Kudos to Steve Kozar over at the Messed Up Church blog (love that blog name), for this article, which captures the more frustrating elements of trying to contend for the faith in an environment where yeast grows freely. (Plus, it's the first Christian blog I know of that has found a way to incorporate Shaba into the content! Read on:
Don't be shy about it-admit it: false doctrine is fun and, well, it just feels good. Here are some handy tips to keep you fully deceived and incapable of discernment:
1. Always think to yourself: "I know what he meant" when false teachings are taught; don't listen to the actual words themselves. Pretend you are giving someone the "benefit of the doubt" when you're actually permitting bad teaching. Also, bad teaching isn't so bad if the pastor tells an emotional story to drive home the heresy; and he must be telling the truth if he starts to cry, especially at the same point of the story in multiple services!
2. Here's a handy saying: "No church is perfect!" The assumption here is that it's not of any value to carefully examine doctrine because all churches are wrong in one way or another, so just accept anything. If you go to the church because "you feel comfortable there" and the "worship team really rocks" you'll probably never have to think much about doctrine anyway. This can also be modified as: "No pastor is perfect!" False teachers and mediocre pastors really appreciate it when you think this way.
3. Focus on your feelings rather than the clear teachings of Scripture. Because you're a sinner, this will be very easy. For added validation of your false beliefs, convince yourself that God told you to disobey Him and somehow violate His word; but don't use such obvious language. For example, say: "I really feel that God spoke to my heart, that's why I believe it's okay to (fill in the blank with whatever sin and/or false doctrine you want). A great little catch phrase to instill this principle would be something like this: "Theology will never change a man as much as a direct encounter with God." Of course, if you really had a direct encounter with God you'd probably be dead...
4. Allow false doctrine from a teacher because "he has some good things to say, too..." A handy little phrase to repeat is: "Chew on the meat and spit out the bones." Although this concept isn't Biblical, pretend that it is. It will probably help you to imagine yourself "open-minded" and "non-judgmental" when you repeatedly ignore God's clear instructions to hold fast to correct doctrine.
5. Consider "doctrine" the same thing as "religiosity" or "legalism." If you realize that doctrine is just another word for teaching (and the Bible demands correct teaching) you might decide to become more discerning, and remember, false teachers everywhere are counting on you to stay ignorant and gullible.
6. Promote false teaching "for the sake of the un-churched." You want to have lot's of new people coming to church, don't you? Well, give the public what they want and watch attendance skyrocket! Remember, the unrepentant sinners out there will show up if they are promised something to appease their selfish desires. Better sex? Bigger paychecks? Well-behaved children? God can give your un-saved neighbor all of that-and more! The seeker-friendly pastor already knows this dynamic growth program, and with your blind support (and weekly tithe checks) he will craft emotionally appealing motivational speeches to convert pagans into regular attending members! And let's not forget that these same pastors ("leadership experts") will provide your community with a sense of purpose and identity (and a six-figure salary for themselves), so don't bog them down with Biblical requirements that would stunt the growth of the organization.
7. "Group Think" is a major component of false doctrine, so, "go with the group!" Fortunately for you, there are plenty of groups that are teaching and promoting false doctrine, so just pick the one you're most comfortable with and buy into their twisted version of Christianity. Here are some of your choices:
First, there's the "What do we believe this month?" "Emerging", Post-Modern church (think: Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, etc.). Millennials love this one; it's hip and it only get's hipper as it dumps Biblical doctrine in favor of pagan mysticism and cultural sensitivity (which is usually just capitulation to the culture). Remember, you're never actually believing false doctrine, you're just "having a conversation!" Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Second, for the suburban soccer-mom crowd, there's the "seeker-friendly" mega church (think: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, etc.). These churches are a mash-up between a cinema-plex, a shopping mall and a Starbucks. Bigger is better, right?! And if you ever (accidentally) start to question whether anything lines up with Scripture, you can just take a look around the vast auditorium: this many people
be wrong! As long as you think so, you
Thirdly, for the truly adventurous, you can find a vast number of Charismatic churches that aren't even
to orthodox Christianity! (Think: Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, T.D. Jakes, etc.) What's not to like about a church that believes
can come up with new doctrine
from God?! Oh sure, they give lip service to the Bible, but with proof-texting, they can make the Bible appear to say anything! Does God just want you to be rich, happy and successful? Sure He does! Do we just have to "speak that into existence?" Sure we do! Remember, the Holy Spirit is your personal genie in a bottle, and after you've swayed back and forth with the praise band for an hour or two, you'll actually start to believe that. Key words and phrases: "Woooo!" "Fire!" "More, Lord, more!" "Shaba!" "I feel a releasing of the anointing that is beginning to shift the atmosphere, and the mantle of His presence is about to come down so that the glory of His anointing can release His presence into the manifold destiny of His glory..."