“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
That was the word that I chose to summarize this year’s Africa Ministry Training Course (AMTC) when each participant was asked to do so at the end of the seminar. This was a record-breaking year for AMTC, bringing over 70 participants from across the globe to London for a weeklong study of biblical doctrines, spiritual cultivation, and RE training.
A while ago, a Christian friend of mine and I were having a conversation about the church she attends and their doctrines. When I found out that she did not have a Bible of her own, I was very surprised. It turns out that she does not read the Bible on her own. So I asked her, “Don’t you at least have to use the Bible during church services?” She answered, “We don’t really need a Bible, the pastor preaches what it says! I don’t have to know the Bible verse by verse.” I stopped asking more questions, but in my heart burned the question, “What if your pastor is preaching a false gospel?” Continue reading
The Bible prophesies that the emergence of false teachers is not only a reality, but it will also be increasingly frequent in view of the coming of the Lord being at hand. The scale of confusion can grow and increase beyond measure. This is the Great Tribulation, which Christ and John have spoken about in great length. Once it comes, it can sweep the faithless away like a great flood sweeping away any object in its way. We need to take heed to safeguard ourselves and the church from being adversely affected by identifying how the evil forces operate.
a. Give no heed to deceiving spirits
The Holy Spirit expressly warns the church against giving heed to the deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1). Since the spirits are invisible, how would a person be able to pay attention to them? Here, Paul joins the doctrines of demons together with the deceiving spirits. What is his logic and intention? To understand this, let us look at the relationship of knowing God and keeping His word. To know God requires us to know and keep His word. Conversely, when attention is on, say, twisted doctrines, it is the same as digressing away from God and giving attention to the evil spirits. This greatly jeopardises one’s relationship with God if prompt actions are not taken to rectify the situation. Continue reading
In any warfare, it is virtually impossible to fight against an unknown and unidentified enemy. It is a war without a sense of direction. At the same time, this poses a grave danger to the lives of the soldiers involved. Every move that is made could be met with a fatal counterattack from the enemy. In such a situation, the mounting fear would destroy the courage needed to fight on till the end. Is there a chance at all for this kind of battle to be won? Needless to say, this battle has one probable and predictable outcome—it is as good as lost even before it begins.
Likewise, Paul tells us that we are battling not against flesh and blood; we are up against the spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph. 6:12). The fight is made all the more difficult because the enemy is invisible. How are we going to fight? Thankfully, we do not fight by ourselves. We battle against the foes in the air through our faith in Jesus. The word of God, much like a pair of combat night-vision goggles, enables us to locate the whereabouts of our enemies of darkness. If the word of God is firmly upheld in our hearts, our spiritual eyesight will be brightened up to see our enemy’s every move. Continue reading