Take Heed, Beware Of The Leaven?
Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? “When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?” Mark 8:14-19
The American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘leaven’ as:
leav·en n. 1. An agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by fermentation. 2. An element, influence, or agent that works subtly to lighten, enliven, or modify a whole.
So we see that leaven is an element, influence, or agent that works subtly to lighten, enliven, or modify a whole, and that includes our thinking and our doctrines. Jesus warned us that religious leaders of His day and our day could with a little bit of leaven subtly modify the Word of God to make it useless to us! As a result many become deceived and destroyed for not only lack of knowledge but wrong knowledge. God’s word is unchanging:
“For false Christ’s and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1-5
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7
Yes, we are to turn away from those who have departed from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy and now preach heresies, things contrary to the Word of God. Yes, we are to turn away from those having a form of godliness but deny its power, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth even if they are pastors and preachers.
JOHN WARWICK MONTGOMERY [i] is considered by many to be the foremost living apologist for biblical Christianity. A renaissance scholar with a flair for controversy, he lives in France, England and the United States. His international activities have brought him into personal contact with some of the most exciting events of our time: not only was he in China In June 1989, but he was In Fiji during its 1987 bloodless revolution, was involved in assisting East Germans to escape during the time of the Berlin Wall, and was in Paris during the ‘days of May’ 1968. Dr. Montgomery is the author of more than forty books in five languages. He holds ten earned degrees, Including a Master of Philosophy in Law from the University of Essex, England, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a Doctorate of the University in Protestant Theology from the University of Strasbourg, France, and the higher doctorate (LL.D.) from Cardiff University, Wales. He is an ordained Lutheran clergyman, an English barrister, and is admitted to practise as a lawyer before the Supreme Court of the United States and inscrit au Barreau de Strasbourg, France. He obtained acquittals for the ‘Athens 3’ missionaries on charges of proselytism at the Greek Court of Appeals in 1986 and won the leading religious liberty cases of Larissis v. Greece and Bessarabian Orthodox Church v. Moldova before the European Court of Human Rights. As a result of his victory in the latter case, he was presented with the Patriarch’s Medal by the Patriarch of the Roumanian Orthodox Church (October, 2003).
Dr. Montgomery is author of over one hundred scholarly journal articles and more than forty books in English, French, Spanish and German. He is internationally regarded both as a theologian (his debates with the late Bishop James Pike, death-of-God advocate Thomas Altizer, and situation-ethicist Joseph Fletcher are historic) and as a lawyer (barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple and Lincoln’s Inn, England; member of the California, Virginia, Washington State, and District of Columbia Bars and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States). He is one of only six persons to have received the Diploma of the International Institute of Human Rights cum laude, and was the Institute’s Director of Studies from 1979 to 1981.[ii]
If we examine how John W. Montgomery handled a false prophet Bishop James A. Pike compared to Southern Baptist Pastor and Evangelist Billy Graham we will be surprised. For the record in his 1959 San Francisco Crusade, Billy Graham honored the notorious liberal Bishop James A. Pike by having him lead in prayer. Graham had attended Pike’s consecration at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on May 15, 1958. [iii] (Pike would also have been involved in Graham’s 1957 New York Crusade, as he was the dean of the extremely modernistic Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York from 1952 to 1958. )
James Pike was a brilliant man, raised as a Roman Catholic and trained as a lawyer. He became an Episcopalian after the war and pursued ordination in the Episcopal Church, eventually becoming dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in 1952. In 1958 he was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of California, and his election narrowly received confirmation because he had divorced and re-married (this was before episcopal permission for re-marriage was allowed). He became known more and more for outspoken views on the irrelevance of classical doctrines such as the Trinity and the virginal conception of Jesus.
Pike’s mediagenic personality and brilliant arguments made him the darling of some and the devil of others. His personal life gradually came apart when his son committed suicide in 1966. Pike started a highly public quest to contact his son through spiritualism. He divorced and re-married again. Many people who knew him have told me they believe he began a slide into manic depression.[iv]
Yet, Pike was a rank, unbelieving Modernist, a drunkard, an adulterer. He denied the Trinity and refused to state the traditional benediction, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen!” He abbreviated this to “In the name of God, Amen!” Three times Pike was brought up on heresy charges in the Episcopal Church. In an article in Look magazine Pike stated that he did not believe the fundamentals of the faith. In a pastoral letter that was to be read in all the Episcopal Churches of his diocese, Pike stated that “religious myth is one of the avenues of faith and has an important place in the communication of the Gospel.” He spoke of the “myth of the Garden of Eden.” He said, “The virgin birth… is a myth which churchmen should be free to accept or reject.” In an article in Christian Century, Dec. 21, 1960, Pike declared that he no longer believed the doctrines stated in the Apostles’ Creed. The same month that article appeared Graham again joined Pike at his Grace Cathedral for a Christian Men’s Assembly sponsored by the National Council of Churches. Three times Pike was picked up by San Francisco police while he was wandering around in a drunken, confused state late at night. He spent four years in intensive psychoanalysis. Pike was twice divorced, thrice married, and had at least three mistresses. One of his mistresses committed suicide; one of his daughters attempted suicide. After his eldest son committed suicide in 1966 at age 20, Pike got deeply involved in the occult in an attempt to communicate with the deceased.
In 1967, Pike died from a 70-foot fall in a remote canyon in the Israeli desert near the Dead Sea. His maggot infested body was found five days later. The 56-year-old theologian had gotten lost in the desert while on an extended honeymoon with his 31-year-old third wife. A biography about Pike noted that “never before in the history of the Episcopal Church had a Solemn Requiem Mass been offered for a bishop in the presence of three surviving wives” [v]
John W. Montgomery actions with Bishop Pike were different that that of Billy Graham. In the SIXTIES, during the “God is dead” movement, Dr. John W. Montgomery came into prominence. He was and is a renowned Biblical scholar with numerous degrees and an obvious brilliant mind, and a “who’s who” in America at that time. He was invited to openly debate Bishop Pike, on a Chicago University Campus, which was televised. He literally tore the Bishop’s theology apart. His critics were upset and protested at how he destroyed Bishop Pike during the debate. Even though God’s word states that they should be destroyed:
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:4
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1
I was to have the privilege of meeting Dr. John Montgomery when he came to our university for a week of Evangelism. It was sponsored by the university’s Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship club where I was on the executive committee. I personally asked John the following question, “As a Christian how could you do what you did to Bishop Pike?” He answered, “Easily, and I would gladly do it again to anyone who was a false prophet and had hurt and deceived so many people.”
Jesus didn’t bless the religious and political leaders of His day but rather He cursed them. “Woe to you” doesn’t mean “something good is going to happen to you?” God’s word is unchanging about deceived religious leaders of our day such Jim Bakker, Henry J. Lyons and Billy Graham who called themselves—men of God:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Matthew 23:13-15
A real Man of God doesn’t lie, steal, is not cowardly or fearful, because he is truthful, bold and full of courage. These things are done by those who belong to the other family and not to God’s family. A real man of God doesn’t support rapists, liars and thieves or have them as His friends.
Those who walk in the flesh will demonstrate the works of the flesh adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God even if their name is Ned Graham, the son of Billy Graham. Here are the modernists and apostates with whom Billy Graham has fellowshipped, and used in his crusades:
· Henry Van Dusen Union Theological Seminary
· Bishop James Pike, episcopal bishop
· John Sutherland Bonnell
· Robert McCracken, Minister of Riverside Church, New York
· Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury
· Dr. Fred Townley Lord, British Methodist
· Dr. Bertram Simpson, Bishop of Southwark
· Dr. E.A. Payne, General Secretary of British Baptist Union
· Bishop Gerald Kennedy, Methodist
· Dr. Jesse Baird
· Dr. Stanley E. Jones
· Dr. Martin Luther King, Modernist in theology.
The Lord Jesus said, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments’. (John 14:15). God has said, ‘To the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’. (Isa 8:20). The scriptures are very clear about not having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Ephesians 5:11). God’s word is very clear as to how we are to handle and deal with false prophets and those who support them:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Corinthians 6:14-18
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6
“Ephraim is joined to idols, Let him alone. Their drink is rebellion, They commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor. Hosea 4:17-18
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:1-2
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. Romans 16:17
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. Revelation 18:4
It is a fact that many of God’s people have received plagues of the judgments of others because they shared in the sins of others just like Oral Roberts did when he supported and defended Jim Bakker. In an interview on “The Larry King Show,” Swaggart claimed that Bakker’s downfall represented a “very glad day, because this cancer has been excised that I feel has caused the body of Christ untold reproach. ‘ [vi] These comments aroused Oral Roberts’s ire, and he blasted Swaggart while defending Bakker. Foolish Oral Roberts forgave and defended Jim Bakker for something that was not forgivable. God does not forgive those who rob, rape and murder in the house of God as Eli and his two sons were not forgiven. Something that is in the very bible that they sometime use and is true.
Oral Roberts forgave his friend, Jim Bakker, for robbing and raping in the house of God. Roberts made large contributions to the Praise the Lord (PTL) ministry of Jim and Tammy Bakker when they fell into hard times during the 1987 scandal. (Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1989). Then he wondered why the City of Faith of faith was not finished, the law school was not accredited and ORU incurred a 40 million dollar debt.
– Falwell called Bakker a liar, an embezzler and sexual deviate. He fired Bakker’s entire staff when he took over Praise the Lord show. Falwell bankrupted the PTL Club calling Bakker “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in two thousand years of church history”
But Jim Bakker won’t have to pay $120 million to former followers who bought “partnerships” in his PTL tele-ministry. A jury in North Carolina on July 23, 1996 threw out a class action suit brought on behalf of more than 160,000 onetime believers who paid as much as $7,000 each in the ’80s to join Jim and Tammy Faye in holy larceny.
However the Internal Revenue Service says Bakker and Messner owe personal income taxes from the 1980s when they were building their Praise The Lord empire reported the Charlotte Observer. The IRS assessed the taxes after revoking the PTL ministry’s nonprofit status, said Roe Messner, Tammy Faye’s husband since 1993.
Tammy Faye Messner new husband said Jim Bakker and his former wife didn’t want to talk about the tax issues. “We don’t want to stir the pot,” Messner said. He said the original tax amount was about $500,000. Penalties and interest account for the rest of the bill. The notices reinstating the liens list “James O. and Tamara F. Bakker” as owing $3 million.
Jim Bakker nor the Assembly of God with whom he was ordained have never publicly discussed or dealt with the fact that Jim Bakker was Bi-sexual or that his real lover was a man! Although a contrite Jim Bakker returned to his childhood church to ask forgiveness, he never talked about David Taggart his great male lover! Bakker, the founder on the now non existent PTL Club and Village, has downplayed the role of the bisexual evangelist John Wesley Fletcher, who arranged his tryst with Jessica Hahn. He hardly talks about James and David Taggart, the brothers who many claim controlled Bakker in his final PTL years Fletcher was bitter and said Bakker had failed to keep promises and had forsaken him during tough times. Fletcher stated during the “Pearlygate” media storm that he, too, had been sexually involved with bisexual Bakker, reported Christianity Today. [vii]
The Bakkers declined to meet their accusers. Jerry Falwell offered them that opportunity; so did the elders of the Assemblies of God, which conducted their own inquiry. When Bakker declined to appear before his district presbytery to face charges, the Assemblies of God dismissed him for “conduct unbecoming to a minister.” Reverend G. Raymond Carlson, general superintendent of the church, said the “alleged misconduct involving bisexual activity” weighed heavily in the decision to unfrock Bakker. Carlson noted further that the word alleged was used because Bakker did not wish to defend himself.
For many people, allegations of misappropriating PTL resources for their own personal use and the payment of huge salaries and bonuses were far more serious charges than the allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Bakkers had appointed a rubber-stamp board of directors to oversee their management practices. In return for acquiescing to Jim and Tammy’s whims, several of these board members received tens of thousands of dollars in fees, bonuses, and contributions to their own projects.
In 1986 the Bakkers were paid $1.9 million; since 1984, a total of $4.8 million had been paid to them. In addition, PTL monies were used for expensive homes, a palatial suite at the Heritage Grand Hotel, automobiles, lavish wardrobes, vacations, and parties.
The Bakkers’ closest associates were privy to their high living at the expense of PTL partners. They, too, were well paid. Reverend Richard Dortch, the Assemblies of God minister who many thought had brought some order and organization to the rapidly growing Heritage USA operations, was paid $240,000 in 1985 and $350,000 in 1986. He received approximately $270,000 during the first three months of 1987 before Falwell sacked him. David Taggart, a twenty-nine-year-old “personal aide” to Bakker, received $360,000 in 1986; Jim Bakker’s personal secretary received $160,000.
And then there were “consultants.” James Taggart, interior decorator and David Taggart’s brother, was paid $10,000 a month, but, according to the new PTL management, he had performed no services “for months.”‘ Peter B. Teeley, press secretary to George Bush until 1984, was paid $120,000 for eighteen months to serve as a Washington “liaison”; apparently there were no written records of any services performed. [viii]
Jackie Alnor (Host of the weekly blogtalk program, Apostasy Alert, on the Rapture Ready Radio network. Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rapturereadyradio) wrote on January 15, 2012 about Billy Graham and J.W. Montgomery
What a mouthful Walt – I agree with you in theory – but you lift up the name of John Warlike Montgomery – a man who was driven out of his own ministry due to his abuse of his staff and his family. I was his secretary back in 1986-87 and watched it all unfold. He secretly divorced his wife while he was living with her by signer her name to the divorce papers and she found out she was divorced when she found the papers and had it overturned for fraud. Then he divorced her legally married another woman who he tries to pass off as his original wife. So much could be said – but all I can say is you’re lifting up a wolf without knowing it.
I now all about him – and apparently more than you. I knew him close and personal – don’t promote him on my facebook. Walter Martin used to say of him, “John Montgomery is the leading Christian scholar alive today, and he’d be alright if he would just get born again.” He is also a drunk!
So you show me Walt – where it is ok for a Christian leader to divorce his Christian wife and mother of his children and marry someone else and still be in leadership.
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[iii] William Stringfellow and Anthony Towne, The Death and Life of Bishop Pike, p. 306.
[iv] The Ghost of James Pike The Rt Revd Pierre W. Whalon, D.D.
[v] The Death and Life of Bishop Pike, p. 202. , Billy Graham’s Disobedience To The Word of God by David W. Cloud, http://cnview.com/on_line_resources/billy_grahams_disobedience.htm
[vi] Associated Press, “Swaggart Calls Bakker ‘Cancer’ of Christ,” The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Virginia), March 25, 1987.,
[vii] http://www.evolvefish.com/fish/product902.html, http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/column/1996/12/04/
[viii] Hadden, Jeffrey K. and Anson Shupe. Televangelism: Power and Politics on God’s Frontier. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988., “Jim Bakker Indicted on Fraud Charges,” Fund Raising Management, Jan 1989.,Art Harris and Michael Isikoff, “The Bakkers’ Tumultuous Return, Washington Post June 12, 1987.