Modern Church Is Very Divided, Warnings Regarding False Teachers And Preachers In Our Midst, False Doctrines Divide The Church, Apostasy And Modern Delusion, Reject Doctrinal Heretics, 1997 Schuller-Billy Graham Interview, The Name Of Jesus, We Are Predestinated And Chosen, The Necessity Of Verbally Confessing Name Of Jesus, Salvation Is A Conscious Act, We Must Acknowledge Christ As The Head Of The Church
Continuing our discussion from part one, sadly, as much as we would like to achieve Paul's goal of unity in the Body of Christ, it seems that as each year passes, we become even more divided regarding our understanding of God's Word. I dare say that insofar as doctrine is concerned, the modern Christian Church is probably more divided today than it has ever been before. It is nothing short of amazing -- perhaps "disappointing" is a more appropriate word here -- how many different denominations, organizations and doctrines have evolved from the teachings of just One Man and His twelve followers almost two thousand years ago. There are now so many different doctrinal positions, each with their own special labels and such, that quite frankly, I find it all extremely confusing.
At the same time, as I explain in other articles such as "Exposing the Tactics of the Enemy", I am convinced that this doctrinal division has all occurred by design. Why do I feel this way? Because since the Christian Church came into being, Satan, and his human pawns, have been bent on destroying it by any and every means possible. One of the ways he does this is by sending his emissaries -- that is, his false teachers and preachers -- into the Lord's flocks, in order to deceive, confuse, misguide and divide them. We need to remember that we all possess the potential for becoming deceived if we are not careful. We need to constantly remind ourselves of the many warnings which are found throughout the Holy Scriptures -- such as the following ones -- regarding these wolves in sheep's clothing and false brethren:
"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and HE THAT SOWETH DISCORD AMONG BRETHREN."
Proverbs 6:16-19, KJV
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:15-20, KJV
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way."
Matthew 13:24-25, KJV
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:24, KJV
"Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves."
Luke 10:3, KJV
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Acts 20:28-30, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him . . . 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 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15, KJV
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
Galatians 2:4, KJV
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
Philippians 3:2, KJV
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
2 Peter 2:1-2, KJV
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
1 John 2:18-19, KJV
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
Exactly what is the method of division which is used by these false teachers who enter amongst the flocks of the Lord? It is the deceptive doctrines which they bring with them. Yes, in some cases, they will quote from the Bible just like you and I. However, they will twist and pervert the meanings of the Scriptures in order to draw people away from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. They will also mix the Scriptures with secular humanist ideas, oriental philosophies, New Age thought, materialism, and other nonsense too shameful to even mention here.
Let me again remind you that after the Lord had spent forty days fasting in the wilderness of the Jordan River Valley, Satan also tempted Him. When he did so, that snake quoted the Word of God. He said "It is written", but then he added his own twist to the verses he was quoting. Peter clearly tells us that some day, these people will be destroyed because of their perversion of the Scriptures, as we see here:
"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
2 Peter 3:16, KJV
Just as Jesus warned His followers to beware of the leaven -- that is, the doctrine -- of the Scribes and the Pharisees of His day, we too must be extremely careful concerning the many deceptive doctrines which are being espoused by these modern false angels of light. Consider the following verses and take heed:
"Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
Matthew 16:12, KJV
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:14-15, KJV
"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
Hebrews 13:9, KJV
"As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do."
1 Timothy 1:3-4, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."
2 Timothy 2:23, KJV
"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."
Titus 3:9, KJV
So the question is this: Why does God allow such apostasy -- that is, falling away or defection from the Truth, from the Koine Greek word "apostasia" -- to occur? The Bible informs us rather clearly that the Lord purposely allows it to happen because people simply no longer want to hear the Truth. In other words, they purposely want to be deceived by the lies of Satan and his workers of darkness. These ideas are made evident for us by the following verses:
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come A FALLING AWAY FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, KJV
". . . because THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved. And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND THEM STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe a lie:"
2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, KJV
"I ALSO WILL CHOOSE THEIR DELUSIONS, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
Isaiah 66:4, KJV
"And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace."
1 Kings 22:13-27, KJV
Exactly how do the Scriptures advise us to respond to those people who, after several warnings, continue to preach their deceptive doctrines? Both Jesus and His followers clearly advise us to avoid them, and to have absolutely nothing to do with doctrinal heretics, as we can determine by the following set of verses:
"And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
Matthew 18:17, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
Romans 16:17, KJV
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:6-9, KJV
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
1 Timothy 6:3-5, KJV
"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."
Titus 3:9-11, KJV
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
2 John 1:9-11, KJV
At this point, I would like to return to the conversation I had with one of my readers a number of years ago. While the idea of evangelist Billy Graham possibly being associated with the Masons was alarming, it was really the additional information which was provided to me by this reader which prompted me to write this current series back in 1998. You see, according to my reader, on May 31, 1997, the Reverend Robert Schuller, of the "Crystal Cathedral Church" television show, interviewed Billy Graham on his -- that is, Schuller's -- worldwide television program. Following are some excerpts from the Schuller broadcast twenty-one years ago:
----- Begin Quote -----
Robert Schuller: "Tell me, what do you think of the future of Christianity?"
Billy Graham: "I think everybody who knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ . . . God's purpose is to call out a people for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, Buddhist world, the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus . . . and I think they are saved and that they are going to be in heaven with us."
----- End Of Quote -----
My reader informed me that both video and audio tapes of this broadcast were available via Schuller's church, if I had any doubts regarding what he was telling me. Well, as is my modus operandi, I did in fact research the issue, and I discovered that my friend was telling me the truth. So, for those of you who may possibly doubt that this is what Billy Graham really said in his interview with Robert Schuller, below is a video excerpt of the 1997 interview, which I acquired from YouTube. If you don't hear any audio at first, try clicking or tapping once on the video.
This browser does not support the video element.
If for some reason the above video does not play in your web browser, you can likewise watch it on YouTube at this URL:
It is evident then, that this is indeed what Mr. Graham said during that broadcast. As such, it is plain to see that there is good cause for alarm. While Reverend Graham's statements may seem innocuous at first glance, the truth is that his words carry a lot of subtle deception. In other words, while it may appear that Graham might be suggesting that the Lord has called out His children from these different religious and non-religious backgrounds, in order that they might come to know and to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, the remainder of his statement does not seem to uphold this idea.
Before analyzing Reverend Graham's statements, I do want to point out that we should not become too technical or overly legalistic in regards to the name of "Jesus". After all, that is merely our English transliteration of His Name. In Hebrew He is known as Yeshua. In Greek He is Iesous. In many other languages of the world, He is known by different names, based on how the original Hebrew name is translated into each of those particular languages. For example, as you may know, in the Spanish language, Jesus is Jesús, which is pronounced hay-soose, with a soft "s" sound in both cases. Regardless of which language is being used, all true Christians know that we are referring to the one and the same Son of God who died for the sins of the world. I also discuss this issue in the article "Jesus Christ or Yeshua Messiah?: More Christian Zionist Legalism".
Having established the previous point, in my view, Reverend Graham's idea of not consciously knowing Christ, and simply being a part of the Body of Christ because one has been called by God, is a dangerous half-truth. On the side of Truth, as I point out in several other articles, God does indeed know those people who are His. This is clearly supported by Scriptures such as the following one which is taken from the Apostle Paul's second Epistle to Timothy:
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
The first half of this verse touches on a topic which I discuss in other articles. That is the Scriptural fact that we are predestined, or foreordained, to Salvation since the foundation of the world. My personal understanding of this concept is the following. Being as the Lord is apparently not bound by the limitations of time and space as we humans are; and being as He is likewise all-knowing; He already realizes that at His appointed time, we are each going to choose Him. While this may not occur until a certain point in our lives, in the Lord's eyes it is already counted as being done, and as having already happened. As we are told in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"
Isaiah 46:9-10, KJV
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul discussed the idea of Divine Predestination in several of his Epistles. Consider the following verses which were written to the churches at Rome and Ephesus:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:28-29, KJV
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"
Ephesians 1:5, KJV
"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
Ephesians 1:11, KJV
Clearly then, Divine Predestination is indeed a Scriptural doctrine. Notice though what Paul states in the second half of that verse in his Epistle to Timothy. He says "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity". What we learn from this is that while God has indeed chosen us; and while we may not be conscious of it at first; there does indeed come a time when we must actually name the Name of Christ as our Savior.
That word "nameth" is actually a very precise translation. It is derived from the Greek word "onomazo". Pronounced on-om-ad'-zo, it means to name, to utter or to make mention of a name. In other words, it is a conscious, verbal act. I point out this very same fact in the article "To Pray or Not to Pray? That is the Question", as well as in the series "Is Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God?". Verbal confession is clearly, and very necessarily, an important part of God's plan of Salvation. We must acknowledge and receive Christ, and then we must verbally confess Him before others. Again, this is a very sound Scriptural doctrine which is supported by verses such as the following:
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world . . . And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God . . . And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"
John 1:29, 34, 36, KJV
". . . Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
Matthew 14:33, KJV
". . . Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 16:16-17, KJV
". . . Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
John 1:49, KJV
". . . Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
John 11:27, KJV
"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him."
John 9:35-38, KJV
"Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God."
Matthew 27:54, KJV
". . . I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Acts 8:37, KJV
"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."
Acts 9:20, KJV
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 1:12, KJV
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Romans 10:9-10, KJV
"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."
1 John 4:15, KJV
There should be no doubt then, that contrary to what was apparently being espoused by the Reverend Graham during that interview twenty-one years ago, our Salvation is actually a very conscious act. While we are indeed saved by the Grace of God through the precious Blood of Christ that was shed on the Cross, we must acknowledge our sinful state, confess our need for a Savior, place our faith in Christ, receive Christ, and openly and verbally accept Jesus Christ as that Savior.
Clearly then, Salvation is not some mysterious, mystical thing which happens without our even being aware of it. We are not just automatically brought into the Body of Christ without our knowledge or personal choosing. Such an idea is totally contrary to all of the verses I have just shared with you. How can one be a member of the Body of Christ if he does not even consciously acknowledge and recognize the Head of that Body of which Billy Graham erroneously claimed that person is a part? Notice what the Apostle Paul states in the following verses:
"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
Ephesians 5:23, KJV
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:18, KJV
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:15, KJV
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
1 Corinthians 11:3, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.