Like many, I haven't heard the name John Oliver until this week. And, like many, I know about his segment he has done on the Prosperity Gospel. Judging by the way he approaches it and the language I use, I will guess he did this program from a Pagan perspective. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, then I will link it here (But be cautious, as he used foul language). To sum it up, he talks about the prosperity gospel and calls out men such as Creflo Dollar, Mike Murdock, Robert Tilton, and the Copelands.
Now here is the kicker: John Oliver did what the Church wouldn't do. The Biblical responsibility of the Church when it comes to false teachers is to, " Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." (Ephesians 5:11, ESV). We have failed in exposing them, and now even the World is noticing the astray and unbiblical teachings. The Church usually condemns those Biblical Ministries out there (Such as Fighting for the Faith, Justin Peters Ministries, and Pulpit and Pen) as being unloving and judgmental. It is truly a sad day when the World does the work of the Church.
John Oliver investigated to the best of his ability. He put together a 20 minute program to expose the prosperity gospel. Most people won't do a Google Search and tell a friend in conversations. I can't help but wonder if this is a case similar to Luke 19:40. God's Church would not expose his enemies, so he raised up a John Oliver to do it. God's own people would not rebuke and expose his enemies, so he had his other enemies do it.
What does the Bible teach about false teachers?
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep." (2 Peter 2:1-3, ESV)
I often hear of people such as Phil Johnson being called unloving for practicing Biblical Discernment (And let me be clear, John Oliver did not practice that. He was profane and he did not compare their teachings to scripture, but his unbiblical discernment is far better than the Church's Non-Discernment). If you are truly loving of False Teachers, you would want to warn them about the swift destruction and non-idle condemnation.
If you loved your God, you would make sure to be on guard against his enemies. Matthew 7:15 (ESV) says,
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."
The Bible could not be more clear that we are to keep on guard against false prophets and false teachers. The Church is not on guard. I say again, John Oliver did exactly the thing the Church refuses to do.
Brethren, I must urge you to practice the Biblical Discernment and call out those who preach another gospel. Not only does it harm the church, not only does it affirm heretics in their heresies, not only does it damage our witness before lost people like John Oliver who have noticed these things, but it brings reproach to the name of God. Husbands, imagine if someone went out and slandered you, said many false things about you, and told nasty, self-serving lies about you. Now your wife goes out and becomes friends with him, calls him all of these nice things, and says good things about him. Now imagine that your best friend decided to call out this person for slandering you and your wife labeled him as unloving and judgmental. Would you not be wounded? Likewise, wives, imagine if your husband became friends with the very people who gossiped about you for their own gain. Would you not be deeply hurt by such a thing? How much more should Christ when his bride, the Church, does so with those who slanders him? How much so when the Church condemn their members for practicing discernment?
In light of this, my heart's deepest desire is that this will serve as a wake-up call to the Church, my brothers and sisters, and that this will cause us to begin to follow the Biblical model for Christian discernment. I would urge you to avoid these heresies and expose them. It is past the time to do our job, brethren. Follow Paul's advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (ESV),
"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called 'knowledge,' for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you."
About the Author
Brandon C. Hines is a young writer from somewhere in northern Alabama who writes about Theology, Polemics, and Apologetics. His beliefs are best summarized by the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
You can search for various topics I have written about by going to Google and typing in a keyword, then typing site:Learningthepath.weebly.com after it.