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Fred Butler: Questions to Ask When Evaluating Ministries and Teachers
Prydain ^ | 5/31/2006 | Will

Posted on 05/31/2006 7:18:51 PM PDT by sionnsar

A lot of us are involved in parachurch groups and Bible studies, for various and sundry reasons. These groups often serve a great need in our lives, and can indeed be a blessing. But there is a need to evaluate these ministries and groups to be sure that they are a good use of our time and resources, and to be certain that no one--whether we ourselves, or friends and family--are being led astray by them.

Fred Butler, who has a website called Fred's Bible Talk, has an essay titled Questions to Ask When Evaluating Parachurch Christian Ministries and Popular Bible Teachers that I think is quite helpful. He writes:

Throughout the Bible, the biblical writers warn the people of God to be on the look out for an infiltration by false prophets and teachers. Peter writes, for instance, that these religious fakers secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1). The idea is that they are stealth-like with the promotion of their theological errors; they bring their false teachings in the backdoor of the church, as it were, when no one is looking. The Apostle Jude even affirms this truth with similar words when he writes, For uncertain men have crept in unnoticed (Jude 4). They are like thieves sneaking into a house at night, but their theft is to steal away doctrinal soundness from the Christian believers. In addition to these two warnings, Paul’s final words to the Ephesian elders were even more vivid when he exhorts them to take heed to themselves and the churches they shepherd because, as Paul puts it, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:28, 29).

These biblical warnings, and others like them, are even more necessary to heed by Christians in the 21st century, as they were when the prophets and apostles first wrote them. The proliferation of Christian radio, television networks, and the advent of the internet have given hundreds of secret inroads for false teachers to smuggle doctrinal error in to the congregations of local Churches and the personal lives of Bible believing Christians. There are hundreds of Christian radio and television parachurch[1] ministries that pepper the landscape of evangelicalism in America, each one supposedly offering “solid” teaching for the supporting audience. These parachurch ministries are beneficial for believers for the most part, however, there are some of these ministries, acting under the guise of a biblical authority, that serve up some of the worse spiritual poison imaginable. On top of these broadcast ministries, the internet has given rise to literally thousands of theological websites. There are those “Christian” websites that are blatantly bad, where as others are less conspicuous, introducing their error in unsuspecting ways.

Now, more than ever, is the time for Christians to be on the alert to the possible presence of these “spiritual serial-killers” stalking the people of God, either in the form of broadcast radio, cable television, published books, or the internet. False teaching is deadly serious; because on one hand, it can damn the souls of those blinded by its error never allowing them to understand the truth, while on the other, it can entangle Christians with wrong thinking that will rob them of the joy and delight of walking with Christ. Furthermore, it will cause divisions within congregations and before a church realizes it, false teaching will disrupt the godly fellowship believers have with one another.

The reality of spiritual invasion by false teachers should cause believers to cultivate discernment. This is especially true when they encounter the variety of so-called ministries with in any of the mediums mentioned above. Because of this danger, I wanted to offer a series of questions I usually pose when I come across any new “ministry” or popular Bible teacher. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but these questions do help a wary Christian to protect himself, along with other believers who may be uncertain about a specific teaching ministry or Bible teacher. I have eleven of them to offer.
I found these eleven questions listed by Fred to be quite discerning, and I think you will too. One cannot stress too highly the need for discernment in this day and age, and this essay can be most helpful.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 05/31/2006 7:18:52 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: sionnsar; ForGod'sSake; trussell; Knitting A Conundrum; dixiechick2000; Soul Seeker; apackof2; ...


2 posted on 06/01/2006 5:56:28 AM PDT by The Spirit Of Allegiance (Public Employees: Defend the Constitution! Represent LAWFUL Constituents! SEAL THE BORDERS NOW)
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