The entrance to truth and the Holy Spirit's power is often guarded by religious gatekeepers. These gatekeepers control information and resist the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. Beware of these religious scribes and Pharisees and 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 humanist gatekeepers and religious gatekeepers. Some guard the 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, and Bible studies; others are 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 they kill any movement of the Holy Ghost after you leave. They stand guard over the 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, nor suffer you them that are entering to go in" (Matthew 23:13).
A gatekeeper is someone who decides who can enter a territory or who watches over the entrance to 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 the 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.
Religious Spirit Assassins
The religious spirit is a murderous 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 the 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 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 a 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 Christians focus 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 who 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, of the Son, and of 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 denominations and independent leaders. The focus of the meetings was getting people saved, something the many denominational 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 me because I should have been joyful. 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 who 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 who are hungry, thirsty, and sold out to Christ. Avoid religious gatekeepers by going around them and straight to the people.Don't let religious gatekeepers stand in the way of helping others find true life in Jesus Christ. Pray for the Lord to give you strength and courage to reach out to those in need and bring them into a vibrant and life-giving relationship with Jesus.