|Print by Katherine F. Brown|
An article about Joyce Meyer came through my Facebook feed recently. It contained a number of clips from her teachings, where she said things that seem to contradict Scripture, or that could be interpreted as heresy. The author meant to discredit her and convince people to abandon her ministry.
A few months ago Beth Moore found herself the target of public censure for a prophecy she’d spoken.
In fact, history is littered with the corpses and re-animated zombies of spiritual ‘giants’ who fell under the weight of either their own sin-crippled vainglory, or via mostly undeserved attacks by the foolish, the petty, and the vindictive.
But let’s give credit where it’s due.
The truth is, we’re sheep. We all sniff the air and scan the hills for the nearest appealing shepherd, and then we follow that shepherd whether s/he leads us to verdant meadows or over a cliff. Our chosen herdsman might be a person, like Joel Osteen or Kim Kardashian or Tony Robbins. It may a philosophy, like altruism or patriotism or feminism. It could even be an experience we seek to repeat over and over again, like self-actualization or pride or a sated adrenaline rush. But every single one of us has something or someone to which we’ve hitched our camper and trail like groupies.
If we’re Christians, that’s supposed to be Christ. Not other Christians.
The Bible is painfully direct on the topic of people:
“None is righteous; no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
“… the help of man is worthless.” (Psalm 108:12)
“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Every created human being will fail. S/he will fail you, fail me, fail God, and fail him- or herself. It’s a foolproof, without-exception given. So why are we ever so righteously outraged by others’ flaws?
Get thee to the Word, Christian.
Let’s stop looking to other people to teach us and grow us and perhaps turn us into little homunculi of themselves. The Bible is the repository of wisdom, the revelation of the intentions and nature of God, and the final word on how to live in a right relationship with God and others. We’re supposed to pattern ourselves after Christ’s example as recorded from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22.
Teachers like Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore and Billy Graham and our local pastors are meant to spur us deeper into the Word, and help us understand it when we don’t. They’re not to be a replacement for it, or an addendum to it, or the molds into which we try to cast ourselves.
Yes, we are to test the spirits, and weigh teachers’ words against Scripture’s, but not so we can point our fingers and say, “Aha!” and fashion ourselves into chest-thumping spiritual authorities.
We’re to gain knowledge, seek wisdom, and practice discernment in order to correct ourselves, and avoid error in our own lives, and bring our characters into closer alignment with the example of Christ.
You know, get the logs out of our own eyes.
So, every word out of Joyce Meyer’s mouth isn’t perfect? Big deal. That shouldn’t bother me too much.
Because Jesus’s words are perfect. And he’s the one I’ll make my Shepherd.