The message The Subtlety of Satan, by Pastor Jim Murphy of First Baptist Church of Johnson City, N.Y. is one that you must listen to. I listened to it while I was on vacation in Wales during the second week of July and could hardly wait to share it.
I found a concise summary/transcript on The Steak and a Bible blog:
Murphy clearly traces the disintegration of Christianity and its falling away from the truth of the gospel and into more and more error through history – from the attacks on the authority of scripture in the late 1940s, through 1960s liberalism, to modern day mysticism and contemplative spirituality. But in the final ten minutes of the message it becomes crystal clear that this is not mere academics for Pastor Murphy, he is brokenhearted by the error he sees within his own church body and frustrated by the lack of discernment which is due entirely to people not knowing and studying the Bible.
Here is just part of what he told his congregation (and what nearly moved me to tears):
“Now is the time for clarity. No more messing around. No more experimentation. No more dabbling into these dangerous practices. Now is the time for clarity and that clarity comes through discernment: this ability to think Biblically. The ability to read a book and see what it is saying aside from the warm fuzzy you got from it. Discernment takes time and it takes work and shame on you for not taking the time and effort. Shame on you.”
After admitting that he “killed the Beth Moore” trip because she teaches contemplative spirituality/mysticism, he continued:
How do you know it’s not God’s voice if you don’t know the Bible?
I’m here to ask your forgiveness. I expressed my concerns along the way in several areas but there were some things that I heard and saw that I was not comfortable with and I thought well, let’s just roll with this. It may be not that bad.
Today things change. I’m responsible for this ministry. I will be called a tyrant, a fundamentalist, controlling – you fill in the blanks – I don’t care anymore. We’re going to be making some changes and we’re going to root this stuff out of our ministry because it is unacceptable. It is not biblical Christianity and we’re going to get back to the Bible. I’m not going to make a lot of friends …
About books among the congregation and the need for discernment Murphy said:
There are pagan books floating around. I’ll be addressing that in writing. When it’s published I’ll give you a copy. You need to learn to be discerning and we’re not. Why? You need to get into your Bible. You don’t know because you don’t read and you don’t study. Number two: You need to connect the dots. The Bible says this. Why this? If the Bible says that you have been given everything for faith and practice in this book, what do you suppose that means? That you have been given everything for faith and practice in that book, which means this: you don’t have to hear voices, and you don’t have to go by experience. You can know the truth in this book and that truth will set you free. You get that don’t you?
What I now have no patience for — I’m kind of at the end of my rope, I’m gonna be honest with you — is the lack of effort. I’ve addressed some of these matters. “Oh it’s no big deal.” How dare you! It is a big deal. It’s a big deal to me, it’s a big deal to God and it’s a big deal to the opposition.”
Murphy also said they would be culling the church library and getting rid of the “junk,” and going through church curriculum to make sure it’s biblical. If only more churches would do this.
It sounds like there are gonna be some big changes going on at the First Baptist Church in Johnson City and I praise God for it. I pray that the Lord raises up more pastors like Jim Murphy who are willing to stand up against the selfish and undiscerning wishes of the congregation and say “We will stand for truth. We will hold to the authority of scripture. We will not accept the experientialism and mysticism.”
Oh yeah he takes no prisoners in this message. He names names and calls people out! The message will leave you asking, “How did we get here?”