June 23, 2004

Accountability in the Church

Is there to be accountability in the Body of Christ? Does the doctrine of Christ according to the truth in the Word of God need to be defended? Well, the Apostle Paul said that it did.

If we, as Christians do not stand up, voice our concerns, and allow the light of the gospel of Christ to shine in the darkness, what will become of the world we live in? The darkness will get darker, and the light of God's truth will be quenched further. We must allow the light of truth to be spread on deceptive and false teachings, or we can all count on one thing, all will be affected by these deceptions in one way or another. In the end, we will be lucky if the current spiritual deceptions that are being taught do not spread in a most uncontrollable way.

Having wanted so badly to be able to approach the subject of accountability concerning the Church of Jesus Christ, I now sit at my computer, struggling for words that would best convey to you my deep feelings on this subject. What am I thinking right now? I am thinking of the changes that I have witnessed in the body of Christ in the past few years. And yes, accountability by those in authority in the church is one of those changes.

What are they teaching? What do they base their beliefs on, in whom do they place their trust anymore?

At one time, there were numerous pastors that would instill in their congregation the fact that the bible is the final authority, but the number of pastors and teachers doing this have been dwindling. Now, it is easy to notice that the verse, "Let God be true and every man a liar", is not mentioned much anymore.

It seems to me that million-dollar ministries, fancy talking preachers or evangelists, and the latest "who's who" of the Christian top 100 is utmost in many Christian's minds. Don't get me wrong, I love nothing better than listening to a good sermon that is rooted in the Word of God alone. But really, I must say that times are changing. Also, I am thinking about the fact that there are many times when one can hear questionable and unbiblical doctrine and would dare to voice an opinion, yet what happens when we do? We are met most times with opposition usually in this manner:

"Do not judge, lest ye be judged". I agree with the Word of God, we are not to judge, but the word is the word! We cannot turn ourselves around, ignore, or bury our heads in the sand any longer. The reason why is simple! It is not biblical.

What are we told from the bible concerning false doctrine? I can go ahead now and tell you of instances in which the Apostle Paul instructed us as Christians to use discernment when faced with ANY doctrine.

First, let us pick apart this issue and start at Galatians 1: Verse 6-12 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Now, we see that there are those who definitely have, would and do pervert the Gospel of Christ as Paul told the Church at Galatia.

But what do we do knowing that there are those that ARE indeed perverting the gospel?

We are to count such as would pervert or change the Gospel as if they were cursed! That is what Paul said. Now, we all know that there are true prophets of God and there are many false prophets.

There are so many false prophets today that it is frightening. It seems that some even view prophets of God as having the final say, that words of prophets are never to be questioned, even when that prophet would dare to prophesy something that is contrary to the Word of God. So what are we to do? Just take the Prophet's Word over and above what our Bible tells us?

No, a thousand times no. I know you're with me on this brothers and sisters in Christ. We must speak out before this foolishness totally engulfs every facet of Christianity.

These days it seems that EVERYONE has a "word" from the Lord. Many prophets speak more often than we have recorded prophesies in the Word of God! Do you agree with this?

What was it that Jesus said about False Prophets?

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

I would like to accentuate the word "fruit" in the above scripture. We shall know them by their "fruit" Jesus said. Why would Jesus see the need to tell the disciples, the disciples then relay it to us, if we are not to know these things?
And here again, we have Jesus telling us of what it will be like for us in the last days when he warns once again of the false prophets: Mark 13:21-23

21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

Here Jesus tells us that false prophets and false christs will rise and will show signs and wonders.

Why? To seduce you, that's why. They seek to lead you away from the truth.

Jesus says that if it were possible, even the elect would be seduced! That is something to give a second thought to friends.

The fact is, that Jesus as well as Paul, as well as Timothy, Jude and many others felt the need to let us know that there would be false shepherds, false prophets, false teachers.

Here is a scripture in which Peter is warning us about dealing with the false teachers:

2 Peter 2:1-2

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Example? The Doctrine of Inclusion, preached and touted now by Carlton Pearson These are but a few warnings in the bible that deal with false teachers and false prophets, etc. I could go on and on. And also, I have given you portions only out of the New Testament.

So what do we do about the accountability issue?

People will do as they please. We are each born with free will and we can live our lives in any way we choose. But teachers of the Gospel are given a very unique gift and a special responsibility.

This gift and responsibility does however come with a price. Those that are put in charge of preaching the Gospel are going to give an account to God himself for what they have taught. We who are not teachers or those that are in a position of leadership in the church also have responsibility to those in leadership.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Question about those who have the rule over us:

Are their hearts and their spirits crying out to God on their flock's behalf and are they watching over our souls? I know that there are many shepherds that do care for their flock (their congregation), but there are many more I believe that are not doing so.

It is sad and it is a shame.

1 Peter 5:1-4

1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

We cannot get around it, the plain truth is that many of the Christian leaders today are not feeding the flock, but are rather being fed by the flock, monetarily that is. Now, please, before I go any further, let me say that it does take money to get the gospel out. I just don't understand when I see multi-million dollar mansions owned by preachers and a very luxurious car or two, (or three perhaps) parked in the driveway. Doesn't make sense to me and actually, it hurts me.

There are now conferences that pastors, evangelists, even church secretaries can attend for a registration fee, and they can learn how to help their ministry make more off of tithes, offerings, etc. How do I know this? Charisma Magazine. I recently picked up a copy of Charisma magazine, was thumbing through it and found the two page advertisement for the conference to which I am referring to.

They (the leaders of the church of Jesus Christ) are to be ensamples, or examples to the flock. I for one have decided that when I witness unbiblical teaching that is being touted as truth when in reality it is against what the Word tells us, I will speak up. I will write about it. I will let all Christian brothers and sisters of mine know about the deception that is rampant, and then they can decide who they will believe.

Who will hold them accountable?
God will.
But until then, I personally am using discernment that God alone can give.

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