Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God's Directive for False Teachers and Teachings: "Avoid them."

Recently our church announced it will offer a Beth Moore Bible study.  The announcement, because of God's directive in I John 4:1-4, hoisted some red flags.  Why - if we subscribe to sola scriptura, sola gratia and sola fide – would we offer such dangerous material?  God’s word concerning false prophets and false teaching is a good place to begin.

I John 4: 1-4
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

II Timothy 4: 1-5
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Ephesians 4:14
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes

Romans 16:17
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

Now let’s take a look at the definition of a false prophet.  Rev. Mark Buetow wrote an insightful article revealing the definition and dangers of false prophets.  “Brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to the Lord's warning today! Watch out for false prophets! Beware of anything and anyone that doesn't preach Christ crucified for you, proclaim Christ in your place for your sins, point you to your Baptism, forgive you, exalt Jesus' body and blood.”     Read the entire article here: http://higherthings.org/myht/articles/homilies/buetow-beware.html

Here are six discussions that clearly reveal the danger of Beth Moore’s teaching. 
·         On a recent broadcast of Issues, Etc., Ellie Corrow, a deaconess student at Ft. Wayne Theological Seminary discusses the errors of Moore’s studies and her misuse of various translations in order to find what she wants the text to say.  Corrow discusses how she mishandles Ephesians 6:11.   Moore claims the text tells us to stand on our own two feet against the devil’s schemes as opposed to Paul’s emphasis on how Christ has armed us to battle the devil. What does the text actually say and what does the text actually mean? Moore confuses the truth of God’s Word.  Here is a link to that discussion.  http://issuesetc.org/tag/beth-moore/

·         Here is an excellent article by Corrow from her blog, From Virtue to Grace on the dangers of Moore’s study, Get Out of That Pit.  http://virtuetograce.blogspot.com/2010/08/waivering-wanda-my-review-of-beth.html

·         Corrow also crafted an excellent post on the dangers of non-Lutheran resources for  Bible studies:
What's wrong with using materials from non-Lutheran sources? This is a question often posed to me, generally with the caveat that we may glean from these sources the "good" stuff, excising the problematic portions. This view is exactly the problem. It seems clear to me that anyone who would favor most of the people on this list is probably ill-equipped to decipher sound Biblical theology. It's a harsh statement, I know, but it's the truth. That is not to say that one couldn't, hypothetically, study Beth Moore or Rick Warren, with a mind toward spotting the difficulties in their respective theologies, my criticism is really leveled at those who think they are capable of sifting through the trash, when they are still electing to feed people trash. This is akin to turning down a fresh and perfectly cooked steak in favor of a Big Mac and claiming that really they're very similar because they both contain beef (maybe). Once you've claimed the Big Mac is really equivalent to the steak (you just need to remove the extra buns and unidentifiable sauce), you've already demonstrated you don't know what you're talking about, and I know not to approach you for culinary advice.”

Corrow’s post concludes with this poignant paragraph:
“My concern is for the women who absorb this stuff, and as a result have no grasp of the faith which has been once and for all delivered to the saints, and who then catechize their children with Evangelical assumptions in mind. The truth is that we can talk about male headship until we're blue in the face, but the fact is that a lot of fathers are absent, either from the household, or from church, or both, and women have stepped into their roles taking defacto headship. Now we have children, both boys and girls, raised to believe that feelings trump truth every day of the week. Lord, have mercy.”

·         Issues, Etc radio host and LCMS Rev. Todd Wilken asks, “Is Beth Moore’s theology, sound Biblical theology?” If a church is going to run Beth Moore as a study, the answer must be yes.  Unfortunately, after reviewing discussions of her theology and various studies, the answer is consistently no.  As sinners we need more of Christ crucified, not man's efforts glorified.  Beth Moore is another wind of doctrine that tosses people to and fro.  She is scratching itching ears and Paul’s advice in Romans 16:17 clearly tells us what we should do with her studies, “avoid them”.  Listen to the broadcast at http://issuesetcarchive.org/mp3/IE%202007_02_19%20Hr3.mp3

·         Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith:  Law dominates Beth Moore’s teaching and her explication of Hebrews 10 isn’t Biblical or Christian teaching.  Listen to the broadcast at http://www.extremetheology.com/2010/03/beth-moores-dangerous-bible-twisting.html

·         A Lutheran blog entitled, Brothers of the John the Steadfast recently discussed this and alluded to this review of Moore’s book, Believing God, found in the Presbyterian magazine, Modern Reformation. “Although she wants to be theological and Christ-centered, too much of Moore’s material is about her take on her experience with God. Her writing tends to be undisciplined and shallow. She is far too willing to gloss over uncomfortable theological implications in favor of feel-good stories and quick explanations.”   
o   Read the discussion here  http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=9719

·         Dr. C.F.W. Walther also discussed the danger of false prophets in his December 5, 1884 Eleventh Evening Lecture in Law and Gospel:
Many solemn warnings against false teachers are found in Holy Scripture. One of the most solemn of them, if not the most solemn, is that found in Jer. 23, 22, where the Lord says regarding false teachers: “If they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My words, then they should have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.” This shows that by teaching false doctrine a preacher may keep the souls entrusted to his care from being converted and — a result awful to contemplate! —will cause them to be eternally lost. Read the rest of the essay for more of Dr. Walther’s insights.

There are plenty of Bible studies that do not pervert God's word: Dr. Gene Veith's The  Spirituality of the Cross, God at Work, or Loving God with All Your Mind are a few that come to mind. 

Scripture is very clear that truth and error cannot abide together:  Galatians 5:7-10I Corinthians 5:6-8 We should never sacrifice the truth of God's Word for false teaching.  Romans 16:17 is also very clear on what we are to do with false teachers like Beth Moore. "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them."  (emphasis mine) 


NBeethe said...

Just like Purpose Driven Life about 10 years ago.

CurshDude said...

God seems to make it possible that bad situations or events can lead to good ones. Not that it justifies willfully allowing or causing bad events. Obviously, we should follow God's will.

And that leads me to a false teaching that seems to be common today. It revolves around will and discipline which are both integral parts of raising children to voluntarily serve God above all things.

You will find on many websites that people are claiming that spanking a child "breaks their will". Such absurd modern thinking. It is the rebellious nature of 19th century heathens who rejected God that brought forth such a terrible notion. Suddenly they were led by their own will, which in turn altered their conscience. They lost the overall picture of the benefit of discipline.

Corporal punishment does not break the will, in a way that one might be led astray to believe. Understand that we were told to "surrender our will" to God. This means to give up our will for God's will. So there is no absence of will. Just bad will replaced for good will.

When you see someone "lose the will to live" they are basically suffering from broken will, but without God's will.

So these modern thinkers who are teaching false concept of God, but with good intention, are missing a lot of understanding about God's way.

Imagine what it would be like if you didn't spank a child. We are seeing the result of that today. Children are led astray for certain. They are being taught to think freely and that it is up to them to find God on their own. Such terrible failure of parenting.

God taught us to raise a child in the way they should go. In other words, give them the Godly wisdom we learn. Raise them as God's children, not children of the world. It is in the nature of people to follow their own selfish will. And it always leads us to temptation of the world. Children do not have the ability to know right from wrong. They MUST be led away from these things. And in most cases, there will be punishment. And that punishment represents God's wrath upon all of us. It is the ultimately authority to fear. The paddle, belt, or switch that hangs on the wall is a symbol of right and wrong. It is a reminder of what to remember and what to forget. It is not a will breaker. It is a will "replacer". It keeps us remembering that God's will is far more important than our own.

If we focus on our own will while trying to instill God's knowledge within us, we will be foolish followers that promote a false, diluted message of salvation. This is common in modern day churches. Carnal Christianity is the name for it. But I tell you this. If you study 18th and 19th century materials, you will find that being a servant of God is SERIOUS business. There is no feel-good religion involved. The world smells badly, no matter what the time period. We are not to strive for finding ways to increase self comfort. We strive for putting our "self" aside for the sake of others who are led astray or in need. A Godly culture is a giving one. But when I look around, no matter where I might be at that moment, I see nothing but people keeping their focus on their own well being, sacrificing nothing at all for the millions of lost people in the world. Smugness and affirmation is an abomination to God's plan. And most churchgoers are only there to secure their place in the Kingdom. Little do they know that they may not make it. There is ZERO affirmation or guarantee that any of us will make it. That is part of servitude. Self sacrifice can only be maintained by NOT KNOWING if we will be saved. If we knew, we would be smug and comfortable. So if you believe you are saved, think again.

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