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DEMONS AND FALSE TEACHERS IN THE CHURCHES
This is a very important statement in the Word of God. It is a prophecy, given by the Apostle Peter, of apostasy and false teachers in the churches. There can be no doubt that it is a prophecy. The Apostle says, “there shall be false teachers among you” (2:1). He was speaking of the future. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave this as a sign of the end of this age. Christ said, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and...if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). Earlier in that chapter Christ said, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (24:4). So also the Apostle Peter warned “there shall be false teachers among you” (II Peter 2:1). Dr. John F. Walvoord, a highly respected authority on Bible prophecy, said,
There are churches today that are cold and dead on Sunday night – ones which not too long ago had thriving [Sunday] evening services. Too many churches today have only one service a week, on Sunday morning...We are living in a time when the church has many problems...unbelief, skepticism, and criticism of the Bible...have unquestionably spread abroad today. This is not an accident, however, but something that was clearly predicted in the Word of God. II Peter 2:1 states, “There shall be false teachers among you, who privily [secretly] shall bring in damnable [destructive] heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” This prophecy [predicts] that in the guise [disguise] of Christian teachers there would arise in the course of the history of the church those who would deny its essential doctrines (John F. Walvoord, Th.D., Prophecy and the Seventies, Moody Bible Institute, 1971, pp. 112, 113).
I saw this myself. I was an eye-witness to this treacherous apostasy at the Southern Baptist seminary north of San Francisco, where I earned a Master’s degree. I heard professors say that Jesus did not rise physically from the dead. They gave the heretic Emil Brunner’s idea, that “Christ only rose from the dead in the minds of the Disciples.” I heard them deny the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross. I heard them deny the Blood atonement. All of this is carefully documented and footnoted in my book, Inside the Southern Baptist Convention. I heard even worse things at the Presbyterian seminary in San Anselmo, where I earned a doctor’s degree. Going to those two theological seminaries was a real eye-opener.
Many people wonder why President Obama is often hostile to Christians, but soft on Muslims. I knew he would be like that right away. His pastor for over twenty years was Dr. Jeremiah Wright. We all heard him shout on television, “God damn America!” People brushed it off, thinking he was an ignorant black preacher. How wrong they were! Dr. Wright is actually a very intelligent man, with a Master’s degree and an earned doctorate. But he earned his Master’s degree at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. That is one of the most liberal, Bible-rejecting schools in America. It was there that Obama’s long-time pastor learned to reject the Bible and hate Bible-believing Christianity. Thus we are faced with a President, the leader of the Western world, who was taught by a “false teacher [who] brought in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought [him].” No wonder the President attacks Christianity, and Israel, while continually being nice to Muslim terrorists! God help us! The Apostle Peter’s prophecy is affecting all of our lives today! If Iran gets a hydrogen bomb, and drops it on one of our cities, it will be the indirect result of the “false teachers” at the University of Chicago Divinity School!
Then the Apostle said that these false teachers would “privily bring in damnable heresies” (II Peter 2:1). The KJV word “privily” means “secretly.” “Heresies” means “self-designed religious lies” (MacArthur). They bring those lies into the churches (“shall bring in damnable heresies”). Bring them in where? To the churches, of course!
I will give you one notable example of how these damnable heresies destroy those who hold them. Bishop James Pike (1913-1969) was a leading liberal in the Episcopal Church. Dr. Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) tells about being invited to Bishop Pike’s home. By this time Bishop Pike was communicating with his dead son, who had committed suicide. The dead son was talking to Bishop Pike through a medium. I saw one of those seances on television. When Dr. Schaeffer got to his house, he told Bishop Pike that this was demonic, “really a matter of demonology” – with a demon pretending to be his dead son. Dr. Schaeffer said, “He did not get angry, though he was close to crying.” Then Schaeffer said, “I will never forget the last time I saw him...He said one of the saddest things I have ever heard: ‘When I turned from being an agnostic, I went to Union Theological Seminary [an extremely liberal school], eager for and expecting bread; but when I graduated, all that it left me was a handful of pebbles.’ Who is responsible for the tragedy of Bishop Pike? His liberal theological professors [left him] with a handful of pebbles and nothing more” (Francis A. Schaeffer, D.D., The Great Evangelical Disaster, Crossway Books, 1984, p. 84).
Bishop Pike went deep into the Judean desert, trying to find out why Jesus had gone there to fast and pray for forty days. His car got stuck in a rut and wouldn’t move. Bishop Pike tried to walk out of that wilderness. He slipped and fell 60 feet down a deep canyon. He died there, searching for facts about the “historical Jesus” (Wikipedia). When I first read about that I burst into tears. I knew this poor, lost man had been destroyed, alone in the desert, by “false teachers...who privily [brought] in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them” (II Peter 2:1). As Dr. Schaeffer pointed out, demonology was the cause of this tragedy. The Apostle Paul spoke of “seducing spirits” who are responsible for liberal theology (I Timothy 4:1).
When I was studying at the liberal Southern Baptist seminary, north of San Francisco, I became acutely aware of the demons connected to liberal theology and its attacks on the Bible. I remember reading that passage in I Timothy,
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1-2).
Dr. Merrill F. Unger (1909-1980) was a long-time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He wrote Unger’s Bible Handbook, a classical reference volume. Dr. Unger also wrote a book titled Biblical Demonology. He called I Timothy 4:1-2 “The prophetic warning against latter-day demonic activity in corrupting the truth, and in turning away many from the faith...this prophetic passage traces all doctrinal aberration to its deeper cause and its ultimate source in the invisible demon agents” (Merrill F. Unger, Th.D., Ph.D., Biblical Demonology, Kregel Publications, 1994, pp. 166-167).
Dr. Wilbur M. Smith (1894-1976) was a long-time professor at the Moody Bible Institute. Later he became one of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He left Fuller Seminary when it began to reject the authority of the Bible. He ended his career as a professor at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois, a school that rejected liberal attacks on the Bible. In his classical book on apologetics, Therefore Stand, Dr. Smith traced liberal, Bible-rejecting teaching to Satan and his demons. Dr. Smith said, “Today we have men in our theological seminaries denying the existence of God, [attacking] the vicarious work our blessed Lord accomplished on the cross...The one who is mastering, controlling, and directing these evil beings...is nothing less than the evil one himself. This is what Paul means when, in the First Epistle to Timothy, he says that in the last days men will give heed to seducing spirits, to doctrines of demons” (Wilbur M. Smith, D.D., Therefore Stand, W. A. Wilde Co., 1945, pp. 184, 185, 176).
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was one of the two or three greatest preachers of the twentieth century. He followed Dr. G. Campbell Morgan as the pastor of Westminster Chapel in the heart of London. His sermons drew large crowds. His books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “There are thousands, perhaps millions, of evil spirits” (Christian Unity, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1980, p. 58). Again, he said, “The devil is a past master [at concealing himself]. So when he can persuade the Church, especially, that there is no such being as the devil and principalities and powers and demons, everything is going perfectly well from his standpoint. The Church is drugged and is deluded; she is asleep, and not aware of this conflict at all” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13, Baker Book House, 1976, p. 106).
Those words show the source of the problem. False teachers come into our churches and schools and seminaries “privily” (secretly). How does that happen? Satan has blinded us. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones put it, “The church is drugged and deluded; she is asleep and not aware of this conflict...” (ibid.).
I was well aware of Satan and the demonic before I went to the liberal Southern Baptist seminary. My long-time pastor was Dr. Timothy Lin, an Old Testament scholar who went on to teach at Talbot Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois. He was one of the translators of the New American Standard Bible, and ended his career as the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taipei, Taiwan. Dr. Lin taught us systematic theology and demonology in special classes at our church. So I was well aware of demonic influences before I went to the liberal seminary. I went there because it was less expensive than a conservative school. At first I hardly noticed the demonic, however. I was totally involved in helping to start a new Chinese Baptist church in Sacramento, California.
But a series of events happened that took me out of that mission work and confined me to the seminary. That’s when I was demonically attacked to the point of desperation. I felt I was being suffocated by Satanic spirits. Living in the dormitory, attending the classes – surrounded by liberal, Bible-denying people, I felt like I was being sucked into a pool of quicksand. I came to believe that some of the students were influenced by demons. Others – especially some of the faculty members – I am sure were demon possessed. It was like living and studying in a madhouse, in a hellhole, in the dungeon of a cult! When I graduated, it seemed like I barely escaped with my life! Yet this was where Southern Baptist churches sent their young men to study for the ministry!
I often wondered why God put me in that seminary. Yet I knew He had put me there for some reason. That’s why I stayed for the full three years, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree. But what was the reason? Why did God put me through such a Satanic experience, in such an evil place? I now believe that God put me there to make me think deeply about real conversion and false conversions, which are the source of false teachers in the churches.
Where did these false teachers come from? Why, every false teacher at the Southern Baptist seminary came from a Baptist church! Every one of these demon-oppressed or demonized professors had attended Sunday School in a Baptist church when they were children. Every one of them had “gone forward” at “decision time.” Every one of them had been baptized upon their “profession of faith.” But they were not saved! I can only think of two faculty members who seemed to be converted men! Every sign indicated that the rest of them were blinded and/or controlled by demons.
I have thought about that for over forty years now. It led to the writing of two books, one of which is available for free by clicking: Today’s Apostasy: How Decisionism is Destroying Our Churches.
I am convinced that “decisionism” is poisonous. It is a major tool Satan has used since the middle of the nineteenth century to destroy evangelical Christianity. In Today’s Apostasy Dr. Cagan and I trace this Satanic teaching back to Charles G. Finney, and we show how it has developed into many forms. Finney’s fingers are around the throats of our churches, demonically squeezing the life out of us. Finney’s “decisionism” is destroying virtually every evangelical and fundamental church in America and the Western world!
“And many shall follow their pernicious [destructive] ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (II Peter 2:2).
That has happened before our very eyes! I myself saw demonic liberalism take over Fuller Seminary. My friend Dr. Harold Lindsell has a chapter on it in his landmark book, The Battle for the Bible (Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, pp. 106-121).
Please do not think that Fundamentalist churches have escaped! Right now we are duplicating, in our fundamental Baptist churches, the same error that destroyed the great Protestant denominations of the past. Right now our most fundamental Baptist churches are filled with unconverted young people. They will go to our fundamental schools and graduate. Then most of them will go head-first into various forms of liberalism. Why? Because we never made sure that they were converted when they were young!
We all say we think salvation is the most important thing in a person’s life. We all say that we believe in the new birth and conversion. We all say, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Yet we pay very little (if any) attention to making certain that has happened to our young people. We are satisfied that they “came forward.” We are satisfied that they repeated the words of a “sinner’s prayer.” But our pastors never asked them the most simple questions – like “What did Jesus do for you?” or “Why did you come forward?” or “How can your sins be pardoned?” I think many of our preachers are afraid to ask a few simple questions like that. Why, they might get the wrong answer! They might not get to “show off” by baptizing them! Jack Hyles baptized the average kids in his church, the average kids, at least five times. That kept his baptism numbers up, so he could brag about how many were baptized in his church! But he never asked those kids a few simple questions! No wonder his son became a serial adulterer! No wonder his son-in-law, who followed him as pastor, went to prison for molesting a young girl! God help us! Conversion is real! Conversion sets the whole life in motion! Where do you think “false teachers” came from? They came from preachers who didn’t care enough for people’s souls to make sure they were saved! That’s where they came from!
We will do our very best to make sure that doesn’t happen to you! We will check carefully to make sure you know who Christ is, what He has done, and where He is now. We will do our best to make sure you trust Jesus Christ Himself. We will do our best to help you see your sin, be convicted of sin, and trust Jesus. He is the only one who can cleanse you from all sin by the precious Blood He shed on the Cross. He has risen bodily from the dead. He has ascended back to Paradise, where He is seated on the right hand of God the Father. We pray that you will trust Jesus. He will give you rest from a life of sin. Oh, God, we ask You to draw someone to Jesus, who is here today. We pray that Thou wilt draw someone to Jesus who is reading this sermon or watching it on the Internet. In His name, Amen.
(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: II Peter 2:1-3.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Then Jesus Came” (words by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986;
music by Homer Rodeheaver, 1880-1955; altered by the Pastor).