Luring People To Destruction
I already know that this article will be unpopular. The idea that people can be seduced by the unscrupulous use of the Gospel message may sound heretical in and of itself. People like Benny Hinn have been credited from time to time with having preached the Gospel pretty straight and people seem to be professing faith in Christ. I have heard the argument from Phil. 1:14-18 used over and over in this regard.
Let me pose some questions that will hopefully help you focus on this issue before launching into my short thesis.
Phil. 1:14-18 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,If you see what I see in this passage, this argument cannot be used for people like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and the hundreds, even thousands of Third Wave ministers today who are not merely envious and self ambitious, but are also teaching outright false doctrine. Paul was not talking about heretics in this statement, but "brothers in the Lord" who preach the Gospel with wrong motives. Third Wave teachers not only have wrong motives, they also have the wrong message. This argument cannot be used for people like Hinn, even if they manage to preach enough of the "Gospel" for people to come to a saving knowledge of the Lord, because they are also teaching and practicing heresy.
Paul made many incredibly clear statements about those who preach a different Gospel.
Ga 1:6-8 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!When another Gospel, another Jesus, another Spirit are preached, people are led astray.
2 Cor. 11:3-4 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.If they do not hold to the true Gospel message, they have believe in vain.
1 Co 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.So what is the Gospel? Before we get into that, here are some interesting facts to add to our often truncated modern version of the Gospel message.
Php 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
Col. 1:22-23 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Tit 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
The Gospel is not only the bare bones facts about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it certainly is not just saying "Jesus" over and over again and running to the "mercy seat". The Gospel message starts in Genesis, follows the Prophets and the Apostles through the Old and New Testaments and ends in the Revelation. Any true presentation of the Gospel always includes right teaching, however simple, on the core doctrines of the Trinity, the dual God-man nature of Christ, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the Word of God which is innerant and our final authority in all matters of Christian faith and practice, and that Jesus Christ is coming again bodily to rule and judge the earth.Mr 1:1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
You may ask … how can any preacher fit all this into one message? That's my point. But it is possible. Stephen preached it and no one believed (Acts 7:2-55). Paul preached it and a few believed later (Acts 22:17-34). Peter preached it at Pentecost and many believed (Acts 2:1-41). But it can make for a long message, and people today want the "Cliff Notes" version. This is why emotional pleas for people to make a quick decision based on sketchy facts about salvation is not always a good idea. The concept of who God is, what His character is like, why He sent His Son, and what His will is for our lives is something that needs time and effort to teach fully. This is why the Apostles spent extended periods of time "preaching the Gospel" in the places God sent them.
1Th 1:5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.The preaching of the Gospel is what full time missionaries, who live on foreign mission fields amongst the people, have done for centuries. The preaching of the Gospel is what pastors are supposed to do systematically in the churches God has called them to serve. This is why making the "altar call" a regular part of every service can be, in my opinion, a disservice to the Gospel message. Better to let the Holy Spirit lead in these matters. He knows when the heart of a person has truly come to a belief in Christ. We as true believers need to be open to the leading of the Spirit in this matters, as in all other matters of faith. A person cannot be pushed emotionally into making a true decision that his mind, body and soul have yet to make.
1Th 2:9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
This is where the "altar call" in the Third Wave becomes rather transparent. The ultimate goal is clearly not salvation, but numbers and hype. "Salvation" is a means to an end. The "Gospel" is being used to get people to come forward for the false anointing! I have witnessed this with my own eyes. At some point in almost every Third Wave service the eyes and hearts of the people naturally stray from the cross and salvation (if they were ever there to begin with) and come to rest on people who have the "power" to knock people over and put them into trance states. The emphasis is taken away from Christ and the cross, and therefore the glory is given to something or someone else. Angels are not said in the Word to rejoice over signs and wonders, but over one sinner who repents (Lu. 15:10). Shouldn't the highest emphasis of an alleged Third Wave "evangelistic" meeting be on the repentant sinner set free by Jesus Christ, and not on some subjective show of healing or "slain in the spirit"?
People wiser than I have stated that the most dangerous time for a new Christian is the moment when they profess belief in Christ. The enemy often uses that moment to bring the new professing Christian into bondage to another Jesus, another Spirit. He will try to tempt the new "convert" to sin with the world and the flesh. He will accuse. He will try to convince the person that they are no different than they were before. He will try to lead them immediately astray with false doctrine and practice.
I believe that this is EXACTLY what we are seeing in the Third Wave out of Toronto, Brownsville, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, on TBN, and in a multitude of other events and churches. This has been demonstrated repeatedly for years.
We do not know the hearts of the people who listen to those like Benny Hinn. But as far as I can discern from the Scripture, there are only three possibilities in the professing "converts" Hinn claims:
(1) Those who never come to belief in Christ.Since the true Gospel is never preached because of the false doctrine present in the meetings, there is never a chance for true and lasting faith in the biblical historic Jesus Christ.
(2) Those who believe for a moment then fall away into false doctrine.
(3) Those who believe but are choked out by the things of the world and the flesh.
The numbers quoted at Brownsville can then be understood to be completely fictitious. Why? Because you cannot have true salvation without true doctrine. The fruit of a false teacher is false teaching. The fruit of a false prophet is false prophesy. There can be no true fruit from a false teacher or prophet. It is ALL bad fruit and will be thrown into the fire.
If there is another argument I am missing here about how people can possibly be saved in Third Wave meetings where unbiblical and heretical doctrines and practices are present, then I would like to hear it.
If you agree with that I am saying then it is time to stop supporting Third Wave leaders by stating that people can be saved in Third Wave meetings. Get the word out and warn people to stay far away from them!