• 1 Peter 2-2
  • GuardingTheDeposit.com
  • Philippians 1-9

Archive of ‘Miss Interpreted’ category

The Christian Woman’s Guide to Conversing with Bereans

How should you respond when someone calls your favorite teacher a wolf in sheep's clothing?

 

Imagine the scene: You have finally found some time to sit down to relax; you tune into the Trinity Broadcasting Network only minutes before your favorite teacher (I’ll call her Joyce Osteen) comes on the air. During these few minutes, you check Facebook, and to your horror, you see that someone has posted a warning that Joyce Osteen is a “false teacher“, a wolf in sheep’s clothing! How dare they touch the anointed Joyce Osteen! Although you might be tempted to respond to this claim in a fury of rebukes in ALL CAPS, please read the considerations below.

The purpose of this article is not to point a condemning finger but to address possible obstacles to fruitful conversations. These obstacles may include immature defenses and wrong presuppositions. Ideally, people on both sides of the conversation should act with integrity and humility. But it is most important that we must be imitators of Christ Jesus; yes, even during these conversations.

First, let’s take a look at who the Bereans were. In Acts 17:1-15, we learn that the Bereans researched, tested, and compared what they heard and were taught to Scripture … daily! We are commanded to do the same (1 John 4:1; Hebrews 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:21, etc.), so that we will not be taken captive by lies (Colossians 2:8). Not only are we commanded to be Bereans, but we are also commanded to expose evil (Ephesians 5:11Titus 1:9-13; Galatians 6:1). False teachings in the church are evil because they lead to damnation. We don’t hesitate to warn about physical danger, so how much more important is it to warn about spiritual danger?

When Conversing With Bereans:

1. Pray for Discernment, Knowledge, and Wisdom

Be slow to address your concerns, and take the time to pray to God for discernment, knowledge, and wisdom (Philippians 1:9-10James 1:5; Proverbs 4:7). The path to destruction is wide (Matthew 7:13), and there are many false teachers WITHIN the church’s walls (Jude 1:4); so, unless you are behaving as the Bereans did, you might be deceived. The danger of deception is that the deceived do not know that they are being deceived. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is faithful to guide to truth those who are in Christ (John 16:13).

2. Respond as a Child of God

When responding to something, many people take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet; however, as Christians we know that God is watching and that we will be held accountable for what we say (and type!). Even if a Berean is rude, respond with integrity. A mature Christian woman is gentle, kind, self-controlled, loving, and teachable. Be assured (in giving and receiving) that warnings about faulty doctrines are not a personal attack any more than a caution sign along the road is meant to offend. There may be an urgency to these warnings since we do not know when Jesus will return or how much time we have left on this earth; please do not mistake immediacy for lack of love.

3. Do Not Resort to Name-Calling

Since God has given us the gift of understanding His truths (2 Thessalonians 2:13b), we should be humble and reverent when discussing His Word. There is no place for immaturity or condescension, such as the following remarks:

“You’re just jealous!”

Worldly success is not something a Christian should strive for, so it’s highly unlikely that Bereans are jealous of material success or popularity ratings, and they are certainly not jealous of the dire, eternal destination of a false teacher (1 John 2:15; Galatians 1:10; Galatians 1:8-9). Regardless, this accusation does nothing to help the conversation.

“You’re a Hater!”

Warning the Church about false teachers is an act of love. Would you call someone a “hater” for warning you if you were about to walk off a cliff? Jesus, Paul, and others warned about false teachers and even revealed who these false teachers were. Was Jesus a “hater”?

“You’re of Satan!”/”You’re grieving the Spirit!”/”You’re a Jezebel!”

Resorting to histrionics does not further your position; rather, it leads your listener to assume you do not have a Scriptural defense.

4. If You Respond With Cliches, Make Sure You Know What They Mean

It’s easy to respond with a statement that sounds good or that you’ve heard many other churchgoers say; however, please take the time to understand what your statements actually mean.

“Don’t Put God in a Box!”

It’s a catchy phrase, but what does it mean? Regardless of the definition, Jesus exposed false teachers – was He putting God in a box?

“Touch not my anointed!”

This verse is about physically harming a prophet (1 Chronicles 16:22), but since we are commanded to expose false teachers, and because Scripture does not contradict itself, this verse obviously does not apply to anything else. So, there’s nothing wrong in a fair, biblically-based criticism of a teacher, whoever that teacher may be.

“You’re creating division!”

Let’s look at Romans 16:17: “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.” This verse explains that division is caused by those who teach contrary to the Word of God. Truth naturally divides itself from lies; therefore, Christians should not seek unity at the expense of truth … that’s what the world does.

“No one has perfect theology!”

True, but that’s not an excuse for heresy.

“This teacher has blessed me!”/”This teacher helps the poor!”

Following false teachers will lead you to destruction, and that’s not a blessing. There are many leaders and teachers who help people (including those in the secular arena), but that doesn’t mean we should follow after them.

Since false teachers have an appearance of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5), we can’t assume their teachings are sound simply because they do good works. Remember, atheists also help the poor.

“They’ve led hundreds/thousands/millions to Jesus!”

Yes, but which “Jesus” have these teachers led people to? Jesus warned that many people will be misled because of false teachers who will come in His name and preach another “Jesus” (Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:24;2 Corinthians 11:4). These false teachers are in the church today, preaching their Jesus to their unsuspecting flocks.

Additionally, the Bible informs us that not everyone in church or fellowship is a born-again Christian, and that there are false converts who attend church services (Matthew 13:21; 1 John 2:18-19; Matthew 7:21-23).

5. Please Realize that Proclaiming “Do Not Judge!” is a Judgment

Not only is this crowd favourite a judgment, but if you take Matthew 7:1 out of context and apply it to everything, this then only displays a lack of biblical knowledge and application. There are many great teachings regarding the biblical use of judging, but for the sake of brevity, here is a short video that explains how we should judge:

 

 

6. Make Sure You Know What You’re Talking About

What you think is right, or what your “heart says” is right is not a substitute for the Word of God. Use Scripture in your arguments and interpret verses correctly.

A Berean examines what a teacher believes about important doctrines such as the Deity of Christ, the Gospel, the Trinity, and salvation. Do you know what the teachers you follow believe about these things? It may be difficult to know everything that a television preacher or Christian author believes, but the information is available. It’s also wise to educate yourself on the beliefs of movements that are within evangelical circles. Too many Christians are deceived by the belief systems of the Word of Faith Movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, the Emergent Church, and other unbiblical factions.

7. Converse with Etiquette

As with any conversation, make the effort to understand what is being communicated and read any information that is provided. It’s time-efficient and practical to link to information, especially on social media, so don’t ignore this information. Additionally, ask questions or ask for examples if you are unclear about anything, and remember that even if the conversation ends in disagreement, the goal of communication is understanding, not winning.

Remember Who You Are and to Whom You Belong

Christians belong to the royal priesthood and are joint-heirs with Christ. We have been saved out of the darkness by a merciful and loving God who does not want us to respond out of the flesh with tactics that are better left on the playground. We are a chosen race (1 Peter 2:9) and daughters of the King, who reigns in truth. Let’s make sure we act (and type!) like it.

Hallowed be His name,

Pamela

 

25 Comments

Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frog, In the Name of Jesus, Abracadabra, Amen

What does 'praying in the name of Jesus" mean

 

Why is it common for Word of Faith teachers to repeat “in the name of Jesus” so frequently during prayer? Is it out of reverence for His name? Is it because they are under the impression that’s how we are commanded to pray? Or is there a presumption that the phrase amplifies the effectiveness of prayer? After all, if we can believe and conceive, and our words have power, why not throw a mantra into the potion?

Here is but one example of the “in the name of Jesus” incantation. Since Joyce Meyer speaks rapidly, I have included a transcript below the video:

 

 

Transcript: How many of you have some kind of pain or sickness in your body? See? Oh my gosh. Just imagine; no wonder the devil wants us to feel bad; imagine what we could do if we had full energy (crowd screams and cheers). Okay, Father, I pray in the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name. And I believe that we have authority to pray in that name. I bind Satan; we join our faith together and we bind the devil and every demon, principality and power and we especially bind demons of infirmity and sickness. And we cast them out…in the name of Jesus. We say they have no access to our lives. And if we’re giving them any, God, we’ve opened the door, then show us how we’ve opened that door and give us the common sense and the wisdom to close it. I pray for people who need mental healing, emotional healing, and physical healing, that you would heal us in every area of our life. So I speak over you today, the Word of God and I say, “Be healed” in the name of Jesus. Amen. Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen!

I won’t discuss the Word of Faith Movement’s teachings on healing* or spiritual warfare** in this blog post, as I want to stay on topic. However, since Meyer’s conference was named “Love Life”, it’s not surprising that there would be guidance on how to obtain carnal wants. This is not unexpected, as Joyce Meyer is merely feeding her followers what they desire to hear. If she held a conference titled “Whoever Loves Her Life Will Lose It” (John 12:25), the stadium would be empty.

Meyer used “the name of Jesus” four times during her one-minute prayer on the video clip. So, the $64 000 question is this: was she praying in Jesus’ name?

What’s In a Name?

To do something in someone’s name means we do it according to that person’s character, will, values, and with the person’s blessing and/or authority. As believers, we have access to God through Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

Thy Will Be Done

Praying in Jesus’ name equals praying according to the will of God (1 John 5:14-15) and for things that will glorify and honor Him. When Jesus told His disciples that whatever they asked in His name would be granted to them, He was teaching that our prayers need to be consistent with what is His will.

Whose Name Is Being Prayed In?

Concerning Meyer’s sample prayer: Is it Jesus’ will and purpose to bind, cast out Satan, and to deny Satan access to our lives? Is it His will and purpose to heal us mentally, emotionally, physically and in every area of our lives? I’m unaware of any verse that supports these claims. Were the audience members healed? Did anyone wonder why no one was healed?

In these pagan circles, Jesus’ name is heralded as a magical incantation which orders God to grant requests without any regard for His will. Our God is our sovereign Lord; He does not kowtow to us; in fact, He abhors superstition and sorcery (Deuteronomy 18:10).

If they are not praying in the name of Jesus, then in whose name is the audience praying? Whose will are they asking to be done? It might be tempting to think these followers are praying in the name of Joyce Meyer, but they are praying in the name of the father of lies (John 8:22;1 John 5:19Ephesians 2:22 Timothy 2:26). “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). These worldly desires are what Meyer and the rest of the Word of Faith Movement pray and believe for. These fleshly desires represent the name, character, and values of Satan, who seeks and destroys (1 Peter 5:8).

Am I suggesting that anyone who ends prayers with “in the name of Jesus” is practicing superstition? No, not at all. I’m asking that we check our motives. Are we using “in the name of Jesus” to signal the end of the prayer? To remind us with gratitude of the Son who secured us direct access to our Father? And suppose we step out of this habit–if it is one, of course–and end our prayers with a sufficient “amen”, do our hearts skip a beat because we wonder whether God has heard our prayers, that the prayer has somehow lost power? Do we become confused and falter in the faith that was not secured in the name above all names (Philippians 2:9)? We should always examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

What a glorious, undeserved gift we have – access to our Creator, the Alpha and Omega. Let us pray for wisdom to know the will of God, and let’s focus on what pleases Him, on what will have eternal impact for His Kingdom, and on what will glorify His glorious name.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

Further Reading:

* The Word of Faith Movement’s false view of healing

** Binding and Loosing

Where Two or More Are Gathered” relates to church discipline

 

 

21 Comments

Where There is No Vision, the People Misinterpret Proverbs 29:18

 

Setting up goals for 2015? Don't use this commonly misinterpreted scripture to justify vision boards.

As 2014 comes to a close, many people are reflecting on the year and setting goals for the new year. I’m particularly delighted to see so many Christian women desiring to use the gifts God has given them to glorify Him. However, just as everything else in this world is corrupted, so is our goal setting. And this is where Miss Interpreted comes in.

Miss Interpreted yearns to honor God and makes her plans for the new year accordingly. She reads half a verse from Proverbs that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (KJV) as a reason to set up vision boards and use visualization to make her dreams come true. This is hardly a surprise since Miss Interpreted follows the teachings of celebrity pastors, such as Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, who teach this false interpretation:

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” They can’t focus, can’t reach their goal, can’t follow their dream. An older translation says, “Without vision, the people perish.” I’ve seen it with my own eyes – without vision, people lose the vitality that makes them feel alive.”
-Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership, page 31

(links to Rick Warren’s teachings are found below this article)

Let’s look at other Bible translations, with attention to the words I’ve set in bold:

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (NIV)

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild (NLT)

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint (ESV)

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish (AMP)

Words like revelation, divine guidance, and redemptive revelation of God make it clear the verse is not talking about a vision that we can cast. Likewise, run wild and cast off restraint are referring to rebellion – not a “vitality that makes them feel alive”.

Putting it all together, this verse means that without God’s revelation in understanding His words and obeying them, people will cast off restraint and do what they think is right in their own eyes.

Isn’t it odd that Bill Hybels chose to use the KJV to misinterpret the verse’s meaning? He actually begins by quoting the NASB version, which is a clearer indication of the correct interpretation, but I suppose the accurate meaning doesn’t support his message.

 

When There is No Vision the People Misinterpret Proverbs 29:18

 

We’ve only looked at half of the verse so far. It continues: “But blessed is he who keeps the law” (ESV), or “But happy is he who keeps the law” (NASB). It’s obvious by now that this verse is referring to obedience and not to failed dreams or the size of the congregation as Rick Warren would have us believe.

I suppose the faulty interpretation of this verse is attractive to Miss Interpreted, because if she’s following Rick Warren, she is most likely also under the teachings of the Word of Faith Movement/Prosperity Gospel. After all, how much different is casting a vision to “believing and conceiving”? As if this isn’t bad enough, vision casting is really in effect the law of attraction, shamelessly promoted by twisting Scripture. Basically, Miss Interpreted is flirting with the occult. She is putting her faith in her ability to visualize rather than in trusting God to direct her steps (Proverbs 3:6). Deceived Miss Interpreted started off with a desire to honor God and ended up meditating on her own vision boards, thereby sacrificing to demons, not to God (1 Corinthians 1:20).

How can God be glorified if we don’t discern His words? Let’s plan to glorify God by testing everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21), so that our love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment; so that we may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (Philippians 1:9-10)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

For more information on the occult practice of vision casting, see:

RICK WARREN'S LAW OF ATTRACTION: VISION OR VANITY

http://herescope.blogspot.ca/2005/10/rick-warren-vision-casting.html

 

16 Comments

A Low View of Suffering

How God uses suffering

image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Healing, Isaiah 53, and a Conversation about It All

This blog post just may be important to someone (or not), but I want to bring awareness to the fact* that every day, one in four** Christians will experience the following conversation in one form or another, as demonstrated by Well-Intentioned Christian (WIC) and Sufferer (S):

WIC:  Hi, how are you? Are you healed yet?

S:      No, I’m not, but I’m good. Thanks for asking.

WIC:  You only have to have faith. God cured my friend/friend’s grandmother/friend’s grandmother’s milkman, from two towns over, of diabetes/gout/lactose intolerance; He can heal you too!

S:      I agree. God can do whatever He wants. But He chose not to heal the apostle Paul, and if He chooses not to heal me, then I’m in good company.

(awkward silence)

WIC:  You know, in Isaiah it is written, ‘By His stripes we are healed’. You are healed already, because Jesus gave you the victory! You just have to believe and claim the healing for yourself. Jesus doesn’t want you to suffer.

The conversation then ends by claiming more promises and rebuking the devil, or hopefully, with some gentle correction and prayer.

(end of dialogue)

Dear reader, due to afflictions, I am one of the one in four Christians who will have that conversation today, and if I don’t have it today, I will have it twice tomorrow. Having this conversation is always tough on me because I realize Well-Intentioned Christian means well (hence her name); consequently, correcting a caring, well-meaning friend on this topic is difficult.

Even so, we need to interpret that particular passage of Isaiah correctly. As it is, the number of people who have been affected and misled by the Word of Faith movement’s twisting of this passage is shocking and worrying; here is one example:

Friends, until we receive our glorified bodies, we are not “free from the curse of sickness”; otherwise  Christians would never die.

Let’s look at the passage, Isaiah 53:4-5:

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”

Jesus was pierced and crushed for our iniquities–our sin. The context clearly implies spiritual healing–Christ’s substitutionary atonement; peace with God through Jesus–not physical healing. 

This exegesis from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

 In these verses is an account of the sufferings of Christ; also of the design of his sufferings. It was for our sins, and in our stead, that our Lord Jesus suffered. We have all sinned, and have come short of the glory of God. Sinners have their beloved sin, their own evil way, of which they are fond. Our sins deserve all griefs and sorrows, even the most severe. We are saved from the ruin, to which by sin we become liable, by laying our sins on Christ. This atonement was to be made for our sins. And this is the only way of salvation. Our sins were the thorns in Christ’s head, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in his side. He was delivered to death for our offences. By his sufferings he purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, to mortify our corruptions, which are the distempers of our souls. We may well endure our lighter sufferings, if He has taught us to esteem all things but loss for him, and to love him who has first loved us.”

We will receive (or be transformed into, if we are alive at the time) our healed, renewed, glorified bodies, in the future…when Jesus Christ returns. Christ himself will change our bodies (Phillipians 3:21), and thereafter there will be no more pain (Revelation 21:1-4).

I believe God still heals and we are to pray for healing (James 5:14) but healing is not guaranteed as Word of Faith preachers want you to believe. There is a low view of suffering when comfort and pleasure are focused on. In one breath, praise and thanks are given to our Savior who suffered on our behalf, then in the next breath, curses and rebukes are hurled at suffering. We are called to be patient in our trials and follow in the suffering footsteps of Christ (1 Peter 2:21).

The Treasures of the Thorn

The thorn that was given to the apostle Paul kept him from becoming conceited (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Oh, but not only did Paul benefit from this affliction, but God–because He is so much greater than anyone else–also used the thorn to further His gospel, His work, His purposes. Obviously, there are benefits and riches in suffering that the Word of Faith movement misses because of its focus on earthly comfort. Here are some of those riches:

Naturally, I would be thankful and overjoyed should God choose to heal me of my afflictions; however, what I desire most is not to miss the opportunity for growing in righteousness that the unexpected gift of suffering offers. I want to be equipped to comfort others. I desire endurance, character, and steadfastness. I want to be prepared for eternal glory. I want God to be glorified in my trials. I don’t want to waste my suffering.

Do I forget these things? Every day.

Do my words and attitude always reflect the character of a mature Christian? Not a chance.

It seems I need the suffering.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

_________ 

* Not a fact

** It could be higher or lower; I don’t know, because I made up the statistic

8 Comments

The Interpretive Misuse and Logical Abuse of Matthew 7:1 “Thou Shall Not Judge!”

 

As you may know, Brittany Maynard took her life because of a painful disease. Three weeks before her suicide, I had written an open letter to her, which was mentioned in a CNN article. In response, a few chose to leave comments on this blog in support of Brittany and her cause, which is fine, as we are all entitled to our opinions. Since my audience is mainly Christian, it was interesting to get some non-Christian perspectives. However, a theme that reoccurred in these comments is also often found within the Christian community–the misuse of Matthew 7:1–both in its interpretation and the illogical use. Many people believe that this verse states that we are not to be critical, or that we are not to judge the opinions of others.

Matthew 7:1 – The Correct Interpretation

One commenter who accused me of judging wrote the following: “You’re essentially saying ‘I wouldn’t do what you’re doing, because I have faith in Jesus’, and then go on to accuse her [Brittany Maynard] of selling herself short and buying into lies. That’s a judgment.”

Yes, that’s a judgment. So is “I love rain”.

Is it the sort of judgment mentioned in Matthew 7:1? No.

Let’s look at that verse:

Judge not, that you be not judged.

Seems simple enough; let’s continue to verse 2:

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

That also seems straightforward. Let’s read verses 3 and 4:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when there is the log in your own eye?

Let’s stop here and unpack all this.

Jesus is addressing the religious influencers of that time, the scribes and Pharisees, who were judging the hearts of men and pronouncing final judgments on them.

In response to this, Jesus told them not to stop judging, but how to judge. He told them not to judge hypocritically or with wrong motives, and that they should deal with their sin issues first; and then help a brother or sister with their sin issues. We see this in verse 5:

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

It is clear that we are to judge with the right motives and in love.

Let’s take a brief look at the remaining contents of this chapter. Included are:

  •  two gates – one leading to destruction and one leading to life
  •  false and true teaching
  •  the true way into the Kingdom

This tells us that further judging is needed–how else are we to distinguish between the opposites that are mentioned above?

Additional Scriptures support the call to judge between right and wrong: John 7:241 Corinthians 2:14-161 Thessalonians 5:21Romans 16:17John 4:1; etc.

Now that we know what kind of judging is wrong and what kind is biblically correct, let’s look at how this verse is further twisted and misinterpreted by many.

The Illogical Use of Matthew 7:1 – “Let Me Take a Moment and Judge You While I Tell You to Stop Judging”

I can hardly fault those outside the faith who do not study the Bible and who then go on to misinterpret Scripture; however, I can find error in the logical use of this verse. Due to the way that some commenters define judging–that I am judging simply because I voiced an opinion–they are “guilty” too of judging by telling me of their differing opinions.

Isn’t that like calling out a cheating card player, while you have an ace up your sleeve?

Or rather, isn’t this type of reasoning the hypocritical judging that Jesus told us not to do?

Friends, we are commanded to discern between right and wrong–so go on and continue to judge–biblically.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

2 Comments
%d bloggers like this: