12/22/16 Reggie about 45
I was stumped. I was sure the verse he claimed was in the Bible didn't read that way, but sure enough, there it was. I had reached out to start a Gospel conversation at a coffeeshop and was talking with Reggie, about 45, who sounded Christian at first but soon proved to be preaching a very different gospel. He used a lot of "Christian" terms to explain his beliefs which were really a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism, and transcendental meditation. "Oh, it's biblical" he kept saying, and offered elaborate and very symbolic reinterpretations of straightforward biblical passages. He claimed Jesus supports the eastern concept of the third eye of mystical knowledge when He referred to having a "single eye". "But that's not even in the Bible!" I said. Oh, but it is. I looked it up and found it in the King James Version, which I don't often read. In Matt.6:22 it reads "…if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." I had to admit I was wrong. For Reggie, this was a chance to drive home his point that with special enlightenment through meditation, we will learn truths we never imagined existed. "Don't get stuck in your beliefs. You've got to think outside the box!" he urged me.
Really? Fortunately, I have a habit of regular Bible reading and am grounded in the orthodox creeds of historic Christianity. They are like a road map to the Bible, because they provide the bigger biblical narrative by which to discern true doctrine from false. I was able to ask Reggie some direct questions that quickly revealed the teaching of the cult he is in, which tries to elevate man to the position of God, and to bring God down to the level of man.
The popular book and movie "The Shack" is another example. It may claim artistic license, but in my experience whenever a basic doctrine of Christianity is altered, it has a domino effect on other doctrines of the faith, leading to a wide range of false teachings and practices done in the name of Christianity. It affects us as believers and the faith we share with the world and those we love the most. We need to be grounded in the Bible, not just in other people's opinion of it. We need to know the historic creeds that have withstood the test of time and the scrutiny of biblical scholars. And we need the constant reminder of biblical truths both as we sit under godly teaching and as we engage in teaching others. "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Tim. 4