One of the great things about the Internet (and the rest of modern media) is that it allows anyone to share his views with a wide and diverse audience. One of the bad things, though, about the Internet (and the rest of modern media) is that it allows anyone to share his views with a wide and diverse audience. Jokes aside, there’s a lot of good out there, but there’s a whole lot of bad. How is a discerning Christian to tell the difference?
In the book of Acts, chapter 17, we read the story of Paul at Thessalonica. A group of Jews and “wicked men” rejected Paul’s preaching and drove them from the city. Paul and Silas then ended up in Berea, where they found people who “were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” When Paul preached, the Bereans didn’t just accept it because some preacher said it. They examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.
This is the pattern that we as Christians should follow. Whenever we hear a preacher or teacher speak, or read a book, we should carefully compare those teachings with what the Bible tells us. For some teachings, the errors are obvious. For others, though, it might be more subtle. For example:
* Is Bruce Wilkinson’s “The Prayer of Jabez” a good model for prayer?
* Do charismatics have a “strange fire” as John MacArthur has stated?
* Is Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” a Biblically sound approach to faith and fitness?
* Does God want us to have our best life now, as Joel Osteen asserts?
* Should we pray in circles like Mark Batterson tells us to?
* Is Rachel Held Evans teaching what “Biblical womanhood” truly is?
* Is it true that “Love Wins” as Rob Bell teaches?
And on and on. As followers of Jesus, one of our goals is to know the God of Heaven as fully and completely as a finite creature can. We must be careful, then, about what we take in and accept. We must be critical (in the positive sense) of any teaching we hear, with the Word of God, clarified by the work of the Holy Spirit, as our guide. As you listen to sermons and read books, carefully compare what you read and hear with what the Holy Spirit tells you through Scripture. There are a lot of great resources for Believers out there, but there are also many wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Perhaps trust, definitely verify, but whatever you do (with apologies to Journey), my advice is this: Don’t stop Berean!