Itching Ears
Friday, August 6, 2010

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  (2 Tim. 4:3)

 

                Paul wrote about a time when people would flock to false teachers.  He was not talking of his time, although false teachers certainly occurred in his day.  No, he was referring not to a time when false teachers would abound, but a time when Christians would gather around themselves false teachers, because they do not want to hear the true Gospel.  Folks, we live in that time.  I have long been an observer of such occurrences with the rise of some mega-churches.  Not all, but many of these churches are headed by these ear-scratching pastors – pastors who tell their congregations what their itching ears want to hear.

 

                I have watched these mega-churches rise and fall.  Some fall because of impropriety of the pastors, some just die of their natural weight.  But all of these churches rise up not because there are false teachers in the world, but because there are people who will not put up with sound doctrine, but instead will tolerate teachings only if their ears are scratched.  I believe Paul was speaking of our time, more than any time in history.  This past week, I witnessed such an example.

 

                I was sitting at a loving and grieving man’s kitchen table and was witnessing to him.  He rose from the table and retrieved a tape series by a pastor he was obviously enamored with.    I had not heard of this pastor, but I read the CD jacket to learn more about him.  In the very first paragraph the words of the pastor said, “There are some things over which God does not have control.”  I immediately said, “I don’t know the context of this sentence, but if the pastor believes this, he is a false teacher.”  The man defended the teaching and the pastor and urged me to listen to the CD.  So on my trip home, I listened to this man rail such drivel that my hackles were raised and my spirit was in total check mode.  In the course of this one hour tape message the doctrinal and biblical errors were so numerous I could not count them.  Finally, I had to turn off the CD.

 

                You see, I have been writing a lot lately about the necessity for Christians “to know” as matters of fact, what it is they believe.  And I will defend the gospel as a body of information we can indeed know as facts because of the evidence that we have – historical and eyewitness accounts that cannot be denied.  And I believe that such abuses as what I encountered this last week occur when Christians are duped into believing that Christianity is like every other religion – only a matter of internal beliefs that suit their own bent or personality.  And because people have been lured by the enemy, through the hands of secularism and atheism, into accepting that teaching, that then frees them up to first of all, ignore the sound doctrines of the Christian faith, and secondly, without a foundation of reality, gather around themselves teaches who tell them what their itching ears want to hear.

 

                Sadly, many of the people doing the gathering have lived in a culture that laughs and mocks at sound doctrine.  It is a culture that says, “All religions are basically the same.”  And because that is what they have been taught in government schools, by the media, and by public opinion swayed more by Hollywood than by sincere search for truth, they unknowingly have created an environment where these false teachers can flourish.  Men and women can rise up in the flocks and devour the sheep simply because the sheep are ignorant of sound doctrine.  They become content in letting these false teachers lead them in doctrines that sound on the surface “more enlightening” than a doctrine of a Holy God who has historically called His children to Himself; who has made great sacrifices to allow that to happen; and who has asked only that we live a holy life in relationship with Him.  And it is that last part that is the rub.  There are many who want to discredit the holiness of God; many more who want to deny that He had to sacrifice His only begotten Son in order to atone for our sins; but the biggest rub comes in obedience.  So we gather around ourselves men and women teachers who distort obedience (a high ranking official in a liberal church once told me “obedience is a very oppressive word”).  We want our teachers to tell us that God requires nothing of us; is bound to answer all our prayers if we pray rightly (their definitions); and must financially reward us for doing formula things.

 

                The end result in all that is disillusioned people, more falling away from Christian based upon truth, and doors of caring churches being closed because they are dying.  You see, ear-scratching pastors are like grass in the field; they spring up from nowhere but dry and burn up quickly.  The problem is the grass fires left in their wakes, burn many sheep as well.  As long as we put up with doctrine that is not sound (and the only way we can know is to study, appoint biblical elders, and dig deep into enduring biblical teachings), we will be perpetuating these teachers.  And every time we remain silent to their false teachings, another innocent life is drawn in.

                 Read the word of God.  Take every teaching and filter it through the Word.  Pay attention to who is being appointed elders in your churches (their job is sound doctrine – Titus 2:1).  When liberal or name it claim it, or prosperity, or liberation, or legalistic messages are being taught, stand up, be counted.  That will require of every Christian that we “know.”

 


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Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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