Sound Teaching

Beware of False Prophets

I believe John Calvin has a better commentary on these words of Christ than I could ever pen down.  Therefore, I will let him speak.

“But beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15).  These words were intended to teach, that the Church would be exposed to various (impostors), and that consequently many would be in danger of falling from the faith, if they were not carefully on their guard. We know what a strong inclination men have towards falsehood, so that they not only have a natural desire to be deceived, but each individual appears to be ingenious in deceiving himself.

Satan, who is a wonderful contriver of delusions, is constantly laying snares to entrap ignorant and heedless persons. (Jesus) therefore warns his disciples that, if they desire to persevere (in the faith), they must prepare themselves to avoid the snares of Satan. It is the will of the Lord, (as has been already said,) that his Church shall be engaged in uninterrupted war in this world. That we may continue to be his disciples to the end, it is not enough that we are merely submissive, and allow ourselves to be governed by his Word. Our faith, which is constantly attacked by Satan, must be prepared to resist.

It is of the greatest consequence, undoubtedly, that we should let ourselves to be directed by good and faithful ministers of Christ: but as false teachers, on the other hand, make their appearance, if we do not carefully watch, and if we are not fortified by perseverance, we shall be easily carried off from the flock. To this purpose also is that saying of Christ: “The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd; and a stranger. They do not follow, but flee from him,” (John 10:3, 5)

Hence too we conclude, that there is no reason why believers should be discouraged or alarmed, when wolves creep into the fold of Christ, when false prophets endeavor to corrupt the purity of the faith by false doctrines. They ought rather to be aroused to keep watch: for it is not without reason that Christ enjoins them to be on their guard. Provided that we are not led astray through our own sluggishness, we shall be able to avoid every kind of snares; and, indeed, without this confidence, we would not have the courage necessary for being on our guard.

Now that we know that the Lord will not fail to perform his promises, whatever may be the attacks of Satan, let us go boldly to the Lord, asking from him the Spirit of wisdom, by whose influences he not only seals on our hearts the belief of his truth, but exposes the tricks and impositions of Satan, that we may not be deceived by them. When Christ says, that they come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves, his meaning is, that they (will seem to be true), if prudence be not exercised in subjecting them to a thorough examination” ~ John Calvin (July 10, 1509 to May 27, 1564)

Sound Teaching

An Appeal to my Pentecostal Brethren

“I have many relations and very good friends who are Pentecostal and I thank God for them all. This post is dedicated to them.”

At the end of each and every year, WordPress experts or helper- monkeys as they prefer to call themselves release statistical report regarding each and every blog they host and Scripture Alone is not an exception. In the report of 2013, WordPress records that the most read article on the blog was “Do Prophets Still Exist?” followed by “Jesus Christ: The True Greatest Prophet.” The third most viewed post was “Of Anointed Water, Stickers, Handkerchiefs, etc.”

Am I surprised by these stats? Not at all! The above topics are real issues that the Church is facing today. People who claim to get direct revelations from God or prophets continue to rise almost every day.  The hunger for miracles and wonders has led to mass production of “anointed staffs” which steadily are taking the place of Christ in the hearts of many.

Now, why am I raising all this? I would like to appeal to my Pentecostal brethren to speak up against these unbiblical developments. Why? Because so many false prophets today claim to be Pentecostal in their beliefs yet what they do sometimes even leave other Pentecostals, I believe, mouth agape. For instance, who among my brethren using the Scriptures could confidently say that God will put money in your bank account or in your pair of trousers’ pockets or your pulse while you are just idling? Would a true Pentecostal, so to speak, agree that the Holy Spirit will direct a pastor to feed his congregants grass as if they are goats?  In case you missed it, check this link,

My point again is that please my friends speak up against these things unless you don’t see anything wrong with such pathetic and blaspheming developments. I make this appeal because if you don’t raise your voice the old adage will prove true that silence means consent. By the grace of God, I write and will continue to write against these errors and heresies but I am not Pentecostal and some think I do so merely to score points over you brethren.

However, if truth be told, I write and denounce errors and heresies because I am concerned with God’s truth and the glory of Christ regardless of who is involved. John Calvin once observed: “Even a dog barks when it’s master is attacked, I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is being attacked and yet would remain silent.” I bark when God’s glory and truth is maligned because I can’t help it to see or hear the name of Christ my Master and Savior being brought into disrepute.

So, friends raise your voices against errors and heresies that are coming out coated with your name for Christ’s sake and his Church. Grace and peace.


Is My Church Turning Into a Club?

“On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station. Actually, the station was merely a hut with only one boat . . . but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea. With little thought for themselves, they would go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost. Many, many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station. By and by, it became a famous place.

Some of those who had been saved as well as others along the seacoast wanted to become associated with this little station. They were willing to give their time and energy and money in support of its objectives. New boats were purchased. New crews were trained. The station that was once obscure and crude and virtually insignificant began to grow.

Some of its members were unhappy that the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped. They felt a more comfortable place should be provided. Emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture. Rough, hand-made equipment was discarded and sophisticated, classy systems were installed. The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture, systems, and appointments. By its completion, the life-saving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives had begun to shift. It was now used as sort of a clubhouse, an attractive building for public gatherings. Saving lives, feeding the hungry, strengthening the fearful, and calming the disturbed rarely occurred by now.

Fewer members were now interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do this work. The original goal of the station wasn’t altogether forgotten, however. The lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club’s decorations. In fact, there was a liturgical lifeboat preserved in the Room of Sweet Memories with soft, indirect lighting, which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty, some terribly sick and lonely. Others were black and “different” from the majority of the club members. The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered. A special committee saw to it that a shower house was immediately built outside and away from the club so victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members. Most of the people wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities and all involvements with shipwreck victims . . . (“it’s too unpleasant, it’s a hindrance to our social life, it’s opening the door to folks who are not our kind“). As you’d expect, some still insisted upon saving lives, that this was their primary objective—that their only reason for existence was ministering to anyone needing help regardless of their club’s beauty or size or decorations. They were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast! They did.

As years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes. It evolved into another club . . . and yet another lifesaving station was begun. History continued to repeat itself . . . and if you visit that coast today you’ll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives.

Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, but now most of the victims are not saved. Every day they drown at sea, and so few seem to care . . . so very few. Do you” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, © 1983 by Charles R. Swindoll).

This parable can also be applied to what is happening in our African churches today. There was a time when all Christians would agree that the Bible is God’s Word and all that it commands us should be obeyed without questioning. Back then, the love for God’s Word was so great. Churches were born to proclaim Christ and the love of God for all. Sin was rebuked and was called what it is, “sin.” But some became unhappy with the status quo. They wanted to change God’s purpose for His Church for the “better.”And now, like that old lifesaving station, many churches have and are shifting away from their God-given vision.  Churches can now choose which passages of Scripture are God’s Word and should be obeyed unquestionably and which passages are not God’s Word hence should be discarded. My heart breeds in grief!

Today, you can go to a church and listen to a whole sermon without hearing the proclamation of Christ in it. Gone are the days when sermons were preached and people were convicted of sin and cried for help from the Savior. Today, when you go to church, members cheer the preacher and throw money at him (kusupa) to preach more what it pleasing to their ears.  It’s heartbreaking!

Gone are those days when church leaders would boldly stand and call a spade, a spade and not a big spoon. But today, some pastors and Christian leaders are afraid to call sin, “sin;” instead, you hear statements like: “No, it’s not sin, that’s how somebody was born, and God loves them the way they are and we can do nothing about it. Don’t judge.” Really?

Like that initial saving station which later turned into a club, we are also guilty of turning our churches into clubs where people can come to learn how to get rich and prosper and become most successful in life with little care about their spiritual lives.  We are guilty of converting the church into a club where people burdened with sin can come and live comfortably as if they are no slaves to sin at all. We have turned the church to a club that aims at entertaining its patrons and never dare disappoint them with the truth of Christ. Oh, Lord have mercy on us!

But we shouldn’t loose hope. In times like these, God has always shown us in Scripture that He always sets apart the remnants who rise and stand up for God’s truth not matter the cost. We should pray, earnestly, for these remnants. God says to the remnants:

 “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching…build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by sin” (2 Timothy 4:2;  Jude 20-23).

The remnants care. Do you?

Christianity and Society

Christian Leadership is Not for New Converts

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to be part of a Christian group that conducted Bible studies every week and also encouraged one another through God’s word. One summer, the group organized a retreat at the lake and we were joined by two other friends who had just been converted to Christianity.

For some reasons, unknown to me, the leadership of our group entrusted these newly converted brothers with some leadership roles at the retreat. This was a great mistake as we will later realize. During the retreat, various teachings were programmed. But trouble came up when it was a turn for a teaching that had to deal courtship and marriage.

Ten minutes into this teaching, the two brothers felt it was not ‘spiritual enough’ so one of them  stood up while the teacher was speaking and told him in the face: “Sorry sir, but as one of the conveners at this retreat, I see that this is not what God wants. We can’t come all the way here to hear about courtship and marriage. God is telling me that we should spend more time in prayer not unnecessary teaching like this one.”

Boy! I couldn’t believe my ears. The brother was very zealous for the Lord but had little knowledge. The speaker was evidently embarrassed.  But thank God that despite being offended by these remarks, the speaker handled it very well  and we continued with our program.

Later as I reflected on this scenario, 1 Timothy 3 came to my mind. In this chapter, Paul discusses qualifications for Christian leaders and one qualification he lays out is that a Christian leader “must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

I, strongly, believe that the leadership of our group was wrong in entrusting leadership roles to these newly converted brothers. They were supposed to grow first in the faith as well as learn from other mature Christian leaders before they could provide leadership. I don’t think that someone who’s grown and continues to grow in their faith would regard a Biblical teaching on courtship and marriage as unnecessary and unspiritual.

This is just one of many examples of challenges the church faces as a result of entrusting leadership to new converts. Please get me right, I don’t mean to say that new converts are of no use in God’s Kingdom. This is not what I am saying and meaning. Rather, basing on Scripture I am arguing that new converts should be taught first and enabled to grow in their faith before they can lead.

It saddens my heart to see a person getting converted today and in no time he is pastoring a church. No, this can’t be! What kind of pastorate is this brother going to provide. Also, get me right. I don’t intended to underestimate the gifts and power that God gives out even to new converts. However, these gifts need to be nurtured over a period so that they can be used in a proper way that glorifies God.

In this part of the world, where many Christian leaders hardly make it into seminary, Bible or theological college due to lack of resources and inadequacy of training institutions, I would not argue that every new convert should be trained in such institutions before he leads a church; nevertheless, I would suggest that if one cannot make it into to a training institution, he should learn under a mature and godly Christian leader or leaders for some time before he can venture into leadership of God’s flock.  Timothy never went to seminary but he learnt from his spiritual Father Paul. Even apostle Paul, himself, before he ventured fully into Christian leadership on his own, he partnered with Barnabas and in the process he learnt some lessons of Christian leadership, I believe.

As somebody said, “Every Timothy needs Paul and every Paul needs Timothy” I would like to encourage our mature Christian leaders to identify young people, probably, those who have just been converted to Christianity and train them in Christian leadership. Young people should also be humble enough to sit down under mature and godly men and learn from them how to lead God’s flock in a way that glorifies God.  In this way, the church will never give leadership responsibility to a recent convert who may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Christianity and theology

Singing Scripture

Recently, I posted on this blog about God-centered songs.  I would like to share my experience a number of weeks ago when I attended a missions conference in Kasungu. There was one singing group, Joy to the World Choir, from Dzuwa Village in Lilongwe that really impressed me. All the songs the group sang at the conference were taken from the book of Psalms.  As a matter of fact, the group sang psalms.  It was reviving, and I, strongly, believe that God was glorified.

This is one of the ways in which we can achieve God-centered worship in our churches. When we sing Scripture, we sing God’s Word and God is, definitely, glorified. As I earlier indicated, songs should direct our focus on God and not an individual or anything.

As we wrap up this series of God-centered worship , I would like to implore all those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading worship in churches to strive, by Christ’s grace, for God-centered worship in all the areas of the church. This is what glorifies God and satisfies us as His children.  John Piper once put it, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

The worship in our churches will never be satisfying until God is glorified by it.  Indeed, as the deer pants for the streams of water, so pant our souls for God to satisfy (Psalm 42)

Christianity and theology

Is Home Unclean for Worship?

Last Sunday, I was reading the newspaper, Nation on Sunday, when an article titled “I don’t want to go to church” by Christian Psychiatrix caught my attention.  The author of the article argued that people should go to church and not worship in their homes because “homes of men are unfit for worship.” He contended:

“The home is unworthy because every minute of every hour in every day the home is unholy or unclean for one reason or another. Let me illustrate. The parents of the home might have spent the morning today making love and the material their body fluid touches is made unclean and it in turn makes what it touches unclean until the whole house is unclean from flesh to cloth to utensil (Leviticus 15). It will be afternoon before the house is declared clean by Levitical Law and that is if they take a bath and pray for a cleansing of the home, if they don’t then the home in unclean till the next day.

“Or it could be that the maid starts her monthly period the next day. A woman during her monthly flow is unclean by Levitical Law, that is why men are not supposed to have sexual relations with women during this time (Leviticus 18:19). In her function as maid she will touch 90% of the house making everything she touches unclean before God’s eyes” (Public Pulpit  of Nation on Sunday, Sunday, August 12, 2012, Religious Perspective page 7)

All I can say in regard to this statement is that:

There is a need for every believer or Christian to fellowship with fellow Christians in a church.  God’s Word requires of us to do so in Hebrews 10:24, 25. From the birth of the New Testament church, believers have always assembled together to among other things hear the teaching of God’s word, break bread (Holy Communion), and pray (Acts 2:42). The importance of the church can also be seen in the whole of the New Testament in which two-thirds of the epistles (letters) were addressed to churches where believers met.

We should also not forget that the church is also responsible for administration of Sacraments namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion). These cannot be administered outside the church but only within the church by ordained men called by God to lead his flock. Sacraments are very important in every Christian’s life as they are means or channels established by God in which He uses to give grace to his children.

Furthermore, general overview of the Bible also shows us that meeting in a church helps Christians to be accountable. On our own, we can easily fall into various temptations and sins without someone warning or helping us; however, in church, fellow Christians help us remain faithful to Scripture and God uses the church to discipline and restore a believer when he, temporarily, stumbles into sin.

In a church, we also encourage one another through sharing of God’s Word and testifying to the good work that the Lord is doing in our lives. In the same set-up we are also able to carry each other’s burdens as commanded in Galatians 6:1-3.  These things cannot happen if we are on our own.

However, we should also bear in mind that the Bible encourages us to have time when we can personally fellowship with God in prayer (Matthew 6:6) and meditation on his word ( Psalm 1:1, 2). This too is important.

Therefore, church should not replace personal time of fellowship with God just as time of personal devotion should not substitute God’s requirement of believers to assemble in a church. All these two activities are required of every Christian by Scripture.

Now,  in response to Christians Psychiatrix argument that  worshipping God at home is defiled by a married couple having sex in the home or a maid experiencing her monthly period, I would like to point out that  in the Old Testament, there are three types of laws namely ceremonial, civil and moral law.  The laws that my friend cited in his article fall in the ceremonial law category.

Ceremonial laws related to Israel’s ceremonial purity, diet and sacrifice. They pointed forward to Jesus Christ hence were fulfilled and no longer necessary after Jesus’ death and resurrection. These laws, symbolically, showed how man falls short of God’s holiness.  But when Christ came, he fulfilled the requirement of God’s holiness so that everyone who believes in Christ is regarded as holy because of the righteousness of Christ (Hebrews 10:1-14).

It should further be known that God ordained sex to be enjoyed in the confinements of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3; Hebrews 13:4) and there is nothing unclean when a married couple has sex.  A woman also remains clean and holy in Christ and before God the Father even if she having her monthly period because Christ fulfilled the ceremonial law on behalf of all believers.

Christianity and theology

God-Centered Worship: Liturgy

Today, I would like to continue discussing God-centered worship by looking at liturgy. Liturgy basically refers to the order of worship or the program of how we do various things when we meet to worship God in our churches.

Having a program is a very good thing and God loves order (1 Corinthians 14:33); however, sometimes what we do in our order of services hinders us from having a God-centered worship. For instance, in some churches you find that more time is spent on various activities and preaching of God’s Word is given a very short time.  How can we have a God-centered worship when the time we allocate to God to speak to us is very minimal while all the other activities are given too ample time?

In our churches, we have singing groups. These groups when they sing God-centered songs are very essential part of worship; however, sometimes they hinder a God-centered worship. I have seen with my own eyes groups singing just to entertain instead of leading people into God-centered worship.

Then there are announcements. I have gone to churches where almost one-half of worship service goes to announcements regarding finances and other things.  This is a problem because it’s supposed to be a service of worship where believers are allowed more time to focus on God rather on matters which can equally be handled in different forum.