8 Crucial Teachings Many Churches Avoid (Part 1)
by Jonathan A. Jenkins
(This article isn’t intended to condemn Pastors. In fact, ICWC exists to Help God Help Pastors Help People. In visiting churches from Maine to California and Texas to Illinois, we've yet to hear a teaching based on these topics, primarily because of (1) their highly-sensitive nature, and (2) the fact these issues affect so many who are in the church. ICWC specializes in these “Belief Deception” teachings and has helped many church members get free from these strongholds that are common in most churches.)
We all know them. Perhaps they’ve been in your church for years. They may tithe. They may volunteer. Some could even be department heads. But there’s something about them that just seems to…well…repel people. You’ve tried counseling them. You’ve suggested books, audio recordings and recorded sermons, but they just never quite seem to get it. So what’s the problem? They have Belief Deceptions. What exactly is a Belief Deception? A Belief Deception, simply put, is a lie of the enemy which one chooses to believe, and eventually becomes a life principle (or rule) that they strictly follow and firmly live by as “right” (to them).
1. OFFENSE. Do I have your attention now? Sure, who doesn’t know a fellow church member who is always upset with someone at their church? These people are constantly offended and no matter what you say to them, they’re just going to be offended. I’m an expert on the subject of offense. No, I don’t have a doctorate degree in Offense-ology. No, the President hasn’t appointed me head of his Offense Cabinet. And no, corporations aren’t seeking me out to hire me as their next C.O.O. (Chief Offense Officer). I’m an expert because I’ve spent most of my life (and the first half of my Christian life) being offended. ICWC defines someone with Offense as:
“I allow what others say, do, or even how they may look at me to be offensive. Though I won’t admit it, I’m always on the lookout for someone to offend me, because I always seem to be a magnet for those who are looking to cause me pain. If my offense stays bottled up long enough and the other person doesn’t make amends to quench my offense, I'm then entitled to upgrade my offense to Resentment and Gossip status.”
The first thing that we need to know about offense is this: Offense is a Choice. Contrary to what we’ve all learned, people can’t say something offensive to you; they can merely say words. It’s your choice if you allow those words to be offensive to you.
Christian Author John Bevere wrote a best-selling book on the subject of Offense, entitled, The Bait of Satan. He writes, “Offended people still may experience miracles, words of utterance, strong preaching, and healing in their lives. But these are gifts of the Spirit, not fruit. We will be judged according to fruit, not gifting. A gift is given. Fruit is cultivated.” He adds, “A person who cannot forgive has forgotten how great a debt God has forgiven them.”
Do you know someone who holds on to offenses? Could you be someone who is unknowingly offended? Here are some signs of those who may be resentful or offended:
- They are quick to argue and to defend themselves.
- People walk on eggshells around them.
- Those who they believe to be friends don’t share intimate details of their life with them.
- They get their feelings hurt easily.
- They don’t want to talk to someone whom they used to be close to anymore.
- They keep playing comments over and over their their mind, growing more and more resentful.
- They have a trail of broken relationships in their wake (in their past).
So while we may think we have a right to be offended with certain people, Joyce Meyer makes a great point: “How embarrassing would it be if you were offended with someone the day Jesus came back?” So how did I, a recovering offense-aholic, get free from a life of offense? By the Word of God, which says:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” —Matthew 6:14-15
2. RELIGIOSITY. ICWC defines someone who has a spirit of religiosity as:
“A form of pride, I have a strong desire to inform others whenever I read the bible, attend church, or show other religious acts in my life. If I can recite enough scripture, attend church often enough, sit in a seat of honor, or get a coveted church title to include on my Christian résumé, others will know that I am among the spiritual elite and they will in turn respect me for the outstanding Christian that I am. If others see me as super-spiritual, their opinion of me is elevated; which puts us both on the same page with my own opinion of me: That I should be a well-respected Christian.”
In short, religiosity is a personal belief of being self-righteous; righteous not because of what Jesus did, but because of what we did. Make no mistake: a religious spirit is a real, roaming, demonic spirit; sent to deceive you and make you feel that you’re made right by your Christian actions—not because of what Jesus did. Here are 10 signs that someone is influenced by a religious spirit:
- They judge others by their appearance.
- They try to earn God’s love and salvation.
- They try to conform to outward holiness, without inward transformation.
- They're always critical of other people’s walk with God.
- Their closest Christian relationships are based only on ministry activities.
- They perform Christian duties, but have no passion or hunger for God.
- They desire position and honor in the church more than honor from God.
- Their identity is rooted in a lifestyle of Christianity, instead of in Christ.
- They know about the Truth of Jesus, but not the way of Jesus.
- They project righteousness, but inwardly, they're filled with anger and resentment.
“Jesus replied, ‘You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” —Mark 7:6-8
3. PRIDE. Here’s our definition of Pride:
“I believe that I am deserving of honor and should be treated with the utmost respect by everyone who comes in contact with me. My values, feelings, giftings and opinions are more important than that of others, because I feel that I am generally superior to others. If you’re uncertain whether or not I’m more experienced, educated, knowledgeable, better-looking, or more gifted than others, just wait...I’ll eventually tell you.”
Here are 10 manifestations of Pride:
- A Lack of Gratitude in General.
- Being Consumed with what Others Think of You.
- Being Devastated or Angered by Criticism.
- Being Unteachable.
- Being Sarcastic.
- A Lack of Admitting when You are Wrong.
- Unwillingness to ask for Forgiveness.
- Being Impatient or Irritable with Others.
- Sexual Sin.
Of the seven things that the book of Proverbs lists which God hates, Pride is #1 (to clarify, God hates these things; not people who have these attributes). If you're uncertain what Narcissism is, here's the definition:
Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
James 4:6 tells us, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The NIV says that, “God opposes the proud”, while yet another translation says, “God actively opposes the proud.” The actual Greek word for “resists” (or “opposes”) means that God “takes a military position against the proud.” Yowch!
So to recap: People are against us when we are prideful. Satan, as we all know, is obviously against us. And when we’re prideful, God takes a military position against us. Pride es no Bueno!
“There are six things the LORD hates—no, seven things HE detests: haughty eyes (Pride), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren.” —Proverbs 6:16-19
4. BLAME SHIFTING. Here’s our definition:
This way of lying allows me to withdraw from taking accountability where I’ve done something wrong. If I can find someone else to place the blame on, I can clear myself and avoid taking responsibility for my part. Furthermore, if I can put together a compelling case against the person I’m blaming—and recruit enough people (lynch mob, gang mentality) to side with me and pass their judgment onto the one I’m blaming, I’m off the hook and am completely excused of my wrong (sociopath/psychopath behavior). This form of lying is a way to shift the way that others think of me; from wrongdoer to the victim. And whatever happens to the one I’m blaming isn’t my problem, because after all, this is a dog-eat-dog world.
When something goes wrong, those who tend to shirk responsibility and look for a scapegoat are known as blamers. The 3 reasons we blame are:
- To promote (increase the value of) self
- To demote (lower the value of) the one we’re blaming
- To take the focus off of our own faults and errors
Psychologist Dr. Thomas Jordan says, "Blaming is a form of emotional abuse on our victim." For those of us who are believers, blaming reinforces self-righteousness and religiosity. Have you ever been in social circles with people who sit around blaming others, while promoting their own actions? For those who do, to be clear, they are feeding each other’s sin. Aaron Chesterfield said, “Blaming dulls empathy.” Mark Batterson said, “In my experience, those who accomplish the most for the kingdom criticize the least.” And the Apostle Paul wrote:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and perpetual animosity and resentment and strife and fault-finding and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice (spitefulness). Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted, compassionate, understanding, forgiving one another (eagerly and freely) just as God also forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:31-32
Be sure to check out our next post, Part Two of 8 Crucial Teachings that Many Churches Avoid.
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