Monday, September 22, 2014

Combatting false doctrine

I have been heart broken lately by article after article on Facebook of Church People leaving the church, bashing Christianity, and feeling as though they are better off outside the church. The problem I am seeing, though, is that these people are leaving sects of the church that are not Biblical to begin with and calling out Christianity along with falsities.
There is so much false doctrine out there, circulating both inside and outside the church that people's views of Jesus are obscured. Social media makes it so easy for anyone to write a blog on his or her opinion of what one Scripture says. These seemingly insignificant people who are writing and luring readers into "their" movements are becoming more and more rampant. The casual church culture lures out children and our teens with seemingly Biblical truths. They ask, like Satan in the garden, "does the Bible really say that," or what's "so wrong with..." I read a woman's account just this week of how she was divorcing Christianity, divorcing her husband's view of family, and divorcing a particular movement they were a part of. As I read her article, I agreed with her argument against her husband's view of family and her argument against the particular movement. The problem is she had so associated programs and human perspectives with Biblical doctrine that she could not untangle the web. This woman has allowed herself to believe that the Christian relationship is as flawed as her family's theology. We must view pieces of Scripture in light of the entire Bible. We can't base theology on teachings of people or one single Scripture passage. It leads to feelings of defeat and disdain toward the church. 
So, what do we do? How do we reach out to women like this one, and how do we train our children and church members in such a way that they see truth for truth? 
First, I think we have to go back to the basics. Scripture is the basis for my relationship with Christ, not what my pastor says or what a book says or what a really neat commentary proposes. There are thousands upon thousands of Scripture-based books out there. Only the ones that align themselves with all of Scripture (and not just a passage) can be viewed as good. And even then, we need to be careful. Anytime we begin to view an author or pastor or book as equal to Scripture or complementary to the point of necessary, we fall victim to devaluing the Word of God itself. Jesus is all about community and doing life with other like-minded believers. However, our God must remain our God and ruler and our doctrine must remain the Scripture. Anytime a community urges that other things become just as priority as God and His Word, that community is teetering on a cult and is no longer Jesus' image of community for the Church. 
Second, we must refute these false doctrines with Scripture. I found myself bashing a particular movement within many church circles that I believe is just silly. They base their movement on one chapter of Scripture. I was asked if I had ever done any research on that Scripture or looked to see if it aligned with other verses. I am ashamed to say I couldn't even tell you the gist of the passage (I can now...and still disagree). I was using my gut feeling to refute a sect. The problem with this is that while I am an intelligent young woman, I am certainly not all knowing, nor am I wise in all of the Scriptures. I should have followed my gut, checked out the Bible verses, compared them with other passages of Scripture, and prayerfully come to a conclusion. When I ultimately did this, I was able to see why I believed that the movement is not quite right and I can now explain to others where the errors lie, which brings me to what I believe is the most important thing we can do. [I may expound on why I am not a fan in a separate post, but I'm not writing today about a specific sect, rather all concepts of false doctrines.]
Third, we need to teach our kids and teens and Bible study members (etc) the WHY behind our convictions. I had a conversation with my mom about why a particular sin is so rampant in our church culture in this modern time. We came to the conclusion that it is because parents and leaders are not doing a good job teaching the why behind convictions, allowing false doctrine to slip in with the real. If we water down our convictions and teach our kids Bible stories without doctrine, we fall prey to raising an ignorant generation, easily susceptible to false doctrine, sects, and loose convictions. 
I think that's exactly where the church is today. We are a body of people so unsure about what is Scripturally sound that we listen to anyone who sounds intelligent. We must prepare for the false doctrine that is infiltrating our church, our social media, and our lives. 
 Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that in the last days many false prophets will rise up and lead many astray from the Gospel. I pray that we will search Scripture, recognize truth for truth, and love on those who have been jaded by these false doctrines so that they will recognize truth and come to know Jesus for who He really is. It is time that we stand up for Scripture and stand up against false doctrine. 

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