Paul writes on False Apostles in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 he writes “I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted from a complete and pure [b] devotion to Christ. For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly”.
We can see the congregation in Corinth suffered from the same lack of discernment and spiritual insight: “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent [deceived] Eve through his [craftiness], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, [you put up with it well]… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no [wonder]; for Satan… [transforms himself] into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:2-4, 13-14; emphasis added).
From these scriptures it is evident that there are three main ways in which the truth of Scripture can be falsified by Satan to deceive Christians and lead them astray. These perversions involve crucial issues at the very core of our faith and are intended to deceive people into accepting another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. Even our Lord warned us in Matt 24:4-5 He answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name… “ Paul speaks to the old Galatian Church in Galatians 1:6-10 “I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ, [and are turning] to a different gospel not that there is another [gospel], but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him! For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.”
Familiar University professors on Jesus Christ:
It is sad to see that even in South Africa we are seemingly not exempt from different Gospels or obscure Jesus’s! There seem to be a deliberate attempt from our educational institutions to make us come to terms with a global “Zeitgeist” or “many paths’ one stream” spirituality.
G.A. van den Heever from Unisa University makes a strong plea for a multi-religious consideration of the position and role of Jesus. In this chapter, Jesus in the world religions, he says: “If it is true that the ‘construction’ of Jesus in early Christianity is similar to that of Buddha, Zoroaster and Krishna, then one needs to give an answer to the question of what possible gain there could be in a comparative venture such as this… It should encourage Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus towards a healthier, more tolerant interchange on the cultural and religious front. However much we like to believe in our own uniqueness, we drink from the same wells.”
Even well known author Prof. Elaine Pagels says “The resurrection was not a unique event in the past: instead, it symbolized how Christ’s presence could be experienced in the present. What mattered was not literal seeing, but spiritual vision….The disciples themselves often misunderstood what Jesus said: those who announced that their dead master had come back physically to life mistook a spiritual truth for an actual event. But the true disciple may never have seen the earthly Jesus, having been born at the wrong time, as Paul said of himself. Yet this physical disability may become a spiritual advantage: such persons, like Paul, may encounter Christ first on the level of inner experience.”
In his new book” Jesus van Nazareth” Sakkie Spangenberg writes “Jesus – stripped from dogma – is presented to us? Jesus was a Jew who practiced Judaism, who followed Jewish customs and traditions. In the tradition of the Old Testament he was a prophet and a wise rabbi who shared his life and revelations. The word he proclaimed was the “kingdom of God”, not in the future or supernatural, but concrete critique against the Roman kingdom of his time. The Christian tradition that evolved around Jesus only became popular a few years after his death…”
Abel Pienaar, follower of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hann who is the founder of the Plum Village in France from Renaissance Church adds “the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus are seen as childhood myths and legend.
In an Interview He was asked “But what makes Jesus any more different than Gandhi or Buddha? Why don’t people worship them the same as Christ?
He answered “I don’t know if Jesus is any different from them. Other people well worship other “messiahs” like Christians literally Christ Jesus. 70% of the worlds population is not Christian… and Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed ex. are also for a lot of people (just like Christians) the personification of God in human form.”
The interviewer asked “and the Bible? What worth does that have for you and which authority does it hold for you. The word of God or people’s words about God?”
Abel Adds “The Bible is a book wherein people wrote about their
experiences with god and from god. They understood their own context colored it in. The Bible is a very valuable resource… but for me the Bible is not just the 66 books that are contained in our Biblia as well as the Apocrypha as well as the Nag Hammandi writings. I studied the Hindu Vedas and Sutras …and like our Bible, it also gives through wisdom, without which I as a Spiritual leader cannot see myself without.”
Some Professors that support these views wholeheartedly and belongs to this “Centrum of end time Spirituality:
• Prof. Kobus Krüger. University of PTA in Amsterdam.
• Dr. Piet Muller. University of Freestate
• Prof. Hansie Wolmarans. University of Johannesburg.
• Prof. Celia Kourie. Unisa department van Theology.
Another South African author Albert Nolan in haste to write on the radical Jesus wrote “Any attempt to practice the same Spirituality as Jesus would entail learning to speak out boldly as he did – and facing the consequences.” (Jesus today Pg64). The overwhelming theme of these “free thinkers” is “the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) As a result truth is most legitimate the more in tune your “heart” is with your inner spiritual rhytm. Truth is relative to ones own context and that which feels and seem right appears to be the most lucid and proper. They hold on to the words of Karl Rahner that says “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all. … “The mystical becomes the actual to these free thinkers, and the unknown becomes the evidence of their own inspiration. All truth is equally valid and all religions are equally true. The Bible are one of many books that consist of superstition and folklore that requires the “thinking” or “scientific mind” to scrutinize and bring perspective to all!
It was the philosopher Blaise Pascal the French philosopher and thinker who said “Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established, that unless we love truth, we cannot know it.” Michael Horton asked the question “What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over a half century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where (the Real) Christ is not preached.” [Emphasis added]
I think the gospel makes it pretty clear! If you’ve been told that you can have Christ as Savior without having Him as Lord; if you’ve been told that salvation is as easy as ABC; if you were assured that a momentary decision would save your soul, you’ve been taught “Easy-believism”. If you think that such believing will save you, you are deceived!
John 6:26-29 “Jesus answered,” I assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.” “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. Jesus replied, “This is the work of God: that you believe in the One He has sent.”
Let us examine some of these various renditions and see how they differ from the Jesus of the Bible:
Some popular Jesus’s of today…
The following are the most common ways in which the Person, work and image of the Lord Jesus are distorted so as to present a counterfeit Jesus who is powerless to save lost sinners from the righteous judgment of a holy God:
Jesus the human teacher
In sects such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and in other religions such as Islam, the deity of Jesus is denied. Most portray Him as a merely human prophet or unusually gifted teacher, while explicitly denying that He is the Son of God:
1 Jn. 2:22-23 “Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denies the Father and the Son. Whosoever denies the Son, the same hath not the Father”
Tragically, the antichristian denial of Christ’s deity is now common in many professedly Christian churches. Theologians also have an increasing tendency to deny His miraculous conception and virgin birth, thus attempting to reduce Him to an ordinary, fallible human being. A powerful movement promotes the deceptive idea that the historical Jesus (i.e. the so-called real Jesus) is to be clearly distinguished from the mythic Jesus (or cultic Jesus) which, they allege, the Church’s tradition has transformed Him into. If Jesus was not truly “God with us” (Mt. 1:23) and sinless He could not have offered Himself as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of Adam’s fallen race. In the first Adam we are all spiritually dead, as we inherit his sinful nature. A dying race needs a second Adam, a perfect God-Man, to re-create us in His image by imputing His righteousness and imparting His eternal life to us (1 Cor. 15:22,45; Rom. 5:14-21). Jesus is the God-Man – Himself God, Son of God and Son of Man. To deny His deity by depicting Him as merely a prophet is to rob the world of its only hope of a Divine Saviour.
Jesus the example
Preaching today in many formal and spiritually dead churches often presents the life of Jesus merely as an ideal example we should follow. In such moralistic sermons, no reference is made to His substitutionary death and shed blood which alone can cleanse from sin. Instead of the need for new birth, Christian virtues are taught, without the risen Christ who alone can empower us to “walk in the newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). People are only taught to be good citizens, love their neighbours and live morally good lives. The result of this kind of preaching is that Jesus does not become real to them as they only have a vague mental perception of Him. By mental effort they try to follow His example, but He is not a living, spiritual reality to them, because they have not yet become “new creatures” in Him (2 Cor. 5:17) through faith in His finished work. Though they speak of Jesus, they do not know Him personally and since they have been given a false ‘image’ of Him, their efforts to follow His example are misguided and flawed.
Jesus the giver of gifts
Many people are attracted to Jesus because they feel they can derive various benefits from Him. He should heal them, bless them, prosper them and provide for all their material needs. They see Him as the One who restores to human beings the exalted position humanity had before the fall! They wish to regain dominion over creation, to wield miraculous powers and even to become ‘gods’ in their own right. Such people also end up serving ‘another Jesus’. They do not identify with the crucified Christ, and reject persecution, disease and suffering as being the consequences of weak faith. We see the using of visualization and positive thinking techniques they create their own reality, so becoming masters of their own destiny. By relying on various innate strengths in their own psyche, they fail to put their trust in the crucified Christ to sustain them by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus the political liberator
A Jesus who is a freedom fighter and who champions the oppressed is often proclaimed in the Third World. He came to set political captives free and to uplift them on the socio-economic level of existence. This Jesus is only concerned with their secular affairs. He did not come to liberate them from sin, but from governments which impede political, social and economic progress. He blesses them in the struggle against their oppressors without denouncing their amoral behaviour or stressing the need to engage in a spiritual struggle against the real oppressor of their souls, Satan.
Jesus the sinner
The Jesus depicted in many Hollywood films is a fallen sinner like other human beings controlled by their fleshly passions. This blasphemous depiction of Jesus is the theme of films such as Jesus Christ Superstar, The last temptation of Christ, and Jesus of Montreal. In the last-mentioned film the counterfeit ‘Jesus’ is outrageously depicted as staying with other young people in a Montreal flat, where they live licentiously and overindulge in liquor. There are no limits to the evil imaginations of depraved, satanically inspired people who distort the image of Jesus. He is even depicted as a homosexual by some. On a painting exhibited in Archbishop Tutu’s Cape Town cathedral, Jesus was portrayed as an Aids victim full of sores. All such wicked misrepresentations of Jesus are part of Satan’s age-old smear campaign against Him. During His life on earth, He was branded as a sinner, blasphemer, glutton, drinker and friend of extortioners and immoral people: “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of [tax-collectors] and sinners” (Mt. 11:19; see also Jn. 9:16,24).
The true Jesus whom we worship, is without sin. He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Heb. 7:26; see also 4:15). Do not profane or mock the holy Name of God, or of Jesus His beloved Son: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
The cosmic Jesus
The intensified campaign to misrepresent the Person, character, work and Name of Jesus is aimed at preparing the world for Satan’s great end-time counterfeit Christ, the Antichrist. Jesus Himself warned that the world will be deceived by this impostor and others who would impersonate Him: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many” (Mt. 24: 4-5 NKJV). The New Age Movement presents a Jesus who is the personification of the messianic expectations of all the religions of the world. To the Christians he is the Christ, to the Jews the Messiah, to the Hindus Krishna, to the Muslims the Imam Mahdi, and to the Buddhists Maitreya Buddha. He is, therefore, the cosmic Christ, or universal Christ, of all faiths who will head up a spiritual hierarchy that unites, synthesizes and thus supersedes all the religions on earth.
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.
Some, apparently from their overindulgence in Sunday school and bedtime stories about Jesus, are so addicted to this myth about Jesus that they will even teach that Jesus’ whip (when He “cleansed the temple” by roughly driving the merchandisers and animals out of the temple and forcefully overturning the moneychangers’ tables – Jn. 2:15; top ), didn’t actually touch anyone. To say that it did (thus saying that Jesus actually did violence to someone that day) is, according to these, to add to the meaning of Scripture. Unfortunately, since the Scriptures are silent on this matter, to say that He did not actually hit someone with His braided scourge is also to add to the meaning of Scripture!
Jesus the fiery prophet.
Some see Jesus in this way, pronouncing woe upon almost everyone. This is the “Jesus” of those “churches” where the “pastor” feels that he must yell at you to get his point across. Exhortation (something which is to be done by “one another” and not by the “pastor” – Heb. 3:13 , etc.; top) and especially “fiery exhortation” (something which is not to be the usual diet of the sheep as it can cause severe spiritual heartburn, inner flatulence and indigestion!) is only one aspect of the whole counsel of God and is completely intolerable when the listeners know that the man yelling at them from up front has a lifestyle worse than their own!
The Jesus who forgives all things & overlooks all things.
This “Jesus” doesn’t really care what all you do with your six days so long as you attend “church,” pay your dues and don’t get into any trouble that would embarrass the “pastor” or the “church” one attends. So long as you don’t do anything really bad, it’s okay. (See 1 Cor. 5:9-11 , however) It’s all about “grace,” brother, so don’t tell me about sin or law! This “grace” and tolerance club forgets that knowledge of the law is how we know what sin is. ( Rom. 3:20 , etc.; top) Any teaching or practice of “grace” that doesn’t enable its practitioners to fulfill the laws and ways of God and thus overcome the sinful ways of the flesh has missed something rather essential to the real gospel.
A Jesus Who forgives nothing but enacts even more demanding laws.
This “Christian” legalists club has more rules than you can shake a stick at. Women must be silent always, must wear long hair and long skirts and wear no make-up ever, wives must submit to their husbands (but husbands need submit to no one except the “pastor” except where they can pay enough to be left alone) and divorce would seem to be the unpardonable sin, except perhaps when committed by a beloved “pastor.”
Yeshua, Yashua, Joshua or Yehoushua.
This group insists that we must return to the Hebrew pronunciation of the name of Jesus (and usually Yahweh for God as well) or we’re not talking to or about the right Man or God. Some even say that the word “Jesus” is a Greek and Roman reference to pigs. Unfortunately these Messianic Hebrew “scholars” can’t come into unity about which is the appropriate pronunciation and their return to the synagogue has also drawn a number of Jews and Gentiles to return to the law and depart from grace. (see Gal. 5:4 , etc.) God long ago made it clear that His word was even more important than His name. ( Psa. 138:2; top )
A Jesus for intellectuals only.
While this club rarely excludes the ignorant and Biblically illiterate (after all, they do need passive victims to be their audience), only the brilliant orators and rhetoric-ticians, schooled in homiletics, hermeneutics and homey alliteration, get groomed for upward mobility on the “church’s” corporate ladder. These will even boast of their “line upon line, precept upon precept” teaching methods but somehow have failed to notice that this method is a judgment from God. (see Isa. 2 Some popular Jesus’s of today…
The following are the most common ways in which the Person, work and image of the Lord Jesus are distorted so as to present a counterfeit Jesus who is powerless to save lost sinners from the righteous judgment of a holy God:
The Real search for the real Jesus.
In his book “searching for the Real Jesus” (1996) Dr. Douglas Groothuis clearly refutes the agnostic speculation and serious distortion of Jesus by modern theologians: “Jesus is not an ambiguous inkblot upon which we project our pet theories, hopes, or fears. He is a living reality who can be mastered by no one, since He is the Master of the universe. He challenges every counterfeit with His genuineness, every distortion with His veracity… The cross remains a fact of history, and the gospel continues to be the only means of setting people free” (Jn. 8:31-32).
To enable one to identify all the distorted images of the counterfeit Jesus as false, the true Jesus must be known, served and worshipped with an undivided heart.
Paul committed himself to gaining an intimate knowledge and relationship with Him: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord… that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Phil. 3:8,10). Peter says that we must grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
There is only one Jesus – any different “Jesus” is only a counterfeit and a lie, a pretender to the throne that is reserved only and always for the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the world. ( Rev. 5:6; top ) Anyone whose life serves the interests and agendas of these usurpers and pretenders (fronts for the work of the devil and the demonic) does so at their own risk.
Let him who has ears hear.
Here are two critical tests:
Jesus is Almighty God!
• Anyone who teaches that Jesus is NOT Almighty God is a liar. Every Believer has God’s Spirit! The test is simple! The Bible tells us what the test is. If a person fails this test, they are NOT of God and have not His Spirit.
• The test is to ask the other person what they think about Jesus! Specifically, you want to find out if this person believes that Jesus Christ is Almighty God. “Every spirit that confesses that JESUS CHRIST has COME IN THE FLESH is of God.”
• What does this mean? Nearly every false religion believes that Jesus had a fleshly body. This Scripture must mean something entirely different.
• Here’s the real question:
- Do you believe that Jesus existed before He came to the earth?
- Do you believe that the pre-incarnate Christ became flesh?
- Do you believe that Jesus is Almighty God?
- Do you believe that the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) became flesh?
- Is Jesus Christ is the ONLY Way to Heaven!
Anyone who teaches that Jesus is NOT the Only Way to Heaven is a liar. We’ve often heard the saying, “all rivers lead to the ocean.” This simply is not so with salvation. It all depends which way you are going. Do all airplanes lead to Chicago? Of course not! There is a great danger in adopting the silly sayings of ignorant people concerning God and salvation. Another lie you may have heard is “We are all God’s Children.” That sounds cute but it’s NOT true! We are all God’s creation, but we are NOT all God’s Children. You are only a Child of God if you’ve been born-again into God’s Family.
Proverb 14:12… “There is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” It is a dangerous and foolish thing to decide for yourself what is right and wrong.
The Unique Christ
Jesus speaks of Himself in Revelations22:13. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
In his best selling book author Lee Strobel writes that “Faith is only as good as the one in whom it’s invested.” Clearly Christ demands our full attention and faith in Him our full obedience. Strobel remind us that “beliefs have very real consequences.”
Here are a few interesting facts about Jesus:
FACTS ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
1) He was never created. Micah 5:2
2) His essence has never changed. Hebrews 13:8
3) He is God. John 1:1
4) He is the Creator of everything. Colossians 1:16
5) He is all-powerful. Matthew 28:18
6) He is all-knowing. Colossians 2:3
7) He is ever-present. Matthew 18:20
8) He is holy. Luke 1:35
9) He is righteous. Isaiah 53:11
10) He is just. Zechariah 9:9
11) He is guileless. 1 Peter 2:22
12) He is sinless. 2 Corinthians 5:21
13) He is spotless. 1 Peter 1:19
14) He is innocent. Matthew 27:4
15) He is gentle. Matthew 11:29
16) He is merciful. Hebrews 2:17
17) He is forgiving. Luke 23:34
18) He receives worship by demons. Mark 5:2,6
19) He receives worship by men. John 9:38
20) He receives worship by angels. Hebrews 1:6
21) He receives worship by disciples. Luke 24:52
22) He receives worship in heaven. Revelation 7:9-10
23) He will receive worship from everyone. Philippians 2:10-11
24) He was human. 1 Timothy 2:5
25) He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:34-35
26) He took on man’s nature. Hebrews 2:9-18
27) He humbled Himself. Philippians 2:8
28) He was subject to human emotions. Hebrews 5:7
29) He raised His body from the dead. John 10:18
30) His blood brings reconciliation with God. Ephesians 2:13-16
31) His blood brings redemption for man. Romans 3:24-25
32) His blood allows man to be justified before God. Romans 5:9
33) His blood sanctifies man. Hebrews 10:29
34) His blood brings spiritual victory. Revelation 12:11
35) His blood brings eternal life. John 6:53-56
36) He came to save sinners. Luke 19:10
37) He will bring in everlasting righteousness. Daniel 9:24
38) He destroyed the works of Satan. 1 John 3:8
39) He fulfilled the Old Testament. Matthew 5:17
40) He gives life now. John 10:10
41) He is our advocate. 1 John 2:1
42) He gives eternal life. John 10:28
43) He is eternal life. 1 John 5:20
44) He sends the Holy Spirit to us. John 15:26
45) He will take His people to heaven. John 14:3
46) He will return to the earth after the tribulation. Matthew 24:29
47) He will return to the earth in power and glory. Matthew 24:30
48) He completes revelation. Hebrews 1:1
49) He will never send you away if you come to Him. John 6:37
50) He is the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
All for Him!
Rudolph P Boshoff.