Peter the apostle warned about false prophets among believers and false teachers who would "secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who brought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves" (2 Pet. 2:1).
It appears we're seeing this Scripture fulfilled, in part, right before our very eyes. Jim Rigby, pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, used his social media platform to mockingly share some bad news with his flock.
"Apparently, because I don't believe in a literal resurrection, I'm not really a Christian. This unfortunately also means I won't be going to heaven with many of you," he writes sarcastically, going on to say that while his family is enjoying a heavenly banquet, "I will be screaming in unending torment along with Jews and Democrats and the evil college professors who teach evolution."
Rigby's satirical post continues, bemoaning the embarrassment of being a Presbyterian minister bound for hell. He called himself a fool for trying to live as Jesus taught when, he quips, he should have been reciting the Apostles' Creed like a cockatiel.
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Rigby asked his accusers several questions in attempts to win them to his side: What if the resurrection was about the whole life process? If the Virgin birth and resurrection are essential to Christianity, why don't the earliest versions of Mark's gospel contain them? Would they also follow Hitler if he were to rise from the dead?
"My accusers explained to me that I had it all wrong. They said I did not understand the gospel. You see, the earth was once a paradise. The dinosaurs were actually gentle and friendly," Rigby wrote. "But then Adam and Eve stole a piece of fruit. God got very angry. So God invented cancer and hemorrhoids to punish human beings for our treachery."
Rigby seem offended that God made this an "irreversible irredeemable sin." He's clearly upset that God has decided to "barbecue us eternally for the mistakes of our ancestors." He seems confused that God crucifying Jesus in our place is "good news."
"We don't have to be loving or kind like Jesus to be saved from God's wrath. In fact we don't have to do a single thing Jesus commanded us to do," Rigby continues. "All that matters is that we admit that we are worthless trash, but that Jesus likes us anyway. Oh, and we have to LITERALLY believe Jesus' corpse got up. If you believe all the above you will get to be with God in heaven. Let's just hope God has a handle on that anger problem by now."
Yes, Rigby, that's part of the gospel message. If he wasn't resurrected, there was no victory over death, hell or the grave. Rigby closes his snarky Facebook post with outlandish claims that aren't worth reprinting before he finally implores his readers, "Don't give me a second thought. I'll be fine. I'll try to keep down my screams of agony."
These are definitely the marks of a false teacher, according to 2 Peter 2:1. The Message Bible translates the verse like this: "But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They'll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They've put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can't tell right from wrong."
Unfortunately, Rigby is deceived and being deceived—and deceiving others. Peter warned in the next verse: "And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed" (2 Pet. 2:2, MEV). The Great Falling Away is certainly underway, but so is the Great Awakening. Let's pray for Rigby, his followers—and ourselves because no one is above falling prey to the strong delusion that's rising in this hour of history.
Let's stay close to the Word, incline our ear to the Spirit and believe the full gospel. Amen?
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.