Believing a Lie


(Robert Fields) #1

I have asked God this question recently and I’m curious if others have wrestled with this as well.

Does God allow us to believe a lie, even if its for a short time before finding the truth?
The assumption is that we have a heart for the Truth, found only in Jesus.

I am a pastor who depends on God’s mercy and grace, along with diligent study, to make sure I’m not teaching anything false or believing anything that is not true. Would God allow me, as His shepherd, to believe a lie and possibly teach that lie to my congregation?

It can be a scary thing to contemplate.

Thanks,
God Bless!

Robert


(Joseph Kamau Njoroge) #2

God will allow you to believe in a lie if you delight in wickedness…

God will not second you into preaching a lie,but He is unlikely to stop you if you choose to.
God delights in truth… Psalms 51:6 ,He will not go against His nature.

You need not worry ,All you need is to depend on the Holy Spirit
John 16: 13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come.

Kindly note the words ALL TRUTH.

The Holy Spirit is our helper,and we should seek His help all the time.


(Keldon Scott) #3

Consider the statement: once I become a Christian I know all the truth. That can’t possibly be. Nor is it necessarily the case that I ever know all the truth. Consequently I believe that God allows us to let it be a journey and he reveals to us those truths at come at key points in our lives. It is a tad scary especially if you are preaching. But, I got to believe that there are so many scriptures that lend new truth or we find truth in the manner in which we live that have been revealed in their own time. Love the John 16:13 reference as a scriptural response, but also Philippians 4:6.


(Keldon Scott) #4

Ravi’s Just Thinking message this week, “Mind the Gap” is really good. Check it out here. The balance of the message can be found at rzim.org.


(SeanO) #5

@rob1770 The first thing I would point out is that if you are in Christ God has revealed the greatest truth of all to you! Even if every week all a minister had to feed the congregation was the Gospel, that is a beautiful feast. And God has saved you from the most ancient of lies - that we do not need God.

Beyond that, I would echo what @Keldon_Scott said - that it takes time to learn truth even as a Christian.

In Jewish culture in Jesus’ day, a man could not be recognized as a Rabbi until they were 30 years old. But why? Surely there were younger men with a heart to serve.

I think part of the answer is that it takes time to learn wisdom and have a good enough grasp of life / God’s Word to teach it to others.

Proverbs 4:7 - The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 11:14 - For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.

As we seek to grow as Christians and teachers of the Word, we must realize it takes hard work in study / practice and humility to learn from many other wise men (like Ravi).

In this way God forces us to rely on His Body and also teaches us humility.

But what are the implications for us as teachers?

My personal advice - don’t teach what you don’t know. If you don’t know, just be honest.

In terms of being afraid that teaching only partial truth will not bring glory to God, I think D. L. Moody is a great life to study.

At first, D. L. Moody always preached judgment. He had never heard of God’s great love through the cross. Once he heard about God’s love, he preached that more. But he had never heard of the power of the Spirit. Once he learned about the power of the Spirit from the Moravians, he preached that…

Moody used what truth was at his disposal - and possibly overemphasized certain parts of it at certain times in his life. Yet God honored his sincere commitment to seek and save the lost through Christ. And I think that is comforting - if we approach the responsibility of teaching with humility and determination - not going beyond what we know - God can use us in mighty ways and teach us more as we discourse with other Christians and grow deeper in Christ.


(Melvin Greene) #6

I would agree with these other posts. The fact that you are concerned with this tells me that your heart is in the right place. God promises us that if we ask, we will receive according to His will. If you are diligently seeking knowledge, and wisdom, He will honor your efforts. I believe that all truth comes from God. There is no deceit in Him. Jesus tells us that he is the Way, the TRUTH, the Life. I am convinced that if God has led you to become a pastor, he will equip you with all you need to do so, which would include the capability to learn and understand truth, so you can feed and care for His flock.

God bless you for your servant heart, and your willingness to lead His flock!


(Dave Kenny) #7

Oh that there would be more pastors in this world that would carry the same fear and trembling that you do in approaching the exposition of God’s word to His people! You are to be commended.

Thank God that his Holy Spirit goes ahead of us into the hearts and minds of those we will run into.

Dave


(Jennifer Judson) #8

I think first I will say that there is a huge difference between a lie and being mistaken–motive. I also think that God reveals his truth(s) to us in His timing, but I don’t think I would phrase that as “allowing us to believe a lie.”

If you preach something you sincerely believe to be true and later find out it’s incorrect or at least not illuminating the full picture, then as a pastor/teacher you must consider your obligation to bring that new light to your congregation. If you don’t, you could be turning what began with pure motives into something deceitful.

Think of the variety of Christian radio stations, programs, books and websites where one can get a wide range of conflicting, or seemingly conflicting answers. So sorting out truth can be both necessary and challenging.

Are you:
Doing your due diligence to seek biblical truth?
Prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom and revelation?
Consulting mature Christians for wise counsel?
Allowing love to illuminate both grace and truth?

It sounds from your initial question that you are. God knows your heart and if you’re sincerely seeking His, then lead and love your congregation with the confidence of a man that is called, has the power of the Holy Spirit, the inheritance of salvation, and a place before the very throne of God.


(Robert Fields) #9

Thank you Jennifer, and all others, who have responded with words of encouragement. You all have offered things to consider in finding peace and confidence as God’s servant.

God Bless!
Robert


(Carson Weitnauer) #10

Hi @rob1770,

As a practical matter, I have heard of and deeply respected pastors who implement the following two practices:

  1. A theological/cultural research team.
  2. A sermon review committee.

These could be the same (or different). Let’s say a pastor plans to teach on the Gospel of Mark. Rather than attempting to do all the research and preparation by himself, he could invite a couple of elders, a few teenagers, a college students, and a handful of others who are known for their wisdom, maturity, and love for the Lord to come alongside him in sermon preparation. They would meet together in advance to pray, to look at the sermon series length, to review some commentaries, to have someone consider cultural angles relevant to the gospel, and so on. Then they would meet regularly where the team would come and share with the pastor what they had learned in their study. This would give the pastor the benefit of many other insights and encouragement than the pastor might find on their own.

Second, after each week’s sermon, the pastor would seek to meet with a similarly diverse cross-section of the congregation. Perhaps it is a different group each week or month. They would ask some questions, perhaps these would change over time. For starters:

  • Was the sermon faithful to the Scriptures?
  • Was it communicated with love?
  • Was it relevant to your lives?
  • How do you see God using the sermon to deepen your walk with Christ?
  • How could it have been improved?

I believe that a pastor who developed these communities in their congregation might be more effective and build a stronger, healthier church at the same time.


(Robert Fields) #11

I like that idea. I wonder if my small congregation would have the desire to invest that much of themselves into such a process!?!?!

Thanks for the response.

Robert


(Carson Weitnauer) #12

Hi Robert, obviously, you will know your congregation best!

I think it would have to be connected to a larger purpose than “making the sermons awesome” (to exaggerate the point). Rather, it would have to be part of coming together as a team, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to know the word of God and the cultural context more deeply than we currently do, to avoid lies and cling to the truth, as we pursue a shared mission to lovingly invite others into the kingdom of God. The sermons would have to be less teaching and more training and equipping as the congregation moves forward in a collaborative way to serve the poor, care for the lonely, invite the lost back home, and so on. I imagine you are doing all of these things!

So, connecting the dots between the process I’ve proposed and the life of your church seems to be the key link. But, I speak from a distance as a non-pastor! My heart is to encourage you, not to add another burden to the life of a busy pastor. I hope this is a helpful perspective in some way.