HOW THE LORD CONFIRMS THE ACCURACY OF CHRISTIAN TEACHING: A DIALOGUE
“Look. Here’s the problem. It’s like we have to follow a script. It’s like we are limited in what we can do in ministry because of Scriptural parameters.”
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“What are you suggesting?”
“Well, I don’t feel I am suggesting anything, I don’t think, but merely pointing out the problems that arise from always having to keep reverting back to Scripture, as in, well, ‘the Bible says this’ or ‘the Lord said we must,’ or ‘we have to apply this Biblical directive…’”
“You think your ministerial work is suffering because you invoke Scripture?”
“No, no, not necessarily, but because, well, because I think there are other applications that probably work better in some instances, and…”
“But don’t you realize that the application of Scripture, especially the teachings of Jesus, is exactly that which provides solutions?”
“But does it always? Sometimes I’m not so sure. I’ve seen…”
“Are you having a personal crisis regarding your faith?”
“What? No, no, I just think that, that, well, that sometimes I want to help someone get through whatever they may be dealing with and show, you know, my heartfelt sympathy or concern, and, I think that trying to quote Scripture at such a time is, just, not working, or won’t work, like it’s being cold.”
“My goodness. How long have you been doing this?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve obviously been attempting to minister to people while also holding a clear lack of faith in Christian teachings. Do you not see this?”
“No! No, that’s not it. I know the Scriptures are the Word of God but I feel like I’m hitting people with a book, like I’m merely parroting verses and passages instead of reaching them at the point of their need, and showing sincere concern, and…”
“Did the Lord engage in ministry in such a way?”
“Well the Lord was certainly right there and touching hearts, and…”
“Yes! Yes, that’s it. He showed compassion. He granted mercy, He…”
“He watered-down the Law of Moses because that might help people not feel offended?”
“The Law! What?”
“You have a problem with the Law!”
“Wait. We’re Christians! We honor the New Covenant not the Old! We…”
“The Lord Jesus was never against the Law of Moses! The Lord actually fulfilled the Law of Moses! What is wrong with you?”
“Why are you getting so upset?”
“Because you have obviously gone off the deep end and need strong correction! How long have you been carrying this lack of respect for the Law?”
“But Paul was always talking about the deficiencies of the Law. It’s throughout all his writings.”
“You’re exaggerating. Paul spoke of the New Covenant superseding the Old Covenant but he also strongly defended the Law of Moses! Yes! The Law as delivered originally by God through Moses was certainly not deficient but was simply in need of its final fulfillment which could only be done by the future Messiah. To state that the Law was deficient or that there was a problem with the Law is grossly incorrect.”
“Okay… I’m thinking… I’m wondering where I picked this up…”
“It could be through a simple misapplication of Scripture.”
“Yes… But no. I must have received my understanding of the Law through those New Testament passages which refer to the Law in a negative sense.”
“Then you have an incomplete understanding of Scripture and need further teaching. Or you could have received it through the teachings of others in that regard.”
“But that, that would indicate that there are Christian teachers that get it wrong.”
“Yes. And what else is new?”
“No, I don’t mean… I mean, that they are doing it deliberately…”
“Which would mean exactly that or that they also have been deceived by a false teaching regarding the Law. They are doing what they think is right or…”
“Or they are not deceived at all but are deliberately teaching something that opposes the Scriptures…”
“Yes. Some are deceived. But some are agents of the enemy who have infiltrated our schools and churches.”
“How do we… What do we do?”
“First of all I appreciate the respect you are showing an elder. All real ministers of the Gospel at some point come across this sad state of affairs, this deceptive invasion, usually when they’re relatively young, as yourself. I discovered it when I was a young minister but I had no elder to help me out. I’m glad you came to me. Secondly, what we do is what any real minister of the Gospel would do. You know the answer…”
“Study to show yourself approved.”
“Exactly. Paul knew so much, so much more than he could readily share. People have to be able to receive it… When he wrote those words to Timothy he knew that Timothy, though relatively young, had gained enough maturity to know what to do.”
“Even if he didn’t fully understand. Like me. Right now…”
“But again, Paul knew Timothy would know what to do and he knew he would work very hard to succeed. And would do anything he must.”
“Timothy had to study. He had to read the Word. He had to pray.”
“That’s right. Real ministers know they often don’t know so they work very hard so they will know. That’s how they learn. It’s an ongoing process. The Word of God is Truth. It is filled with spiritual truths. It is our job to work hard at finding those truths. Then we can apply them.”
“That’s what I thought I was saying at the beginning of our conversation.”
“Well, you were seeing that merely relaying Scripture or quoting verses was kind of, kind of wooden, in some instances. You want to connect with people on a heart level instead of simply give directives toward the written Word.”
“Then don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can minister all day long but it will be worthless without the Word of God. And I specifically mean the teachings of our Lord. His teachings were pure and they were purely delivered. He never ministered without the Word. It would have been impossible anyway. He is the Word.”
“So I need to study. Wait. Can I see your Bible?”
“Okay… I need to read this… Here it is: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
“There’s a lot there.”
“He has given us His Word.”
“He trusts us with it.”
“It’s a high calling.”
“And I feel ashamed, but not like, I mean, I know He understands. But I must work harder. I must be diligent.”
“It’s the only way. We only have so much time. And we have to get it right.”
“I need to focus more on the Word than on someone else’s teaching of the Word.”
“Well, there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. We just need to always make sure that our primary Counselor is the Lord Jesus. He will confirm the truth but also reveal untruths. For every untruth there is a lack of spiritual freedom. If you collect too many they act as chains tying you down. You came in here with a burden. We had to fish out its cause.”
“Thank you. I thought I knew what I was talking about.”
“You got a hold of some bad information. It wasn’t intentional. You see, if a believer gets some bad information in the context of Biblical teaching but doesn’t know it’s bad, and accepts it as truth, the only way to ferret it out is by reading and studying the Word. The more you read and study the Word the more likely it will get exposed. It is the Living Word you know. The New Covenant Scriptures were divinely inspired by the Lord and are actually alive. They will do the work as long as we do ours.”
“They didn’t even have written New Testaments in the beginning…”
“But they had Spirit-filled anointed preachers and teachers. There were a great many of them. They came to maturity rapidly.”
“And they handled the Word of truth accurately…”
“That’s right. And when they got it right the Lord confirmed what they taught with signs and miracles. Those miracles had a dual purpose. They acted as endorsements—a sign of approval.”
“That was the proof.”
“And if they were somehow wrong…”
“No miracles. No attesting signs.”
“Wow. The written Word is a deliverance mechanism…”
“Well, yes. That is why it is so important that we get it right. We are charged with delivering the Gospel as He delivered it. When we do we get the results He got. The originals got it right.”
“On a colossal scale.”
“So you see why it is so important to never let anything foreign or false enter into our curriculums because they act as a drag on the power of the Word.”
“So a great many ministers want to get it right and many are very strong about teaching what they believe is Scriptural truth. They insist on their versions and doctrines. But they never test their teachings against the only proof that would confirm them. They are satisfied without proof.”
“Yes. Many Christian teachers never put their teachings to the Scriptural test. Instead of seeking God’s confirmation they get their confirmations from others. They seek the approval of others.”
“They mainly seek the confirmation of the congregation. Oh boy. You don’t want the church folks on your back. Or they seek the confirmation of their betters, their higher-ups. Whoever’s paying you. Whoever’s giving you permission to preach. That’s who most ministers are trying to please. …Yes, I get it. We must seek only the Lord’s confirmation. It’s the only way to know we’re getting our teaching right.”
“You mean His teaching.”
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Posted on November 14, 2022, in Teaching and tagged Confirmation Bias, Counterfeit Religious Traditions, Discipleship, Duping the Majority: A Foolproof Method of Success, False Teachers, Gospel, Gospel Truth, Lord Jesus, Miracles, New Covenant, New Covenant Teachings of Jesus, New Testament, Real Christianity The Nature of the Church, Research, Signs Following Believers, The Great Awakening, The Living Word, The Perfect Teachings of Jesus, The Word of God, Where The Spirit of the Lord is There is Liberty, Wonderful Counselor. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
I love using dialogue in my writing. It often brings home a point, or several points, that no amount of lecturing will. An honest, open discussion is often what is lacking between married couples; or friends, or church members. This was a great post.
Thank you Linda. I appreciate it. When I began writing this dialogue over the weekend it was a quick start and then it just flowed. Had to be a gift. I do agree that it’s a great teaching method. We see so much rich dialogue in the Gospels. Blessings to you this day
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Socrates was a master of using dialogue to stimulate his students to THINK! Of course, he didn’t hold a candle to Jesus 🙂
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I love this! Thank you very much!
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The paragraph about if a person receives bad information through biblical teachings stood out to me. I have heard from a few different friends of mine that is how they started studying the bible more. When they had received information that did not make sense, as did I when I started to want to know more. Actually amazing how that works, by questioning everything we push more to find the real answers which are written right in front of us.
Thank you Sandra. Excellent. This is the exact truth of the matter. You have stated this very well. The Word of God is a repository of spiritual knowledge and truth. It is actually God showing us who He is and how things work in the Spirit. By being diligent in our study of the Word we become ever more knowledgeable of what it contains and learn how to apply it to our lives and to any situation. This demands an open heart, however, and humility, and childlike faith.
We can relate our study of the Word to our standard graded school curriculum. For example, we must pass through each grade to qualify for the next. But even after successfully passing through eight grades we still have four years of high school to complete. And it is only then when we qualify for going to college or university, another difficult four years. After that there are even higher schools and graduate programs.
The point here is that many Christians, likely most, only have an elementary school knowledge level of the Word. The larger point, however, is that many “official” ministers have only the same though some have maybe a high school knowledge level. This presents a serious problem. If our pastors, preachers, and teachers are limited in their knowledge and only pass on to their congregations what they know, there is a knowledge gap. This is not so bad in itself but it becomes a huge problem if they insist that all they know is all there is or all one should know.
This is how all the various Christian denominations and independent churches are formed. They institute their various levels of knowledge of God’s Word as the fullness thereof and teach that all further study must cease if it conflicts with their accepted doctrines. One minister might have a seventh-grade education. Another might have a fourth. Another might have actually graduated high school. Very few, however, go much farther. They may possess head knowledge of the New Testament but lack the spiritual knowledge within it and how to apply it. There are so many denominations and churches that actually oppose the Word and teach against some or much of what it contains.
That’s why it is absolutely necessary for each follower of the Lord Jesus to do their own individual reading and study and allow the Lord to teach them. The Word of God says the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). If “official” ministers most often don’t have it all, how is anyone else to have it all unless they continually further their education? I like what you said about your experience in this and that of your friends. Even if the minister or teacher is right we should always go to the Word to verify it.
We will always know the real teachers among us because they will always direct one to the Word of God, teach that the Word has the final say, and that the Lord Jesus must always be in charge and the only arbiter of Biblical truth.
But again, many if not most Christians are taught that the man in the pulpit is the one we should always honor rather than the Word of God. He is even to receive more honor and respect than the Lord Jesus. They may deny this even though they reject much of the Lord’s teachings in order to honor their denominational protocol. And whoever in the congregation that may disagree is seen by the others as a deviant, as someone who goes against church teaching, while no one ever questions the pastor or their limited church teaching that is essentially set in stone.
This tells us there is a different agenda in most churches than teaching Biblical truth.
And as I’ve often said, if any church or denomination or pastor actually had the courage to subject themselves to a spiritual inspection by the Lord Jesus and pledge to make any and all corrections, much would have to change. The Lord would expose all the wrongs. And this would remove their false foundation and false security that they had established over many years. The majority could never handle it. Thus, they rarely or never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge.
The individual, therefore, is likely the only one willing to do such, to give his or her heart completely over to the Lord Jesus. That is why the Lord’s New Covenant model is making one disciple at a time and then adding each to HIS Community in which HE is the only King and Good Shepherd.
Blessings to you Sandra