November 02, 2015

Be on Guard

At the close of Sunday morning worship a visitor came forward and wanted to offer his testimony. In a nutshell he was born in the Czech Republic and had been in the US for almost two decades…sometimes legally, sometimes illegally. With a few rabbit trails he took us on his journey of finding God and included his concern for America’s decline and fear that if the US didn’t wake up we would someday resemble his former homeland. His testimony/political commentary in broken English was lengthy and while some people took their seats, others exited the building. I found it to be an awkward and worrisome situation that a man, whom none of us know, could simply walk in off the street and gain an audience with the congregation. Paul’s charge to Timothy is applicable to us today, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge…” (1 Tim 6:20 NIV).


Steve Corey said...


-----Why? What is so problematic about another believer giving his testimony? Are we afraid he might bring a new idea of error which might take root and grow? That should be the angst, anyway, better practiced as the precaution.
-----One of sister-nature’s top two laws is that of efficiency. Every living thing hunts, seizes, and eats its food with the least amount of energy expenditure possible. In America, we’ve lost track of this rule because we’ve made prosperity into such a high and thick wall against starvation that nobody has to really expend much energy to get a meal. But the principle is highly useful in calling us to be on guard against something to which we’ve paid little attention. And this principle takes a metaphorical seat in the presence of Jesus’ being the Word of God, the bread of life. Knowing we live in a deceitful world, we can not be gullibly open to every wind of doctrine or new idea that comes blowing down the street. Nor can we close our ears to anything we have not already heard. In being discerning about what we will listen to or not, we must put forth a test of some sort.
-----This is where sister-nature’s law of efficiency becomes problematic. Like the coyote must catch the rabbit efficiently lest he starve while catching his next meal, we have a whole lot of mental activity required to run our lives smoothly in this “prosperous” society. Included in that mental activity is the dreadful fact of new information. But lest the new information deceive us, we need to vet it for acceptability. The proper way to vet new information is to check it against what we already know to be true. This often takes time consuming research, like the Beroeans must have given it. This necessary effort is often more than we are willing to admit we have time to do. So we use short-cuts.
-----One of the most common short-cuts is our knowledge about the idea bearer. This is not just summarily wrong. We tend to mentally mark the people we trust for information, so, like EF Hutton, when they speak, we listen. As long as we have done well enough in knowing them as reliable information sources, then this vetting process works rather well. But as soon as that trusted person introduces us to another, we tend to extend the same sense of assurance to the new acquaintance. Error slips in through the wider latitudes we give that simple process until we find Hollywood types and other entertainers, politicians, academicians, etc. being held up as trustworthy, while honestly, we have no genuine acquaintance with them through which their messages can be trusted. It has been a breach in mankind’s wall of security against fraud and deceit for almost as long as mankind has been.
-----Other times, it is direly important to hear a stranger. Jesus was a stranger to the woman at the well. She vetted what He said by analyzing its sensibility, especially in that He was telling her stuff He shouldn’t know lest He was a prophet. Had this Czech been given enough time, I am sure he would have come around to the topic of being very weary of iconic figures who strive for honorable public platforms from where they can freely deceive. Our country has been flushed down the John because people have believed messages because of some iconic stature the message bearer holds. And the church has been turned into a divided, bickering laughingstock by the same focus on the messenger instead of his message’s fit with what truth has already been known.

Love you all,
Steve Corey

Christian Ear said...

Unfortunately, in our world today strangers walk into churches with loaded guns. I see sharing a testimony with an individual much differently that turning over the microphone to someone and allowing them to speak to the whole congregation…without limitations or vetting. Great Scott, we don’t even let people we know in the congregation have an unfettered microphone!

Steve Corey said...


-----Sometimes we don't lend the microphone even to people we know well because we know them. Occasionally, in the Epistles, we read Paul vouching for someone he sent or who is coming. We also read of the difficulties being caused by roaming trouble-causers. It is problematic. Some people hold information others really should know, or at least would be greatly edified if they did know. That information should get around the church. Others bear deceit to poison the church. But really, the guy with the good stuff usually has good stuff because he's a spiritual person. Being a spiritual person, he should know these things. Knowing these things, if he did have a particualarly edifying message, he would go to the church's caretakers and present his ideas for approval before attempting to give his testimony. It sounds fascistic, but it's a precaution made proper by the level of deceit in the social environment. I agree with you. This Czech gentleman may have given a greatly needed testimony in the end, but an additional amount of risk was taken to hear it.