The untamed tongue has the capability to be used as a destructive implement when left unchecked and given a platform of great power and influence over a certain social group or culture. Paul, when writing his epistle to Titus, addressed this very issue as he advised the churches of Crete regarding the men in their midst who were empty talkers and deceivers, corrupting the very truth that they claimed to teach.
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” -Titus 1:10-16
False teachers are prevalent in our culture, the same was true of the Cretan churches referred to in Titus, so this is nothing new. Throughout the history of mankind, there have always been men and women who are willing to rise up in rebellion against God, and against what Scripture commands. We cannot prevent this, this is merely the repetitive, unending evidence for the fallen state of mankind and the depravity of the human heart. But while we understand that we cannot necessarily prevent everyone who proclaims a false gospel from attempting to teach, it is the responsibility of the Church leaders, and the true believers in the body of Christ to refute and attempt to silence those who preach damning doctrines. We silence those who peddle falsehood by proclaiming the unadulterated Word of God, disproving their claims, and exposing the fabrication of a religious system that sets people apart from biblical doctrine and ultimately apart from God. In his commentary on Titus, John MacArthur writes this concerning false teachers within the Church:
“The greatest spiritual danger always comes from within the church. “Now I urge you, brethren,” Paul counseled the church at Rome, “keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting” (Rom. 16:17-18). Paul warned the Ephesian elders: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).
By definition, dissension comes from within a group. In the church, deceivers disguise themselves as believers and as true teachers of the gospel. At all costs and by every godly means, they are to be silenced. The danger of false gospels is so great that Paul said that even if he “or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).¹
Paul gives three main identifiers of the false teachers and one reason for why they were permeating the Cretan church at that time. They were insubordinate or rebellious, unwilling to submit to Scripture and to hold its truths as authoritative. They were empty talkers, individuals who were persuasive in speech and who implemented biblical phrases and terminology into their philosophies and ideas, passing off their religious musings as truth. Lastly, they were deceivers, substituting the desires of the world for the will of God, all the while promising their followers eternal life in heaven. Finally, the driving force behind the false teachers in Crete was the pursuit of shameful gain by way of their teaching. Shameful gain refers primarily to financial profit.¹
As I read through this passage in Titus 1, I was reminded of recent conversations that I have had regarding Hillsong. I believe that the Hillsong organization as a whole, when looked at and examined in light of what Scripture says, fits this model of the Cretan false teachers almost identically. But I want to look at Carl Lentz specifically, co-lead pastor alongside his wife Laura, of Hillsong NYC. Carl has proven unwilling to hold Scripture as authoritative in all areas of his life, and he has often demonstrated a lack of understanding in regards to Scripture and the truth which it contains. His smooth talk and theological looseness have gained him an immense following, he has denied a saving gospel through Jesus Christ alone, and by all appearances he does quite well for himself financially. Although I will lay out a case as to why I have come to this conclusion, I would encourage you not to just take my word for it, but rather, look into the accusations yourself and weigh what you find against Scripture. Man’s opinions, including my own, do not hold any weight unless they are substantiated by biblical truth.
That being said, Carl Lentz has refused over and over to take a stand for biblical truth, and while his intention by doing this is to not take any stance on certain issues, he is, in fact, taking a very clear stand on what he believes. It just so happens that the stand he takes is not in accordance with Scripture. He shows where his loyalty lies by doing this, and it is clear to the culture and to the people who pay his salary, not to God, not to Christ, and not to the inspired and inerrant Word given to us in Scripture.
There are a few things to observe here. One is that Lentz, again, by not taken a stand on homosexuality, has willfully compromised on what Scripture clearly teaches. But secondly we can look at what Scripture teaches about this particular sin (Rom. 1:18-32), or any sin for that matter (Gal. 6:7-8), and a life characterized by unrepentant sin is a life lived in rebellion to God. If sin is allowed to continue without repentance resulting from a saving faith in Christ alone, it will eventually result in eternal separation for God. So Lentz says that he takes a stand on love, but I would contend that he does no such thing. It is in no way loving to affirm sin, or to sit in silence in light of it, knowing that unless we turn from our sin we are condemned to eternity in hell.
His talk is empty, he merely presents a man centered ideology dotted with various biblical and religious terminology but fails to give any direct Scriptural support to back up what he believes and teaches. This man is a coward when it comes to proclaiming biblical sufficiency for our lives. In this next interview, Carl Lentz publicly endorses and praises recognized prosperity heretic Joel Olsteen on the Katie Curic show.
Next month, September 21st through the 23rd 2017, Bethel Church will be hosting a conference in Los Angeles, Ca. where Lentz will teach alongside other featured speakers, including high profile leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, Bill Johnson, Brian and Jenn Johnson, Kris Vallatton, and Lou Engle. I have addressed this group, and several leaders of the NAR in a previous post: https://handlingthewordoftruth.org/2017/07/12/the-new-apostolic-reformation-and-why-it-is-a-threat/.
This is a promo video for the event, and it is not only successful in keeping the purpose of the conference unclear, but is also seemingly puts the emphasis on an experience instead of on the glorification of God.
In contrast to the Heaven Come conference promo video, and to help put things in perspective as to what a God exalting, God glorifying, biblical based conference should look like, here is the promo video for the 2017 Shepherds Conference held in February and March earlier this year.
So we can see an obvious difference between the two promos, and likely there is a vast difference in what will be glorified at Heaven Come and what was glorified at the Shepherds Conference earlier this year. I’ll give you a hint, one of the themes was Soli Deo Gloria. There is a very apparent difference between the “Christianity” that Carl Lentz and those he associates with espouse, and the Christianity which the inspired Word of God proclaims. You can only have one or the other, so pick which one you want to stake your standard of truth in.
I would identify Carl Lentz as an apostate, however, in order to qualify as an apostate, you would have had to of been apart of Christianity in the first place. This man is a huckster selling a new age spin on the same old heresies that have been plaguing the Church for centuries. Lentz is just one of many charlatans within the Hillsong organization riding in on the coattails of their musicians and artists who have showered them with influence, power, and financial gain, skyrocketing them to the top of the false teacher food chain. He’s just a bit slyer than most, utilizing the entertainment industry as an avenue to take advantage of the Church. Monopolizing on the fact that the Church today has often forsaken biblical discernment in light of cultural relevance.
I was an infantry Marine in my late teens to mid-twenties. My last deployment with my unit was to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. One aspect of our job in country was to conduct counter-insurgency. We sought out, identified, and neutralized men who were members of the Taliban. These men would be difficult to identify by the untrained eye. They did everything they could to escape our notice and to conceal their true identity from us. They would often try to blend in with the villagers, wearing similar clothing to farmers, even sometimes going so far as wearing a burka (a woman’s dress that covers the entire body including the face and head), in an ill-fated attempt to throw us off. But once you observe how the average Afghan citizen acts and dresses, it becomes very easy to find the men who are imposters, projecting a false identity to further their ideology.
Likewise, this is what we need to be doing in the Church. This isn’t an option. As followers of Christ we are commanded in Scripture to confront lies. We need men in leadership who are not afraid to defend the purity of the Church even when it is widely unpopular and will be labeled as legalism and intolerance. Popular opinion does not necessarily dictate truth. Take a stand on what Scripture teaches, be bold in the defense of the Church, and stand firm in your allegiance to Christ. Semper Fidelis. Semper Reformanda.
1.John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1994), 57, 60.