Where to begin with my list of offenders?
The most obvious false teachers are those who deny the divinity of Christ, since Jesus’ identity is central to the gospel message: that God became man and died for us. Jesus was crucified for exactly these claims: professing to be the eternal Son of God – not for political, mistaken, or symbolic reasons. And minimizing who Jesus is, making him a created being and putting him on par, or just a little above, the prophets, angels, or any other mortals (Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith), is a grave heresy. Yet many huge, well-regarded denominations do exactly that. It’s shocking that so many millions fall for this lie, since a single read through the gospel of John makes Jesus’ divinity abundantly clear – not to mention the rest of the New Testament. In fact, this is one of the heresies plainly called out by the NT writers : the first big lie about the Son of God.
You have to read and contort your way OUT of plain truth to accept this deception. Or not read the Scriptures at all, hewing instead to the lies you’ve been fed. It’s tragic to be so close to truth yet miss the way completely: like taking poison that merely looks like life-saving medicine. And it’s everywhere: so many, many groups and religions love to appropriate the name of Jesus, yet deny his absolute Sovereignty and eternal existence.
He’s our Creator, our Savior, and the Sustainer of the universe. Nothing less.
And using his name or admiring his teachings, without faith in his divinity, counts for nothing.
Do your due diligence. Don’t think there’s magic in the name of Jesus if it’s not backed with absolute faith in his true nature. Jesus demands all, or nothing; a half-baked faith in who he is not enough. And don’t let numbers fool you. Just because millions, even billions, believe in a half-baked version doesn’t make it true, safe, or excusable.
It only makes it deadlier.
The second group of false teachers are those who distort the nature of God, minimizing his compassion, justice, mercy, and love by presenting a God who is wrathful, arbitrary, and prone to immutable favoritism. A God who condemns us at birth, for the mere fact of being born after Adam, is not a God of love, mercy, and justice. Jesus taught us to become like little children – and not because children are condemned sinners from birth, incorrigibly steeped in depravity before they had a single cogent thought. This same God, such teachers state, has already decided who will get a heavenly pass and be forgiven, and who will live and die in utter depravity.
They say being saved has nothing to do with desire, longing, or effort to know God, yet the Scriptures are rich with examples of individuals who tried to please God (however imperfectly) and ultimately found him – or were found by him. Hebrews 11, the inspiring ‘faith chapter’, takes us through a victory walk of men and women who chose, by their own volition, to resist the pull of the world and seek a heavenly kingdom – and were graced with God’s rescue and forgiveness, as well as permanent mention in one of the most inspiring chapters in the Bible!
God has given each of us the tools to find him: mind-blowing evidence of his existence through creation; an inner compass — our conscience — that teaches right from wrong, regardless of our upbringing; his Word, the very words of life; and a universal promise to join the seeker with his soul-saving truth: Seek, and you will find; knock, and the door shall be opened; ask, and it shall be given.
Nearly everyone knows that verse. Do you believe it? Can it only be true for a few lucky beings that God chose in advance?
To worship a God who delights in creating sinful, unredeemable beings and sending them to hell – through no fault of their own, since they were already condemned at birth – is unthinkable to me. To worship a God who gives each of us free will, an inner conscience, a spiritual ache for completion, and an equal-opportunity promise of finding Him if we seek Him – this is pure joy.
Much more could be said about this prevalent pack of lies, masquerading under the pleasant acronym of TULIP… which is anything but a bright spring flower. It’s a lie that turns seekers away from wanting to know the God of the Old and New Testaments. Who wants to worship a god like that? Even a six-year-old knows that being condemned for no fault of your own, for merely being present, is Just. Plain. Wrong.
Again, do your due diligence, and measure these lies against the Scriptures and the measureless heart of Jesus. You’ll see this attempt to besmirch the nature of God goes back to Satan’s first attack in the Garden of Eden: his slander of God as a withholder of good things, a jealous, insecure god who’s threatened by our interest in the tree of knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth. And nothing pleases God more than our desire for pure truth, our desire to know him truly and intimately, in all the ways he’s made himself known.
This is the God we need to know.
In my final installment, I’ll address two more categories of false teachers. See you next time, and thanks for your comments!
Categories: Spiritual Deception
Great! Thanks, what does TULIP stand for?
It’s the acronym for the basic tenets of Calvinist teaching: Total depravity, Unconditional salvation, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.
Thanks Marylin Appreciate the in depth sharing of who Jesus is.His grace and mercy given in abundance through faith.
I always love your articles so thank you for blessing us with your perspective! I wholeheartedly agree with your critique of the the first group as the deity of Jesus is to me the most important aspect of the “good news.” I am however, less concerned with the philosophies of the Calvinists. I agree they are distasteful in many ways but it seems to me that since Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin they have been promoted to defend God’s power and sovereignty and perhaps serve as a bit of a counter-balance to the tendency to minimize Him (the potter) and maximize us (the clay). To me they don’t seem as dangerous as the first group.
Well, I’ll respectfully disagree! To me, the way they portray God’s random favoritism (and rejection) is reprehensible. Where’s the motive to share our faith or seek God if salvation is irresistible and predetermined?And i didn’t even mention the dangers of “perseverance of the saints”. Believing we can never fall away, no matter how we live or carry on, is a deadly doctrine, flying in the face of everything the book of Hebrews addresses- not to mention every other NT admonition to hold fast to our faith and flee from sin. What’s the point of these warnings if our salvation (or lostness) is determined and sealed by God? Yet millions bask in a false assurance, thanks to these doctrines.
I totally agree with all the dangers and the ugliness of TULIP, however our Arminian position has some dangers as well and regardless of theology the “wheat and the tares” are growing up together and all the “tares” have that false assurance regardless of how good their doctrine is.