Monday, May 15, 2017
Christian Spirituality XXXI: Beware of False Prophets
Christ is risen! Yes, He truly is Risen!
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from thistles? So, ever sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits,” Matthew 7:15-20.
We are coming to the end of this sermon. Jesus takes a moment to warn us about the false prophets, people who will tell us things that are not true. They will cover themselves with some good deeds and show the good side of their teachings but deep down, they are wolves ready eat up their victims.
Look at Christian history and how we have gone astray from each other. Just looking at our doctrinal teachings, my goodness! Look at how we have grown apart! A look at our Christian practice and worship is also revealing. It is like we are of different religions.
Nearly twenty-five years ago now, I began my Christian journey. It was summer of 1993 and I began to throw off the blindness of atheism and I began to look at Jesus as divine. I assumed that all Christian churches were roughly the same. I began to read and watch TV church on Sunday evenings. Wow. These programs really beat up on each other. They really took it to Tradition and the ancient ways. Thus began my search for Christian truth and the roots of Christian teachings, beliefs, and practice.
How did the earliest Christians believe? How did they worship? How did they live their lives?
“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls,” Jeremiah 6:16.
And so I began to read the early saints of the Church. And here is where I find safety from the ravenous wolves who would teach error and lead people astray. The Church has had 2,000 years of practice guarding her sheep. She knows how to distinguish between the true and the false prophets.
This article will be short. One reason is that I do not want to lead anyone astray! I merely will give you to Mother Church and her saints and to the Holy Fathers and Mothers who have taught us for 20 centuries. Read them. Do what they say. Don’t listen to ignoramuses like me. Test everyone you come into contact with. Compare what they say to the ancient ways. It they are different, discard them. Stick to the tried and true. Many of the prayers we use are ancient. Liturgy is ancient. Our beliefs and doctrine is based upon the teachings of the Apostles and are ancient. Let us imitate the early Christians who “… devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers,” Acts 2:42.
Hmmm. You can’t get much more ancient in Christian history than this passage which occurs right after Pentecost. Notice anything? They followed the Apostles’ teaching. They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread. What bread? Did they eat sandwiches a lot? Ponder this. Also, THE prayers. Hmm. Did they just “wing it” in prayer or was there a prayer book? Yes, ponder this. Ponder our roots and root out the modern falsehoods. Seek the ancient paths.
Dennis the Little