What Old Fundamentals Expose False Prophets?
7 Tested Beliefs To Reveal Hidden Crisis
Many experts call him the greatest professional football coach in history. (1) Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach of the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins, enjoyed many victories in his career.
While head coach of Green Bay, he won 5 NFL Championships and the first two Super Bowls before retiring from the Packers in 1967. (2)
He never had a losing season as an NFL coach. One Lombardi quotation pinpoints his foundation for success: “Excellence is achieved by the mastery of the fundamentals.” A typical story from his coaching era at Green Bay explains this philosophy vividly.
After a bitter loss to the Chicago Bears, the Packers’ arch rival, Lombardi hustled his players from the locker room after the game onto the team buses. He took them from Chicago back to their practice field in Green Bay, still in their dirty, sweaty game uniforms. He gathered them around himself with a football in his hands.
He held the football in front of them and said to them, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He then directed his team through a grueling practice session with particular emphasis upon the fundamentals of football. The team performed them poorly in their loss to Chicago, and he reviewed them with the team to remind the players of the importance of the fundamentals in successful football.
This story from the victorious career of Vince Lombardi holds significance for life as well. Life has a way of clouding our eyes to its fundamentals. We get distracted by the latest fads and excitements which lead to disastrous results.
Lombardi’s lesson describes the desperate need facing the professing Church of Jesus Christ today. Although exceptions exist, they prove the rule. The Church and its leadership has lost sight of Biblical fundamentals and flounders in perilous times.
For too long, it followed the mantra, “Doctrine does not matter” and forsook the fundamentals. To the bewilderment of many, a rudderless, spiritually weakened Church ensued. In vain attempts to “fix” the difficulties, it flits from one new idea to another, hoping to find the mysterious plan that evades it.
Church leadership has failed. Whether from ignorance or by deliberate choice, the Church of Jesus Christ has succumbed to the siren call of false prophets and abandoned the old fundamentals from the Bible.
The Apostle Paul feared this pattern would befall the churches he labored so hard to develop. On his last trip to Jerusalem, where he knew trouble awaited him, he called together the church leaders from the Church at Ephesus.
He wanted to give his friends some instruction about his future, though somewhat unknown. His message combined a warning and directions on how to face the coming problems. (3) He warned them that grievous wolves, false prophets, would come into their Church and draw many aside.
In his message, Paul compared these Church leaders to shepherds. God had entrusted them with the responsibilities as shepherds over His flock, the Church. They had a duty to feed the people of God, not with physical food, but with spiritual food.
God required these shepherds to protect their flocks from their enemies, who wanted to destroy them. God expected these spiritual leaders to give direction to their flock. Paul emphasized these obligations, because he knew that dangers lay ahead, and he made clear the responsibilities of these spiritual leaders as shepherds.
That which Paul feared would happen at Ephesus describes the condition of the Church today. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, false prophets, have infiltrated the Church. They twist the Scriptures to their own benefit and, consequently, the Church has declined.
We live in perilous times. False leaders victimize the Church. Faulty leadership of our day evades, attacks, and undermines Biblical doctrines. They teach that doctrine is not essential to Christian life. Even more dangerous, they say that no one can really know the truth.
Seven Biblical doctrines serve as the old fundamentals of the Church of Jesus Christ and of our faith in Christ. Church leaders, the shepherds of Christ’s flock, must defend these truths against those who proclaim otherwise. To disregard them indicates false prophets, the grievous wolves against which Paul warned.
- False prophets neglect the fundamental doctrine of God, His person and works.
God has existed from all eternity in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As the only true and living God, He sovereignly created and controls all things according to His plan and purposes. Through His Appointed Judge, Jesus Christ His Son, God will pronounce justice upon all who fail to trust and obey His word as revealed in the Bible.