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Reading the Bible Day 174

Good morning friends! Happy Saturday to you. I hope your week was productive and you are eager to reap the benefits of a weekend of rest, assuming you have weekends off! By the way, we'd love to have you join us for worship tomorrow for our Again & Again Lenten series. You can find all the services and the accompanying devotional at www.chagrinfallsumc.org/lent.


For today's reading, we'll be reaching about the half way mark as we finish this reading. A great chunk of the scripture talks about false prophets and the dangers of false prophets. That's certainly not unique to Jeremiah's time and depending on who you ask all sorts of false prophets will be labeled. We'll spend time time discussing that below, but first, let's see what criteria the book of Jeremiah lists for who is a false prophet.


Scripture to Read


Jeremiah 23 - 25

Psalm 19


Audio Bible



Questions to Consider

  1. What does this teach me about God?

  2. What does this teach me about humanity?

  3. What does this teach me about the role of prophet?

  4. What do I consider a "false" prophet? Why?

- My Thoughts -

Ah, false prophets, false teachings, and all that mumbo jumbo. There is NOTHING more hotly debated in the church than what is a false prophet and false teacher. Churches that offer grace towards abortion? FALSE TEACHERS. Churches that condemn LBGT people in sermons? FALSE TEACHERS! Pastors that say church is more than just a place for a pot luck? FALSE TEACHERS. Haha, but really, when it comes to our theology we will defend that passionately. For Jeremiah the false prophet was the one that was making a buck off people giving them good news that they knew they couldn't deliver on. For example, a prophet might say something like "God feels bad about the exile caused by Babylon and is going to end this within the year - just stay positive!" and follow it up with a "if you're excited by this would you consider donating to help me reach more people?" and so they do because they feel good. But they have no way of knowing whether or not the exile is going to end within a year, so they lied to people to temporarily make them feel better. As I like to affectionally call them: "Fortune Cookie Sermons" Generic, vague, feel good crap that has very little theological grounding or even passable to the complex nature of life itself.


While I certainly have my opinion on who is a false teacher (Nationalist Evangelicals and Prosperity Preachers are my primary targets that really get my blood boiling) I fully recognize that there are many that would consider Joyce a false prophet for being a woman in ministry daring to teach men, and I would be a false prophet for my usage of scripture to support minority groups. So, I'm not going to abuse my position of power to try to make you agree with me why the two above are false prophets, but I do hope you'll consider what a false prophet looks like today in relation to your faith. Some questions to help consider that are

  1. Who is God? Who is Jesus? What are their relationship to human beings?

  2. What is sin?

  3. What is my belief on scripture and where did that originate from? What has continued to support it?

  4. What is the purpose of church? Why do I go to church? What upsets me in relation to churches?

  5. At what point is a theological conviction crossing the line to a heresy (ie - false teaching) for me? What can I disagree with but still be comfortable with hearing?

  6. To me - what are the core theological beliefs of the Christian faith as informed by the Old and New Testaments?

Each of us will have different answers to these, the hope is, that final one will be agreeable by most people with enough room for minor errors (such as trying to explain the doctrine of the trinity, hahaha.) Scripturally speaking, at least in my present understanding of Jeremiah's writing, is that a false prophet is any person that takes advantage of someone else by using God's name for their own agendas. That's delicate line to walk of course, but that's all I will say on that.

Prayer


Our prayer today is inspired by hymn number 174 in our United Methodist Hymanal - His Name Is Wonderful. I hope you will meditate as you listen, hum, sing, or recite the words as you make them your own prayer today. Lyrics can be found beneath the video.


His name is wonderful

His name is wonderful

His name is wonderful

Jesus my Lord.

He is the mighty King

Master of everything

His name is wonderful

Jesus my Lord.

He's the Great Shepherd

The Rock of all ages

Almighty God is He

Bow down before Him

Love and adore Him

His name is wonderful

Jesus my Lord.

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