“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” Mark 7:7
The above verse from Mark 7:7 became very real for me, when my wife and I took a trip to Israel in 2007. We visited a ruined village from the 1st century A.D. a village that Jesus had visited and preached in, there was a synagogue that had been uncovered, it had been destroyed after the Jewish revolt of 66 AD to 70 AD.
What was so surprising about the Synagogue ruins was the amount of pagan iconography that hat been carved into the stone work of the Synagogue, and the pagan iconography mixed with Biblical scenes in the floor mosaics.
Upon later personal research it became clear that the Jews of Jesus day had not only been blinded by the Traditions of their Elders they had also been blinded by the constant mixing of Biblical Truth with pagan ideologies, philosophies, and fables from the many cultures around them.
Which brings me back to our current time.The internet has been both a blessing in that it has made available to every person who has access to a search engine, vast amounts of knowledge, knowledge that was unattainable in any past generation.
But it unfortunately has also allowed people to have access to and also to spread false belief systems, conspiracy theories, and quack knowledge spread by self appointed “sages”
It has also given a voice and platform to every person who wants to express an opinion!
In the more than decade long existence of this website I have come across hundreds if not thousands of individuals who claim to be Christian but who also are weighed down and blinded by fables, traditions, conspiracy theories, and supposed new “knowledge” from some self professed sage etc. These people hold onto these, as strongly or stronger than they do their Biblical beliefs.
In these new fables, rehashed traditions, theories, and new “knowledge” which extend or reinterpret the Bible what I have found is that people hold on to them because in many ways they tickle or rationalize what these people are hearing in their every day life, things that are made commonplace by the society around them. Things these people have accepted into their life, and this makes it easier or more comfortable to ascribe to them as they dovetail into the life that they wish to lead!, instead of holding out against them.
God’s Word especially the New Testament is FILLED with examples of how God’s word was twisted, turned, and had the pagan Greek, & Roman philosophical ideas of the day added to it.
It was not only the Jews who had strayed far from God’s truth by adding “The Traditions” and “Commandments” of men to God’s truth that had been handed down to them verbally, thus blinding them.
The new Christian churches that had been established by the Apostles, and disciples of the Apostles also fell victim to this.
The book of Colossians is a very good example where the Apostle Paul wrote to a church established by Epaphras, a disciple of Paul, to exhort them to not let Greek philosophy, or Jewish legalism and mysticism blind them to the Truth that Epaphras had witnessed to them.
These false teachings at Colosse had undercut the major doctrines of Christianity, not least the deity, absolute lordship, and sufficiency of Christ.
Because we live in an age of religious pluralism and syncretism, along with a society that values individual expression above all else, sadly the majority of Christians think it is not only ok, but their RIGHT to pick and choose which parts of God’s word they will accept and which parts they will reject, and what non-Biblical philosophies and ideas they will add to their belief systems, and thus the primacy, sufficiency, and absolute transforming power of God’s word is undermined, and diminished.
The apostles, and later missionaries did not sacrifice their lives to spread the Gospel, because it provided good suggestions for living! They sacrificed their lives because the pure written word of God, acceptance of it, and living it has the transforming power of the Holy Spirit within it!
Most Churches today are weak, filled with people of weak faith, places where the transforming power of the Holy Spirit is not active, and why? It is because the people in these churches have ascribed to and added false teachings, and beliefs into their lives. They want God to move, but they want God to move according to what they want and according to what they have added to it!
They sadly do not want to live surrendered to Christ! And the only way they can live surrendered to Christ is to know, and understand his written word, and live in the way that Christ asks them to live!
Paul said of the Jews:
“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” Romans 10:2
They were zealous in their beliefs, but their beliefs had no true knowledge of God because they had allowed false beliefs to enter in, and it blinded them! And that is the case for most Christians today.