Saturday, May 23, 2015

"People of Faith" (False Doctrine)

I suppose it would be appropriate to address false doctrines while on the subject. False doctrines varies from something that is very similar to the truth to something being directly opposite.

It may look very similar to the real thing, just stretched and twisted slightly to misrepresent the truth.

False doctrines are nothing new, they have been around for a very long time.  You don't have to do very much reading in the New Testament to discover the New Testament writers were very often having to address false teachings that were continuing to crop up.  Then if you do a little study throughout church history you will find church history filled with correction and debate over these false teachings.  If you have a passion for God, this can be frustrating to deal with, but we shouldn't let it discourage us from continuing to seek the truth.  These false teachings can sometimes be very damaging, but they have their purpose, as all things do.  We find in 1Co 11:18  For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 
1Co 11:19  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 

Here Paul tells us that there must be heresies, but these heresies have their purpose, they come so that the real deal may be known among us.  So we have them and always have and always will in this age, but when we understand their purpose it helps us to continue to press through and be watchful.

So how do we watch for these false teachings?
There are several things that come to mind that can be helpful.  One being when you hear something you are not sure about, take it to your church leadership, if they have been properly set in place there is some good council to be had in the safety of the local congregation.  I suppose that should be a given.

But that don't leave us without any responsibility to do some work ourselves. (Act 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so) These things are too weighty not to take them seriously.  Check out some church history, if what you have heard cannot be found in church history, it may not be in church history and that should raise a red flag.

Even more helpful is the study of the Word of God yourself, being familiar with it is a necessity in the Christian life.  But it is also important how you approach the study of the Word. One of the Sola's of the Church is Sola Scriptura, which basically means Scripture Alone.  It is the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. It is the understanding that we speak where the Scripture speaks and not beyond.  This principle of course was held by the early church, (2 Peter 1:19) but it was brought to light more recently during the reformation of the 16 century.

So how does this work?  This may get me in trouble as I have some very close friends that hold to this practice, but it makes for a good example. I bring this to light with a most humble heart not seeking to offend but only to test this against  Sola Scriptura.

There is a practice in many churches today call being slain in the spirit.  It is where an individual is supposedly overcome by the Spirit of God and falls into a trance like state.  If you were to ask me what this practice is, it would be difficult to tell you as you do not find this practice in Scripture.

Some might point to accounts in the Bible where people fell down in the presence of Angels, or fell into trances and had various experiences. But none of those fit, explain or sanction, this practice we see today.  I have seen this occur many times, have participated in the practice myself.  When I once questioned the experience, I was told I was just to yield to the Spirit and let God minister to me.  So I tried to do as I was told as best I could understand. I'm sure one looking on would have determined I had been slain in the spirit, but nothing really happened to me outside of human persuasion.

I suppose I could be challenged, that being only my experience, others would say they had a real experience.  I will not challenge the fact some may really have had some kind of spiritual experience, but can we justify and induce a practice into worship based on an experience?  If you hold the idea that Scripture is sufficient, you will have a very difficult time doing so.  If you are looking to determine if this practice and doctrine is biblical or false, unless you allow for other forces to determine your doctrine and practice other than Scripture, you will have another red flag.

I want try and answer all the persuasions that might be brought forth to justify being slain in the spirit here.  If you do have a question I will do my best to answer it. The issue is identifying false teachings and false doctrines which lead to false practices and corrupt forms of worship.  The New Testament is detailed and very descriptive in the ways we are told to Worship Him.  The book of Acts lets us see into the actions and practices of the early Church.  Sola Scriptura does not give us authority to add to that descriptive worship outside of Scripture, doing so opens the door to all kinds of activities, some might even induce some kind of experience. This seems like a very dangerous thing to allow to manifest itself inside the Church.

I could bring up a number more numerous than I would desire of practices inside many Christian Churches today where we would have many red flags arise using these principles mentioned above. Most all of them I have myself either believed or participated in at one time or the other.  I have come to feel safe only in the Scripture, it is just to dangerous to go beyond it.  An experience may be fascinating, it may for the moment give you a feeling of peace or joy, but if it falls outside of Scripture I would be very careful.  1Jn 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

I hope some of this can be helpful, my intent is only to encourage us to test the things we think we know or believe with the truth of Scripture. If all we have is some obscure passage somewhere in the Bible where something similar may or may not have happened, or we have to stretch or twist the scripture just a bit to give us what we want, do we not at the least need to give thought to and question what we are doing?

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David
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  Honor to Whom Honor

Once again we find ourselves coming upon yet another Memorial Day on our calendars.  Celebrations will soar with all manner of observances and for the most part, fun and recreation.  Surely there's nothing wrong with enjoying that extra long weekend away from the duties of the workforce and the often periods of stress that are known to accompany the work day.  Yet, in all of the rest and refreshment that are so cherished in this time of year, we really mustn't forget the reason for the occasion.

As we went into town this weekend, the patriotic reminders were posted in shop windows.  Flags displayed along walkways were popping up throughout the city.  How good it was to see that there are those who do not forget.

We owe eternal gratitude to our Sovereign God for preserving us in this nation.  Truly it's a given that everything about any success that has transpired in this great land, has been a provision from above.  Yet so often the means by which our freedom was achieved has come from those who paid with their own blood and even life itself.  My simple thinking today inclines me to say "thank you" to those who have gone on before,  and to those in their family who may know the experience of giving that loved one up for such a noble cause.

Among our festivities and moments of pleasure during this time, may we give thanks to our Heavenly Father while we are much in prayer for the salvation of such a land of the free.  As Christians we know that we have citizenship in Heaven, though we are citizens somewhere here in this earth while we're here.  The Apostle Paul gave some well clarified instructions to the Romans that leads us to understand what is expected from Christians in this world.

Romans 13:1-7 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?  do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

With Grateful Heart,

Julie

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