The following is the first chapter of my third book, “The Gospel of Deception – Counterfeit Christianity and the Fate of Its Followers”, which will be released on Amazon shortly, hopefully early September.
My apologies for the layout. It is not uploading in the correct style of the actual book, no matter how hard I try to correct it. But I hope you will enjoy reading it, and that this sample will encourage you to buy the book when it is released in a few weeks time. Keep a look out on Amazon!
This is a pre-release sample and may contain a few errors, which will be corrected before publication.
The Reason for this Book
This chapter is a vital part of the book, as it sets the scene for the whole purpose of writing it. I have chosen not to call it the ‘Introduction’ because I know how tempting it can be to skip reading it! Let’s view this chapter as the ‘Trailer’, giving you the desire to want to read to the very end!
But before I start, I would like to tell you a little story, about how this book came to be written.
In June 2014, shortly before my second book, The End of The World and What Jesus Has to Say About It, was published, I felt the Lord give me the title for this new book, which you are holding in your hands. I began to write a few scribbled notes, but got sidetracked with the arrival of my parents who were relocating to the area where I live. The manuscript remained untouched for the following six months.
Then, as I mentioned previously in the Dedication and Acknowledgements, my dad died unexpectedly in January 2015. The shock has been so deep that I have not been able to focus on writing this manuscript for the past two years.
In December 2016, I felt an urgent prompting from the Lord to ‘get on with it’. I knew what the message was to be about, but I only had a quarter of it written down. The rest of it was a jumbled mess in my head that had been rumbling around for two years and just wouldn’t go away.
I decided that I would try to continue the book as soon as 2017 arrived. So, on January 3rd, I sat at my computer and said, “Okay Lord, let’s get on with it!”
I began to type what I had already handwritten, but when my notes ran out, I still kept typing! I was stunned at the ease with which the words flowed out of my fingers and on to the keyboard! I felt the Holy Spirit was almost dictating the words to me, and that I was simply His secretary!
Just one week later, the first draft of the manuscript was completed! A further five months have been spent knocking it into shape, proof reading and correcting, and making it ready for submission to the publisher.
All I know is that when God wants something done, He really does make it happen, regardless of our natural inabilities! All the glory belongs to Him!
So, let me begin to share with you what is an immense burden in my soul, and which frequently drives me to tears of intercession before the throne of God.
During the past twenty years or so, something has been happening in the Church. Whatever it is, it seemed to start out as a trickle, but has now escalated into a tsunami.
The Church of Jesus Christ is in deep trouble, but by and large it doesn’t seem to care. The fact that the Church seems to be deeply apathetic and indifferent to its sickly spiritual condition is a very serious state to be in, especially in the times that we are now living in.
When I became a born-again, Spirit-filled follower of Christ in 1992, the Church, whatever the denomination, generally seemed to have a reverential fear of God’s Holiness, His Justice, and the authority of His Word as the truth.
Most churches seemed to know what was right and wrong, in accordance with Holy Scripture, and as such, believers seemed to generally live by the truth of the Word of God, particularly in previous centuries. So when they went astray, the Holy Spirit living in them would prick their conscience, convicting them of their sin, and enabling them to experience godly sorrow for disobeying God’s Word. This would enable them to confess and repent of their sin and turn back to God for forgiveness and restoration.
Even as little as twenty years or so ago, outwardly this generally appeared to be the case within the global multi-denominational Church of Jesus Christ. But something has now changed…and it is not for the good.
A demonic spirit has crept in unnoticed. This spirit is sitting in our pews, masquerading as an ‘Angel of Light’, and is slowly and subtly spreading his evil deception throughout the whole Church, even ascending to the lofty heights of the pulpit.
What is this demonic spirit?
It is the deceiving spirit of ‘counterfeit Christianity’; it is a ‘Christianity’ that practices falsehood, and ‘loves to live a lie’ (see Revelation 22:15-16).
What do I mean by the term ‘counterfeit Christianity’? Well, let’s take a valuable painting as an example. A counterfeit painting looks so much like the real painting that even those who are experts in the field of Art can be fooled into believing that the counterfeit painting is the genuine article.
So, with counterfeit Christianity, it can appear and sound so much like genuine Christianity, that unless we search the Scriptures to know what is the truth, this counterfeit Christianity will easily deceive us.
As with all counterfeits in life, you have to know and study the genuine article in order to detect when a counterfeit is in front of you.
The fact that something of this nature has been happening in the Church in the past twenty years is of grave concern. Alarm bells should be ringing, warning believers to Wake Up! Satan has crept into the Church with a blanket of deception. He has thrown this blanket over the followers of Christ and is smothering them with it, causing them to fall into a state of drowsiness. And in this drowsy state, Satan is allowing his demons to invade the Church with counterfeit doctrine, counterfeit teaching, and counterfeit supernatural manifestations.
All these counterfeits look and sound like authentic Christianity, but they are not! The purpose of a counterfeit is to deceive.
Counterfeit Christianity is designed to deceive followers of Christ, and lead them away from the absolute and infallible truth of God’s Holy Word. This is what Satan wants. He did this in the Garden of Eden. Counterfeit Christianity tries to ‘negotiate’ with God. In many Churches today, leaders are reading God’s Word, then saying “Surely that’s not what God really means?” This sounds just like the serpent in the garden, doesn’t it? (see Genesis Chapter 3).
Satan has slithered into our churches and is deceiving the minds of our shepherds – our church leaders, who are meant to protect us and watch over our souls, so that we do not get dragged away by ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ (see Matthew 7:15).
Sadly, some who were once our uncompromising leaders have now listened to Satan’s lies and have been deceived into believing that they can negotiate with God’s Holy Word. Our once steadfast leaders have become the very ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ that they were supposed to protect us from.
Instead of this raising alarm bells in our spirits, much of the flock is so drowsy that we are following our deceived leaders like ‘sheep to the slaughter’. This is “the blind leading the blind, and both fall into the pit” (see Luke 6:39). In the spiritual realm this is not a metaphorical ‘pit’; it is the pit of hell, the eternal fire, where Satan and his demons, and all who follow his lies and deceptions will end up for eternity (see Matthew 25:41).
As we will see later in Chapter 4, counterfeit Christianity is the Church preaching ‘another gospel’, a watered-down, compromised and altered ‘gospel’ to suit the times and the culture we are living in. Its outward appearance is very appealing to a growing culture of followers of Christ who now seem to want a gospel of ‘anything goes’. In fact, counterfeit Christianity is so appealing to followers of Christ, that Jesus Himself warned us that, in the End Times, these false prophets will be able to deceive even the very elect.
“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders
to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
See, I have told you ahead of time.” – Matthew 24:23-25 NIV
Counterfeit Christianity has a ‘magnetic’ appeal, causing people to flock to it, and be swept up in its social and global appeal. People feel invigorated by belonging to this version of ‘Christianity’ which urges them to cast off the ‘chains’ of previous centuries of faithful belief, adherence and obedience to God’s Word, declaring these things to be nothing but ‘religious dogma’, old-fashioned, outdated, and no longer relevant to our times. (I will write more on Religious Dogma in Chapter 4 under the sub-heading ‘False gospels’.)
Counterfeit Christianity seeks to persuade the Church of today to ‘evolve’ from what it considers to be ‘dated’ historical beliefs and teachings, and its goal is to create its own faith and its own ‘gospel’, but covering its deception by retaining the title of ‘Christianity’. In its struggle to usurp authentic Christianity, counterfeit Christianity sets up its own versions to run alongside authentic Christianity, as a new expression of it to ‘suit the times’.
I wonder what Jesus feels about this? What must He feel when He sees what His shepherds are doing to His Gospel, and the destruction they are causing to His flock? It must be a pungent stench in His nostrils.
He has made it very clear that all who practice and peddle the evils of falsehood will not be permitted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (see Revelation 22:14-15). Yet, tragically, the many forms of counterfeit Christianity that are emerging today believe that their ‘new gospel’ will still save them, and they convince themselves that much of God’s Holy Word is no longer correct or valid!
Millions of people are walking, in an almost ‘hypnotized’ state, along the path of counterfeit Christianity, and the ‘Pit of Apostasy’ has opened its mouth wide, and is bubbling like a cauldron, ready to receive all who fall into it.
Christians and Christianity once Respected
There was a time when Christians were generally respected, and that was not so long ago. They were considered as people with integrity and morality, who were honourable and trustworthy. But over the years, media reports exposing large scale misconduct, abuse and corruption within religious institutions, which has remained hidden for decades, has caused a turnaround in the way the world views Christians and Christianity.
Where once there was respect towards followers of Christ, there is now at least indifference, but at worst there is open hatred and persecution. They see and hear things about people who profess to be followers of Christ (who are meant to represent Christ upon the earth) committing gross sins and covering them up, hoping that their ‘deeds of darkness’ will never be found out. But God never allows un-confessed sin to remain hidden. When followers of Christ fail to confess their habitual sins, and also remain unrepentant, in time God always exposes it.
“Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later.” – 1 Timothy 5:24 NLT
When God exposes the sins within His Church, the world must surely see us as a bunch of filthy, disgusting and despicable hypocrites, and that is probably putting it mildly. They see us dishonouring the name of Jesus Christ, and trampling His name in the filth of our unrepentant sins. Is it any wonder that the world has decided that Christians and Christianity are no longer worthy of respect?
Sadly, in the Church’s desire to ‘resurrect’ its previous position of respect in the community and the eyes of the world, it has resorted to compromise. Where once it was respected for its steadfast adherence to the Holy Word of God, the Church is now tearing God’s Word to shreds by forsaking His ways and adopting alternative, worldly, man-made views, opinions and practises and labelling them as the new ‘Emerging Christianity’. This may cause the world to offer a token of ‘respect’ towards the Church again, but at what cost to the Church’s eternal destiny, when the world’s respect for the Church has been gained through its compromise of God’s Word?
Forsaking God’s Holy Word
Concerning the matter of the Church forsaking God’s Word and His ways, let’s read the following portion of Scripture taken from Jeremiah 36 (I encourage you to read the whole chapter to get the full impact of this story):
“The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen.” – Jeremiah 36:21-26 NLT
This is what the Church of today is doing! By following after and implementing counterfeit teaching, we are saying to God that we no longer want to obey His Holy Word, and so we are effectively ripping it to shreds and burning it in the fire!
The horrendous fate of this king, his descendents, and also his attendants, for refusing to listen to God’s warnings, is recorded in Scripture, in Jeremiah 36:27-31. I urge you to read it, as it stands as a dire warning to those who are responsible for God’s people.
As followers of Christ, our desire should be to obey God’s Word and please Him. Our motives should not be to please man, when those things are contrary to God’s Word (see Galatians 1:10).
Our mission should be to preach to the world the Gospel message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, of God’s forgiveness of our sins, and about living our lives in obedience to His Word, which will ultimately result in our souls being saved from eternity in hell so that we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus Himself said,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
– Matthew 28:19-20(a) NIV (author’s emphasis)
Obedience to God’s Word is what authentic Christianity should be about; not the lukewarm, watered-down, compromising version that is sweeping across the globe today, which turns a blind-eye to God’s verdict on sin; and for the sake of love and tolerance, says that it is okay for believers to remain as they are, in their unrepentant sin, and condones their behaviour with the comforting platitude of, “It’s okay because God loves them!”
Yes, God does love them as human beings because He created them and does not want anyone to perish, but His desire is that all would come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). But it comes down to this: God hates sin so much that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and shed His blood, to take upon Himself the full punishment of all our sins. He did this to make it possible for the whole human race to receive God’s forgiveness of our sins, and salvation from eternity in hell… But we have got to accept this truth and believe in, follow and obey Jesus. If we claim we are a follower of Christ, obedience to the Word of God is not an optional extra!
With this knowledge, why on earth would the Church think it is okay for followers of Christ to carry on living lives of sin?
But more importantly, why would the Church think that God is okay with us continuing to sin, and remaining unrepentant about it? The Church today has been, and is being seriously deceived by the ‘god of this world’ (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).
In the following passage taken from his classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers gives us a serious message about the subject of sin in the lives of followers of Christ.
“Complete And Effective Decision About Sin”
“…our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” – Romans 6:6
Co- Crucifixion. Have you made the following decision about sin – that it must be completely killed in you? It takes a long time to come to this complete and effective decision about sin. It is, however, the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you – not simply be restrained, suppressed or counteracted, but crucified – just as Christ died for the sin of the world. No one can bring anyone to this decision. We may be mentally and spiritually convinced, but what we need to do is actually make the decision that Paul urged us to do in this passage. Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision, saying, “Lord, identify me with your death until I know that sin has died in me.” Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.
This was not some divine future experience on the part of Paul, but was a very radical and definite experience in his life. Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you until you know what the level and nature of sin is in your life – to see the very things that struggle against God’s Spirit in you? If so, will you then agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin – that it should be identified with the death of Jesus? You cannot “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (6:11) unless you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.
Have you entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ, until all that remains in your flesh and blood is His life? “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20)
(Whole passage entry April 10th) 1
This is a very clear message to the Church, but sadly, it is even clearer that the Church is paying absolutely no attention!
Satan has swooped into the Church under the cloak of ‘tolerance’, deceiving church leaders with the lie that says, “As God is a ‘God of love’, it is part of His loving nature to allow people to carry on doing whatever pleases them.”
The further that professing Christians are led away from obeying God’s Word, and the more they are permitted to remain in their sinful lifestyles, the easier it becomes for Satan to cause them to believe his counterfeit doctrines and counterfeit teachings. He doesn’t do this in big and obvious ways because followers of Christ would spot his deceptive activity a mile off, and they would immediately reject it!
Satan is not stupid! He knows how to deceive those who say they are followers of Christ. All Satan has to do is subtly twist God’s Word here and there, and repackage it to make this ‘twisted word’ sound like God’s truth.
Satan is targeting his deception at the shepherds; the leaders of the Church, who are falling for his counterfeits like ninepins in a bowling alley. The leaders believe these ‘lovely-sounding’ lies, and then feed these counterfeits to the sheep, who gobble up these ‘poisons’ and swallow them whole.
What started out as a trickle has now turned into a flood. The Church has opened its doors wide, and is saying to the enemy, “Oh, how lovely of you to join us! Do come in! You are most welcome! Do find a comfortable seat and make yourself at home among us!”
Come on Church! Wake Up! … What are we doing?
Apostasy – From the Pulpit to the Pews
God’s Word is clear on what is right and what is wrong. His Word is holy, righteous and just, and He has given us clear warnings of the consequences we will face now and in eternity, when we disobey and rebel against His Holy Word.
The Church is on the brink of disaster. It is wobbling precariously on a knife-edge, teetering on the edge of the abyss. If it does not wake up urgently, Jesus will snuff it out (see Revelation 2:5).
The Church is in perilous times. Jesus warned of a deception that would invade the Church during the End Times, leading believers to fall away from the truth, which we will see later in Chapters 2 and 4.
Read this severe warning, which God gave to His Prophet Malachi, to deliver to God’s Spiritual leaders at that time. It stands out as a beacon of warning to the whole of the global Church today.
“Listen, you priests — this command is for you!
Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the
of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart.
I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile. Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name.
They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.
“The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the
Lord of Heaven’s Armies. But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.” – Malachi 2:1-9 NLT
Equally, the apostle Paul warns believers,
“The wrath of God
is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…”
– Romans 1:18a NIV (author’s emphasis)
Counterfeit Christianity is now running rampant throughout the Church, and the sheep are falling away from the truth in astronomical numbers. We want a cosy kind of ‘Christianity’ that comforts us but does not convict us; soothes us but does not shake us. We want to be saved but still sin; cry but not confess; rejoice but not repent.
This kind of Christianity is counterfeit Christianity. Measure it with the truth of God’s Word and you will see how utterly deceptive and devoid of God’s authority our modern-day ‘Christianity’ really is. We are living in a time where many of our churches are being lead by pastors, ministers, vicars and priests who refuse to submit to the authority of God’s Word, and we are listening to and believing the deceptions that they preach.
Surely we must be able to see that what is happening in the Church indicates that we are in the times of the ‘End Times’ Apostasy …the great ‘falling away’.
Apostasy does not just mean falling away from the faith and becoming an atheist. Apostasy also mean a falling away from believing and obeying the truth of God’s Word, and instead, believing and following a counterfeit Christianity, yet still claiming and professing that we are a follower of Christ.
The reason for this book is to expose counterfeit Christianity. In the following chapters, we will look at what Jesus said about it in the Gospels, and what the apostles said. We will also highlight what some of the varying forms of counterfeit Christianity look like in the Church today.
We will look at what God’s Word says will be that fate of all who believe and follow false doctrine and false teachings. Then we will end this book with an offer of hope to all who want to be free from counterfeit Christianity.
Jesus is coming back for a Church that is faithfully following and obeying the truth of God’s Word. He will not receive a Bride who has rejected His Word and is following a counterfeit.
“Write This in the Book!” Recently, whilst in the process of writing this manuscript, I struggled to fall asleep one night. I was very restless, and I tossed and turned for ages. My mind just would not settle, but I didn’t know what the problem was. So I prayed and asked the Lord if there was anything He wanted to say to me. Instantly I felt the Lord say, “Write this in the book.” I switched my bedside light on and fumbled about for my note pad and pen, and then began to write. What I wrote was in the prophetic style of the Lord speaking to followers of Christ who are sinning, and are unrepentant. Below is the message, which flowed out of my pen and onto the paper in the early hours of the morning. A Message from the Bridegroom “On the day you gave your life to Me, I forgave you of the sins of your past and washed you clean, so that you could start living your new life in Me, without spot or blemish. I clothed you in a clean, pure white wedding garment, as one who is betrothed to Me. But you must keep your garment clean and pure through confession and repentance of your daily sins. “Does My Word not tell you in 1 John 1:8 that if you say you have no sin, then you are deceiving yourself? Does My Word not also say in 1 John 1:9 that if you confess your sins, I am faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from your unrighteousness? I will do this for if you confess and repent. “But if you deliberately keep on sinning and disobeying My Word, whilst still saying you are My follower, this Word that you refuse to obey also tells you in Hebrews 10:26-27 that there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover your unrepentant sins.
There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.
“If you fail to keep your wedding garment clean through daily confession and repentance, on the Day of Judgment I will see your filthy wedding garment, and I will remove it from you as one who is not worthy to wear it or to be joined with Me as My Bride.
“My Word says in Revelation 22:15 that you will be left outside the Kingdom of Heaven, walking around naked and ashamed. This is because I will have removed the wedding garment, which I gave to you when you first believed in Me; when your love for Me was so great that obedience to My Word was your delight.
“But if your love for Me has grown cold whilst you have been waiting for Me to return, and you have been drawn aside into following the counterfeit teachings of false prophets who I warned you to avoid, and you have not kept your wedding garment clean by repenting; if I find you like this on the Day of Judgment, then My Word will stand as your judge. Be warned My child…Repent, for the time is short.”
Indeed, the time appears to be very short.
Come on Church, Wake up!
Copyright (c) 2017 by Michele Neal
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