Who Are You Listening To?

After Jesus’ encounter with the crowds and the religious authorities during the Feast of Booths, there were those who wanted to arrest him (John 7:32ff).  Those who were sent to arrest Jesus were confronted by their senders as to why they did not fulfill their mission. Their response was simple, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46)

The guards, like many other people, were caught up in what Jesus had to say, because what he had to say was Truth. It was not a version of the truth. It was not a hybrid truth of philosophy and religion, it was God’s truth.

Now the question needs to be asked, “What makes something true and something not true?” Is it the speaker or the message? In the case of Jesus, it was both. He himself said, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” (John 7:16-17)

But what was the standard of truth? Certainly the Old Testament scriptures were a part of that, but was it the primary standard? Was it what Jesus did in terms of signs and miracles as well as what he said? I suspect that is a part of it. Was it how his words impacted and changed the lives of others? How do we know there was not more, or perhaps more to come after Jesus’ death and resurrection?  This is where the grease hits the squeak!

Currently there are at least two teachings out in the market place that might need some attention. One has Oprah Whinfrey as the primary evangelist and the other has the regular folks, like a good friend of mine. These teachings may find their way into the minds of millions who would question, or simply ignore, what the Bible teaches about God and Christ.

Now I will admit, I have not read either piece. I am planning to order each, especially one called The Shack That is one my friend recommended I read, if I could make it past the first hundred or so pages.  The other is A Course in Miracles  This one was brought to my attention by another pastor friend. I am not sure I’ll read it, but I suspect I’ll do a good skim of it.

The issue is this – apparently based on either the content or the author of these books, people are saying, “no one has ever spoke like these folks(Italics mine) .”  Is what they are saying a new revelation and rational thought about God and Christ, or is it simply the words of false prophets proclaiming “irreverent babble…for itchy ears?”(2Timothy 2:16, 4:3) And will people be able to tell the difference?

I trust my friend who recommended The Shack. I would trust him with my life. So perhaps what it says is true. After all, isn’t this the way people often make determinations about things?  If my friend believes it, if Oprah believes it, if my Sunday School teacher believes it, etc.  But is that our standard for truth – who believes something?  Are we equipped to make that determination on our own?  Will I always know a sheep when I see it, or is that simply a sheep in wolf’s clothing (Matthew 7:15)?




Filed under A Course in Miracles, Discernment, Gospel of John, The Shack

2 responses to “Who Are You Listening To?

  1. Pauli Ward

    I don’t particularly want to read the book recommended by Oprah, personally.
    But The Shack, it isn’t a doctrinal thesis, it’s a novel for crying out loud. And it just makes people think and look at things outta the box a bit. You don’t have to believe it all, it’s a fictional read.
    I think some very fearful people are putting this book into a “New Age” category unnessarily and it’s fear based. Now, I wouldn’t read it and take notes and necessarily agree with it all but it sure makes me think and it sure portrays a more loving God than many in the church today portray. Loved the read!


  2. nmacdonald


    Thanks for stopping by and your comment. I suspect you are accurate to a large degree. Indeed the book is a novel. However, if I could just make one observation…

    “…it sure portrays a more loving God than many in the church today portray.”

    That may betray your previous comments. It is when we think that picture of God is accurate and compare it to what we see around us, we get in deep water. Not that God is not a loving God and not that many churches portray Him as a legalistic or vengeful God – He is and they do.

    Is it “new age”? I do not have an opinion on that.

    Does the book and it’s author have an agenda. Certainly so. Let me quote from the comments under The Missy Project; “It (the book) offers one of the most poignant views of God and how he relates to humanity that has been written in our time.” It goes on to say…”Give the book to friends, even strangers..They not only get a compelling page-turning thrill ride, but also a magnificent glimpse into the nature of God that is not often presented in our culture.”

    That my friend is an agenda. A spiritual agenda.


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