Monday 19 November 2012

The Danger of Becoming an "Internet Theologian"

What an interesting topic! A fellow minister warned me about two years ago, that in his experience, quite often some church members becomes ensnared by certain untested "winds of doctrine" to be found on the internet. This blog post is not anti-technological. The internet is in many ways a blessing but it is also a conduit for all kinds of material. The danger I am warning of is this: Anyone can find someone on the internet who will agree with them.

For a Christian who is gullible or not well taught, this can potentially leave them wide open for a whole range of false teaching. This is warning number one! However, there is a further warning and it is that the internet can easily become a substitute for the real thing. What is the real thing? It is teaching and fellowship in and through the church. It is live preaching and fellowship that God has chosen as his ordinary means of grace. This raises another danger; that is the one of becoming over-reliant upon internet sermons.

Listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you', nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you' " (1 Cor.12:21). It would be completely unacceptable for all of the apostles if they heard that Christians stopped at home to surround themselves with teachers who feed their itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3). This small blog article introduces some dangers of people becoming their own isolated "internet theologian", when God has ordained instead, pastor-teachers in the flesh to govern and teach us. Here is a checklist of things to consider to guard yourselves from deception.

1. Do you faithfully worship in a local church where you are in submission to godly elders? If this is not the case then you misled and therefore you are probably not in position to discern and judge between what is right and wrong with respect to theology found on the internet.

2. Do you have a teachable spirit? Most often this is where the problem lies because if you listen to internet sermons as a substitute to sitting under teaching by a pastor, then you cannot be confronted or corrected.

3. When you open your mind to teaching on the internet, take the time to find out about the location of the person's church position who is doing the teaching. Recently, I took the time to investigate a well-known reformed internet advertised ministry, only to discover that the founder had no checks and balances and he is a loose-cannon beyond the bounds of any correction. He is not part of a church, he is not ordained or trained theologically and yet he has a worldwide internet Christian ministry. It is amazing how someone can get such a following and continue "under the radar" and damage the church of God.

This blog post is a small start to hopefully protect the true sheep of God from becoming ensnared by untested and unaccountable teachers who are easily found on the internet.

1 John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world".

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