Waxing Worse and Worse
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the apostle Paul wrote a warning to young Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
In Acts 20:29-30, Paul warned the Ephesian elders about false teachers. He described them as “grievous wolves” (the two-legged kind) who would come in among the “flock,” and as false brethren who would teach false doctrine. We all know the damage a pack of wolves can do to a flock of sheep. They inflict swift destruction on those who are weak and unable to escape. Paul used this illustration to describe the effects of false teaching.
The apostle Peter warned of false teachers and their fruits. Peter wrote, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Pet. 3:13).
Likewise, Jude warned of false teachers in Jude 3 and 4 where he wrote, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Like Paul and Peter, Jude exhorted those to whom he wrote and appealed to the authority of the Holy Scriptures by saying, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (vs. 17-20).
Dear readers, we are in the “the last days” or the “last time,” and without a doubt, these are “perilous times.” To illustrate this truth, consider the teaching of the well-know writer and preacher, Max Lucado, who preaches for the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas. Lucado is highly regarded among evangelicals, so much so that the 2 million members of the Baptist General Convention of Texas presented him with the 1996 Texas Baptist Communications Award!
Many brethren are absorbing Mr. Lucado’s false teaching and being swayed by his compromising spirit. It is well to remember what Jesus said about such awards and praise from other men: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Lk. 6:26).
Lucado’s Radio Broadcast
In December 1996, on Radio Station KJAK, Lubbock, Texas, Lucado said: “You can be sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now and nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. You see, in God, by virtue of adoption, we have a divine affinity, eternal security, and a golden opportunity.
I cannot imagine an orphan turning down a golden opportunity to be adopted. With one decision, with one raising of the hand, with one agreement to leave the orphanage, that person all of a sudden goes from being abandoned to claimed, from having no name to a new name, no future to a new future. He leaves the orphanage and enters the house of the father. That’s what God offers you. There’s no quiz, no examination, no charge. All you have to do is say ‘yes’ to the Father. And many of you have done that. But I have a hunch that not all of you have. I have a hunch there are a few of you listening, even now, and God is using this to pull on your heart. The Holy Spirit is informing you of something you have never really heard before, and that is, God is ready to be your Father. Maybe you never understood that the invitation was for everyone. Maybe you thought that you were not worthy. Maybe now you do understand. God will make you worthy, and the invitation is for you. And all you have to do is to call Him Father. Just call Him Father. Just turn your heart to Him even right now as I am speaking. Call Him your Father. And your Father will respond. Why don’t you do that?”
With instrumental music in the background, Lucado continued by uttering the sinner’s prayer:
“Father, I give my heart to you. I give you my sins. I give you my tears. I give you my fears. I give you my whole life. I accept the gift of your Son on the cross for my sins. And I ask you Father to receive me as your child. Through Jesus I pray.”
The radio announcer said:
“And friend, if you prayed along with Max Lucado just now, here on UPWARDS, we want to welcome you into the family of God. We hope you will contact us and share your personal testimony. If you are already a believer, we thank you for praying for these new brothers and sisters in Christ.”
“Today is the first day you've ever prayed a prayer like that. Could you do me a favor? Could you write me a letter? I don’t have anything I'm going to ask from you. I do have a letter I would like to send to you. I’d like to give you a word about the next step or two. I want to encourage you to find a church. I want to encourage you to be baptized. I want to encourage you to read your Bible. But I don't want you to do any of that so that you will be saved. I want you to do all of that because you’re saved. You see, your Father has a great life planned for you, and I want to tell you about it. Give us a call, or drop me a note. And, thanks my friend, for making the greatest decision of your life. I'll be back Monday and I hope you will be too.”
In this radio message, Lucado preached blatant Calvinism! He taught eternal security– the “impossibility of apostasy” or “perseverance of the saints.” The apostle Paul taught that apostasy is possible. If not, why did he give the warnings we considered earlier in this article? Do not forget that Paul rebuked the Galatians for believing a perverted gospel. He wrote, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).
Lucado also teaches the doctrine of salvation by faith only. Notice what he said: “all one has to do is say ‘yes’ to the father.” According to Lucado’s teaching, if you pray the “sinner’s prayer,” you are saved; and then you should be baptized because you are already saved. How does this false teaching compare with Bible Truth regarding salvation and those who were saved during the first century? Consider these passages:
$ Mark 16:15, 16; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:1-47 – Pentecost
$ Acts 8:5-12, 26-39 – Samaritans
$ Acts 9, 22, 26 – Paul
$ Acts 10:1-48,11:1-18; 15:6-11– Cornelius
$ Acts 16:13-15 – Lydia
$ Acts 16:26-34 – Philippian jailer
$ Acts 18:1-11 – Corinthians
He also expressed the idea of attending the church of your choice. He said, “I want to encourage you to find a church.” I can’t help wondering why Lucado didn’t mention the Lord’s church? Will any church do? How true are Paul’s words: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).
Men who violate and ignore Scriptural authority will get further and further from the truth and deceive many. True are the words of Paul who wrote, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2). Some become so enamored by false doctrine that their hearts become impenetrable (Rom. 1:19-32).Let us remember our Savior’s warning, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:21-23).