When is your birthday?
How do you know that?
My birth certificate says so.
Have there ever been errors on birth certificates before?
Yes, I believe there have been, especially for Cuban-born baseball players.
Is it possible that your birth certificate could be in error?
I suppose so, but I’m not from Cuba, and my curve ball isn’t that good.
So, how do you know your birth certificate is right?
Well, my mom and dad were both there when I was born.
Have your mom and dad ever said something that wasn’t true?
Not on a regular basis, but yes, I believe they have said untruth.
So, how do you know they aren’t lying about your date of birth?
I guess I don’t, except it doesn’t seem like that would be worth the trouble.
Perhaps not. What else makes you think you were born on June 27th?
It was in the newspaper.
Are you suggesting that newspapers always tell the truth?
No, of course not.
The interrogation could go on and on, trying to prove that I can’t even trust my own birth date. Since we can make someone doubt their own date of birth, can’t we make someone doubt just about anything?
Yes, and many people try to do so.
One of the signs of a false teacher is that they turn you against authority. 2 Peter 2, all about the dangers of false teachers, says that false teachers “despise government.” The word “government” is a very general word that means authority, lordship.
False teachers will turn you against authority. They will get you to distrust them. They will shake your foundation.
Why would they do this? Why would a false teacher want you to despise authority?
Quite simply because they want to be your authority! If they can get you to think down on authority, that’s the first step in getting you to think highly of them. You now become dependent on the one who taught you to despise all other untrustworthy authorities.
It’s OK to question authority, to test them to make sure you’re being led properly, but this should be done with humility and for an honest testing to make sure you’re not being scammed. Nothing wrong with discernment.
But to despise authority, to reject them as stupid, is a first step to being taken for a ride by an authority, ironically enough.
Colleges are good at this. They know if they turn you against the authorities of your youth, then they can take the top spot. They aren’t doing this to help you; nope, as 2 Peter 2 says, they do this to make merchandise of you.
They want your allegiance so they can make money off of you.
I hope you do use discernment in checking whom you listen to. But I also hope you respect authority. I hope this for two main reasons:
- It protects you from being hoodwinked by a false teacher, and
- It protects me as someone who has set himself up to be a church leader from getting carried away.
The church has abused authority over the years in many ways, some more than others. But this does not mean the church is all bad, nor does it mean church authority is all bad. It means there are bad authorities in the church.
Pay attention. Keep your head on a swivel. But understand that you shouldn’t trust you any more than you trust any authority. Be humble as you test the spirits. Your heart is deceitful and so is mine. We need each other to keep ourselves in check. Let’s work on that together.