Religious spirits and their demonic gatekeepers are not your friends. Don’t help build dead churches. Throughout the world, there are religious spirits and their gatekeepers controlling the entrance of information, ideas, and truth. There are secular humanists gatekeepers and religious gatekeepers. Some guard truth and others guard error.
Secular humanists gatekeepers may be statist apologists controlling information or propaganda aired on radio, television, or within public schools and universities. There are also religious gatekeepers. Some of these are leaders of various churches, denominations, Bible studies, or owners of radio stations, television stations or Christian publications.
Religious gatekeepers are most dangerous because they have a form of godliness yet stand against the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives.
I have seen these religious scribes and Pharisees all over the world. They want your help to build their ministries and churches but kill any move of the Holy Ghost after you leave. They stand guard over dead religious traditions of men while opposing sound doctrine, biblical truth and the ministry of the Holy Ghost. Jesus said,
“But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13).
A gatekeeper is one that controls access into a territory or stands guard at the entrance of a city. As already said these gatekeepers fight against the truth of the gospel of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Often these gatekeepers carry a religious spirit with visible traits. When we talk about gatekeepers with religious spirits we are not talking about religious denominations or institutions such as the Catholic Church because religious spirits can be in any organization.
Identifying Marks of Religious Spirits
Here are a few identifying marks of religious gatekeepers. Some may have all of these characteristics or only a few. Religious spirits:
- Have a form of godliness but deny the power of the Holy Ghost.
- Design, maintain, and advance dead religious traditions of men.
- Full of hypocrisy
- Try to make everyone the same
- Blend with culture instead of changing culture
- Focus on the outside while ignoring the inside of man
- Take unto themselves titles they did not receive from God
- Please men rather than God
- Want admiration and respect from men
Religious leaders focus on things like the length of a woman’s hair. The method people are water baptized; sprinkled, full submersion, or the name of Jesus only. What people are allowed to eat on Friday or what day to worship? Some focus on how long someone prays or how often one takes communion.
In Nicaragua, a woman was punished by her pastor for cutting her hair too short. This religious pastor posted her photo on the front door of the church to embarrass and publish her transgression. A Christian was not allowed to minister in the local jail because he was wearing tennis shoes. Another was disciplined for wearing a t-shirt after an unexpected visit to his house from the pastor.
The religious spirit is a murdering spirit. Maybe they will not stone you like they did Stephen but they will assassinate your character. The greatest enemy of the Apostle Paul was religious gatekeepers in the various cities he entered. They resisted and even tried to murder him. One of their main issues with his ministry was over circumcision. To them, it did not matter that Gentiles were baptized with the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. No, their greatest focus was whether they were circumcised. Again we see focus on the outward while ignoring the heart.
No Christian should ever send newborn baby Christians into dead religious churches, but they do it all the time. Traditional evangelical Christian’s center on getting people saved. Just getting people saved, however, is not teaching all nations and making “disciples” of Christ. A disciple of Christ is a follower of Christ, not just someone that repeated the thirty-second prayer and joined a lifeless local church. Scripture declares, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
From Such Turn Away
I once organized city crusades working with various pastoral associations. These pastoral associations are made up of different evangelical denomination and independent leaders. The focus of the meetings was to get people saved, something the many denomination participants could all agree on. The pattern was meeting with the local pastors, organizing the crusade, getting people saved, and plugging them into the local churches of the participating pastors. This pattern worked great, and we saw thousands come to Christ confessing their sins. In the natural you would think these types of meetings were a great success but for some reason my spirit would always grieve. This did not make sense to my head because I should have been joyous. Something was wrong and bothered me. Leading sinners to Christ was not the problem. The problem was leaving them to dead religious leaders as I described above. Scripture says that some “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5). Paul did not say to fill dead religious churches with new converts.
I know there are thousands of good Christians that want to do something great for Christ like you. Getting people saved and plugging them into dead religious churches is a mistake. I want to encourage you to help build “lively” churches with the newly saved. Don’t send good people to dead churches. Stay away from religious gatekeepers and don’t paint their tombs. There are good pastors and great churches in every city. Know the difference. Help those that are hungry, thirsty and sold out to Christ. Avoid religious gatekeepers by going around them and straight to the people.