Message of the cross - Yes, Message of the televangelist - No

There is a radio/tv network hosted by a preacher that many years ago publicly fell from grace. I really enjoy the music, but the more I hear him preach, the harder it is for me to stomach. I'm sure that many in this area listen to his program. While he has some good to say, I want to caution you against the way that he applies his message and the way that he extends and interprets the Bible based on his core beliefs and understanding.  

While most of the time he rails against any type of biblical preaching other than the message of the cross, personally, he leaves the cross frequently so that he can bash organizations and denominations. He frequently mentions the Assemblies of God. This is the very organization that helped him to become prominent. Then they took unprecedented steps to restore him after his fall. Now they are his prime example of what is wrong with the church. 

The other day, he said, "Not one in ten thousand ministers have the understanding of the cross that I have." He followed this up by sharing a private conversation that he had with an AG leader. He used this conversation to prove his superior knowledge. He summarized his feelings when he stated that the official was "beneath my level." Yikes! Aren't Christians and minister in particular still expected to have humility? 

I was already nearing my maximum tolerance level when the conversation shifted to holiness. He read Peter's salutation in 1 Peter praying for grace and peace to be multiplied. He stated that this proves our actions have no bearing on holiness. We aren't expected to do anything. We can't even try to do anything or we forfeit the grace of God. He equated this attempt at obedience to trusting in law instead of the cross. He said, and I quote, "Holiness has absolutely nothing to do with your actions." 

First, let me acknowledge that we are all sinners. We can't be holy without forgiveness that was purchased at Calvary and the sanctifying work of the Spirit. This does not mean that holiness excludes any actions on our part. The SAME VERSE that contains Peter's statement regarding grace and peace says that we are the elect that are chosen by God for obedience. How could Bro. Televangelist twist and misconstrue the meaning so terribly? 

His error is magnified when you read a little farther in the SAME CHAPTER. 

1 Peter 1:14-17 (NKJV)
as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 

Let's recap: 

TV preacher: Holiness has nothing to do with your actions. Preaching that obedience is necessary for true holiness is rejecting the cross. 

Peter the Apostle: Be obedient. Be holy in your conduct. Your Father doesn't show favoritism so act and live with reverent fear. 

If I have to choose, I'm siding with Peter even if the TV preacher is a better singer and piano player. 

This minister has based his entire interpretation of all scripture on the phrase, "The message of the cross" which is used exactly one time in the New Testament. He takes this phrase written by Paul and twist and contorts every scripture to fit within his understanding of the message of the cross.  I believe in the cross. I preach the cross. I also preach that we must respond to the cross. As Jesus said, we must be willing to lay down our lives and take up our own cross to follow him. 

Once again, let's see what our dear brother Peter had to say about holy conduct and the writings of Paul. 

2 Peter 3:11, 14-17 (NKJV)
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness...Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 

Did you get all of that?  Be holy in your conduct. Be godly. Be diligent that you are found in peace. Be diligent that you are without spot and blameless. Don't be led away by wicked unstable people that twist the epistles of Paul leading to their own destruction. Hmmm...

As a general rule of thumb, I would not trust any special revelation that a man receives while he is being outed for an adulterous affair. You don't think he just might be a little biased at that point? The requirements for spiritual leadership in the New Testament are recorded in 1 Timothy as well as Titus. Both passages state that the minister must be faithful to his wife to be qualified for the position. 

In conclusion, I have a responsibility to watch over the sheep. I have a responsibility to speak truth. Personally, I agree with this particular preacher strongly in some areas. I enjoy much of what his station broadcasts. He can be very personable. That is kind of the problem. There is just enough good to make saints susceptible to the false doctrine that he peddles. Don't let anyone, regardless of how charming or talented they may be, speak into your life if they don't have the necessary fruit in their lives or a solid Biblical basis for their teaching.