April 23, 2014
We now live in a culture where people are flocking to churches that teach people what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). I would guess many of the preachers of these churches are very well aware of this, and bank on it. They deliver messages that satisfy people's itching ears, in return they get more people to attend their church, more money, and more reputation. I've seen snippets of the tv show "Preachers of LA", and I was disgusted. It seemed the only thing these preachers were concerned about was the appearance, the glam, the money. Although these people may not be sincere in what they preach, as they are not preaching for the glory of God, but for the glory of themselves, we must remember that God still uses His Word even from the most abrasive of people. Most of their teachings may be heresy, yes, but they are still proclaiming Christ and the Gospel.
What am I getting at? In referencing Philippians 1, Paul is in prison and in this particular section is writing concerning those who are preaching the Gospel for their own gain. These people were jealous of Paul's reputation from the Gospel, and since Paul was in prison, they preached this message to gain reputation for themselves. Instead of dismissing these people and their message, he simply states "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice" (v.18) Paul didn't care about these men's motives for spreading the Gospel (for they will answer for that themselves on judgment day), nor did he give any instructions to shut them up or shut them out. No, he rejoiced because the Gospel was still being proclaimed. This is something to take into account when considering the vast amount of people out there who are in it for no other reasons then themselves.
Most of us may think of popular tv preachers. Are these men sincere in their message? Perhaps not. Are they only in it for the money? Probably. Are they still proclaiming Christ? Yes. Now this isn't to excuse all the heresy that may follow in their teachings, but the simple fact that they are proclaiming the Gospel, that we need to rejoice in. Has anyone ever gotten saved at a Steven Furtick service or any of the prosperity gospel teacher's service who happen to ironically share the true gospel? I am sure of it. Will that person continue to grow in Christ if he stays in that church, most definitely not. I am also reminded of a conversation I had with a friend who was recently saved. He started reading a book called "23 Minutes in Hell". He asked me my thoughts, and I gave him all the biblical reasons on why I believed that book to be heresy. But being a new believer, he was enthralled in that book, and God perhaps was still using it to bring him closer to Himself. Ironically, even the author put this quote on the back of his book, "Even if you don't believe my story, I hope you will believe the Scriptures and avoid hell just the same." So whether or not this man's story is true or not, he still proclaimed Christ as the Messiah, and for that we must rejoice, as that may lead someone to Christ.
I must also clarify that of which I mean by proclaiming Christ. I am speaking of those who claim Jesus Christ as part of the Trinity to be the only way to heaven by faith alone. I am not speaking of a generic "Christ is the Messiah" as not to be confused with Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, etc., as these people are not necessarily heretics by purposeful means, but because they are deceived. I am speaking of people who proclaim the truth of the Gospel and use it for their own glory. I am also in no way condoning Steven Furtick's ministry, or any other prosperity teacher, or heretic out there. But one thing I must give them is that they give the Gospel to the world, and God uses that. The intentions of their heart will be dealt with before the throne of God, and for that we must pray for.