revealing that he was not the minister of Christ, but of the devil:
13 For such arefalse apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
And the Lord Himself stated regarding those who pretend to be ministers but who hate His commandments:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23).
But all true Christians know that they are sinful, that God’s law reveals the holiness of God, and that they fall short of His standard. We know that since God is infinite, sin has infinite implications. We know that we cannot offer anything to God to make Him accept us, which is where Christ comes in. Christ, as the infinite Son of God, has obeyed the law for us and has died on the cross to take our penalty for breaking God’s law. He is our only hope, and He is acceptable to the Father!