Please note that at times sentence structure may appear to vary from accepted English conventions. This is due primarily to the techniques involved in preaching and the obvious choices I had to make in placing the correct punctuation in the article.It is my intent and prayer that the Holy Spirit will use this transcription, of the portion of the tape, to strengthen and encourage the true Church of Jesus Christ.Scriptures quoted in this message are from the New American Standard Bible. The message is speaking about false spiritual leaders in the church. The excerpt is a listing of characteristics of the false teacher that women should watch out for, in order to avoid being seduced either spiritually or physically.
The SeducersCopyright 1991byJohn F. MacArthur, Jr.All rights reserved.
I think I need to give a word of warning here, which shall be not only to you, but on this tape to many others, and probably on the radio to many thousands and thousands more.A word of warning to the “would be victims” of lustful, sensual enticers–false teachers. It is a grief to my own heart that so many, particularly women, are seduced by those who claim to be the representatives of Jesus Christ. And so I want to take a moment to warn you women about what to look for. What to be wary of in your teacher, or your preacher, or your pastor, or your counselor; the tell-tale signs of sensuality that prey on women. And I am going to suggest a list for you here, and you don’t need to try to write it all down; but maybe you can file some of these things in your mind.This is the kind of individual that you want to avoid, particularly if there is vulnerability in your life and there’s need and you are not under the protection of a strong spiritual leader, in a father or a husband. Here’s what to look for. These are tell-tale signs of a seducer.(1) One, frequent talk about and preoccupation with sexual matters in personal conversation.
When somebody starts to talk to you about that, and they carry around, as it were, the title of “One who represents Christ and God,” then you need to be very, very, cautious.(2) Secondly, preoccupation with sexual matters and subjects in the pulpit, when they have a certain freedom about what they say in public.
I was driving on the way to speak in another city at a big conference. In fact, the speaker who was before me was speaking on the radio as they were broadcasting it live. And so I was listening to him as I was going in to be the next speaker. He was describing a very wicked scenario at a rock concert, which was so sexually explicit that I was offended. And I said to the person that I was riding with, “I don’t know that man’s personal life, but I’ll tell you right now, he is engaged in sexual sin. Because only a man to whom sexual sin has been reduced to routine can speak like that in public.” It was a matter of weeks after that, until the scandal hit the newspapers in his own city, that he was dismissed. You can tell, if you listen to what a man says, and what comes glibly and easily out of his mouth. Pulpit talk that is explicit and without restraint is a dead give away that you are dealing with a seducer, to whom those kind of terms are very familiar. (3) Another thing to be very careful about is physical hugging, touching, and kissing, even on the cheek.
Those kinds of things may be innocent; they be done in a proper gracious fashion. But if, on the other hand, that is routine, if that is habitual, if that is common practice, and particularly if it is common practice among a selected few, you have much to be concerned about, especially if you are one of them. (4) Another, a lack of restraint from immoral media.
I am amazed sometimes when I am gathered together with people in religious circles, when they tell me the movies that they have seen. There are no conditions that I can think of on the face of the earth that would make me darken the door of such a thing. When they will tolerate immorality visually, without a sense of shame and revulsion, you need to beware.(5) Another thing to look for, a lack of deep seriousness about sin, a certain “making light” of sin.
A frivolous joking about things that are heinous, distasteful to God, which, in effect, means there is a familiarity with that kind of stuff. It is easily on the tongue and it doesn’t really offend, and it doesn’t even shock anymore because it is such common stuff, such commonplace conversation. Watch for the lack of deep seriousness about sin. (6) Beware of a man also, who does much counseling of attractive women with marital problems.
Pastors who make themselves available for that type of counseling, as a pattern of life, are dealing with issues that they ought not to deal with, betraying preoccupations they ought not to have. And ladies, I tell you this, when you go to share with a pastor, you be very judicious and very cautious about what you say. I have seen with my own eyes some of the most unbelievable notes that were taken in interviews by pastors under the guise that they were trying to help women, those notes were so shocking that they couldn’t be printed in any magazine without being deemed pornographic. Be very careful about someone, a spiritual leader of any kind, who asks private questions about physical relationships between you and your husband, and who seems concerned to know any details. (7) Be very, very aware of someone, and this could be general (all of us need to be aware of this), someone who personally cultivates a woman into a significant role of leadership, and that keeps her closely involved in his ministry.
It is not so much women who are already there as someone who all of a sudden gets lifted up to some prominent place of ministry, very close to that leader. (8) Another, be very concerned with someone in spiritual leadership that is preoccupied with physical appearance; who is preoccupied with clothing, jewelry, cars, houses, wealth, fancy hotels, fancy restaurants.
You say, “Why?” Because it betrays a very fleshly approach to life, and it is very difficult to compartmentalize the flesh. And if it is running amuck in one area, chances are it is running amuck in another one too. (9) Be very wary of someone in spiritual leadership who is rarely seen with his wife at church, who is rarely heard speaking lovingly and graciously of his wife, who is rarely seen with his wife in public, who never expresses publicly, love for his wife. (10) Another one, be very, very careful of someone who travels alone frequently; is away from home a lot, and seems to prefer that rather than being at home.
There is something about a godly man that is associated with a very intense love for his home. There is something about an ungodly man that sees the home as something to avoid, because what he seeks isn’t there and what is there, may be the unmasking of his life. (11) Be very wary, women, of the man who gives you gifts. Beware of a man, any man, who gives gifts to any woman other than his wife. (12) Beware of a man who rejects a high degree of personal accountability. Sin seeks to be alone. It doesn’t like a crowd. It doesn’t even like anybody around. (13) Beware of men whose preaching is shallow, and who never seem to say anything new, in the sense of the understanding of Scripture because they are not studying the Word of God. (14) Be very wary of preachers who are more concerned with relationships to people than they are with peoples’ relationships to God.A man whose emphasis in preaching seems always relational and infrequently, if at all, God-ward. (15) Beware of preachers who fail to preach on the holiness of God and His hatred for sin. (16) Beware of preachers who emphasize feelings and emotions rather than doctrine, who are shallow and not profound. (17) And beware of the man who has fallen before, for if he has fallen before the percentage is that he will fall again. And if you are finding yourself around this kind of man, even though he purports to be your spiritual leader my advice to you is to run the other direction.