Such a move to error is a slow process, and the path is usually camouflaged.The move to wrong views about sign gifts, the timing of the Rapture, the New Covenant, and the merging of Israel and the Church is a subtle one. Those who have a motive tend to simply pick at things. They make small adjustments in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the church, salvation, etc.; and only the careful observer will realize what is happening. Only courageous believers will be willing to point out those errors publicly, and they should be prepared for the vicious attacks they will receive for doing such a thing.
June 2, 2013
I have often said that in the creation of any local church or institution are the seeds of its own destruction. A careful look at the history of any one of these will confirm this. The wise mind will be able to see those seeds long before they come to fruition. Human organizations and documents are always flawed since only God could create, or write, a perfect one. The Bible is a perfect document for those who have a high view of scripture. The Body of Christ, the Heavenly Church, is viewed as “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”. (Eph. 5:27) No one could honestly say that about any local church or institution. When Adam sinned, he died spiritually and also began to die physically, just as God said he would. Some institutions die a slow death; others race full speed to their destruction.
The problem is that people are blinded by loyalty and thus are unable to be objective about their own church or institution. They will foolishly say that their organization is the same as it has always been, with no movement away from its foundation. Some loyalists know better, but are quick to use “turn-speak” in an attempt to hide a move to the left. Others are just plain ignorant or apathetic, and some are too fearful to ask the right questions.
A WINDOW TO DEATH
We are now into graduation season. I am astounded when I read the list of schools that some of our graduates are headed for this fall. Do parents have no idea of what an institution believes? Are they without knowledge, or don’t they care? It could be because of any one of these reasons, but why would mothers and fathers send their young minds to a place where their intellectual, spiritual, and moral being would be under attack every day? There is no doubt that many adults have no idea of what is being taught. On the other hand, it also appears that the average parent would not even know what questions to ask in order to find out the truth behind all the promotional glitz of a certain school.
In our circles, the new theologies are “headed for the cliff” at breakneck speed. So-called “Christian” schools have embraced a number of these erroneous doctrines. Many of the “winds of doctrine” are cleverly based on intellectualism; after all, the scholars must be right. This, however, is only one of the problems. To assume that a popular, well known communicator who is widely published couldn’t possibly be wrong is a disaster. The truth is that many in this category have buried followers in an allegorical theology that leaves Bible truth far behind. Young men caught in the power of pride have no way to question the viability of the false teaching that currently covers the theological landscape.
HOW ABOUT THE LEADERS?
It is heartbreaking to realize that parents do not know how to protect their children from this creeping culture of doctrinal doom. Where are the pastors on this issue? In Acts 20, it is made clear that the pastor/shepherd/elder/bishop/overseer has a responsibility to protect the sheep while “grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock”. (Acts 20:29) Do they not know the dangers that lie in wait for these young hearts and minds? Are they afraid to speak up about the spiritual, moral, and intellectual traps? Over fifty-three years of ministry, my interaction with various institutions has been quite involved. Watching schools drift, or race, away from a solid foundation is painful; but seeing that many dear friends still support and send students to those schools is absolutely heart-wrenching. These are not people we hate. They are dear friends, but why are they so blind? The answer often given is foolish philosophy. Is it just a difference of opinion or another point of view? That would certainly cover a whole lot of disobedience and ignorance.
What can be done when leaders do not know the scripture or are willing to sit idly by while others corrupt those we love? The problem here isn’t just a lack of knowledge of scripture and theology; it is a lack of interest. What I do know is that every error that is being carefully injected into churches and institutions comes from the same root problem - the fact that many, if not most, of our friends have never been taught the one biblical hermeneutic and so have missed the heart of a theology that is biblical.
IS THERE ANY WAY TO SEE IT COMING?
No leader ever suddenly steps into the pulpit or college chapel and announces that he no longer believes in the virgin birth.
Those who are leaning left always complain about the “whistle blowers” on the right; however, they never miss an opportunity to brand them as “anti-intellectual, baggy pants know-nothings from the back waters”. Despite their protests, there is something that gives them away: they hide behind culture and methods, claiming they have changed their methods, but not their message. Sorry, that just won’t fly. Parents and pastors need to be aware that hard turns to the left on cultural issues are always accompanied by questions about a shift, slow or rapid, in their theology.
THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ISSUE
Those who have a high view of scripture and who are sensitive to small steps to the left are left to wonder why others choose to wander. We have long-time friends in ministry who appear to be numb about these shifts. It puzzles us why they remain in support of institutions which are communicating theological instability. Why do they send their children there? Why do they remain on boards? The only answer is ignorance or apathy. That is not an attack on their person; it is an expression of grief for them.
Let me sound a warning: If you have read this and are beginning to wonder if your church or institution is in view, don’t write me. If you have to question whether or not any of this applies to your loyalties, you already have your answer. You should be asking these questions of those who are taking your money and your youngsters. If you don’t know what to ask, seek help from those who do. Begin with the culture smoke screen. People who hide error are good at smoke and mirrors, and please don’t ask why I do not state any names. Others will do that for you; my task is to deal with ideas.
Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min
SHEPHERD’S STAFF – May, 2013
A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.