How a Pastor guards his flock: Jim Murphy's sermon "The Subtlety of Satan" Part 1

Part two here. Please read it as well, I entreat you.

I listened to a great sermon on Monday, and I mentioned it in a blog yesterday, here. I decided to do a stand-alone blog entry about this sermon, because the sermon blessed me to tears and encouraged me beyond measure. Perhaps it will for you too.

The Subtlety of Satan, by Jim Murphy

Pastor Jim Murphy is pastor at First Baptist Church at Johnson City NY. On Sunday, July 8, 2012, He stood before his congregation resolved and firm. He had been convicted to share with them, and actually reprove them (and himself) of the false teachings that Christian books, curricula, and bible studies are promoting today. It had permeated his church and he was broken-hearted about that, not the least because he had been worried about these teachings but had done nothing. Well, this is something.

He said he was going to root this stuff out, and purify his local church. He said, "And you've heard the rumor, that Pastor Jim killed the Beth Moore trip. Let me clarify that rumor: I killed the Beth Moore trip."

He spent an hour Sunday laying the context for how the modern church of 2012 has come to be so weak, accepting falsity for true, and being me-oriented instead of God-oriented. Though the slide away from our firm foundation began long ago, in his sermon,  he started the trip in the mid-1940s. He educated his congregation about Gnosticism, post modernism, Christian Universalism, Emergent Church, and more. He named the names of the wolves bringing these teachings, and among them were Rick Warren, Beth Moore, John Piper, Bill Hybels, Francis Chan, Rob Bell.

He also chided his congregation for being undiscerning, and that their lack of discernment came from laziness. He charged them. He charged himself. He was strong.

Rather than being unloving, as the liberals claim today, he was being the most loving of a preacher than I've heard in a long time. Raw, honest, clear, he was doing what pastors are supposed to do: guard his flock from wolves in sheep's clothing.

The Sola Sisters were the ones bringing the sermon to our attention, and I thank them for that. It has gained wide notice in our circles, being on the Brannon Howse's World View Weekend radio program, being linked to by many others, being spoken of in chat rooms. The flavor of all this notice is one of gratitude. As Brannon Howse told his listening audience, 'I've been encouraging you that there are pastors out there who stand against this stuff. They are out is one!'

Reactions to the sermon:

Brannon Howse radio program examining Pastor Jim's sermon, part 1. WVW shows are available for two weeks, after that, they cost $5. Part two was broadcast today and can be listened to here.

Here are some transcripts of part of the sermon that other bloggers have posted.

Julia's excerpts from Steak and a Bible--

“Now is the time for clarity. No more messing around. No more experimentation. No more dabbling into these dangerous practices. Now is the time for clarity and that clarity comes through discernment: this ability to think Biblically. The ability to read a book and see what it is saying aside from the warm fuzzy you got from it. Discernment takes time and it takes work and shame on you for not taking the time and effort. shame on you.”

"How do you know it’s not God’s voice if you don’t know the Bible?"

"I’m here to ask your forgiveness. I expressed my concerns along the way in several areas but there were some things that I heard and saw that I was not comfortable with and I thought well, let’s just roll with this. It may be not that bad."

"Today things change. I’m responsible for this ministry. I will be called a tyrant, a fundamentalist, controlling – you fill in the blanks – I don’t care anymore. We’re going to be making some changes and we’re going to root this stuff out of our ministry because it is unacceptable. It is not biblical Christianity and we’re going to get back to the Bible. I’m not going to make a lot of friends …"

We do NOT need mystical experiences
 to validate the Word of God!
"There are pagan books floating around. I’ll be addressing that in writing. When it’s published I’ll give you a copy. You need to learn to be discerning and we’re not. Why? You need to get into your Bible. You don’t know because you don’t read and you don’t study. Number two: You need to connect the dots. The Bible says this. Why this? If the Bible says that you have been given everything for faith and practice in this book, what do you suppose that means? That you have been given everything for faith and practice in that book, which means this: you don’t have to hear voices, and you don’t have to go by experiences. You can know the truth in this book and that truth will set you free. You get that don’t you?"

"What I now have no patience for — I’m kind of at the end of my rope, I’m gonna be honest with you — is the lack of effort. I’ve addressed some of these matters. “Oh it’s no big deal.” How dare you! It is a big deal. It’s a big deal to me, it’s a big deal to God and it’s a big deal to the opposition.”

An Unnamed Christian Woman's excerpts at My Sheep Hear My Voice--

Relevance v. Repentance
"What is a Christian according to the contextually relevant teachers of today? “Someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well adjusted self actualized risk taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a no regret life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage, is an attentive parent, celebrating recovery from all of their lusts, their habits, their hangups and practices biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at his church, tithes off the gross and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world country. That’s who a Christian is. What about the Gospel? Never once do you read in that modern contextualization that a Christian is one who sees their sin, confesses their sin, repents of their sin, and receives the gift of salvation in Christ alone. That is how far we have come.”

This is long so I'm going to make a part two and talk just a tiny bit more about this, using an analogy, and ending with an encouragement. Again, here is the link for the wonderful sermon, "The Subtlety of Satan." Please take an hour and listen...or break it up into two halves. I am sure that you will learn, be encouraged, and refreshed at listening to a pastor guard his flock.

For your consideration-
How a Pastor guards his flock: Jim Murphy's sermon "The Subtlety of Satan" Part 2: God takes away the discernment of the elders.


  1. I will definitely listen because this is something I'm struggling with about a church I feel "led" to attend that's rife with what I think are false teachings. I made an anon comment about it awhile ago. I attended a conference at that church and also realized alot of even mature Christians have no discernment.

    Also wanted to add that I wish discernment blogs might focus on African preachers, particularly Nigerian ones all over the world with majority african congregations.. So many popular preachers that are money fleecers and WOF preying on those suffering or telling people what they want to hear about prosperity in Christ. I'm finding out Mike Murdoch, yes him has mentored or is well respected by the biggest names. Supposedly he travels to Nigeria alot. Kenneth Copeland and friends are of course, EXTREMELY popular. It's terrible there now. There's intense spiritual warfare because of how open and common witchcraft can be and also because of harshness of life but some have gone too far with extrabiblical teachings. Benny Hinn is very popular too, has been for years.

    There are many many African Christians including my parents who I believe truly know and love the Lord but no discernment. I cannot discuss apostasy or false teachings with my mother anymore. It mostly turns into arguments, I just pray for her that our God will open her eyes. She says if the person says lies she prays The Holy Spirit will show her what's true and will ignore the rest.

    To many if a person is a pastor, He is a man of God and everything he says is scriptural. Things are terrible there just like they are in the western church. Satan knows his audiences and knows how to tailor lies. Most would outright reject liberal and seeker friendly lies but WOF and

    1. Hi Debbie, Thank you for being willing to give it a listen. I followed up with a part two, which I linked to at the top and bottom with another discernment lesson.

      I also mourn over the other nations receiving bad doctrine which we have polluted the church with. Pastor Paul Washer who is a missionary, said on one of his sermons he preached while back in the States, that the Third World pastors say to him, 'Please don't send us any more American missionaries, they bring a bad Gospel with them."

    2. But they accept this Gospel that caters to theirs and the population's wants willingly. We will all give account. There's just such a lack of discernment that it's overwhelming. It's bad in so many placed but We don't have ministries or blogs like apprising, yours or donotbesurprised that are speaking out for truth, bringing preachers to account when noone else will. There's nothing and noone saying this is not scriptural. All we can do is pray that God will raise people up.

      I also worry that false teaching are arising in underground churches in Asia and middle east. The devil is not just focusing on biggest churches. The supposed news that the iranian pastor sentenced to execution was following false doctrine made it real.

      Anyway, my brother is a pastor and I'll be sending this to him. Hopefully he'll forward it to the head pastor of his church.

      Thanks so much for these

  2. Hi Elizabeth! I rejoice that the Lord is convicting and empowering some pastors to take a stand against the enemy no matter what the personal cost. This is true love in action for our brothers and sisters. Thank God for the Internet so the warnings can be spread and reach believers who truly need to be educated and learn the subtleties of the enemies.

    As for myself, I have been doing that for 25 years wherever I am. I do not have a pulpit. The Lord uses us with the resources that we have. We just have to be willing, obedient to the call and available, he does the rest.

    Until 5 years ago when I started blogging, my job as watchman on the wall was limited to my town market place, a coffee house downtown in an area well known as the New Age and homosexual Mecca of the South and my job as a locksmith that expanded my reach sharing the Gospel and warning people.

    I also was asked to teach a SS class on the subject by my pastor. He cancelled his class when I alerted him of the dangers of such teachings. At the time, he had started (along with the whole church) a class ( in the Spanish mission) using one of Warren´s book while I was in Brazil. In Brazil, the book stores are full of the latest books by American and UK false teachers and prophets as the market is worldwide and best sellers´ translations are readily available.

    Biblical teaching needs to take place at the congregation´s level as the pastor you write about is doing. Forget about growing numbers. I think the published growth statistics are skewed because under the evangelical label the growing happens mostly in denominations following the prosperity gospel, dominion theology and signs and wonders apostolic movement especially in S. America, Africa and Asia.

    There are very good discernment ministries and bloggers like you throughout the Internet that are doing a great job at teaching scriptures and warning the church. My personal approach is teaching fundamental biblical principles that will help my reader to sniff out any suspect erroneous teaching.

    Of course, my life experience of 14 years in the enemy´s camp is very valuable in that regard. In the Lord´s economy there is no waste. We are commanded to redeem the time and I am firmly convinced that educating the church in the area of spiritual discernment is one of the most important task at hand.

    I apologize for some of the sloppiness in my latest comments. I have not been feeling very good lately, under a lot of pressure, and have been careless in correcting and revising before clicking publish :(. Have a blessed day in his presence. JL.

    1. Hello Jean-Louis,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I think they are wise and helpful, not sloppy at all!! Rick Warren fell off the wagon for me at the 2009 Inauguration of Obama, when he prayed int he name of Isa.

      The Pastor of the First Baptist Church in NY who made the sermon said that he planned to go thru his library and weed out the bad books, and then put out a list of good and acceptable books. I'm looking forward to that! He said he would make it available as a handout, and I hope he publishes it online as a pdf or something.

      I was so excited when my former church opened a library near the classrooms. I donated all my theological books and all my solid novels and biographies, happily. But then very quickly (despairingly fast) a number of false books began to be stocked in the library. Pleas to be discerning fell on deaf ears. Oh well, at least there are some good books in there, including Tim Challies book "The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment"!

  3. Hello, Elizabeth,

    My only question is: Francis Chan? How? Why? is he included in this list? I have read his Crazy Love book and his Holy Spirit, the Forgotten God book and found them both to be scriptural. Is he involved in something I should know about?


  4. Chan isn't one of the 'bad' guys. He is not choosing his associations wisely, however. He is slowly but inexorably being drawn into the Emergent crowd and that is a concern.

    His first book Crazy Love, though not doctrinally off, made the case much like Platt did in Radical, that it is assumed Christians already know enough doctrine, the problem is that they’re just not *doing* enough. In Crazy Love it seemed there was not enough gospel and it’s all oriented towards works.

    MacArthur came out with a blog entry refuting this guilt-trip ridden, we must do big bold moves for Christ pattern, that though not specifically mentioning Crazy Love and Radical, made the point that this kind of Christianity is not what it it only about. It is called "An Unremarkable Faith".

    In Chan's second book, The Forgotten God, he was a bit less solid than he seemed to be in Crazy Love. Challies gave that book an overall thumbs up, but did have this to say to the negative: Chan's "unwillingness to draw distinctions and to clearly delineate opposing doctrine. It is all very well to indicate that a church may not quite fit within one mold or another, but sooner or later we do need to make distinctions. Either the Spirit speaks through audible voices or he does not; either words of knowledge exist today or they do not. We cannot have it both ways and the distinction can cut right to the heart of a church’s beliefs. I realize that labels can be as unhelpful as they are helpful, but at some point we do need to make distinctions. I will grant that this may not be the role or purpose of Forgotten God but it is still possible that the book can confuse the reader exactly because of this lack of precision."

    And then we saw Chan's lack of precision come to the fore when in an interview with Mark Galli about Rob Bell's book "Love Wins",(there is no hell), Chan said in part that "there was a lot that was good about that book). Huh?

    As this reviewer said, Chan's appeal is that he says 'be bold' like the guys in the Mountain Dew commercial, but fails to specify exactly how and especially fails to connect it with Christ crucified. This charge against Chan is coming up more often.

    In his books and his speech, Chan often focuses solely on love and emotion with little to no mention of the rest of the Gospel: Christ's death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.

    The emergent church has the same problem, relevance over repentance, action over doctrine. It seems that Chan is heading down that same path, and his growing involvement with the leaders of the emergent church is one symptom.

    So while one cannot point to one exact thing Chan has written, done, or said that would paint him as someone heretical, it is often the case that deception doesn't come in one explosive moment anyway. Satan's subtlety is that the slide is incremental. While Chan isn't down the slope as far as Rick Warren or Shane Claiborn, he *is* on it. Whether he continues to slide is another matter.

  5. While doing some research exposing the error of Bill Hybels, I happened across this post of yours, which linked to that fabulous sermon by Jim Murphy! I listened to it last summer when it first was aired. So I just listened to it again, wow! What a pastor! God richly bless Pastor Murphy and protect him, his family and his ministry.

    Thanks also Elizabeth, for having some helpful information about the false teacher Hybels (we found it in another post of yours). Sadly, my husband and I need the information to try to help our church...



Post a Comment