Read: John 3:36
The other day Jacqui was questioning number of mugs that sit on my office windowsill. She noticed they have been sitting there for a few years gathering dust and taking up room. I was quick to defend each piece of memorabilia and what it meant to me (whenever my “collections” are challenged, I immediately become defensive). There was one mug that I’ve had for years, and each time I read it, it humbles me and causes me to address my own Christian witness. It was from Hank Hanegraaff and his radio program called “The Bible Answer Man”. This is what was scrolled on the mug: “Are you willing to do for the truth, what the cults do for a lie?” That by itself is a rather disturbing question.
The last ReCharge which I wrote, was about false teachers (remember the Pink Lemonade?). The health, wealth, and prosperity gospel attract many unsuspecting people and it continues to taint the church of Jesus Christ. But the group of people that Hank was specifically referring to are designated “cults". These people who go beyond the normal tactics of false doctrine and lies about their group’s abilities. These people are huge organizations that call themselves “family”. They are the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Scientologists and so many more. They are deceitful and destructive. They destroy families.
Years ago, my uncle, who lived in York Pa, came home from work one day to discover that his wife had some visitors. They said they were God’s representatives on earth, and they were going door to door, teaching the truth about Jesus Christ. They said they were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also called “Mormons.” My uncle did not know much about this group but he knew enough to warn his wife about letting them into the house. The only problem was, she didn’t heed his warning. She allowed the Mormon missionaries to come back for several Bible studies. They faithfully returned for like clockwork until one day my uncle came home from work and had the surprise of his life. His wife, along with their 3 children, had moved to Salt Lake City and became Mormons. It was over 10 years before he ever saw his children again. That is exactly what the cults would do for a lie!
Paul knew from personal experience what it meant to go against false teachers. In Acts 14:19-20 it says: “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” This is the extent that these people will go to build up “their” kingdom. Whether it is shunning a couple for not complying with false beliefs, or killing someone for preaching the gospel, they will stop at nothing to promote the lie! And so, the question remains, what will I do for the truth?
Apply: Some of you are probably thinking: “Well that’s not me or my family, we’ve been good Methodists for 5 decades and I don’t see that changing any time soon.” And you probably won’t see it. For example, there are over 16 million Mormons today. They are everywhere, in your schools, in your community, in your businesses and even in your neighborhood. And that is just one cult! There are hundreds of cults on college campuses, just waiting to welcome you or your children in for a “chat”. The Bible makes it clear how we should respond to lies and false teachings. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” Be on the offensive. Go to your neighbors and tell them the truth; go to your colleagues at work and tell them the truth; go to your teachers and tell them the truth. Don’t always be on the defensive when you tell the truth. They will plainly see that what has been done has been done through God. I thank God for the reminder on Hank’s mug: “Are you willing to do for the truth, what the cults do for a lie?”
Authored by Bill Stoner
Bill is a retired pastor who continues teaching, discipling, and working with children through the church and by substitute teaching. He loves to serve his Lord.