But seriously, the implication of this cartoon is that there are some pastors who are deliberately deceptive. Other than a bonafide 'Wolf in the Pulpit,' I have a hard time with that. Sure, some preachers might be deceived themselves, but I believe that the vast majority seriously believe that which they preach.
This does, however, raise another question for me from the other side of the pulpit; the pew. There is, perhaps ironically, this age-old tendency for Christians not to know their Bibles and simply be told what to believe. Granted, since the Reformation days, we're doing better, but as I look around in my little corner of the world, I still see an attitude among some believers reminiscent of those old days when Bible reading was discouraged. I wonder why that is.
I just cannot fathom why this lethargic attitude towards the Scriptures prevails. God has revealed so much of Himself within its pages that one would think that every Christian would daily spend time examining it for themselves. Unlike the suggestion in the cartoon, we don't have to have a knowledge of the Greek language either in order to know that something coming from the pulpit is true or false; there are plenty of good English versions to guide us in our quest for biblical literacy. Please understand, I do not mean this as the proverbial 'guilt trip.' This is just my own humble musing.
Getting back to the cartoon, I wonder if the Bereans old old would have fallen for such trickery. Notice what Luke tells us in Acts 17:11. In the NIV it reads,
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (emphasis mine)The point is, the Bereans did not just blindly take Paul's word for it; they looked it up for themselves. As such, I doubt they would have fallen for "a tithe means 25%." Taken one step further, would they have believed that the tithe (10%) even had a place at all in the church if they heard a preacher trying to convince them to part with a prescribed portion of their income? Some still preach that Old Testament law today, and try to twist it into the New Testament church. And some non-Bereans still buy into it. (For more on this, see my post: Tithing: Is It Christian?)
Perhaps this explains why there are so many "dissensions and factions" (Galatians 5:20, acts of the sinful nature according to the previous verse) in the church today; some Christians are like the Bereans whereas some are not. Some test what they hear from the pulpit against the Scriptures, and some just blindly accept what they're told without question.
Are you a Berean? Something to think about. Peace.
Cartoon Source: Unknown (via Facebook)