We all know what heresy/false doctrine is. It's a teaching about Jesus that varies with what the Bible teaches about Jesus. The Nicolaitans and the Judaizers were two groups mentioned in the Bible for going around teaching false doctrine. Alexander and Hymaneus were two named teachers in the New Testament who were teaching falsely and were rebuked by Paul. In the OT, Micaiah rebuked Zedekiah the false prophet. False teaching has been around as long as humans have been around. (Genesis 3:1)
For millennia, to hear a teaching, one went to a public venue like the Areopagus or Solomon's Porch, and listened to the teacher like Paul, then went home and compared to scripture as the Bereans did. (Acts 17:11). Nowadays, false messages disseminated more widely and more instantly than ever before. Just think of "TBN" AKA Trinity Broadcasting Network, founded in 1973. TBN is a place called "Unholy Trinity" by John MacArthur, where "religious quacks are actually multiplying at a frightening pace." And with the multiplying quacks comes their quackery, AKA false teaching.
Add to that, satan targets women to send his false doctrines through (Genesis 3:4), because we are weaker (1 Peter 3:7), and more vulnerable (2 Timothy 3:6) and this dissemination includes social media. I'm on Facebook a lot, I administer a page there (The End Time) as well as my personal FB page. Facebook is used mostly by women. This is an amazing statistic by Pew Research from 2015,
Fully 72% of online American adults use Facebook, a proportion unchanged from September 2014. Usage continues to be especially popular among online women, 77% of whom are users.What this boils down to is that Facebook is a place where satan has a wonderful time propagating his lies to the faith's most vulnerable who are rarely given oversight by husbands while she surfs among the Facebook walls and statuses riddled with beautiful false teaching. These are the meme pictures.
Many of these memes going around are satanic. When I say satanic, don't think of a black background and a red faced man with horns and fangs in the foreground. Satan is God's most beautiful angel, an angel of light, and his work is flowers and a cute saying and pretty colors and a Christian-y saying all aimed to seduce women. Like this:
Jessica Pickowicz ( @Jess_Pickowicz , @BeauThing146 http://beautifulthing146.com/) has created a hashtag called #memeHeresies . The above photo is a #memeHeresy. I asked her if I could write about memeheresies and use that term in this essay and she said yes.
HOW TO MAKE A #MEMEHERESY
Satan enjoys deluding women, so flowers are usually a go-to graphic. Women like those. I don't see many #memeheresies containing golf clubs, fishing tackle, or neckties.
So the first rule when a false teacher makes a false graphic of some kind of inspirational quote, it's to choose something beautiful as the background. Of course, that's a no-brainer. I mentioned above that beauty carries false teaching very well. Genesis 3:6a tells us that the lust of the eyes is a major part of sin.
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes,...
The second criteria for a false inspirational picture is to choose something that is human-focused but mentions God. This is tricky, but then again, Joel Osteen has made a gazillion dollar industry out of treading that thin line. The quote below usually attributed to Roman Catholic friar St. Francis, but probably did not originate with the medieval monk, is the kind I'm talking about:
"Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words."
The quote mentions the gospel, and preaching, so it must be good, right? Wrong. The Gospel is Good News, and we are to proclaim it. With words. We can't BE the message. Only Jesus was ever the message. And in addition to living that perfect life, He used lots of words. That's because He IS the Word. (John 1:1). And besides, isn't preaching a form of using words aloud? You see the ridiculousness once you begin to think about the quote. Also, note the sly turning away from Jesus onto ourselves with that one quote? Suddenly Jesus and His Gospel isn't the message, human beings are the message.
In that exact same vein is the picture above, attributed to Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who hated the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lived under the delusion that her Catholic dogma was going to save her. Nonetheless, she allegedly said "I'm a pencil in the Hand of God", which is set on a beautiful flower graphic.
The reason that #memeHeresy seems scriptural and inspirational is because it mentions God. On first look, it also seems to put the person in a humble position. You think, 'awww, I'm just a meager tool in the hand of God.'
This would be a wrong interpretation of that meme.
The Apostles were pencils in the hand of God. The result was inspired Holy Scripture. If we put ourselves in that place, we are elevating ourselves beyond our position. Today no one is writing anything inspired by the Holy Spirit. Though, plenty of women are writing things inspired by satan. The most popular books of our day have been inspired directly by satan through the means of channeling. (For ex., When Godly People do Ungodly Things, Jesus Calling, &etc.)
If "Mother" Teresa meant that the metaphorical pencil is writing a metaphorical message through the the outward seeming goodness of our lives, then we have the same problem that we had in the St Francis quote. WE are not the message. We are ambassadors OF the message. (2 Corinthians 5:20). The message was proclaimed by Jesus. And by the way, we're not good.
Finally, if we are but helpless tools in the Hand of God, then we are excusing our part in our own sanctification. We must press on, slay sin, submit, obey...all those are active verbs showing that we have a responsibility to Jesus while here on hearth. We're not passive pencils, being used. We're to be active participants in our life of obedience and usefulness.
Sometimes a meme will quote a scripture, and the scripture isn't totally ripped from context as this one below shows. Did you know that a lot of times when you see a pretty photo with a verse over it, the verse address and the verse being quoted don't match up? This one quoted blow is the tail end of a verse and it's not twisted. So what's the problem? The organization or person spreading it. The verse is OK, but She Reads Truth is not. Passing along a meme in which the verse is accurate but is promoted by a false teacher is just as bad. Double check the verse, the address, AND the teacher or organization publishing it.You don't want to put a stumbling block in front of a sister and send her directly to a false teacher by your tacit recommendation of re-posting a good verse.
Same goes for this one below. The quote is not scripture but it's an accurate saying. It is something I say myself. I am not familiar with the person mentioned at the bottom, but I am certainly familiar with the IF:gathering and its women. Again- avoid. Re-posting an accurate quote but from a false bunch of teachers will only confuse those less discerning sisters. Every re-post you do is tacitly giving your stamp of approval not only to the quote but to the author and organization, in this case, Mabuni and IF:gathering.
HOW TO REFUTE A #memeHeresy
I liked what Jessica did with the side by side refutation here. The stamp of the word "FALSE" across the left side states the situation in no uncertain terms, and the correct verse which refutes the false one is placed on the right. The left side is the man-oriented one and the right side is what God actually said about man.
Here is another one from Jessica. Do you see on the top, the man-centered quote? It's refuted with scripture on the bottom. LOL. God personally sent an angel to bake bread for and minister to Elijah during his test. (1 Kings 19:6). Do we think that today that the promise of angels ministering to us ceases at the very moment we need it the most? Of course not! And as Jessica said in her #memeheresy busting photo, we always, always have God's word speaking to us. This is the Holy Spirit's eternal ministry of comfort.
In sum, how to spot the false memes is to check, think, wait. Before passing it along,
1. Double check the address on the verse (if there is one).
2. Double check that the verse isn't ripped from its context to say something it wasn't intended to mean.
3. Check the person or organization publishing the quote.
4. STOP. THINK. Does this quote that sounds so Bible-y really reflect a true teaching of God?
To refute them you can always do what Jessica did and create a side-by-side refutation. If you're not graphically skilled then simply post the scripture picture with a verse that refutes it and maybe a short explanation showing how one is man-oriented and the other is Jesus-oriented.
Well, some might say, doing all that checking, double checking, and investigating, at is a lot of work,. Yes. It's work. You remember I mentioned the Bereans at the top? They heard Paul then went back and checked that these things were so. They worked, and were commended for it! Just because we're living in a fast time doesn't mean we have to quickly press "Post" or "Publish". Stop. Think.
We handle the Bible's message with care, because it is the most important message in life. You don't toss a carton of eggs into the back seat of your car like you do your son's soccer ball. You handle with care. We don't toss around Bible-y sayings either. We take care, for the Word is precious. The false teachers toss around the Word carelessly, we believers don't need to toss it around as well.