Where Do You Get Your Knowledge About God?
Consider the source and reconnect with the Truth
I was once convicted about where I got my information about God.
By “conviction,” I mean nudging from the Holy Spirit that lets me know when I am doing something contrary to God’s Word.
It came in the form of a message sent to me by a Battle Sister who asked what I thought about an article about false teachers. Thus began a new venture in learning.
Early in my Christian journey, I devoured books written by Christian authors. These books felt profound, easy to read, and relatable. I learned a lot. The authors were mostly women my age who went through hard things and came out the other side with an even stronger faith in God. They were deemed popular in Christian culture, which I took to mean they had some authority.
But then my dear Battle Sister sent me a blog post by Michelle Lesley that suggested many in the Christian publishing world and the “Christian industry” may be false teachers. The article described what false teachers are and why the people mentioned in the blog post were considered false teachers. As I read it, my stomach churned.
I had that feeling of being caught doing something wrong.
You know the one. Cookie jar? Hand?
One person’s view should not be the definitive perspective, but what was written there inspired me to start researching.
At the end of this article is a list of books, podcasts, and articles that inspired me to make a bit of a change in how I approach the pursuit of the Truth.
At the same time my journey began, there was a lot of publicity about people leaving Christianity. Those stories were presented as aha! moments where contemporary culture could say, “Look! Look at all these people leaving Christianity! That means Christians are wrong!” But when I read the reasons people left Christianity it usually had something to do with a human problem, not a God or faith problem. So many articles continue to glorify former Christians who denounced Jesus, but the reasons presented are based on lies. The denouncers call this process deconstruction and talk about how free they feel. I pray for them because separation from God is the definition of hell.
But the question remained.
Would I be able to defend my faith against attack?
These questions led me to ask more questions about theology and apologetics. Apolo - what?
Theology is the study of religious belief or what various religions believe. In other words, do you know what progressive Christianity is, what it believes, and what it sounds like? Do you know what the Word of Faith/prosperity gospel is, what they believe, and what it sounds like? Do you know what the New Apostolic Reformation is, what they believe, and what it sounds like? What about the differences between Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God, Episcopalian…do you know what makes them distinct? Do you know why Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Christian Scientists are considered cults?
Apologetics is the study of religious doctrine to the point where you can understand and defend your faith with logic and reason. Maybe you know what you believe, but do you know why you believe it? What would you say to someone who says Jesus was a socialist? Could you provide reasoning to someone in a way they would understand?
More questions echoed in my heart and mind.
Do you want to be swayed by foolishness, or do you want to know that your relationship with God is based on His Word and not the word reinvented or twisted for someone else’s gain?
Humans are fallible and prone to narcissism. How would I know if what some preacher or teacher says is really true if it sounds good?
You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. (Galatians 1:7, NLT)
This all hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was pursuing God, but was I pursuing a human’s “interpretation” of God? Why wasn’t I going to God Himself? It’s all right there - The Bible - His Word - The Truth.
The hosts of the Cultish podcast do a great job of diving into some of these issues, and one piece of advice they repeat is that the best way to counter the twisting of the truth is to know the Truth by studying it. The more you know the Truth, the less you will be deceived.
In my learning journey, several articles and books also suggested that perhaps the Christian publishing and entertainment industry is not what it seems. There is an insidious movement afoot, one that would taint Biblical teachings by taking them out of context or reinterpreting them to fit the narrative a particular group wants to promote. Ever heard of progressive Christianity? Ever hear those slogans that sound kind of biblical but also a bit wrong, they sound so good, so why not go with it?
But here was the fundamental question:
Am I reading the Bible more than I am reading Christian authors?
As Ecclesiastes proclaims throughout its teachings: There is nothing new under the sun. (Great book! Worthy of your time.)
This has happened before.
The enemy uses the same tactics and strategies over and over. Remember what he said to Eve? “Did God really say…?”(Genesis 3:1, NLT). We have not learned, and he keeps getting the same results. People keep being fooled into believing a clever, feel-good version of Christianity promoted by the clever speakers of the age.
Paul wrote about this. The early churches also struggled with false teachers and those who sought to bolster themselves using the message of Christ as a tool.
For example, the NLT Study Bible explains how the Corinthian church squabbled about minutiae when the whole point of the church was Jesus. In his letter to them, Paul said that “clever speech” is a distraction.
For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18)
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. and he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, NLT)
These verses inspired me to think about preachers, teachers, podcasters, speakers, and proselytizers. Evangelism is the act of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, but I consider these people with a different question now.
Are they pointing me to Jesus and encouraging me to get into the Word, or are they telling me about their own special relationship with God and what they are meant to teach everyone else because they are special, so buy more of their stuff? Am I being swayed by the pretty marketing campaign and the sense of belonging that goes with supporting the brand of _____?
Studying the Bible takes time. But so does scrolling social media. Studying the Bible takes concentration and critical thinking, but what is eternal life worth? Life is busy, but in the end, the things of this world fall away, and all that is left is eternity. Will your eternity be with Jesus?
The Truth is undeniable and infallible, and it is up to us to pursue the Truth.
The age of “my truth” and subjective interpretation has no standing in front of Jesus. John 14:6 is very clear:
I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.
No questions there.
If you’ve gotten this far, you may be wondering why you need to care about this.
Your very soul depends on it. The souls of your children depend on it.
Gone are the days when you could teach your child the “Jesus loves me” song and expect them to pursue God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Society bombards us all with lies, deception, and clever manipulation. All things that sound pleasant make us feel good about ourselves. Without a firm foundation grounded in Truth, we are more susceptible to temptation.
“Did God really say that?”
“The Bible doesn’t say that…”
How will you answer that? How will your children? Can you defend your faith? How firm is your foundation?
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that comes from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. (Colossians 2:8, NLT)
Someday you will stand before your Lord and Savior. The culmination of TRUTH right there. Will you recognize Him as the Jesus of the Bible? Will He recognize you?
These are some of the resources I have used to supplement my Bible reading to learn how to discern false teachers and learn the Bible so well that I can detect deception. I expect it will be a long journey, but I will pursue it with zeal. Feel free to share re
C.S. Lewis - read anything and everything
Douglas Groothuis - Truth Decay and other books on apologetics
F.F. Bruce - prolific evangelical Bible scholar
Eric Metaxas - Is Atheism Dead? An amazing summary of how science proves God is our Creator.
Lucas Miles - writes about the “woke” infiltration of Biblical Truth
Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults - the handbook on understanding the disguised offshoots of Christianity that do not believe in the Truth
Alissa Childers Podcast and author of Another Gospel and Live Your Truth and Other Lies (Book reviews of each forthcoming)
Sheologians - a podcast about theology from two very smart and entertaining young ladies
…and this list will grow! Please comment and add your suggestions for theological or apologetics resources.
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