How to Recognize a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

4/24/10 Sermon

We are living in the darkest days that America has ever experienced based on the fact that truth has fallen in the streets. The prophet Isaiah gives us a picture of the spiritual condition of America.

Isa 59:14 Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.

Isa 59:15 So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice.

Edmund Burke stated that, All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.

Every Christian is commanded to expose false teaching so that we defend the truth of Scripture and protect the church from false shepherds.

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Eph 5:12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

Eph 5:13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

Eph 5:14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

There are many false shepherds today leading millions of people away from the truth.

One of the greatest things that you can do for your family is to learn how to recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Before you ever set foot into a church you should always read their statement of faith to see if they are teaching historical, Biblical, orthodox Christianity or historical heresy.

Purpose: To learn from Scripture how to recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing by learning their view of the Trinity.

1. If any teacher denies the Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity then they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

1Jn 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Joh 5:23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Joh 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Joh 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

Joh 8:57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

Joh 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Oneness Pentecostals and other Oneness (i.e., “Jesus Only”) groups make up one of the largest and fastest growing anti-Trinitarian professing Christian constructs world-wide–and yet, they are one of least written about, spoken out against, and thus evangelized non-Christian cults.

T. D. Jakes grew up in a Oneness Pentecostal denomination which denies the essential Christian doctrine of the Trinity [The Oneness Pentecostal denomination was declared a heresy by the Assemblies of God when it took organizational form in 1917]. When asked by Christian leaders to clarify if he believes in the Trinity [As defined in the Athanasian Creed] he will not clear up this matter. He refuses to give a clear answer as to what he means by “manifestations” when referring to the Trinity. Here is a portion of the Doctrinal Statement from the Potters House Website:

We believe in one God who is eternal in His existence, Triune in His manifestation, being both Father, Son and Holy Ghost AND that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority.

We believe in the Father who is God Himself, Creator of the universe. (Gen 1:1; John 1:1)

We believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (Col 2:9)

He suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead for our total salvation (Luke 3:21-22; Philippians 2:5-11).

We believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 3:36; John 3:31-32; John 14:6).

We believe in the Holy Spirit who is God indwelling, empowering and regenerating the believer. This Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. The Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 14:26) (emphasis mine)
So, given his background and his lack of clarification on this matter when asked by Christian leaders, there is justification to label him as a non-Trinitarian until he explains otherwise.

The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to our faith, without it there is no faith. If a person denies the Trinity they are in fact non-Christian by this very belief. This is not a trivial matter, why will he not be clear and define the terms rather than mislead by his semantics? If he believes that the Trinity as defined in the Athanasian Creed is not scriptural, why not just say so publicly?

T. D. Jakes denies the essential Christian doctrine of the Trinity. His view is one God playing three different roles or manifestations. He believes in a god that appears in three different “manifestations.” Let me quote him, “…One God, but manifest in…three different ways, Father in creation, Son in redemption, Holy Spirit in regeneration. Like one man who is a pastor, father, and husband, this view is called modalism and it is heresy.
T. D. Jakes:
God–There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three Manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Questioner: My first question would be, the Trinity would be defined as one God Who’s revealed Himself in three distinct Persons, each co-equal and co-eternal. How important is it for the believing Christian to hold to this belief?

(“Living by the Word” on KKLA, hosted by John Coleman, Aug. 23, 1998)

Warren Smith: “T.D. Jakes is very popular in the evangelical world, and some people say he denies the doctrine of the Trinity.

Norman Geisler: “That’s correct. He does. It’s an old, old heresy in the Christian church called modalism. I know T.D. Jakes is very popular, and I know people don’t like his ministry being called a cult, but it is. It would have been condemned by any orthodox church down through the centuries.
http://onenessheresy.blogspot.com/

2. The Scriptural bases for believing in the Trinity.

The Oneness false shepherds will begin their argument against the doctrine of the Trinity by asserting that the word trinity is not found in the Bible. Similarly, the word incarnation is not found in the Bible. However, the words trinity and incarnation are words that signify the truth of the Biblical propositions concerning these orthodox, Christian doctrines. The Biblical legitimacy of a non-biblical word is determined by the Scriptural truthfulness of what it signifies. In other words, the determination to use a non-biblical word is not dependent upon the word being found in the Scriptures to ascertain the authenticity of its usage but upon the Biblical accuracy of what the non-biblical word declares. If the word incarnation truly describes the doctrine of the Son of God becoming the God/man found in John 1:14 then the word incarnation is an accurate word that should be added to our vocabulary concerning the doctrine of Christology. Moreover, it logically follows that if the word trinity Biblically describes the truthfulness of the doctrine of the One God of Scripture then every Christian should gladly and boldly proclaim the word trinity because the word honors God’s Selfrevelation and does not blasphemy His Word concerning the triune nature of who He really is in Truth.

If Oneness doctrine is biblically true, why then do the biblical authors use grammatical features that personally distinguish between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

http://www.christiandefense.org/ Edward Dalcour

First and third person personal pronouns:

Throughout chapter 14, Jesus clearly differentiates Himself from the Father by using first person personal pronouns (“I,” “Me,” “Mine”) to refer to Himself and third person personal pronouns (“He,” “Him,” “His”) to refer to His Father (e.g., John 14:7, 10, 16). This case of marked distinction is also evident when Jesus differentiates Himself from God the Holy Spirit:

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [allon]3 Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16; also see 14:7, 10, 26; emphasis added).

Repetition of the article:

This grammatical rule is also know as “Granville Sharp rule #6: when multiple personal nouns in a clause are each preceded by the article ho (“the”) and linked by kai (“and”) each personal noun denotes a distinct person as in Matthew 28:19 (esp. 2 Cor. 13:14; also cf. 1 Thess. 3:11; 1 John 1:3; 2:22-23; Rev. 5:13).As NT scholar Harold Greenly points out, “When the article is used before each member, each is to be considered separately” (Greenlee, Exegetical Grammar, 23).

Note Matthew 28:19: “in the name of the [tou] Father and the [kai tou] Son and the [kai tou] Holy Spirit.” Further, Paul clearly presents the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, not as three modes of a unipersonal deity, but rather as three distinct Persons. The same grammatical distinctions are observed in 2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the [tou] Lord Jesus Christ, and [kai] the love of God [tou theou (lit. “the God”)], and [kai] the fellowship of the [tou] Holy Spirit be with you all (emphasis added).

In Revelation 5:13, the Lamb and the Father are presented as two distinct objects of divine worship, as they are clearly differentiated by the repetition of the article :

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion for ever and ever (emphasis added).

“To Him who sits” (tō kathēmenō [lit. “to the one sitting”—the Father]) “and the Lamb” (kai tō arniō—the Son) are grammatically differentiated by the repeated article (“the”), which precedes both nouns and are connected by the one conjunction kai (“and”). Further, turning to 1 John 1:3, not only does John show that believers have fellowship with both the Father and the Son, but the Father and the Son are clearly distinguished as two Persons by the repeated article tou (“the”) and the repeated preposition meta (“with”): we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with [meta] us; and indeed our fellowship is with the [meta tou] Father and with [meta] His Son [tou huiou] Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3; emphasis added).

There are many other passages where this construction applies clearly denoting distinction between the Persons in the Trinity (e.g., 1 Thess. 3:11; 2 Thess. 2:16-17; 1 John 2:22-23).

· The UPCI’s 60 Questions on the Godhead Answered by Nick Norelli

20. Whom do some designate as the first person in the trinity? God the Father.

Absolutely—the Father is the first person in the Trinity because it is the Father who begets the Son and spirates the Spirit. The Father is unbegotten while the Son is begotten (Jo.3:16) by the Father by an eternal generation yet the Son does not beget or spirate—the Spirit proceeds forth from the Father ( through the Son) by an eternal procession (Jo. 15:26) yet the Spirit is not begotten nor does he beget or spirate.

Fatherhood and Sonship are personal relationships.

http://www.christiandefense.org/ Edward Dalcour

If God is unitarian, why are there so many plural descriptions in the OT (viz. plural nouns, adjectives, and verbs) to describe God?

Example: in Isaiah 54:5, Isa 54:5 For your Maker is your husband,“Maker” is plural in Hebrew, lit., “Makers”; same with Psalm 149:2Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;” where “Maker” is in the plural in Hebrew. The same can be said in Ecclesiastes 12:1, Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” where the Hebrew literally reads, “Remember also your Creators” (plural in Heb.). Thus, because God is tri-personal He can be described as both “Maker” and “Makers” and as “Creator” and “Creators.” He is one Being, not onePerson—a point that is repeatedly brought to bear by the OT authors. Also in

Gen 1:26 Then God [Elohim or God – a plural name] said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Gen 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Gen 5:1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

Deu 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! The Hebrew word for one is echod which signifies a compound unity. Compare Gen. 2:24

Gen 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Did the prophet Isaiah say that Jesus would be the Father? Yes. Isaiah 9:6; 63:16.

Isaiah 63:16 says nothing about Jesus so we can dismiss that verse immediately.

But Isaiah 9:6[5 MT] is probably one of the most abused verses in all of Scripture when dealing with oneness theology.

The argument first relies on equivocation in that it asserts that ‘father’ is being used consistently when in fact it is not. In this verse we are told of a name that the Messiah shall be called—it is very important to note that this is a prophecy foretelling a future event—this is completely contrary to the oneness position of the Father being the Father in the OT but the Son in the NT.Secondly, ‘eternal father’ is not the best rendering of the Hebrew avi ad. ‘Father of eternity’ or ‘father of the age to come’ would be more appropriate. If we understand this to mean father of eternity then this fits perfectly with the Biblical presentation of the Son as the creator of all things (Jo. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2) but it is more likely that we should take it in the sense of ‘father of the age to come’ because this fits with the overall theme of the passage. This is a Messianic prophecy speaking directly of the Messianic Kingdom/Age. The Messiah will usher in this kingdom/age and can rightly be described as ‘father of the age to come’ in the same sense that we could describe Martin Luther as ‘father of the reformation.’

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3 Responses to “How to Recognize a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

  1. Hello, found your website accidentally carrying out a search on the internet but I?lmost all definitely be coming back. ? How can i have confidence in God whenever just a week ago I received my language caught within the roller of an electric typewriter?

  2. admin says:

    I love that quote. I would love to hear more about your thoughts on how this applies to the article.

  3. Silvia Wroe says:

    Ponder this over, Those who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.

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