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教会叛道的解剖(麦克阿瑟)陈鸽翻译 2018-10-15

万变不离其宗

  教会可以借着许多不同的途径堕落成为异端邪教。他们可能偏向于神秘主义、或女权主义、或世俗主义、或靠行为称义,或陷入五花八门腐化教会的种种威胁当中,但每一个离经叛道的教会都有一个共通点,就是他们都放弃了神话语的权威性,这是叛教者最常走的一条老路。

 无根基的工程

  想想,当教会放弃圣经权威时,她所丧失的属灵阵地有多大!如果圣经的话没有绝对无误的权威,那么,因信称义的恩典就不能白白地赐给那绝望的罪人,基督赎罪祭的充足性也无凭无据,基督在教会中元首的地位也没有根据,我们也不能抓住那荣耀的归算的真理,就是在十架上,“神使那无罪的,替我们成为罪,好叫我们在他里面成为神的义”(林后5:21)。一旦失去了这些真理,我们就无法肯定神的忿怒已经平息了,我们的信心就没有了确据,天堂也没有了指望,神的应许也没有了保证,我们就啥都没了!

 为盗贼开后门

  另一方面,废弃了圣经的权威,或仅屈从于人的权威,就是蓄意在为假师傅和他们所传讲的假道理开路,好使他们可以偷偷地混进神的羊群当中。这就会引进神学上的混乱,导致我们看重人有误的语言,过于神无误的话语,其目的是将恩典的福音,替换为人本的、靠行为称义的宗教体系。这就玷污了神纯正的真理,并把圣经的教义与迷信、传统、撒旦的谎言、和超越圣经的“启示”混为一谈了。

 老毛病又犯了

     以上,笼统地总结了马丁路德之前罗马天主教里种种主要的偏差,但也是对今天的抗罗宗教会(新教)的一个恰当的描述。若这句话听起来似乎夸大其词,那么请考虑一下以下的问题:当年泰泽尔(Tetzel)贩卖赎罪劵,和今天灵恩派假师傅撒圣水又膏圣油在手巾上,兜售给他们的广大信众,有什么明显的不同?当年教皇以教宗座的权威、正儿八经地宣言,和今天一个牧师将他个人从异梦异象中所领受的新启示揭晓出来,又有什么区别?还有,当年对马利亚和众圣徒的崇拜,与今天自命的“使徒”拜访他们前辈的坟墓去“浸”在死者的恩膏中,有什么不一样?

 一点面酵发了

      更糟糕的是,从前罗马天主教所努力掩盖的那些泛滥的道德败坏,如今却得到许多新教会众的表扬与鼓励。今天许多教会,远非以圣洁而驰名,反倒以积极拥抱或竭力效法世俗文化的放荡而昭著。牧者不是在解释圣经,而是在评论好莱坞影片。这种为了迎合慕道友大教会,在聚集的时候,叫人感觉更像摇滚乐演奏会或像滑稽表演,根本不是敬拜神的聚会。想出风头的教会领袖,似乎更感兴趣的是迎合人心与市场销售,而不是纯正的教义与坚实的圣经根据。令人膛目结舌的是,甚至有些貌似福音派的教会领袖,因着他们会员的敞开、宽大、超级包容而感到自豪,他们宽容连续的通奸者、顽固的淫乱者、不悔改的同性恋者、不道德的偶像崇拜者,包括参与异教仪式者,他们竟然会引以为荣!

 与世俗同化了

     还有许多会众,沿着另一条较慢的道路,驶向同样的目标。尽管,他们也许不会公开表扬不道德的事,但他们却不采取任何行动去驱逐这些事。他们对罪恶不闻不问,也不忠心地执行教会纪律。随着时间的流失,不论个人或集体的良心,都变得麻木不仁,教会总是不肯认罪,渐渐习以为常,就与世界没有什么明显的区别了。

      所有这一切所导致的后果,都证明了对神的话语缺少顺服、对真理的教义漠不关心、以及对它所产生的圣洁和保护的忽略。起从异端(天主教)分别为圣的新教(抗罗宗),仅需要五百年的时间就培育出自己品种的异端来。

 改革宗开倒车

      正如士师记当中的以色列人,抗罗宗(新教教会),似乎定意要重蹈前人的覆辙,而不是从他们的失败中学到教训。保罗对加拉太教会当年的责备,也可以应用到今天许多福音派教会上,“无知的加拉太人哪,耶稣基督钉十字架,已经活画在你们眼前,谁又迷惑了你们呢?”(加3:1)一个最近的全国普查显示,52%的福音派抗罗宗教会相信:救恩是信心与行为合作的果效。只有30%坚持唯独信心、唯独圣经。[1] 改教运动已经被受“迷惑”的福音派否决了,“抗罗宗”的抗议已经基本结束了。

 离经叛道之源

     陷入叛教不是一夜之功,堕落的过程是缓慢而持续的。第一步是拒绝圣经的权威性和主导性,之后,通常伴随着一步步的妥协:如果我们不对这节经文或那个罪恶太认真,也许就显得更先进、更时尚、更亲和、更吸引世人。一旦教会定下她的目标是迎合文化、参与社会,而不是造就装备圣徒,教会就必然开始走向世俗和叛教的道路。

 管它黑猫白猫

      不久前,美国最大教会的一位牧师告诉众教会的领袖们:他们不应该看重教义过于赢得人数。一位赞同他的作者,简要地总结了他的劝勉:“不要把神学放在服事以先。”[2] 正因如此,今天的教会才如此投入吸引罪人进来,以致他们企图把自己的神学观点埋藏在“欢迎光临”的门毯底下。 

灯放在斗底下

      这种不合圣经的布道模式,使许多教会以福音赢得世界的能力都瘫痪了,岂不知让教会的座椅上充满悠哉悠哉、满不在乎的非信徒,是混乱并败坏教会圣工最快的途径吗?神没有从世界呼召他的百姓出来,好叫他们又徒然地回去迎合文化。如果我们与世人没有两样的话,教会就不能在这个悲惨的世上做光做盐(参:太5:13-16)。

 早期教会:所谓的“优势”

     为了抑制这种世俗化的趋势并简化教会的服事,今天一些基督徒呼吁我们回归初期教会的模式。他们相信:今天教会工作的阻碍与症结在于教会的架构模式。巨型的教会,分散的教区,许多的领袖,还有必须不断细胞分裂、再分裂的爆满的会众,这些因素,他们认为,就是近年来教会腐化并混乱的祸根。

 不实际的设想

      他们的理论提出,基督徒在一个大教会的氛围中,不能发挥他们服事最大的功用与潜能。新约圣经中小型家庭教会的模式,可以使神的百姓得到释放,来专注于最重要的事。当教会没有了需要维修的建筑、需要支持的宗派(也不用隶属)、需要维护的机构时,教会就脱离了捆锁,可以一无挂虑地服事主并赢得社区的群众了。这个理论试图回到(徒2:42)所描写的单纯信仰:他们“都恒心遵守使徒的教训,彼此交接,擘饼,祈祷。”(但他们往往忘记:这是一个三千人的大教会。参:徒2:41

 回到现实当中

      然而,我们只需要看看新约就可以发现:第一世纪的教会生活没有诗情画意的光景。小型的会众、简化的组织、以及使徒的同在,并没有给初期教会我们想象中的属灵优势与免疫能力。实际上,我们看到困扰今天教会许多的毛病,已经开始显出最早的苗子了。简单地说,初期教会的单纯被他们夸大了。

      启示录中,这一点更是显而易见。正如我们下次会看到的,第一世纪的教会已经充斥着许多问题,这些问题一直都困扰着历世历代的教会。


 (改编自:基督的呼召,教会要改革)

————-

 原文如下:

 The Pathology of an Apostate Church

 by John MacArthur

Monday, October 15, 2018

 Churches can descend into apostasy on a wide variety of issues. They might succumb to mysticism, feminism, worldliness, worksrighteousness, or any of the myriad corrupting threats poised against thechurch. But there is a common thread uniting every church that turns from thetruth after error. Setting aside the authority of God’s Word is the mostwell-worn path to apostasy.

 Consider the spiritual ground that is lost when thechurch surrenders biblical authority. If Scripture does not speak withabsolute, inerrant authority, the offer of justification by grace through faithcannot be extended to desperate sinners. One can’t argue for the sufficiency ofChrist as the sacrifice for sins, or His rule as the Head of the church. Onecan’t cling to the glorious truth of imputation—that at the cross, “[God] madeHim who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become therighteousness of God in Him” (2Corinthians 5:21). Without those truths, we have no guarantee thatGod’s wrath has been satisfied. There can be no assurance of faith, no hope ofheaven, and no confidence in the promises of God.

 On the other hand, doing away with the authority ofScripture—or merely subjugating it to the authority of men—purposely paves theway for false doctrine and false teachers to infiltrate the flock of God. Itinvites theological confusion, elevating the words of fallible men over theinerrant Word of God. It is designed to exchange the gospel of grace for aman-centered system of works righteousness. And it pollutes the purity of God’struth, clouding biblical doctrine with superstition, tradition, extra-biblicalrevelation, and demonic deception.

 That’s a broad way to summarize the various deviationsthat have dominated the Roman Catholic Church since before the time of Luther.But it’s also a fitting description of the Protestant church today. If thatsounds like an overstatement, consider these questions: What demonstrabledifference is there between Tetzel’s indulgences and the holy water andanointed scraps of cloth peddled by charismatic charlatans to their vastaudiences? What’s the difference between a pope who speaks ex cathedra and apastor who exposits his own dreams and mental impressions as fresh revelationfrom the Lord? And what separates the worship of Mary and the veneration of thesaints from the way today’s self-proclaimed apostles visit the graves of theirforebears to “soak” in the deceased’s anointing?

 Worse still, the same kinds of rampant corruption andimmorality the Roman Church once worked to conceal are now celebrated andencouraged by many Protestant congregations. Far from being known for theirpurity, many churches today go out of their way to embrace or imitate thedebauchery of secular culture. Pastors exegete Hollywood movies rather thanScripture. Seeker-sensitive megachurch gatherings often look and feel more likea rock concert or a burlesque show than a worship service. Celebrity-mindedchurch leaders seem more interested in what’s stylish and marketable than theyare in what’s sound and solidly biblical. Shockingly, there are even someostensibly evangelical churches whose leaders are proud that their membershipis open, welcoming, über-tolerant, or even affirming toward serial adulterers,hard-hearted fornicators, impenitent homosexuals, immoral idol worshipers, andeven to forms of paganism. They’re proud of it.

 Many more congregations are on a slower path to the samedestination. While they might not openly celebrate immorality, they do nothingto drive it from their midst. Sin is not confronted and church discipline isnot faithfully practiced. Over time, the conscience—both individually andcollectively—grows cold, unconfessed sin becomes the norm, and the church bearsno discernable difference from the world.

 All that is evidence of a lack of submission to God’sWord and a decreasing concern for doctrinal truth and the purity and protectionit produces. Born from the conviction that true believers must separate from anapostate church, Protestantism has needed only a scant five hundred years tocultivate its own strains of apostasy. Much like the Israelites in the book ofJudges, the Protestant church seems determined to repeat the mistakes of itspast rather than learn from them. Paul’s indictment of the churches of Galatiaapplies to much of the evangelical church today: “You foolish Galatians, whohas bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed ascrucified?” (Galatians 3:1).A recent national survey revealed that 52 percent of evangelical Protestantsbelieve salvation comes by faith and works combined. Only 30 percent affirmsola fide and sola scriptura. [1] TheReformation is being undone by “bewitched” evangelical Protestants. The protestis largely over.

 Descent into apostasy doesn’t happen overnight; thechanges are slow and steady. Rejecting Scripture’s authority and priority isthe first step, usually followed by a succession of compromises: Maybe we canbe more relevant and inviting to the world if we don’t take this verse or thatsin too seriously. Once the church determines its purpose is to engage andattract the culture rather than edify and equip the saints, it sets out on apath that will always lead to worldliness and apostasy. Not long ago, thepastor of one of the largest churches in America told church leaders theyshould not let doctrine get in the way of winning people over. One sympatheticauthor summed up his exhortation succinctly: “Don’t put theology aboveministry.” [2] Churches today are so investedin attracting sinners that they attempt to bury their theology under thewelcome mat.

 That unbiblical model of outreach is the very thingdulling many churches’ ability to reach the world with the gospel. Filling thepews with comfortable, unaffected unbelievers is the fastest way to confuse andcorrupt the work of the church. God has not called His people out of the worldto chase its trends in vain attempts to seem relevant. The church cannot besalt and light in this wretched world if we are indistinguishable from worldlypeople (see Matthew5:13–16).

 The Alleged Advantages of the Early Church

 To curb those worldly trends and simplify the work ofministry, some Christians today are calling for a return to the early church model.They believe what’s ailing and inhibiting the work of the church today is thechurch structure itself. Megachurches with sprawling campuses, legions ofleaders, and overgrown congregations that must be endlessly subdivided—thoseare supposedly the villains that have corrupted and confused the church inrecent years.

 The argument suggests that Christians can’t function andserve to their full potential in a large-church environment, and that the NewTestament model of small house churches frees God’s people to focus on whatmatters most. When there is no building to maintain, no denomination to support(or submit to), and no institutional oversight, the church is unshackled toserve the Lord and reach the surrounding community. This is offered as an attemptto return to the simplicity described inActs 2:42:“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and tofellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (It’s often ignored thatthis was a church of three thousand cf. Acts 2:41.)

 However, we need only look at the New Testament to seethat life in the first-century church was anything but idyllic. Smallcongregations, simplified organization, and proximity to the apostles did notgive the early church the spiritual advantages and insulation we might assume.In fact, we see many of the maladies that plague the church today on display inits earliest incarnations. Put simply, the purity of the early church isoverblown.

 And nowhere is that more apparent than in the book ofRevelation. As we’ll see next time, the first-century churches were awash withmany of the problems that have plagued the church ever since.


(Adapted from Christ’s Call to Reform the Church)

关于作者: 陈鸽

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