Deadly Doctrines: Facing Evil Like Snakes and Doves

~ Challies

ince its earliest days, the church has been plagued by false teachers and deadly doctrine. Never has there been a period of rest, a time when Christians could relax their guard. Satan has opposed the church since the day of its founding, and he will continue to oppose her until the day of his destruction.

Naturally, then, Paul was seriously concerned about false teachers and deadly doctrine, warning of them in almost every one of his letters. As he comes to the end of his letter to the Romans, he reminds the church to be on guard, since false teachers are skilled at using flattery and smooth words to deceive even believers. Paul loves this church and wants them to be aware of the challenges they will face from predatory teachers. But his solution may strike us as surprising. He tells these Christians “to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19b).

Read more: http://www.challies.com/articles/deadly-doctrines-facing-evil-likes-snakes-and-doves

Why I Won’t Be Seeing (or Reviewing) The Shack Movie

The day The Shack sold its hundred thousandth copy, it became likely there would be a movie adaption. The day it sold its millionth, it became practically guaranteed. And, sure enough, it comes to theaters March 3, starring Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, and Tim McGraw.

For some time, I have been considering whether I should see and review it. I am quite sure that watching and reviewing The Shack would prove to be a wise business decision. I could get to an early screening, write up a review, and see a nice bump in my site’s traffic. Pageviews are the currency of the Internet and as a blogger I am supposed to base my decisions on what will maximize them. Even better, watching and reviewing The Shack could be genuinely helpful to others. That is especially true if the movie proves to be as deeply flawed as the book. A review might serve to equip people to watch it with discernment or even to avoid watching it altogether.

However, I am far more sure that watching and reviewing The Shack would be an unwise and even sinful spiritual decision. For that reason I will not be seeing or reviewing The Shack. Let me explain why.

The Shack in Brief

Continue: http://www.challies.com/articles/why-i-wont-be-seeing-or-reviewing-the-shack

Practicing the Power

Matt Chandler says he has been waiting for this book for fifteen years. Mike Bickle assures the potential reader it “combines sound theology with inspiring personal examples.” Jack Deere describes it as “an immensely practical” work while Gregg Allison believes it is just what his church needs to experience a deeper outpouring of God’s grace. The book is Sam Storms’s Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit In Your Life.

Over the past couple of decades, the church has witnessed a great resurgence of Reformed theology. While many of these believers and their local churches hold to a cessationist view (that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased) there is a growing minority who hold to a continuationist or charismatic view (that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available and operative). Yet even while the ranks of the continuationists swell, few churches have adapted their worship accordingly. There are only a small number of Reformed churches structured in such a way that they pursue and exercise these miraculous gifts. Sam Storms means to remedy that.

Read more at: http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/practicing-the-power

Deadly Doctrines: The Pattern and Protection

We have learned that the church of every age is plagued by false teachers and their deadly doctrine. We have met seven of those false teachers and seen the devastation they bring. We have identified five tests we can apply to any doctrine to determine whether it is false or true. But this leaves us with some important questions: How does a church come to reject sound doctrine? How do we guard ourselves against false teachers and their deadly doctrines? How do we protect ourselves, our families, and our churches from their seductive lies? Thankfully, God has given us clear guidance in his Word, showing us how churches descend into deadly doctrine and how we may protect ourselves against it.

The Pattern of Deadly Doctrine

Read more: http://www.challies.com/articles/deadly-doctrine-the-pattern-and-protection

Deadly Doctrines: The Pattern and Protection

We have learned that the church of every age is plagued by false teachers and their deadly doctrine. We have met seven of those false teachers and seen the devastation they bring. We have identified five tests we can apply to any doctrine to determine whether it is false or true. But this leaves us with some important questions: How does a church come to reject sound doctrine? How do we guard ourselves against false teachers and their deadly doctrines? How do we protect ourselves, our families, and our churches from their seductive lies? Thankfully, God has given us clear guidance in his Word, showing us how churches descend into deadly doctrine and how we may protect ourselves against it.

The Pattern of Deadly Doctrine

Most biblical scholars agree that 2 Timothy is Paul’s final letter. He has nearly come to the end of his life, so he picks up his pen to write once more to his young friend. In his last words to Timothy, Paul makes sure to warn him about the danger of false teachers. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). In these verses he gazes into the future and describes a church being undermined and destroyed. This is not a prophecy of the death of a single congregation, but a general description of the death of a thousand. He outlines four steps that can progressively lead any congregation from health to death.

Step 1: Reject truth. Read the rest: http://www.challies.com/articles/deadly-doctrine-the-pattern-and-protection

The Five Tests of False Doctrine

~ Tim Challies

T.D. Jakes says that God eternally exists in three manifestations, not three persons. Greg Boyd says God knows some aspects of the future, but that other future events are outside of his knowledge. Creflo Dollar says because we are created in the image of God, we are little gods. Mormonism says God revealed new scripture to Joseph Smith that supersedes the Bible. Roman Catholicism says we are justified by faith, but not by faith alone. This world is a murky madness of true and false. For every doctrine we know to be true, there seems to be a hundred pretenders.

No wonder, then, that John tells us to “test the spirits” and Paul says, “test everything” (1 John 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:21). It is our sacred responsibility to examine every doctrine to determine if it is true or false. But how can we distinguish sound doctrine from false? How can we distinguish teachers of truth from teachers of error? In our opening article, I said that putting a doctrine to the test is the best way to determine if it is true or false. As we test the doctrine, we learn our responsibility toward it: We either hold to it or we reject it. I am returning to those tests today to explain them in greater detail. They provide a grid that is useful for testing any doctrine.

Test 1: The Test of Origin

The first test is the test of origin. Sound doctrine originates with God; false doctrine originates with someone or something created by God. The Apostle Paul went to great lengths to convince the church in Galatia that the gospel he taught was not his own, but God’s. “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Even Jesus was clear that he taught only what God had instructed him to teach: “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (John 7:16). True doctrine originates with the God who is true (Titus 1:2).

Just as true doctrine is marked by its divine origin, false doctrine is marked by its worldly origin. Paul warned the Colossian church to avoid doctrine that is “according to human precepts and teachings” and told Timothy that some would “depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (Colossians 2:22, 1 Timothy 4:1). It is this simple: Sound teaching originates with God and false teaching originates with men or demons. When it comes to doctrine, if man made it, then we should not hold it. God is the Father of truth and Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

The test: Does this doctrine originate with God or has it been fabricated by someone or something else?

This leaves us with an obvious question: How can we know the origin of a doctrine? Sometimes its origin is obvious, but more often it is not. When we are uncertain, we can turn to our second test.

Read on: http://www.challies.com/articles/test-every-doctrine-test-every-teacher

False Teachers and Deadly Doctrines

http://www.challies.com/articles/false-teachers-and-deadly-doctrines