Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Politicians and False Teachers

The Christmas commercials have ended and now the political commercials begin. For the next eleven months, we will be bombarded with an endless stream of commercials intended to capture our attention and convince us that the candidates who are featured in them are America’s best choice for our future safety and welfare.

I know of no one who sits, staring at his television, saying, “Yes! I just love political commercials!” In fact, everyone seems to hate them. So why do the candidates spend such large quantities of money on them and air them on and on and on, ad nauseam? Because they know that the heart of man is easily swayed by the sensational and the emotional. Using the skills of Madison Avenue advertising gurus, political action groups focus on making their candidate appear to be a master diplomat and statesman who can intimidate any other world leader, yet down-to-earth and friendly, willing to rub elbows with the common man.

As I thought about this phenomenon, I was reminded of how similar false teachers are to politicians. In 2 Peter 2, the apostle describes false teachers using such terms as “daring, self-willed…having a heart trained in greed” (v. 10, 14). He says that by “speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires” (v. 18). When we read those terms, we think, “How could anyone fall for these guys?” Yet they continue to flourish and grow more prevalent within the church today. Like a skilled politician who is willing to say anything, do anything, and claim anything in order to be elected, so too, false teachers spew forth their heresies in their deliberate efforts to gain a following and material wealth. They come with emotional stories and messages, and sensational "alleged" miracles, promising health and wealth, and many blindly follow after them, like lemmings running to the sea.

2 Timothy 4:3 says that people love to hear the deceptive messages of the false teachers. In fact, not only do they not want to hear the truth; “but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires.” It sounds just like a bunch of Americans who are looking for which political candidate they are going to support. They don’t necessarily want someone who will tell them the truth; in fact, those politicians who do such are not elected very often. Rather, they seek after the candidates who will tell them what they want to hear; that feeds their own greedy desires.

It is terribly sad that the American evangelical church is continually victimized by such corrupt false teachers. But we really shouldn’t be surprised that they do so. Scripture warned us that it would happen, and we have an ongoing example of man’s fickleness as he continually chooses to listen to deceptive political campaign commercials and follow those candidates who make him feel good about himself and his future—even if everything they say is a lie. So when the false teachers come into the church with their lies, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many jump on board.

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