Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Truth is Out There

We’re in an election year, which means we’re buried in political advertisements, debates and promises. Every election cycle the pattern repeats itself with enthusiastic candidates pitching ideas to voters about how they will shake up Washington. The more unrealistic the promise, the more excited their supporters become. Why do these improbable, if not impossible, ideas generate so much excitement?

The phenomenon is not new and is not isolated to politics. It is common practice to make promises based on half-truths, or full lies, to endorse a product or idea. Sometimes these empty promises are harmless, but sometimes these promises can lead to real suffering. In Matthew 7:15-16, 21 we read, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves”. We also read in 2 Corinthinans 11:3-4, 13-14, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray…For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus…you receive a different spirit…or a different gospel…you submit to readily enough…Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”.

Our discussion this week focused on several African governments who are proposing some regulations on churches to prevent thieves from using religion to manipulate people out of their assets or cause them other harm. Ideas ranged from government regulation to regulation within the church. Government involvement in church is not an ideal solution as religious freedoms could be violated. Regulation from within the church is also complicated as there are multiple legitimate sects of Christianity, some of which have practices that appear on the fringe as compared to larger denominations. Is there really a fair and balanced way to regulate religion?  
As Christians we must come to know God’s word as this is our only defense against false prophets. Any glimmer of hope is welcome when we’re at our lowest points. It is at those moments when we’re most vulnerable to succumbing to false prophets who “promise” to fix our problems. As appealing as those promises appear, always keep God’s word in mind. God does not promise to fix our problems, but rather provides us the tools to get through our problems. We are not always given the answer we want, or expect, but that does not mean our prayers are not answered.

Politicians are an easy mark when it comes to empty promises, but I do believe most politicians take office with the best of intentions. Once they take up their new office and realize they are no longer speaking to cheering crowds of supporters, the reality of being an elected official sets in. The difference with well-intentioned politicians and false prophets is what they do once they understand their decisions will directly impact people’s lives. False prophets carry on with their message, regardless the cost to their followers, to continue building themselves up. Well-intentioned politicians make decisions based on what they believe is best for their constituents, even when it is unpopular.

The truth is false prophets are obvious when you know God’s word. Every week we meet at Grace Baptist Church to learn more about God’s word together and we hope you’ll join us!

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