Precious Remedies (45)

Brooks now turns to the characteristics of false teachers who are the source of much evil, temptation, backsliding and the damnation of themselves and sinners who listen to them.

 SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS

Satan labours powerfully by false teachers, which are his emissaries, to deceive, delude, and forever undo the precious souls of men (Jer. 23:13) ‘I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.’ Micah 3:5: ‘The prophets make my people to err.’ They seduce them, and carry them out of the right way into by-paths and blind thickets of error, blasphemy, and wickedness, where they are lost forever. ‘Beware of false prophets, for they come to you in sheep’s clothing—but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ (Matt. 7:15). These lick and suck the blood of souls (Phil. 3:2), ‘Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers.’ These kiss and kill; these cry, Peace, peace, until souls fall into everlasting flames! (Prov. 7). (Acts. 20:28-30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:4-6; Titus 1:11, 22; 2 Peter 2:18,19.)

Now the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan is, to expose them so, being known, poor souls may shun them, and fly from them as from hell itself.

Now you may know them by these characters following:

[1.] False teachers are men-pleasers.

Such are not true teachers; Gal. 1:10, 1 Thess. 2:1-4. They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart (Is. 30:10): ‘Who say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things: speak to us smooth things; prophesy deceits.’ Jer. 5:30, 31: “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31. False teachers handle holy things rather with wit and trifling, rather than with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-murderers. Flattering words do all the mischief, they are sweet soul-poisoners. “This is my warning to my people,” says the Lord Almighty. ‘Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord! They keep saying to these rebels who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own evil desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!'” (Jer. 23:16, 17). Among these are those who promise health and wealth and preach free will and a universal love of God-JK

[2.] False teachers are notable for reproach upon Christ’s most faithful ambassadors.

Thus Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron that they took too much upon them, seeing all the congregation was holy (Num. 16:3). You take too much state, too much power, too much honour, too much holiness upon you; for what are you more than others, that you take so much upon you? And so Ahab’s false prophets fell foul on good Micaiah, paying of him with blows for lack of better reasons (1 Kings 22:10-26). Yes, Paul, that great apostle of the Gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers: ‘For his letters,’ say they, ‘are weighty and
powerful—but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible’ (2 Cor. 10:10). They rather condemn him than admire him; they look upon him as a dunce rather than a doctor. Christ and his servants have filth and scorn thrown upon them of whom the world is not worthy!

[3.] False teachers invent devices and visions of their own heads and hearts.

Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer are cases in point as regards descent into hell etc-JK. Jer. 14:14: “Then the Lord said unto me—These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts.” “This is my warning to my people,” says the Lord Almighty. “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord!” Jeremiah 23:16. Harold Camping’s false prophecy was another recent case in the USA. Matt. 24:4,5; Titus 1:10; Rom. 16:18

[4.] False teachers major on minors and legalism.

1 Tim. 1:5-7: ‘Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith sincere; from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, and understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm.’ Matt. 23:23: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for you pay tithe of mint, and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.’ False teachers are nice in the lesser things of the law, and as negligent in the greater. 1 Tim. 6:3-5: ‘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 strife of words, whereof comes 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 yourself.’ Such teachers are hypocrites. (Rom. 2:22). The earth groans to bear them, and hell is fitted for them (Matt. 24:32). Luther complained of such in his time as would strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. This age is full of such teachers, such monsters! The high priest’s spirit (Matt. 23:24) lives and thrives in these days.

[5.] False teachers cover and colour their dangerous principles and soul deceptions with very fair speeches and plausible pretences, with high notions and golden expressions.

Many in these days are bewitched and deceived by the magnificent words, lofty strains, and stately terms of deceivers. As strumpets paint their faces, and deck and perfume their beds, the better to allure and deceive simple souls; so false teachers will put a great deal of paint and garnish upon their most dangerous principles and blasphemies, that they may the better deceive and delude poor ignorant souls. They know sugared poison goes down sweetly; they wrap up their pernicious, soul-killing pills in gold! (Gal. 6:12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rom. 16:17, 18; Matt. 16:6,11,12; 7:15.)

[6.] False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions, than to better them in their lives.

Matt. 23:15: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves!’ They busy themselves most about men’s heads. Their work is not to better men’s hearts, and mend their lives; and in this they are very much like their father the devil, who will spare no pains to gain proselytes.

[7.] False teachers make merchandise of their followers.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:13. They eye your goods more than your good; and mind more the serving of themselves, than the saving of your souls. So they may have your substance, they care not though Satan has your souls (Rev. 18:11-13). That they may the better pick your purse, they will hold forth such principles as are very indulgent to the flesh. False teachers are the great worshippers of the golden calf. “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.” (Jer. 6:13). Crates threw his money into the sea, resolving to drown it, lest it should drown him. But false teachers care not who they drown—so they may have their money.

Now, by these characters you may know them, and so shun them, and deliver your souls out of their dangerous snares.

Well said back in the 1600s and applies for all of NT age-JK

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False Prophets

Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.” II Chronicles 18:22. The world is replete with false prophets today, none more-so than the one visiting the Republic of Ireland this weekend. This fits with the doctrines of demons Paul outlines in I Timothy 1-3 which very relevantly includes imposed celibacy-the main cause of the Roman church’s ubiquitous and longstanding and continuing scandal.

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Peter, the Papacy, and the Keys of the Kingdom

New LRF Blog Post

Rev. Martyn McGeown


Peter, the Papacy, and the Keys of the Kingdom

Posted: 18 Aug 2018 04:40 AM PDT

On the occasion of the visit of pope Francis to Ireland, it is time to re-examine papal claims. The pope claims that he alone is the true successor of Peter, prince of the apostles, and the head of the church, gifted with supreme authority to define, with the gift of infallibility, matters of faith and morals.

Did Jesus not say to Peter: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18)? He did, but He did not mean, “You are Peter and upon YOU I will build my church.” He meant, “You are Peter (a little stone) and upon this rock (your confession that I am the Christ) I will build my church.” Peter is too weak a foundation on which to build the church. Peter himself writes later about Jesus Christ that he is “chief cornerstone” and that “he that believeth on him (Jesus) shall not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6).

Moreover, there is no evidence in the New Testament that Peter is the prince of the apostles. Although he is usually named first in the list, he is not accorded special titles or privileges: in Galatians 2:9 he is named with James and John as one of those who “seemed to be pillars” in Jerusalem; in 1 Peter 5:1 he calls himself “also an elder” and warns against being “lords over God’s heritage” (v. 3); he did not even preside at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15; and he is not even mentioned in Paul’s epistle to the Romans despite the papal claim that he was the bishop of Rome! Moreover, Paul  boldly “withstood [Peter] to his face” for the sake of the integrity of the gospel in Galatians 2:11.

But what about the keys of the kingdom—did Jesus not give them to Peter in Matthew 16:19? He did, and he repeats it in Matthew 18:18, where he gives the keys of the kingdom to the other disciples, and to the whole church. But those keys do not give Peter—or the pope, or any bishop or priest—the power to forgive sins, or to admit people to or exclude people from heaven. Jesus retains those keys in Revelation 1:18 and 3:7. The keys of the kingdom are declarative, that is, when the gospel is preached (by Peter or by another faithful preacher), God declares that believers in Christ are forgiven and saved (the kingdom is opened to believers) and God declares that unbelievers are not forgiven, but condemned (the kingdom is closed against unbelievers).

Besides this, the idea that Pope Francis is the successor of Peter is indefensible, biblically, theologically, and historically.

Read through the book of the Acts of the Apostles and you will see Peter and the other apostles using the keys—by preaching the Word of God. Nowhere does Peter determine for himself who is saved and who is lost. Nowhere does Peter himself forgive sins. The keys of the kingdom are used, therefore, not where popes sit, but where the Bible is open, explained, and applied by a man sent by Jesus Christ through the church institute. Sadly, the keys of the kingdom are rusty in many churches: there is little to no preaching, but a few minutes of cute stories and moral platitudes. Are you hearing the gospel in the church where you attend? We invite you to hear the gospel in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary?

Classic Roman Catholic portrayal.

Letter Published in Limerick Post on 23 June 2018

The occasion of Limerick’s Novena prompts me to point out three myths about Mary. First, Mary is not “full of grace,” at least not in the sense that she is a fountain of grace for others. Only Jesus is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Instead, Mary was highly favoured because, first, she was chosen to bear the Saviour; and second, she is the recipient of God’s salvation: “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47). If Mary had a Savior, she had sin, both original and actual sin, from which she needed to be saved.

Second, Mary is not the “Mother of God.” More accurately, she was the mother of Jesus, who is the divine Son; she was theotokos (literally, God-bearer), says the Creed of Chalcedon (451 AD), “according to the manhood.” The same creed declares Jesus as “begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead.” The aim of the creed is not to exalt Mary, but to stress the deity of Jesus.

Third, Mary is not able to obtain blessings for poor sinners with Jesus or with the Father: Jesus is the Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Advocate (1 John 2:1), not Mary. The Bible commands us to “come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace” from Jesus (Heb. 4:16). Jesus, not Mary, died on the cross for sinners; and Jesus, not Mary, intercedes for those sinners. How dreadful to bypass Jesus Christ in order to seek mercy with Mary!

None of this is a slight on Mary, for she does not need, require, or want veneration. Instead, she says to us, “Whatsoever he [Jesus] saith unto you, do it” (John 2:5).

Martyn McGeown

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

 

Messianic cults and “christian” uprisings.

Barnabas Fund posted this-thought it worth sharing!

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Painting of the lifting of the sige of Yuhuatai, by Wu Youru
Be not deceived: the real threat of cultic “messianic” movements in China

9/11 demonstrated the reality that religion can play a part in violence. Europe had known and experienced religious wars, from the bitterness of the seventeenth century English Civil War to the Thirty Years War in Europe, which left a quarter of the population dead. Religious war ceased with the Treaty of Westphalia signed in 1648, only to re-emerge in the twenty-first century.

Governments, rightly, have now to deal with this reality and pass laws to suppress religious ideas that propagate violence. The focus of Christian millenarianism has moved from Europe to China, as individuals believing themselves to be the Messiah rise up within cultic movements and oppose society. This is not a new phenomenon in China. Between 1850 and 1864, a period when Europe was without religious wars, China suffered the Taiping rebellion, one of the worst religious conflicts in history. Hong Xiuquan and his friend Feng Yunshan began the uprising with their idea to see China become Christian and establish a new moral order.

General Gordon (1833-1885), a committed Christian, was sent by the British government to assist the Qing Empire during the Taiping rebellion

Hong planned to overthrow the Qing government, which was persecuting Christians. As the rebellion unfolded, Western interests became involved, principally the US, Britain and France, and committed Christians took both sides. General Gordon, a devout Christian, became known at that time as “Chinese Gordon” because he was sent by Britain to assist the Qing Empire and later famed for his ill-fated defence of Khartoum. On the other side, A F Lindley, also a committed Christian, fought purely for religious reasons, disdaining the payment which other Westerners wanted. Lindley fought because the Taiping rebels were Christians and he considered their cause to be just.As time went on, both sides committed grave atrocities resulting in 20 million dead or – according to some estimates – 70 or even 100 million. British diplomats based in China described the situation in this way: “Their ultimate success and power of consolidating themselves are doubtful … They have done nothing to ameliorate the condition of the people, but on the contrary wherever they have been successful, they have been a curse and terror to the unfortunate, whose substance they have pillaged, whose gods they have insulted and destroyed, and whose houses they have burnt.” – Medhurst and Bowring, 1854.

 Hong Xiuquan (1814-1864), leader of the Taiping rebellion, who claimed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, called to set up a “Messianic Kingdom” by the sword

Hong considered himself as the Son of God and younger brother of Jesus Christ, called to set up “Jesus’ Messianic Kingdom” on earth in China by means of warfare. This was a far cry from the example and teachings of Jesus who told his followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44).  Nowhere in the New Testament is it permitted that Christians wage war against their rulers, however oppressive the rulers may be. Rather, Romans 12 tells us to pray for those in authority, and to endure persecution if need be. Christians must be loyal citizens of their country, whilst at the same time praying and working for justice, peace and righteousness.

Today, such “messianic” leaders continue to arise in China. In 1991, the Eastern Lightning movement developed, with up to a million members, believing that Christ had returned as a Chinese woman to set up “His Kingdom”. Some 14 other similar sects have now been banned, rightly, by the Chinese government, because they are subversive and potentially violent. Before we are too harsh in our criticism of the Chinese government, we need to remember that Western governments such as Britain, France and the US have also passed laws against sects which they believed to be a threat to their societies.

Whilst the Chinese government may not fully understand the underground Church is made up of devout Christians who respect their government and country, sadly there are always those who would foment violence. Equally, the Chinese government would be aware that in our day there are Christians who are too ready to take up arms, and those who want to use violence to gain freedom for Christian minorities who are suffering violence, whether it be Myanmar, Iraq or Sudan. The mercenary militias that take the name of Christ now utilise violence on behalf of national Christians. This is abhorrent. Western military interference on behalf of Christians will only make life more difficult for them and make governments distrust them and perhaps suppress them. The spectre of sects and cults taking on a religious and messianic character is growing. Jesus warns us that in the last days many will come in His Name “claiming ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).

We live in a dangerous time, when religious movements can all too easily take up weapons and where religious liberty can be espoused by governments for their own ends. Christians therefore need to be exceedingly cautious in allying religious freedom to any particular government, particularly when such governments are making war against other nations and using “religious liberty” as a pretext for regime change. The West must beware of these ramifications and Christians in the West must temper just concern with understanding for governments, such as China, that seek to maintain national stability and harmony.

God’s will that his people enjoy assurance.

“The Roman Catholic Church of Luther’s day and the Roman Catholic Church of today not only deny the possibility of the assurance of salvation, but deny that assurance is the will of God for his people. That is the stranglehold that the Roman Catholic Church has on its members…Luther understood from scripture that it is the will of God not only to save his people, but also to give those whom it is his will to save the assurance of their salvation..in this life here and now. He contended that this is the normal experience of the Christian.” (See I John 5:11-13)

From “Here we stand”  Editor Ronald Cammenga

Why men are given over to idols (a god of their own making).

Great insights from the Reformed theologian Herman Hoeksema:  “Unregenerate man is not really sorry for his sin. On the contrary, he has his delight in iniquity. If only there were no evil consequences connected with the service of sin, if only he could sin with impunity, he would not worry about sin at all. But he is afraid of the results. He dreads the punishment of sin. He would like to escape death and hell. He likes to feel safe and secure in the service of sin… Man loves sin, but he dreads hell. And so he makes an attempt to escape the one while continuing in the other… However, there is only one conceivable way in which this attempt to sin with impunity could possibly be successful; or rather that one imaginary way is really quite inconceivable: God must be changed! And the sinful heart and mind do indeed make the bold attempt to change the living God. It is thus that the sinner tries to entrench and fortify himself in his sin! He makes a god of his own imagination after his own sinful heart, before whose face he can sin and feel safe. He invents his own god, an idol that is wholly like himself. He deprives God of his sterner attributes of righteousness and justice, and speaks of a god of mercy and love that will wink at sin and make the ungodly the object of his blessing. And thus he tries to quiet the voice of his own conscience, and partly succeeds to create for himself a sense of safety in the way of sin, until he meets the living God in the day of the revelation of his righteous judgment, and discovers that he believed a lie, that he followed after a delusion, and that the eternal God cannot be mocked” (Triple Knowledge, pp. 199-200).