1 Timothy 4:1-3 (ESV) Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
God's Word makes it plain that none of this should be surprising to us.
What is surprising, however, is how a majority of Christians today (regardless of the denomination they belong to if they even belong to one at all) seems to be suffering from a sort of "spiritual amnesia" as they have forgotten that we are the "Church Militant" and need to heed Jesus Christ's own repeated warnings to guard ourselves and to not be deceived by this nonsense.
That would require discernment though and far too many Pastors have failed to fulfill their calling serve God's people by patiently teaching the sheep entrusted to their care how to discern their Shepherd's voice (John 10:27).
Truth is, there are many other voices out there that are bent on drawing you away from our Lord and Savior. One in particular is especially prevalent in this Post-Modern world.
Genesis 3:1 (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
"Did God actually say...?"
My Lutheran Study Bible summarizes the scene for us...
"We see that the first temptation was (and remains) the temptation to doubt God's Word. Satan implies God has selfish motives, but there is no hint from Moses that God had ill motives toward Adam and Eve or planned their fall. Moses makes clear that the destructive effects of sin only grieved God (Genesis 6:6). '[The devil] turned Adam and Eve into enthusiasts. He led them away from God's outward Word to spiritualizing and self-pride' (Smalcald Articles III VIII 5)."
The devil uses the very same tactics today, my friends.
Worse, those who allow Satan's whispers to fill their ears and entice their hearts instead of the Word of God become his agents of false teaching whether they consciously know it or not. Do you know how the Bible describes them?
The divinely inspired St. Paul wrote about them for us...
2 Corinthians 11:12-15 (ESV) And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
There's absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever in any of those statements.
And yet, many Christians today want to live as though this passage doesn't exist in their Bibles at all! It's as if we prefer to go to such great lengths to preserve the reputation of a false teacher while simultaneously demonstrating no restraint at all in criticizing and marginalizing faithful Christians who are merely trying to warn others about the very real dangers in believing, teaching, and confessing the spiritual position ("leaven"; Galatians 5:9) regularly coming from these impostors who claim to be speaking for the Lord.
With all of that in mind, please prayerfully consider this short video that reveals the true nature of Rob Bell who's become quite the popular name in (liberal) Christian circles today. Somehow he continues to find his way into the more conservative and mainline churches that still exist too.
I'm so glad someone finally took that old, infamous video of Rob Bell and juxtaposed it with the very Word of God itself to show the stark contrast between his smooth sounding words that tickle our ears and the immutable truths of Scripture.
Of course, this isn't the first time I've written about Rob Bell trying to warn others about his un-Biblical and stance on most things. It's not like I'm the only one who's done that either.
Still, for whatever reason, I continue to see people I know and care about falling for his half-truths and outright lies and that bothers me greatly, which is why I needed to write this.
For those wondering what right I have to criticize someone like him in light of the 8th Commandment and Matthew 18, I would simply respond by referring to an excerpt from the Large Catechism...
"But where the sin is quite public, so that the judge and everybody know about it, you can without any sin shun the offender and let him go his own way, because he has brought himself into disgrace. You may also publicly testify about him. For when a matter is public in the daylight, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying. It is like when we now rebuke the pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. Where the sin is public, the rebuke also must be public, that everyone may learn to guard against it."
By the way, yes, distributing false teaching IS a sin and a very public one at that. The greatest violators of the 8th Commandment are false teachers who, by their false doctrine, speak ill of God and His name.
So, in a Lutheran layman's terms, when the error (sin) is open, we have every right, even the duty (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 4:15; Proverbs 27:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:2; Jude 1:17-23; Romans 16:17), to speak publicly about it and to testify against the person involved.
Speaking publicly about another person's public error or sin is not bearing false witness, nor is it a violation of Matthew 18. It's the most loving thing you can do for another believe in Christ.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Executive Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!