It is sad that the Assembly of God denomination itself is not listening to pastors like this!
Asserting a doctrine as the Word of God doesn’t make it so.
Pastor Dan Gardner’s sermon at the Cohocton Assembly of God church was based upon a principle enunciated by the Apostle Paul:
You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
Moreover, we must walk the walk, not just talk it, as the Old Testament prophet Malachi told the descendants of Levi, roughly 400 years before the advent of Jesus Christ:
“And now this admonition is for you, O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. (Malachi 2:1-9)
3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Today, as did the priests admonished by Malachi, too many preachers and others professing to impart God’s teachings are spreading false doctrine or ridiculing people who stand up for the Word of God.
TV commentator Brit Hume, for example, was lambasted by the liberal-progressive media for suggesting that Tiger Woods would find more comfort and regain his moral path by accepting Jesus Christ as his savior than he evidently had found in Buddhism. Liberal-progressive criticism, from putative Christian churches as well as from atheists and agnostics, was voiced in the name of toleration, which in the realm of secular materialism means that there can be no standards of morality. Religion is declared to be an unscientific “value judgment.” That is false doctrine amounting to worship of the political state and human reason as the sole route to truth.
Too many purportedly Christian ministers today have abandoned Christianity.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:6-9)
Those Christian-in-name-only ministers have reverted to the Social Gospel of the late 19th and early 20th century. They intone the aims of Christianity, but invoke it in the name of servility to the socialistic political state. Not the Bible, but an intellectual elite, is to be the source of morality.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)
The result is a lack of balance between platitudes about helping people in in the abstract and the difficult path of individual moral responsibility. Worship in such churches is as likely to advocate abortion, under the rubric of women’s rights, as to preach the Gospel of life and individual brotherly love. For some, God is a broad concept, as easily viewed as Gaia the Mother Earth goddess, as the God of the Bible. Too many of these preachers have forgotten the commandment to have no other gods and to worship only God.
They find it socially inconvenient to proclaim Jesus crucified for our sins and resurrected to give us eternal life. Their preaching becomes self-gratification or grasping for money or power. They need to follow the lead of the Apostle Paul:
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Preaching the truth means preaching from the authority of the Bible, the inspired Word of God. The great throngs who followed Jesus during his ministry loved him and were inspired by him, because, unlike the Pharisees, he taught as one with authority, one who was the Word of God incarnate. Ministers of the gospel, and we as individuals, must rest our thoughts and utterances in the Bible.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9)
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)