The Dangers of False Doctrines by Leslie Barrowcliff. 8/11/38.
Text: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received let him be accursed". Galatians 1: 8-9.
When God starts working, the devil starts working, too. It has been so ever since the Adversary fell when he rebelled against God and His Dominion. We see it in the Garden of Eden, in the beginning of man’s career. God worked and formed creation and made man in His Own likeness and put him in the Garden to tend and to keep it. And the devil, seeing all this done, started his anti-god campaign until today its tentacles spread like a poisonous octopus throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Eve was the first of the human race to fall into the devil’s snare, but her Seed has been the means whereby God’s Man has won the ascendancy over the tempter and destroyed him.
I suppose the serpent allowed itself to be used because it did not know the devil’s intentions, and by a trick Satan succeeded in causing Eve to follow his wicked ways. He told her a lie but it was baited with the truth! "Ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil". That was true. But the lie that was hidden was the suggestion that they would not die but, being as gods, would be as God Almighty, the only God they knew, and would, therefore, never die. The result of yielding to this temptation is well known. Eve did learn to know the difference between good and evil – as did also her husband, Adam – but she did not become God and have everlasting life – she died. And all who do as Eve has done, that is, yield to the wicked one’s words, suffer as she suffered and subsequently die. And the lie begun in the Garden of Eden is still spreading, still working, still deceiving men and women; still driving people into hell and marring the work of God’s saints. False doctrines abound on every hand and I am sure today sees these things in an abundance hitherto unknown.
It is even as Scripture warns us – perilous times shall come – deceiving spirits shall abound – doctrines of demons – doctrines of men- doctrines which are supposed to teach the way of life but are really doctrines of ****ation. But they are covered – they are hidden and people are bewitched and beguiled, deceived by them because of their coating of truth, which appeals, or because of their appeal to the carnal zeal and soulish desires of mankind. And Paul warns us against them. Oh what a warning it is! A twice pronounced curse of awful destruction, upon all who preach or teach or receive these things. He who teaches or preaches the false doctrines shall suffer for his sin and so shall those who hear and receive them. Not the preachers only but all who hear and receive their message of falsehood. "Take heed what ye hear". Mark 4:24.
And in view of the awful consequences attendant upon following false doctrines it is urgent upon us one and all to carefully consider all we hear lest we should receive error and be drawn away from the sweet simplicity which is in Christ Jesus. After all, the Gospel is simplicity itself. It is set out in a few words in Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians chapter 15 – see verses 3-8 – which include not only the Gospel in a nutshell but also an array of witnesses to bear testimony. It is a seeking after something outside this simplicity that causes people to go astray. Something supposedly new – or something sensational, when "there is nothing new under the sun" and sensations and simplicity are contradictory terms. However, the serpent, called the devil, has been quick to lay hold of these facts and in so doing has produced a myriad of doctrines so confusing and conflicting that he has caused many souls to stray and many saints to fall.
Oh for the simple Gospel story to ring out once again from every pulpit, rostrum and platform where Christ is supposed to be preached! We should soon see sinners converted and saints uplifted if the truth were ever proclaimed. It is the simple things that confound the wise, and the simple beauty of the Cross is the greatest confounder of human and devilish intellect that ever was known, yea, or ever shall be known. But men like to appear intellectual and wise. They wear big spectacles and look grim or grave to appear wise and strong but all their wisdom is foolishness with God Who alone is all wisdom, righteousness, and power yet loves to impart to the simple-hearted the deepest truths which are hidden from the worldly-wise. But the evil one has been busy and has succeeded in turning man’s intellect into channels of error and falsehood. And men’s wisdom is being preached instead of Christ.
It is impossible to preach Christ unless we know Christ. We must know Him as He really is before we can ever successfully preach the Gospel, for the Gospel is the testimony of Christ Who is the Gospel. And He is revealed to man through the Word of God. You may read books about the Bible – they may be exceedingly helpful to those who do not understand the Scriptures – but they may be, yea, many are – exceedingly dangerous. Infidels and anti-god people have written books about the Bible – filthy books. They are very glib at pronouncing the Bible filthy because their own minds are filthy and can see filth where no filth truly exists, but, in truth, their publications are filthiest of all. A child may be knocked into a mud-heap and soil his clothes and hands and face but he can get a wash and the experience do him no harm.
A man who labours every day in a job which is not clean, in a physical sense, can easily get rid of unwanted dirt by a wash or a bath, but the stinking filth and stenching rot that enters the minds of folk who read the balderdash denouncing the Bible in any form or title can never be removed so easily. In fact, its removal can only be effected through the Power of the Blood of Jesus shamefully trampled upon by such accursed people yea, they are accursed. But, you see, if the devil had simply used such people and such tactics to win his way he would have been found out, so he adopts more subtle means. He does not denounce the Bible altogether but shows man through his own supposed cleverness that people not quite so intelligent as he, have made blunders in the Scriptures and they are, therefore, no longer reliable. And men who profess and call themselves Christians are the guilty ones here and the Roman Catholic church heads the list.
I have a standard text book bearing the Papal imprint and used in Roman Catholic colleges which states quite shamelessly that it is not possible to depend on the rule of Scripture but it is absolutely safe, certain and sure to follow the rule of their church. In other words – the Bible, supposedly the foundation of the Roman Catholic church is uncertain – it fails – but the church composed of human beings who are not infallible, can never, never err! Such impudence! To have the audacity to declare the Holy Spirit errs, but these men do not! And the Bible is no longer the rule of Faith for the Roman Catholic church – they have something better they say – their Catechism – a man made creed. Thank God I’ve still got my Bible! And then we have the "Modernists" as they call themselves.
They are not modernists at all. They are as ancient as Adam and Eve. They throw doubt on God’s Word. Just as the devil did in his discourse with Eve. In the beginning they did not say the Bible was wrong but may be wrong but now they openly avow its supposed errors and glory in their professed exposures and revelations! Oh blind fools – hypocrites. And yet these self styled modernists who have vowed to defend the faith once delivered to the saints take money from the folk to tell them lies and to denounce the very foundation of the organisation whereby they get their living. What would my employers say if I denounced them to their customers? I’d get the sack and quick1y too! And those false teachers should be sacked – and the sooner the better. They are getting a living by false pretences. Pretending to preach the Word of God and yet actually attacking it.
Then we have other avenues of attack used by the devil.
Those folk who come along with stories of deeper revelation which cut the Bible to smithereens and re-cast it to their own dividing. "Oh no" they say, "we are not denying the Bible – we believe in it from cover to cover, only we have a new understanding – a deeper revelation". And to try and prove their diabolical lie is truth they twist the Scriptures, and squirm about words and tear the whole fabric to pieces, yet still maintain they are not attacking the Bible but rather upholding it. And all the time the sweet gospel story is left to take "pot luck". So we get all the sects that are extant today – Spiritism has several branches. One branch tacks on the name "Christian" and calls itself "Christian Spiritualist". Than a further company of misguided folk call themselves "Christian Scientists" and they are neither "Christians" nor "Scientists". And we could go on enumerating still further.
And upon all these the dreadful curse uttered by Paul, will surely rest. They are cursed. But the sweet simple story of our Saviour is the story we love to tell. We find no fancy fantasies, no theological theories to argue about and waste our time upon we have the Bible – we believe it all. We love the Bible and because we love it we read it every day. We do not know all the Bible but we do know Jesus and the Gospel concerning Him and we are satisfied to preach Him to all. Every sinner needs to be converted if he would enter Heaven and conversion is still required if sinners would be saved.
Conversion is not a mere change of mind – some folk change their mind several times a day! – but it is a complete renewal, even a new birth, a new beginning with new heart, new hope, new outlook, because within a new man dwells. The sinner no longer controls the man but Christ within, a living, vital power is the life now in charge. Old things have passed away, all things have become new and this alone constitutes Spiritual conversion. The man or woman who realises the awful condition of self and turns to God for deliverance from sin and shame will find that through the Cross of Christ the impossible is accomplished.
The sinner dies and his sin dies with him, but out of the death of the sinner thus dying there arises a new life, a new man, a saint of the most High God. He is without sin for the Blood of the Lamb of God has washed away his sins; he is without condemnation because God has justified him through the Resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord; he may evermore live to the honour and glory of his Heavenly Father by a continual subjection to the reckoning of death with Christ upon the Tree and an appropriation of his riches in the Living Redeemer. In Christ we have Eternal Life, in Christ all things are ours and all in Christ are secure and safe and none can pluck them out of God’s Hand. There is power to save in the Cross of Christ, there is power to keep and preserve, and the Gospel which has the Cross at its centre is God’s only way of Salvation to men, and all other ways are ways to destruction.
Let us avoid all teaching which excludes the Cross – avoid all doctrines which uplift the sinner by his own works and ways and let us hold fast to this glorious faith, believing God though the world deride and as we believe, God will revive us day by day until in Eternity we behold the wondrous works of God’s marvellous grace, the blessings of His inheritance in the saints of Light redeemed through the Blood of the Lamb.
Leslie Barrowcliff. 8/11/38.