Friday, September 5, 2014
Judge not the heretics
I have a couple of favorite blogs that I read, and one of them is conservative blogger Matt Walsh. His most recent post is about Joel and Victoria Olsteen. I thought it was excellent, so as I often do with his blog posts, I shared it on Facebook. I was quite surprised at the first comment I got. It was from a gentleman I met at a conference I attended in June, and had had previous contact with in a Facebook group associated with the conference. His reply:
Mark...love ya, but got to take you off...sick of the Body shooting the Body...you're fulfilling Endtime prophecy just as much as you say the Osteens are....funny...never heard Joel or Victoria mention your name...or judge you or write a post about you...there's a whole lot more important things to do than bash the Body...
I was a bit taken aback, I'll admit. I replied that he'd better not read about Jesus or Paul in the Bible, because they called out false teachers and religious leaders in some pretty strict terms. And I checked later - he did delete me.
We are warned a lot in the New Testament to beware of false teachers. And as I pointed out, Paul and Jesus named people out and said what seems like harsh words to them.
And whether we want to admit it or not, the world is full of false teachers. They didn't fade away with the end of the New Testament. They will always be around until Jesus' return. But we have a couple of problems:
1) We have made our own religion. It doesn't matter what the Bible says, as long as people obey at least part of the Bible, and attach the name "Christian" to themselves, all is good.
2) Judge not. It is amazing. People know that verse that know no other verse in the Bible, and it is constantly thrown at us. It doesn't matter what people do in the name of Jesus, no matter how opposite the Bible they go, you don't dare point out that they are wrong or you are accused of judging. Paul and Jesus would have a hard time walking the earth today with all of the charlatans and false teachers out there in our churches.
And there is a difference in interpreting things differently, and out and out false teaching. One church believes in speaking in tongues, and another does not. Depends on interpretation. But then there is definite false teaching.
Take Jay Bakker and Rachel Held Evans. Both of them really push a pro-gay theology - that Christians can be living a gay lifestyle and still be Christian. They bash Christians for daring to say it is wrong and hurting gay people. That is not interpreting Scripture differently. That is twisting it and teaching something that is false and damning.
I don't know a lot about the Olsteens, except they teach a health and wealth gospel, which is definitely wrong, and I have heard a few quotes by him over the years that I strongly disagree with and enough that I'd put him in the false teachers category.
And they aren't alone. There are many preachers and teachers across this country and across the world who are teaching a false Gospel. They still have some good in what they teach. Even the false teachers that were condemned in the Bible had some right ideas, but they had false teachings also.
I disagree with my former friend. There is a difference in attacking other Christians over things you don't see eye to eye on, and pointing out false teachings from someone. If Jesus, Paul, and others in the Bible could do it, why can't we? Yes, we should be careful not to toss out people who are for real and we just don't believe like, but if they are teaching false teachings, Paul said to beware of them. And he would name them out. Loud and in no uncertain terms.