Verses from 2 John 1 v 8-9 have been discussed a bit recently and they jumped out at me again today … and sharing is good for the soul 🙂
8Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full].
9Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son. – Amplified version
Clearly if your belief system is “ahead” you may lose “all” and someone in this situation “does not have God” (whatever “have” means in this case).
Some sets of doctrines are clearly in the “ahead” category (from where I sit anyway). These are doctrines pushed by this or that movement by one means or another that add to, or directly contradict the scriptures, or need Jai Taurima-like leaps of logic. Obvious ones are prosperity doctrine, coverings, miracle offerings. Snake handling (see Wazza’s post “Well, at least these Pentes …”) is an extreme example.
But how wrong do you have to before you don’t have God anymore?
What is this verse saying about losing Father? After all, we are all wrong. Wrong about something. None of us understands and does Father’s teachings fully. And then again no one is completely wrong all the time, as RavingPente pointed out recently even on Phil P’s block he does say good things mixed in with the prosperity doctrine etc. How wrong is too wrong?
On reflection I don’t think it is so much about how far wrong you are as it is about motivation and what master you are serving. I can abide in Jesus even if I don’t clearly understand the trinity, or how many heavens there are. But if I concoct a doctrine for my own purposes that is a different beast.
If I need to construct a doctrine it is because I am not “content”, as the Amplified puts it, with what Father has already provided. It means there is an aspect of the world that would be better for me if this new doctrine were true. It might be that I will feel more secure with a doctrine that says by doing XYZ Father is more pleased with me. I can then do XYZ on a regular basis and feel better. If I choose to put my faith in this doctrine I have put my feeling of security ahead of Father. In a way I have made an idol of my security and put it before Father.
People pushing these doctrines seem to do it for the benefit of their organisations. For the money, or maybe the prestige or something else. These organisations have needs and people modify the scripture or use other people’s modification to fulfill these needs. Miracle offerings, coverings, hierarchical command and control, etc are all convenient doctrines that help an organisation’s bottom line. The organisations believe, I suspect, that the ministry is from God so to put it first is OK. I don’t think this is a correct approach, the end does not justify the dodgy means.
And what do we do about it?
I spent the morning with some great friends in Jesus (an ex-CCC family and an ex-Hillsong family) and individual responses to the issue of dodgy doctrines were quite different. One person was frustrated about the wrongness of what they had been taught and the damages such teachings cause. Another was indicating how the different churches have different views but there is no point confronting them about it and trying to change them, all you can do is say what seems right to you and live side by side.
Both these points of view make sense to me. And correcting my brother’s doctrine does not seem to be very high up Jesus scale of things for me to do (cf the mote in my brother’s eye). Also, as discussed on another thread, it is the Spirit’s role to convict rather than mine.
So are we to rail at the perpetrators of these doctrinal crimes? Well yeah, I reckon so.
Not so much to the pastors et al who come up with the weird doctrines because they won’t listen – they have, in my experience, constructed doctrines that prove (1) they are better than you (2) they are more anointed than you (3) they are righter than you (4) if you speak against them you speak from the devil (5) they must ignore all negative speech, etc. And not so much for the people fooled by the weird doctrines because really they are into it and it is the Spirit’s job to convict of sin. An not so much “rail” because that is kind of pointless, no one listens to frothing at the mouth.
I think we do need to speak out so that people who are already questioning can see another point of view. The point of view that the dodgy don’t even want heard (you have probably heard that some churches are saying that such blogging is immoral – you must not speak your mind out loud).
But in the end the most important action to take is the one in verse 8 “look to yourselves”. It is the easiest thing in the world to make an idol for one’s self and read the scriptures through it – I expect we have all done it. I pray we can all trust Father to prise those idols from our hands and that we can rely on those constructed half-truths just a bit less doggedly tomorrow than today.