Facing the Modern Deceivers

by John MacArthur

When I was a boy, I remember my mother looking for products with the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. It was a standard she could trust in a sea of conflicting advertising claims.

Now every major television news program and MOBT newspapers have a staff—to protect the public from false claims and faulty products.

But what about the fraud in the religious marketplace? What is the standard that will expose the damaging and deceptive claims of some media preachers and teachers?

Questionable spiritual products are being sold daily to millions of unwitting people whose understanding of God and divine truth is at stake. For some, their eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

I'd like to explain some of the error that is being spread by television and radio across the world. Since a constant flood of deceptive teaching comes from media preachers, I feel I need to react publicly.

A few of the most widely heard teachers have been guilty of scandalous conduct—including immorality and unabashed materialism.

That kind of behavior grows out of bad theology. But it all begins with a denial of the basic standard—the sufficiency and authority of the Word of God.

As you know, biblical Christianity has always been based on the conviction that the Scriptures, rightly interpreted, are the ultimate and only standard for all spiritual truth. The only source for sound doctrine is the Bible.

Sadly, many of the higher profile media preachers don't understand the basic rules that govern the interpretation of Scripture. Because they cannot or will not let the Bible speak for itself, they become victims of their subjectivity.

As a result, they develop a mystical, non-rational approach to Scripture that is based on mindless feelings, self-authenticating emotions, and vivid imagination.

These teachers have never made a commitment to study the Word of God carefully and limit themselves to what it teaches. They lack the tools and do not understand the methodology for properly interpreting the Bible.

This is not an innocent misunderstanding of Scripture. It is sheer mysticism—pointing beyond the rational, beyond the Bible, beyond the doctrine that has guided Christians for centuries. Many of these men even claim to get revelations directly from God.

What these teachers say about God's nature and man's nature will alarm you. One prominent teacher says, "You don't have a God in you; you are a god."

Their view of sin—even the doctrine of justification—is not what the Bible teaches.

The result of all this is a new wave of error pumped out in the name of Christianity. My prayer is that Bible-believing Christians would be informed, counter this error, and support those ministries that stand faithfully for biblical exposition. Only a ministry based on the sufficiency and authority of the Word of God is worth your interest, prayer, and support.


Taken from a public letter


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