Occasionally someone will ask me my thoughts on some new preacher, teacher or author who has become popular. I’m not the most up-to-date person when it comes to new events in the American church, but when I am aware, and feel I have adequate information with which to share an opinion, I’m happy to do so. It has been about four years since I’ve shared my thoughts on teaching in general, both the good and the bad, so here it is again, with some recent updates:
- I believe that God still speaks. I think his speaking is primarily through his revealed word (the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments). I believe that the Holy Spirit can and does help us discern truth from error, guides us in decision making, and that we may at times “feel” strongly that a certain act, response, or word is from God. I always think we should check our impressions with Scripture. “I feel it” or “God told me to tell you” is not synonymous with “God said it.”
- I believe God still interacts directly with his creation. I think he still heals people. I think he continues to speak to us in his two books, the book of creation and the book of his word. I believe he uses other people in our lives to teach us, convict us, encourage us, and remind us to look to him (among other things). I believe that men and women who claim to be able to heal like the apostles of Jesus, or speak with the same authority, are either misguided or deceptive (or both). I believe it is okay and even necessary that we should ask people to verify their claims to miracles or directives from God, and that asking for verification does not mean we are quenching the Spirit or that we are not “Spirit-filled” (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Thess. 5:20-21; 1 John 2:18; 4:1).
- I believe that genuine Christians can be sincerely wrong. I know that speaking or writing in public as a profession will always give ample opportunities for people to parse everything that is said, and in almost every instance, find some things that are debatable. I do not think we should roast every popular Christian speaker or author. However, I do believe that when one takes upon themselves the office of teacher they must expect (and accept) more scrutiny, and they should never utilize their popularity or their platform to squelch every question about their teaching by dismissing it as ignorance or a “witch-hunt.” (James 3:1).
- Finally, I believe that I still have much to learn about God. Jym Gregory (who is finite and created) does not have the final word concerning our God and Savior (who is infinite and the creator of all things). With that being said, I (and your other pastors and elders) work hard at getting things right. There is much false teaching out there that is being passed off as deep, theological, and ground-breaking, when in fact it is unbiblical and sometimes downright silly. It is often geared toward allowing us to do and be whatever makes us happy while dismissing the God who has revealed the truth to us in his word. Be carefulof those who claim to know the intent of the biblical authors better than 95% of those who went before us in Christian history, make much of their visions and dreams, or tell you that God has things for you, or wants things for you, that you cannot verify anywhere in the Scriptures (or may be flatly denied there). Know the word, and let a solid biblical worldview help you differentiate between truth and error.
Want additional help? I suggest going deeper in the word so that you can test teachings with more precision. We continue to offer our Plan and Promise study on both Sundays and Wednesdays. Our Fellows Ministry is a great opportunity to be challenged to go deeper in your faith. Our Children, Student and College Ministries are excellent teaching venues for younger folks. For you ladies who are free during the day, Mary Ann Demotte teaches an excellent, in-depth study on Thursday mornings here at the church. Life Groups, Women’s Ministry and Men’s Ministry are a great place to both connect and grow in your faith. Bible Study Fellowship is a wonderful resource outside of LifePoint. Asking an older Christian to disciple you for a period of time is always worth the effort as well.
It is also good to simply gather with God’s people and worship.Keep in mind that we have a Thanksgiving Service planned for this Sunday, November 24 at 6pm(childcare is provided for infant thru 2 years old). We will gather together for worship in song, share in thanksgiving together, and hear a few testimonies from some of our friends here in the church. For those who can stay to fellowship afterward, snacks will be served in the café area. If you are in town, we’d love to see you!
Grace and peace,