PREACH THE WORD MAGAZINE
Delivering sound doctrine to an unsound world
Vol.1, Issue 2 --- March 8, 2000
Contending for the Faith
an editorial by Joey Kelly
As a minister of the gospel I am troubled concerning the state of Christendom in these waning hours of the 20th century. Largely due to so-called Christian television, believers in Christ have been led astray, drawn aside unto fables and away from the saving grace of God. The Church both here in the West and throughout the Third World has begun to fall for another gospel. The apostle Paul said that there is in fact not another gospel, but there are ministers who, as the agents of Satan, have made it their business to pervert the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).
The mission of Preach The Word Magazine is to lift up the name of Jesus, declaring the truth of God’s Word and exposing whatever errors are currently being taught in the name of Jesus Christ. Contending for "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3) is not an easy job, nor is it ever a popular one, but it is both necessary and commanded by the Lord. Isaiah writes, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God" (Isaiah 58:1-2). The prophet goes on to tell us that in all of their religious activity the Jews had forgotten about God and His Word and the people that God wanted them to help.
Many churches, ministries and believers today have done the very same thing in that they have chosen to lay aside the fundamental teachings of the Bible in favor of the “prosperity message” or the “laughing revival” or some other popular false teaching. These backslidden Christians of today place more importance upon what they can get out of following God (their idea of God, not the Bible’s revelation of Him) than about doing works of righteousness. Just as in Isaiah’s day, these that follow the pop gospels forget that the whole idea behind Christ coming to this earth was to seek and to save the lost. Consider the following verses from this same chapter in Isaiah:
”Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).
This passage sounds just like what Jesus commanded of those that would follow Him — in fact, Christ quoted from this and other passages in the Old Testament time and again in his sermons and other exhortations. Even the rich young ruler was directed to sell all that he had and give to the poor.
The prosperity teachers essentially appeal to the greed that is in the heart of every man. We are constantly told that if we give $100, God will give us back “a hundredfold return”, or $10,000. We are asked to “plant a seed in this ministry”, never realizing that the words of Christ are being pulled out of context and (mis)used in an attempt to manipulate us and con us out of our money. Many times we are assured that the money will go to “the preaching of the gospel” but we never seem to awaken to the fact that this message of greed is the only gospel that they preach. Even when these charlatans mention doing something for hurting people it is usually connected to a television appeal for funds that is based upon a misapplication of scripture — for instance, giving “words of knowledge” about such-and-such an illness, then instructing the poor sufferer watching over television to give an offering in order to let God know he is “stepping out in faith” with regards to his “miracle”. Surely this is no different from the Roman Catholic Church’s old practice of selling indulgences.
I hope that the reader will understand that God does indeed heal the sick and perform miracles, and that He rewards true faith and certainly desires to prosper His children. The Bible tells us over and over again of the mighty power of the Lord to do all of these things, and even more. I personally have seen God perform many wonderful miracles in response to my faith and the faith of others in Haiti and other places that I have had the privilege of ministering in. This magazine will publish testimonies to the power of God from time to time about what God has done for hurting people. The Bible teaches believers to ask God for healing, miracles, words of wisdom and knowledge, etc., and I believe that as we continue to look to Jesus we will see even more of His wonder-working power in our lives and the lives of those we serve in His name.
Miracles are wonderful, and many times people need a miracle or some other answer from heaven. God grants them when we are sincere, but will never perform on cue whenever some false teacher uses scripture to extort money from an unsuspecting TV audience. We must always remember to take what we hear over television or from behind the pulpit and compare it to the Word of God, and whenever we discern that what is being taught is not in agreement with what the Bible says, we are to discard what is being taught (Isaiah 8:20).
God will never bless or “anoint” (another Biblical teaching that has been taken out of context) false doctrine, and He will never use false brethren to heal the sick or cast out devils or any such thing. Jesus made it clear in Matthew chapter 7 that those that engaged in ministry without getting to know the Lord and His word would not have a place in heaven.
I strongly urge anyone that has been listening to any of these false teachers to repent for doing so, and to begin to follow the Lord with a sincere heart. God’s Word is clear; all that remains is for the believer to obey what has been written.