The Heresies of Balaamism and the Nicolaitans are Alive Today
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
(5) Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (6) But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
-Revelation 2:5-6 (HCSB)
We find that in the book of Revelation churches were being rebuked for their stance on the Nicolaitans. But what did the Nicolaitans teach that was so bad? While today article will not be a long one it will be an enlightening one, a nugget of truth. You see their teachings still exist today and are very prevalent.
Our culture has become one of permissiveness, and it has crept into our churches. We no longer consider it proper and right to stand for moral fortitude. No, we don’t even address issues of living together and sinning anymore (not all churches, but quite a few). I can name a few churches who won’t say that abortion is wrong, or that it is right; they will just overlook it. Many churches don’t even address people who call themselves Christians but are living together, unmarried. While I am not a legalist (by any stretch of the imagination) these basic issues should be addressed from pulpits across America. What has happened to the church?
The church has fallen into the errors balaamism and that of the Nicolaitans. According to M.R.DeHaan in his book “Studies in Revelation” he states that these two errors go together. Balaamism is the rise of permissiveness. But how did that happen? Because of the error of the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans brought about a kind of hierarchical clergy which brings about a disconnect between the people and those called to minister to God’s people. Unfortunately the Nicolaitans wanted to have power and the way they grabbed that power was to make people religious slaves. They became dictators over people’s lives instead of shepherds. They lusted for power and it is because of their line of thinking that we get the rise of the clergy in the “middle ages.”
But do we see this today? Unfortunately, yes. When a minister becomes a dictator they are falling into this trap. When they must control people and use them up and then throw them away and make it seem like it is the persons fault as to why they were thrown away. These kinds of ministers will make it seem like the person who left is at fault, when in reality the fact is that maybe the person did do something wrong, but they were being used and abused by a dictator. Far too often though, it is the minister who is at fault, not the person who got used. (I know this is simplistic and there are usually many more factors, but it is to make a point. keep in mind usually both parties are to blame, at least somewhat). The point is, should the minister be a dictator or should they be someone who restores people in a loving way?
Usually where you see a dictatorship you will see people who are the “eleet” in the church. They will get their obvious sins overlooked, while others will be punished harshly and persecuted. This leads to permissiveness not only among the people, but among the leadership as well. I commend churches who have checks and balances for these kinds of ministers so they don’t get to the point of being a dictator. It is amazing to me that some churches allow that to happen. Sadly, though, this has become a sad reality for many churches across the world.
While I know this isn’t a kind message today, it is one to think about because the church of Ephesus fell into this trap, and God didn’t like it then and He doesn’t like it today.
So what do we do for churches that are like this? Do we cause division or strife? Do we overthrow the pastor? The answer is a resounding NO! We pray for the pastors and take our grievances to the church board/deacons/elders. Don’t gossip about it, but let the structure of the church look into it. So what happens if it doesn’t stop? What happens if the ones in charge are just a bunch of “yes men.” Then you do as David did. Leave that church alone and run for your spiritual life and let God sort it out. Don’t split the church, don’t do anything but find the place where God is trying to lead you. I know that is hard but God hates Division (c.f. 1 Timothy 1).
Now may the Lord keep you and bless you. May He make His face to shine upon you, and show you Peace. Amen.