I believe I’m about to begin a mini-series that I am not sure how far it will take us. I just have some things on my heart that need to be worked through.
Let me tell you a story. Several years ago a good friend and I were pheasant hunting in South Dakota. The season didn’t start until noon each day, so we were hanging around a very small-town motel when along came Joel Osteen on the TV. Now, neither one of us had ever heard the guy, but we had been told that his teaching was very bad because it emphazied the power of the person to obtain material (and other) things by brining God alongside to help. It’s better known as the prospertity gospel. What makes this a lie is that God never promises us riches or health. In fact, he tells us we must give up all of that and follow where and how he leads us. Some are wealthy and some are poor. Some get healed and some don’t. That’s God’s choice, not ours.
Anyway, we listened to the guy. At the end, both of us concluded that there was nothing we could see in that sermon that was a problem. He quoted scripture and his message was generally one of living a clean life.
The very next program was Charles Stanley, and, boy, what a night and day difference between those two! One mentioned Jesus, the other glorified him. One used him, the other fell at his feet. One was looking for something, the other was ashamed of his sin. One spoke some truth as cover for an agenda, the other spoke nothing but truth.
The pulpit is a powerful place, and those who occupy it are held accountable as James 3:1 makes brutally clear. Whether I like it or not, this blog is a pulpit. I am in that same position as Osteen and Stanley, although my reach is super-tiny. Even so, I put myself out as a teacher thus to higher expectations and accountability.
The difference between Osteen and Stanley was the authority they preached from. Osteen preaches a hybrid, self-help Christianity. Stanley preaches the bible as the ONLY authority on Jesus Christ (God in the flesh). Is it bad to have differences? Is there only one truth? Both seem like nice men that wish everyone well. Right?
Folks, it doesn’t matter how little, if any, authority you give to the bible. Truth is truth. The bible isn’t null and void simply because someone says it is. Neither is it truth just because I say it is. It is truth if it is truth. In my study and experience, it is far more true than anything I have run across. So much so, that I am willing to put faith in it as absolute truth.
So, what does the bible say about this? If the bible is indeed truth, we would be wise to see what it says. As it turns out, it has LOTS to say about this topic. Here’s one taste.
Galatians 1:6-10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
That word, accursed, is the Greek word anathema which is “a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed,” according to my Blue Line Bible app. This is very, very serious stuff.
Galatians was written by a guy named Paul. He wasn’t the only one who wrote stuff like that. Lots of other authors in the bible spoke just as harsh about false teaching. But, who is this Paul guy, anyway, and why should we listen to him?
Father, please carefully guide me in these posts. I want only to steer people to Jesus. Pleas protect me from straying in any manner. Let the eyes, minds, and spirit of the readers be discerning and absorb truth. Let error be forgotten. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers