Who wrote your gospel? Think about what you believe about Jesus: who told you that was true? Did you pastor determine that for you? Did John Piper or Beth Moore or Christine Caine?
In the church in Galatia, they had a problem. They had trusted in the truth, but then people they admired and respected came to their church and preached a slightly different version, and they went with it.
Paul spends a lot of time explaining why the Galatians shouldn’t tweak the gospel God brought to them just because someone who seemed influential came along with some edits. The people, just like us, had two problems: they were (1) blinded by influence and (2) blinded by ignorance.
Blinded by influence
Paul respects the leaders of the church so much that he took his plan for ministry to those who seemed to be influential, but he makes one thing clear:
What they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality. (Galatians 2:6 ESV)
Can you and I say this? Think about the leader you respect, that blog you read, that teacher you follow. Can you honestly say that you are listening to them because of the truth they bring and not how impressed you are with their influence? Do their words hold more weight in you just because they’re a christian celebrity? Do you show partiality to them? Are you more likely to listen to them then your community (who actually know you), your local church (who actually are accountable for you). Are you more likely to listen to them then – God forbid – your Bible?
No one but God should have the power to write your theology; not me, not your favorite writer, not your favorite woman, not even an angel. In the Word, you and I have something more sure than even a supernatural experience and we must settle the answer to the question: who has the final word on the truth of the gospel?
Blinded by ignorance
It fills my heart with a little fear and trembling to read about the church in Galatia being lead to a false gospel by of influential teachers. Because there is only one guard against receiving a false gospel: knowing the TRUE gospel intimately. And when I look around I am not honestly not sure that this protection is in place for most women today. It sure seems like we just want to follow which ever gospel is spoken with the most emotion or in the best environment with the most relevant application.
We seem content to remain ignorant of things clear in the Scripture as long as we can feel good about the God we encounter through others.
Let me clarify: I don’t think the problem (for most of us) is that we’re willing to abandon or ignore what we see in the Scriptures. I think most of us don’t even know what the Scriptures say.
I long to see a generation of women rise up who are like the Jews in Berea. Paul comes and teaches them and their response is to receive the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Here’s what I long for: to be a part of a generation of women who learn from teachers without partiality and with eagerness and then take everything they hear and examine the Scriptures to see if those things are true.
I want to be a part of a generation of women who are able to constantly filter what they hear through God’s Word. Who gather around the Bible, not just around Bible Studies. Who use resources and great teachers and their local church to confirm and challenge and help them go deeper and keep them on track, and who know how to learn from God directly.
I know it’s hard.
It’s definitely easier to look up the answers in the back of the book or phone a friend. But there is no substitute for intimacy with God. You may be able to know about God from other people, but if you want to know God you will have to dig deeply into the Scriptures and wrestle and wait and work and wait.
And trust: He is worth it.