Saturday, February 04, 2012
(Or, Genuine Fakes versus Fake Fakes)
"I had just walked through one of the newest shopping malls in New Delhi. It is one of those globalized reproductions where you see the same stores whether you are in Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, or New York. What's in a name? A lot of money, depending on whose name it is. But you can also walk into shops in Bangkok or Jakarta and find, in popular jargon, a "knockoff version" of the brand name that looks identical to the original. If it is a Rolex you are looking for, the shopkeeper will tell the person who is wearing an original one, "You'd better put yours in your pocket, because when you place it side by side with my fake one you won't be able to tell the difference." The replicas are so identical to the real ones that only an expert can tell the difference. When, out of curiosity, I asked one salesperson how they were even able to manufacture these, he reprimanded me, saying that his fakes were genuine fakes and not the fake fakes that the man around the corner sold."
(Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality, by Ravi Zecharias, January, 2012.)
In the New Testament the apostle John puts the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of individual believers to test the spirits behind every teacher. Christians are to subject whatever is taught to the acid test of Scripture (See 1 John 4:1-6; Isaiah 8:20; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 etc.)
The Bereans of Acts 17 are models: “These were ore fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11).
In every age, Satan has been the master counterfeiter. In Moses’ day there were Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8,9), who copied the plagues sent my Jehovah to judge Pharoah. In the beginning of the Church age there were false teachers already twisting the scriptures (2 Corinthians 11:14).
In our day there are as many cults as people who want to start a new religion. It can be challenging today with the spiritual buffet offered up by so many branches of Christendom. Like Ravi and the Rolex watches, it can be confusing with all the “genuine fakes” and the “fake fakes”. Much of Christendom today has enough truth to look Christian, but is really a cheap imitation or copy.
Common to all the counterfeits is the denial of the basic and central truth of Christianity – Jesus Christ, His person and work. At the root of every cult is a denial of some aspect of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Either His full deity or his real humanity or some aspect of His work of salvation.
The best, better yet, the only way to avoid false teaching is to immerse yourself in the Word of God, “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Read it – prayerfully, repeatedly, thoughtfully, submissively, and entirely! Become familiar with what it says and teaches and then when the false presents itself you will notice it immediately, instinctively.