I have to tell you something interesting I found about how to identify counterfeit paper money. “Look for differences, not similarities. Counterfeit bills, if they’re any good at all, will be similar to real ones in many ways, but if a bill differs in just one way, it’s probably fake.” WikiHow. (emphasis mine).
Now I know that sites like WikiHow can be edited by nearly anyone. But in the light of the fact that it came from a worldly source, and in the light of what is so rapidly happening in the world, and most especially in the church, I really appreciated that statement for I believe it is ever so true! It reminds me of this well-known passage found in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” This passage is very absolute: “no light”. None! It’s not even a little bit good if it doesn’t measure up to the standard of the truth.
But you know, I’ve discovered that one of the main earmarks of the emergent theology is that there ARE no absolutes, but that truth is subjective. The attitude, “if it works for you, good, but this works for me!” prevails. Here are a few other earmarks of the emergent theology: it is based on emotion, and how one feels is more important that what one believes; any attempt to stand on absolute truth is judgmental and unkind, and we just need to love people, not point out sin; it is all inclusive, and ”anything goes”; the Bible is not to be interpreted literally, but is rather allegorical; all religions must be embraced; one must perform the “spiritual disciplines” in order to draw near to “God”, and man can better himself in this way.
Sound familiar? It should, for this movement has found its way into our beloved Seventh-day Adventist church. But I have no plan to put the microscope on this movement, as there is a plethora of information about it on the internet already, and I’ve listed some very basic earmarks above. Now, if it differs IN JUST ONE WAY from the law and the testimony, what can we know? There’s no light there!
We each have some homework to do! Let’s look for a minute at the “Genuine”. Did Jesus believe the Bible is the absolute authority? What did He say when He was faced with temptation? “It is written….”
Did Jesus base His theology and decisions on how He felt? Look to the garden of Gethsemane for the answer: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42
Did Jesus love people? Of course! Yet walking this earth as the most loving individual ever to grace its sod, “He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes.” Desire of Ages, pg 353. He said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.” Revelation 3:19.
You get the picture. I believe that, like with paper money example we talked about earlier, we need to study the life of Jesus in order to know which end is up in this mixed up world. The real problem, it seems to me, is that we want some easier way than Jesus has pointed us to. He says in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Yes, the way is still narrow. It is not all inclusive, for sin cannot enter. Jesus paved the way before us and left us a clear road map amidst all the confusion of the day. May God help us to be among the few who will study the Genuine in order to avoid the counterfeit. Jesus will see to it that we are not deceived. We have His promise–His absolute promise–that “if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17
In our Bible study on Sabbath afternoons here in Bismarck, we have accepted the challenge to systematically begin to study our doctrines from the Bible. Volunteers are going to be giving presentations to the study group over the next few weeks. The first brave soul was our young brother, Tony Humbert. New to the faith, Tony was undaunted by the challenge and forged ahead. We believe that accepting challenges such as this is what brings some of the greatest blessings and deepest spiritual development in our lives. We are a work in progress! Join us for Tony’s presentation and be blessed:
What does it mean to hide the Word in our hearts? Does it mean to memorize the Bible? And how is the Word a lamp unto our feet? Does it matter if we understand?