For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3, NLT).
Do we have “itching-ears” syndrome in the church today?
Are we in a time when many, even followers of Jesus, are forsaking sound doctrine and seeking prophets and teachers who tell us not what we should hear but what we want to hear?
I think so.
Recently, my wife told me about a Christian website that offered things like third-heaven encounters, dream interpretation, and destiny card readings.
This ministry is supported by other believers, teachers, and prophets whom I respect. I hesitate to demean another ministry. I also find it problematic when Christians focus on how we disagree and not on the unity topics about which we do agree.
So, I haven’t named this ministry. But I have a check in my spirit about what they are doing. Why?
First, I always ask the question, “Where is that taught in the Bible?”
I can’t find “destiny card reading” in the Bible.
I know that Paul was caught up to the third heaven, but I hesitate when someone tells me that they can lead me into the third heaven. I believe in the Apostle Paul, but this “someone else,” I’m not sure.
Second, I find God daily in prayer. He talks to me about almost daily assignments.
James teaches that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Many of the spiritual gifts are given to help all of us know and be closer to God, but are we attempting a shortcut to God by seeking those with grandiose claims, without paying the price of presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice? (Romans 12:1-3)
Third, I always consider how a claim or teaching fits with the totality of theological learning and discussion of believers throughout the ages.
Let me give an example: Not too long ago, in a discussion on whether marriage is male and female, N.T. Wright (one of the best Bible scholars today) said, “We should all hesitate to dispense with thousands of years of Biblical and theological agreement on marriage.”
Yes, some practices of the church should be changed. But that change must be rooted in an exegesis that trusts the Bible as the inspired Word of God. When a teacher, prophet, or individual elevates “self” or “culture” as the discerning principle used for Bible interpretation – what happens? Well . . .
What we see occurring today or “itching-ears” syndrome.
The Bible says . . .
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT).
Let’s remember one question: Where is that taught in the Bible?