“When the church doesn’t proclaim Christ in truth and power, people may listen but they don’t hear Him.” ~RC Sproul
Paul Crouch, of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), died Saturday, 30 November 2013. People who mention it usually express condolences and say nothing negative about him or his network. Even Billy Graham and Franklin Graham. This bothers me. Because if anyone is going to speak the truth, it ought to be Christians. And the Church. And it isn’t. I have found more truth in the newspaper than I have found in “Christian” publications.
Perhaps some “Christians” are hyper-Calvinists and believe “once saved, always saved”—that how a person lives does not affect how he dies or his eternal destiny. If there was no correlation, what would Judgement be about—exactly? Perhaps they are Catholic and put great store by church rites. I remember a priest who told a son two days before the funeral that his late father was okay because he had taken Mass Sunday. Perhaps some “Christians” didn’t know enough about Paul Crouch to make a judgement. Worse, they do not believe in judging others. The one Bible verse they do know is “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Perhaps they think a person should not speak evil of the dead, and they don’t believe too much in church discipline at all, though the Bible teaches it. Perhaps televangelists, with a bunker mentality, are afraid to speak evil of one of their own, lest all televangelism crumble like a house of cards—which it should do if it is bringing a reproach upon Christianity.
Many biblical scholars and commentators have long censured the prosperity gospel. Some have even named names. I have no problem with going after the theology of the televangelists and false teachers if you know what it is. Most sane persons know it’s heresy, but usually I have to wait for someone to tell me because I do not sit around and watch their telecasts enough to critique their theology, or even to know the names of some of the faces that appear on 24-hour TBN. I long ago gave up on televangelists and media ministries, but I do appreciate reporters with the doggedness to go after them.
The Apostle Paul says that “In the last days … men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemous … unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power. From such turn away” because they are “men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
In the last days, “some shall depart from the faith”—how can you depart from the faith unless you have once known the faith?—“giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1, 2).
Of all the bad, hypocritical things Paul Crouch was reported to have done—
illicit sex, substance abuse, fraud—the thing that bothered me most was his standing on stage, multiplied hundreds of time, tugging on people’s heartstrings and pursestrings, lying to the camera, to keep the money pouring in. Aren’t lying and deceit among the seven abominations God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19)? Doesn’t the Bible say, “All liars shall have their part in the lake of fire” (Revelation 21:8)? Why can’t we Christians be honest about that? The world has no problem being honest about Crouch’s deception.
The Apostle Jude says we “should earnestly contend for the faith” because “certain men have crept in unawares … ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). What is lasciviousness? Excess. How do they deny the Lord? Not with words, but with deeds.
Jude calls to our remembrance the fact that “the Lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not … The angels which kept not their first estate [fallen angels] … He has reserved in everlasting chains” for Judgement. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah … giving themselves to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal life. Likewise these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities … What they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 5-10).
Men or women with a materialistic mindset will inevitably be carnally-minded persons. Because they have set their affection on things below not on things above (cf Colossians 3:2). “To be carnally minded is death” (Romans 8:6).
Jude says “they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward” (Jude 11). What is their sin? “The love of money” (1 Timothy 6:10). They “walk after their own lusts … their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 16). “These are separate from believers, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19).
The Apostle Peter affirms Jude. He says that “as there were false prophets among the people, so there shall be false teachers among you,” bringing in “damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1). “Many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the Way of Truth shall be evil spoken of. Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2:2, 3).
“Presumptuous are they, self-willed … spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings … having eyes full of adultery, they cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls, a heart they have exercised with covetous practices … following the way of Balaam … who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2:10, 13-15). Avarice (greed or covetousness) is one of the Seven Deadly Sins (or Vices).
“They speak great swelling words of vanity [pride], they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness … While they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption” (2:18, 19).
What will become of them? They “shall utterly perish in their own corruption and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness” (2:12, 13). To them “is reserved the mist of darkness forever” (2:17).
It would have been better, Peter says, if they had never known the knowledge of Jesus Christ, than, having known, to turn away (2:21)—as did Judas, who betrayed Christ. For “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
It is sad when “Christians” will not speak out against televangelists and others who call themselves Christian but are maligning the Faith and bringing reproach on Christ and Christianity. Are we going to lie to the unsaved public, who themselves can see what he was, that Paul Crouch was okay when he was not okay? a “Christian” when he gave every evidence of not being one? “The time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).
“No one sets out to become an apostate—it’s never the result of one abrupt, drastic turn away from the Lord. Instead, apostasy is most often the product of a pattern of sinful compromises that harden and gradually steer a professing believer away from the truth.” ~John MacArthur
Copyright © 2013 Alexandra Lee