Mat 23:23-24 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (24) You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
I have seen a very common pattern of how the wicked disguise themselves as fine saints, eminent examples of holiness, shepherds who we must go to in order to be fed, etc. It is so common in fact that I can issue this warning:
When a professing Christian, a supposed pastor, a church leader or theologian type writes lengthy articles filled with detail, evidences an academic air focusing on debate to prove their own theological point, beware. The devil himself is quite a theologian. He is quite capable, as are his servants, of writing intricate and convincing theological tomes that will receive praise and recognition from those who admire a form of godliness without the power.
For example, we saw in the past couple of years the wicked support of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA) of their up and coming star, Tom Chantry. Their support of him was evil because they covered up his crimes of child molestation while he was a pastor in one of their churches. They still want to defend him even though he is now convicted and serving a long prison sentence.
I point to Chantry as an example because he could, they say, “really preach a wonderful sermon.” In addition, he wrote articles that were gobbled up by people whose religion seems to consist of small points which they blow up into supposedly vital doctrinal positions. The mint and dill and cumin tithing stuff Jesus spoke of. All the while, sitting around in their parlors, mixing it up with the big names in their circles, they completely ignore the heart of the gospel – justice, mercy and faithfulness.
I came across another example recently. A big name in Presbyterian circles for many years, a virtual factory of theological position papers, an apparent champion of truth to whom many flocked for “answers.” His ministry was in fact devoid of mercy. Still he was acclaimed by many and endorsed by even bigger names than his in Christian circles.
Well, guess what? It turns out that he was a wicked, evil, and even criminal man who, behind the scenes, was using the flock for his own wolfish appetites.
Some of you may be able to describe the pattern I am speaking of more clearly than I am able to and I welcome your insights. What I am trying to put before you with clarity is that when we see someone who focuses their “Christianity” on debating and arguing for intricate details of theology and Bible doctrine, who crank out papers for the academics to applaud, but whose life and ministry is a void of the real application of biblical truth, lacking the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a hunger for justice for the oppressed, then you can know that you are seeing a person who does not know Christ and is out to enslave Christ’s people.
STOP exalting and promoting these people! To do so is to be duped by them and play right into the strategems of the devil.