February 26th, 2014 | By admin
By Paul Holland
When we were in Romania, there was an item in the newspaper about the death of a young teenage girl. I believe she was around 12 or 13. She died tragically at the hands of an Orthodox priest. The circumstance was the belief that she was demon-possessed and the priest was performing an exorcism on her. I do not recall the details but a gag in her mouth was part of the process.
Peter warns us that twisting the Lord’s words would cause destruction: “count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:15-18).
There are plenty of hard-to-understand passages in the Bible. Of that there can be no dispute. But most of what passes today as teachings from God’s word are actually perversions and twists of plain biblical teaching.
We do not have miraculous gifts today (and thus no exorcism) – 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. We have no need of miraculous gifts today since their purpose has been fulfilled – Mark 16:19-20; Jude 3.
The passage from Mark 16 brings to light another perversion of the Scriptures that has led to physical destruction. It has been in the news lately, especially here in Kentucky.
Jamie Coots, age 42, was a preacher for the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, KY. This is one of those infamous “snake-handling” churches. Not only do they wrest Mark 16:17-18 out of its context, there’s actually not much that issimilar between what Jesus was talking about (Acts 28:3-6 is God’s example of what He meant) and what transpires today in such churches.
A few Saturdays ago, Coots was bitten by a timber rattlesnake and, after refusing treatment, died. National Geographic made money off Coots’ foolishness when they spot-lighted him in a program called Snake Salvation.
It is sad and frustrating that so many people are so easily deceived – and that it often comes at a price in this life.
Yet – observe the name of this man’s church. The last three words are: “In Jesus Name.” Coots would argue that what he was doing was right. It was biblical. It was in Jesus’ name. But anyone with an open mind and sincere heart can see that it was neither right, nor biblical, nor in Jesus’ name.
There will be people on the day of judgment who will argue (or try to argue) with Jehovah God that what they did was “in Jesus’ name” (Matthew 7:21-23). But, He will turn them away with love in His heart because they were working lawlessness.
Don’t be turned away in heaven for lawlessness. Make sure what you do has biblical support behind it – book, chapter, and verse – all understood appropriately within its own biblical context.