I think we can all agree that, since its debut in the late 40’s-early 50’s, television and the film industry and all forms of media have constantly pushed the envelope with what is culturally acceptable and morally appropriate within society.
It may interest you to know, the first shocking word ever used on TV was in 1957, during an interview live on BBC news. It was another word for urination that many TV shows toss around today about as much as they do the word “and.” Much different from what standard sitcoms allow regularly now days that most viewers laugh at without a second thought. Our society’s level of shame and intolerance of that which is destitute, especially in the past decade, has declined rapidly to the point of being non-existent.
Dr. Adrian Rogers once said, in regards to what we do for entertainment,
“Americans have not only reached the bottom of the garbage pail, but we have eaten right on through the bottom.”
This is not only evident in our secular world, but in the realm of the church as well. Unfortunately, the average church goer today is a far way off from the Bereans of Paul’s day who tested all teachings they encountered against the infallible truth of the bible. Those today (who are few) that are still willing to test what is coming from the pulpit as being true or not, are so desensitized and indoctrinated by the swagger of smooth talking, pentecostal mystics, and by the charasmatic chaos that surrounds falsely proclaimed “moves of God,” that the testing is not anything above elementary. The bible says, you want to know a Man’s heart? Let him speak. That’s all teachers do is speak, right? We must then LISTEN.
By no means do I listen to a single sermon or read only one blog from a pastor and deem, “Yup, great man of God,” nor do I declare “wow…his elevator ride to eternity will be hot.” At first glance, almost any false teacher looks good on the outside. On the inside though, they are filled with dead men’s bones. While there is not very often a complete abandonment of sound doctrine, many are coming across as if doctrines are optional or at least available for personal interpretation; “eisegesis.”
Check out these quotes and who they came from:
“Because we are continually growing in the Lord, preachers and lay people alike must be open to the Lord’s correction.”
I have come to realize that God is sovereign, and there are things I just don’t understand.
“Stop waiting for someone to come along and help you out. Pursue what God has for you. Trust God!”
“Our God is a little offensive! Most of the people who REALLY liked Him got killed!”
“Satan’s objective is to steal, kill, and destroy. He operates through the carnal nature of man—the flesh, or any way of thinking that opposes God’s Word.” -Creflo Dollar
Philosophies change by the day while God never changes, simply because, being perfect, He does not have to change!
– Jimmy Swaggart
There is a higher power, a higher influence, a God who rules and reigns and controls circumstances and situations that are beyond your area and realm of authority. – T.D. Jakes
“This is why for thousands of years Christians have found the cross to be so central to life. It speaks to us of God’s suffering, God’s pain, God’s broken heart. It’s God making the first move and then waiting for our response.”
― Rob Bell
All of these men (and woman) are well known preachers/teachers who subvert, twist, pervert and misinterpret the word of God. Yet, each one of those quotes is not out of line with scripture… Except maybe White’s. It is because these teachers pepper their messages with actual truth that many true Christ followers today, including Pastors, are being misled or at least making justifications for them as to why one minute Steven Furtick says, “We serve a God that can turn our mistakes into a miracle,” and in the next breath, “embrace a new way to change the world.” Furtick, like all the other Ed Youngs out there, is known for speaking some truth occaisionally…
“If you know Jesus, I am sorry to break it to you, this church (elevation) is not for you.” – Steven Furtick – Confessions of A Pastor
Jesus spoke of this:
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” (Mark 13:22)
We have to look back at what Jesus said of the scribes and pharisees; the false teachers of His day…
Matthew 23:1-12 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Specifically focusing on the 2nd verse, He is saying, when false teachers read from the word of God, it is still the powerful word of God. The power unto salvation doesn’t change from hand to hand. The gospel retains it’s power regardless of who is reading it. He does say, however, don’t DO as they DO. Why not? End of verse 3…”they preach, but do not do.”
What does all of this mean then? That we can sit under the fallacies of fools like Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, and Kenneth Copeland and still learn something? Surely not. Paul wrote two epistles to Timothy where in first Timothy, chapters 1, 4 and, 6, AVOIDING false teaching is a major theme as well as all of second Timothy.
Part of Paul’s challenge to young Timothy was to get him to hold the truth and then to pass the truth to the next generation and to avoid the insidious, debilitating and damning influence of false teachers and false doctrine.
Jesus also gives us this great parable:
Luke 6:39-40, 43-45 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
So we have to make a choice and we need to choose carefully who we follow because everything in time and eternity is at stake.