Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"O Foolish Galatians!"

 When I hear about brothers and sisters in Christ who follow after a particular movement, teaching or leader, I feel a sense of caution in my heart.  It is so easy to be swept up in something that can side track us in our walk with Christ.  Recently, the leader of the Vision Forum, Doug Phillips, had to step down as a result of an improper relationship with another woman not his wife.  This type of failure had to impact those families who closely followed his ministry.  However, I think it was more than that.  We can become so caught up in certain viewpoints and perspectives that we can lose track of the center of our worship.  This is why it is imperative that we pray for those in leadership, and for our churches.  Besides prayer, perhaps it is time for us all to take a look closely at movements to see if they are really from God or built on human efforts to get closer to God.  I believe that like the Galatians we can go off on tangents and return again to works.  This can lead to confusion and sin.
     As I read an article written by Chelsea Schilling for WND (, she quoted the head of the Home School Legal Defense Association Michael Farris who worked alongside Doug Phillips for six years.  He stated:  "“The reason Doug left HSLDA is because [President] Mike Smith and I, who were his bosses, were growing more and more uncomfortable as he started developing his patriarchy theory. We started limiting his ability to speak on those things while traveling on our behalf. We basically made it clear that he could not pursue those things with his HSLDA hat on. So he eventually chose to leave us so he could do those things because we were not comfortable with where he was headed.”  After I read this statement, I recalled my days as a home school mother of four.  During my 21 years of educating our children, I saw many movements come and go among families involved in home education.  There was the "Quiverfull" movement popularized by Mary Pride which encouraged families to have as many children as God wanted you to have doing nothing to prevent them.  Then came the "head covering" movement which advocates that women cover their heads at all times to show their submission to their husbands, and of course, the patriarchy movement which was a tenant of the Vision Forum (you can research any of these movements to learn more).  My point is not to put down anyone who has a sincere belief in some of these teachings, but to call attention to a danger here.
     In my own experience, I witnessed some families becoming involved in these movements as a means to draw closer to God.  It became a "work" to earn His favor.  I do not think they consciously thought about it that way.  However, like the Galatians, people can be swayed by popular opinion that following a certain teaching, a certain leader, or even using certain materials can bring them closer to God.                                                                                                                                                                      
     For the Galatians, it was the Judaizers that tried to convince the Gentile believers that they needed circumcision in order to be a true Christian.  They stirred the people up and brought confusion.  Paul put it very clearly in Galatians 3:1-6:  "O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.  Let me ask you only this:  Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain - if indeed it was in vain?  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith - just as Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness?"  I have to love Paul's straightforward approach.  The Bible is clear that salvation comes by faith in Christ.  It is not a result of any works we can do.  We cannot make ourselves more holy by wearing or not wearing a head covering.  Having unlimited children is a decision between a husband, wife and God.  While children are a rich blessing, having many does not make you more holy.
     Unfortunately, we human beings have this built in "we have to contribute something" mentality  that makes us feel as though we must add something to salvation in order to be acceptable.  This comes from the flesh.  Once again, we need to remind ourselves that God, by His perfect love, accomplished our salvation.  He did it all.  We were dead in our trespasses and sins until He regenerated us and called us to Himself.  Now that we know Him, why are we falling into the same pit as the Galatians?  Adding things to what is already perfect whether its dietary, physical, or otherwise does not and cannot make us more saved.  Instead, it causes pride to rise to the top, and we know this can lead to downfall.
     Before we follow any movement, trend, or teaching, we need to take a good long look at it from the perspective of God's Word which is the only rule of our faith and practice.  We need to pray about it and seek godly counsel within our fellowship of believers.  All of us are subject to being led astray if we let our guard down.  We must be certain we are following God and not a manmade idea which makes us feel more righteous or holy.
     I will never put down those who feel called to have a large family as I hope they would not judge us for not having more than we did.  Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I did not issue a concern and warning.  If the Galatians can be fooled, so can we.  The spirit is willing but our flesh is weak when it comes to following men, and movements.  Let us make certain our eyes are fastened on Christ and our hearts are grounded in His Word.  Selah!

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