Women, Let's Stop Praising Teachers Who Take Scripture Out Of Context

landscape-field-sonja-langford-sonja.jpg
Having a charismatic personality, great speaking ability, and an awesome ‘story’ are NOT prerequisites to teach The Word of God. True teachers of The Word are marked by their faithfulness in teaching Scripture (rightly), not by their seemingly awesome character traits.
— Portia Collins

I would need all of the fingers in the world to point right back at myself, for having failed in this area many times throughout my life.

Taking in and soaking up every “good” sounding thought or post from someone I admired, without knowing where the “fruit’s” place of origin was. Eating up and reposting every heart-pricking word of encouragement because it “met” me in the season of life I was in.

But the weighing and testing and balancing and searching of The Scriptures came way later. In my opinion, too late.

Because after I had shared and regurgitated everything I thought was good in my own ignorance, I hadn’t yet realized the impact it made. Praising teachers who regularly took Scripture out of context did a myriad of things. Not only did it offer bad examples to others on what I at the time thought was Biblical teaching. But it also made way for those teachers to receive praise and encouragement, where they shouldn’t have been given.

 

ONLINE AND BEYOND

There is a great temptation facing us, to become lax in how we assess the things we intake whether online in sermons or locally from our pulpits. We can kick off our shoes, relax our feet and just listen in for what we feel like we need for that day or season of our lives.

The issue with this however, isn’t found in seeking to find things that can challenge and encourage us in our walks. The issue is sacrificing truth and our commitment to Scripture, at the altar of our pursuit of those things.

Do those you lend your ears and subscriptions to in the Christian community, exhibit faithfulness to Scripture in doctrine and practice? Despite how many followers they’ve racked up, how many conferences they’ve hosted or sermon clips that’ve gone viral, we must have a true and committed advocacy for Biblical teaching.

‘Cause the reality is that “it” can sneak past you. You know, the “it” that uses the story of David and Goliath to exalt you above your virtual and physical “enemies,” when the story points to Jesus ultimately?

Or the “it” that makes the parable of the weeds and sower in Matthew 13 about you having the “grit” to not need God’s grace?

Or perhaps even the relationship sermons that tells everyone in the congregation both saved and unsaved their marital fate via blanket statements, as if they’re God above?

We don’t need discernment bloggers to tell us who to look out for when Scripture’s sufficiency is powerful enough to sharpen our eyes and ears. God’s Spirit indwells every single Believer walking this earth. It is our reliance upon His poking and prodding through our knowledge of God’s Word, that teaches us what the discernment blogger cannot. It is Him, that will be faithful to nudge us, when we’ve spent hundreds of dollars to get close to our favorite teacher, not even having a clue that their entire ministry thrives off of the knowledge you don’t have of God’s Word.

But you can know His Word. And I promise that you wouldn’t buy another conference ticket to waste your time listening to another out of context teaching. If you commit to exploring all of the riches that God has for us in the right division of His Word, oh what a beautiful threat to those who prey off of your lack of knowledge, you will become.

 

CIGARETTES & SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

About 5.7 trillion cigarettes were smoked worldwide in 2016, according to The Tobacco Atlas.

The tobacco industry is both a lucrative and dangerous business, yet it has consumers funding and fueling its aim, all over the world. As someone who has personally seen the effects cigarette consumption can have on the health of loved ones, it’s no game.

The exposure to the world at large doesn’t comfort me into believing that it’s kinda okay. If anything, with all of the statistics available for review online and in public libraries, I find it concerning that people still choose to indulge. Likewise, at an alarming rate, Scripture can be misused and wrongly presented by those who have reached and leaped across international waters, yet still are just as harmful to our overall health, as the tobacco industry is.

International exposure and speaking engagements don’t equate with Biblical faithfulness. This goes for domestic access as well. As we see with the cigarette, it doesn’t take much for something or someone to get to what we often view as the “big leagues.” All it takes is promotion, supply, and demand.

Let us not think someone is “safe” from scrutiny because their influence reaches a little further than we expected. There are people domestically and internationally being taught Scripture in and out of context. If a teacher’s words we regularly listen to ain’t lining up with a Christ-exalting interpretation of the text they’re teaching from, we need to simply let them go. There are so many more faithful teachers who will help you connect all of Scripture together, to see the triune God it bears witness to.

 

THIS IS OUR RIGHTFUL DUTY

We talk a lot about being forerunners in the raising up of generations of Believers to come after us.

But an area we often fail to see, is how if we don’t lay down good practices now with a solid grasp on and adherence to Scripture, we can see repeats of what we didn’t do in later generations.

Our theology and doctrine will raise the next generation. If we're not careful, it can have damaging effects. It will tell them what was okay and what wasn’t. It will inform them of what heresies we let slide because so and so had moving and touching YouTube videos. It will teach them that God’s Word can be malleable in our hands and right interpretation isn’t really a big deal. It will show them what side we stand on: God’s or the enemy’s.

Or, if we commit to ceasing the praise, pomp and circumstance for those who mishandle and play dangerous with God’s Word, we can see a generation with hope in their hearts and truth on their tongues.

We can see strong Bible teaching women who wouldn’t dare allow people to fan and fawn over them, passing it off as commonplace. We could witness The Gospel going forth in the world, being the sign and wonder that our children, nieces and nephews chase after. We can see an end to the double-minded Israelite mentality of worshipping God with one hand and clutching a crystal in the other. Our theology and doctrine today, will show our neighbors whether born or unborn, if we truly love The God of The Bible, and we’re not willing to mince the truth of His Word for the here and now praise of men.

It’s more than just a simple thing. It’s the duty we have to honor The Lord as Holy, always being ready to give a defense to anyone who questions the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15) This is a weighty task. And it’s also one that we’re called to do with gentleness and respect.

Our praise is ultimately and primarily to be given unto The Lord, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him. However, when we are faced with teachers who care more about you hearing their “story” than they care to spend time actually studying what they publicly teach, we must choose where our alliance rests.

Is it in commitment to God and His Word, with the love of our present and future neighbors on our minds? Or is it in the follower counts, re-posts and shares of those who don’t rightly divide His Word of truth?

God’s Word in faithful hands will build us up, spur us along to good works in Christ and challenge us to live in a manner worthy of the calling. God’s Word in unfaithful hands, will always do more damage than some care to admit, and lessen our true understanding of who God has presented Himself to be.

So, before you give your favorite rotation of teachers another praise-filled tweet or Instagram shoutout, ask yourself have you really searched The Scriptures in context to see if what they’re teaching or promoting is true. Then, ask God to show you the truthfulness behind your own personal assessment. For He wants you to know Him rightly, and will prick your heart with the truth that we often can miss.