Beware of False Teachers

February 27, 2007

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really not gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:3-10).

There are many false teachers in the world today who would, consciously or unconsciously, astray from the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many perversions of the gospel are in the world. Here we receive a firm warning – do not believe it! The gospel of Christ’s blood, death, resurrection and ascension is truth and life. Do not be led astray by those who do not believe and those who do not know truth from untruth.

If you do not know what the true gospel is, open the Word of God and read it for yourself. There are far too many people out there who talk about some things that Jesus said or did, but really they do not know anything about these things. A lot is hearsay from other people who do not know. Other things are based on misunderstanding. But the Word of God is truth and sets the record straight once for all. Read for yourself this gospel that was preached and received from the beginning. Take heed the warning against false teachers and false gospels. Do not believe them. Again, heed the words of the Lord Jesus: “Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).


Oh Lord, How Long?

February 26, 2007

Last night my husband and I went to see the movie Amazing Grace. It tells the story of William Wilberforce’s campaign to abolish slavery in Britain. This crusade took twenty years. It’s amazing that one would stand firm for so long to stand up for what’s right and finally get to see the victorious outcome.

Sometimes Christians find themselves asking God the question, “Oh Lord, how long?” In our microwave society it seems absurd to most to wait on the Lord for something that is either a long time coming, or something that we could’ve gotten by ourselves long ago. Society, and even to some extent the church, has stopped looking to God and waiting on him for all things. They think they don’t need God.

Wilberforce was a man of faith who persevered even when the entire House of Lords was laughing at him. He listened to God and continued in his task, not because he was stupid or foolish, but because God said so. And in the end, the promised freedom came to pass.

I am reminded of another man of faith, one found in the Word of God. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10). Abraham “considered him faithful who had made the promise” (v. 11b).

How long are we willing to wait in obedience for God? Abraham was still living by faith when he died, even though he did not receive the things promised, but only saw them and welcomed them from a distance (v. 13). Are we willing to wait for God, even if he does not fulfill the promise in the way we think we will? God indeed fulfilled his promise, and gave the land to Abraham’s descendents, and from them came the Blessing to the nations. Abraham knew that God was faithful to keep his promise.

Are we willing to fight the crusades the Lord sends us on, namely the one found in the Great Commission? Are we willing to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, even if it costs us our very lives? Indeed if we belong to Christ our lives are no longer our own anyways. Are we willing to live in obedience to God’s will, or turn and go our own ways, wanting to gain our own treasures in our own ways?

What Are You a Slave To?

February 26, 2007

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Galatians 5:1-26

Proving Truths

February 22, 2007

It’s easy to prove the existence of relative truth. This is easily observable in our world of opinion and multiple-choice living. It is also easy to prove the existence of absolute truth, for it must exist out of intellectual necessity. The question is why does it matter, and what difference does it make?

Postmodern Philosophy

February 21, 2007

“Postmodern philosophy” is an oxymoron. The purpose of philosophy is to seek Truth. The main mark of postmodernism is the idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth. How in the world can we expect to find answers to life’s questions with this kind of worldview?

A logical philosophy consists of a linear thought pattern. There is a question, and then certain arguments used to reach a conclusion, and then the answer or conclusion itself. Perhap this will also lead to another question or problem. Logic walks in a straight line from question to answer.

But if there are no absolutes, we cannot have this kind of logical thinking. Instead we end up sucked into a circular vortex of uncertainty. No questions can be answered with certainty. This vortex can only lead to confusion, hopelessness, and ultimately suicide, be it of the mind or the spirit or the life.

Today’s Philosophers

February 21, 2007

For thousands of years philosophy has been shaped as people’s ideas have been articulated into language and expression. Be it through myths and stories, epics poems and plays or deeper thoughts written about the meaning of life and the universe as a whole, philosophy has been a huge definer of culture.

Where are today’s philosophers? Today’s philosophers are our musicians. No longer is philosophy confined to the ivory towers of the world. No one seems to have the will to embark on that high climb anymore. Instead it has taken a new shape, or perhaps an old shape rediscovered, in the arts. Music in particular is the mode of the today’s culture’s thoughts about life and meaning. If you want to know what people hold as valuable, look to the songs. If you want to observe someone’s deepest fears and anxieties, look to the music they listen to. If you want to view a soul bared, look to the words they put to melody. Even the way people use their bodies to perform their lyrics express their philosophies.

The question is, is today’s philosophy productive in its quest for meaning? Are any answers being found? Are any theories being formulated? Or instead of the quest for knowledge has today’s philosophy become simply the culture of the status quo. Has philosophy lost it’s love of knowledge, the very thing the word means? Has philosophy become more about what’s “normal” and “acceptable” and “what everybody’s doing” than the quest for truth?

It seems only natural that philosophy has taken this route. After all, we live in a postmodern society. Today’s postmodern philosophers are our musicians.

Fundamentally Relevant

February 19, 2007

When I came across this article I didn’t know quite what to expect. There are far too many churches out there trying to be culturally relevant but achieve this at the expense of Biblical orthodoxy. But with this church I was pleasantly surprised.

The first thing that caught my attention was the name of the church, Mars Hill. This points to the apostle Paul’s preaching at Mars Hill in Athens, found in Acts 17. The gospel was preached in a culturally relevant way to the Greeks there, but not at the expense of the message. The gospel was clear and cut to the heart of the people. While not all received it, those who did came out understanding the gospel from within their own worldview. The concepts were not foreign to them and thus did not need to be deciphered.

So I kept reading and found something I don’t recall ever hearing about in a church full of young people – the pastor, Mark Driscoll, reads the Bible literally and is not afraid to preach it that way. The Bible says certain areas of leadership are set apart for the men of the church, and he is not going to do things any differently for the sake of popularity. The Bible says that sex before marriage is wrong, and he refuses to preach a softer message. Wives should submit to their husbands, and this is not seen as out-of-date and irrelevant today. As a woman even I am often appalled by the teachings of people who contradict the Bible concern women for the sake of “relevancy.”

One great thing about Mars Hill is that the youthful congregation is not turned off by these fundamental teachings. In fact, the church is not a small, dwindling one, but a 6000-strong megachurch. Just goes to show that this generation hungers for the truth of the Word of God, and not a watered-down, sugar-coated version of “another gospel.”

I still remain reserved about the idea that if the Bible doesn’t explicitely address an issue we are free to do what we want with it. The Bible may not say, “Don’t smoke,” but it does talk about how we are stewards of the bodies God has given us and that we shouldn’t harm them. I also believe that music in church should glorify God, not just sing about God. So I am reserved about the idea of indy-rock music in the church (and other kinds of contemporary music) if it misses the point of worshipping God. Still, some churches stick to the traditional hymns and still don’t know how to truly worship God. It is not a matter of genre, but a matter of the heart.

I think the church today can learn a lot from Mars Hill Church, just as much as we can learn from Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens.

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