The apostle Peter warns us extensively about the coming of ‘false teachers,’ first, by qualifying why he and Christ’s other apostles could present the truth about the gospel:
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were witnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Pt. 1:16 – 21. ESV
The apostles were with Jesus, they heard God coronate Him, and they recognized that all Scripture is a product of Holy Spirit-inspired writers.
Next, Peter tells us of the destruction that false teachers will bring:
…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 Pt. 2:1 NKJV
Many will follow in their shameful ways, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine. Their sentence [of condemnation which God has decreed] from a long time ago is not idle [but is still in force], and their destruction and deepening misery is not asleep [but is on its way]. 2 Pt. 2:2, 3. AMP
But these [false teachers], like unreasoning animals, [mere] creatures of instinct, born to be captured and destroyed, reviling things they do not understand, will also perish in their own corruption [in their destroying, they will be destroyed]… 2 Pt. 2:12. AMP
For uttering arrogant words of vanity [pompous words disguised to sound scholarly or profound, but meaning nothing and containing no spiritual truth], they beguile and lure using lustful desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error. They promise them liberty, when they themselves are the slaves of depravity… 2 Pt. 2:18, 19. AMP
Jesus also warns us of the same:
…for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will provide you signs and wonders in order to deceive, if [such a thing were] possible, even the elect [those God has chosen for Himself]. But be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance. Mk. 13:22, 23. AMP
If you are a follower of Christ, these folks are not a lot you want to throw yourselves in with. In their ignorance and / or rebellion, they lay down seeds of corruption (lies) amongst the blossoms of your salvation. And yet, as one who walks in salvation, you can see that these false teachers need the understanding of salvation more than anyone.
We know that there are people out there right now, distorting the word of God.
Sweeping political affiliations aside, (your choice, and nobody else’s business), I find that the Huffington Post is a sweeping platform for many of these false teachers who preach legalized infanticide, denigrate God’s biological designs and express great disdain for all things biblical.
One such article I came across was entitled What it means to be a “secular” Jesus follower, designed to promote the author’s (Tom Krattenmaker) new book: Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, Finding Answers In Jesus For Those Who Don’t Believe.
He begins by stating that he is not a religious person, that he is inspired by Jesus, but not a Christian. Mr. Krattenmaker defines a ‘secular Jesus follower’ as one who “is pursuing the aspects of Jesus that do not involve his religious utterances and behaviors or claims of his divine status.”
His ‘Jesus application’ as it were, is expressed thusly, “…Jesus can be a source of inspiration, insight, and ethical input that is powerfully applicable and transformative today, wherever we are on the theological spectrum. Whether the issue is our anxiety, our racism, our violence, our sexual exploitation, or our self-centeredness, I contend that as we examine and implement the insights of Jesus, we deepen our lives and begin to make the world a fairer, more loving, more peaceful, and more compassionate place.”
You cannot argue with this portion of his opinion. It’s absolutely correct. The danger is (especially for those who are ignorant about who Jesus is), the twisted message he may be unintentionally(?) delivering to others or himself. He is cherry-picking the scriptures to suit his own purpose and justify his deviation from them.
Indeed, he admits that secular folks do not seek ‘church acceptance’ and leave by the wayside the gospel parts that include ‘the supernatural – the miracles, the resurrection, salvation, teachings about God – or as I prefer to do, we can “translate” them into words and concepts that make sense to a secular mind.’
In essence then, the author is only paying attention to the Scriptures that he likes; and if he doesn’t, he ‘translates’ (modifies, corrupts, twists, distorts) them until he does. The problem with that is it makes him a ‘false teacher,’ luring other people (and himself) away from what is a life or death situation.
Let’s first address the issue of cherry-picking scripture:
Every word of God is pure…Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you… Pr. 30:5, 6. NKJV
“You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Mt. 22:29 NKJV
[The Scriptures Opened] Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Lk. 24:44 NKJV
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Rm. 10:11 NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. NKJV
I testify and warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [its predictions, consolations, and admonitions]: if anyone adds [anything] to them, God will add to him the plagues (afflictions, calamities) which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from or distorts the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away [from that one] his share from the tree of life and from the holy city (New Jerusalem), which are written in this book. Rv. 22:18, 19. AMP
Thus, you cannot even apply Scripture correctly unless you have a God-connection. All Scriptures point to Christ and to be able to follow Him, you must understand who He really is. You must apply them all to be able to live as God would have you live – in a godly fashion that fulfills and transcends Mr. Krattenmaker’s ‘Jesus application.’ Finally, having the audacity to re-write the word of God brings about a final demise of that would-be author.
Moreover, let’s look at the issue of siding with the authentic Christ as well – from His mouth:
…everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me], I will also acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven and confess [that I am abiding in] him. But whoever denies and disowns Me before Men, I will also deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven. Mt. 10:32, 33. AMP
“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” Jn. 5:22, 23. NASB
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” Mt. 12:30 NKJV
“…you will die [unforgiven and condemned] in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am the One [I claim to be], you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 AMP
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jn. 14:6 NKJV
We don’t get to say who Christ is; we profess who Jesus says that He is. If we don’t believe in that, don’t follow His primary purpose, (which is to help gather others into the kingdom), don’t honor Jesus by obeying Him and believing in His divine stature, we will be left behind to perish with this version of the earth.
God bless Mr. Krattenmaker, but we cannot afford to follow his misinformed quest or his counterfeit christ.
Our lives depend upon the truth. Stick with the Source.
Goodnight and God bless.