I know how easy it is to get focused on the wrong things, and I am guilty of doing that myself so many times. Right now, it is one of those times.
I have been on Facebook for about 6 years now, and have read more posts on false teachers and heretics, than I really would care to have read.
It's just ironic because in other countries, where people are lacking important items like food and clothing, you will not see people there attacking Christians the way we do here in American. In fact, God has chosen to pour out His power and bless many people in these Third World countries. Many healings take place as well as conversions and people even being raised from the dead. Why can't we have this in America today? Did we every have this in this country? Did we lose it somewhere?
We have a lot here in America. We accumulate and acquire more and more. We forget about God, oh, yeah, but we do remember that after we die, we go to one of two places, so we try to fix things between us and God, but really, we are only trying to take a free ticket to heaven that doesn't actually exist.
Because we are so fully satisfied with our material goods, we are not hungry for God. As a result, we are not spiritually healthy. In fact, I would say that many, if not most, professing Christians have never given up their pride and arrogance, at least in America today.
So, what do we do, now that we have all our physical needs/wants met? By default, we criticize others. We don't like that denomination because they baptize a different way than we do. We think this group of people down the road are too liberal or legalistic. That group around the corner is too Charismatic for us, and according to recent conferences, they must be labeled as a cult. We don't like that ministry because they practice something called, 'contemplative prayer' (whatever that means) and we assume that they are into some kind of transcendental meditation or some New Age religion. We don't like this church or that one because they don't use the King James Version, which is the only right one. All other versions are from the devil, you know.
After all our criticizing, there really are no churches left to be part of. Maybe that is the reason for so many home churches. We think we have to agree with someone 100% in order to consider them as Christians. But did you know that it is possible for you to be wrong?
All of us think we are right. If we are cessationists, we are right. If we believe in speaking in tongues, then we are right. If we believe God can speak to our hearts today, then we are right. But we might belong to the group which believes that God doesn't speak to our hearts anymore, because He only speaks through HIs word. And, we believe we are right.
Why is it that we are so nit picky about what others believe in or hold to? It is because we are not looking for unity in the body of Christ, based on our relationship with the Lord. We are looking to one another and trying to find others who agree with us perfectly. If they don't, then we consider them as heretics.
A heretic denies the faith. He or she may come into a church disguised as a believer in Jesus Christ, when in reality, the sole purpose of their joining a church is to subtly bring in false teachings to destroy the foundation of Christ in the church.
Do you want to hear what my latest complaint is? OK. I will tell all.
This week, the movie called, 'The War Room' came out. People were advertising it on Facebook. Then a couple of comments came. They had to do with the fact that Beth Moore was in the movie. According to a couple of people, Beth Moore is a false teacher. One person is not going to the movie because Beth Moore is in it.
I did a search on Beth Moore and found out about her ministry. She has a ministry to people who are hurting and those who have been abused. I know, there are groups of Christians who will attack this kind of ministry as well, because they would say that anyone who is abused or hurting needs to repent and stop using their situation as an excuse for not being responsible for their sin. This is another topic for another time.
What I found out about Beth Moore were things like, she practices 'contemplative prayer'. When I saw her quotes that were put into the articles, everything I read seemed fine, but the critics would say that contemplative prayer is similar to transcendental meditation. In contemplative prayer, you empty your mind and turn your thoughts to God. I don't see anything wrong with that, and I think it is a stretch for people to say that Beth Moore is into Christian mysticism. Thus, her new label of being a false teacher or prophet as some would say.
According to someone who was disappointed that Beth Moore was in the movie, the person said that Beth Moore has led thousands astray. I have to ask 'how did Beth Moore lead thousands astray and what does that look like?'
Many people have no idea who she even is. How can someone who practices contemplative prayer lead many astray?
Here is my take on this; I think that the Christians in America have too much of the world's 'stuff' and are not hungry for God's word. They are not attacking the right Enemy. They are dividing the body of Christ over stupid issues. They go from 'warning' about someone to actually, outright calling them false teachers. I have to admit, I believe these attackers are jealous Christians who choose to believe in a God who sits back and watches the world He made without any interaction. God is distant to them, and those who are close to God, and are experiencing His supernatural touch in their lives and ministries, they are jealous of. They don't have this kind of power in their lives, because they have chosen to believe God's power ended when the canon of Scriptures was completed.
There really are false teachers and prophets out there, and we need to be discerning. But if we start calling everyone a heretic, simply because we can't agree on Scriptures, we could be on dangerous ground.
Jesus commanded that we love one another. That means we are not going to tear people apart if they do not see Scriptures the way we do. False teachers go into a group or body with the intent to eventually destroy it. Some Bible teachers are weak. They have weak doctrines and could use the prayers of others to help them see the intent of the Scriptures more clearly. Instead of tearing people apart, could we consider praying for them? They might not even be true believers. They could be deceived. But God can open their eyes. It is our responsibility to pray for others. If they persist in going the wrong way and are blatant about it, we must let them go. At the same time, we can train our people to be discerning so that they know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, light and darkness, truth and error. When they are fully trained, they will be able to discern who is true, false, weak, or whatever they are. We have to be so careful to not throw out the baby with the bath water. Weak Bible teachers can still teach truth. God can still take the truth they present and use it in our lives. We need to take the focus off the person, and put our focus back on God. We need to stop tearing down other people in the church. That is different than exposing a false teacher or prophet. We don't need to tear anyone down. But we can expose the error and contrast it with the truth.
One more thing: God's word is clear that God gives good gifts. He will not give us a counterfeit, nor will the devil be able to sneak in and give us a false gift. If we really know the Lord, and are seeking Him, if the gifts come, we don't have to be afraid of having received something from the devil.
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Luke 11:11-13