Friday, December 26, 2008

"You teach others -- why don't you teach yourself? ... You say, "Do not commit adultery" -- but do you commit adultery? ... You boast about having God's law -- but do you bring shame on God by breaking His law?" - Romans 2:21, 22 & 23

"Big men and big personalities make mistakes and admit them. It is the little man who is afraid to admit he has been wrong." - Dr. Maxwell Maltz

In reaction to Dr. Maltz's wise words, allow me to add this: "... It is the little man who is bold to declare he has been wronged." - LCB

Really now. What a gooey defense. Well, in continuation, how does one recognize false teachers and teachings from Biblical teachers and teachings? While some may fall under the category of false teachers, others may teach certain doctrines which are false or that are not in accordance with the Word of God, while most of what they teach is in line with Scriptures. Subtle but wrong! Some teachers whose teachings are analyzed in respect to what the Bible teaches when all related Scriptures line up perfectly, may prove to be fine teachers and gifted speakers, even acting like frustrated clowns in the pulpit, but where they depart from Scripture, it is only prudent and wise that we as believers recognize these discrepancies and expose them, and affirm only the truth that is in full agreement with God's inspired Word. There is no doubt that discernment itself is a very controversial issue. Many of those whose teachings or behaviors are "judged" even according to Scriptures condemn their accusers and despise their criticisms. They would rather choose a safe and comfortable word like "tolerance." To them, I give them a better word - "ignorance." Some criticisms are indeed divisive and unnecessary, but let's put it this way: If you tend to think that those who would dare judge or criticize apparently unscriptural teachings would be much better-off just preaching the Gospel and minding their own business, consider this: What if manufacturers had no quality control departments, how would their products come out? What if the National Police Commission (Napolcom) had no internal affairs division, how much more would the PNP's corruption increase? (on that note, I don't think they have one). What if the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) never audited anyone, how many people would pay their taxes? If we know that the false teaching will lead to hell-fire beyond all doubt, do we just sit back and do nothing like zombie-fanatics? Within the body of Christ, it seems very reasonable to believe that God has intentionally called certain ones in His Body to focus on keeping His message pure and toxic-free (alcohol-free?).

Many false teachers and teachings unfortunately do arise from those who would just rather see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear - those who are motivated by money and power. But there are those who are simply too trusting to their teachers. Wala na silang makitang mali sa kanya. His style is simple and I know this all too well: He hears a particular doctrine taught by another false teacher, adapts that teaching to suit his audience and tailor-fits it to their taste and liking, and then another teacher comes along, listens to him and adapts it too. Thus, the teaching is perpetuated. it's a never-ending cycle of deception. This is not really hard to believe because history will show that many false doctrines have been spread by this method. Let's zero-in again on one of his favorite if not his only merchandise: Prosperity. FALSE: Prosperity teachings which claim (erroneously) that not only was Jesus wealthy on Earth, but that God desires all believers to be wealthy and that prosperity, in health and in wealth, is guaranteed in the covenant of salvation. TRUE: God desires from us all to have an "abundant life" in Christ, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and experiencing the fruits of the Spirit. But oftentimes, God's will allows such things as suffering, infirmities, sickness, trials, tribulation, persecution, or even martyrdom as Scripture and history clearly would show. Jesus lived on Earth without even "a place to lay His head," and Scripture teaches that His lifestyle was far from the wealthy lifestyle that some, just like this erroneous-egghead taught Christ to have lived. This fib originates in an effort by such teachers to not only justify their own indulgent lifestyles, but also to promote their popular prosperity teachings and increase giving to their ministries from those who are seeking the promised health and wealth, especially since the two are often tied together in a not-so-subtle method of deception to their "clients." As a reminder to him who has reminded me to treat church leaders as "clients," if this were a business entity (you sure are treating it like one), then by all means call them "clients." But it is a church, so stick to calling them "elders," or if you want to be "religiously correct," call them "deacons." But to call them "clients" gives one the impression of "mukhang pera." Fair enough? Christ calls us not to seek after wordly riches, but instead to "store up treasures in Heaven," and to give our lives as "living sacrifices." And as we seek first to serve His Kingdom, and of course, work as God's Word commands, we can be assured that He will provide for all our needs. Doesn't he know that? He's the gifted teacher. We're just his dumb sheep, remember? Oh, did I hear someone utter, "gifted poacher?"

It is therefore our hope that those who hunger for truth should find balance in how they evaluate which teachers they listen to and learn from. Some teachers need to be carefully filtered while others should be avoided in the same manner he avoids the poor and needy church-goer! But others can of course be trusted implicitly by grounding ourselves in the unchanging Word of God and considering it our final authority in all matters of faith and practice, we will have a greater ability to distinguish between true and false teachings and avoid deception. In the meantime, we can be like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they heared was true - or not! Look to the Author of the Word, and not to the preacher of the Word. Especially not this one. He has been unmasked. "Buking na ang style niyang bulok!" So, what are you his "clients" doing about this? Are you going to act decisively or are you going to sweep this under the rug just like he has done so in the past, and then empower him to repeat his sin? Where now is the wisdom he has so repeatedly boasted of? Can't afford to lose him, huh? Remember, he ain't gold. If that is so, please change your church name for obvious reasons, and because he has no exclusivity on it and thereby misrepresenting himself, and I doubt very much if he has the legal papers as well. Of course you know very well that the legal papers to that church name he uses are not with him. Must you tolerate this error too? The papers are with a legitimate church elsewhere. He should just tell every member of his congregation the real story. Lying can be oh so tiring and taxing. He knows the consequences to that, and I hope he's prepared to face them. Here's hoping he sees the light in 2009. And by the way, he shoudn't just stop at seeing it - he should walk towards it. Don't worry, it won't burn him. Or ... will it?

No comments: