It’s an early Monday morning.
You’re preparing for the very first math lecture of your college/ university career.
You take out your favourite notebook and sit at the very front of the class as you eagerly await for the professor to begin the lesson.
The professor finally begins by introducing herself to the class and reading off her qualifications.
- Master’s Degrees
- 20+ years of teaching experience, etc
She then turns on the projector and begins her PowerPoint presentation.
To your surprise you read the following statements from her first slide:
“2 + 2 = 891”
“1+1 = 3”
“3 x 3 = 19.5”
You’ve known your whole life that, 2+2 = 4, 1+1 = 2 and 3 x 3 = 9!
Based on this knowledge, you question each statement, like any logical student would.
“Is this some type of quantum math?”
“Maybe there’s more to it?”
“What’s the science behind this theory?”
“Maybe she’s just trying to prove a funny point”
However, you eventually realize that the professor legitimately believed these statements to be true.
No pranks, no hoax.
Just a math professor challenging the simple logic you’ve studied and known for your entire life.
You look around the lecture hall to see the reaction of other students.
To your surprise, many students blankly believed these statements without question.
Because the professor said so.
Henceforth, it must be true.
You may think this to be unnatural, but this is how many preachers and teachers are often seen at church.
In the Western part of the world, we’ve often been blessed with the freedom to attend church as frequently as we want and hear various types of messages from various preachers/ teachers from various different churches.
More so, in this high-tech era we’re now only seconds away from hearing our favourite pastors, preachers, prophets, etc online.
On top of these options we also have books, podcasts, blogs, TV shows, and the list goes on.
All these things are great tools for our faith. But they should only be complimentary to our daily reading of the word of God.
Consider the following passage from the book of Acts:
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so
Apostle Paul is arguable one of he most iconic apostles in all of Christianity.
He was the physical author for 13 out of 27 books of the New Testament Bible.
To say the least, he knew the word and taught it precisely.
However, we notice here that these noble Jews in the synagogue did two very crucial things upon been taught by Apostle Paul.
- Received the word with all eagerness
- Daily examined scriptures to test the validity of his teachings
I still do!
I receive their sermons with “all eagerness” but often fail to truly examine the scriptures myself to test the validity of their messages from time to time.
Why? Because they have a great reputation for knowing the scriptures.
Funny enough, despite Apostle Paul’s “resume” (for lack of better words), these noble Jews did not fail to acknowledge that God’s word held the greatest authority.
What am I trying to say?
Test, every word.
Or to put in simpler terms.
Test and examine every sermon.
Every blog post, song, poem, motivational speeches, videos…ANYTHING and/ or ANYONE who attempts to teach you something concerning Christ.
Irrespective of reputation, the word of God will always have the final say.
Scriptures like 1 John 4:1-6 also encourage us to test every spirit to know whether or not these words are truly from God.
However before you turn into an extreme “church detective” notice once again that these noble Jews received the word with ALL eagerness.
In other words, they were not grudgingly crossing their arms, holding a red pen, prepared to viciously attack Apostle Paul for any untruthful statement.
No, they genuinely received the word with all eagerness, whiles preparing to study the scriptures for themselves.
People make mistakes.
Yes, this includes Pastors.
Like, good, genuine Bible believing Pastors.
The Bible echoes this mindset when it encourages us to not despise prophesies, but test every spirit(1 Thessalonians 5:20-21).
If you notice something that was stated which contradicts the teachings of Christ, kindly make it known to them (Paul does this very thing to Cephas in his letter to the Galatians; Galatians 2:11-21)
They might simply say
“oouuf, I completely missed that” Or
“I could’ve explained it a lot better, what I meant to say was…”Or
“Naw, I knew what I was talking about fam, let me breathe”
Regardless of the response, by gently confronting individuals you may:
- Potentially help them to understand more truth,
- Learn some new truth for yourself
- Find out that they are actively interested in spreading false truths…in which case tell others about it aaaand run lool.
The scriptures below serve as a great reference for how to handle such situations.
In the end,
Don’t be easily swayed by the individual who knows so well how to captivate an audience.
Rather be in awe from that boring old preacher who simply reads and explains the scriptures, line for line.
I am in no way suggesting that you can’t have a personality as a Christian.
Just let the living word of God be your only validation and hold fast to its promises.
Soli Deo Gloria