The Weight of Influence

Why does influence matter? Do you ever ask yourself this question? I have come to realize that influence does matter – it matters a lot! Have you ever wondered how strong, biblically sound Believer’s end up veering off the narrow way into a very wide ditch? I have asked God this question more times than I can remember and you know what He has shown me – INFLUENCE. Just because someone starts out solid in their Christian faith does not mean they will end that way if the people they allow to influence them are not sound, it will eventually have a negative impact on them as well. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived; Evil company corrupts good habits.” or “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” This is about influence. It matters! I have been thinking about some of the people who have influenced me as a Believer over the years, and you know what I have realized? Many of them have allowed some sort of unbiblical thinking or practice into their “Christianity” most likely because of someone who has had a spiritual influence on them. Some of these are pastors or ministry leaders and yet someone has had enough influence over them that now they are not completely inline with sound doctrine, and they teach that to those under their authority. Have they forgotten that pastors and leaders are held to a higher standard of accountability before the Lord? I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Our influence as Believer’s in Jesus Christ carries a great amount of responsibility. Why are so many so easily or willing to accept teaching that contains error? Why do we need to learn from those who teach a mix of truth and error? A little error makes it all error! Gal. 5:9. The Bible says that we are to have nothing to do with those who teach false teaching or promote false teaching.

2 John 7 “Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-Christ.” 2 John 9 “Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching, but goes beyond it does not have God.”

Yet, there are people all over the place being influenced by such teaching right now – today!!! The Bible says that such people are to be accursed – under a curse. That’s intense! There is weight and responsibility to who is influencing us and how we are influencing others. The Lord brought the title for this blog to mind about a week ago. I wasn’t really sure where He was going with it so I have been praying asking Him, “What are you getting at?” He gave me real life flesh and blood answers! In the course of a few days this is how He answered – I had a CCM artist pop up in my social media news feed and she was joyfully promoting a new book she was just getting started on written by a Progressive Christian pastors wife. A post prior to that one showed this same person demonstrating contemplative prayer. This CCM artist is followed by thousands of women and now her influence to these women has done two things: 1. gave a thumbs up to Christian women regarding this progressive Christian as someone good to read and follow. 2. She introduced a spiritual practice to these women that is not of God and not biblical, so now all these women see that “it’s all good”…No it’s not. Then another day, a church connected to a friend of a friend, shared a book by a contemplative spiritualist on their social media for those in their church to find after a pastor had apparently promoted it. WHY??? This stuff is not biblical!

So, as I have thought on and prayed about “the weight of influence” this is where the Lord has brought me. Pastor’s, leaders, mentors, etc. who is influencing you? Do you take the time to research the people you are listening to, watching, quoting, studying? Do you know that most of the “leaders” that impact pastor’s and leaders today are not biblically sound? How can I say that? Research…lots of it.

So again, do you know who is influencing you? Do they use basic Christian lingo (Jesus, gospel, discipleship etc.) but on a deeper level believe and promote the social justice gospel/cultural marxism? Do they believe and promote universalism and ecumenicalism? Do they believe and promote contemplative spirituality/spiritual formation/mysticism? Do they believe and promote the idea of being missional or incarnational? Do they believe and promote the story of God narrative over the Biblical gospel? Do they believe and promote relational evangelism (cultural Christianity) over Biblical evangelism? Do they believe and promote a prosperity gospel/WOF? Do they believe and promote the idea that the Church is to dominate all major areas of society and change the culture? There is so much more…but if you are saying yes to any of these, you are being influenced by false teachers. Why? The Bible doesn’t tell us to filter out the false teaching, it tells us to reject it. If we cannot find solid, sound, Biblical resources to learn from, then perhaps it is time to focus on the Word of God rather than elevating the thinking and concepts of men above it. There is weight in influence. That’s it. StraightUp!

Don’t Be Duped!

Are you being duped by your church? Does sound doctrine matter? YES! Doctrine in the simplest form is “teaching” and the Word of God is clear that what we teach is to be sound doctrine (teaching), meaning what we are teaching or being taught should not be anything that is not supported by scripture. This includes taking scripture out of context and twisting it to fit an idea, concept, method or philosophy that isn’t found in scripture. Can people teach false doctrine and still proclaim they are about the gospel, discipleship, Jesus? Sure they can, however, it will not lead people to a biblical Jesus or a biblical gospel.

Again, I’m going to pull apart the unbiblical teachings of Caesar Kalinowski – and there are many! You will hear these same teachings from his friends and ministry partners Alan Hirsch and Hugh Halter. (These guys are Emerging Church leaders. Look them up. Their social media alone is very eye opening). One of the main ideas that is taught is the discipling of nonbelievers. This is NOT supported at all by scripture, however, it is the base you need to create a more cultural friendly kind of Christianity. What does Caesar and others use to support such teaching? Well, they don’t have any scripture to support this idea, so they say the disciples were pre-converted. If Jesus discipled nonbelievers then we do too. Again, this is not supported by scripture. Caesar will also say that we disciple nonbelievers because we disciple our kids, but this is NOT supported by scripture either. In any way you look for a definition of a disciple from a biblical perspective, you are going to find that a disciple is a committed follower or learner of Jesus Christ. Unbelievers are neither committed to following or learning the ways of being Christian. (Acts 2:38, 2:41). We know from the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) that the disciples of Jesus (including us) are to go (as you go) preaching/proclaiming the gospel. (they change this out with using the unique language of the Story of God – NOT the gospel). We are to see others come to be followers and learners of Christ..that is NOT unbelievers. Now, however, scripture DOES support the disciples being true followers of Jesus. Jesus’ call to the disciples wasn’t “Hey, come pray this prayer and be my disciple” it was “FOLLOW ME” and these men obeyed Him immediately- they LEFT EVERYTHING! (Matt. 4:18-22. Repeats in Mark 1:18) Then Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) in Mark 2:14 with the same command “FOLLOW ME” and up he went immediately. Later we find Jesus with his specific group of men from whom we have the 12 apostles. (Mark 3:13-19).

“Jesus’ call to come follow him is more than an invitation to pray a prayer- it was a summons to let go of their lives and find a new life in Him and for Him.” – Unknown

Perhaps the disciples were actually more correctly converted disciples than those of us today. Who or what have you given up to follow Jesus? What has it cost you? Something to think about. For them the call was “Follow Me” the act of faith was getting up, leaving everything behind and following Jesus. Then, there is the claim that we disciple our kids, so we do in fact disciple nonbelievers. NOPE. This is NOT supported by scripture either. God’s Word tells us to TRAIN up our children (Prov. 22:6), not disciple them; these are two very different ideas. Most Believers would understand that the point of discipleship is to teach a committed follower how to live their new life in Christ according to God’s Word. The scriptures speak of “training” our kids- in the Hebrew “Khanak” means to dedicate. The same word is also used in regards to dedicating such things as a house, a temple, and an image. (Deut. 20:5, 1 Kings 8:63, Dan. 3:2) however only in Proverbs 22:6 is the verb Khanak translated “train”. Khanak speaks to setting aside, narrowing, or hedging in. So, we are told in scripture to train or even shape our kids so as they grow up they will know and desire to follow Jesus. There is a big difference between shaping our kids to come to Christ and discipling them to walk it out (following Him). The teaching by Caesar and others that the disciples were pre-converted, therefore we disciple nonbelievers is simply unbiblical. The Word of God does not support it. Don’t be duped. That’s it. StraightUp!