R E M A R K A B L E ! !
There is within evangelicalism a hefty percentage of christians that have dedicated themselves to the eradication of false teachings and teachers. These people diligently attempt to convince others they alone have the truth and their audience can safely devote themselves to their perspectives. Their favorite target seems to be ‘word-faith’ people; charismatic/pentecostal adherents are also on their radar screen.
Motivating these heresy and heretic hunters is, to varying degrees of sincerity, a desire to protect the ‘purity of the word’ (the Bible). From their perspective every evangelical (and non-evangelical) religion, their own religion excepted, is infected with error, and they are determined to cleanse the body of Christ from their supposed faulty and dangerous perspectives. These spiritual vigilantes have done some good and much harm. The good is exposing error; the bad is undermining legitimate Bible truths while, at the same time, promoting their own faulty mindset.
Though they compare themselves to the “fair-minded” Bereans who dutifully “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things [taught by Paul] were so” (see Acts chapter 17), these (presumably) well-intentioned watchdogs are themselves infected by error, not fully of course. While fully aware of other religions’ shortcomings, they are, like all religionists, blind to their own. Seemingly, the bulk of these sentinels seem to be of baptist persuasion, or those having weighty commonality with baptists.
Not satisfied to expose error, these vigilantes, from their platforms provided by social media and tv programs, often publicly denounce the carriers of perceived error, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. The tactic of some is to ruthlessly misalign the messenger so people will shun their messages. Although Paul wrote: “Let two or three prophets speak, and the others judge”, they don’t want christians to judge for themselves; they will evaluate on their behalf. (Religionists always treat its people like children; that’s why evangelicals are so spiritually immature.) Many hours are spent probing the suspect’s past teachings until they (gleefully?) come across something contrary to their own convictions.
REMARKABLY, in many ways they contradict the Bible they suppose they are defending. Within their ranks are a number of ‘cessationists’. (Cessation: a temporary or complete stopping; a discontinuance.) They believe Jesus ceased doing the supernatural with the passing of the early apostles. They do not believe that Christ the Healer is still Christ the Healer. Their misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God has caused (not thousands but) millions to suffer needlessly and die prematurely. If you were to tell them Jesus miraculously healed you of a life-threatening ailment, they simply wouldn’t believe you. They do not believe in spiritual dreams and visions and prophecies; if you said the Lord Jesus gave you a vision of heaven or of the upcoming judgement seat of Christ or some future happening, they would not believe you. They do not believe in “praying in the Holy Spirit”; if you told them you daily pray in tongues (as I do) they might suspect demonic influence.
Not all in the ranks of heresy hunters are cessationists…. but those who aren’t may as well be. Almost never do their gatherings experience healings or deliverances or “signs and wonders” or the manifested gifts of the Holy Spirit. They may give mental assent to “speaking with tongues” but in fact none speak in tongues, not in church gatherings and not in private prayer at home.
It seems the Jesus they serve is a FARAWAY Jesus, relationally speaking. Evidence of this is in their rebuttals to (perceived) false teachings; they rarely speak of Jesus. Their goal is not to draw others from religion to Christ but from other religions to their (supposedly) superior religion. They do not speak “IN Christ”, “THROUGH Christ”, “WITH Christ”, “BY Christ” (as did Paul); an indication intimacy is lacking. Seemingly, their god is the Bible, not the Bible’s Author.
Often these vigilantes are schooled in psychology and heavily lean on the intellect for understanding God’s ways rather than the Holy Spirit who, Jesus said, “will guide you into all truth”. Seemingly, they have no propensity to “walk in the Spirit” and highly suspect the perspectives of those who do. This could be a simple explanation why baptists clash with pentecostals/charismatics.
REMARKABLY the baptist religionists actually have much in common with the ‘word-faith’ religionists they vehemently denounce. Both religions (like every religion) are seriously corrupted. Neither religion has similarity to New Testament precedence. Both have a distinctive list of “commandments of men” that they impose upon their trusting congregations. Religionists of both camps have little in common with Paul and other writers of the New Testament. Both parties have been severed into two parts, laymen and ministerial, the special and not-so-special. Both promote non-Biblical church membership. (“Is Christ divided?”) Both have non-Biblical salaried pastors. Both have non-Biblical board-of-elders. Both coerce their naive congregations to place ten percent of their salaries under their supervision and discretion.
I detect these vigilant vigilantes have made inroads into the christianity of my Facebook friends, including some whose Bible savvy surpasses mine. Sad. Harmful. REMARKABLE.