The ignorant & unstable twist scriptures, but the wise persevere patiently

A reader emailed me a longer comment regarding apostasy, the Osteens, and Facebook. Her thoughts were well presented and captured the unarticulated thoughts I'd been having regarding bible twisters. I asked her if I could post it as an essay. She said yes.

We are all born for a specific time and placed in the epochs to perform works for His glory. We are here now, at the end. True, mature Christians stand in amazement watching the collapse of the church. It is a hard epoch to be living in, but no harder than the first church, or the persecuted church, or the apathetic church, etc. But still, those who love Jesus fervently find it difficult to be surrounded by so much sin, so much satanic activity inside the church, so much hatred for our Savior.

Jesus has the victory, and the true church will never fail, but it has become so inflated over the years with false converts, false doctrine, and pastors who are in Adam and not in Christ, that all these outer layers are imploding to reveal what the bible has said all along: the true church is small. Few find it. (Matthew 7:14).

In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter is talking about something Apostle Paul had written. Peter says,

"as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures."

You note that Peter acknowledges that some of the doctrines Paul explains are hard to understand. Anyone who has read Romans knows this. The unstable and the ignorant will twist those hard verses. But you also notice something else. The ignorant and the unstable also twist the easy verses. To reverse things, those who twist the bible's scriptures are ignorant and unstable.

[And a note to those who dismiss Paul's epistles as contrary to Jesus' doctrines, Peter confirms them as "Scriptures".]

Enter the Osteens. Enter Linda Dodson, who is also grieved by these apostate days. Here is her comment, so well done I wanted to share it with you.


Like you, though, I am grieved by the falling away of the church because of the lack of sound teaching and example by Christian leaders.

I thought you might be interested in this. I came across it when a Facebook friend commented on it. It was from Joel Osteen's Facebook site on September 10:

Second Timothy 4 says, “Be calm, cool and steady, unflinchingly endure hardships.” If somebody says something derogatory about you, don’t even flinch. Don’t blink. Don’t let it faze you.

That did not sound right to me because I knew 2 Timothy 4 talks about people turning away from sound teaching to satisfy their itching ears. So I went to and read through that chapter several times trying to discern where Joel was getting that statement about someone saying derogatory things about you. I couldn't find it.

So I went to Joel's Facebook page and was saddened by the amount of comments, thanking Joel for "the word" and relating how they have people in their lives who are critical, bullying, etc.--comment after comment showing obvious lack of discernment.

I got angry how a 'pastor' can say whatever he wants, whether it's biblically sound or not, and people just lap it up like it's true. So I posted a comment of my own:

"I have read 2 Timothy three times through this morning and don't see where this is said. Paul is telling Timothy to be strong because people don't want to hear the truth of the gospel...not that people are saying derogatory things about Timothy. It's not about Paul or Timothy, it's about people's resistance to and antagonism toward Jesus Christ and the gospel message."

The irony of this has not been lost on me, and I was going to post something to that effect but figured no one would get it, so I stuck to speaking the truth in love.

God bless you,

Presbyterian congregation, 1947
I thought the Osteen Facebook comment was a perfect example of how the ignorant twist Scriptures. I also thought that Linda's response was pitch-perfect. I pray this is an encouragement to you in the following ways:

Though the unstable and ignorant speaking false things from the bible are all around us, even in pulpits, there are stable and wise Christians. They labor in the back pews in quiet conversations after Wednesday night bible study/prayer meeting. They have concerned coffee with a stumbling sister. They speak up on blogs, comment sections, Twitter and Facebook, often bearing the wrath of the ignorant upon their heads for their words. They fix cars in garages with brothers who need discipling and the truth spoken in love.

The truth spoken in love is not spoken in haste. You notice that the mature are Bereans, seeking to confirm what is said, or not said, or wrongly said, before offering their own words of correction or wisdom. The mature and the stable are not as numerous as the ignorant and the unstable, but such brethren are out there, proclaiming His word quietly, consistently, humbly. Just as there are many unknown pastors diligently dividing the word for the edification and encouragement of their flocks, so there are many sheep absorbing it and going forth in strength and determination on behalf of the spotless name of Christ.

Take heart. I did, after reading Linda's comment. I was grateful she graciously let me post it. It humbled me and at the same time gave me encouragement. Fellow believers are out there. You're not alone. The only good thing about all this is that the worse it gets, the closer we are to being redeemed for all time. Until then, we go forward every day,

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:11-12)


  1. Excellent, excellent indeed.

    Unfortunately there are thousands of other "false teachers" who are not as blatantly obvious in their heresy as Mr. & Mrs. Osteen. And identifying "those false teachers" requires a level of discernment spoken to by Spurgeon.

    "Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    Deception can be a subtle thing. The greatest deceptions can consist of 99% truth and 1% error.

    1. My sentiments exactly.


  2. I've heard the analogy made that false teaching is like rat poison: 99% cookie and 1% poison.

    I think the Osteens are probably the most blatant false teachers (at least that I'm aware of) in that their twisting of scripture is easy to identify. Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Ann Voskamp, and others are a little trickier because some of what they say is scripturally sound. Many of my friends are Beth Moore fans and post her blurbs on Facebook, and sometimes I find nothing wrong with what she said. Unfortunately that builds a sense of trusting and a blind eye/deaf ear to the false teachings among her followers. I think that's why Beth Moore gets defended so vehemently, because she is right sometimes and to her followers the criticism looks nit-picky (although to the discerning not nit-picky at all). The Osteens are more difficult to defend, although people still make the attempt.

    1. Linda, I agree whole heartedly with both of your comments. I am thankful for Elizabeths blog for the reason of encountering other like-minded believers like you. I have family who are deeply wrapped up in Beth Moore and Jesus Calling. I have tried to show them the truth, but it falls on deaf ears. I can relate to your experience on facebook, as I encounter those situations daily. What it points to, in my opinion, is the complete lack of biblical literacy amongst the professing church. I believe most "Christians" never read the bible for themselves. You add to that the fact that the western church teaches the bible as a self-help guide (church services are by and large geared to "God/the bible is for making you are better person and helping you in your life") and you have a recipe for disaster. The wolves don't even have to be sneaky because with the western church viewpoint firmly entrenched in the minds of the followers, coupled with their lack of biblical discernment, they can say whatever they want and the "sheep" just swallow and follow. If people would just read the word for themselves, they would recognize as you did when scriptures are out of context. But when people rely on their pastors and other teachers, they fail to see the overarching themes of the bible and instead interpret everything as about themselves. So when charlatans like Joel Osteen spout some ridiculous life coaching paired with a bible verse, it sounds right to them. After all, the bible is about them and their lives, right?!

    2. ^^ forgot to sign my name: Jennifer

  3. Every time I think about Joel Osteen, three things that come to my mind are (a) the image behind him is the world, not the cross, (b) he never has a Bible on the lectern (Why would he?), and (c) he starts every "sermon" with a joke.

    Not to mention the fact that he doesn't even *understand* the gospel, let alone preach it.

    * * *

    The gospel was never meant to slap a smile on the face of a sinner.

    The gospel was meant to slap the smile *off* the face of a sinner.

    1. A woman who professed to be a Christian once berated me for pointing out Mr. Osteen's theological and doctrinal shortcomings and she became very upset with me, her complaint was that Mr. Osteen is very adept at pointing out how great it is to be a Christian, how much fun it can be. (Yes, she said "fun") To be honest I had no response to her statement, she wouldn't have listened because she just wants her ears tickled. I could have asked her how Mr. Osteen would play to the Christians in Iraq and Africa who are being slaughtered for their love of Jesus, but I suppose the next time we converse I'll just ask her to count the number of times Mr. Osteen mentions Christ Jesus' sacrifice on the cross in his "sermons" (Hint: the number is pretty close to 0, very close)

    2. Great article as always Elizabeth Prata! Good points Doug. I just saw this article regarding the number of time Mr. Osteen mentions Jesus and thought I'd share:

  4. Thank you. Love this!!! I bet Jesus loves it too : )

    1. Thanks! That's the best compliment ever. I certainly hope it does glorify Jesus :)


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