Here is this week’s question:
“Dear Dave and Tom,
Could you guys take a second and address the issue of ministries that accuse other ministries of heresies. One in particular practically condemns a host of Christian leaders, and adds that anyone who regards them as godly men could not be saved. I talked to one of the pastors in that ministry and got nowhere. It would be great to hear you address ministries like this, and if you do it over the air, please let me know so I can make sure I tune in. Thanks so much.”
Tom: Dave, I went to the website and it’s pretty stunning. The title of the website is “A True Church” by Every Word of God. So there’s a list on this website of these names, and the names go on and on. It’s the reason he wrote to us. Let me give you some of the names on this list: we have Billy Graham, Rick Warren, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, John McArthur, Tony Evans, Greg Laurie, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith, Fred Price, J. Vernon McGee, Charles Blake, Chuck Swindoll, T.D. Jakes, David Jeremiah, Charles Spurgeon, Dave Hunt, David Cloud, and - it just goes on and on - Jack Hayford, Benny Hinn, Hank Hanegraaff, and Pope Paul, okay?
Dave: Well, it’s a mixed bag, Tom, because there are some on that list who would oppose what others in that list teach…
Dave: …so what is the common denominator? Why are all of these people being condemned?
Tom: Going to the website, it’s never given the particulars, so some of these names are highlighted so you can go to the particular individual and find out what their heresies, so called, are. But, Dave, here’s a concern: we’ve been accused of this from time to time… well, there’s nobody we like, or there’s nobody that we think is true to God’s Word, or whatever.
Dave: Yeah, as you read that list I’m wondering, Who’s left? It must be the person that wrote it.
Tom: Yeah. But what about this? There are individuals out there who are promoting some teachings that are heretical, that are - in some cases, it has to do with…maybe not doctrine, but an approach that’s not biblical and so on, to salvation. There are those who have a view of signs and wonders, of miracles, healing, you know, on and on. For our audience’s sake, what’s the way a person ought to go about this in terms of discernment?
Dave: Well, Tom, first of all, I would shut that webpage down because obviously it couldn’t be correct. I mean, they’re condemning everybody on all sides.
Tom: And anyone who follows them - I’m reading from the website - it says, “If you consider any of these men godly men…” Charles Spurgeon, you know? - “you are not saved.” Why? Because you are on the broad way. And then it lists Matthew:7:13, 2 Peter:2:2, 2 Timothy:4:3. “You have not the characteristics of Christ’s sheep (John:10:5), and men such as these are wells without water.”
Dave: Well, who do they recommend, Tom? Anybody?
Tom: I don’t know.
Dave: Yeah, well, first of all we have to go by the Bible, not by personalities or teachers. There are a number of the people on that list who do obviously teach false doctrine. It’s very clear false doctrine. For example, the word-faith people, whether it’s Kenneth Copeland or these people in that category, they deny that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. They say He had to sink into hell and there He was tortured by Satan, and that’s where our salvation comes from; that’s a false gospel. They teach a false gospel in many ways.
Tom: Robert Schuller is listed here - doctrine of self-esteem.
Dave: Yeah, that is a false gospel. Schuller says we shouldn’t tell people they’re sinners, that will discourage them; build up their self-esteem, and so forth. Schuller talks about - every religion is okay; he even calls Muslims Christians, etc. So that’s a false gospel, but I don’t know how specific these people get about these things. Now, I don’t know…
Tom: Well, you’re on here.
Dave: Yeah, for example, I don’t know…
Tom: I’m not on here, Dave, you are. [Laughs]
Tom: I don’t know if that’s good or not.
Dave: I don’t know why I would be included on there; I would like to know! I would like the specifics.
Tom: Well, Dave, although you’re listed, you can’t punch on your name or click on your name and find out what your problems are. But others, obviously they have much written about them. J. Vernon McGee? Wow! You know, what’s going on there?
Dave: I would be interested to know what they have to say about J. Vernon McGee. No, Tom, in fact, I wouldn’t be interested, because this is so bizarre, it’s so far-fetched, that we would be wasting our time even to consider what the man says. What we need to do is - we go by the Bible. I just gave the gospel: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. Obviously this person believes in falling away, that you can lose your faith. Anybody that believed any of these teachers are teaching sound doctrine couldn’t be saved.
Tom: That’s what they say in bold letters.
Dave: But supposing you’ve been saved for 20 years and then you were led astray by one of these false teachers, you became enamored with Charles Spurgeon, or whatever - and I have my disagreements with Charles Spurgeon. He did preach the gospel, but he was a Calvinist, and he went back and forth on that; he contradicted himself. But that doesn’t mean he’s not saved, of course he is, and that wouldn’t mean that those who follow him would not be Christians. If you were a Christian once and then you became enamored with the writings of Charles Spurgeon - we quote him a lot; we quote John McArthur…
Tom: We offer his books!
Dave: Right! Then you’ve lost your salvation - that’s obviously not biblical. So, Tom, I appreciate the concern of this man who has tried to reason with these people - apparently there are a number of pastors involved who teach this - but we’re not going to get anywhere with them; we’re not going to persuade them, because they have such extreme and unbiblical views. They themselves are unbiblical, even though there are some people on that list who are unbiblical. Nevertheless, they have included so many people who are true Christians who teach the truth that there wouldn’t be any point in trying to reason with these people.