In my youth, as a Christian, I was warned away from many places. The Public Bar was certainly a no go area – as was the cinema and the dancehall. I was advised not to be overly friendly with “non-christians” and to keep only “good company”. But it would never have crossed the minds of my parents or spiritual seniors to warn me against going to church! However there is a sense in which, situation prevailing, church can be more dangerous than all these places for those in pursuit of true faith.
My attention was drawn a few days ago to a quote from the much revered preacher and writer of a past generation C H Spurgeon which said this – “A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing.”
The word “curse” is a very strong one and the statement, at face value, quite shocking. Yet, speaking of some leaders and preachers in the church the Apostle Peter himself quantifies them as teachers of “evil” and “destructive heresies”. Such go so far as to deny Jesus as the Messiah and in their evangelical zeal lead multitudes to destruction. As a result, says Peter – “the way of truth is slandered”. Chillingly Peter warns that such people themselvs run the risk of a premature death and ultimate destruction [Hell]. And this is in the church!
I am going to be so bold as to suggest that there are many “false teachers” in our churches and religious institutions today. I also suspect that, when God is on the move, many of those will find themselves under his censorship and judgement. I have spent much of the weekend at a conference designed to facilitate personal and national revival – and it was truly an amazing experience to be there. However – as we long and pray for God to move among us I have a sneaking suspicion, in the light of what I have already said, that unless there is a deep repentance among those within the church who “slander the way of truth”, God may well bypass the church as we know it – and move in a way that many, if not most, religious people will find very difficult to accept – if at all.
So we all must be on guard! May God help us to avoid in any way slandering The Way of Truth – or of being accessories to those who do. And may we by his grace and leading commit ourselves to promoting the truth as we find it in Jesus.
“But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.”
2 Peter 2:1-3 (NLT)