Have you ever had food poisoning? I know I have had it at least once. I did not deliberately set out to eat that salad hoping that I would get the most ill I think I have ever been. No. I ate the first and then second helpings because I was hungry, the salad looked (and smelled) good, and because it was available on the buffet. I trusted the cook (it was not me) to serve something that was up to par. It seemed okay at the time. But, boy was I wrong! That salad was far from right and good. Suffice it to say that my body realized quickly all was not well and it took forever, it seemed, for my body to recover. Ick.
So it is with our theology. We can get some very distorted ideas if we base our knowledge on just anything. We need the Word first and foremost more than we need to consume and believe what man says is true. Otherwise, we’ll suffer theological food poisoning.
As you’ve done your homework in Hebrews this week, you’ve been doing some theology. Are you surprised? You have seen some very important truths about Jesus and God in this first chapter. These truths you’re uncovering and finding Scriptural addresses for are very important for you to have because we live in a postmodern world. By having this information you will be able to show to someone what the Bible has to say about Jesus.
Here’s another way of looking at that introduction to this day’s blog. Say you have a question about who Jesus is. Rather than going to God’s Word (because you think it’s too hard to understand), you decide you want to trek over to a bookstore and see what’s available on the subject of Jesus. You’re going to find a ton of written material out there. You randomly pull one off the shelf because the cover looks good and you have friends who have read that book. You trust their opinion. After all, they seem smart, wise, knowing. They wouldn’t deliberately lead you astray. Well, the price looks good and well, it is available and you can have it read in a week! Even better, it’s on the bestseller list of the New York Times and Amazon.com. Awesome!
A week later, after learning that Jesus is “a way to God” among many other ways, you decide you want to read some more about Jesus and so you go back to the store and pick out another bestseller on Jesus. In this one, you learn that Jesus was not perfect and that he had a wife. And so on. In another one, he was just a man. Another says that the Trinity is not real.
One of the authors you read has other books, a lot on Eastern mystics, and because you liked his style you pick up another of his and begin to tie in this Eastern mysticism with the stuff you like about Christianity and buddhism.
Before you know it, you have got TFP – Theological Food Poisoning! The only thing is that this one is worse than real food poisoning. You may not even know you have it.
Maybe this is a bit extreme. A more subtle form of TFP is when you read or hear something that seems to have some truth to it but you get a little flag waving in your spirit. But, you don’t check it out by seeking the correct information in its entirety. Then it happens again. Pretty soon a compilation of subtle partial truths affects your way of thinking. Somehow, you’re not so sure what really is true.
How will you know if you are falling prey to TFP? Know the TRUTH!
How can you know truth? God’s Word, the Bible. Dig deep in it.
There is a lot of counterfeit knowledge of God in this world. In order to recognize the counterfeit you must know the truth, the authentic, the real.
As a friend reminded me earlier today, in this world we have to extract the precious from the worthless (see Jeremiah 15:19).
I leave you with an exhortation from 1 Timothy 4:13-16 where Paul says to Timothy,
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in knowing the truth about Jesus as found in what God has to say about Him in His Word. He is your best source!