Try doing a poll on religious beliefs by asking the following question: “To you, who is Jesus Christ?” Now that can be an excellent question if you are trying to witness to someone. However, to gather opinions on who people believe Christ is, that can be very revealing.
The Barna Research Group did a study on the “5 Popular Beliefs About Jesus,” and the findings while somewhat encouraging, overall they are quite disturbing. The encouraging part is 92% of Americans believe Jesus was a real person. However, barely half of adults believe Jesus was God. The most disturbing finding is that 52% of adults believe that Jesus committed sins like other people. Many Americans believe they will go to heaven because of their good deeds.
How is it that a nation founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ has come to a point where half of the country believes in a false Jesus? Sadly, this phenomenon is nothing new. The church has dealt with false teachings from its beginning:
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
Too many preachers, Sunday school classes, and bible study groups give their opinion of what the Bible says. Here’s a news flash for all of us: we do not get to determine the meaning of Scripture. We must discover its meaning and then determine how it applies to our lives. To be perfectly blunt, I don’t really care what someone’s opinion is of the Bible as a whole or a particular verse.
The reason America has found itself in this mess is because of all the false doctrines being taught by false teachers. Not all preachers are alike, and many are not called by God to shepherd a flock. This too is not peculiar to our times. The Apostle Paul continues:
“But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)
I remember my youngest daughter Becky telling me about a time she visited a new and growing church. She said the people were very welcoming, the music time was excellent, but something was missing. About half way through the pastor’s sermon she realized what it was. The pastor never had the flock open their Bibles, nor did he quote Scripture.
If you are in a church like that, might I strongly suggest you leave immediately?
There are some arguments against doctrine. I cannot tell you how many people tell me they get tired of all the doctrine taught in churches. They’re tired of it because they are looking for a motivational speaker and not a preacher of the gospel. The sad news is the former is in great abundance across America, while the former is steadily declining.
Ministers of the gospel are given a huge responsibility when it comes to doctrine and are not allowed to disregard it. A great responsibility is placed on preachers and teachers of the word:
“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:13-16)
If America is going to be saved from its current downslide, it won’t happen by electing a president. It will come through revival sweeping through the churches across America. However, revival will not come if false teachers are teaching false doctrines, and introducing another Jesus. Jesus already told us who He is. I leave you with His words.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers