ANYONE WHO HAS SPENT TIME RECENTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO, PERHAPS INUNDATED BY, BAD THEOLOGY. THIS IS NOT JUST A SLIGHT TINKERING WITH CORRECT DOCTRINE BUT A WHOLESALE REWRITING OF THE BIBLE. SINCE THE MEMES ARE POSTED BY SELF-PROCLAIMED “CHRISTIANS,” THE MEMES CARRY THE IMPRIMATUR OF HOLINESS AND WISDOM. ONCE THEY ARE EXAMINED, HOWEVER, IT IS CLEAR THEY ARE WICKED IN TEACHING AND DEMONIC IN ORIGIN.
THIS IS THE SECOND IN AN OCCASIONAL SERIES. YOU CAN READ THE FIRST ITEM here.
- Gal. 1:6 (NLT): “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News.”
- 2 Cor. 11:4 (NIV): “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”
MISUSING THE BIBLE
LET’S START WITH the assumption that the Bible is the Holy Word of God, that He inspired the writing and superintended its content.
The Bible makes that claim for itself, so the next step is for the Bible — as written — to back up that claim.
It does so with fulfilled prophecies, verifiable geographic, historic, and archeological truths, and — most of all — testimonies of changed lives.
That assumption gives those of us who believe in the Bible’s authenticity a solid foundation on which to place our lives and our salvation. Without that assumption, those who doubt the Word of God are free to concoct their own version of reality, grounded on nothing more solid than whimsy.
In an earlier post, we explored two such false claims; in this post, we’ll look at a third one. In future posts, we’ll examine other false claims.
III. LOVING THE BIBLE MORE THAN JESUS
THIS MEME IS THE WORST ONE, BY FAR. It’s basic message is similar to the first one we examined, but its language and flair make it more dangerous because it is more deceptive.
The fact that it was posted on social media by a self-proclaimed Christian makes the wickedness of the message even more toxic.
The meme begins with the shame-finger posturing so loved by the pseudo-Christian crowd: “Many Christians fail to grasp the basic point of the Bible: to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, many Christians love the Bible more than Jesus.”
To paraphrase the meme’s next section, this deception goes on to say that those worshipping in a “bible-believing church” (please note the lower case “b” in Bible) should jettison their faith-based approach and mimic the life and legacy of Jesus, to live as He lived.
That sounds good, but how He lived is described in the Bible, so reading the Bible and following the Bible’s teaching helps us see Jesus’ ministry and teaching for what He said and did! Without the Bible as a guide, we’re left to do what the pseudo-Christians do — make up His ministry to fit our worldview.
The meme sanctimoniously concludes: “You should love Jesus even more than you love the Bible, and it’s more important to be Christlike than it is to be “biblical.””
TRANSLATION: The Bible is an obscure book composed of 66 books written by a bunch of Jewish men who are long since dead, no doubt cobbled together from compromised manuscripts of doubtful validity and that any “truth” that might be contained therein might not be adequate or relevant to our more enlightened times. Following the Bible’s prescription for life is tantamount to following 2,000 to 3,000 year-old medical practices!
EXAMINATION: There are two main points to this meme plus a sinister sub-point that really makes the meme “come alive” for those pontificating pseudo-Christians. Let’s take a look together.
Point 1: There is a difference between the Bible and Jesus’ life. This is never directly explained other than to deny the Bible’s own teaching that it is the inspired word of God and that every word in it is true. Once you divorce the Bible from God’s inspiration, you’re left with a semi-valid book or maybe even a worthless tome. Better to fashion an image of Jesus than it is to look at Him through the lens of eye-witnesses.
Point 2: People who read the Bible, quote the Bible, study the Bible, and live by the Bible do not necessarily follow Jesus, although those who do not read the Bible, study it, quote it, or try to live by its teachings actually (somehow) are more in-tune with the purpose of the Bible, which is to follow Jesus.
CRUX OF THE MEME: This is the crux of the meme. The meme refers to those who read, study, and quote the Bible, who also voted for President Trump, oppose abortion (i.e., what the meme’s designers would call a woman’s right to choose), same-sex marriage (i.e., freedom to live one’s true nature), open borders (i.e., racist xenophobia opposing true asylum-seekers), and support the use of fossil fuels (i.e., destroying the earth’s environment).
Those who claim to follow Jesus rather than the Bible proclaim their virtue to cover the “marginalized,” much as they imagine the Lord did, without regard to His motive, which was not to affirm anyone in their sin or despair but to forgive them and provide them an abundant life with peace and joy.
Basically, the Jesus-instead-of-the-Bible meme is the political Left’s attempt to dress-up an anti-biblical secular agenda with a sprinkling of “God Talk” to provide a religious alternative to Christian values and love of country.
The Bible warns us about such imitations, declaring in 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV): For Satan himself transfers himself into an angel of light.”
The Message Bible describes Satan’s deception this way: (2 Corinthians 11:14 MSG):
“They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.”
The so-called religious Left even conjures up a code-name for their enemies within the church: “Christian nationalists” and treat this condition they have named as a disease worse than their own agenda, which is secular-based, government-run, socialism.
Just compare the platform of the religious Left with that of their close cousins, the secular Left. Except for the “God-talk,” there’s little difference.
THE BIBLE TELLS US that in the “latter days,” many members of Christian churches will veer from the Truth of God’s Word, substituting for it their own theology. (1 Tim. 4:1-10) This is what we are seeing on social media, where so-called Christians plaster false narratives.
Those narratives seem to focus on one or another of two central themes — one, that following Jesus is somehow different from, and preferred to, following the Bible; and two, that those church members who hold onto the Bible as their main source of truth are “missing” the true purpose of church.
Both narratives, usually blended together, falsely advance the narrative that the Bible is not God’s Holy Word; that it is not to be obeyed literally; that it is, at best, a moral guide that should be interpreted holistically; and that those church members who actually do read the Bible, quote it, and try to live by it, are missing the point of church.
When self-proclaimed Christians discard the Bible’s instruction and replace it with their own theology, and then urge non-believers to join them in casting aspersions against those who do follow the Bible’s teaching, we have reached the Bible’s prophesy in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
O FATHER GOD, our hearts are burdened for our fellow church members who have veered off track, who are following demonic spirits and leading non-believers into the lost spaces with them. Lord, we can see this on social media, where pastors and worship leaders lend their authority to embracing the apostasy that the Bible is not Holy Spirit-driven but just a faulty collection of ancient Jewish writing that needs serious updating to be considered valuable and relevant. Lord, lead us who claim the mantel of Christ to remain faithful. Keep us from going astray, and help us to reach our fallen brethren and bring them back to Your Word. In Jesus’ magnificent and holy name we pray. AMEN