—Ephesians 4:14-15 (NASB)
There have always been false prophets, false teachers, and false messiahs in every era of history. Even during Jesus’ own time there were those who claimed that they were the Messiah. But something has fundamentally changed in my lifetime in this culture, because those who once called themselves Evangelicals during my youth were highly united in their stance against the false teachers. There was an almost universal recognition among them of who the whack-o’s were and why. But these days, among the ranks of those proclaiming themselves to be Evangelicals, false teachers and false doctrine of an unprecedented magnitude has not just been tolerated but embraced to the point that I don’t think these verses can be claimed by the majority any more.
The connecting clause “as a result” is the key phrase here. Everything that follows concerning resistance to “every wind of doctrine…trickery of men…craftiness…[and]…deceitful scheming” is only brought about by what came in the previous verses:
—Ephesians 4:11-12 (NASB)
It’s important to note the most prominent common denominator among each of these offices — they are all supposed to first and foremost teach the Word of God. When they fulfill the role of teaching the Word of God properly, THEN “as a result” spiritual deception is nipped in the bud. My point is that what has changed over the course of my lifetime is that the Word is no longer being taught like it used to by the people holding these titles so that the very false doctrines and personalities which our fathers and grandfathers soundly refuted and prevented from entering the church have now become a mainstream part of it.
Perhaps most disheartening is the fact that every revival includes the dual components of those within the church acknowledging and seeking forgiveness of their sin accompanied by a fervent return to the Word. I hear a lot of nominalized Christians wishing for a revival without a hint of desire to address sin or the Word. And the result is not “speaking the truth in love“, but a distorted redefinition of what they believe love to be. It’s a fundamental return to the Truth of the Word of God that we so desperately need.†††