Pastoral Letter 30 Jan 2022

My dear readers,

“A Christian Fraud?”

Proverbs 16:28: “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”

If there is a paradox of extreme paradoxes, arguably it might be the title of this pastoral letter. How can one who is named after the Son of God be a fraud? And yet, we know that there are tens of thousands who call themselves Christians, but who are frauds. There are more in these last days within Christianity than in any period of the history of the church in the past 2,000 years of her existence.

The LORD calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing and angels of light. The former pretend to be believers by speaking mildly and gently, knowing that this will be seen as humility. A humble persona will be embraced and trusted more than a caustic one. By this soft approach not a few have been seduced, like Eve in the Garden of Eden who was seduced by the serpent. Such an external presentation with the right dressing and look has enabled these wolves to cunningly disguise themselves well and acquire leadership positions in churches, including those of elders, pastors and teachers of God’s Word.

The latter enter in as knowledgeable believers who teach and preach the Word of God with gusto. All they need to do initially is to preach what the gullible believers want to hear. In this manner, they will think that these angels of light are one with them. These angels of light will not be foolish to undermine all the truths of the Bible. They will only undermine the essential doctrines that would include those that negate salvation such as denying the resurrection of Christ; teaching that we are using a Bible with mistakes at inspiration or preservation; or any “doctrine” that might bring disunity within the church, eg: there is no infant baptism after joining a Presbyterian Church, immersion is wrong after joining a Baptist church. Their aim is to undermine the ministry of Christ through God's children.

These are well known agents of the Devil that many of us are aware of. But when they are very subtle, they are more deadly. The warning from Proverbs 16:28 is timely. The root meaning of the word “froward” is “to change” or “to turn about.” Thus, a “froward man” is a perverter of truth, i.e. he is a fraud! Is he worse than the ungodly mentioned in the previous verse? (Prov 16:27: “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.”) The “ungodly” (Belial) digs up the evil committed by others, including and especially believers. But the “froward,” i.e. the fraud, does not dig but sows. The ungodly exposes the sin of others whereas the fraud deviously causes others to sin when he finds no sin! He is like a farmer sowing seeds in the field. But his seeds are called strife. The fruits of these seeds are called discords. These seeds are potent, so powerful that Proverbs 16:28b describes that they “separateth chief friends.”

Years and even decades of friendship can be destroyed by these seeds. Long-time friends have developed trust. Trust is priceless. It takes many years of mutual sharing of lives for trust to be built carefully between friends especially Christian brethren. There is already an understanding of each other’s views of life and ministry, doctrines and love and devotion to God. There is a bond that is like a quiet but invisible affection for each other; they know that they will be there for each other when one is in trouble. Doubt will have no place in such a relationship. Instead, there is honesty, and a sincerity whereby they will defend and protect each other’s spiritual well-being for the glory of God and Christ the Lord whom both of them love dearly.

All these can disappear when the seeds of strife take root and bear the fruit of discord! The sowing is done stealthily, i.e. by whispering into someone’s ears. This includes private chats or any form of internet messaging or emails. Spreading of information is so easy nowadays. Lack of care in sending messages or speaking have ruined many lives and destroyed many relationships. Gossip is one form of sowing strife. Gossip in the guise of “sharing” in many cases has destroyed genuine sharing. The line has been blurred such that it is almost impossible to distinguish one from the other. We just blurt out whatever information we hear without thinking and asking ourselves whether what we are sharing is hurting or helping. These Christian frauds are real. They are found in churches. 

Like the farmer, they sow deliberately. Before any seed is sown, the farmer plans where and when to sow and how many. These frauds will target certain people by studying them carefully, like a chess master studying his opponent’s pieces. Leaders in churches are usually their prime targets. When the leaders fall, they do the greatest damage to the church and the lives of the church members. What might cause you to leave the church -- the slander of an ordinary church member or a church leader?

Be very discerning, for you will be targeted. The more useful you are to the Lord, the more care you need to have when someone says to you, “I will share something with you but you must promise not to tell anyone!” Do not promise to keep quiet when you have not even heard what it is. A promise is a vow. God says that it is better not to vow than to make a vow and not keep it. What if the person shares with you a sin that is also a crime? The biblical reply is: “If you do not trust me enough to do what I need to do with the information, then please do not tell me.”

Like the farmer, they sow diligently. They are very hardworking. They serve their master the devil who is a deadly task master. There is a strategy to what they do. Such diligence cannot be haphazard. There are targets and timelines set to infiltrate. They will go to any length to subvert churches and sow strife. There is a “church” that sends her members to fundamental Bible Colleges to be trained. After they graduate, they will use their “fundamentalist” persona to infiltrate fundamental churches that are linked to these Bible colleges. With little check and assuming that they are “fundamental” in their doctrines since they graduated from the recognized Bible college, they are put at the very top where they can do the most damage through preaching and teaching subtle lies and falsehood. Lives are ruined. Holy testimonies are shattered and turned into unholy schisms.

Like the farmer, they sow patiently. If it does not work today, they will wait patiently for tomorrow. They will slowly but surely whittle away every resistance like an unceasing drip of water that will one day split the rock wide open. These are men and women with a devilish agenda. They are committed to their cause of destruction. The most frightening thing is that they might even be convicted that they are right and do not know that they are doing the devil’s work. This makes them very sincere and genuine in their sowing of strife. This also means that they are quite successful in separating chief friends!

One of the best ways to deal with these frauds is to rebuke them. After rebuking them, do not do any “follow up”. For example, Person A told you that Person B has denied a truth from the Bible or has committed a serious sin. You have been friends with Person B for decades. You know Person B very well. You asked Person A to show proof. Person A said that he heard it from others but refused to tell you who except that they are reliable sources. Do not share with Person B what you heard from Person A in the name of clarification. If you do, you will fall into the trap of the devil. Person B will be hurt that you would believe such lies even after so many decades of friendship and fellowship especially when there is no evidence. Your act of clarification will be interpreted as you believing the lies of Person A. You will have done what the devil wanted and completed the sowing of strife. Person A did not want to target Person B directly but used gullible you. You should just rebuke Person A strongly and tell him to stop his diabolical work of gossip and sowing seeds of strife aimed at causing discord between the brethren, even “chief friends”!

The above example may have happened for some. They may have done so “innocently” because they needed comfort and assurance from others or even to gain support. Whatever the motive is, we need to be very careful that we do not inevitably become a fraud by our “sharing” which sowed strife. May God help us to be wise and discerning. Amen.

Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew
Advisory Pastor

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