With the rise of social media and the consequent popularization in sermons, it is all too common to be driven by statements from people rather than simply the Word of God. As I have said in other posts, this sharing of quotes and catch-phrases is becoming a huge downfall for those claiming to be Christian. Most may not realize it, but most of what is being passed on may be something they may agree with in the moment, but most likely may not really agree with or even understand what that person believes as a whole.
It astonishes me how enthralled our world is with seeking after “inspiration”. It is the unending search to find encouragement or affirmation from others. But at what cost??
Sermons today are peppered with the latest “words of wisdom”. From the one who wrote the latest book to the celebrity pastors leading some of the fastest growing churches, they are the ones who apparently have something to teach us. It doesn’t matter if they are doctrinally sound; if it sounds good and fits what they want to say, people find a way to share it.
But it doesn’t stop there. It often times doesn’t even matter if the person is even a Christian or not. People today are promoting things they agree with from the Pope, to the Dali Lama, to Buddha, to you name it. If it fits the narrative or agenda, then it’s seems it doesn’t matter the source. It is often said, “truth is truth no matter where you find it”. But is that really the case??
What greatly concerns me is the simple fact that many, if not most, don’t understand that just because someone may say something we may happen agree with or may even have an element of being Biblical, doesn’t mean we actually agree with the person who said those things. We might even have completely different beliefs from that person, or even worse, we might not even believe in the same “Jesus”.
That is why I am constantly amazed how quickly people accept someone who says something they agree with without taking the time to figure out if they really know what that person believes. It used to be that we were told, “think before you speak”. Today it could be said, “think before you re-post” or “think before you share”.
All of us have been guilty of this in some way. We pass on something before we take the time to know the source or what is really meant. In doing so, we have been guilty of endorsing not only what is being said, but also the person who said it.
The other puzzling thing is to see how contradicting people become sharing things from people who have very little to nothing in common. It basically becomes a random assortment of ideas from random sources. It is like taking something from John MacArthur as well as something from Dallas Willard. It is like taking something from Martin Luther as well as something from the Pope. It is like taking something from Bible as well as something from the Koran. You take your pick. Basically it ends up being oil and water. Hypocrisy at best.
We must be much more careful looking into what people say and what they believe. And not that we can’t learn from others or that we have to be in 100% agreement with someone to share what we have learned, but we need to do our homework and not just simply accept and pass on something someone may have said. We must be on guard because in passing on these words we end up rightly or wrongly endorsing these people whether we intend to or not.
A simple test is to look at what people you find you are agreeing with and look at who they surround themselves with. What conferences do these pastors and leaders speak at and who are the others speaking at those conferences?? What books do they recommend and where they get their information?? Do they spend more time telling stories and sharing quotes or are they preaching God’s Word faithfully?? Are they more concerned about “spiritual disciplines”, “spiritual formation”, and ancient mystics in the guise of Christians or do they focus on clear teaching from Scripture?? Are they more concerned about the “common good” or standing for the truth of the Gospel?? Do they pluck verses out for their sermon series or do they go through and give the proper context of each passage?? These are just a few suggestions, but you get the point.
We would do far better sticking to the simplicity of going through the Bible rather than chasing after the words of flawed men. Instead of looking for a “new perspective” or a “fresh” way of looking at Scripture, can’t we just read and study the Bible for what it says and apply the lessons and application to our lives?? Sadly for most, it may be uninteresting or too boring. But nonetheless, if we are to be sure we are walking according to Biblical Christianity and so we don’t get swept into false teaching, we must remain grounded in the Word itself.
May we each be much more diligent to not just take things as they appear or what we think we may agree with, but make sure we know who and what we share with others.