Experts - Lifesavers from A Sinking Ship
If you have not read the introduction and previous pages, please click here.
Who are they?
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
The next question is, "Who is this person?" or "Who are these people?" Sometimes we can learn a good deal about someone just by finding out a few things about the person themselves. Are they saved? What church do they fellowship with? What is their background? How did they come to this position that they have attained as an expert?
Obviously, we should not be getting spiritual advice from Roman Catholics, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. Charismatics and hard nose Calvinists should also be suspect. Even in the area of non-biblical issues, these people should be avoided or used with caution.
Those who follow Jack Hyles should be used with much caution. Those who follow Peter Ruckman should be used with caution. Why? Because these two men taught things contrary to the scripture and it is common for their followers to follow them with idolatrous devotion, especially in the case of Hyles.
Consider Bill Gothard. Why would married people and parents want to take so much council from a single man, submitting their marriages to and rearing their children by his edicts. Why do they pay so much heed to this great and mighty man with the famous red book that teaches life principles? A sodomite helped write the book, though Gothard claims that it has been purged of his influence. (I wonder.) Added to that is the fact that he teaches the keeping of the Old Testament laws and promotes covenants. One family we knew of was testing his school curriculum for him but had to drop out because he was teaching Old Testament Law for the church age. They found it so unbiblical they had to abandon it.
Another good thing to find out is what church the person attends and also their testimony of salvation. You can learn a lot about an expert this way. Write and ask them where they go to church and how they got saved. If the reply is weak or heretical you have your answer as to whether they are giving you the truth which will make you free (John 8:32), or trying to pull you back on the sinking ship.
Seventh Day Adventists are becoming quite adept at hiding their true identity in an effort to get the attention of Bible believers. My dad had one try to pull the wool over his eyes only recently. The man was very provoked when my dad managed to figure out what he really was. When someone promotes the keeping of the "seventh day" as crucial to being "right with God," look out. There is something wrong, whether they are Adventists or Hebrew Roots junkies.
Also look out for the Charismatics, Pentecostals, and toungers who are trying to hide their true identity to get the approval of Bible believers. Some are open and above board with what they are, but others will conceal it in order to gain acceptance and recommendations.
Texe Marrs now considers himself an end times prophet who has received special messages from God about food shortages and starvation in the end times. When I checked his web site, the section "About Texe Marrs" contained no reference to his salvation whatsoever. (We will see if that is changed after this article goes public.) It is a curious thing how many "Christian" experts do not include any testimony of their salvation on their web site.
Max Lucado, the famous devotional writer and speaker, is Church of Christ in background and has had some trouble in deciding to disassociate himself from the Campbellites. I know people that would rightly judge the Church of Christ as heretical, yet who have read his books and think them a great blessing.
One famous expert (it slips my mind exactly which one it was), when questioned about his wife's salvation said that she had been a "Christian" all her life. No one is a Christian all their life! That implies she was born one and points toward Roman Catholic doctrine.
1John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
People that walk in darkness should be rejected as a good source of spiritual truth. When we learn that someone belongs to a heretical or highly questionable church or group, we should not excuse them because they are "so good" on the particular subject they address.
We should even be careful of some experts on certain subjects that are outside the spiritual realm. The person's religion or church doctrine can still influence their knowledge or information.
There is a Roman Catholic couple that has written a book on natural birth control methods. It appears that the book would have some useful information in it, but it would have to be used with great caution since they are devout Catholics and adhere closely to Romish doctrine. This undoubtedly colors their conclusions and observations in some or many areas.
A Mormon (Latter Day Saint) is a highly suspect source for information. Mormons have all kinds of bizarre things in their doctrine which they can mix into their expert advice. While many are ignorant of the teachings of their church, some are fully willing to destroy anyone that will not follow Joseph Smith and alleged prophets that succeeded him. There is a doctor I have heard of who is touted as an expert on herbs and probably food subjects. Ladies, Bill Schnebbolein was a Mormon before he got saved. He also was a high ranking Free Mason, a witch and a vampire (he drank human blood). I cannot emphasize too highly how perilous it is to go to a Mormon for expert advice on anything. You have no idea why they are recommending what they are. It could be because they believe it has some spiritual power and you may actually be engaging in a witchcraft practice. (Mormonism is closely related to Free Masonry thanks to Joseph Smith's earlier involvement in the same.) Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Like Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8) and
the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19), some people try to ride to fame on someone
else's coat tails.
Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Good-bye) has been raised to the position of expert on teens, courtship, relationships, singleness, etc. He got his start through his dad, who happens to be an expert on home schooling and went around the country giving seminars on the subject. Through the the family fame, Joshua came to the attention of those leading in the home school movement and was given a job writing an editorial in Mary Pride's magazine, "Practical Homeschooling." From there he worked his way up. But, is he qualified to instruct us? (Based on his unbiblical ideas - his useless lifesavers - he is not.) The upbeat, contemporary christian church he now pastors is associated with a group called Sovereign Grace Ministries, a group apparently aspiring to become a new denomination. Daddy's darling baby boy is a great success. (By the way, "Sovereign Grace" is a term that has been used for some time to describe a branch of Calvinism.)
Just because a person has a famous daddy it does not follow that they are qualified to be experts. As a matter of fact, it is quite common for a son to be much less of a man spiritually than his father was and to head off into compromise and other things when following in his father's ministry. David Fuller, son of Charles Fuller of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, is a prime example of this.
There are some women whose father was very famous among the Sword of the Lord crowd. I have seen their names on some things, and curiously enough, they always use their maiden name along with their married name. Why? They are riding Daddy's coat tail to fame. When people recognize their dad's name, they will give them more respect and take them more seriously. In reality, if they have something useful to say or write, it would not really matter what their names are. And, if they are only throwing lifesavers from the sinking ship, then their famous name does not mean a thing.
Elisabeth Elliot made a name for herself when her husband, Jim, was killed in missionary work in Ecuador. She wrote the story (good or bad, I do not know), continued the work a while; then returned home to establish herself as an expert on all kinds of subjects relating to "spiritual" life, mostly of women, eventually attaining to her own radio program. Strange to say, she married again, outlived that husband and married a third time; yet, through those marriages, she maintained and still goes by her first husband's name and speaks about him as though she had been with him many years and not that long ago. Why? People recognize the name and it keeps the fame, money, and speaking engagements going. Her ministry has largely become a lifesaver throwing endeavor of little worth. (More later.)
Also beware of those whose claim to fame is their spiritual "ancestor;" or the Bible school, college or seminary they went to. "Oh, he's a preacher-boy of so-and-so." "She was lead to the Lord by _______." "He's from such-and-such Baptist Church." "She is a graduate of [Crown College]." "They are from Brother ________'s church/ministry." "He went to [Bob Jones]." "They are from this-and-that Mission." Surely someone that rubbed shoulders with the great Dr. Wonderful couldn't be bad, right? Wrong. People love to promote themselves by their associations, especially when it will bring them monetary gain, or get them acceptance in a desired group. Just because someone comes from a certain place or claims associations with someone whom you know to be separated unto the Lord, do not automatically assume they are O.K. and should be received with full trust. They may be wishy-washy. They may not be on good terms with the person or church they claim. They may not even know the person that well. They may have only met him or her a handful of times at the most. Worst of all, perhaps they may be approved by that person or group, and that person or group may have let their standards down, or they may have picked a rotten apple. These things do happen! Psalm 39:5 ...verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
Beware of the great Doctors too. Just because someone has "Dr." tacked on the front of their name does not mean they are an authority on anything. Mail order "doctorates" are cheap if you know where to get them, and honorary doctorates are dished out regularly too. You will also find, if you care to investigate, that some people that claim expertise in some area are not even trained in that area. In other words, some experts' doctorates are not even in the subject in which they dictate to us. (Maybe Dr. actually stands for "Dictator." Hmmmm....Dictator Hyles, Dictator Ruckman, Dictator "Bob," Dictator Dobson, Dictator Schuyler... Makes more sense for some of them anyway.) Even if the great and mighty expert has an earned doctorate in the subject of their expertise, it still does not follow that they are faithful or always right. Examine them by the scriptures! After all, if they are faithful to the word of God in what they are saying or writing, it does not matter whether they have "Dr." on the front of their name, nor what kind of doctor they are! We have come to regard education too highly in the Lord's church. Psalm 62:9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. 1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Remember in Acts 5:34-39 where Peter and the others were called in before the Jewish leaders to answer for their preaching. "...Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people..." took the floor and made an effort at diplomacy. He stated, "if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (vs. 38-39) This remark has been quoted as "great wisdom" and an answer to various questions. It is not true by any stretch of the imagination. If it were true, none of the false religions on earth would have prospered, nor any of the "christian" cults. It was not true then, nor is it true now. See how easily doctors can lead astray?
Ladies, the issue is not in names and fame. It is in whether the word of God is faithfully declared and whether Jesus Christ is praised. No one has an inside track of special information from God. The hidden things are not revealed only to those with famous names, histories, relations or associations. 1Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. If a person picks up from their parent - spiritual or physical - and goes on with the things that the Holy Ghost teaches which are freely given to us of God, fine and well. But, no one should be accepted based on their ancestry, either physical or spiritual.
As a matter of fact, in Luke 10:21 we read, In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. And in Proverbs 3:32 For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. It is the righteous and the weak with a childlike faith that are privileged with the secret of God; not the famous, or scholarly, or highly educated, or highly exalted. Those things mean less than nothing. The Lord Jesus said, Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6:26
By the way, just because someone had "a wonderful experience," or even because God actually did something significant in their life, that does not mean that they are now qualified to be an expert on spiritual life, walking with God, etc. There are some that will start out telling how God did some great thing for them, or will start out telling about their "wonderful experience" (which could have even been demonic in some cases), and will then become highly acclaimed experts launching out into speaking engagements, radio shows, books, ministries, etc. God comforts us in our tribulations that we might comfort others also (2 Cor. 1:3-6), but it is not intended to be used as a platform to launch ourselves into spiritual guruship. Beware when someone does this. The greatest deception in some of these people is that their "experience" is so emotionally moving that we tend to get caught up in the feeling of the thing and forget to examine the spirit (1 John 4:1) and the fruit (Matthew 6:17).
Examples: Joni Erickson Tada and Chuck Coleson, who are very ecumenical.
Sometimes God does great things for Christians that are messed up in some area, not because they are worthy to be exalted, but because He loves them. None of us could ever deserve anything God has ever done for us. A blessing, or apparent blessing, from God does not prove a person is spiritual and should become a leader. It proves God is merciful (James 2:13). Lot is a good Bible example of this.
Also, some people experience fantastic things because of their sin. Remember Jonah. He had some astounding experiences, but it was all due to his rebellion. I can see his book now - It Takes Guts to Be a Christian: Twelve Steps to Surviving the Fish's Vomit, and his radio show - "To Ninveh with Something Less Than Love." Also for a donation of only $20.00 dollars he will send you a copy of his Gourdgrowers Devotional Bible, "guaranteed to change the way you look at the little things in life." But, who wants to be part of the fishes vomit to have a ministry like that? And besides, did he ever repent? I wonder about some of these fantastic experiences and what really happened or resulted from them. Hmmm.....
Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. Sad to say, in the Lord's church and Christendom we have a lot of Gentile lordship and people exercising authority because they are such a "benefit to us." These things ought not to be.
NOTE: There are pastors who will try to take charge of the minds of the women in the church, becoming a guru and expert to them. They will totally disregard 1Cor. 11:3 and will take the headship from the man. They are dishonoring Christ - the head - and the word of God. If you have a pastor like that, you need to talk to your husband in the spirit of humility, letting him know that you desire to follow the Biblical order in having him for your head, and that you will not allow the pastor to take control of your mind. If the pastor tries to force his headship upon you, you need to let him know, in a quiet way, that you are in submission to your own husband and if he has something to tell you, he should tell your husband.
Ladies, it is not wrong to disregard advice that is unbiblical or known to be wrong. This is true even if it comes from your pastor. Do not be bullied by those that will try to make you feel guilty for this. Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. It is true that women answer to their husbands, but ultimately we all answer to God, not men. No expert, whether great or small, has a right to domineer over you and shame you into obeying their edicts. Many will if you let. Isaiah 51:7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
1John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Another group of experts that should be avoided are those that have gone out from the truth (Bible believers). They are going away from the truth and they want to take you with them. It will make them more comfortable in their compromise to have Bible believers approving them. There are some that have not gone that far away from their beginnings, but they are now playing to the whole crowd - Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and Liberal. If their background was narrower than they are today, then they are not trustworthy. Also, beware of those who end their life in compromise but were narrower in their early life. Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Examples: Jack Van (W)Impe, John MacArthur, Elisabeth Elliot, Billy Graham and many more.
It behooves us to go to the trouble to find out a few things about the experts before we read or listen to them too closely. Sometimes it is all but impossible to find anything out, in which case, their teaching itself must be examined. But, no matter how sound they turn out to be, we must never hand them our minds! 1Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Philippans 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 1Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
It is important to remember that there are those who do apparently give out the truth, but they themselves are not saved. These do many wonderful works in the Lord's name, yet they are heading straight for hell. This is why we find people that have a great message yet their personal life is filthy. This is how we may find someone out street preaching or hollering about righteousness in a church meeting but their lives are not consistent with their message. This is how we can hear someone stand up and preach Biblical standards and yet be living a life of sexual perversion. [Note: Not all of the ungodliness we see is caused by the people being unsaved. Some are saved, but are so carnal that we can't tell it.] This is how we find a man preaching the gospel at some point and people actually professing salvation through his ministry and yet the man turns aside after doctrines of devils.
Billy Graham has preached the gospel at times in the past and probably a few people will be in heaven because of him. Yet, he himself in his later years has justified the wicked, and has said that Buddhists and others will go to heaven. Can he possibly be saved? We will not know till we get to heaven.
C.S. Lewis was honored as writer of great spiritual wisdom, yet he drank and smoked and he claimed "good pagans" would got to heaven.
By the way, it should be noted that based on what these people say to the Lord in Matt. 7:22, they appear to be sincere! They themselves believed they were serving the Lord. Sincerity is not the only test! Some people are sincere in their error. They will appear to be right because they actually believe whatever error they are teaching and are earnest and honorable about it. They are lost because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 But, they think they are serving the Lord. The really scary thing is that there appears to be more and more of these people among Bible believing Christians/Baptists.
It is interesting that in Matthew 7 we find that immediately after this mention of those who do many things in the Lord's name, Christ Jesus tells us, Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: Matthew 7:24 The place of security is in hearing and doing the Lord's word! The place of rescue from the sinking ship is on the Rock - the Lord Jesus Christ - not in a life preserver from someone among the perishing, or someone standing on the Rock but still throwing life preservers from the ship. The life preserver may make you feel better for a while, but you are not safe - you could be devoured by sharks. You may even get back on the ship for a while, but the whole thing is still sinking. Only our great Saviour can save you forever! Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
If you are on the Rock already, why would you want to be playing with the useless lifesavers? Why not rest in the security of the hand of God instead of trusting to a pile of man-made rubbish? John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
One last note, 2Corinthians 11:13 -15: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.