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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 26:27-28 False teachers

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, February 29, 2020

27 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it.
  Whoever rolls a stone may find it will roll back.

This is a curious pair of sayings that warn us about unfortunate consequences to ordinary actions. There is nothing inherently wrong with digging a pit or rolling a stone, but it is possible in a sinful world that an accident might take place; a pit may receive its digger. A rolling stone may roll back on the one who rolls it.

How shall we apply this to the life of faith? It proclaims the law for us as a warning that digging a spiritual pit, for whatever reason, may result in disaster for the digger. I would define a spiritual pit (as opposed to a spiritual stone to be rolled) as any attempt to get deeply into religion apart from the path set out for us by God, his prophets, and his apostles. Such a pit was the goal of the German theologians Bultmann and Barth. These men and their followers (virtually the entire German Lutheran church of the early to middle Twentieth Century, that is to say, during both World Wars) sought to redefine religion and Christianity through existentialism. They ignored the text of the Bible and attempted to demythologize the Bible instead. This pit became their own trap, and anyone who wanders into this pit today falls into the same trap, setting aside his faith for human opinion.

So it is with a spiritual “rolling stone,” that is, anyone who tries to move the message of the gospel along beyond its intended meaning by the prophets and evangelists. For example, anyone who tries to read any meaning into the words of institution of the Lord’s Supper apart from their literal meaning in context runs and rolls ahead, and will be in danger of having their false doctrine roll back on them, crushing their whole theology. As our confession says: “If (in 1 Corinthians 10:16) Paul had in mind only a spiritual ‘participation’ in the body of Christ through faith, he would not say that the bread but that the spirit or faith was the participation in the body of Christ. But he says that the bread is a participation in the body of Christ, and that means that all who receive the blessed bread also partake of the body of Christ” (Formula of Concord). Those who try to shoehorn the words of institution into some other meaning nullify the very Scriptures themselves and stand every bit as opposed to God and his message as were Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On (Numbers 16:1). Just as God warned Moses and the others to “move back away from the tents of these wicked men,” so also we must distance ourselves from the false doctrine of Bultmann, Barth, and many modern theologians who follow in their heresy. The earth will swallow them and their families as well (Numbers 16:31-32), if not immediately, then in God’s own good time and in the inevitable punishment of the unrepentant.

28 A lying tongue hates those it oppresses.
  A flattering mouth makes men stumble.

Here the tongue and the mouth are said to hate and to make men stumble; this is because the man behind the mouth and the tongue is the one who truly hates and who truly makes men stumble. This proverb ends the chapter as a summary OF what the fool and the lazy man do. What such men and women do by accident or ignorance, the liar and flatterer in this verse do intentionally and maliciously.

When a theologian tries to flatter someone by re-interpreting God’s word to favor someone the Scripture does not (such as saying that a certain sin is not a sin), then that theologian is causing people to sin even more. Far from loving his congregation, he hates it. He has condemned his people by giving them permission to sin against God. “Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7). Any minister who despises his congregation so much as to reject Jesus is a danger to their souls. “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). Such theologians should be marked, avoided, dismissed, and scorned.

Praise God for your good pastor and for your good Sunday school teachers, and for your good parents who taught you about Jesus. Their love lives in your faith; their compassion for you will live with you forever in eternal life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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