Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 11, 1970
NUMBER 6, PAGE 6c-7a

Prophets And Preachers Who Will Steal

John W. Hedge

You have heard the saying — "Some folks say that a preacher won't steal; but I caught one in my corn field."

Anciently God said through the Prophet Jeremiah — "Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, who steal my words, everyone from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, who use their tongues and say, 'he saith'." (Jer. 23:30-31). This does not mean that the prophets broke into the homes and bodily stole the words of God from their neighbors. They stole the words of God from their neighbors, as stated, by using their tongues to speak things which God did not inspire them to speak, and, in addition to that made the claim that such was God's words. They, in so doing, not only became thieves in withholding from the people God's words, but liars as well. It has been said that all thieves are liars — at least this was true of these false prophets.

Will preachers of today steal the words of God from the people to whom such has been sent? Consider the following 1. Mormon elders steal God's word as contained in the Bible when they proclaim the teachings as found in the Book of Mormon. True, they sometimes quote the Bible to the people in an effort to make them think that they are ardent believers in what the Bible teaches — but by and by they lead people away from the Bible to the Book of Mormon. They are out to sell people, not what the Bible teaches, but what the Book of Mormon teaches. Should they say that the Bible contains a full and complete revelation of God's will to man — that it "thoroughly furnishes the man of God unto all good works," that it contains "all things pertaining unto life and godliness," such would make the teachings of the Book of Mormon non-essential. Mormonism is a galvanized form of infidelity, sugarcoated with a few quotations from the Bible. But by mixing a few quotations from the Bible — usually misapplied — with emphasis on what the Book of Mormon teaches, they thereby steal the word of God from the people. Truth and error cannot be mixed without disastrous results.

2. Those who teach for doctrine the commandments of men — those who follow handed down traditions — or those who claim to have direct divine revelations from God — all of these preachers and teachers steal the words from the people in proclaiming these things in lieu of what is written in the Bible. Do you wonder why the beloved apostle said:

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, (prophets) but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (I Jn. 4:1). I have found an effective way to "try the spirits" with regard to what they teach by asking two questions: (a) Must one believe what you teach or preach in order to be saved? The answer is usually "no," otherwise all disbelievers of what he teaches stand condemned — a thing which they most stoutly deny. (b) Must one believe God teaches in His word in order to be saved? The answer usually is "yes," otherwise why the statement, "He that believeth not shall be damned?" (c) What is our conclusion? Since one can be saved without believing what you teach or preach, and yet one cannot be saved without believing the word of God, it must follow that what you preach is not the word of God! At this juncture, the conversation usually ends. Let us always "tell it like it is found in the Bible," and in so doing we will not steal God's word from the people.

— 304 N. Glover, Longview, Texas 75601