Galatians 1:8 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
It was 12:30 and a light rain was falling as I left my office for the drive north to Springwater township. Crossing the street from my office, I was balancing a heavy briefcase, empty thermos, my favourite red travel mug and a black zippered lunch bag. I flung everything across to the passenger seat of my travel worn but trusty plum Honda Civic and slid in.
I called the person I was meeting in Springwater on my cell phone, to tell them I was running late but on my way, and set off, turning the car radio on as I did. I'm a CBC listener and the program Ontario Today was just starting. I listened with interest as the announcer said that the guest today was a woman who'd previously been a nun and was the author of a book about Mary Magdalene. Only a few minutes into the program though, listening to the voice with a clipped British accent, confident, zealous and authoritative, I found myself praying for the listening audience, that they would be protected from the deception of her words.
It was a strange experience listening to someone make statements that were so obviously "another gospel," not the one I know from scripture, using the Bible as her supposed base, and being taken seriously. The saving grace was that this was a "call in" show and so I knew that other view points would be aired, but to my dismay, the first couple of callers seemed to be under some sort of spell-- they were agreeing with her. I couldn't believe it.
As she continued to speak after the first two callers, I found myself listening for the call-in number, then putting on my head set and dialing it, praying that I would only get through if it was me God wanted to use on this show and taking deep breaths to calm my nerves. "Ontario Today, can you hold please?" the phone was answered. I waited while the program was interrupted by the news. The woman who initially screens the incoming calls asked for some brief details about my identity and the point I wished to make, and then, after listening to yet another caller who agreed with the author, I was on the air.
I didn't have brilliant theological arguments to contend with the tangled web of lies she was presenting as fact, but I did have the truth when it comes to what the Bible says and I was able to present it accurately, calmly and confidently.
I looked up the woman's web site this evening before writing this. I saw a smiling white haired woman just seven years older than me with an extensive theological background and educational credentials. She has been barred from teaching by the Catholic church however.
I thought of how the Enemy's strategies haven't changed over centuries of time; he is still using a grain of truth mixed in with every ounce of deception, but today I felt a little of what Jesus said would happen if we are called to account for our faith--that we are not to worry, it will not be us speaking but the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:18-20) and God will give us the right words at the right time.
2 Timothy 3:13 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.