Therapeutic Humanism seems to sum up the erroneous aim and focus of so much of the contemporary Church.
From Grudem's Systematic Theology regarding “Kenosis Theory” page 551: It just seemed too incredible for modern rational and “scientific” people to believe that Jesus Christ could be truly human and fully, absolutely, God at the same time...Smith points out that one of the primary influences leading some to adopt Kenotic theology was the growth of modern psychology in the nineteenth century: ‘The age was learning to think in terms of the categories of psychology. Consciousness was a central category. If at our ‘center’ is our consciousness, and if Jesus was both omniscient God and limited man, then He has two centers and was thus fundamentally not one of us. Christology was becoming inconceivable for some.’...In other words, pressures of modern psychological study were making belief in the combination of full deity and full humanity in the one person of Christ difficult to explain or even intellectually embarrassing: How could someone be so different from us and still be truly a man?... In this as in many other points of doctrine, our understanding of what is ‘possible’ must be determined not by modern empirical study of a finite, fallen world, but by the teachings of scripture itself.
This same type of erroneous thinking and belief is what has led to the prevalence of therapeutic humanism in the modern Church as evidenced by the prevalence of the modern recovery movement/industry in the modern Church.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. - Romans 6:4
What sin do you struggle with? What is it that constantly defeats you? Whatever sin it is has been paid for and defeated on the cross by the blood of Jesus Christ. The victory is won, but you must truly strive for repentance, strive to kill the sinful desires of the flesh by and through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ - there is no other way.
Are you a Christian in a Twelve Step program like Alcoholics Anonymous or it's spin off Celebrate Recovery, or a Pastor or Christian leader that believes the Twelve Steps are Christian in origin? Then please consider the following.
From the Westminster Seminary:
The Church has been entrusted with the great commission to make disciples, even of alcoholics. AA constitutes a field of hurting, gospel needy people, white for the harvest. The question is, are we hungry enough to harvest?
If you are a Christian and have made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, then you must believe that He is the center and reason for absolutely everything that has ever existed or will ever exist. All of God's creation from the beginning in Genesis 1 until the end of time as we know it – and on into eternity, it all has been for the glory of Jesus Christ. He is on every page of the Holy Bible from, “In the beginning,” in Genesis 1, to “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.,” in Revelation 22:21. Jesus is on every page of scripture in some way. All of history revolves and is centered on Jesus Christ and nothing exists that does not do so without His sustaining power. He holds all things together.
Every part of who you are as a human being is about Jesus Christ – even if you don't believe in Him. He is inescapable. One way or another, every human being who has or will ever exist will know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the human race and of all creation. It's just a matter of when and how each human being finally comes to know and accept the truth of Jesus Christ.
All of God's Word in scripture, all that the prophets down through the ages spoke of is to reveal to us His magnificent, glorious, and mysterious plan to save mankind through the sacrifice of His only begotten and perfect Son. God did this to save us from eternal damnation and separation from Him because He loves us far beyond our capability as humans to fully understand.
So, if you are a Christian who believes that the Twelve Steps are Christian in origin how do you answer this question: if God did all of this, then why would he inspire two alcoholics in the 1930's to create a way to obtain sobriety – and never have His Son Jesus Christ be any part of it?
This is the truth of the Twelve Steps – they are a brilliant plan conceived by demonic forces that keep millions from coming to a true relationship with Jesus Christ, (If this seems far fetched to you then please read the Exposing Recovery page on this site that explains the facts pertaining to the origins of the Twelve Steps). Satan and his demon's have convinced people seeking sobriety to follow a “God of their own understanding.” Then, as they become drawn into the Twelve Step cult Satan begins lifting the temptation to drink, use drugs, whatever the sin is. Yes, Satan can remove the temptation to sin because he is the one that put it there in the first place. God does not tempt us.
There is only one way to God and that is through His Son Jesus Christ – you must believe in Him, accept Him, and follow Him completely with no variance.
Christ can do much more than enable you to maintain sobriety. He is sufficient to meet all of our needs in a way beyond what we could ever imagine. Please, do not be fooled into believing that anything in this world can offer you a solution for any sin that holds you in bondage. The only way to be reconciled to God, the only way to be freed from the bondage and pain of sin is through faith in Jesus Christ. The only joy there is - is in Jesus Christ. You only must believe in Him and follow Him.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. - John 8:36
By Chad Prigmore
When reading the writings of some of the earliest Christian believers it becomes clear that there is a damage caused by the modern Christian recovery movement that we don’t often recognize. That damage is a lost joy in Jesus Christ and a lost amazement at the wonder of how by God’s grace a sinner is raised from the dead and brought to life as a new creation in Jesus Christ. After so many years of the modern Church becoming man centered rather than Christ centered, of entertaining “seekers” while believers starve for the meat of the word, working on addictions rather than repenting of sin; when we read of an early believers rapturous joy in being born again in Jesus Christ and the ensuing praise pouring forth from this glorious truth - we should mourn for a modern Church that embraces the world rather than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Consider the response of Augustine, who after years of sin and struggle and fighting against the only truth in Jesus Christ is brought to believe by the power of God’s amazing grace.
Augustine writes, “But who am I, what am I? Is there any evil I have not committed in my deeds, or if not in deeds, then in my words, or if not in my words, at least by willing it? But you, Lord, are good and merciful, and your right hand plumbed the depths of my death, draining the cesspit of corruption in my heart, so that I ceased to will all that I had been wont to will, and now willed what you willed. But where had my power of free decision been throughout those long, weary years, and from what depth, what hidden profundity, was it called forth in a moment, enabling me to bow my neck to your benign yoke and my shoulders to your light burden, O Christ Jesus, my helper and redeemer? How sweet did it suddenly seem to me to shrug off those sweet frivolities, and how glad I now was to get rid of them - I who had been loath to let them go! For it was you who cast them out from me, you, our real and all-surpassing sweetness. You cast them out and entered yourself to take their place, you who are lovelier than any pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, more lustrous than any light, yet more inward than is any secret intimacy, loftier than all honor, yet not to those who look for loftiness in themselves. My mind was free at last from the gnawing need to seek advancement and riches, to welter in filth and scratch my itching lust. Childlike, I chattered away to you, my glory, my wealth, my salvation, and my Lord and God.”1
Such passion, rapture, and absolute joy are Augustine’s in Jesus Christ his redeemer. Where has all of that gone? Why do so many in the modern Church, instead of forsaking the world and pointing only to Christ as our victory over all sin and struggle, look to the world in compromise and apathetic resignation? Is it not time, as everything in this sinful world crumbles and falls apart to look only to Christ and honor and worship and praise Him at a level hardly experienced in such a long time?
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Make a stand. Be the one who exposes the heresy in the Church that snuck in the door in the guise of recovery. Be the one that points to Christ, who stands on the authority and sufficiency of His word and nothing else. Be like Christians used to be - bold, courageous, confident, and powerful in God’s word, rejoicing always, praying ceaselessly, and thanking God from a heart in love with Him.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
By Justin James
The question of whether or not a "recovery program" is needed gets asked a lot. People tend to think that we NEED a plan in order to achieve recovery. The fact is, we don't need a plan.... a plan will do nothing but give you another routine to follow, and hopefully keep you sober a little longer. What we need is faith.
Isaiah 12:2 - “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
John 5:5 - Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Matthew 14:31 - Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Romans 10:9 - Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Psalm 116:1 - I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Matthew 21:21-22 - And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Luke 1:37 - For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Mark 11:22 - And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
1 Peter 5:7 - Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Romans 8:31 - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
All of these verses address something that I struggled with so much during my addiction. I just could not rely on the fact that I didn't have to do anything other than have faith in God, and desire grow in Him. It can be done without a program. It can be done without having to constantly worry about using again. It can be done without having to worry about who your hanging out with, or what bars are around. It can be done in peace, and it only gets better. These are just a few of the many verses that assure us that if we have faith in God and we rely on His word, He will give us a new life with Him.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
In 1 Corinthians 6:9 the apostle Paul mentions idolatry as a sin of the unrighteous. Not only does Alcoholics Anonymous promote and encourage idolatry through its concept of creating "your own conception of God", but the entire concept of recovery put forth by the modern recovery movement, and especially by programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery is an idol itself to those who are drawn into it.
One of the most glaring lies that begins closing the trap around the unwary alcoholic or addicted sinner is the idea that their alcoholism or addiction is a disease from which they will never fully recover, but will only be granted a "daily reprieve" from for as long as they "give themselves" to the program of recovery. But we see in 1 Corinthians 6:10 that "drunkards" (Alcoholism) is listed as a sin and therefore, is not a disease according to scripture. If AA were to present the truth that alcoholism is sin that can only be overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ it would nullify the need for its own twelve-step program. So instead, the AA program leads its adherents into the lie of the disease concept which begins the indoctrination into idolatry.
The idol of recovery demands complete submission and the sacrificing of one's life upon it's Twelve Step altar. The book Alcoholics Anonymous on page 58 states, "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves." The use of fear, accusations of being dishonest, and even threats of death through relapse by not submitting completely to the Alcoholics Anonymous program are common all through the literature of it's program and professed by it's "sponsors" to those they claim to be helping.
The idol of recovery's victims are fooled into trading relief from their sin of addiction for the sin of idolatry in a life long worship of a false God in a false church known as the "Fellowship of the Program". If you have bowed and submitted to the idol of recovery, and committed your life to it's worship through programs like Alcoholics Anonymous - that is your choice. But if you profess to be a Christian who has been led into the recovery movement through a program like Celebrate Recovery which is simply the Twelve Steps of AA with some mostly erroneously applied Bible verses mixed in, are you not living in contradiction to the Christian gospel and commands of scripture? As 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states, Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. Also, we are directly commanded in 1 Corinthians 10:14, Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Relying on and living for a program in an effort to be in recovery - even if that program claims to be Christian is nothing more than idolatry. Those in Christ are told in scripture, And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30), looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). We are to look faithfully to Jesus and to Him only for deliverance from every sinful desire and for every need we have.
But "Christian Recovery" programs - especially Celebrate Recovery do not look to Jesus, but instead look to and point others to the false idol of recovery completely ignoring the commands of scripture - even going so far as to disregard the command of God in Deuteronomy 4:2 and actually printing their own Bible with the demonically inspired Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Celebrate Recovery program written into it.
You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you, - Deuteronomy 4:2
Celebrate Recovery, by mixing the worldly demonic teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous with the word of God in an effort to draw people into the idolatrous recovery movement, displays the dangerous heresy that the apostle Paul warns about in 1 Corinthians 10:21 which says, You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Spend some time researching the demonic origins of Alcoholics Anonymous and the massive amount of heresy put forth in their books, Alcoholics Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, as well as many others and it becomes glaringly clear that Celebrate Recovery is indeed a program which promotes the cup and table of demons with a Christian marketing angle.
Romans 12:2 says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We, as followers of Jesus Christ are not to be conformed to this world but instead to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by seeking the Lord and by the prayerful study and meditating on of His word by the leading and working of the Holy Spirit. We are to discern what is of God's will and what is of this dark and fallen world by testing everything and holding it up to the light of scripture and seeking only what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
If you are a Christian who has been misled by the modern idol of recovery you must reject it and flee from it, understanding that in Christ is the only absolute truth and freedom from sin and you must abide only in Him. Reject and cast off the things of this world and seek to understand and grasp the awesome and merciful truth of 1 Corinthians 6:11:
...But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. - John 3:3-15
When considered deeply from a Biblical perspective, the reason that the modern recovery movement has been allowed to infiltrate the contemporary Church is largely due to a severe lack of faith in the Lord and in the power of God’s word in proclaiming the gospel. This truth is evidenced by the most common responses provided by those claiming to be in Christian ministry but mainly focused on programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery. When these people are shown how the recovery programs they support and promote are proven to be apostate when held up to the light of scripture they either angrily reject the proof presented outright, or claim that there is no way anyone trapped in alcoholism or addiction could come to grasp the Christian message without first working through a program in order to heal them and bring them into a coherent state. They simply do not have the faith necessary to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with power and authority and instead rely on man made concepts and programs which contradict scripture. This is why not just recovery programs but the entire worldly concept of recovery is contrary to the Christian message of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
In the story of Jesus and Nicodemus we see the response to the gospel from a man who was a teacher at the highest level of Jewish society. Nicodemus probably knew all there was to know of religion except for the main point and purpose of it all - the doctrine of salvation. This man prefigured what so many have suffered from down through the centuries - the danger of knowing about Jesus but not knowing Jesus.
Nicodemus had to be brought above the limitations of his mind and what he thought he knew. Jesus presented to him a truth that was beyond his mind’s capacity to understand and accept. But in spite of this fact did the Lord water down the truth or try to come at it from a different angle? No, Jesus presented the truth simply and without compromise obviously knowing that understanding and belief come by the working of the power of the Holy Spirit.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8
Nicodemus became a believer.
Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. - John 19:39-40
We must witness and share the gospel with faith in and reliance on the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit. We must stop inventing new ways to pitch the gospel and just proclaim it. We must have faith and trust in the Holy Spirit to save those lost in sin and darkness. If we, as individuals are truly faithfully seeking the Lord and striving to be conformed to His image, His light in us will be the only attraction needed for those in the darkness. And we must have absolute faith in the sufficiency of scripture and throw out all of the worldly programs and concepts that have slithered into the contemporary Church.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. - Hebrews 4:12-14
The fall into idolatry that so much of the Church has made can be very incremental and subtle. Beware of worshipping another Christ, another Christianity, or a Church, or a program, or a Pastor. Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is not a concept - it is the transforming, re-creating, life-giving, loving power of God saving us in Christ eternally. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so that those who looked upon it might live (Numbers 21:4-9), we must lift up Christ and His gospel looking only to Him knowing that whoever believes in Him will be saved and have eternal life.
Look to, seek, follow, worship only Jesus Christ as revealed to you by the working of the Holy Spirit through God’s word.
An excerpt from an article over at TheBereanCall.org by Dave Hunt entitled, God as You Conceive Him/Her/It to Be:
In fact, the 12 Steps of A.A. came by direct inspiration from the demonic world and they open the door to the occult by introducing members to a false god. Step 2 says, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Step 3 continues, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we [Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Mormon, shaman, agnostic, et al.] understood Him." In Christianity Today , Tim Stafford says, "The 12 Steps are Christian." Yet they contain no mention of Jesus Christ, much less of the gospel. In fact, they are anti-Christian. An official A.A. publication says, "You can, if you wish, make A.A. itself your 'Higher Power.'" Stafford admits that A.A. founder Bill Wilson "never pledged his loyalty to Christ, never was baptized, never joined a Christian church...." Instead, the Christian church has joined A.A!
Pastor John MacArthur, in his book Our Sufficiency in Christ, on page 67 states the following in regard to human/secular therapies:
Human therapies are embraced most eagerly by the spiritually week - those who are shallow or ignorant of biblical truth and who are unwilling to accept the path of suffering that leads to spiritual maturity and deeper communion with God. The unfortunate effect is that these people remain immature, held back by a self-imposed dependence on some pseudo-Christian method or psychoquackery that actually stifles real growth.
Pastor John MacArthur, in his book The Truth War, on page 159 addresses the 12 steps as follows:
Others would formally affirm Christ's sovereignty and spiritual headship over the church, but they resist His rule in practice. To cite just one instance of how this is done, many churches have set various forms of human psychology, self help therapy, and the idea of 'recovery' in place of the Bible's teaching about sin and sanctification."..."So wherever the work of God's Word is being replaced with twelve step programs and other substitutes, Christ's headship over the church is being denied in practice.
T.A. McMahon who is the editor of the Berean Call writes the following regarding Bill Wilson, a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the man who wrote the 12 steps:
A.A.'s official biography indicates Bill Wilson received the details of the twelve steps through spirit dictation. Does anyone see a simple, idolatrous problem here?
Regarding so called "Christ Centered" 12 step programs and support groups such as Celebrate Recovery, Hunger for Healing, and others, T.A. McMahon writes:
But what about evangelicals just using the methodology the familiar spirit gave to Bill Wilson? Simple again: God condemns the source, and the approach is contrary to the way He wants to transform our lives. Furthermore, why turn to such a spiritually toxic system? Where are the evangelical pastor's heads in this?
In their book 12 Steps to Destruction, authors Martin and Deidre Bobgan state the following on page 116:
Twelve -Step programs are in essence New Age religions and archetypical precursors of a one-world religion. They do not hold a common doctrine of God and His creation. Instead, each group holds a common goal, centered in saving self.
C.S. Lewis on Bill Wilson's communing with spirits, "This is necromancy. Have nothing to do with it."
"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. - Matthew 7:24-29
In this wonderful parable of the builders we see that for both the wise and the foolish the rains fall, the floods come, and the wind blows and beats on both their houses. We will all face storms. The deciding factors are the rock and the sand.
This lesson that culminates Jesus’ Sermon On the Mount is such a simple one. But unfortunately, one that is commonly neglected. To truly hear the word of God requires much more than just ears, and doing the word of God requires much more than just acknowledging.
Only by the power of the Holy Spirit do we truly hear.
For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. - Matthew 13:15,16
We learn of the tragic consequences of hearing God’s word but not doing it in the story of Jesus’ interaction with a rich ruler.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"
And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth."
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." - Mark 10:17-27
The rich ruler was a good man by man’s standards. But Jesus knew there was a love and a worship of wealth and power in this man that would be his demise if he did not forsake it and turn and follow Him. The man’s wealth here in this world would contribute to his eternal destruction because it kept him from looking to and following Christ, and therefore Christ lovingly commands him to do what must be done. But the man only hears with ears that can barely hear and therefore he does not understand and turn to Jesus but instead continues on in the worship of his deadly idol. He was unwilling to do the word of God as we all are unless we are blessed to understand that “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God”.
You will not hear this teaching in most of the contemporary Church because man has been taught to rely on the mind of man rather than the spirit of God. Instead of resting faithfully on the promise that all things are possible with God, the modern Christian is instructed to work through their worldly afflictions through programming and self help. And this faithless, cheap Christianity has become so ingrained that many modern Pastors cannot see beyond it to the truth of the power of the gospel and choose to defend the teachings of man over the word of God.
The way through the narrow gate that Jesus teaches about in Matthew 7:13&14 is by hearing and doing the word of God. To hear and to do is to truly die to self and live for Christ. And the vital point for Christians to understand is that the hearing and the doing are not burdensome but the richest blessing.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30
The world is what piles weight upon men’s shoulders - not Jesus.
We must build our house upon the rock. The Church must do so and so must every believer. And we build our house upon the rock by hearing the word of God, by knowing the word of God, and by doing the word of God. Everything other than Christ and His word is just sand. Everything the world offers will eventually fail and lead to destruction.
Ephraim has said, "Ah, but I am rich; I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin." I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast....Ephraim has given bitter provocation; so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds. - Hosea 12:8,9,14
So many hear the word of God with ears that barely hear and never do the word of God. The contemporary Church and especially the “Christian recovery” movement epitomizes the heresy of self worship, self promotion, and selfish gain as an endless parade of “Recovery” ministries and programs strive pathetically for the limelight of Christian celebrity.
"As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. - Ezekiel 33:30,31
The fool hears the words of Jesus but does not do them. But the wise hears and does the words of our Lord. There is only one truth and there is only one final authority - the word of God. The words of Christ will stand forever.
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. - Ecclesiastes 12:11-13
If we desire on that final day to hear Jesus say “I have known you,” then we must hear His word and we must do His word. And our house will be built on the indestructible everlasting rock.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14
The many and the few - everyone will end up in one group or the other. There is no middle ground in divine truth. One of the great errors in the contemporary Church and especially prevalent in the recovery movement that has infiltrated the Church is the idea of an all inclusive universal salvation regardless of what someone believes and whether or not they have truly been born again and follow Christ according to His word. Sadly, many Churches rely on Alcoholics Anonymous or its spin off program Celebrate Recovery rather than the gospel in an effort to help the alcoholic and addicted, completely unaware of the heresy put forth by AA. Consider that on page 46 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous it is stated that, “We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men". That is a complete contradiction of Matthew 7:13-14 and yet so many Pastors and Churches participate in and promote Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery.
But in truth we once again see the razor's edge of Christianity, the clear distinction that there are only two ways in life: right or wrong, good or evil, Christ or the world, faith in Christ or dependence on programs, the narrow gate to heaven or the wide highway to hell, death with the the many or eternal life In Jesus with the few.
The wide worldly gate to destruction is one of enticement, amusement, entertainment, ease, worldly prosperity, self worship, and is all inclusive - open to all without anything needing to be given up or repented of in order to pass through. The lusts and desires and passions of this world are welcome through the wide gate without question or running the risk of insult. The wide gate is easy to find because there is a constant mass of ignorant humanity fighting to get through it.
The fact that we must enter by the narrow gate has been cast aside in “Christian” recovery programs, and traded instead for the faulty idea that the goal is to get someone over their pain - then, when the suffering sinner is better they can be presented with the Christian message. What a destructive heresy man creates when by lack of faith and sinful pride the gospel is manipulated or ignored and the man made concept of recovery is set up as an idol above the commands of Christ. There is a reason the very first command recorded in Christ's ministry was repent.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." - Matthew 4:17
Christ does not command sinners to clear their head, fix themselves up, get their life back together, and then repent and follow Him. Instead, Christ commands lost sinners to repent and to follow Him faithfully on the hard path to the narrow gate that can only be passed through by grace through faith. But the wonderful paradox lies in the fact that although the gate is narrow and the way is hard - it is a way of inexpressible joy and true peace. Christ does a miracle in the transformation of every sinner that cannot be grasped or understood by the sinful human mind without the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. And that is where faith must be exercised in the sharing of the gospel. Unfortunately, for too long much of the contemporary Church has lacked the faith to simply and lovingly share the gospel with the lost drunk or addicted sinner and pray for the working of the Holy Spirit, and instead has devised man made programs that lead only away from the one true way to salvation. By relying on anything of man other than God even with the best of intentions conveys a severe lack of faith in the power of the gospel by the working of the Holy Spirit.
to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. - Acts 26:18
Consider this question: If someone has the greatest gift and you do not, and because you lack this gift you will die, would you want that person to give you the gift even if the giving of the gift may at first be painful and offensive? Is this what you wish others would do to you?
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12
It seems that if we truly are to do unto others as we would have done unto us that we will strive to love them as Jesus would love them, that we would love for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel according to the word. We would not lead someone astray with a false worldly connotation of love. Yet, that is exactly what so many do by leading the suffering sinner away from the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and into programs invented by man.
Jesus tells us that we must enter by the narrow gate, and that if we don’t we will enter the wide way to destruction. He also tells us in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." - Mark 1:14,15
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way Ministry Church USA & Kenya.