2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIRV)
The time will come when people won't put up with true teaching. Instead, they will try to satisfy their own longings. They will gather a large number of teachers around them. The teachers will say what the people want to hear. The people will turn their ears away from the truth. They will turn to stories that aren't completely true.I was reminded of this passage. Other translations speak of people listening to things that their itching ears want to hear.
Is this passage speaking about me? Is this passage speaking about the reformed camp? Is this passage speaking about the emergent camp? Is this passage speaking about specific denominations or movements within Christianity.
I think the fact is we all like to listen to people that we agree with.
This happens outside of church as well. Think about what news sources you choose. You may think some news sources are biased in certain ways, so you avoid them. But there are other people who think your news sources are biased in other ways.
The danger of course is that we write off people we think we disagree with, and don't allow them to influence us. Over time people become very polarized in there thinking.
If you look at the church today, I fear this is happening.
For awhile I really enjoyed listening to The God Journey podcasts of Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. I heard them say many refreshing things. I can't find an exact quote of one thing, but I believe they said something along these lines. That they believed something was wrong if someone was still listening to them for over a year. They believed they had a message to share, but they didn't want people simply switching from following some other people to later become dependent on following Wayne and Brad.
So what can be done?
- I think we need to be careful of the sources we choose to influence us.
- We need to be listening to the Holy Spirit who guides us.
- Be prepared for growth. The Holy Spirit will likely nudge you at times to be influenced by ideas you are not comfortable with.