18. What is a false leader or false shepherd?
Relevant Words of God:
Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. Today, all those who follow the present words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the words of God today are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God. Service that is divorced from the present utterances of the Holy Spirit is service that is of the flesh, and of conceptions, and it is incapable of being in accordance with God’s will. If people live among religious conceptions, then they are unable to do anything that is fit for God’s will, and even though they serve God, they serve in the midst of their imagination and conceptions, and are totally incapable of serving in accordance with the will of God. Those who are unable to follow the work of the Holy Spirit do not understand the will of God, and those who do not understand the will of God cannot serve God. God wants service that is after His own heart; He does not want service that is of conceptions and the flesh. If people are incapable of following the steps of the Holy Spirit’s work, then they live amid conceptions, and the service of such people interrupts and disturbs. Such service runs contrary to God, and thus those who are unable to follow the footsteps of God are incapable of serving God; those who are unable to follow the footsteps of God most certainly oppose God, and are incapable of being compatible with God.
from “Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Work in the mind of man is too easily achieved by man. Pastors and leaders in the religious world, for example, rely on their gifts and positions to do their work. People who follow them for a long time will be infected by their gifts and be influenced by some of what they are. They focus on people’s gifts, abilities and knowledge, and they pay attention to some supernatural things and many profound unrealistic doctrines (of course, these profound doctrines are unattainable). They do not focus on changes to people’s disposition, but rather they focus on training people’s preaching and working abilities, improving people’s knowledge and rich religious doctrines. They do not focus on how much people’s disposition is changed or how much people understand the truth. They do not concern themselves with the substance of people, much less try to know people’s normal and abnormal states. They do not counter people’s notions or reveal their notions, much less mend their deficiencies or corruptions. Most of the people who follow them serve by their natural gifts, and what they express is knowledge and vague religious truth, which are out of touch with reality and are completely unable to confer people with life. In fact, the substance of their work is nurturing talent, nurturing a person with nothing into a talented seminary graduate who later goes on to work and lead.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You serve God with your natural character, and according to your personal preferences; what’s more, you keep thinking that God loves whatever you like, and that God hates whatever you do not like, and your work is guided entirely by your own preferences. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately your life disposition will not be changed one iota. In fact, you will become more stubborn because you have been serving God, and it will make your corrupt disposition deeply ingrained. Inside yourself, you will develop doctrines of service to God based on nothing more than your own character, and the experience derived from your serving according to your own disposition. This is human experience and lessons. It is man’s philosophy of life. People like this are among the Pharisees and the religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will ultimately turn into the false Christs who will appear in the last days. They will be deceivers.
from “End Religious Service” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Your knowledge can only provide for people for a while. As time goes on, if you keep saying the same thing, some people will be able to tell; they’ll say you’re too superficial, too lacking in depth. You’ll have no option but to try and deceive people by speaking doctrines. If you always carry on like this, those below you will follow your methods, steps, and model for believing in God and experiencing, and they’ll put those words and doctrines into practice, and ultimately, as you talk in this way, they’ll use you as an exemplar. You lead people to speak doctrines, and those below you will learn doctrines from you, and as things progress you will have taken the wrong way. Those below you all follow you, so you feel: I am powerful now; so many people listen to me, and the world is at my beck and call. This betrayal within man unconsciously makes you turn God into a mere figurehead, and you yourself then form some denomination, some sect. How do denominations and sects arise? They arise in this way. Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, “We have to consult him about our belief in God.” See how they require someone’s consent to believe in God; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way?
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
You are able to speak as much knowledge as there is sand on a beach, yet none of it contains any real path. In this, are you not fooling people? Are you not all hat and no cattle? Acting in this way is harmful to people! The higher the theory, the more it is devoid of reality, and the more it is incapable of taking people into reality; the higher the theory, the more it makes you defy and oppose God. Do not treat the most lofty theories like precious treasure; they are pernicious, and serve no use! Maybe some people are able to talk of the most lofty theories—but such theories contain nothing of reality, for these people have not personally experienced them, and thus they have no path to practice. Such people are incapable of taking man onto the right track, and will only lead people astray. Is this not harmful to people? At the very least, you must be able to solve the present troubles and allow people to achieve entry; only this counts as devotion, and only then will you be qualified to work for God. Do not always speak grandiose, fanciful words, and do not bind people and make them obey you with your many unsuitable practices. Doing so will have no effect, and can only increase people’s confusion. Leading people this way will produce many pieces of regulation, which will make people loathe you. This is man’s shortcoming, and it is really insufferable.
from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people work and preach sermons and, although on the surface it looks as though they are fellowshiping about God’s word, all they are saying is the literal meaning of God’s word, with the essence of the word left totally unspoken. Their sermons are like teaching from a language textbook, arranged item by item, aspect by aspect, and when they are done everyone sings their praises, saying: “Oh, this preacher is so practical. They preached so well and in such detail.” After they are done preaching, they tell others to put together what has been preached and to hand it out to everybody. By doing this, they deceive others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s word and that their words conform to the truth. But if you discern more carefully, you will see that all they say are the words of doctrine and are just false reasoning. Their words also contain some imaginings, conceptions and there are some words that delineate God. Does not preaching in this way interrupt God’s work? It is a way of serving that defies God.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The Man’s Fellowship:
In the past the standards set by God’s family to distinguish true and false leaders and workers were based on whether or not they had the Holy Spirit at work in them. Those who do not have the Holy Spirit at work in them at all are false leaders and workers. This principle is completely accurate.
from “12 Problems All Churches Need to Resolve Urgently” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of the Church of Almighty God
Serving in a religious way means to serve completely according to religion’s traditional ways and practice of service, firmly adhering to all kinds of religious rituals, and to lead people only by the knowledge of the Bible. It is vigorous and full of religious flavor on the outside, completely in conformance with human’s conceptions, and people have no criticism about it, but there is none of the Holy Spirit’s work. People who serve in this way give sermons that are all religious doctrines and biblical knowledge, full of religious conceptions, with none of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. And the meetings they hold are lifeless. Over many years of this type of service, God’s chosen people cannot receive the truth, cannot know or obey God, nor enter onto the right track of believing in God. Because what people are pursuing is not salvation, but grace and blessings, consequently changes in people’s life disposition cannot be seen. These types of people serve for several years, but it is all empty labor with no gains. This is the consequence of the religious way of service. It is evident that this type of person serving God really does not understand God’s work, nor do they understand God’s intentions. They do not know what cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s work is and this is purely the blind leading the blind. They lead God’s chosen people astray. They believe in God yet resist and do not know God. Like the Pharisees, they cannot be saved. There is no doubt that this type of religious way of service is classified as a service of resisting God.
from “Only by First Entering the Right Track of Belief in God Can One Walk the Right Track of Serving God” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of the Church of Almighty God
Religious pastors make their level of knowledge visible in all respects and disguise themselves with the appearance of godliness. The purpose is to make people look up to them and worship them. They try to use their own image to attract people to obey and follow them. The result is that the people that they lead all worship biblical knowledge, status and power and the level of preaching. In this way, step by step, people are taken on the path of resisting God. The people who the antichrist leads all believe in a vague God, are all good at preaching empty words of doctrine and good at hypocrisy. They all believe in God but resist and rebel against God. False leaders and antichrists’ ways of serving yet resisting God do great harm to people….
from “It is Crucially Important to Beware of False Leaders and Antichrists” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of the Church of Almighty God
Pastors and leaders in religious circles are all trained in seminaries. They only have pastor certificates, but they do not have the confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s work, nor do they have God’s approval. This is a fact. It is necessary for people to understand the Bible, but most essentially, they must know God’s work in order to be qualified to shepherd the churches. The Bible is precisely the true record of God’s previous two stages of work. Without reading the Bible, it is impossible to know the historical facts of God’s appearance and work. It is impossible to know what truths God expressed during His previous two stages of work, nor is it possible to know the right answers to many mysteries of the truth that people must understand. So it is necessary for believers in God to read the Bible, but it is absolutely impossible to know God through just understanding biblical knowledge. Only after receiving the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit as well as His guidance, training, and perfection in His work is it possible to truly know God’s word, understand the truth, and proceed to knowing God. Knowing the truth is through experiencing God’s work and receiving the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and not only through studying and understanding biblical knowledge. Many pastors in religious circles are quite knowledgeable about the Bible, but they do not know God’s work at all, mainly because they do not have the Holy Spirit’s work. Why is it that some people are enlightened by the Holy Spirit when reading God’s words, yet others are not? This depends on whether or not people’s beliefs in God are true, and whether or not they love the truth. Many people are trained in seminaries to become pastors, but regardless of whether or not their intentions are correct, the most crucial thing is that people must love and seek the truth in order to receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Only after several years of experience of the Holy Spirit’s work can people truly understand the truth and enter the reality of the truth. Only then do they have the qualifications to lead and shepherd God’s chosen people. To rely only on a pastor certificate to lead God’s chosen people is a completely human way of acting, and does not match God’s requirements at all. For example, why didn’t the Lord Jesus go to the temple to call Jewish priests, scribes, and Pharisees, but instead went among the common people to seek for those that love and seek the truth as disciples? People should understand God’s will here. Those that do not love the truth cannot receive it, so they cannot shepherd God’s chosen people. Thus, people should be clear as to what kind of people God loves, what kind of people He saves, what kind of people He uses, and what kind of people He hates. Most pastors in religious circles do not have the work of the Holy Spirit, which shows that they are not those who love and seek the truth. They cannot receive the work of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the main reasons why the Holy Spirit does not work in religious circles.
from “Why the Religious World Has Always Resisted God While Serving Him” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life