By Mary Van Nattan
2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
Experts abound today in the Lord's church, in Christendom, and in the world. We have experts on health, child rearing, Baptist history, home schooling, food, money, witnessing, living a beautiful life, prophecy, the evils of government, etc. etc. How do we determine what is the truth as opposed to what is philosophy, vain deceit, traditions of men, and rudiments of the world? Are we adrift on this sea of information with no anchor, no compass to give us direction? Are we really at the mercy of these experts to lead us into all truth? Is there no understanding outside of them? Too often this is the impression we get from them and from their followers.
This illustration of salvation has been given -
Let's say I'm standing on a sinking ship. The ship is broken and as I look down into the water from where I am standing on the deck, I can see people already swimming around down there in the water, and I want to save them. What if I were to grab a life preserver and throw it to them saying, "Here! Catch this! I'll save you!" What good would that do? I'm on the sinking ship they left! I can't rescue them. We need someone to save us that is not on the sinking ship! That Someone is Christ.
This illustration seemed appropriate to me for the subject of experts. Truly, many of them are doing little more than throwing lifesavers from a sinking ship. Many of them are standing on the sinking ship themselves. Some may be standing on the Rock, Christ Jesus; yet they are throwing nothing but their own ideas and worldly, carnal wisdom to those drowning. They offer "lifesavers" that are still attached to a ship that is doomed, rather than directing people to Jesus Christ. What good is that?
But the verses above tells us that we who are saved are complete in Christ and that in Him dwelleth ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It is no mistake that this is mentioned in the context of being spoiled through philosophy, vain deceit, and so forth. Furthermore, we read just previous to this, Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. The Bible clearly says that all the the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ, in whom we are complete. (What don't you understand about "all"?) Beguilers with enticing words are more than eager to offer their alleged help. We do not need worthless lifesavers. We need a better understanding of what we have in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His word (KJV).
2Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
First of all, it is particularly important for ladies to address this issue. As we can see in this passage, women are more easily led astray by these creeps than are men. The Bible says, And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 1Timothy 2:14 Regardless of what our flesh may tell us, we should adjust our thinking to this fact - Women are more easily deceived. (Just one small example: Consider all the women who "should have had more sense" yet married idiots and scum thinking they could change them.) [If you think these comments are "sexist" please click here. If you are a wimp and can't take the truth, click here, and good-bye.]
Also, it is common for women to become "little experts" based on what they have read and studied from the "big experts." Perhaps because of our mothering instinct we are inclined to want to instruct others and "help" them get things "right" when we think we ourselves have found something especially important. The Lord seems to have given woman an instinct to search out and use information that will be useful to her in keeping the home, training the children, helping her husband, and in general being a Proverbs 31 woman. However, it is easy to run amok with this. It is easy to become a busybody and know-it-all with what we learn, trying to convince everyone around us to follow our dictates which we base upon the expert's. It is easy to think ourselves wiser and better than others. Remember Eve in the garden of Eden. 2Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (This was addressed to the whole church, so we know that men can and do fall into this too.) Remember that it was Eve that ate first of the forbidden fruit and then gave it to Adam so that he could have the imagined "benefits" of it also. Genesis 3:6 Paul continued in 2Corinthians 11:18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. Apparently the Corinthians were putting up with all kind of abuse and accepting it gladly thinking they were wise. How familiar this sounds in regard to what some people will take from their favorite expert and what they will try to pass on to others.
One thing that has disturbed me is to hear women nagging other women with what they have learned from some expert. A woman that has only two children that are both half grown reads the Pearls' potty training methods. She has not tried it, and does not know anyone that has, but she will nag some other woman, with a large family and several babies about it insisting that it is "the best" way.
A young mother will absorb herself with the wonderful advice of some expert and will go to church and instruct older women (whose kids are grown and trying to serve the Lord) as to how they "should have" raised their children. She thinks she has made a wonderful discovery and is so smart, never realizing that the Bible says she should have been going to the older women in her church for the advice she needed (Titus 2), not pointing out their alleged "mistakes" to them. (It should be noted that sometimes women who have made mistakes and realized it later, can also be a good source of what not to do. Some of them do realize their mistakes, sisters.)
Some lady will mention a health difficulty that she has and some other lady that is a self-made, "little expert" on "health" will offer a barrage of unsolicited "help." I, myself, had health trouble and, thinking it could be allergy related, had tried eliminating things from my diet till I was messing myself up physically. I was under a lot of emotional stress and needed the nutrients some foods supply, and had also had a strong depression-type reaction to a powerful antibiotic. My sister asked prayer for me by e-mail, and a lady who has preoccupied herself with health cures, sent me her latest find from an expert - a wonder cure to most of mankind's ailments achieved by rigorous fasting. Just exactly what I needed! Had I followed it, I most certainly would have worsened my condition, possibly I would have ended up in my grave.
Men can certainly fall into these things as well. We have seen a pastor that was an herb specialist and was constantly "prescribing" for every little problem his members had. My brother overheard him telling one man who didn't seem to care for the "prescription," "Well, I'm your pastor and I know what's good for you, blah, blah, blah." Yes, he was actually trying to jackboot someone into taking herbs and vitamins or some such thing! Hohum, and pass the sugar.
Sisters, something is wrong when we feel it our duty to take charge of someone else's life. We all can be guilty of this kind of thing. It is easy to fall into. 1Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. If this is good for the pastor, and it is; then it is certainly good for the rest of us. Let's not be lording it over our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The second thing we need to heed from the 2 Timothy passage is the command (yes, it is a command) to turn away from those that are described. My family has known more than one lady who had a real problem with this. They just cannot admit the men are creeps and turn away from them. They really do become captives. This is why it is of great importance to identify and turn away before these creeps can lead astray. It is of equal importance to be sober, and to confess and forsake our sins. Notice that is it the silly women laden with sins that are led away with divers lusts. They are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. What a graphic and apt description of what we see too often - women who are always studying something or following some person, yet when they are instructed or confronted with truth from the word of God, they cannot figure it out or they openly reject it. And, when their husbands try to lead them they will not follow, though the Bible clearly commands them to do so.
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
Some women also have a terrible time following the admonition in verses 17-18. It really seems to hurt them sometimes to have to mark and avoid someone because of what they are and say. We must, we must. There are good reasons for it. Look at the list in 2 Timothy 3. Is that the kind of crowd you want to hang with? And I mean hang in the sense of actually hanging, because we are told that they will take captive those who do not turn away, and verse 9 of 2 Timothy 3 tells us that their folly shall be manifest unto all men... If we become their captives, when they are exposed, guess who else is exposed with them? We are. Can you see how needful it is to mark and avoid? As always with the word of God, it is for our own good.
Some women have a hard time being simple concerning evil. We do not need to know every evil thing that is going on. Often it is better that we do not. Most women are not emotionally or mentally prepared to deal with that kind of information. I have learned this myself by personal experience. My family also knew a woman that was always digging up stuff and filling her mind with terrifying things. She was a very fearful person. She was scared to witness too much or hand out tracts too much because she had read too much about the government's alleged plans for persecuting Christians. And so it goes.
If you need some information on something, and your husband or father feels it appropriate, get enough to make your conclusion. Don't waste your life digging up every piece of dirt you can find. And if you cannot deal with the information, if it makes you nervous or scared, quit going after it. Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
So, how do we examine the experts? Some are obvious. Some are hard to discern because they are very careful to keep to the truth in most areas. (Notice I say "most areas.") Some merely have a lopsided ministry; that is to say they overemphasize one subject to the exclusion of other needful things. This, however, can lead them to a situation where they begin to add their own patented ideas that are not borne up by scripture in order to keep the faithful following and money flowing.
But it takes too much time and would require an impossible amount of research to expose all the experts of the various colors and stripes. Besides that, it would go out of date too quickly. So, by the grace of God, I am going to try to give you some basic questions and principles to help you discern the experts and ministries. Some principles you may be able to apply to non-Christian experts as well.
Note: I have used many examples in illustrating points. I am drawing from examples that I am familiar with. I have considered no one as "sacred." You will get your toes stepped on. Please do not waste your time getting your feelings hurt. The object is to get YOU to examine them by the word of God.
Lest you do not read this article to the end, let me here state the most important things. 1. Always examine the expert in light of the word of God (King James Bible). 2. Always consider if Jesus Christ is the center of the expert's ministry or teaching. And, God grant that you may be wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
reason people chase after these [experts]
to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
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