Who wants to be a false teacher this Halloween? What, no one? Really?
I know that false teachers, like wolves themselves, will come in among you…not sparing the flock. —Acts 20:29
Walking the immediate blocks around Lancaster Theological Seminary this week, I saw one house sporting a headless Santa and an equally disturbing headless Mrs. Claus positioned by the front door off an enclosed front porch. A mannikin’s head was peering through another window.
Maybe spooky things are your thing, but for me Jesus took care of the walking dead on earth by dying and then rising from the dead three days later. Jesus took out death, and those who know this Son of God will one day live eternally with Him.
In getting back to that front porch and this upcoming Halloween, I don’t wanna be the guy who advocates taking costumes and candy away from kids. In fact, candy bars still call my name, and I’ve been sugar free for 17 months.
I want to say this. Costumes can be great. They’re absolutely crucial at a time in our culture when imagination and time to pretend are in short supply. Many of us and/or our kids are gearing up to be Elvis Presley, President Trump, a 60s flower child, or maybe even a walking phone booth complete with 32-pound now historic telephone as the must have accessory.
But does anyone want to dress up as a false prophet this year?
What? You don’t?
Here’s another culture thing. Nobody wants to wear the same costume too many others are wearing. We want to stand out not blend in, so maybe we should skip this idea of being a false teacher altogether. Forever.
Yet in Acts 20, Paul speaks of false teachers. These individuals dispense the wrong information and inspire us to act on that same false info. David Mathis speaks to false teachers. In a 2016 online article from desiringGod called, “The Surprising Truth about False Teachers,” Mathis says, “The question is not whether you hear a false teacher. You do–probably every day. The question is can you discern which messages are false.” Mathis raises what we should hear.
When we say or do actions in and out of the church and our communities that are nasty, petty, or just plain mean-spirited, we, like those Paul mentions, certainly look (and definitely sound) like false teachers.
Stand for peace, love and solidarity as October draws to a close. Like Paul, be the positive agent of change in a world that needs far less death and far more life.
PRAYER: Lord, we know we are not perfect, so help us quickly see when we listen to or are like these teachers Paul mentions. And then change us. Amen.