Reverend Rafael Damian Martinez, Spiritwatch Ministries
We are charged with the sacred trust to preach, publish and defend the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are all servants to the message of the Good News that He lived, died for our sins, rose again and ascended into heaven to prove his eternal love for a world that hates and rejects His Lordship. We labor out of love for our Master to lead others to know God through His Son by the power of the Spirit and there is no greater truth we proclaim.
Since His ascension to heaven, the Church's mission has been to call the peoples of the world to follow and love Him, to trust and obey His Word and to remember all that He taught, prophesied and passionately lived for. His Gospel is the cornerstone of the Christian ministry, and it has been the foundation of my own 31 years of pastoral, evangelistic and teaching ministry in prophetic and apostolic dimensions across our country. The strength of the Body of Christ relies upon our grasp of His calling upon our lives. One of the oldest ministerial proverbs says it so well: as goes the pulpit so goes the pew. We are to give ourselves to the preaching of the Gospel and the growth of the Kingdom of God as people come to faith in Him. We owe this highest of vocation all of the devotion it rightly deserves in our lives.
But we in the ministry must never forget that we are also called to contend earnestly for the Faith.
We must be ever vigilant against the spiritual perils confronting the flocks of the Lord that we are called to shepherd. Spiritually deceptive groups and corrupting doctrinal influences are part of the floodtide of defiling apostasy that our Lord Jesus prophesied would come. As ministers we must prepare and be fully engaged in an intentional spiritual contention for the sake of the souls of those we are charged to watch over.
For the Gospel of Jesus is daily perverted, twisted and redefined by those would appear in our midst in His prophetic warning found in Matthew 24. These He spoke of are false teachers as well as false prophets (2 Peter 2:1), false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13), and even false brethren (Galatians 2:4). They are those who Paul in his exhortation to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 warned would come to divide and shatter the unity and faith of the Body of Christ as they sought to create their own following. Such voices of deceit are all around us in the most mundane of places and are also all the more perilous for how easily we have accepted them among us with little to no admonition as to their own agenda and presence! And we have allowed their siren song to go unchallenged by us at the peril of our people's eternal destiny.
These zealous and sincere folk appear more "Christian" than even our most zealous church members. These crafty counterfeits literally preach "another Jesus", expounding "another gospel" through the power of "another spirit" that is alien to the Biblical Good News and the Triune Godhead as Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11:4. They cloak a toxic and destructive spiritual authoritarianism by "good words and fair speeches" that deceive (Romans 16:18). They will freely use powerful forms of indoctrination which controls their followers' lives by controlling their belief and thought by unscrupulous means (Jeremiah 29:8, Colossians 2:18, 2 Peter 2:1-3, 3:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:13, Ephesians 4:14, 5:6). These devices of control are readily viewed by those outside the Church as forms of outright cultism and cultic mind control, yet too many of our clerical tribe still myopically fail to recognize this critical observation and continue to blunder about when trying to deal with it as it claims our youth, our families and elders with dazzling truth claims, magnetic testimonies and vibrant leaders claiming to hear new truth and revelation that will change their destinies.
A vast cloudbank of spiritual deceit, antagonism and religious abuse created by these dangerous groups - which we have described as a Cultworld - now completely engulfs human civilization.
Pressing enthusiastically twisted interpretations of Scripture and Christian tradition, they pervert the Gospel of Christ with a works-based righteousness "gospel" that undercuts the grace of God. They confuse and erode true Christian faith and they bring nothing but tragic confusion and a far more devastating misleading of the secular world as it hearkens to their example of "true Christianity." Deception and falsehood has always been the fruit of these who Paul rightly called the ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) and the clever manner in which they have boldly laid claim to Christian orthodoxy and identity as just another Christian fellowship in the modern spiritual marketplace has claimed many a seeker and believer lost in their merchandising wilderness.
In my over three decades of Christian ministry, I have beheld again and again how the spiritual deception of the last days has proven to be a challenge that far too many pastors and church leaders have utterly failed to address. I have spoken to pastors, elders, deacons, priests and their parishioners and councils who have found the spiritual deception I have detailed above confront them in some heartbreaking manner. It may be a grandson swept up into a nomadic cult wandering the highways, or a grandmother whose life savings were offered to a false prophet's "teaching center", or a teenage girl who has made a cult her new family.
Again and again, the church has failed to provide clarity in a time of chaos and instead served up confusion. It felt obliged to reinforce myths instead of offering truth. It washed its hands of situations and family tragedies instead of rolling up its sleeves while on its knees. It watched as those wounded by it wandered into their congregations and out again through a backdoor being worn out by their attempts to find help and only encounter judgment that has no time for them. I cannot overstate the gravity of this situation - I simply cannot. Souls truly are at stake here.
It is the most disheartening of the church's failures I have seen since 1983 - that churches, places where the Truth of the Gospel should be most firmly planted can so completely misunderstand, ignore or worse of all, not know how it applies to their lives when a counterfeit spirituality challenges them. It's tragic see how a son, a daughter, a neighbor or friend are so completely caught up in some spiritually destructive deadend that a cultic movement has led them down into .. and worse to realize that these spiritual disasters level the lives of so many daily all around us. We just haven't heard of them .. yet. But for me, it's profoundly disturbing to hear from broken people, torn by unbiblical, abusive and deceptive spirituality, state over and over how pastors have failed to understand, much less help them.
The church truly is being confronted through cultism, as a wise man once said, with it's unpaid bills.
Remember, it was Jesus Christ our Lord who said that this is precisely how life in the last days would be when he soberly cautioned us in Matthew 24:24-25 that " .. false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand."
Be Part Of The Solution - Not Part Of The Challenge!
This contention between truth and deception is a winnable war. It is not hopeless .. it only seems that way when you don't know where to begin to arm and train yourself, let alone help others do likewise. That is where Spiritwatch Ministries comes in.
At Spiritwatch Ministries, our desire is not to curse the darkness but to cast the light of God's Word into it. Our two-fold mission is to redeem and restore the spiritually abused victims of cultic deception and false teaching, and to educate and equip the Church and society about how to withstand it . We can, through the power of the Word of God and His Spirit, empower you with new perspective, insight and understanding of the power of spiritually deceptive cults and false teaching. And as always, we stand ready to partner with you in your efforts to provide edifying, practical and relevant teaching that will enable your congregations to not just simply tolerate these challenges but to even transform them.
As a Christian ministry of outreach, education and intervention, we provide sound doctrine, sober discernment and serious research to identify and counter the effects of spiritually dangerous and abusive teachings, institutions and groups which confront the Christian church on every hand. We stand ready to help equip any church leader who wants to become a light in a world of darkness that threatens to overwhelm their community through a partnership in Christian ministry.
We are only a phone call or email away from prayerful discussion with you on how to best assist. Contact us today!
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