In the first part, we looked at ways to recognize spiritual disorders (diseases) in the church. In this part we look at diagnostics and prevention.
Infidelity Diagnostic Pearl 5: Those who partially obey God’s word are infidels (Mt 5:19).
Persistently justifying such partial obedience and regarding it as full obedience, brings about one of the most hopeless delusions in Satan’s toolbox.
Partial obedience is full disobedience, it is rebellion—the core of witchcraft, rejecting the word of the Lord. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Sam 15:23)
Infidelity Diagnostic Pearl 6: Infidels will hate the righteous but have fellowship with unbelievers and justify the ungodly (2 Cor 6:14).
Infidels show their loyalty to the world by defending and promoting the world’s culture and fighting God’s servants.
Ahab denounced Elijah as his enemy, while calling Benhadad—the real enemy who was actually at war with him—his brother (1 Kings 21:20; 20;32,33).
Infidelity Etiology Pearl 1: Neglecting to preach and practice all the Bible (Acts 20:27).
“Ministers preach only portions of the Word, and refuse to practice even as much as they teach. This leads to misconceptions of the Word and doctrine, it creates error and misinterpretations of the Scripture” (Lt88-1900).
Infidel Example 2: “Higher” criticism of the Bible
“The work of ‘higher criticism,’ in dissecting, conjecturing, reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation” (Ed 227). “One wise man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the Word; and the Scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed. Thus the seeds of infidelity are sown broadcast” (COL 39).
For our own sake we must learn to recognize the methods of “higher criticism” even when hidden behind innocuous sounding names and denied. “It is one thing to treat the Bible as a book of good moral instruction, to be heeded so far as is consistent with the spirit of the times and our position in the world; it is another thing to regard it as it really is—the word of the living God, the word that is our life, the word that is to mold our actions, our words, and our thoughts. To hold God's word as anything less than this is to reject it. And this rejection by those who profess to believe it, is foremost among the causes of skepticism and infidelity in the youth” (Ed 260).
There is no sin in the entire catalog of sin that cannot be defended by “higher” criticism—Sunday keeping can be justified, homosexuality can be rationalized, and transgender activities such as cross-dressing can be excused.
Certainly we cannot defend any pastor, teacher, or professor, who employs higher criticism in his Bible study and teaching. This infidelity is more egregious because of its disguise. To defend such teachers or minimize their unfitness to preach in our pulpits, write in our publications and journals, or teach in our schools and seminaries is to show great blindness. “The schools established by us should have in view this object, and not be after the order of the denominational schools established by other churches, or after the order of worldly seminaries and colleges. They are to be of an altogether higher order, where no phase of infidelity shall be originated, or countenanced” (FE 231).
“With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the Word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God's Word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife” (Ev 591).
Infidelity Etiology Pearl 2: Cherishing sin (1 John 2:15).
“Grievous sins have separated the people from God. Infidelity is fast becoming fashionable” (GW 149).
Infidelity Etiology Pearl 3: Studying the Bible to sustain a preconceived belief (Mark 7:13).
"Why is it that they cannot understand some part of the truth?—It is because they seek to interpret the word of God according to their own preconceived opinions. There are others who read the Bible only to prove their own position, and to bend everything according to their own way of thinking. He who cherishes error, has no one to blame but himself; for he who seeks diligently for truth will find it, and be sanctified through it. We should desire to know the truth in every point. The understanding is to be sanctified through the knowledge of the truth. We should desire to see its beauty, and to have its precious light shining upon our pathway" (ST 9/16/1889).
Infidelity Etiology Pearl 4: Studying the Bible with self-confidence and pride instead of humble dependence (Psalms 40:4).
“In our day, as of old, the vital truths of God's word are set aside for human theories and speculations.… One wise man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the word; and the Scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed. Thus the seeds of infidelity are sown broadcast; for the people become confused and know not what to believe.… Because the plain teaching of God's word condemned their practices, they tried to destroy its force. The same thing is done today. The word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law. Christ rebuked these practices in His day. He taught that the word of God was to be understood by all. He pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the word of the infinite God, as the end of all controversy and the foundation of all faith” (COL 39).
Infidelity Prognosis Pearl: Infidels will abandon the truth in time of crisis (1 Jo 2:19).
Infidels are not honest seekers of truth but sophisticated evaders of truth and are exposed during periods of persecution.
"Prosperity multiplies a mass of professors. Adversity purges them out of the church” (4T 89). "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19).
Infidelity Primary Prevention Pearl 1: Avoid constant association with infidels
“Distressed by the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, and fearing that their infidelity might lessen his reverence for God, Enoch avoided constant association with them, and spent much time in solitude, giving himself to meditation and prayer. Thus he waited before the Lord, seeking a clearer knowledge of His will, that he might perform it” (PP 85).
Infidelity Primary Prevention Pearl 2: Practical Bible instruction at home
“Parents need to reform; ministers need to reform; they need God in their households. If they would see a different state of things, they must bring His word into their families and must make it their counselor. They must teach their children that it is the voice of God addressed to them, and is to be implicitly obeyed. They should patiently instruct their children, kindly and untiringly teach them how to live in order to please God. The children of such a household are prepared to meet the sophistries of infidelity. They have accepted the Bible as the basis of their faith, and they have a foundation that cannot be swept away by the incoming tide of skepticism” (PP 143).
Infidelity Protection Example: Moses’ childhood home
“The lessons learned at his mother’s side could not be forgotten. They were a shield from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished amid the splendor of the court” (PP 244).
Phil Mills, MD, is a graduate of the Loma Linda School of Medicine, and a dermatologist in private practice. Phil also enjoys writing and theology.