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Unless otherwise stated, all articles on atruechurch.info are written by Darwin Fish and all Scripture quotations are from the NKJV.
What a horrifying reality, to think you will enter paradise on the day of your death, but then, come to find out on that day, you were actually deceived, and you find yourself in hell. Such is, and will be, the terror of most who call themselves Christians today (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; 2 Peter 2:2). They will find themselves weeping and gnashing their teeth (e.g. Matthew 8:12; 22:1-14; 25;14-30; Luke 13:28).
All of the religions of the world (e.g. Protestantism, Catholicism, Mormonism, JW's, Seventh Day Adventism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, etc.) lead to nowhere but hell. Those involved in them are "unbelieving, . . . idolaters" (Revelation 21:8). Every single last one of them reject the truth of the Bible (Romans 1:18-25), and thus, the Truth of the Bible, God (John 14:6), will burn them forever in the lake of fire for hating Him so (Deuteronomy 32:39-41; Revelation 20:11-15).
If you are involved with the kind of Christianity that views Protestantism, or Catholicism, or the Orthodox church, or the "church of Christ," or Billy Graham, or Rick Warren, or Joel Osteen, or James Dobson, or Pat Robertson, or John MacArthur, or Paul Washer, or Tony Evans, or Greg Laurie, or Charles Stanley, or Chuck Smith, or Fred Price, or J. Vernon McGee, or Charles Blake, or Chuck Swindoll, or Gene Scott, or Harold Camping (Family Radio), or John Piper, or T. D. Jakes, or David Jeremiah, or Charles Spurgeon, or Dave Hunt, or Marvin J. Rosenthal, or David W. Cloud, or Perry F Rockwood, or Neil Anderson, or Robert Schuller, or Jack Hayford, or Benny Hinn, or Miles McPherson, or Ray Comfort, or Jim Cobrae, or Ron Luce, or Chuck Colson, or C. S. Lewis, or Hank Hanegraaff, or Paul Chappell, or Steven Anderson, or any of the like (or any of the likes on "Christian" TV or radio) as godly, you are not saved. Why? Because, you are on the broad way (Matthew 7:13; 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:3). You have not the characteristic of Christ's sheep (John 10:5). And, men such as these are wells without water (2 Peter 2:17).
I. The Broad Way
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13)
The false teachers mentioned above, and the many like them (2 Timothy 4:3), all teach a broad theological road that supposedly leads to heaven (e.g. see some of our reports). False teachers differ as to how broad this way is, but nonetheless, they all teach a broad way. As Charles Spurgeon put it,
What is the reason why there are so many [Christian] sects in the world? Surely it must be because we don't follow the guidance of the Spirit of God. If we followed the Word of God and the will of God in all things, we should be very much more alike than we are. I do not think that even then we should all run in the same groove, for the road to heaven may be sufficiently wide to have several different paths in it, and yet shall they all be in the same way and in the same road. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 61, p. 514-515, Sept., 28, 1870, bold added)
Yes indeed, they are all "in the same way and in the same road." Jesus called it the "broad" road "that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13).
Spurgeon lies and speaks the exact opposite of Christ when he says, "the road to heaven may be sufficiently wide to have several different paths in it." Spurgeon believed both Calvinists and Arminians (different gospels on 5 points!) were on this wide path to heaven (see our report Spurgeon, An Ecumenical False Teacher). He even believed there would be more people in heaven than in hell.
I believe there will be more in Heaven than in hell. If anyone asks me why I think so, I answer, because Christ, in everything, is to "have the pre-eminence", and I cannot conceive how He could have the pre-eminence if there are to be more in the dominions of Satan than in Paradise. (C. H. Spurgeon's Autobiography, Vol. 1, p. 171, in "A Defence Of Calvinism")
Jesus says it's narrow. Spurgeon says it's wide. Jesus says few enter eternal life (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:24). Spurgeon says many. He taught the exact opposite of Christ. Such teaching is antichrist, transgressing the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9), and damning (Revelation 21:8 "unbelieving").
False teachers, like Spurgeon and those mentioned above, teach that amongst saved Christians there is a wide spectrum of conflicting doctrines and this manifests itself as differing forms of Christianity (e.g., see our report on Chuck Smith, or note Chuck Colson's book, The Body, or C. S. Lewis' book, Mere Christianity). False teachers create this delusion by holding to some form of creed, creeds, essentials, fundamentals, or core belief that supposedly unifies all true believers (e.g. see MacArthur's III. Teaching of Scripture). If one stays within the bounds of this central belief, often called "orthodox Christianity," or "historic Christianity" (e.g. Christianity In Crisis, p. 31, 43), then a person is considered to be in the truth. And, other doctrines that the Bible addresses are counted as peripheral issues (or "secondary" or "non-essential") and are perceived as matters that do not pertain to salvation (e.g. ibid., p. 47). As the phrase that's been attributed to the Catholic of old (Augustine) puts it,
In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity. (Christianity In Crisis, by Hank Hanegraaff, copyright 1993, p. 47)
These words well sum up the broad way (Matthew 7:13). They make room for many who do not see eye to eye regarding a myriad of Scriptural subjects. Thus, they create a wide theological path (as Spurgeon said) that supposedly leads to heaven, but in reality leads to hell; because people are led to "not receive the love of the truth" (as in 2 Thessalonians 2:10).
With this "essentials" doctrine (or any mentality like it), the broad way (Matthew 7:13-14) breeds complacency like gangrene in the hearts of men and women. Since there are so many matters in the Scriptures that are considered not pertinent to salvation, trembling before the word of God is made obsolete (Psalm 119:120; Isaiah 66:2, 5; Philippians 2:12), and no one makes haste to keep His commandments (Psalm 119:60). No one makes haste to keep all His precepts (Psalm 119:128, 151). So, wisdom cries out,
How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. (Proverbs 1:22)
When "Christians" agree to disagree over what the Bible teaches, and only the "essential" matters matter (in regards to salvation), there resides an unbiblical simplicity in the mind and a deadly cancer (2 Timothy 2:16-17) in the hearts of such fools (false Christians) who learn to scorn and hate knowledge. Because, their perspective is, "Hey, it's not a matter of salvation." Therefore, their complacency will destroy them (Proverbs 1:32).
Contrary to any "essentials," Christ said,
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Life is had "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (i.e. Genesis to Revelation). It is trust in the word of God that saves, as James exhorts,
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
It is the word of God that saves (e.g. Luke 8:11-12). It is the word of God that must be believed (e.g. Genesis 15:5-6; Romans 4:3). If you are directed away from faith in the word of God, whatever the issue, this can lead to the destruction of your soul. Because, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:5-6; Romans 4:3). If you do not believe God, it will be accounted to you as wickedness (Psalm 119:118; 1 John 5:10).
Therefore, there are no Biblical issues we can agree to disagree upon, because Scripture warns and instructs,
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
If anyone teaches anything other than holy writ and does not heed Scriptural correction ("teaches otherwise and does not consent" 1 Timothy 6:3), then we are instructed to withdraw and turn away from such a person (1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Timothy 3:5). This is the opposite of agreeing to disagree. It is rather, agreeing to leave and not fellowship with them. Because,
He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray. (Proverbs 10:17)
Those who go astray from the word of God, are not in the truth, and are not saved; and their words are words of deceit, as Psalm 119:118 declares,
You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood.
God rejects all those who stray from His word. It does not matter what the subject matter is. There is no salvation for any who heed not holy writ, as Psalm 119:21 proclaims,
You rebuke the proud, the cursed, who stray from Your commandments.
No matter who you are, you are cursed if you do not follow after God's word. Thus, it is eternally important to love correction, as Proverbs asserts,
For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)
Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:27)
This is what the false Christian world has done. They have strayed from the words of knowledge (2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 2:18), and followed after a broad path that leads to hell (Matthew 7:13-14). In opposition to a wide path, is the theologically narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24). How narrow? In the very context in which Christ warned about the broad way (Matthew 7:13), He ended His sermon with this warning.
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Matthew 7:24-27)
In the context in which Jesus spoke these words (Matthew 5:3-7:23), He preached about contriteness, mourning, meekness, hunger, thirst, purity, peace, persecution, anger, divorce, adultery, oaths, love, giving, prayer, forgiveness, fasting, possessions, needs, worrying, judging, rebuking, seeking, false prophets, etc.. Do you see any "non-essentials" in there? Christ makes no distinction concerning any of the many matters He addressed in His sermon. For Him, it all matters eternally. Because, the Lord describes in a very picturesque way, life or death and heaven or hell for those who hear His words and either do them or do not do them. Christ placed an eternal importance upon all that He said, as Proverbs instructs,
My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-22; see also Proverbs 8:35 & 16:22)
My son, let them not depart from your eyes, keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. (Proverbs 3:21-22)
Revelation likewise affirms,
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)
Those who keep God's word are those who have the right to the tree of life. In other words, they are the ones who will be granted salvation. The dividing line between those who are saved and those who are not is the Bible itself. If someone truly believes in the Scripture, they are believing in Christ, because Christ is the Scripture (John 1:1, 14; Galatians 3:8; Hebrews 4:12-13; Revelation 19:13); and they will obey Him, as John the Baptist said,
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36 NAS, see also 1 John 2:3-5).
Believing in Jesus is identical to believing in and obeying the Bible. 2 John likewise declares,
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)
The doctrine of Christ is not only what He taught in Matthew 5:3-7:27, or all the red print in the gospels. The doctrine of Christ equals the entirety of Scripture (Psalm 119:160). Those who transgress and do not remain within the bound of holy writ, do not have God. They are not saved (2 John 9).
There are not many different kinds of true Christianity, as Spurgeon depicted with his "wide" road with "several different paths in it." There is only one kind of true Christianity, and it is the kind that keeps His word (1 John 2:5), all of it (Psalm 119:128, 160, Matthew 4:4). Scripture teaches that true believers believe the same on every single Biblical doctrine (1 John 4:6, for a more in-depth explanation, see The Unity Of The Saints). There is no agreeing to disagree, or essentials and non-essentials. The war is over the truth of the word of God (Genesis to Revelation), and true believers are in opposition to any and every error that would come against it (Psalm 119:104, 128). As Paul wrote,
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Be warned. It only takes one lie to love and practice to keep you outside the kingdom of God.
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15; see also Revelation 21:8)
False teachers, like those mentioned at the beginning of this article, encourage people not only to love and practice a lie (like the "essentials" lie), but rather many lies as they divert people's trust off of God's word and onto their own great sounding words of emptiness (2 Peter 2:18). The amazing part of this is, the false teachers, being deceived themselves (2 Timothy 3:13), have people thinking they are following the Bible, when in reality they are following the doctrines of men (Matthew 15:8-9), like the "essentials" lie which is a damning doctrine of men, nowhere taught in the Word of God (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Most people are either pagans, lost in some false religion, or false Christians caught on the broad way (Matthew 7:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:3). Most people have not even found the narrow way, the way of truth (2 Peter 2:2). Yet, Christ warns even those who have found the narrow way with these words:
Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24)
Even among those who have actually found the narrow gate, many of them do not enter. Many go to perdition, as Peter writes,
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17-18)
The righteous make it with difficulty (Matthew 7:14; Acts 14:22). It is not an easy path.
Therefore, if you follow the typical Christianity that prevails in the world today, or anything like it, if you are on this broad way, and you do not reject it (2 Timothy 3:5; Hebrews 12:14), you will lie down in torment (Isaiah 50:11; 66:24; Revelation 21:8); because you have not received "the love of the truth, that [you] might be saved" (2 Thessalonians 2:10); and because,
II. Christ's Sheep Flee
Those who have received the love of the truth would not hang around such broad way "Christianity," because they would know the truth does matter, and in loving the truth they would "hate every false way" (Psalm 119:104, 128, 163), as Proverbs 8:13 says, "the fear of the Lord is to hate evil." False doctrine, on any Biblical matter, is evil (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Note how Jesus describes His sheep. He says they follow Him. They follow the truth (John 14:6).
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)
Earlier Jesus describes Himself and His sheep by saying,
And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. (John 10:4-5)
Jesus' sheep are those who are saved (John 10:27-28), and they are described as those who "will by no means follow a stranger." This "by no means" dictates that under no circumstances will Christ's sheep follow a stranger.
Who is a stranger? A stranger is anyone other than Christ whom the sheep do not know. The context of John 10:5 is false spiritual leaders (John 9:40-41). Christ's sheep hear neither strangers (John 10:5) nor thieves and robbers (John 10:8). Anyone who would speak so as to divert a person away from Christ would fit "a stranger," and this is what false teachers do. "They speak great swelling words of emptiness" (2 Peter 2:18), and bring people into the same bondage and corruption by which they themselves are held (Luke 6:39-40; 2 Peter 2:19).
Therefore, anyone following any of the men listed at the beginning of this article, or any like them, are not Christ's sheep. Because the Lord says, not only will they not follow them, but they "flee from him."
Christ's sheep do not hang out with false teachers and false churches. They flee from those who do not speak the truth ("strangers"). Whether it is a Catholic church, Mormon church, Jehovah's Witness Hall, Muslim mosque, or any of the myriad of churches on the broad way (like a "church of Christ," or Grace Community in Panorama City, CA; or Lancaster Baptist in Lancaster, CA, etc.), Christ's sheep are not found counted in their ranks. The only ones who are found heeding such religion are the wicked, as Proverbs 17:4 declares,
An evildoer gives heed to false lips.
Evildoers are to be found in these churches, not those who follow Christ (John 10:5). Therefore, if you are involved in a false church, you prove yourself to be still lost in your sin. God calls you an evildoer (Proverbs 17:4), and by His Word identifies you as not one of His own by the sheer fact that you do not flee such wickedness (John 10:5; 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Timothy 2:20-21; 3:5; Hebrews 12:14; 13:13).
Someone might argue, "But, the Lord used Billy Graham [or some other false teacher] to bring me to Christ." This too is a lie, because false teachers, like those mentioned at the beginning of this article, are,
III. Wells Without Water
Speaking of false teachers, Peter wrote,
These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. (2 Peter 2:17)
Peter calls false teachers "wells without water." Jude says they are "clouds without water" (Jude 12). What does this mean?
In the Scriptures, water is used to speak of the Spirit of truth (i.e. the Holy Spirit, John 7:37-39; 14:15-18; 15:26; 16:13), God (Jeremiah 2:13/17:13), and salvation (Isaiah 55:1; Psalm 36:9; John 4:10-14; Revelation 7:17; 21:6; 22:1,17). Therefore, if false teachers are without this water, they do not have the Holy Spirit (like in Jude 19). They are without God (2 John 9), and do not have salvation (2 Peter 2:3, 12-14, 17; Jude 4, 11, 13). As 1 Timothy 6:5 says, they are "destitute of the truth" and know "nothing."
The Lord calls them "wells" and "clouds." A well is a hole in the ground that is supposed to have water, or gives the appearance that it would have water. A cloud likewise gives the appearance that it carries moisture. Yet, a well or a cloud without water gives a false impression, and false teachers do this well. They fool the masses into thinking God is using them to bring people to Christ, but it is all a Satanic facade (as in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). They have no water. They have no truth (truth mixed with lies = deceit and no truth), no salvation, and no Holy Spirit. Thus, they do nothing but deceive people. They are as Jesus said,
blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch. (Matthew 15:14).
Jesus also said,
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10a)
This statement is made in the context of "thieves and robbers" (John 10:1, 8). It is not speaking solely of Satan, but rather his ministers as well (2 Corinthians 11:15; John 10:1). It lets us know the sole purpose of these charlatans, and that is to deceive (to steal, kill, and destroy). They steal using "great swelling words of emptiness" (2 Peter 2:18). They kill by being used by the devil (1 Peter 5:8) to divert people away from the words of life (Proverbs 4:20-22; 14:12; 18:21; Philippians 2:16). And they destroy with their "destructive heresies" (2 Peter 2:1). They may not be aware of the depth of their own evil (e.g. John 16:2-3; 2 Timothy 3:13), but they are nonetheless "like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed" (2 Peter 2:12); and they do destroy others.
If the Lord were to use a false teacher for some good, it would be in spite of him, not because of him. As the Lord used Balaam the false prophet to bless Israel (Numbers 22-24), it was not because Balaam was a godly man or one who lead people to God (Numbers 25:1-9; 31:16; 2 Peter 2:15-16). It was simply because God turned the curse into a blessing (Deuteronomy 23:5; Nehemiah 13:2). Scripture does not teach that the Lord uses false teachers to lead people to Christ. On the contrary, the Word teaches that God uses false teachers to lead people away from Christ (Psalm 118:22-24; Romans 11:36; 1 Peter 2:7).
False teachers falsely boast of giving the gospel to people. But they are like the one mentioned in Proverbs 25:14.
Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain.
They are clouds and wells without water, a dry disappointment.
If you are going to "draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3), you need to go where the water is to be found (John 4:10, 13-14). It is not found with the likes of the men mentioned above. It is not found in the myriad of false churches and ministries. It is found in the pages of the Word of God (1 Peter 1:22-23; Hebrews 4:12-13; Revelation 19:13). Fear God (Luke 12:4-5), cry out (Proverbs 2:3), weep (James 4:9), and seek for understanding (Proverbs 2:4) like there is no tomorrow, because for most, there is no tomorrow (Psalm 9:17; 92:7; Proverbs 1:24-32; Matthew 7:13-14).
Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24, see also What Must I Do To Be Saved?)
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