Copyright 1994 - 2019 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
January 7, 2000
Last Updated :
September 25, 2019
Cult Of The Glorified Preacher, Vain Scribes And Pharisees, Divisions Caused By Man Worship, Modern Idol Worship, Our Jealous God, Apostle John, Dangers Of False Doctrines, False Prophets And Teachers On Social Networks, Strange Doctrines And False Prophets In The Early Church, Fruit Of The False Gospel And The True Gospel, The True Gospel Is Offensive And Divisive, The Rising Tide Of Persecution In Western Nations
Continuing our discussion from part two, this problem with preacher worship is nothing new. It causes problems today, just as it caused problems almost two thousand years ago. While I suppose it is okay to admire a preacher who has been instrumental in your personal spiritual growth, and who has perhaps served as a mentor to you, some people take it too far, to the point of it becoming actual man worship or woman worship. Even worse is when Christian bands, church founders, preachers and cult leaders encourage or even demand this kind of special attention from their followers. Over the years, I have witnessed this dangerous behavior occurring with quite a number of individuals; some of whom I discuss in a few other articles. As I note in "The Gospel of Thomas: Introspection or Heaven-Spection?", the Scribes and the Pharisees were most certainly guilty of doing this, and Jesus did not hesitate to expose their vanity. Consider the following group of verses:
"BUT ALL THEIR WORKS THEY DO FOR TO BE SEEN OF MEN: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted . . . Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
Matthew 23:5-12, 27-28, KJV
"And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation."
Mark 12:38-40, KJV
"Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets."
Luke 11:43, KJV
"Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation."
Luke 20:46-47, KJV
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
John 12:42-43, KJV
The Apostle Paul likewise dealt with this issue of preacher worship, or man worship, on at least one occasion when he wrote to the brethren at the Church of Corinth. The Apostle Jude also mentions a similar problem in his Epistle as well. Consider the following verses and be warned:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, KJV
"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase . . . Therefore let no man glory in men . . ."
1 Corinthians 3:3-7, 21, KJV
"And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
1 Corinthians 4:6-7, KJV
"These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, HAVING MEN'S PERSONS IN ADMIRATION BECAUSE OF ADVANTAGE."
Jude 1:16, KJV
As I said, today is no different. So many Christians flock around certain preachers, or certain Christian bands, or the teachings of certain church leaders, or certain cult leaders, as if they are gods. My friends, this is modern idol worship. But beware because our God is a very jealous God, and He will not endure such foolishness forever. Now, while some of the following verses are referring to physical idols, the spirit and intent of these verses can just as easily apply to the worship of real people as well:
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"
Exodus 20:5, KJV
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:"
Exodus 34:14, KJV
"For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."
Deuteronomy 4:24, KJV
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,"
Deuteronomy 5:9, KJV
"(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth."
Deuteronomy 6:15, KJV
You may also recall that in the Book of Revelation, when John made an attempt to bow down and worship the Angelic Messenger who spoke with him, he was prevented from doing so, as we see by the following set of verses:
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Revelation 19:10, KJV
"And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
Revelation 22:8-9, KJV
Worship God. Can it be any simpler than that?
Aside from self-glorification and man worship, yet another danger which exists with some long-winded preachers is that because of their pride, or their rebellion against Biblical truth, they can become vehicles or conduits for teaching erroneous and false doctrines. In other words, instead of listening to the Voice of the Spirit, and gaining a proper understanding of the Scriptures by the same, they instead rely upon their own knowledge and human wisdom. As a result, they end up with some really strange and twisted doctrines. This reliance upon human wisdom is contrary to what the Apostle Paul wrote in the following verses:
"And my speech and my preaching was NOT WITH ENTICING WORDS OF MAN'S WISDOM, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should NOT STAND IN THE WISDOM OF MEN, but in the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, KJV
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
Please note that this problem with false doctrines is not just something that happens within cults. There are certain churches and denominations which likewise embrace doctrines which are contrary to the Scriptures. Some Christians also view them as cults as well, because the members of those churches blindly follow their leader without question, or else they adhere to the doctrines of their denomination's founder, as if that person's teachings are the very word of God. If you are observant, then you probably already know who some of them are. I mention a few of them in a number of my other articles as well.
If you are a frequent user of the Internet, and particularly of the social networks, then you will no doubt know exactly what I am referring to, because for years now, these sites have been flooded with all kinds of wannabe, self-proclaimed "prophets" and "Bible teachers" who spew forth all manner of ridiculous nonsense. In fact, earlier today I came across a post on Facebook where this man had posted an image, taken in Arizona, I believe, which showed the legs and clawed feet of an unknown animal. The appendages were kind of red in color, and seemed to be covered in mange.
Well, believe it or not, but this fellow was apparently so deceived -- and apparently deeply involved with conspiracy theories -- that somehow he was trying to make a connection between the image he had posted, and the beast which is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. I mean, it was totally off-the-wall, folks. It was utter nonsense. I come across this kind of stuff all the time, and it just really makes me shake my head. Such people have no business preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to stick their heads in the Bible for a number of years, and learn the truth before they try to be teachers of God's Word. They also need to ask the Lord for some Wisdom and Spiritual Discernment, so that they aren't so easily deceived by all of this online crap.
At any rate, I have harped about these self-promoting online deceivers for many years now. The tragedy is that not only do they make the rest of us Christians look silly, but they also discredit the Cause of Christ as well. Nonbelievers see all of the nonsense that is posted by our misguided brethren, and they wonder why in the world they would even want to embrace our faith. They already believe that we belong in the loony bin. So just seeing all of this nonsense makes the situation even worse, insofar as us reaching them with the true Gospel. Deception truly runs deep. I am reminded of the following verse that was written by the Apostle Paul in his second Epistle to Timothy:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
Sadly, just as occurs with man worship, this problem with false prophets and strange doctrines has also existed since the Christian Church was first established during the First Century. In studying the New Testament, we find quite a few verses which demonstrate that Jesus and the Apostles found it necessary to admonish their flocks against embracing the strange doctrines which prevailed even at that time, and the false prophets who claimed to have an anointing from God. Consider the following group of verses:
"Then understood they how that he [Jesus] 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;"
1 Timothy 4:1, 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; And THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, and shall be turned unto fables."
2 Timothy 4:3-4, 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
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many . . . 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 24:11, 24, KJV
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect."
Mark 13:22, KJV
"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 11:13-15, 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."
2 Peter 2:1, 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
As we have now seen, the fruit of the false gospel that is preached and embraced in so many churches today is spiritual lethargy, deception, compromise with the world, and sleep. Should I even add death to that list? Because of this false gospel, we have churches that look more like night clubs than holy places of worship. We willingly accept gay and lesbian bishops, pastors and priests. We give blessings to same-sex couples. We freely throw our money at fast-talking preachers. We give a pass to adultery. We dress as if we are not in the presence of a holy God. And so much more.
In contrast, the fruit of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is lives changed, as well as souls saved. Furthermore, unlike the socially-acceptable, politically-correct, false gospel which the majority of people like because it makes them very comfortable, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive to this increasingly rebellious and sinful world. It tells them that they are not okay, that they are sinners, and that they are in eternal danger unless they repent. It makes them very uncomfortable. The true Gospel stirs up people one way or the other, and it forces them to make a decision. They either embrace the Gospel of Christ, or else they get angry, resist it, and fight against it. As Jesus said in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke:
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Matthew 12:30, KJV
"He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth."
Luke 11:23, KJV
The Apostle Paul said something similar in his two Epistles to the Christian brethren at Corinth. Consider the following set of verses:
"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."
1 Corinthians 10:21, KJV
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? . . . Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:14, 17-18, KJV
So again, the true Gospel forces people to make a choice. It does not allow them to remain on neutral ground. Contrary to the false gospel which has been embraced by so many people in organized religion, the real Gospel is divisive. Furthermore, as many of us have already observed, it is quickly becoming even more offensive, as well as more divisive, just as we Christians are likewise becoming more offensive, and more divisive, to the world, as each year passes, and as humanity strays further and further away from the manner of living which is ordained in the Scriptures. If you happen to be an awake Christian, it is not difficult to see this. It is as if God is separating the wheat from the tares more and more. He is forcing everyone to choose their side. What side are YOU on?
My dear friends, let's face it. We are in fact headed in very opposite directions. So how can a serious clash not occur at some point? As I point out in articles such as "He Who Fights and Runs Away: Choose Your Battles Wisely" and also in "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution", if we stand up for the Gospel, eventually, we will be subjected to persecution in one form or another. In fact, I think it is safe to say that while persecution against Christians in Muslim nations has been around for quite some time now, we are now seeing low levels of persecution against Christian people in Western Christianized countries as well. Two of the catalysts behind this rising tide of persecution are our Bible-based stands against same-sex "marriage" and abortion. Exactly how bad it will get in the foreseeable future remains to be seen. I am not about to make any predictions.
If you seriously doubt the divisive and offensive nature of the true Word of God, then may I suggest that you undertake a careful study of the audience reaction to the sermons which were given by Jesus and His early followers, before worldly compromise took its toll on the churches. As you will quickly discover, while many of the common people gladly received the Gospel, the organized religion of the day -- that is, the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees -- and the government of the day -- the various Herods -- did not. They were offended, and they did strike back. These truths are made quite evident by verses such as the following:
"And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
Matthew 11:6, KJV
"And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."
Matthew 13:57, KJV
"Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?"
Matthew 15:12, KJV
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."
Mark 6:3, KJV
"And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
Luke 7:23, KJV
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? . . . From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
John 6:60-61, 66, KJV
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
"When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them."
Acts 5:33, KJV
"When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth."
Acts 7:54, KJV
"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"
Galatians 4:16, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
Matthew 10:34-39, KJV
"Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
Mark 13:12-13, KJV
"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."
Luke 12:51-53, KJV
Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .