“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber…For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who [i]have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” ~2 Peter 2:1-2,18-19 NKJV
Some time ago I had a bit of a disagreement with some Ghanaian friends on Facebook. They, the Ghanaian People or the Legislature, were proposing a law that you must have a bachelors degree in theology in order to be a minister/priest. I took umbrage with such an argument on several accounts. First as a matter of rights ordained upon us by God and secondly, as a matter of liberty which would be eventually taken away by the government. John the Baptist had no degree in such studies and yet he drove people to repentance. We were reminded by the Apostle Paul that,
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.…” ~Romans 1:26-27 NKJV
While this verse primarily discussed the vile passions as being those of homosexuality, the looser reading would be of the vile passions of our spiritual hearts. How many fallen evangelists have had degrees?
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
“…our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant…” ~1Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV
We have been charged by God, through Jesus, to minister to the people of the world, every nation. We each are called to do so. But, unfortunately, not all heed the call. Just as we were reminded that we will always have the poor among us, we will always have false teachers and prophets among us, as well. And I say this based upon the fact that “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” For whatever their reason or desire, the evil in man’s heart will always strive to turn man from the spiritual blessings that God has to offer him in his life.
It is my opinion, that we can recognize these false teachers and prophets by the fruits of their actions and demeanor. We are suppose to be active learners and studiers of God’s Word by comparing our actions and the actions of our teachers to the Word we have. Anyone who varies the Word and changes the Word to suit his needs…is not a teacher or prophet of God. We are reminded by the Gospel of Matthew the following:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV
My greatest concern with such a situation as this, there are several situations which will create adverse problems with an enmeshing of government and religion.
- There will be a state sponsored church or religion and all others made illegal.
- If you do not meet the state requirements, you cannot be an evangelist, apologist, or pastor.
- Some European countries take your 10% tithes out when you claim a religion as part of your taxes.
- Though you meet the state mandated requirements, you are free to reassess the tenets of the religion; thereby teaching it wrongly.
The blind allegiance to a country’s governing authority over all matters within the country is very troubling to me. It is bad enough in America where all things religion and political are being reassessed all of the time and reinterpreted all of the time. Sadly, it is very hard to get the student of the Word of God to actually actively listen and discern what he or she is being taught while sitting in church. All the while thinking it was a great and appealing service. We are reminded by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans:
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” ~Romans 1:24-25 NKJV
I believe God gave us not only the ability to discern right from wrong, truth from false, love for God and His Word and a reprehensible hatred of/toward it. God, by His Grace, gave us reason and logic to formulate an understanding in every situation, as well as, the ability to discern the proper path that we should take in any given situation. While the Apostle Paul’s statement in the Book of Romans was primarily geared toward sexuality, it can and is applicable in all matters of truth. God has, throughout the history of man, given man over to the lusts of his heart when he chose not to follow God’s Word. The term “lust” could be anything that man has placed higher in his own heart and mind above that of God.
The Word of God, the Bible, is a manual for our lives and should be used everyday in order to compare what people say (including pastors, ministers, and other people of God) against what the teachings of Christ are. In so doing, we can determine, through the gift of reason and logic, if a person truly is a man or woman of God. By comparing what they teach, say, and how they act we will know their intentions, because You Will Know Them by Their Fruits.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV
We, the species of man, should not be placing our governments above our abilities to reason and logic and entrust them is such a way that they will be our moral compass in our lives to protect us from all wrong doings. I have always say, and still believe to this day – despite how crass it may be, “The government is so inept that it can run a brothel into the ground.” [A brothel being an entity which is a self contained and revenue generating business since the beginning of time.] Refer to the article: That Time the U.S. Gov’t Tried (and Failed) to Run a Brothel.
While God has placed our governing authorities in their place for specific purposes, He did not place them where they are that we should place our governing authorities in a higher priority and position to God in our lives. WE must step up our game and strive to make those determining decisions as to what is right and wrong and choose to follow God’s Word and love. These teaching, which Christ promoted and carried forth throughout His ministry, were meant to guide us and lead us to God.
I will leave you with this final word: Read and Follow God’s Word! Rely on no one and nothing else in God’s place.
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!