I read a lot. And I read widely. I enjoy reading because of the benefits. It feeds my need for information. It helps me to grow in my knowledge base. Reading keeps me up-to-date with current culture and the many changes going on in the world today. I am told that at my age it is good for my brain to stay active as it keeps certain diseases from becoming prominate in my life.
I read everything from classics to current fiction Robinson Crusoe to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini from Kabul, Afghanistan – not to mention detective stories such as The Number One Ladies’ Dectective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (no, I have never watched the televsion series based on the books). And, I must admit, because of my calling and ministry I read many books on the Bible, apostles and prophets, church planting, winning the lost and evangelism, and communicating (preaching, teaching, connecting). I simply have a book or e-book in my hands as frequently as possible.
But I must admit that much of what I read that comes out of the “Christian” market amazes me. Maybe the word is horrifies – as it is amazing the doctrines, teachings, and theories that are out there passing themselves off as Christian. Even more amazing is that people make these writers bestselling authors by buying their books. Hopefully they are not as quick at buying the teachings. However, these writers create and maintain large ministries often branching into radio and television and spreading their teachings worldwide.
At times it seems that the wilder the teaching – the more far-fetched the concept or the idea being presented the better. The crazier ideas become the more popular ones in Christian circles. And, when you look at the Scriptural backing for the theory or the theology being taught it never holds water. They do not use even one of the acceptable and time-honored methods of understanding Bible passages. (see note #1) They take things out of context, use half a verse, forget about what the original Greek or Hebrew words were and their meaning… the list of totally unnecessary errors being made to come up with these teachings is inexcusable in this day and age. But it seems that most people don’t really care.
But, people buy the teaching because the “minister” is popular and successful and on television or has flowing video on their internet site. And, the stupidity goes on and on spreading around the world. I could name a dozen popular teachers who in days gone by would be labeled heretics because that is what they are. They are “teachers” who are leading people astray and even the very elect are being deceived (to quote the Bible). Of course, this should be expected because we are in the End Times and Paul wrote to Timothy (and us) about this – inspired and directed to do so by the Holy Spirit.
It seems that the stranger the interpretation of Scripture the better and more popular the teaching. So, maybe I should design a teaching based on half a verse from some obscure passage of the Old Testament about the fact that the Earth is about to be invaded. The title of the new series: “Earth will be invaded by Martians who look like televangelists.” I could use the verses about the wheel within the wheel from Ezekiel and back it up with some flying, extra-large grasshoppers from Revelation (spaceships of course) and really weave quite a substantial teaching based on the Bible and skillfully and smoothly taught and promoted worldwide. I would probably have a very large following, a good-sized church, and a very large budget for my worldwide ministry. I mean, that appears to be what it takes in this day and age to draw a crowd. Of course a crowd is not always a church.
It seems that Jesus is no longer enough. It now needs to be “Jesus plus.” Jesus plus an angel, Jesus plus a trip to the third heaven, Jesus plus communication with King David, Jesus plus dreams and visions, Jesus plus inner healing, Jesus plus psychology, Jesus plus a pile of questionable manifestions, Jesus plus a revival, Jesus plus anointed teachings, Jesus plus worship that takes us into His presence. And, the list could go on and on.
If Jesus is truly who He claimed to be – He is enough. We don’t need new revelations, new programs, new gimmics. reaching new levels … just preach the real Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures and the message He came to reveal (the Gospel of salvation) and leave the rest out. Jesus is sufficient. Always has been, still is, and always will be. The real Jesus, as revealed in the pages of the Bible from Genensis to Revelation, is more than enough. Maybe it is simply time to return to our “first love” and become passionate about the Lord Jesus Christ once again. Maybe!
Meanwhile I will keep working on that invasion theory theology….
Note #1: One of the best books on how to read the Bible correctly to receive the most out of it and not fall into this serious trap is: “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. A real classic that has recently been rewritten and published once again.