The best of deviations are subtle, almost undetectable at first glance. – Alistair Begg
Have you ever read a book or listened to a pastor or teacher and thought – now that’s a strange idea?
I’ve heard sermons most of my life. Many, many sermons. One of the lessons my parents taught me from an early age, was to think critically and not just accept what someone (even a preacher). They advised me to evaluate what I heard by comparing it to what Scripture said. They meant it as a protection much as Peter wrote in his second letter to first-century Christians –
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them, the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2:1-3
The writer of Hebrews warns us to “not be led away by diverse and strange teachings” (Hebrews 13:9). Diverse teachings make seemingly small misstatements about how God may actually endorse our sensuality or deny the identity of Christ. Jude wrote –
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude v.4)
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul felt so strongly about false teachers that he said, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed”(Galatians 1:6-9).
The best defense against clever deception is found in what the Bereans did. The Book of Acts records that the believers in Berea “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
Have you heard something that just doesn’t add up? Examine the Scriptures, think critically and see if it is so.