Before we launch into this article, the church of Jesus Christ owes a lot to this man, Walter Martin. The work he did would have come at a high price. And it’s his voice that has exposed the Jehovah Witness & Mormon cults and warned us ahead of time the dangerous teachers of the visible church that we are seeing now.
Walter Martin is famous for his works on exposing some of the most dangerous cults that came against Christianity in the 20th century. His work to this day has left a legacy in the field of Christian Apologetics.
His most famous work worldwide is his book ‘Kingdom of the Cults’, a book that should belong on every Christian’s bookshelf (Walter Martin would be turning in his grave to have Ravi Zacharias give the foreword).
For decades, Dr Walter Martin has called the church to deal with the wolves within. Here are some quotes from a below lecture he gave in 1987. Feel free to share these provocative quotes on social media that accurately capture the issues we are finding in the church today.
Although he gave this lecture in 1987, there is a section in his talk which we want people to heed. Here is the video but the transcript is below.
The context of this speech is his analysis of this scriptural passage:
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Acts 20:25-31
Dr Walter Martin warns,
“At the very, very sobering address, we only have a condensation of it here in Acts 20, very sobering. Because it’s a distinct warning to the Christian church. When I first read this, and then read it in the Greek, I was struck by the phrase, “I’ve not avoided declaring to you all the council of God, I am pure from your blood.”
It rang a bell in my mind and I turned to the book of the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 33, and suddenly realised that Paul had taken this whole idea from Ezekiel 33 and 34. Listen, “…son of man, speak to the children of thy people and say to them, ‘when I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts and set him for their watchman, and if when he sees the sword coming upon the land, (that is the enemy coming toward the land), he blows the trumpet and he warns the people. Then whosoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and it destroys him, his blood is on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, he took not the warning, his blood is on him. But he that takes warning shall deliver his life. But if the watchman see the sword come and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, if the sword come and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity but his blood I will require at the hand of the watchman.
So then oh son of man I have set thee a watchman to the house of Israel. Therefore thou shalt hear the words at my mouth and you shall warn them from me.” Now Paul took that entire section, condensed it into the one sentence, “I am pure from the blood of all of you, I am God’s watchman, I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I am blowing the trumpet, the words of my mouth are from the Lord and they are to you, three years, day and night to the point of tears” I submit that whatever the greatest of the apostles saw fit to warn the Christian church about for three years, is important for us today as it was for them. And we had best listen to that warning.
The trumpet is blowing and the enemy is on the horizon. Now – we are to respond to it.
What is the great danger in the Christian church today? Is it from the psychologists? No. Is it from the psychiatrists? No. Is it from the sociologists? No. The danger to the church today, whatever the denomination, from within, is the person who wears the cloth of Christ. The person who wears the white collar or the cross, and who stands behind the sacred desk, and who is unfaithful to the Word of God. That is the ultimate danger to the church. The corrupt and apostate shepherds who infest our theological seminaries and our colleges and fill our pulpits across the United States and Canada, who know not God, do not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and will stand in the way of anybody that wants to preach it.
That is the ultimate danger to the church because it is inside the church. The cancer is within, and it eats away and we don’t recognise it. Or when we do recognise it, we don’t do anything about it because we’re afraid that people will be offended. We’ll be afraid that people will call us narrow, bigoted fundamentalists. We’re afraid that they will call us that most horrible of phrases, “kooky charismatics”.
We are afraid that the Elks, the Oddfellows, the Masons, the Shriners, the Lions and the Rotary and everybody else will look down on us and somehow or other, we will do damage to the gospel of Christ. We are so careful to preserve the wolves in the church and so slow to defend the faith of the church.
That is what curses us.
I’ve studied the cults now since 1950. I’ve learned many thing about them. One of the things I’ve learned about them and it’s been very, very profitable, is that the cults exceed most accurately and powerfully when they imitate the church most closely.
The closer they look like us, the worse the deception.
The closer they can get to our vocabulary, carry our bible, mention the name of Jesus and talk the lingo of Christianity, the more dangerous they become.
You don’t need anybody to put a red flag in front of you when somebody gets up and teaches Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam because you know you’re dealing with non-Christian religions. But if somebody gets up and says “I agree with Christianity, I believe in Jesus Christ”, and then you say “oh that’s wonderful!” And you take that person on faith, going no further when the person really doesn’t believe what the gospel says at all, they’re just using the language. At that point you are in great danger of deception.
Deception comes when you think you are believing what’s right when in reality, you are being misled and deceived.”
Source: Walter Martin, Lecture: Cult of Liberal Theology, 1987. (Link to segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSDvu3NWBnI.)