People Will Believe Anything
One of the many lessons I have learned in my years of interacting with people is this: Some people will believe anything. Take a minute to think about the most outlandish theory you could possibly imagine. Consider some theory so unbelievable that surely no one would believe it. Now, take this theory and sell it to the world and you will find someone who is willing to buy your theory.
When Paul traveled to Athens, he encountered a group of people who would spend their time hearing “new” teachings and “new” ideas. (Acts 17:21) When these Epicurean and Stoic philosophers heard the apostle Paul preach concerning Jesus and the resurrection, they took Paul to the Areopagus. These men said to Paul, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” (Acts 17:19-20) Although the apostle Paul used this opportunity to tell the people about God, the people’s interest was in the “newness” of the teaching and not the truthfulness and accuracy of the teaching.
There are many people today who continue in this same practice. These “thinkers” do not want to be confused with the facts. They dwell upon thoughts, idea, suspicions, theories, etc. Not being happy with the current knowledge and information, they seek something different, something more “enlightened.” (I am not referring to people who desire to grow in knowledge and gain understanding which rests upon facts, evidence, and proof. This type of pursuit allows a child of God to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ through proper study of God’s word.)
Christians must avoid becoming victims of those who carry “new” doctrine, ideas, and theories. Too many Christian, who either did not study the Bible or are not content with the Bible as their source of teaching, have turned their ears to teachers of “new” things. We see one such example in the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 15:12-34, the apostle Paul addressed an erroneous teaching regarding the resurrection of the dead. Paul wrote, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12) As difficult as it may be for us to believe, there were Christians teaching against the idea of the resurrection. These people were saying there is no resurrection of the dead! In verse 34, Paul rebuked the people saying, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:34)
Some of the brethren in Corinth listened to the wrong source of information. Instead of heeding the truth as taught by the apostles, some of the brethren gave heed to the musings of foolish men. In his letters to Timothy, Paul warned the young preacher about such dangers. Paul charged Timothy, saying, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.” (1 Timothy 4:7a, ESV) In chapter six of his first letter, Paul wrote, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21, ESV) Restating the same warning in his second letter, Paul wrote, “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers . . . But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.” (2 Timothy 2:14,16-17, ESV)
Paul’s warnings are just as applicable in our lives as they were in Timothy’s life. The danger of being ruined by “new” teachings (which some people falsely call “knowledge”) is ever present in the lives of Christians. Christians must always make certain to never blindly accept anything new. Just as the Bereans searched to see if the new teaching taught by Paul was truthful, so too must Christians always search the scriptures. (cf. Acts 17:11)
I am not opposed to people gaining knowledge. Gaining knowledge is the learning process by which the lost soul learns of Jesus Christ. It is also the process by which every Christian learns more of God’s precious word. The danger becomes evident when we listen to “new” knowledge without using the Bible, God’s word as our standard. In matters pertaining to creation, morality, salvation, worship, family, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, etc, the Bible must be our final standard by which we judge that which is “new.” Always be willing to learn that which you do not know, but only if that knowledge is worth learning and does not contradict God’s precious and holy word.