Saturday, September 21, 2013

False doctrine IS a sign of the end of days

I had a mouse problem in my apartment. It's an old, old house (100+ years) and it is inevitable that critters will try to get in through the cracks. I have two cats, so before this fall, I'd never had a problem inside the place before, though I knew that there were mice cavorting unseen just outside.

Wikimedia Commons
So at first I thought I heard a whisper of a sound when all was quiet. I put that to regular noises an old house makes when it settles. But then I saw the cats perk up when the tiny sound came along again. After a while, the cats would not only perk up from snoozing placidly at my feet while I typed at the kitchen table, but sit up and stare intently at the spot behind the sink faucet.

Sometimes their eyes and head would track a sound I could not hear and a thing I could not see. It was preternatural, to be sure.

Then I opened the large drawer under the stove and saw the beginnings of a mouse nest. I went into combat mode and cleaned it all out. I took out the pots that were under there and put them under my re-arranged and cleaned under the sink area, leaving a nice wide expanse and one mouse trap. I also put mouse traps next to the stove and under the sink in that cabinet. Plus, some D-Con pellets.

I was unsure of where the creature was coming in, but I supposed that was one of the mysteries of living in an old farmhouse.

Feeling good, having four traps set and two cats waiting, I went back to work typing at the kitchen table. After a while I heard a slight tinkle of a glass in the sink. Knowing that glass doesn't move by itself, I got up to investigate. Immediately I saw the mouse in the sink. He scrambled up and disappeared like smoke down a crack behind where the sink cabinet butts up against the outer wall.

I admit I screamed like a girl. My friend on Facebook later said that I AM a girl. I know, but I always thought that when the moment of horrible crisis came (spider, mouse, demonic invasion, Atomic bomb...) that I would handle it with aplomb and serious intentional purpose. Nah. I screamed EEEEEKKKK! just like in the movies, and went running into the bedroom. Girl.

Later I peeped over to the crack where I saw her go out, and I marveled that the fat mouse could even fit into that crack. It's a small crack, man! Look, it's only half a penny wide!

And that is the widest, the rest of the counter is less than half a penny wide. It narrows to nothing by the ends. A penny is 0.750 inches. Half of that is 0.375! Yet the mouse came in and went out confidently, going and coming in through the tiniest of cracks, despite the fact that there is a large, lumbering lady in the kitchen 10 hours a day and two cats 24/7. 


False doctrine is that pregnant mouse. It's quiet. It's stealthy. It comes in when you're not looking, under cover of darkness.  It comes in through the tiniest of doctrinal cracks.

What happens if you leave it alone? If you let it be? If you don't challenge its encroachment into your territory? Don't scream at it, so as not to hurt its feelings? Allow its filthy feet to trample all over your counter where you fix sandwiches for your children? Ignore the fecal matter left behind?

Crispin Glover in 2003 Willard remake
You end up like Willard. And if you remember the original movie or saw the remake, the rats that Willard had trained and thought were his friends, in the end turn on him and eat him up. That is what false doctrine does. It kills you, eating you alive.

Some days I feel like that guy standing there, with so much verminous doctrine around.

BE ALERT

Taking this metaphor further, I was alert in my house. On guard. I detected minute sounds that should not be there. That is how Christians should be in life and in church. Listening for and detecting the first whispers of false doctrines being preached or offered in a curriculum, sounds and whispers that should not be there. Once I heard the sound of the mouse I was fully alert and detecting from whence it came. It helped to have the cats there, with their ability to see and hear things I could not. That is what the Holy Spirit does. He alerts you, aids you and prompts you to what He can see and hear that you cannot. Our fight is with the invisible.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

BE ACTIVE

Once I heard something that should not be there, I launched into action. I cleaned out my stove and under the sink. I jumped in the car and went to the Dollar Store to buy traps. I came home and immediately set them. I continued to listen and be watchful.

If you detect false doctrine, don't wait a moment. Don't let it go. Don't stand around. The mouse was building a nest because she wanted to have babies. That means more vermin infestation, and soon. The mouse had a very good reason for wanting in. It was not an accident that she was busy settling in to a place she should not be. Soon there would be more, lots more to deal with. Vermin always spreads.

"How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12)

"But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene." (2 Timothy 2:16-17a).

Whether using the example of leaven (yeast) or gangrene, false doctrine spreads from within and affects the whole organism..

Jesus said one of the signs of His soon appearance will be that false prophets will come. In the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24, He is speaking of the Tribulation.

"For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." (Matthew 24:24).

However the false teachers that come will pile on more and more throughout the church age. Paul reminds us of that-

"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).

MacArthur wrote, "We read that in the end times there’s going to be a rise of cults, false religions called by Paul in his letter to Timothy doctrines of devils. We read that in the last days there are going to be apostates who go around denying the Lord that bought them, 2 Peter 2. That things are going to get worse and worse and worse, not better."

The advance of falsity throughout the world and deep inside born-again Christianity is amazing. Just the last few years have seen an incredible change for the worse. Sometimes it seems like too much! There is false teaching everywhere! False teachers encroach into all churches! Oh no, the burden is so great, I've fallen and I can't get up!

But wait! We don't have to protect the world. The genius of how Jesus set things up is that He made us part of His body. We are all connected but perform in different areas and with different gifts. He sent the Spirit to endow us with spiritual gifts and the Spirit enables us to serve Him in maximum fashion within our spheres. The Spirit even gave some five talents and others two talents and still others one talent. So, some have more to do but a greater capacity to do it. God is genius!

I do not have to exterminate the mice in the yurt in Mongolia. I don't have to listen for vermin scratching at the door of the tent in the Amazon. I don't have to wonder if encroachment is happening in the igloo in Sitka. All we have to do is do our best where the Spirit has places us, with the gifts He has given us.

Even though the Matthew 24 discourse relates to the Tribulation, I see the flood of false doctrine, false teachers, false pastors, and false everything coming as a flood. The false teachers came on strong against the first century church and they haven't let up one bit, but only gotten more numerous like mice unattended. Is the end near? The loads of false doctrine we see is a sign. Ultimately because the bible says the end is near, the end is near, (1 Peter 4:7; Romans 13:12) but no one knows the day nor hour. So I don't know, but this is a great verse to think about:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Just do what you can do with the Lord's talent that He gave you. Be alert, speak up, clean house, pray hard, serve well, love Him, and do it all while waiting for Him. As James said,

"You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." (James 5:8)

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7 comments:

  1. Brilliant. Beautiful! Thank you, Sister!

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  2. Indeed. For example, my old youth pastor loves the Jesus Calling devotional and posts each day's devotion on Facebook. I've warned her before, but she either ignored it or didn't agree (although she never responded to me either way). She keeps posting them every day and people always comment on how they love it and needed to hear it. I just posted this link on my wall to try and warn others:

    http://www.solasisters.com/2013/09/jesus-calling-by-sarah-young-wui.html

    Brad
    Birmingham

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  3. Well written.

    Though unfortunately the mouse in Mongolia, the vermin in the Amazon, and the encroachment in Sitka, all have access to each one of our church homes via the internet. :( False doctrine spreads today electronically at incredible speed. No sooner is one false teaching spotted and eradicated, another ten are right there in the wings waiting.

    How may pastors for years have used resources by well known teachers, and now these well known teachers are diving off cliffs theologically?

    And like in Israel of old, the watchmen of the church are reviled.

    But keep on speaking, Elizabeth. The ones who want to see/hear not only need to know what is going on, but they also want to know they're not alone.

    God is glorified when error is exposed. Anyone who does that work is doing a good work for Christ.

    -carolyn

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    Replies
    1. Thanks carolyn. I agree, technology has expanded the connectedness of the body of Christ in so many ways. This is both good and bad. I do what I do knowing that people from many countries tune in, and that is a blessing.

      However, what I should have said is that my primary sphere and my primary Spirit-enabled work via His gift is in my local congregation. The local membership trumps everything, because that is who I am accountable to and who I fellowship with. It's my church family.

      Too many people are taking advantage of the blessings of the internet to say they are part of an internet church with a flat screen preacher and media sermons. That is not a church. But in that way, they escape accountability.

      Alternately, the internet is a blessing in that as you say, many people know they are not alone. Others can discover plagiarism more easily. Still others can correspond with some who have been through a church trauma and encourage each other.

      I care about the entire Body, but cannot do anything about the Mongolian, Amazonian or Alaskan exposed to false doctrine, other than post a few general blogs. I can't love on them specifically and individually. But I can operate fully in my sphere thru relationships, accountability, and face to face love

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    2. Hi Elizabeth,

      Quickly - I agree, internet "church" is not how we are to meet for worship, that's not at all what I was saying, forgive me if I wasn't clear.

      As for local church, unfortunately, the vast majority of the time, what my husband and I have learned in order to discern false teachers - we have learned through people such as yourself, over the internet, and sadly not from our local assembly.

      But we put the blessing to use in our local assembly, by taking what we learn online about false teachers, and we warn others. We praise God for anyone who listens.

      Thanks,
      -carolyn

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    3. thanks carolyn, it makes total sense. thanks for sticking with me as I learn exactly what you meant. I'm sorry you aren't learning discernment through the iron sharpening iron in local assembly. I rarely do either...that's where you come in :) you help me.

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  4. Hi Elizabeth, you're welcome. We all do well to be patient with one another, especially in electronic communication, which can be challenging at times to be as clear as face to face. :)

    While our church teaches scripture verse by verse, so far we haven't seen much taught about sniffing out false teachers. Though a few false teacher's names have been named, called out as false, and the pastor is pretty solid on most stuff.

    But the lion's share of our exposure to discernment throughout the years has come from believers like yourself, especially dealing with the false teachings from the myriad of popular books/big ministries.

    We're here to help, edify and protect each other.

    Praise God you helping the saints, and also for the saints that help you, too.

    Thanks!
    -carolyn

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