REALLY dumb advice

The pastor of the independent fundamental Baptist church we attended back in thewolf 80s had a story about counterfeit money that he must have thought was quite clever because he trotted it out about three or four times a year. It went something like this:

A pastor happened to meet a Secret Service agent who specialized in counterfeit currency. The pastor asked him how much time he spent studying counterfeit money in order to be prepared to spot a fake bill. To his surprise the agent replied that he didn’t spend any time studying phony bills. He devoted all his time studying the characteristics of genuine bills so that the imperfections of fake money would be immediately apparent.

Likewise, the pastor said, Christians needn’t waste their time and energy learning about the details of cults and apostate churches. Just study the Word diligently, he said, and you’ll be able to spot counterfeit Christianity immediately. Everyone in attendance always shook their heads in agreement with a few hearty “Amens” thrown in for good measure. Good advice?

I’ve heard this “counterfeit” analogy many times since those old days. In fact, I heard it just this morning from a very popular Evangelical pastor on a Christian radio show. To be honest, I think it’s REALLY DUMB advice. Fifty years ago the great majority of Evangelical pastors KNEW the difference between the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone versus Roman Catholicism’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and by “perfect obedience” to the Ten Commandments. I’m sure Evangelical pastors have been studying God’s Word diligently the last fifty years but, somehow, the majority now believes Catholicism is Christian. How did that happen? What changed? Today’s accommodators say, “Well, Catholics also believe in God, sin, and Jesus. Close enough!”  Really? So are people saved by accepting Christ by faith or by “perfectly obeying” the Ten Commandments as the Roman church teaches? Only one way is right.

Maybe if pastors had spent JUST A LITTLE time studying the distinctives of Roman Catholicism over the years there would now be a lot less inclination to embrace it. Instead of warning their flocks to be watchful for the ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing, Evangelical pastors gave out fleshly advice that appealed to itching ears. “Just keep your eyes on Jesus. No need to be concerned about all those unusual looking sheep approaching from the distance.”

“This past week I preached in the great Catholic Cathedral a funeral sermon for a close friend of mine who was a Catholic, and they had several Bishops and Archbishops to participate, and as I sat there going through the funeral Mass that was a very beautiful thing, and certainly straight and clear in the gospel. There was a wonderful little priest that would tell me when to stand and when to kneel and what to do.” – Billy Graham, 1993.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” – Matthew 7:15 

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10 thoughts on “REALLY dumb advice

  1. I concur! Yes, we don’t need to focus on problems until we are overwhelmed by them, but we can’t bury our head in the sand. I don’t think the Holy Spirit is wired like that; He says, “Stand up straight, follower of the King!”

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  2. By quoting Billy Graham you have uncovered a major reason that Evangelicals are receptive to Catholics, the compromise of the highly esteemed Billy Graham with unbelievers such as Catholics and Modernists. He is one of those wolves in sheep’s clothing. We need the Lord to wake His people up! Amen!

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    1. Graham is an absolutely amazing paradox. He’s probably led more people to Christ than anyone else through his crusades and yet no one has done more damage to Christian witness because of his cooperation, accommodation, and compromise with unbelievers. He definitely was THE trailblazer in the compromise we see all around us today. I am guessing 95+% of Evangelicals would consider anyone who criticised Graham a kook.

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      1. John MacArthur actually wrote an expose of Graham, especially the ecumenical universalism that Graham espouses. Well, the apostasy is so deep that even sharing what an esteemed Evangelical like MacArthur has to say about Graham is not well received. All I can say is praise God for His abundant mercy in delivering me from this cursed end time deception. May He continue this mighty work in the lives of many more. Amen!

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      2. It’s getting to be the only churches taking a strong stand against Graham-like compromise are the IFB churches but in my opinion they’ve marginalized themselves over other issues. The IFB church we attended from 1983-1991 took its cue from Falwell much more than, say, the Bob Jones or Peter Ruckman camps. It was a bit more moderate. The pastor even used to praise Billy Graham now and then. At one point he stated in a small meeting that Graham’s organization was considering him as Billy’s successor, which was absolute nonsense. Ach! A lot of problems at that church.

        I am so happy to be back with the Lord after having walked away from Him for such a long period. But after a 23-year “hiatus” I’m simply amazed at how low the church has slid. We’re friends with a Christian couple who think Joel Osteen is a pretty good preacher.

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    1. Thanks, Eliza. Yes, it looks like the Hybels’ Willow Creek seeker church has become THE model for Evangelical pastors looking to create a mega-church. High entertainment level, “non-offensive” teaching. I won’t be reading anything more from Andy Stanley.

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      1. Praise God for His mercy to us, that He has exposed these wolves so we can we warned to avoid them. Blessings to you and your wife brother. Amen!

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