Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preventing Poisoned Doctrine

We as followers of the Son of God are directed by Jesus Christ Himself to be sure that we are not deceived, it's our duty to determine what is clear doctrine and what is false. Jesus told us that we must be sure that we are following Him and not following a false doctrine:
And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. (Luke 21:8)
We are given a clear example of the proper way to deal with teaching, whether true or false - to double check and verify what we have been taught.
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11)

Scattered throughout the New Testament are warnings to keep to clear biblical doctrine. 2 Peter 3:14-18 clearly states that "untaught and unstable" men will distort Christs teachings. We are warned of wolves in sheep's clothing several times (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29) wolves who distort scripture and lure those that do not know sound doctrine to their doom. Doctor Agustus Graebner, editor of the Theological Quarterly said it best 116 years ago:
Satan, the world and the flesh are continually bent upon falsifying the word of God or the pure doctrine, and never before has such perversion been carried on so variously and extensively as at the present time, so that in our day millions are being carried off in to eternal death by the poison of false doctrine.
- A. Graebner, Theological Quarterly, 1898

That was a century ago, the good Doctor G. would probably shriek in terror if he saw the false teaching going on today. Personally I was shocked when I heard a pastor I know recently state that the Message was a good teaching tool and that Eugene Peterson was a genius. I should have gone full apologetic at that moment, but I failed. Maybe when we meet again I'll rise to the challenge and said pastor and I can compare Psalm 1 verse by verse, he with Peterson's Big Book of Heresy The Message and me with the NASB. (Said pastor commented that the NASB was very difficult to read. Dude, if I can read it, anyone can read it (However I do read the NIV when I just want to relax with God's word))

Which brings me to the point of this post (finally!) I run into something I suppose could be called "passive poisoning" and sometimes I'll catch myself doing it too. Passive poisoning is allowing an intentionally misquoted or twisted bible verse or reference to go unchallenged. As I pointed out, we are commanded to know our scripture and to go out and spread the word (Mark 16:15), and to do that we must do it rightly. There's several basic doctrines that should never be trifled with:
1. The Trinity: God is one being made up by three persons and each person possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.2. The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man 100% of the time.3. The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is returning bodily to to judge and rule us.4. Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.5. The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.

These things are the basis of our faith, we can discuss the wording all you want as long as the intent remains purely the same. Everything else is up for discussion. You can discuss the rapture for example, and as long as you do not twist scripture (Item #5) to make your point, you're good. I may even congratulate you even if your argument completely disagrees with my argument, but is sound doctrinally (and is entertaining). It is when scripture gets twisted and misused that the poison starts to creep in...
"...we will change the world" - Movie Jesus in the Son Of God movie
Jesus never said that, he said
And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)
Why did this verse get changed? The whole meaning and intent of the verse was completely changed with just a few words. Jesus gathered his disciples to gather men and bring them to God. Movie Jesus gathered his disciples to... plant trees? feed orphaned kittens? hug bunnies? And this is where the "but Monkeys" come into play. "Yeah, Roma Downey got the scripture wrong but she brought Jesus to people..." "Yeah Eugene Peterson took some literary license with the entire bible but he made it easier to read..." "Yeah the movie Noah was blasphemous, gnostic, and heretical, but people are now talking about the bible..."

Doesn't it matter that all this stuff is wrong? Sometimes in massive ways (Like Noah), sometimes in huge ways (like the Message) and sometimes in ways you may not see right away (like Son of God), regardless of payload size these examples are all poison. How much poison is too much? Look here at my box of d-CON Mouse Prufe's ingredients. 99.995% of rat poison is actually rat food. The dangerous part is 0.005%, or five one thousandths of one percent is dangerous. Believe me, I've taken many mice off this plane of existence with this stuff, 0.005%  is enough to drop a rat in its tracks. Now imagine what Satan's poison can do to your soul.

Every one of these examples I gave is dangerous because scripture was twisted, God's sacred word was turned around just to make a personal point or profit. It's poison, some times a lot and occasionally just a little bit, but in the end re-writing scripture is still poison. Why do you think teachers get Special Attention from God?
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (James 3:1) 
Because misuse of scripture is deadly! If I teach someone wrongly their salvation can be imperiled, which is why I beg my readers to double check, do the berean thing, and if I'm wrong tell me. At the same time we all should be doing this to the world, we should stop the poison before it spreads. I know I've heard something to the effect where one person says "The bible says God helps those who help themselves" to another and I laughed it off with a snicker. But think about it, what does the bible say about helping people? By not correcting the erroneous quotation (Which came from Benjamin Franklin) I may have allowed someone to walk away thinking that the bibles teaches believers to let non believers suffer. Maybe I should have stopped the poison by sharing 1 John 3:17 and working outward from there.

And you know it's ok to talk to your pastor about something he may have said from the pulpit that didn't jive with what you found in your NIV. Go ahead and talk to him, he will probably appreciate it. One of the worst enemies of the church (and of your salvation) is a closed bible. I've sat in several churches were I didn't see a single bible, the congregants sitting passively taking everything the preacher said as fact, swallowing up every verse flashed up on the big screen, not knowing if the preacher and the person who made the slides being projected were correct or not. 

Instead I feel safe and secure in a church where the preacher mentions a verse and his next words are drown out by the sound of bible pages turning. 

Bereans... I love 'em!

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