For if it be unlawful to follow Christ for loaves, (as it is in the sixth of John), how much more abominable is it to make of him and religion a stalking-horse to get and enjoy the world! Nor do we find any other than heathens, hypocrites, devils, and witches, that are of this opinion.
The above quote is from Pilgrim’s Progress. The main character named Christian is discussing the motives behind following Christ. We do not follow Him for loaves, as Christian says. Put another way, we don’t follow Christ for what we can get out of Him to satisfy our fleshly desires.
Christian goes on to give three examples of those who DID pretend to follow Christ but really were in it to get what they could.
The hypocritical Pharisees were also of this religion; long prayers were their pretense, but to get widows’ houses was their intent; and greater damnation was from God their judgment. [Luke 20:46-47]
Judas the devil was also of this religion; he was religious for the bag, that he might be possessed of what was therein; but he was lost, cast away, and the very son of perdition.
Simon the witch was of this religion too; for he would have had the Holy Ghost, that he might have got money therewith; and his sentence from Peter’s mouth was according. [Acts 8:19-22]
Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress mentioned a “stalking horse.” I had to look that one up. According to Wikipedia–
The term stalking horse originally derived from the practice of hunting, particularly of wildfowl. Hunters noticed that many birds would flee immediately on the approach of humans, but would tolerate the close presence of animals such as horses and cattle. Hunters would therefore slowly approach their quarry by walking alongside their horses, keeping their upper bodies out of sight until the flock was within firing range. Animals trained for this purpose were called stalking horses.
I like a mental visual as I learn about the Bible’s truths. This was a useful metal image to me. To be even more literal, here is an illustration of a stalking horse with its hunter behind it, using the horse as a moving blind.
The horse is the shield, concealing the hunter’s true motives. And that is what false teachers do, they use religion as a shield until the moment they pull the trigger and by then his motives are too late for the stalked prey. The Christian is the prey.
It is often hard for Christians to understand that false teachers who teach under the cloak of Jesus’ name or a sham religion, however sincerely presented, are stalking you. Many times I receive the comment that the false teacher is just making a temporary mistake, or is a little off on one point of doctrine but solid on the rest.
Sisters, there are only two kinds of people, Christians and pagans. Teachers who teach falsely for long periods of time who refuse to recant, repent, or correct, are pagans. The only thing they are sincere about is that they are sincerely and truly stalking you, out for your harm and not your good. If they are of satan, we know the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10). Therefore a false teacher comes to kill, steal, and destroy.
Many people get this far in an essay and mentally they are saying, yes, yes, of course. But when it comes to applying this truth to a known name, their mind balks. Beth Moore, intentionally out to harm me, using pretense and false religion as a stalking horse? Ann Voskamp? Lysa TerKeurst? Jennie Allen? Joanna Gaines? Destructive and harmful? But they’re so nice! So engaging! So successful! However, the Bible helps us here too. We are told the false ones come with smooth talk and flatteries. Just because they destroy nicely doesn’t mean they aren’t destructive.
For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:18)
Who is Paul speaking of? “Those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught;” (Romans 16:17). Paul says flatly to avoid them.
You’ve heard the term snake oil salesmen, who are defined as a “someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is themselves a fraud, quack, or charlatan.” False teachers are the same, they know what they are doing. It’s not a mistake. Their consciences are so seared that they don’t care. Sisters, don’t be distracted by the horse. Look at the gun.