Give not Heed to Christian Fables
By David M. McNabb
They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thess. 2:10b-12)
One might quickly, and correctly, infer from this text that he is speaking of the unbeliever. But it is in error that we assume he is referring only to the unsaved. A similar mistake is made with Matt. 24:12. Jesus said here, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Whoís love? The heathen? No, He is warning us that it is the Christiansí love that will grow cold as the times worsen. So, too, is it with Paulís words to the Thessalonians.
I was recently reminded of the Christian communityís willingness to believe a rumor, without any substantiation. I received an e-mail sometime between the Nov. 4 election and the certification, and subsequent inauguration, of President George W. Bush. This note described a situation where then president-elect Bush appeared at a thank-you banquet for his campaign staff. While visiting the tables to shake hands with the 1000+ volunteers, one woman commented that she was a Christian. Gov. Bush noticed her 16-year-old son who had accompanied her to the banquet, and inquired whether he, too, was a believer. He said that he didnít think so. At this point, Gov. Bush asked him, "Do you mind if I tell you how I came to know Christ as my Savior?" When the boy agreed, the governor proceeded to witness to him for 30 minutes, after which he led him in the sinners prayer. The e-mail concludes with the words, "PRAISE GOD!"
This message spread like wild-fire throughout the Internet, and certainly, after eight years of wickedness in the White House, this would certainly be a sigh of relief. ...If only it were true. I would have been thrilled to verify this story. Instead of forwarding this to all of my friends, however, I immediately called the former Governorís office. I searched the Web. I asked friends and family to do the same. What I found out was, well, interesting.
First, the campaign did not hold a thank-you banquet for staff or volunteers because there was no time after the election due to the Florida recount. Many of Bushís staff went to Florida as observers, and did not return until the final certification. Second, a thank-you banquet was held later, but the Governor and his wife were not able to attend. Third, the president-electís time was so tightly scheduled that it would have not been possible.
In light of some or your disappointment, Tom Pratt, the staff member in the Governorís office, and volunteer who refuted the story, did offer a bright side to the story. The day after George Bush was declared president-elect, he attended a prayer meeting at his home church: Tarrytown United Methodist Church. President-elect Bush left the meeting, which was open only to gubernatorial and campaign staff members and Bush family members, with tears in his eyes.
We all, as Christians, hope that President Bush and his administration will bring righteousness and godliness to our nationís highest office, but not at the expense of the truth. Even with the news of his church attendance, I am reminded of the scripture in Daniel 4:17, "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." I know that it is hard for an honest man to get ahead in politics, much less to reach the Oval Office. I hope and pray, however, that our newly-elected president will fear God and keep His commandments.
The Christian world has been duped by urban legends and myths before. Every innovation is declared "The Mark of the Beast," from UPC symbols to the Social Security system. Corporations, such as Procter and Gamble, are slandered and vilified with accusations of Satanism. Even when the claims are proven false, the rumors continue to spread, because we are all to often more willing to believe a myth than the truth.
We, as Christians need to get out of the rumor mill. We need to focus on Jesus Christ and Godís Word, which He has preserved for us through the ages. The truth is going to require us to change. We are going to have to change our lifestyles and the way we think. That scares us, so we spread gossip.
But if we donít fall in love with the truth, we will be like the boy who cried, "Wolf!" If we are constantly seeing "The Beast" in every thing around us, eventually, our credibility suffers Ė not only with the already skeptical unbeliever, but within our own circles as well. Then, when "that wicked one" does finally appear, we may end up too gun-shy to recognize and declare him, and fall into his deception.
Do not get trapped in darkness, "deceiving and being deceived," but love the truth and come to the light, that your deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:18-21)
Paul admonished Titus to "Rebuke [the liars] sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth." (Tit. 1:13-14) Today, Christians are busy creating fables, and we waste precious time spreading them. The loss of credibility, then, lessens our ability to reach the world with the truth about Christ and the urgency of the days in which we live.
Let us prove to God that we are truly His children, for He said, "Surely they are my people, children that will not lie." (Isa. 63:8)