Category Archives: Doctrine

True-ish Ain’t True

Once we understand we are in a fight, we need to be suited up and ready for the devil’s schemes.  What kind of schemes?  Lies.  The devil is a liar.  Jesus said this about him in John 8:44 He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The devil is a deceiver and counterfeiter.  He tries to blind us to the truth of Christ and the Word of God.  And he is the best at what he does.  Satan doesn’t come at us with a bold face lie.  That would be easily detected.  He uses trickeration, falsehood, and things that are true-ish.  A true-ish statement has some truth to it, but it is off the mark a few degrees. 

Ask any pilot, sailor, or Boy Scout with a compass and they will tell you that being off by just one degree will not get you where you need to go.  You will get lost.  And that is exactly what Satan does to us.  He does not have to get us to head south when we are supposed to head north.  He just has to get us to head a degree or two off of north and he will have accomplished his purpose.  When Satan wrestled with Jesus he used the Word of God in a true-ish manner (Matthew 4:6). A true-ish statement sounds good and can even cause people to have hope for themselves and others.  But in the final analysis, it is a lie. 

And our enemy has been playing this game since the beginning.  He did it with Eve and he did it with the early church.  Paul wrote the Galatians because they had believed something true-ish.  Paul asked them, “Who has bewitched you?” (Gal. 3:1) and “Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5:7).

And it continues today.  Here is an example of a true-ish statement: God is love and he would never send anyone to hell.  This statement causes all kinds of havoc among Christians today, and rightly so because the implications are immense.  It has led many to believe there is no hell or that God does not judge sin.  It is true, God is love.  He desires that no one should perish which is why He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.  Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it.  (John 3:16-17).  But we must not stop there lest we believe something that is true-ish and miss our mark.  Jesus continues by saying that whoever doesn’t believe in the Son stands condemned already (John 3:18).

Condemnation is where a person stands without faith in Christ.  Technically, God doesn’t send anyone to hell.  By refusing to believe in Christ, they are there already.  That is the result of sin. The statement is close but it is off a few degrees.  It easily deceives.  It is true-ish.

So how do we tell the difference between what is true and what is true-ish?  The same way Treasury agents learn to distinguish between a real bill and a counterfeit.  They do not study all the different counterfeit bills.  No, they spend their time studying the real thing.  By knowing the true bill intimately, they can spot a fake pretty easily.  The same is true for us.  The more we know the truth of the Bible intimately, the easier it will be to spot something true-ish.  For no matter how close a counterfeit might be, it is still a counterfeit and a lie.

As disciples in the fight, we must spend time in the Scriptures.  We must know what the truth of God’s Word says.  Otherwise we will be deceived and off course.  We will be like the Galatians, “bewitched and cut-off”.  But by knowing the Scriptures and discerning what is true and what is true-ish we will be ready to implement God’s battle plan for victory!  That’s what we discuss next.

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Discipleship, Doctrine, Uncategorized

Dale Tedder’s Journal

Dale Tedder is a good friend of mine and minister at Southside UMC.  I encourage you to check out his blog.  He has a ton of great stuff and resources available, especially when it comes to discipleship, men’s ministry, and family ministry.  You can click on his link in the right hand column under Blog Roll.  His most recent article, It’s the Doctrine, Stupid, is great to get a foundational grasp on why what we believe matters so much.  Enjoy.

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Doctrine, Holiness, Marriage, Prayer, Preaching, Revival

The Open-Minded Deception

Have you considered what it means to be “open-minded”?  How does this virtue in our culture relate to being a disciple of Jesus Christ?  Does the Scripture call us to be open-minded?  Most people want to be thought of as an open-minded person willing to accept or entertain new ideas from anyone at anytime.  But practically, how does an open-minded person say with integrity, “Jesus is Lord”?  How can they stand firm in the faith and be accepting of ideas and doctrines that are contrary to Scripture?

The Scripture talks about the mind and has specific things it is suppose to do.  We are to love the Lord with all our mind.  We are to have our mind renewed so that we can be transformed and different from the world.  We are to put on the mind of Christ.  And we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ. 

But if I am open-minded, how do I take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ?  I cannot make my thoughts obedient to Christ if they go against what He teaches in His Word.  Those are the very thoughts I must make obedient.  The only way is to allow Jesus to have the final say.  It is His opinion on the matter that becomes the truth and authority I live by.  He is the standard and nothing can compromise it.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians with this very concern when he says, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”  (2 Cor. 11:2-4)

There is plenty of teaching in the church that asks for open-mindedness.  Redefining marriage and sexual purity are two of the biggest we face in our culture.  But I am afraid that we are being deceived and led astray by this so-called virtue.  Several churches have accepted a different gospel than the one preached in the Scriptures.

To be “open-minded” is really to be double-minded, or even triple-minded.  It is to hold a position that is really no position at all.  There is no place to stand.  James warns that those who are double-minded are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  They are unstable in all they do (James 1:6-8).  That is a great picture of what it is like living by every new fad, ideology, or progressive doctrine that comes along.

Please don’t get the wrong idea.  I love to hear new ideas, perspectives, and thoughts.  We need to consider, evaluate and weigh all kinds of options.  However, for a disciple, each one must submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

If a Christian is not open-minded does that make him close-minded?  No, it makes him single-minded with a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. He is one who believes the Word of God and submits to its authority, especially with his mind.  This disciple has a mature and persevering faith no longer tossed by changing doctrines, theologies, ideologies, or fads.  He hears the words of Jesus and puts them into practice.  The Word of God that stands forever becomes his rock.  That man built his house on the Rock.  And his house will stand. 

This is a hard word because it is not what the world so readily accepts.  Perhaps that is a good sign we are on the right path as disciples.  I encourage you to look at your thoughts on this subject and check out the Scriptures.  Are you standing firm in the faith or do you put up with a different gospel easily enough?  Every thought is to be made obedient to Christ.

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