.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Gamaliel's Desk
Friday, July 23, 2004
Lying Lies and the Liars Who Lie Them

Christians today are leaving the “faith once delivered to the saints” in droves. I have never seen the like. People are abandoning their place in the True Pharisee Church and joining the “mixed multitude” that celebrates the spirit of compromise so prevalent in carnal Christianity. Why are people deserting their dedication to the higher calling to be a sacred remnant? In a word – false teachers. The influence of evil teachers lures many weak God-fearing Christians into the clutches of conciliation with the world instead of practicing Biblical Separation. Let me state up front that it is the duty of every good Pharisee pastor to do the following:

This column is too small to list all of the popular deceivers but suffice to say that if they are on the television, radio or are being sold in a Family Christian bookstore, the chances are pretty good that they are false teachers. The Bible says that man is a liar -- "with their tongues they have used deceit" (Romans 3:13). Paul proclaimed, "Let God be true, and every man a liar." Jeremiah says man's heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9). It should be abundantly clear that all men are liars. It is only by God’s grace and my superior spiritual fortitude that my fellow Pharisee pastors and I have overcome this egregious human flaw. Generally, if someone who is not a sound Bible-believing Pharisee says something then it is most likely a lie. If a Pharisee says it, then it is most assuredly true.  

Even more dangerous than the lies that theses false teachers tell, is their spirit of deception. Many folks are taken in by their apparent sincerity and seeming devotion to God. But see what the Bible says about such teachers: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:13-15). A calculated deception on their part is that they appear to be honest, truth-loving folks. These spiritual hustlers are not going to come to you and say, “I am a liar and am trying to deceive you.” Instead, they will try to convince you of their earnest dedication to the Lord and how much they love God. Undoubtedly, some of these folks may be sincere but they are sincerely deceived if they hold to false doctrine.  

And this is the greatest danger of false teachers: they lie. They lie to others; they even lie to themselves. Of these Paul said, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13). This is even more insidious than their lies to us. It is one thing for them to try to deceive their followers but they are lying to each other and believing one another’s lies. They are deceived by their own deception. What’s worse, they are so deceived that they don’t even know they are deceived. Unlike us wise Pharisees who have had our eyes opened to the Truth of God’s word, we are under no delusions that we are deceived. We know the Truth and we know with utmost certainty that we know the truth. False teachers may think they know the Truth for certain, but they lack the discernment we have to recognize that they are thoroughly deceived by their own error. 

Every good Pharisee knows and teaches that God demands that His people separate from false teachers. The Bible tells us, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17,18) Let me illustrate the depth of their perversion and dishonesty. False teachers would say that our strict practice of separation fosters division and that we are the ones Paul is warning against in this verse. The truth is that Pharisees are not the ones who cause division by separating from false teachers. Because false teachers insist on teaching their heresies, the Bible forces us to separate from them. They are causing the division by not holding to the truth like us good Pharisee churches. 

And why should Christians be so concerned about being lured into falsehood? It is because the stakes are so high. Just look at the cost to Christians who mingle their pure faith with those who would sprinkle just a tiny little bit of error into it:

Every good Pharisee should make sure that they maintain a pure faith by listening only to Pharisee preachers, reading only Pharisee authors and going only to Pharisee churches. We all know better than to attend any church that is not of the Pharisee denomination but we sometimes forget that para-church ministries are every bit as evil and insidious as their denominational counterparts. This is why good Pharisees don’t send their dollars to World Vision, don’t attend Promise Keepers rallies, don’t work with Habitat for Humanity, and never listen to Focus on the Family.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:10 (NIV)



Sunday, July 04, 2004

Normally, I would devote this week's column to promoting every Pharisee's duty to support the biblical and moral position of conservative Americanism but I feel that I have to address one of the greatest threats to patriotic Christian America - Harry Potter. I had determined not to address this topic because I have already covered it in the past but recent events have forced me to wade into the fray once again. The amazing popularity of the new Harry Potter movie threatens to undermine the very moral fabric of our country. We are teetering on the edge of disaster and this movie could push us into the abyss. It threatens the very foundations of what made this Christian nation the great godly country it is. Harry Potter seeks to replace the biblical underpinnings of morality with a belief in the spirit world, something no self-respecting Christian would ever subscribe to.

Let me state first of all that I have not seen the new Harry Potter movie, nor do I intend to. I have heard enough about it from rumors, press releases and television advertisements to know that no spiritual Christian should ever want to view this movie. Harry Potter is the very antithesis of what makes for an American Hero. This week's column will show why Harry Potter makes such a bad champion for children by contrasting him with a truly American role model, John Wayne.

First of all, Harry Potter encourages kids to go to movies. As we all know, movies are godless propaganda machines seeking to undermine the Christian principles taught in our Pharisee churches. The Harry Potter books are nothing more than teasers for the movies. John Wayne movies promote no such thing. Since there are no new John Wayne movies, you can only see them on television. So, unlike Harry Potter, they encourage Christians to stay at home rather than support the liberal Hollywood elite. Not only that, John Wayne movies encourage people to read Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour books instead of encouraging them to see more movies.

Tools of the trade: Harry Potter is a bad role model because he uses magic to solve his problems and fight "evil" in the movies. As everyone knows, magic is evil incarnate so it cannot be used to fight evil. Using evil to fight evil is a fiction that Hollywood loves to promote. John Wayne, by contrast, never resorts to magic or any other wicked means to suppress the forces of evil. Instead, he uses guns, a legitimate means of safeguarding our freedom guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the constitution. We all know that guns, unlike magic wands, are not evil in themselves and are turned to good or evil purposes by the people wielding them. Ask yourself this question: What would you rather see - kids running around pretending to zap one another with magic wands or kids running around playing with toy guns pretending to shoot one another? Clearly, I would rather see children pretending to kill one another with guns than wands.

Violence: Harry Potter movies have turned out to be some of the most violent movies ever made in recent days. Not only that but it is violence of a horrid sort at a place where children should be made to feel safe - their school. John Wayne movies are violent but in a completely different way. The creators of Harry Potter use violence in a purely gratuitous fashion and never justify its use. The creators of John Wayne movies only use violence as a last resort. John Wayne never sought to go to war as a matter of choice or preference. He went to war because it was his duty. He never hit a man for no reason in his movies but only used his fists when he was forced to. Harry Potter turns out to be a mischievous imp who invents all sorts of violent things purely for their own sake.

Respect for Authority: Harry Potter is in every way a rule-breaker. He feels like the rules are for other people and not for him. This rebellious attitude and situational ethics erodes the foundation of compliance that we need for this country to be great. When kids see Harry Potter rebelling against authority, then they are going to feel justified in rebelling against authority. John Wayne epitomized that American virtue of blindly following orders, regardless of the personal consequences to himself and those around him. We would never see John Wayne questioning whether the government was right or wrong in going to war. His duty was clear - to kill as many of the godless, heathen enemy as he could. The Christian virtues of Duty, Honor, Country are sadly missing in our churches today and Harry Potter is one of the leading reasons why they are missing.

Language: I have been told that the Harry Potter books in England contain some bad words. This only serves to highlight the breakdown of morality in this country. Language standards have been declining for years and they only continue to get worse. Harry's use of the occasional four-letter word merely hastens the moral decline of our youth. I admit that on occasion, John Wayne may have said a curse word or two but that is because those words were included in the script. John Wayne was not known for his cursing and his movies, when they are shown on the right television channels, have all the curse words bleeped out, thus making him wholesome fare for the family. Harry Potter is wholly unsuitable for viewing by anyone, and especially young children. The same is true with cigarettes and alcohol. These were only plot devices in the movie. John Wayne's consumption of alcohol and smoking of cigarettes were only to establish character. Real American Christians can easily overlook these peccadilloes because of all the godly virtues the movies promote. It's simply a matter of eating the fish and throwing away the bones.

Americanism: Finally, Harry Potter isn't even American. His books and movies are created by English people. America should not allow itself to be influenced by the very country we rebelled against almost 230 years ago. We all know that England is peopled by liberal heathen who have low standards of morality and conduct. We should only consume American culture that promotes the godly biblical values of Americanism, patriotism, capitalism and rebellion against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
MATTHEW 23:27-28 (NIV)

Pastoral Standards

I continue to be dismayed and disgusted at the low standards pastors are setting for themselves in the ministry nowadays. It is one thing for non-Pharisee pastors to have such abysmal standards of personal conduct because I never expected much from them, but now I am seeing even good Pharisee preachers succumbing to the siren song of slovenly standards. The last straw for me was when I saw a pastor coming out of a movie house dressed in jeans, tank top and shoes with no socks. I could not have been more shocked than if he had come out of a tattoo parlor carrying a beer!

Let me state first of all that God has always had high standards for those who lead his people. This was true of the Levites under Moses and the Judges after Joshua. You won't find any unseemly behavior from these folks without the wrath of God falling on them for the least infraction. And that was in the Old Testament. We are living now under the New Covenant, which has a much higher standard than anything that was allowed in the Old. David made a perfectly acceptable king with his adulterous, murdering behavior but no church in its right mind would ever let him be a member in good standing, let alone call him to be a pastor.

The trouble I see is that people place high standards where they ought to be low and low standards where they should be high. Let me start with some of the things that are NOT required of a good Pharisee pastor.

o A good education - The apostles never went to seminary or held theological degrees and the Bible doesn't hold any such requirement for us today. They were regarded as unlearned in their day (Acts 4:13) and even Paul says God uses foolish preachers to confound the wise. Good Pharisee pastors are self-educated in the Word of God, not educated in the God-dishonoring seminaries and institutions of "higher" learning of today.

o Impressive looks and demeanor - The apostle Paul was contemptible in appearance and good Pharisee pastors should seek to emulate him by looking poor and humble as well. We are to be clothed with godliness, righteousness and humility, not the finery of this world. The more humble I look, the more impressive I truly am.

o Wealth and connections - Good Pharisee pastors actually take pride in their poverty. Since money is the root of all evil as Paul warns Timothy, we should seek to avoid any appearance of evil by eschewing worldly wealth. We never see anyone of earthly means in the Bible blessed or highly regarded by God. So we should never seek even the appearance of being well off. Instead we are to be true to the ministry and righteously condemn those who gain a profit from the work of God as unworthy servants. We aren't in it for the money and we prove it by not having much. Anyone who makes a good living in the ministry is clearly in the wrong line of business since they are reaping man's blessings and not God's.

o Speaking ability - Good Pharisee pastors don't need to be articulate or eloquent. Our speech is not with wisdom as the world speaks but we should be plain and ordinary in our speech. In fact, the best Pharisee preachers are the ones who are the worst speakers because they are depending on God to get the message through, not themselves. Speakers such as you hear on radio and television that are polished, skilled and oratorical are to be mistrusted because they are likely depending on their own ability, not the Holy Spirit, to convey the message of God. I am justifiably proud of my poor public speaking ability because it is evidence of my humility before God. Anything that I manage to say is a reflection of His glory because if anybody gets anything out of my messages it must be God speaking through me since I have so little ability on my own.

o The expectations of the crowd - people who expect great natural talents, leadership ability and charisma should expect instead to be disappointed in a True Man of God. We are none of those things. The last thing I should seek to do as a Proclaimer of the Truth of God's Word is to seek to please the crowd. If I run into a pastor who has the admiration of the crowd and appeals to a wide audience, like Billy Graham, I know that he is a compromiser who is sacrificing the Truth of God's Word on the altar of popular appeal. We all know that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. This means that God's Truth doesn't appeal to worldly people. So popular preachers, by definition, are not godly preachers since God's message of sin, condemnation and judgment is not a popular one.

So what are God's standards? Simple. He must be blameless according to I Timothy 3:1-5. It is clear from this passage that a Pharisee pastor must be married and he must have been married only once to one wife. No polygamists. He cannot be divorced and remarried. God may forgive him for his sin, but such forgiveness does not qualify him for ministry. To be honest, a Pharisee preacher can't be divorced at all since he clearly is not blameless, he is not ruling his own house well, he is not a good example to his flock and he can't preach against divorce with authority since he is guilty of this grievous sin himself. And those Pharisee preachers who are married need to make sure they are in a good relationship with their wives. Many a man has been disqualified from ministry in the eyes of God for not having his wife in due subjection.

He must also have his children under subjection too. A pastor with rebellious children is unfit for the ministry just as much as a divorced pastor. That is why, when my grown son went on a rebellious streak and started pastoring a non-Pharisee church, I disowned him as my son. If he wasn't going to yield to my authority as his father, then he wasn't going to be my son any longer. This is how I keep my family under control. Some consider this harsh, but I have to behave in a manner consistent with my convictions. Otherwise, how would I have any credibility when I call down younger Pharisee pastors who have children with a poor testimony in the community by wearing their hair in outlandish styles or listening to so-called Christian rock music? It is precisely this sort of low living that hurts the testimony of the ministry.

Even folks who call themselves good Pharisee pastors have dropped their standards and are failing to maintain that distinct separation between themselves and the general populace. I have seen the spirit of compromise creep into modern ministerial thought under a number of guises but all of them come down to the fallacy that preachers are fallible human beings just like everyone else. There is no sense of the high and holy calling that permeates True Ministry and elevates the Pharisee pastor to a spiritual level to which lesser Christians may only aspire, not obtain. Why, if the modern ministers of "grace" (as they call themselves) had their way, the ministry would turn into nothing more than common ordinary men leading other common ordinary folk into spiritual ruin. Today's column is an attempt to inspire today's pastors to maintain the moral and social distinctions that separate the spiritual clergy from the carnal laity.

I Timothy 3:2-3 tells us that a pastor is to be blameless in his personal life. This means that there can be absolutely no evidence of moral failure evident in his life. I would no sooner follow a pastor who attends movies or has a tattoo than I would follow a pastor who is a drunkard or a liar. Pastors who show moral lassitude by entering the pulpit without a tie on or using modern per-versions of the Bible are no more fit to be in the ministry than the self-help gurus of our day. There are so many areas where pastors must remain blameless that I cannot list all of them but I will hit some of the highlights based on Paul's writings to young Timothy.

o "Not given to wine," means that pastors today should not only be total abstainers from alcoholic beverages in all forms but they should never frequent establishments where alcohol is served. I realize that this eliminates most eateries but it is a price I am willing to pay so as not to damage my testimony. Some would say I am hypocritical for not eating at restaurants that serve alcohol while shopping at a grocery store where alcohol is dispensed. However, since I can find no grocery where alcohol is not sold, then I am forced to go there to shop. This does not damage my testimony because people know that I don't drink alcohol. If I went to restaurants that served alcohol, they might get the notion that I've "fallen off the wagon."

o "No striker" means that we Pharisees are a peaceful bunch and would never retaliate against those who wrong us unjustly. Some would call my justifiable reaction to the poor driving habits of others to be a violation of this but I am sure Paul did not have road rage in mind when he wrote to young Timothy. He was speaking of engaging in fistfights of which I have not been guilty for several years.

o "Not a brawler" confirms this and shows that the good Pharisee pastor is not an argumentative type of person. I am for the most part a gentle, meek and peaceable person except in the defense of the faith. Jude tells us to earnestly contend for the faith and matters of godliness, spirituality and Biblical Truth are worth brawling over. Combating the forces of spiritual wickedness is not what Paul had in mind.

o "Not self-willed" is a characteristic listed in Titus 1:7. The good Pharisee pastor does not rule the flock of God by his own will but by God's will. The church does not belong to the pastor but to God. However, as God's designated representative, my words proclaim the will of God to people and they are compelled to follow it as the voice of God Himself. People need to realize that when I speak and proclaim the commands of God, I am doing this for their own good. These are not my opinions, thoughts and feelings but the very opinions, thoughts and feelings of God that I address.

o "Not soon angry" covers my self-control in all things not related to the Truth of God. Being angry on God's behalf is no sin. And the sooner we get angry about the right things, the better off the world will be.

In addition to these, the good Pharisee pastor needs to be able to teach against and deal with false doctrine. Too many pastors today don't even know the difference between falsehood and error. They trade God's truth for personal opinion and preference. I have even heard some wishy-washy pastors go so far as to try and convince me that God is "uninterested in musical styles so long as the message is honoring to Him." What unmitigated garbage! Of course God is interested in musical styles. We never see people worshipping God with drums, cymbals, guitars and such in the Bible. The only acceptable musical instruments are pianos and organs - and not the electric ones with all the fancy doo-dads like rhythm and instrumental tracks. Good Pharisees stand against the spirit of compromise with the world that invites their instruments into our holy churches today and thereby pollutes them with worldly ways.

Finally, a good Pharisee pastor is known by his sobriety. He must be in control of his mind, his house, his church and his life. A pastor who is not in control is unfit for the ministry. Pastors today lose control of their minds to influences of all sorts like unwholesome radio and television programs that glorify the wickedness of the world. They should only watch athletic events and news programs that promote only the higher and nobler elements of human endeavor and are untainted by the secularizing influences of the world. They should avoid magazines that promote sensuality in its basest forms. Everyone knows that gossip magazines like People are unfit for consumption but there are more subtle publications that twist the Christian mind toward secularism, tolerance of error, and even explicit nudity like National Geographic. The good Pharisee pastor would put no unclean thing before his eyes.

In conclusion I can only say that the best Pharisee pastors live a life far superior to any in their congregation and are intolerant of error in all its forms. Too many pastors are more concerned with popularity and building a big church than they are with purity and maintaining a small but godly flock of sheep. It is our job to make sure the Bride of Christ remains pure and sinless so we can present it to him a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. The blood of Christ is a good start in that direction but the application of the water of the Word and the hyssop of good preaching will keep her pure and precious before Him.

"By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:35 (NIV)

Powered by Blogger