Monday, July 7, 2008


“… we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

In my post, CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET FUNDY, I mentioned “non-essentials: fad doctrines, pop Christianity, religious stuff.” XLT asked me what I would consider current “fad doctrines.” As soon as I read his comment my mind began making a list. I figured I better write them down. These are not necessarily false doctrines, just those things that can get us side tracked.

I started my Christian life in a very rigid church. The gospel was preached there, but there were many legalistic rules governing the life of the believer. Do’s and don’ts (mostly don’ts) were to be followed in order to be spiritual. When I broke free of this and started attending a Bible church, I began to cautiously exercise my freedom in Christ. However, it wasn’t long before I found that there were new “rules,” mostly having to do with some new book or teaching by some well-known preacher.

Spiritual gifts. You’ve got to find your spiritual gift. You really can’t function without knowing it.

Temperament. Tim LaHaye’s book told us there are 4 basic types named after Greek bodily fluids. Again you can’t function without knowing your temperament.

Gothardism. Bill Gothard’s Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts -- chain of command – the umbrella. Every aspect of the Christian life can be reduced to 10 or 12 simple steps.

Eschatology. Hal Lindsey’s books were undoubtedly used to scare many into the Kingdom. But they also led to debates about trivial esoteric matters.

When I was in seminary, it was Calvinism. One had to determine how many points he held to.

Church growth principles. The homogeneous church-- Seeker friendliness.

Self-esteem. Borrowed from pop psychology and baptized as Christian. After all you can’t love your neighbor as yourself unless you love yourself, right?

Spiritual life books. At least once a year we’re confronted with a new one. Some are good. Some are worthless. Most of them could be subtitled: “This works for me, so it should work for you.” It usually doesn’t.

So much of this stuff is proclaimed from the pulpit as though it were on a par with the Word of God. It’s taught in Sunday school classes and home Bible studies.

Any others?

Bill Ball

1 comment:

XLT said...

That's good list, Bill.

Human's don't seem to be able to get rid of these kinds of things. I have suffered at the hands of the Gothard principles personally.

I would add maybe to the list...the "anti-'Church Growth' Movement...things like the "emerging church movement" which, while couched in terms that stem from opposition to Church Growth ideas, have the same goals but are dealing with a different generation.

It's painful to think that we have to "cautiously exercise our freedom in Christ" at any point. I don't have to very far to know what Paul would say about that. But I know the feeling.

Sorry I realized that my name doesn't appear on my profile anymore...this is Josh Meier by the way.

Another "by the way", I am up for a congregational approval as pastor of El Paso Bible Church next week, so if you and Uni would remember, I covet your prayers. Thanks again,