Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rebuking Peddlers of God's Word

2 Cor. 2:14-17 (ESV)
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. [15] For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, [16] to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? [17] For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Peddlers of God’s word, not a very flattering description. One suggested translation of the Greek here is not merely peddler, but huckster. The intended target of this derogatory term are those who distort God’s word for their own gain. In the Old Testament he would have been called a false prophet. One who would pretend to hear the word of God, and tell people what they like to hear, for their own financial gain. It was not that Paul did not receive compensation for his work as an apostle, at times at least he did, but not always. Furthermore, Paul upholds the right of those who preach the Gospel to make a living by the Gospel. It is a mark of shame among those who do not think God’s servants should be compensated for their work. But peddlers, and hucksters ought to be avoided, they should not be paid. A peddler won’t do the work God has entrusted to him. He will pick and choose verses, and ignore others, in order to distort God’s word and write a best seller.
We have many of these types in the world today, Benny Hin, Joel Olsteen, Rick Warren, Creflo Dollar, and almost anyone who ever appears on TBN. Just mentioning these names and pointing out their shortcomings though will earn one the label Pharisee. Usually by people who have no idea why the Pharisees were wrong. These same people would call Paul a Pharisee. The fact is where one sees false doctrine being preached one has to warn his sheep, and others against them. He has to expose where they are wrong in what they teach. No shepherd wants his sheep feeding in poisoned pastures. The pastor has to expose the false teaching, and that requires naming the guilty. I think most pastors who do this though, also hold out hope that the many guilty will repent of his error, and begin to speak in Christ. Until then the warning signs have to remain, the sheep dogs have to heard the faithful away. Sounding good doesn’t make it God’s word. Often God’s word, doesn’t sound nice at all, it sounds down right harsh. Yet it is much more nourishing.


Joseph Jaffe said...

Hey Bror, Sonia had our baby on Sept.9th, 2008@ 7:20pm at the U of U. His name is Kaden Eli Jaffe. He was 4 lbs 9 oz. He was born at 34 weeks and is having a little weakness and difficulty eating. Please add him and Sonia to a prayer of speedy recoveries! Thanks- Joe

Bror Erickson said...

You got it Joe. Glad to here I'll have another baptism soon.