The Internet is filled with religious, spiritual and Christian teaching of every conceivable quality and quality. Some of it is good and some not. I even follow them for daily downloads, wrong as they may be, just to keep up with the current stuff. No one’s nose gets longer. What are we to do?
First, there is no real problem regarding false teachers/prophets. They have been around since Genesis 2 when the snake deceived Eve and a continuing problem throughout history, all nations, all religions, all denominations and all congregations. The problem lies simply with the people who believe them! Or not.
When you are faced with information your mission is to examine it and on the basis of what you know to be true, weigh it and decide what is true and false. If the information you get is false, and the standard you set alongside it is false, you will end up with a false conclusion. If you lay alongside what is true, you can pick up what is true and pitch out the false.
The late Derek Prince gave us this rule: “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.” If you eat a lot of fish, especially carp, perhaps you know much of the little beast is bones. Doing this properly results in truth. It is time-consuming requiring thought and research.
Every inch of life, not just the Church is plagued with falseness. If you have been taught falsely and have little or no access to truth, you simply cannot make a good decision about what you are learning. This is an information black hole. The light you may see occasionally in a flash could instead be misinterpreted as untruth from another level. A lifetime of wrong information leads to assumptions. You will have no ground for doing what is right. You only see the sorry results of doing wrong. Here are some examples.
In China the rate of grown women that commit suicide is the highest in the world, about half a million a year. Even though China allows firearms only in rugged, dangerous areas farm women have access to fertilizer and little else; it is a hopeless existence. They can also drown themselves. Frequently they have only a meager education and no resources. There is no truth in their world.
Another example happened this past year. A group of about 11 girls were snatched from a Muslim nation and sent to Russia as sex slaves where they prayed to Allah daily for release. In exasperation they decided after a year in this prison that the next day they would commit mass suicide. One of the girls said, “My grandmother told me once there is a god in Europe called Jesus. Why don’t we pray to him?” So they did. The following day all the girls were rescued.
One piece of truth acted upon saved them all. This story comes from a sex trafficking action group in California which you can find on the internet at “The A21 Campaign.”.
Christians sometimes leave a church because they hear something false, then flee to another church which can be worse. The only ruler by which we measure truth as Christians is the Bible. In my present congregation there is a handful of teachers who are secular humanists, something I suspect they don’t know
They say, on occasion. “I don’t believe this or that” referring to a Bible passage. This makes them “unbelievers” and means they are teaching their own opinion. That is the ultimate in self-will and is a damnable business according to Isaiah.
Usually they fail to see how hazardous this is. The scripture said that teachers, above all, must be spot on or they come under worse judgment – not from the congregation of course, but from the Lord.
What is your antidote? The private Christian citizen must know his Bible. That takes work, but we have universal education in this nation so access to scripture should not be too difficult. This means reading the ENTIRE book, not just those passages we like. If you meet God on level ground, that is with your opinions and your assumptions on hold, you’ll be surprised what you learn.
The Phillips translation of Romans 3:19-20 says “The straightedge of the law shows us how crooked we are.” That ruler if followed can also make us right!
The non-learners are those who attend church to
- find contacts for business or social reasons
- show off their Biblical knowledge, frequently inadequate
- gain salvation through good works (Maybe God will accept me)
- find others who agree with them, right or wrong
- lonely and/or isolated
You can probably add your own reasons.
The Internet is awash with web sites listing the sins and errors of prominent teachers, and some not so well known. This is a waste of time. It does nothing to move the Kingdom forward and a great deal of people-bashing does not either get rid of wrong teachers or bring people to Christ, the focal point of our faith.
In addition, some of the so-called errors are not errors at all, just a reflection of old opinion and practice. P-l-e-a-s-e let us focus on what God is doing and less on alleged doctrines. It is not all that hard to compare a man’s teaching with the Bible and leave the conclusion at that. But to say that a modem teacher is wrong because he does not agree with someone who spoke 200 years ago forgets that the faith improves, and expands over the ages. If it didn’t we would be forced to say that doctrine not faith saves us, and that is impossible. You are not going to be judged in heaven by what you believe but by whom you believe. Let’s leave accusations to the “accuser of the brethren.”
We do not condemn the lonely or those with problem motives. At least they can learn something. But the antidote to the false is always the truth. “Thy Word is truth.” John 17:17.