Friday, June 3, 2011

Outlandish Claims

"For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean." (Acts 17:20 NAS)

Judgment DayRecently I read an article posted by various people on Facebook about what would happen to the pets of owners who were poised to be raptured or caught up to be with Jesus on May 21, 2011. This was the date touted by California evangelical broadcaster Harold Camping, head of Family Radio network, as the day of Rapture—the end of the world. Comments received for the post at Facebook were not at all pleasant, with many ridiculing the absurdity of such prediction and the Christian faith.

The article which was penned by dog news examiner Penny Eims for Examiner.com mentioned that many evangelical Christians believe they would be swept up in the "Rapture ... leaving Earth and all of its problems far behind” on that day. Eims wrote “if you are among the last group of people [who believe Rapture is only for people and not pets], have no fear—there is a man … who has a safety net in place for the pets that have been left behind. From his website, Eternal Earthbound Pets, is the following promotion, ‘You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets that are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.’ The group promises to have pet-loving atheists on hand to care for the pets that are left behind when their owners are raptured.”

As far-fetched and laughable as the article by Eims may sound, it is sad to know how much damage such predictions by professed Christians can harm the spread of the gospel. Imagine the proposition of having atheists to help take care of pets for the raptured, and we will understand how Christianity is represented to the world. Pastor Glenn Lee Hill, retired pastor from Rocky Mount, N.C., speaking about Camping’s prediction, told The Christian Post (ChristianPost.com) that false prophecy is harmful and saddening for the Christian body “because when it fails, all of us who believe in Jesus will become fodder for the comics, the late-night talk show hosts, and others who are always looking for a new excuse to mock our faith. Christianity, the name of Jesus, and all of us who love Him will bear the embarrassment of this false prophecy.”

Unlike the unfounded predictions made by false prophets, our Lord Jesus who so often has been ridiculed by unbelievers to have made outlandish claims, always back up His claims with proof. While many religious leaders make claims to be able to show their followers how to find the truth, Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6 NAS). Jesus followed up His claim by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. This is proof enough that He is the Son of the living God.

As followers of the Lord, let us not make false claims, for such will not only create damage, but also hinder the spread of the gospel. We ought not to take the name of the LORD our God in vain, for the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses His name (Exodus 20:7). False prophets and false teachers will always be among us to secretly introduce destructive heresies, and exploit us with stories they have made up to put the way of truth into disrepute (2 Peter 2:1-3). We should therefore be wise and not be misled by unfounded predictions or help proclaim such heresies, for the day of the Lord will come like a thief (2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2). We should with one heart, boldly, clarify the strange things people are hearing, that they may know the truth (Acts 17:20).

Forgive us dear Lord for sometimes getting carried away by false prophesies, and for making claims not based on Bible truth. Help us to discern Lord what is false and what is true, that we may not mislead others or put the truth into disrepute. Preserve O God those who are yet unsaved that they may not be influenced by false teachings to no longer desire You, the one and only way to the Father. Lead us Lord as we defend Your word in setting right what has been wrongly proclaimed.

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