We live in a day and age of moral and religious relativism. What do I mean by this? Simply that there is a modern culture of acceptance of any and everything that turns up; there is a reticence among most people to be critical of the beliefs of others out of a sort of false irenicism. This should not be the case among Christians. As Christians we believe that the Gospel holds forth certain truths that are the basis of our judgement of religious statements. If something is contrary to the Gospel, then we cannot accept it as being true. This applies to both faith and morality, and not to scientific judgements.
Jesus warns his followers that they are to be wary of false prophets who will ‘dress up’ their doctrines so that they look right but are really not in accordance with the truth of the Gospel. Sometimes the doctrines as such may be all correct but the way of going about living them leads a lot to be desired. For example, there may be a lack of humility or a sense of superiority in the lifestyle of certain movements or sects. It is for this reason we have to be prudent in what we accept and be ready to reject that which does not fully conform to the Gospel both in word and lifestyle.
One of the dangers of modern Christianity is the so-called Prosperity Gospel. The fundamental doctrines are sound but the way of applying them to an individual’s life leaves much to be desired. In fact, it is very deceptive in the way it deals with such realities as sickness, poverty and money to the point that it often leads people to disillusionment with Christianity as whole. It is not the fault of an individual that is born into poverty that he or she is poor! It is not God’s will that he or she be poor. Similarly, it is NOT a sign of God’s blessing that a person be born into wealth! For each person, it is up to them to hear God’s call for their life and to take the responsibility to follow it such that righteousness and justice will prevail. I will leave it to you to discern what this might mean for the poor or for the rich.
Have I allowed myself to be deceived by any false prophets? If so, what do I need to do to set my life back on the right path?
Jesus, help me to be discerning in all I believe and accept as true. I want to follow you. Help me to avoid all false doctrines and all false examples of Christian living.