On the show, American Idol, they go through a lengthy process of choosing the final contestants for the live show. As they narrow down the field, there is the part in which they put the contestants in different rooms. The judges then go to each room and tell the group of contestants in that room if they move on or go home. If you have watched for even a short amount of time, you can often tell what groups of people will move on to the next stage or those that will be greatly disappointed.
After seeing this same process a few times, I noticed that knowing the company you are in should tell you the outcome even before you are directly told. In other words, those that surround you tells a lot. But it is often still quite a surprise to many when they are told the result.
I say all of this to point out that the same can be said for those in our “Christian” circles. A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about “Do Associations Really Matter??“. As a follow up to that post, it is even more important today that we are questioning where we get our information and those we surround ourselves with to give us the truth about what it means to believe in Jesus.
With social media and how rapidly trends get passed around, you can quickly understand what someone believes without having to take someone else’s word or even read everything they may have written. You can also learn a lot by what the average “Christian” believes by who they promote, endorse, quote, and share. Now, sure, this might not always be perfect, but it does say a lot.
Why is this such a concern?? Simply because whether people choose to believe it or not, the people they seek out and the things they share reveal what they believe to be true. So when you see the books someone recommends, the pastors and authors they talk about, what conferences these people speak at and the others also speaking, and even who they are influenced by and surround themselves with, you begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together of what they believe about God, faith, the Church, and so on.
What I consistently point out in many blog posts is that there is a great blurring of what is truth. Many are willing to accept many things as truth, but overlook the bigger problems and underlying false teaching. Maybe the real question needs to be about how much false teaching can and should we tolerate when it might happen to be mixed with some portion of Truth, if any??
As I look around, I see many people that are more than content to go through life and not question and challenge what they are being fed as Biblical. The same is with a growing number of pastors and leaders. So if no one is really questioning things, then it is no wonder that the Way is being broadened and more and more things are being embraced as “Christian”. This should not be!!
The so-called “non-essentials” that so many like to claim, end up becoming stumbling blocks to the essentials of true Biblical faith. And when pastors and leaders can no longer even recognize these things and stand boldly for the Truth themselves, we are in trouble. Critical thinking and discernment are going out the window faster than I can even type these words. Those who point out these false teachers and their false teaching, get dismissed and criticized as being irrelevant and causing divisions. But at the core it is those who are departing from clear Biblical truth that are the ones who are actually causing the divisions.
It is important for each of us to do our homework and get to know the teachings, beliefs, and those we surround ourselves with. When we see and hear pastors, leaders, and others teaching at conferences, endorsing each other’s books or ministries, or sharing catch phrases, we need to not simply look at what is said, but the source and who they surround themselves with in order to gain a clearer picture of what they believe; whether it is really in accordance with Scripture.
What company are we in?? What company are those who are writing, preaching, and leading in??
There are plenty of sketchy people and things being taught that continue to be embraced by the masses as true Christianity. But we must be on guard. We must take a look around at who and what we surround ourselves with. We must be willing to take the time to look at the company we and those we are trusting to teach us Biblical truth are being influenced by as well. May the Lord give us spiritual eyes to discern the Truth and to stand boldly even if no one else is doing the same.