Look! I’m sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves. So be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. — Matthew 10:16
Yesterday I received an e-mail alert from a Christian organization that informed me of a new discovery, or so they said, that supported the historicity of certain portions of the Bible. I’ve gotten a lot of good information from this source, though I always recheck their facts. But in this case it only took me moments to realize that we were dealing with suspect information, because I happen to be acquainted with the material involved.
Many Christians are not concerned about this sort of thing. If it seems to support the faith, then that’s good enough for them. But there’s a problem with that. If we use something that is false in order to draw people to Christ, and then they find out that is false, they may be turned against the faith. Of course, lying to them about what is true would be morally wrong, but most of the time this sort of information gets distributed because of ignorance. It looks good, so people want to share it as much as possible.
It’s a little bit like those spam e-mails that tell you that if you forward it to 10 or 20 or 100 of your friends, some major company will send you $10,000, or something like that. The excuse is that the company in question is conducting a test. People who don’t know how these things work are deceived. They wouldn’t want to miss the chance at $10,000, and they don’t want their friends to miss it either.
We laugh, but there are published materials about the Bible that are just that foolish and are very obvious to those who know the background material. But they’re not obvious to everyone else.
One of the places where this comes back to haunt us as a church is amongst our college aged young people. We teach them one thing in church, or more often simply fail to mention many different things, and then they get to college in comparative religions class and are vulnerable.
So am I telling you all that you must learn ancient languages, history, theology and Christian apologetics? Must all become experts? Absolutely not! I know how much time that takes, and each one of you have numerous things you need to know in order to live your lives and carry out your professions.
And that is the key. You each have things you know, things on which you are expert. When you talk to people about Jesus, talk about what you know. Don’t imagine that you need to provide them with the latest archaeological evidence, or the best theological arguments. Your witness may be as simple as â€œyou ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.â€ When you give that testimony there’s no chance you’re going to get caught with bad information. You know that. There will be other things you know as well. Those in the medical field know something of the human body, and most of those of my acquaintance know something of God’s work in their own field.
Unfortunately there are those who will provide false information. Be wise as serpents! Be on your guard. Things that look like fraud, that look too good to be true, often are too good to be true, even in religion.
We do have many things, including our own salvation that really seem too good to be true, yet they are true. Let’s focus on those.