“The face of error is highly painted and powdered so as to render it attractive to the unwary.” The false prophets, whether of the papist or the Protestant order, make a great show of devotion and piety on the one hand, and of zeal and fervor on the other, as did the Pharisees of old with their fasting and praying and who “compassed sea and land to make one proselyte” (Matthew 23:15). They are diligent in seeking to discredit those truths they design to overthrow by branding them “legal doctrines” and denouncing as “Judaizers” those who are set for the defense of them.
“With good words and fair speeches they deceive the heart of the simple” (Romans 16:18).
They speak much about “grace,” yet it is not that Divine grace which “reigns through righteousness” (Romans 5:21), nor does it effectually teach men to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” (Titus 2:11, 12). With “cunning craftiness” they “lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14) souls who have never been established in the Truth and beguile with “enticing words” (Colossians 2:4), making a great show of quoting Scripture and addressing their converts as “beloved brethren.”
Many of the false prophets of Protestantism have popularized themselves by granting their deluded followers the liberty of preaching. As any reader of ecclesiastical history knows, it has been a favorite device of false prophets in all ages to spread their errors through the efforts of their converts, flattering their conceits by speaking of their “gifts” and “talents”: by multiplying lay preachers they draw after them a host of disciples. Such incompetent novices are themselves ignorant of the very A B C of the Truth, yet in their egotism and presumption deem themselves qualified to explain the deepest mysteries of the Faith. A great deal safer, and more excusable, would it be to put an illiterate rustic into a dispensary to compound medicines Out of drugs and spirits he understands not and then administer the same unto his fellows, than for young upstarts with no better endowment than self-confidence to intrude themselves into the sacred office of the ministry: the one would poison men’s bodies, but the other their souls.
“But such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel, of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14).
In all opposition to the Truth there is an agent at work which it belongs to the office of the Spirit of Truth to discover and unmask. If “another gospel” (
“Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:15).
They are “deceitful workers,” for they pose as champions of the Truth and as being actuated by a deep love for souls. As sin does not present itself to us as sin nor as paying death for its wages, but rather as something pleasant and desirable, and as Satan never shows himself openly in his true colors, so his “ministers” put on the cloak of sanctity, pretending to be dead to the world and very self-sacrificing. They are crafty, specious, tricky, hypocritical. What urgent need, then, is there to be on our guard, that we be not imposed upon by every mealy-mouthed and “gracious” impostor who comes to us Bible in hand. How we should heed that injunction, “Prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Certain it is, my reader, that any preacher who rejects Gods Law, who denies repentance to be a condition of salvation, who assures the giddy and godless that they are loved by God, who declares that saving faith is nothing more than an act of the will which every person has the power to perform, is a false prophet, and should be shunned as a deadly plague.” —A. W. Pink (1886–1952)
Taken from “The Sermon on the Mount” by A. W. Pink (1886–1952)