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When I was 16, I had a youth pastor who encouraged memorization of scripture. He gave us a challenge to memorize 25 consecutive verses and I, as usual when issued a challenge, jumped at the chance. I already had some verses from Philippians 2 memorized so I counted out 25 verses and began working. After a few weeks of daily practice, I had all 25 downpat with no mistakes (that was part of the deal).

I am now 38 and I consider that challenge to have been one of the best things anyone has ever done for me. This man challenged me to hold tight to the actual scripture and never let anyone sway me from what it says. Only by being intimately familiar with the True Ruler can we ever be absolutely positive of the measurements we make.

Just yesterday I had an opportunity to test the measurement I was being given by a man against the True Ruler given to me by God. I was listening to my radio on the way to work that morning and a preacher came on. The text he was discussing was Philippians 2:5-12. My ears perked up and almost without knowing it, my mouth said the words, easily recalling them since they have been indelibly etched in my mind over the years. I am always excited to hear preachers expound on my favorite passage so I turned up the radio in order to hear every word he said.

In the hours and hours and hours I have spent pouring over this passage over the past 22 years, I have gleaned treasure after treasure from its verses. I was expecting the man to speak about the humility of Christ Jesus and His obedience to God the Father and then the result of humbling Himself, that ultimate day when ”at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” However, I was in for quite a surprise! Spiritually, I was horrified at the words that came from this man’s mouth!

This passage, which for centuries has inspired Christian men and women to take on servanthood as our blessed Savior did, was suddenly twisted and pulled like silly putty into something so distorted that it said almost the opposite of what the words on the page actually did.

I have to admit that I have listened to this preacher off and on for about 8 weeks now and this teaching I think was just the cap on the other claims that he has made that persuades me that he is a false teacher and the doctrine he spouts is nothing but a doctrine of demons. Let me explain.

This man used this passage to declare that we are to be gods ourselves, just like Jesus, and one day we too will have a name that causes all in heaven and on earth and under the earth to bow to us. I call this teaching BLASPHEMY. To declare that we will someday be gods is the original lie of Satan in the garden and continues in the latest “faith teachings” of today. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but we are not gods, we were not created to be gods, nor will we ever become gods. God created Man as a different type of being from Himself, just as angels were created as different types of beings from God and Man. Man was never created as an angel, he was not created to be an angel, nor will he ever become an angel. The same is true of God and Man.

Man was made in the likeness of God, but that doesn’t mean the “essence” of God. The very definition of the word likeness indicates that it is not the same as what it looks like. A son might be in the likeness of his father, but he will never be the same as his father in essence. We were created from the dust of the earth, not from a part of God so that we could share in His essence. We are similar to God in that He breathed into us an eternal soul. No other creature on earth can claim that. But as for being little gods? No. This is an error of doctrine that the “faith teachings” share with Mormonism.

Secondly, the name that all in heaven and on earth and under the earth shall bow to is the name of Jesus -- not your name, not my name, not Kenneth Copeland, not Charles Capps, not Benny Hinn, not Billy Graham, not Chuck Swindoll, not any other name of any other man or woman. No other human being is worthy of such acclaim, such praise, such honor, such glory. Only Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins, fully Man and fully God, who gave His life for us although He wasn’t required to do so except the requirement of His love for us.

For us to presume to be anywhere near this worthy of all glory and honor and praise is to declare us as an equal with Jesus and to essentially nullify the importance of His sacrifice for our sins. After all, if we are equal to Jesus, we didn’t need Him to die for us. We could have covered our own sins and we all know this is not possible (“There is no one righteous, not even one. Romans 3:10 NIV)

What bothers me most about teachers such as this man is that they take the Bible and twist it to prove what they want to be true. We must always remember that even Satan used the Bible when he was tempting Jesus. Caution must always be part of our routine when listening to any preacher, even our own home church’s pastor. We must constantly be on our guard for any false doctrine being presented to us. We are told in 2 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test everything; hold onto the good.” (NIV)

It is far too easy to let the guard on our minds down when we are in church or listening to a “Christian” radio or tv station. After all, won’t all Christians be giving us sound doctrine all the time? This is not true. Many of the false teachers in our pulpits today will give us a majority of sound doctrine...however, it is the portion of false doctrine that will lead us astray. Usually the false doctrine is surrounded by sound doctrine to make it more palatable. Even though I believe that this radio preacher I have referred to is teaching much false doctrine, I have heard him preach a couple of times and I believe he was Biblically sound on each point he presented.

And this technique makes perfect sense. If we were presented with a totally, 100% false doctrine, almost everyone would spot it right away. But if we are presented with 90% of truth and 10% lies, it is difficult to distinguish the lies from the truth (and again, that is the reason we need our True Ruler). Think of it this way. Imagine me trying to copy the Mona Lisa. Anyone who saw my poor attempt at copying it would know immediately that it was a fake. An expert forger, however, would make that task much more difficult because many of the strokes and the colors would be the same and it would take an art expert to determine the difference. Satan is an expert forger. He takes God’s word and twists it subtly, trying to deceive even the elect. In fact, Jesus warned us about this in Mark 13:22: “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible.” (NIV) These false christs and false prophets are working at Satan’s command, make no mistake about it, and will be subtle in their deceit.

I challenge you to be on your guard when it comes to doctrine. Examine the doctrinal statement of your church. Ask for a doctrinal statement of ministries you support with your money (and even those you don’t). Hold these statements up against the True Ruler to see if they measure up. Test each part of them. If you are not allowed to have such statements of doctrinal beliefs, then ask them, “What are you trying to hide?” Someone who is preaching the true Word of God will never shy away from being honest about all they believe. Only those who are trying to cover up their deceptions will try to keep you from comparing their beliefs to the True Ruler. Don’t let yourself be taken in by a forgery when God has given you the True Ruler so that you won’t be fooled.

For more information on false doctrines, see the following articles on our site: Are We in a Time of a Great Revival?, Ye Are Gods? and Who Are God’s Anointed?. We at Open Arms Internet Ministry invite you to study our Doctrinal Statement as well as our Statement of Faith and compare it against God’s Word. If you find any discrepancies between what we say and what the Bible says, please e-mail us immediately. We seek to present God’s Word in a true form and if we are in error, we want to know.

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