Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reading Heresy Helps Our Faith? Hunh?

I taught at a church here in southern California recently. Afterwards, a few people were perusing the DVDs and books at our resource table. A lady told me, "I just bought a book at Costco to read on an upcoming vacation I'm taking. It's about Mary Magdalene and some of the gospels that the author said were lost. I read the back cover of the book when I got home and it said things about her that don't line up with the Bible. Do you think I should read that book or take one of these books that you have here at the table?" Well you probably know what I was about to say but before I could answer, another lady standing there at the table said, "Oh I would just read the book you got at Costco!"

Did I just hear what I think I heard? Before I could interject, she continued. "Reading books with a contrary point of view will only help strengthen your faith."

"Strengthen your faith?" I was thinking, "Did she ask you the question or me?" She continued, "It will help you know better what you believe!" I was stunned. I think the others listening in were as well. But she wasn't done, "That's why I read The Da Vinci Code!" she said, "It strengthened my faith. I don't see why Christians were so upset with that book." (Click here if you want to see why we we had a problem with The Da Vinci Code.)

Now that she was done, I immediately said that I disagreed and that our time as Christians was better spent reading factual, Biblically sound books that would strengthen and encourage our faith. The woman who asked the question agreed, and then picked up a copy of a book by Ron Rhodes (Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics). Good choice. The other lady walked off.

The Bible warns us that "There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words" (2 Peter 2:1-3). False teachings are destructive. They lead to the spiritual ruin of countless people. Elsewhere in the Bible, false teachings are likened to "gangrene" (2 Tim. 2:17) and the Bible warns that they lead to the "ruin of the hearers" and "upset the faith of some" (2 Tim. 2:14-18).

Be careful with what you read my friends. Many a Christian has had their faith shipwrecked after deciding to pick up a book by an enemy of the cross of Christ. I pray that the Lord gives you discernment and wisdom as to what you spend your time reading.