Critially Thinking in Church

Today I want to pose a question to you - do you know what you believe? And do you know why?

Suppose you are sitting in church, and your pastor says something unscriptural. More to the point, let's say your pastor says something unscriptural and NO ONE notices.

In 2 Timothy we are told:
"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: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; [to] correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2 Tim 4:1-5

How are we to be equipped, if we don't know what the Bible says? We, as individual believers, have a responsibility. It's easy to fall into the group of people who believe that the scripture is complicated and so those who have been to seminary, or have a degree in theology, must understand it better. I heartily disagree.

A quote I read recently and unfortunately I cannot find it to give credit to the author, essentially stated "The Bible is simple enough for everyone to understand, yet deep enough for theologians  to debate forever." I often try to communicate the first part of that statement. The Bible was written so that common man could read it, understand the gospel, and come to Christ. Sure it has complicated things in it like the Trinity, but through the Holy Spirit, we gain understanding.

In the New Testament we are warned against false teachers:

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm" 1 Tim 1:3-7


"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. 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, 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" 1 Jn 4:1-3

These passages are obviously talking about teachers/preachers who do not accept Jesus as the Son of God. Clearly, we need to be aware of these things - false teachers, cults, lies in our culture. We also need to be aware of the scariest of all lies too - those that appear to be the Truth.

"And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Cor 11:12-15

Even if we are part of a church who believes what we believe, and is filled with sincere believers whose lives have been transformed through Jesus, it doesn't mean we can stop listening. Why? Because all humans are fallible. Teachers, preachers, priests, popes. Yup, all fallible.

I have personally been in a church where the pastor preached on something completely false. He had an opinion that was utterly unscriptural. To my dismay, almost no one outside of my family seemed to be bothered by it. Did they not hear the lie? Were they not listening? Or did they simply not know what the Bible says clearly enough to hear the difference?

Inevitably, there will come a time in your life where you are faced with this dilemma because inevitably your pastor, preist, teacher,  or pope, will say something you don't believe. Which side do you end up on - the side of tradition, teacher, leader (all human based) - or the side of the Bible. And how do you know which side to choose, if you don't know what the Truth really is?

Don't be a sheep - it's baaaaaaaad :-)