Apostles or Apostates?

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
– 2 Cor 11:13-15

The Reverend Jim Jones (1931 – 1978) was one of the “great” American preacher and faith-healer of the mid-twentieth century; at least not until his true color was shown for all to see. His “preaching” and crusades held his audience spellbound with emotions running high even leading to tears. Long before the emergence of men like T.B. Joshua, Benny Hinn and their likes, he was one of the pioneers that popularized and capitalized on the healing theatrics that have become the insignia of men like Joshua and Benny, practices from which they mainly derived their authority and followership.

A cursory look into his preaching and his audience will most likely commend him to the unsuspecting believer. Nothing on the surface, especially at the beginning of his “ministry”, gives a hint as to the spiritual destitution of Jones. He was widely accepted in many Pentecostal churches and across the US. He was a friend and ally to one of the early Pentecostal’s leading figures, Rev. William Braham, who himself was a leading faith-healer and evangelist of international repute among Charismatics, and a self-appointed apostle. Top politicians court Jones’ attention including the then first-lady, Mrs. Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter. At one large public gathering, he even received a louder applause than the first-lady. He was so influential that governors left their states’ function to attend his dinner party. In short, he was someone that was well-spoken of by politicians, the average believers, the press and the masses.

But unlike Jones, who could not hide his true nature for so long, possibly due to lack of under-studying history of prior false teachers to learn from, the modern-day “apostles” have learnt a lot from the detailed history of men like Jones and they have gone to great lengths to avoid his mistakes. Jones was only able to keep his true intention and nature “hidden” for about thirteen years before he started throwing caution to the wind.

Like Jones, one common denominator among today’s modern-day “apostles” is that they derive most of their authority and followership from their “miraculous” ability to perform signs and wonders, and a claim to “hear” specially and directly from God, even things which run against the spirit and tenor of the Gospel, and against the plain and verbal plenary inspirational teachings of Holy Scripture. They claim to have insights that goes beyond the bounds of the Scripture (and historical orthodoxy), and are more zealous for their followership and brand than the glory of the Lord Jesus they claim they represent. They go to great lengths to colorize their ministry and emphasize their importance and authority with claims upon claims of supernatural abilities. And they do it in the most conspicuous, public and shameful manner intended to wow and impress their audience, all the while going to great lengths to keeping a “humble” demeanor and disposition for all and sundry.

They have flagrant and sheer disregard for the Bible; they shamelessly subject the Scripture to their own whims and caprices and only quote it aright when it does not contradict their perverse messages. They speak flowingly of themselves and use fear mongering to make men subject to their authority, their brand and messages.

Indeed, these strange “apostles” are not new; they existed right from the beginning. They love the world and the world loves them. They preached and sang to the delight of the world and to the dismay of saints. And they have only increased and grow more brazen in these end times. And it is very obvious, they have massive dedicated followings, with some being elevated to a god-like position. This article is intended to remind true believers of the words of the Lord Jesus and His true Apostles that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”, that “there shall be scoffers, walking after their own ungodly lusts”. Now is the need to ever be sober and watchful unto prayer lest the enemy take advantage of our carelessness or weaknesses.

David only let down his guard, perhaps for just an hour, when the enemy struck a fatal blow that reverberated far into his life and that of his children. The enemy may not be able to prevent us from entering the Perfect Land of Bliss, but he’ll want to cause us sorrow, lost labors, afflictions and so on, which are avoidable in the first place.

Our dearest Lord constantly reminds us that the believer’s posture in this life should be one of a watchman, a pilgrim. He must always be on his guard. Our greatest undoing is this lack of watchfulness on our part that make the enemy to take advantage of us; he drew closer to our camp while we slept, while we lose guard, in our unguarded hours, and then robs us of spiritual vitality as we spend time fighting off diseases, diseases we ought not to have caught in the first place and loose precious time and labors in the process.

Not only are these vain men destitute of loyalty to the Inspired Volume, they eventually grow into god-like statues among their dedicated followings, leading men and women to take their word and teaching as extra-revelations or extensions of the Scripture. Unlike John the Baptists, they are “increasing” while Christ is decreasing. The crux of their messages is always earthly, man-centered, men-pleasing and self-adoration.

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” – Phi 3:18-19

With the aid of social media and the internet, they have exploded in numbers. They lurk everywhere looking for souls to devour, souls to bring to their camp. Their end game is always the same regardless of their doctrines or creed: fame and money. And let us not think their numbers will reduce till Jesus comes. Rather, the Holy Spirit told us “evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” They have been hijacked by Satan to do his biddings, to lure men into his evil nets, and they continue to add sin to sin by blaspheming and tarnishing that holy name Jesus Christ, which is precious and powerful both in heaven and on earth, the only name giving among men whereby we can be saved.

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.”
Jude 1:17-19

Many Christians today are sick and destitute spiritually because they have taken poision from the hands of these “apostles”. The false preachers have sown evil seeds of their evil doctrines in their hearts and these are tampering with the life of God in their soul. Oh let us pray, with Paul, that the Lord should deliver us from every evil work. His blood can cleanse us from all evil notions, idealogies and doctrines.

As the new year dawn on us, let us resolve to ever be on our guard, watching unto prayer, keeping ourselves in the love of God. Our enemies are many, the Devil is cunning, his agents are everywhere but Christ is more than sufficient to keep us, let us look to Him and guard our place in Him. May the Lord please “deliver us from evil”, for all power in heaven and on earth are His. His “is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

A servant of Jesus Christ, husband, father and an entrepreneur. Aspiring theologian and preacher. Owolabi is happily married to Oluseun and their union is blessed with children.

Further reading

The faithful Pilgrim

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