Bad Teacher

First of all, do not forget to get some wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

Today’s post is not about a movie starring Cameron Diaz. Rather, true to this blog, today’s post is about theology.

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience(and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1 Timothy 1:5-7

To tell you the truth, this passage scares me.

I am a big believer in God speaking through dreams (but not all dreams). I am big believer in God speaking through visions. I believe prophecy still happens.

I have had dreams and visions in which I speak to a large audience (perhaps blogging will be that realization?). I have had others (both Christians and non-Christians) say or speak over me (either specifically as prophetic or “in passing”) that they see me one day leading ministries and/or a congregation (or congregations) or speaking to large groups.

This scares me simply because I know my past and how I have treated theology and teaching. What if God eventually calls me to be a pastor/priest over First Church of Hometown, USA?

I hate to break it to you (tongue-in-cheek), but there are many teachers and preachers today who simply should not be. These are men and women who replace love of God and/or people with a love of money, power, influence, or popularity. These are men and women who either do not have or have lost a pure heart and good conscience. These are men and women may or may not have a sincere faith, but the question becomes where that sincerity or where that faith truly lies.

I may step on some toes and perhaps offend here, but here are some examples of things people teach and confidently affirm without really knowing what they are talking about:

  • God wants you happy and financially rich in this life. There is never a biblical guarantee that all godly people will have both or either of these in this life. In fact, there are promises of the opposite for the believer in Christ.
  • There is no Trinity. Quite frankly, Christianity falls apart without the Trinity. My Catholic brother Richard has begun covering this over at CatholicBoyRichard.
  • Women have no place in ministry. Let me just say that people who believe this are complete idiots. They may be very intelligent, but they really stupid.
  • Jesus sinned. The faith falls apart if this is true. I cannot express enough how important this is and how false and straight from the pits of Hell this is.
  • God hates ... This one is taken specifically from Westboro Baptist Church, the people who say “God hates fags” along with many other people. It is this kind of “christian” (not just those who blatantly call for the destruction of others, but also those who promote hatred through favoritism, indifference, and bigotry [misunderstanding mixed with fear]) who gives the Church the bad name we seem to see and hear about today.

There is a long, long list, and I know I have been guilty of at least all of these at one time or another. Paul listed a few others to Timothy:

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 1:3-11

How can we – how can I – know we are staying true to good teaching? How can we know our teachers and preachers are staying true to good teaching?

The simple answer:

We must continue studying together. We must not give up on the traditions from Church history (and before some complain, where do you think our Bible and even most of our liturgy, keeping in mind I currently attend and serve in a non-denominational church, came from? Why do we know many of the facts we know about the early Church? From what did Christianity arise?). We must always strive to express the love of God to all people.

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  1. Well…
    It’s the Gloria Copeland-like stuff I have a problem with. Kay Arthur’s ok (Precept Ministries).

    • There are a lot of people with whom I take issue. I like people who focus on God’s word and discipleship, and it helps when a strong commitment to the Body of Christ is strongly encouraged.

  2. Our morning paper has a double page spread that began with snake bite deaths but quickly moved onto tele-evangelists mentioning Joel Osteen, the Copelands, and Ted Haggard. It tended to focus on the huge wealth acquired by certain individuals.

    • I shared the story of the snake bit with my dad the other day (my wife and I are visiting family and friends for the month of June), and the subject of those who misuse and abuse Scripture obviously came up. I am not the biggest fan of Rick Warren (“Purpose Driven Life”), but at least he stopped receiving a church salary and reverse tithes living on 10% of what he makes. Some of my friends take big issues with him, but my argument is that, if anything, he loves a little too much. For many other wealthy pastors/evangelists, they may have started out well but have lost their way along the way (Osteen, in my opinion, is one such person).

      • I’m not sure why the UK press picked up on this story. It is a bank holiday here so perhaps they were just filling the pages. I have only read one expose of a UK preacher living the good life on the back of his church and book earnings. Rick Warren seems quite popular here. I believe he was speaking at a conference a couple of weeks back. Most pastors I know are honest hard-working folk, who often struggle with low wages. My Father was a Baptist pastor and found it difficult to make ends meet.

      • Most of the pastors I know are the same way. The only family I am aware of in the ministry are my aunt who is a nun and my great-uncle who is a priest, both Catholic and on my dad’s side. I have been blessed that the vast majority of pastors and other clergy members I have known and learned from were men and women of integrity and a passion for Christ.

  3. Osteen: love to have him around at times when I’m depressed, but wouldn’t want to take any theology classes from him. One would think the pastor of the largest Christian church in the world would know a little about the teachings of Mormonism (he admitted on live TV that he has never studied what they believe, but accepts that, because they believe in Jesus, they are Christians). Sad.

    • I agree. He sure is a great personality. He was able to see his dad’s church grow immensely, and it was after the sudden expansion he began preaching some nonsense (and later a lot of nonsense), but I wonder what would happen to that church if he were to leave or die? What is even more sad is that the majority of Americans (Christian or not) know very little of the differences between the LDS church (or Jehovah’s Witnesses and many others) and traditional Christianity. My wife attended the LDS church for a few years, so she knows.

  4. I must say I agree with you on what you saying about such bad teachers. The men I pray with and talk with are what one might say are non-church people. Most do not have this language that is spoken in most churches today, you know christian-nezee.The question of such teachers has come up a time or two and I just take them to the teachings of Jesus. If the world hates me, (Jesus) the world is going to Hate you. Sorry for my paraphrase but this is how I talk with them. The love of God they do know, and that God hates sin but loves the sinner that why he died for you and me. We know we are to love God, each other and the sinner, and we try to hate the sin in our own my life so we are not walking around with a plank sticking out of our face. We spend time learning the Bible so if something does not sound right we can go and check it out for ourselves, for I wish that none of then are mislead.

    • I have friends who get upset with me for not always using correct terminology when talking theology. I have friends who get upset with me when I do not give a specific reference and only say “the Bible says …” I, too, have friends who get upset with me for paraphrasing.
      At least they know I love people!

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