There are far too many unbiblical memes being pushed by believers:
Here is some helpful advice: Do you want to be able to spot heresy faster than a speeding bullet? Be more powerful than any cultist? And leap over theological error in a single bound? Well, it’s easy: simply know Scripture. Know the Bible so well that you can pick false teaching a mile away. As J. C. Ryle once put it, “Ignorance of Scripture is the root of every error in religion, and the source of every heresy.”
This advice certainly comes in handy when you are on the social media. Plenty of good and bad stuff can be found there. Yesterday I penned an article on memes, and said that they often can convey powerful truth in a pithy and startling manner. But in that piece I also warned that there of course can be many memes that are simply wrong, false, stupid and quite misleading.
Given that I praised the good memes in my earlier piece, I had better criticise the bad ones in this piece. And there is no shortage of bad ones around. Here are two more woeful examples that I just came upon in the social media. Both claim to be offering Christian truth, but anyone familiar with the Bible will know that they are actually quite unbiblical.
Often I will just ignore these sorts of posts, but in both cases I did offer a brief reply. Here I will look further at these two unhelpful posts, and make a fuller case as to why these were such lousy memes. The first bad meme had these words: “I hate….words Jesus never said”. It went on to say this: “It is too easy to foster hate and harbor it in our hearts. Spread love and you will receive it. 1 John 4:18-21.”
Oh dear, it took me about one second max to see how false that was. As I simply commented under this meme: “Um, Revelation 2:6”. Anyone familiar with what Jesus did in fact say will know that he most certainly did use the “h” word.
We all should know what Jesus said to the church at Ephesus: “Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” How anyone can write, or share, a meme like this when it flatly contradicts Scripture is beyond me.
Sure, a critic might say this is the only time Jesus spoke about hate. Well, yes and no. Even if he only said it once, that proves how wrong this meme is. But since Jesus is fully God, we have God often talking about things that he hates, and people that he hates. See this piece for much more on this: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/23/divine-love-hate-part-one/
And this is not the only thing wrong with this meme. Jesus did indeed spread love, yet he was hated in return by so many. The same with the apostles and other followers of Christ for the past two millennia. While love shared sometimes gets love in response, it often can get hatred and rejection instead. That is because men love darkness rather than light as Jesus warned.
Now, is love a good thing, and should Christians love? Yes of course. But if you want to make that case, at least do it biblically. By saying something that is patently not true (yes Jesus DID say he hates), you undermine your argument and lose all credibility. So please, stick with what God says in his Word, instead of rather dopey things men say who seem to be ignorant of Scripture.
My second example of a bad meme was a post with these words: “God never made anyone sick.” It went on to say this:
The curse was never God’s will, and it’s not His doing. All human heartache, every disaster, every storm, all poverty, sickness and destruction began after Adam’s Fall, and it’s the work of the devil who comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).?
God never made anyone sick. He never made anyone poor. He’s not the creator of problems.?
He’s the Deliverer from problems. He’s not the author of the curse. He’s the author of THE BLESSING. Just read Genesis 1!?
#gloriacopeland #bibleverse #faith
Again, anyone familiar with what the Bible actually teaches will know how unhelpful and misleading that meme is. As I said in response:
Not wanting to pick a fight over Christmas but… Having just read this in God’s inspired word, I gotta stick with God over man’s spin on things: Revelation 2:22-23: “Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead.” Plenty more scriptures like that one! But Merry Christmas!
And I had indeed just literally read that passage perhaps an hour before coming upon this meme, so the text was fresh in my mind. Once again we have dodgy teachers pushing dodgy teachings which simply have little or no relation to what we find in the Bible.
In this case it should be obvious with what is amiss here: Gloria Copeland of course, along with her husband Kenneth Copeland, are two of the biggest promoters of the patently false health and wealth gospel, and the name it and claim it theology. I have already penned 90 articles on this bogus teaching: https://billmuehlenberg.com/category/theology/the-health-and-wealth-gospel/
Because it is another man-made teaching which is so much at variance with what the Bible actually says, it gets plenty of things wrong. First is the claim that God never makes anyone sick. Oh really? So you mean the Bible is lying every time it tells us that God is doing this very thing?
Besides the text I mentioned above, there are many dozens of verses that show us God doing exactly this very thing. Yes they are mainly instances of God’s judgment, but nonetheless, God is behind it all. Here are just a few of these sorts of verses:
-Genesis 12:17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.
-Exodus 32:35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
-Leviticus 26:16 I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength.
-Deuteronomy 32:23-24 I will heap calamities on them and spend my arrows against them. I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
-1 Samuel 5:6 The hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory.
-2 Chronicles 26:19-20 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the altar of incense. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the Lord had struck him.
-Isaiah 10:16 Therefore the Lord God of hosts
will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
like the burning of fire.
-Ezekiel 14:21 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals!
I think you get the point. And these are just a few of the many verses that say this. So who ya gonna believe: some clueless preacher pushing a dodgy teaching, or the living, eternal God? That Christians can actually share these idiotic and blatantly false memes is utterly shocking.
And the rest of this nonsense from Copeland is equally full of baloney. God never curses anyone? Really? So the Bible is again full of lies when it tells us this very thing? The very same passages that speak about divine blessings (which the health and wealth guys love to claim) also speak about divine curses.
Simply read Deuteronomy 28-29 for example. And of interest, in all these lists of blessings and curses, there are far more curses. Why do the positive confessionists not also claim them? And some of those curses do entail poverty and financial hardship. They are sent BY God. Wrong again Gloria. See more on this matter here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/01/03/misappropriating-old-testament-blessings-and-curses/
And again, when we have so many verses saying the exact opposite of what these false teachers are saying, how can anyone reject the Bible in favour of these bogus preachers? Let me list a few of these passages where God most certainly does send a curse or has his people curse others:
-Judges 5:23 Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
curse its inhabitants thoroughly,
because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
-Nehemiah 13:25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.
-Proverbs 3:33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
-Malachi 2:1-2 And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.
Even Jesus used curses, such as in cursing the fig tree (see Matthew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:12-25). And Paul, under divine inspiration from God, also can pronounce curses on certain people. As he writes in 1 Corinthians 16:22: “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” Or as we read in Galatians 1:6-10:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Again, I ask you this: do we believe God and his Word, or do we side with popular preachers and teachers who flatly contradict what the Bible teaches? I am not sure which is worse: these false teachers who twist and distort Scripture, or all the brainless and undiscerning Christians who share their falsehoods far and wide.
A pox on both their houses – pun intended.