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How God Even Uses Heretics!
I was getting a bit upset recently regarding the explosion of heretics in recent months. For example, there was Mormon Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor Rally” in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. back this past August 2010 (see my note below within the comments section of this post to see just a few of the outlandish and horrific heresies taught by Mormonism). Beck clearly stated that this event was “not political” and he even proposed that it was a “new Great Awakening” (but only in a weird Mormon sense, of course). He even introduced his new “Black Robe Brigade” of apostate preachers (mixed also with a few Jewish and Muslim clergy). It would have been far more honest to entitled it, “The Parade of Heretics Rally” given the bizarre doctrines that were subtly promulgated there (read also here, and here).
A couple of friends and I had an email discussion about some of these things over a few days, and we were all praying. Quite frankly, like any true Christian believers should be, we were quite concerned. We already had Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Kenneth Copeland (whose third and current wife, Gloria, spoke at Beck’s August 27th, 2010 Kennedy Center event), and many other heretics out there pimping their poison to gullible people, but now a Mormon has become a new “spiritual leader” in America? (Perhaps Gloria Copeland thinks so, but not me.) Needless to say, we have been very vexed about these things within our own hearts.
However, a wonderful thing happened…
The Spirit of God seemed to lead me one afternoon to pick up a binder wherein I have a collection of books by John Bunyan (1628-1688 A.D.). Most people know Bunyan as the author of the second-best-selling-book of ALL TIME, Pilgrim’s Progress (the first being the Bible). John was also a faithful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ who had been refined in the fires of persecution. In fact, it was within a jail cell that he wrote that beloved masterpiece of literature.
Bunyan was also a very skilled minister of the Word of God, and should be far more well-known for his marvelous theological writings (all of which you can download here) than he currently is in some circles today. Though not formally educated as a theologian, he surpassed in biblical wisdom exponentially beyond most of the theologians of his time (and even many of those today).
Within Bunyan’s A Vindication of Gospel Truths Opened, written circa 1656, I discovered both comfort and insight into what is going on today. Having meditated those truths for over a week now, in the light of additional Scripture, I have written this article with the expectation that it will encourage you also.
In short, God has a plan for heretics — and a TRUE revival will soon emerge as righteous preachers arise in God’s wisdom and power to confront them, and to preach His Eternal Truth.
Strange, But True
As strange as it may seem, God has His sovereign purposes regarding heretics and their heresies. When we consider the various instances of evil people being used by God unawares within Scripture, it becomes easy to see that this is true. For example, the Bible indicates that the Lord foretold and used the devices of the heinous traitor, Judas Iscariot, towards our redemption (note especially John chapter 13 and Acts 1:15-20); and that the wicked stubbornness of Pharaoh of Egypt served God’s purpose when he was confronted by Moses (see Exodus chapter 9 and Romans 9:16-18). Thus, in a very similar manner, heretics and their demonic doctrines fit into a special place within God’s unfolding plan — although the “reward” for their vile labors will be nothing short of severe divine judgment for their wickedness (unless they repent), just as Judas and Pharaoh eventually discovered.
I will explain these truths from God’s Word that my readers may have that eternally firm foundation for their understanding of such things; and I will tie in what Bunyan wrote about these matters as I do.
Pawns In God’s Plan
In the most startling example of God’s using the wicked for His sovereign plans is regarding satan himself. (Note: I purposely do not capitalize the devil’s name, out of sheer disdain of him). The Bible explains:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:7-8, NKJV, emphasis added).
The “rulers of this age” mentioned in the passage above are the wicked spirits that oppress and influence mankind (i.e. satan and his evil-spirit cohorts). This fact is brought out more clearly when we compare the above passage with Ephesians 6:10-13:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (NIV, emphasis added)
So in the 1 Corinthians citation above, Paul is telling us that if satan had ever possessed even a “clue” as to what God was going to accomplish in redeeming mankind on the Cross of Calvary, he would have never lifted his murderous hand against the Lord Jesus Christ.
Likewise, we can be sure that if heretics today had any idea what terrible judgment awaits them for their demonic doctrines, they would themselves have second thoughts about the arrogant paths they so greedily pursue.
Another intriguing passage of Scripture regarding how God will use the wicked for His sovereign plans is found in 1 Kings, chapter 22 (NIV, emphasis added):
Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the [false] prophets [of Baal] prophesying before them. Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the LORD says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’ “
All the other [false] prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”…
Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’ “…
Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD : I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’
” ‘By what means?’ the LORD asked.
” ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.
” ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’
“So now the LORD has put [i.e. allowed] a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.” (clarifying statements in brackets and emphasis added)
The Lord had already judged and condemned King Ahab to death for all his violent iniquity and many blatant sins (see 1 Kings 21) — many of which had been instigated by his wife, Jezebel (see 1 Kings 16:31; 21:25). Now He permitted an evil “lying” spirit to fill the “mouths” of Ahab’s prophets in order to lead him to his doom.
In a shockingly similar way, the Lord uses lying “heretic” spirits (through the false prophets/heretics who succumb to them) and their “doctrines of demons” to test people, and to lead those who fail those tests into judgment:
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams [i.e. a heretic], and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, NKJV, emphasis and note added)
God actually said He might test His people by using a false prophet (i.e. a heretic, please note 2 Peter 2:1 and 1 John 4:1). In fact, when one considers just the few examples I have used within this article already, it is clear that the wicked are merely objects of His creation which have fallen perversely from His original design:
The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. (Proverbs 16:4, NKJV)
Pawns…But NOT Willing Servants
However, let me be clear that God does not MAKE these people evil, nor does He encourage them to perform their wickedness. In fact, the passages above (and many we are using in this article) make it VERY clear that God fully intends to bring disaster upon their heads for their wickedness (unless they repent). In Deuteronomy 13 above, for example, He said that the false prophet was being used by Him to test His Own people…but that they should pass the test by stoning the false prophet to death, “Because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God.” He then emphasized that they must do this, “So you shall put away the evil from your midst.”
Again, the Lord is NOT in the temptation or heresy business, but ONLY in the truth business:
Blessed is the man who endures temptation [including the assaults made by heretics]; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. (James 1:12-18, NKJV, emphasis and notes added)
The Bible is quite clear that false prophets and teachers (i.e. heretics), traitors (like Judas Iscariot), even the Anti-Christ himself, are products of their OWN making, but ALL are also unwilling participants in His amazing plan:
On their parts, these people are motivated by their own pride, lust, and self-deceit. They seek power, fame, wealth, and even worship; but all to their own destruction.
On God’s part, He is perfect in His foreknowledge (i.e. He is omniscient). Therefore, He knew what they would do before they were even born! He created time, and is not subject to it. God is also omnipotent (all-powerful) and can use ANY object of His creation as He sees fit. Thus, God sees the “end from the beginning” and uses EVERYTHING for His Own perfect plan on behalf His foreknown elect (i.e. truly born again Christians, see Romans 8:28-40).
We can understand, therefore, that these vile miscreants are NOT willing servants of the Lord (though sometimes they do falsely claim divine inspiration and authority). They actually serve Him inadvertently and unawares as objects of His pending wrath (unless they repent).
In short, God is ultimately in control of His Own sovereign plan for His creation — though He permits many things to occur on their own accord, if they do not interfere with His sovereign plan; and especially if His saints do not call on Him to intervene through their prayers. That is why He tells His people things via Bible prophesy hundreds and thousands of years before they are fulfilled. He has full control over His sovereign plan, and the devil and his cohorts are only His reluctant servants whenever He chooses to manipulate them for His purposes.
But what are his purposes in so-using heretics? We will examine what the Bible says about THREE of the reasons for which God uses heretics to promote His good and sovereign will, namely:
To uproot the ‘tares’ from among the ‘wheat’;
To reveal the truly righteous Christians in contrast;
To judge those who “love and believe a lie” with their own error.
Before we get into those points, however, I need to explain another key biblical truth that will be very helpful in illuminating these issues.
It may come as a surprise to many, but NOT everyone who claims to be a Christian really is one. This fact was most clearly explained by Jesus Himself, as He warned:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV, emphasis added)
The Greek word translated “knew” underlined within the passage above is “ginōskō” (Strong’s # 1097). It means “to become acquainted with, to know, and perceive” (Source: Thayer). There are many who know “about” the Lord Jesus, but who have not experientially come to know Him through the new birth. In other words, they have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (2 Timothy chapter 3) because such people have never truly been transformed by being born again by God’s Spirit (i.e. saved). They may be “religious” but they are NOT children of God.
This class of unsaved false ‘Christians’ have been referred to by preachers throughout history by names such as “false converts,” “false professors,” “pretenders,” “counterfeits,” and even simply “hypocrites.” Jesus, however, used allegorical terms that compared the true Christians with the false. There are the “wheat” but also “tares” (Mat. 13:24-30, 36-43); “good fish” but also “bad fish” (Mat. 13:47-50); “sheep” but also “goats” (Mat. 25:31-46); “wise virgins” but also “foolish” ones (Mat. 25:1-13). That is why the Holy Spirit was so careful to explain through Paul:
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19, NKJV, emphasis added)
Today, it seems that many who claim to be Christians just cannot seem to “depart from iniquity” as they attempt to press forward within their Christian walks. While this is perplexing to them (and often others), the simple reason for their trouble is that many of these people are simply not “His” to begin with:
Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).
You know that He appeared in visible form and became Man to take away [upon Himself] sins, and in Him there is no sin [essentially and forever].
No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him--deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].
Boys (lads), let no one deceive and lead you astray. He who practices righteousness [who is upright, conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, living a consistently conscientious life] is righteous, even as He is righteous.
[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].
No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.
By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God's will in purpose, thought, and action] is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow believer in Christ). (1 John 3:4-10, AMP, emphasis added; but the bracketed words and parentheticals are in the original Amplified Bible text)
This fact that many who claim to be Christians are actually not, was well-known to the apostle Paul as well. That is why after confronting the terrible sins of the Corinthian church within his two letters to them (sins which were VERY similar to those being committed today in many Charismatic circles, I might add), he began to question the salvation of some people due to their lack of repentance. Thus, he wrote them by the Holy Spirit:
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you….
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged….
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 12:12:14, 20-21; 13:5, NIV, emphasis added)
(Note: To learn more about “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and “True and False Conversion,” click here and download the free English MP3 audio files, or here to watch informative videos online.)
Now, if at least some within our midst are NOT genuine Christians, then what is to be done to “weed out” the true from the false? Let’s begin our study of three of the reasons God uses heretics, and you will see that the first reason is for this very purpose:
Reason 1: To Uproot the Tares
Actually, Jesus answered that question above within his parable of The Wheat and the Tares:
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”…
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Mat. 13:24-30, 36-43, NKJV, emphasis added)
In the VERY Last Days, we can expect that the Lord Jesus will send His holy angels to DIRECTLY “remove the wicked from among the just.” However, the Greek word translated “angels” above is “aggelos” (Strong’s #32) and can be literally translated “messengers.” It is used at times in the NT to refer to human messengers, and not only to divine beings (e.g. Matthew 11:10; James 2:25).
So in the light of the Scriptures we have already examined — and those we yet will — we can understand that the Lord has used heretics (and even evil spirits) throughout history as His indirect “messengers” and “servants” to affect His Own sovereign plan. Again:
The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. (Proverbs 16:4, NKJV)
As we already learned, the Lord allowed an evil spirit to fill the “mouths” of Ahab’s false prophets to indirectly lead that wicked king to his doom. Consequently, He still indirectly uses false teachers and false prophets to lead the hypocrites out from among His holy people. (But, of course, He then brings a severe judgment upon unrepentant heretics due to their willful apostasy and infectious doctrines of demons.)
Thus, we again see a well-documented biblical truth: God uses the devil, and even heretics and false prophets, for His Own sovereign purposes — including, to weed out the false converts from among the true.
Preach The Word!
So as we have already discussed, WE are not authorized by God to try and “weed out” the false converts from out midst ourselves. As Jesus put it in Matthew 15:13-14 (NKJV, emphasis added):
He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Jesus tells us to NOT try and “uproot” the tares from among the wheat, for we would likely mess things up and accidentally “uproot some of the wheat with them.” Instead, we are “preach the word” and leave it to God Himself to uproot the tares (for only He knows which is truly which). Eventually, He will allow some false teachers to come along and entice the false converts to leave any church or group that teaches sound doctrine:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears aw
Hi Sgb, WOW, what a fantastic post, very inspirational and it obviously flowed into your Heart from the Lord and out to us,, i was really touched by this article, thank you, thanks for sharing your Heart with us, looking forward to more , Bless you Always, Bob.
Hi Bob, Bless you!
Bob, I don't want to mislead ANYBODY! I didn't "author" this article.
The credits were accidently deleted at the end of the article when I posted it! And I'm so sorry for that. Steven mentioned the url in his reply as to where to find the complete aricle. Steven always has our back! Smile!
But I'm glad you were blessed just like I was in reading it. Thank you so much!
Thank you Sgb, a great find either way,,, and yes Steven is a Blessing in many ways to many of us.
Enjoy your weekend Sgb !