Good morning, Dr. Couch, I hope you're doing well. Thank you for continued faithfulness to the Word and great teaching. Your ministry is a continued blessing to many, and I try to share what I have learned from you as much as I can. I consider you my head pastor, my mentor in the faith.
Over the years I have found myself becoming more and more particular about who I will listen to or read. I believe this is a function of my growing spiritual maturity and discernment, which is not of myself but can only be a gift of God. Authors that I used to love and rely on for their spiritual insights no longer have anything to say to me, and in some cases, I realize there are significant gaps or problems with their theology. I go into a Christian book store and look at the top ten bestsellers, and they're all either worthless fluff or just plain heretical. Of course, part of the problem is that so few of the popular authors or pastors are truly dispensational. If you're not dispensational then you're going to have very faulty view of much of the Bible.
I used to like to read some Christian Living books, but eventually came to realize that there was no meat in their teachings, and their theology was very weak. Not long ago I read a book by at the urging of my wife, and it was a fairly interesting read, but there was no real substance to the book. Most of it was just common sense that I already knew, or emotional fluff. There was no meat there. There are so many popular Christian authors today that are like that - , , , etc. One big reason I left my last church is because they wanted me to stop teaching the Bible to my Sunday school college age class, and start studying the book "Blue Like Jazz".
I'm not saying I don't read other books, I do. Like you, I'm a history buff, and I even enjoy a good fiction book now and then. I just think that the majority of the popular books you find in the Christian bookstores are at the least, a waste of my time, and at worst, false teaching. What do you think about this?
I think the majority of Christians in our churches today are very immature believers. They don't really know the Bible, and they don't even care. I won't ask what's responsible for this - I know that people prefer to hear things that make them feel good about themselves, or will "tickle their ears", methods that sound new and exciting, etc. Most Christians don't really want deeper teaching of the Bible. I totally agree with you that we're into the Apostasy spoken of in the Word where people will not endure sound doctrine. This does not surprise me.
Sorry for the long lead-up, my question is really in two parts: On a general level, Is there anything we can do about this (other than pray)? How can we convince people that they need to stop just drinking milk, and start eating meat? How can we get people to learn to discern? People are flocking to these megachurches where they don't really teach the Bible! In my spirit this disturbs me and frustrates me, because I feel sometimes like I'm a lone voice crying in the wilderness, that there's something wrong with me. I'm sure you can relate to that feeling.
A more specific question is, How do we respond to people when they ask, "Why don't you like ( , , insert popular Christian author/speaker here)? They have such good things to say, and they do so much good work!" My wife and I struggle with how to answer this question, and it is asked by some of our friends. I try to say that these people have some significant problems with their theology, and I would rather listen to people who teach sound doctrine from the Bible. This answer doesn't seem to satisfy people, probably because most people don't care about theology anymore, and think with their emotions.
How would you respond to these people? I would really appreciate your insights. God bless you!
I want to thank this supporter for his candid letter. In his evil secular psychological writings, behaviorist is one of the leading self-actualization writers that has destroyed biblical truth. He wrote: “Experience is, for me, the highest authority. … Neither the Bible nor the prophets — neither Freud nor research — neither the revelations of God nor man—can take precedence over my own experience.” I answered in my book The Fundamentals for the Twenty-First Century (Kregel):
Secular universities now brainwash their students in Rogerian philosophy and psychology. In popular form, even the world calls the society of the mid-1970s through the 1980s the “Me Generation.” Does this not remind us of Paul’s words of men being lovers of self, arrogant, ungrateful, unloving, without self-control, conceited, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-4).In my opinion what we all were so blessed with in the past is now dying. And, there will never be a going back!
Such a philosophy is a secular apostasy that has the seductive power to pull all the churches to its grasp and set up the kind of last-days “difficult times” described by Paul to Timothy.
Pampering the self, the New Age movement promises a new world through psychics, astrologers, goddess worship, holistic health, yoga, and ecology. “Be happy and fulfilled” is the goal of whatever technique used for actualization.
Thank you for your letter.
Dr. Mal Couch