abandoning, Age of Confusion, another gospel, apostates, Church Age, defecting, End of the Age, higher criticism, para-biblical literature, perversion, philosophies of men, rejecting, theological systems
I am surprised and astonished that you are so quickly turning renegade and deserting Him Who invited and called you by the grace (unmerited favor) of Christ (the Messiah) [and that you are transferring your allegiance] to a different [even an opposition] gospel. Not that there is [or could be] any other [genuine Gospel], but there are [obviously] some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you [with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel] and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) [into something which it absolutely is not]. ~ Galatians 1:6-7, AMP
As the CHURCH Age draws to a close, the “Age of Confusion”—the time when Christians are mixed up about what the Holy Bible really teaches (the time when believers are confused, or lack stability, about the exact meaning and intent of much of the Holy Bible)—is growing by leaps and bounds. Scriptures depict the Age of Confusion as being both the time of the Tower of Babel, when God confused the people with different languages (cf. Genesis 11:1-9), and the end of the Age—the end of the CHURCH Age or Age of Grace (cf. Matthew 24:4-14; also see Daniel 12:4 and Amos 8:11-12).
Where the last days or end of the CHURCH Age is concerned, the Holy Bible repeatedly refers to the overlapping, swiftly spreading “Age of Confusion” as the time of great falling away (apostasy)—an abandoning, defecting, rebelling, rejecting, and/or turning away from what professed Christians once believed about biblical Truths, Principles, Faith, God, and Christ (cf. Matthew 24:10, 12; Galatians 1:6-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 11; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Hebrews 6:4-8; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 2 Peter 3:17; Jude 1:1-25, etc.). Indeed, the 21st century is the “Age of Confusion”—a time of not only apostasy but also a time when the Holy Bible is being questioned and abused by pastors and/or theologians who are using so-called “higher criticism” to determine the mind of God, and a time when the actual biblical Scriptures are being used to prove erroneous theological systems (faulty belief systems).
One of the major reasons why so many Christians lack stability in their belief systems (why they are so confused) to the point that they are falling away from biblical Truths, Principles, Faith, God, and Christ is primarily because false teachers have infiltrated the church, bringing with them “another gospel” (teachings that are about a different kind of gospel—teachings that primarily affect/change who Christ is or how people relate to Him, as well as teachings that distort God’s Grace by subtracting or adding work. Thus, this “another gospel” is nothing more than a mixing of Divine Truth with error—an admixture of the Holy Bible AND para-biblical literature. Para-biblical literature is a literary genre that pertains to literature that paraphrases and/or supplements the canonical Scriptures (the Holy Bible), like, the teachings and theological persuasions found in the commentaries, philosophies, or explanatory translations of the Holy Bible that theologians use in Bible Colleges, Theological Seminaries, and Divinity Schools’ classrooms.
A very good question to ask at this point is: How has this admixture happened? It has happened primarily because most of today’s churches will not allow a man or woman of God to become their senior pastor, youth pastor, Christian education director, worship leader, and so on, if that person has not graduated from a Bible College, Theological Seminary, or Divinity School, preferably with degrees such as M.Div., Th.D., Ph.D., or D.Min. Moreover, this aforementioned admixture of the Holy Bible and para-biblical literature is exacerbated when Bible Colleges, Theological Seminaries, and Divinity Schools’ faculty treat Christianity (God’s salvation plan) like “a major religion” that MUST be educational in nature.
Thus, another reason why Christians have come to be so confused today is the fact that many, if not most, of modern-day professors who teach biblical and/or religious studies believe that holy Scriptures can be understood best when “religious” leaders take into consideration the truths that the philosophies of men/women impart, which means ministry and Bible students, for example, are expected to go beyond the written Word of God to external or secondary sources for their biblical/historical information and spiritual understandings. For sure, if Bible Colleges, Theological Seminaries, and Divinity Schools did not require their ministry and Bible students to study ancient and/or modern-day para-biblical literature, then maybe today’s pulpit preachers, Sunday School teachers, church youth leaders, church worship leaders, and so on, would not be bewildering their congregations with the information and understandings they (these so-called “spiritual” leaders) have gotten from the external or secondary sources and resources they absolutely have come to rely on and believe in for their ability to not only illuminate but also corroborate what the Holy Bible (the mind of God) teaches as Divine Truth.
The problem with requiring men and women “called” by God to minister to God’s children to first receive one or more of the above-stated degrees from one or more of the above-stated institutions of higher learning is that obtaining knowledge and understanding of the Holy Bible via para-biblical literature does not mean that the persons who have acquired such knowledge and understanding are now spiritually mature. Furthermore, without the aid of the Holy Spirit (spiritual discernment), it is difficult for some clergy and lay members (the church’s hiring committee) to determine if their prospective ministry or Bible graduate is saved, and perhaps some could care less.
Be that as it may, the point here is that it is very possible that another reason why today’s believers are confused about the exact meaning and intent of much of the Holy Bible is because, either somewhere between their seminary training and their weekly pulpit sermons, or sometime after they accept a pastorship, many of the trained men and women who become pastors, Bible teachers, Christian Education directors, youth leaders, worship leaders, and so forth, have accepted the false doctrines they were taught (or exposed to), and they in turn slowly but intentionally begin passing off these accepted false doctrines to their congregations as Divine Truths. In other words, they mixed the accepted traditional true Gospel Truths with false doctrines, either because they (the pastors, etc.,) were never saved when they were hired as a church’s pastor, or because they fell away from the faith after they became pulpit pastors. In either case, the sad truth is that many of these individuals do not stop claiming to be teaching the true Gospel!
Read “From Fundamentalist Evangelical to Agnostic Atheist” by Ken Pulliam. Certainly, the writer of this article proves that the 21st century is the “Age of Confusion”—a time of not only apostasy, for he falls away from the faith, but also a time when the Holy Bible is being questioned and abused by pastors and/or theologians who are using so-called “higher criticism” to determine the mind of God, as Mr. Pulliam confesses that he studied “every book and article on PSA” (penal substitutionary atonement) that he could find to determine if the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement was true. The end result of his studies was that none of the para-biblical writings could change his mind about it being evident to him that it is both “unjust to punish an innocent man” and wrong for a “righteous and holy Judge of the Universe [to] accept that punishment as the means by which his wrath against sin is propitiated.” Consequently, he could not preach and teach what he no longer believed was true. Thus, his article also proves what the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy about last days’ individuals who are “…forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth” (2 Timothy 3:7b, AMP). Personally, this blog’s writer believes Apostle Paul’s description is not limited to one gender. Lastly, Mr. Pulliam’s article proves that the “Age of Confusion” is a time when the actual biblical Scriptures are used to prove erroneous theological systems (faulty belief systems).
Now, traditionally speaking, theologians who end up teaching para-biblical literature, as well as those theologians who produced the para-biblical literature that said ministry and Bible students now are studying, had to have experienced a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship. In other words, God must inspire theology. Theology, therefore, cannot be the word of a human being, for theology ALWAYS must be the Word given by the Holy Spirit and pronounced by human lips. However, contemporary Academic Theology is based on philosophy and traditions of men and women, and not on the Holy Bible, which the Holy Spirit teaches. As a result, some studies on today’s theologians who are teaching in Bible Colleges, Theological Seminaries, and/or Divinity Schools have pointed out that too many theologians are NOT born again—they are not saved; they are not Christians—so it is more than likely that the Holy Spirit has not and is not giving unsaved theologians any spiritual wisdom about the Holy Bible’s Divine Truths.
Moreover, it is evident that too many of today’s pastors and other spiritual leaders have received their degrees from institutions where they have been required to study books, articles, etcetera, that have been written not only by saved theologians but also by theologians who were/are atheists, agnostics, or apostates, and these para-biblical works by some misguided saved theologians or by those theologians who were/are atheists, agnostics, or apostates often not only are presented as factual, historical, and scientific, but also as Divine Truths! Read “The Pastor’s Secret: What happens when preachers don’t believe?” Also click on the link with in this article to read the original research done on this subject.
The end result of pastors being exposed to para-biblical literature while they were attending a Bible college, or a Theological Seminary, or a Divinity school is that the visible church of the 21st century has believing and non-believing “spiritual” leaders who have adopted without reservations many false teachings and theological persuasions that are confusing believers, both those standing in the pulpits and also those sitting on the pews. A few of those false teachings and theological persuasions include those that have: either stated that the people who died in the Age of Grace without accepting Christ can get out of Hell, or declared that the spiritual gifts of the first-century apostles have ceased, or claimed that both God and Satan do not exist, or suggested that Christ took on the nature of Satan while He was on the Cross and took on the sins of the world, or alleged that Satan tortured Jesus while He was in Hell, or maintained that divorce is okay as long as it is for reasons of fornication and/or happiness, or asserted that there are many roads/paths to Heaven, and so forth.
However, this confusion about what the exact meaning and intent of much of the Scriptures began in the first-century church. For example, the Apostle Paul had to make the Galatian believers understand that there is no other gospel, only the Gospel he preached to them and they received (cf. Galatians 1:6-7; also see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; and Colossians 2:8). The apostle makes it clear that he knows that there are professing Christians who are presenting their ideas as gospel to other Christian Galatians; however, the Apostle Paul wants these other Christian Galatians to know that the ideas these so-called professing Christians are promoting are perversions of the true Gospel’s Divine Truths—perversions perpetrated by people who are trying to cause confusion in the Galatian churches that ultimately would lead to believers turning away from God.
For this reason, Apostle Paul advises the believers in the churches of Galatia that they must give rigorous attention to doctrinal clarity, and that they also must remain faithful to the true Gospel the apostle taught, if they are to have any hope of being able to avoid losing their faith, or have any hope of being able to avoid permanently falling away from their faith (apostasy). This advice, thus, is useful for modern-day believers, as well!