A reader emailed me a longer comment regarding apostasy, the Osteens, and Facebook. Her thoughts were well presented and captured the unarticulated thoughts I’d been having regarding bible twisters. I asked her if I could post it as an essay. She said yes.
We are all born for a specific time and placed in the epochs to perform works for His glory. We are here now, at the end. True, mature Christians stand in amazement watching the collapse of the church. It is a hard epoch to be living in, but no harder than the first church, or the persecuted church, or the apathetic church, etc. But still, those who love Jesus fervently find it difficult to be surrounded by so much sin, so much satanic activity inside the church, so much hatred for our Savior.
Jesus has the victory, and the true church will never fail, but it has become so inflated over the years with false converts, false doctrine, and pastors who are in Adam and not in Christ, that all these outer layers are imploding to reveal what the bible has said all along: the true church is small. Few find it. (Matthew 7:14).
In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter is talking about something Apostle Paul had written. Peter says,
“as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”
You note that Peter acknowledges that some of the doctrines Paul explains are hard to understand. Anyone who has read Romans knows this. The unstable and the ignorant will twist those hard verses. But you also notice something else. The ignorant and the unstable also twist the easy verses. To reverse things, those who twist the bible’s scriptures are ignorant and unstable.
[And a note to those who dismiss Paul’s epistles as contrary to Jesus’ doctrines, Peter confirms them as “Scriptures”.]
Enter the Osteens. Enter Linda Dodson, who is also grieved by these apostate days. Here is her comment, so well done I wanted to share it with you.
Like you, though, I am grieved by the falling away of the church because of the lack of sound teaching and example by Christian leaders.
I thought you might be interested in this. I came across it when a Facebook friend commented on it. It was from Joel Osteen’s Facebook site on September 10:
Second Timothy 4 says, “Be calm, cool and steady, unflinchingly endure hardships.” If somebody says something derogatory about you, don’t even flinch. Don’t blink. Don’t let it faze you.
That did not sound right to me because I knew 2 Timothy 4 talks about people turning away from sound teaching to satisfy their itching ears. So I went to Biblegateway.com and read through that chapter several times trying to discern where Joel was getting that statement about someone saying derogatory things about you. I couldn’t find it.
So I went to Joel’s Facebook page and was saddened by the amount of comments, thanking Joel for “the word” and relating how they have people in their lives who are critical, bullying, etc.–comment after comment showing obvious lack of discernment.
I got angry how a ‘pastor’ can say whatever he wants, whether it’s biblically sound or not, and people just lap it up like it’s true. So I posted a comment of my own:
“I have read 2 Timothy three times through this morning and don’t see where this is said. Paul is telling Timothy to be strong because people don’t want to hear the truth of the gospel…not that people are saying derogatory things about Timothy. It’s not about Paul or Timothy, it’s about people’s resistance to and antagonism toward Jesus Christ and the gospel message.”
The irony of this has not been lost on me, and I was going to post something to that effect but figured no one would get it, so I stuck to speaking the truth in love.
God bless you,
|Presbyterian congregation, 1947
I thought the Osteen Facebook comment was a perfect example of how the ignorant twist Scriptures. I also thought that Linda’s response was pitch-perfect. I pray this is an encouragement to you in the following ways:
Though the unstable and ignorant speaking false things from the bible are all around us, even in pulpits, there are stable and wise Christians. They labor in the back pews in quiet conversations after Wednesday night bible study/prayer meeting. They have concerned coffee with a stumbling sister. They speak up on blogs, comment sections, Twitter and Facebook, often bearing the wrath of the ignorant upon their heads for their words. They fix cars in garages with brothers who need discipling and the truth spoken in love.
The truth spoken in love is not spoken in haste. You notice that the mature are Bereans, seeking to confirm what is said, or not said, or wrongly said, before offering their own words of correction or wisdom. The mature and the stable are not as numerous as the ignorant and the unstable, but such brethren are out there, proclaiming His word quietly, consistently, humbly. Just as there are many unknown pastors diligently dividing the word for the edification and encouragement of their flocks, so there are many sheep absorbing it and going forth in strength and determination on behalf of the spotless name of Christ.
Take heart. I did, after reading Linda’s comment. I was grateful she graciously let me post it. It humbled me and at the same time gave me encouragement. Fellow believers are out there. You’re not alone. The only good thing about all this is that the worse it gets, the closer we are to being redeemed for all time. Until then, we go forward every day,
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:11-12)