How Cult Teachers Try To Poison A Congregation's Mind Toward The Gospel Messenger. Galatians 4:12-17
The people behind bad doctrine don't just affect the intellect. They also set out to ruin good relationships.
Paul here reminds the Galatian believers how they first met. An illness caused Paul to either stop at Galatia, or stay there longer than he planned. We draw from Paul's words that he contracted some sort of eye-related disease, one that caused him great pain (v. 15).
The local people's reaction to Paul was very kind. Instead of treating this sick little rabbi as a nuisance, they saw him as a messenger from the Lord. The Jewish false teachers, who were trying to warp them, wanted them to regard Paul with contempt and scorn. But that was not the sort of relationship they originally had with Paul. Paul's presence had filled them with happiness, because he brought them the message of God's love and Christ's forgiveness, and the hope of life everlasting.
Paul appeals to this affectionate relationship that they had from the start. Should he be hated now, just because he was telling them the truth about the Gospel, and about the false teachers? Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
No one enjoys admitting they were duped, because it's embarrassing to the pride. But better to be saved from deadly error, even if it costs a brief sting of embarrassment.
Paul's passion was for the Galatians to be zealous for Jesus Christ. The cultist leader's passion is that you be zealous for him (or her). To achieve that end, the cult leader seeks to alienate us from the Word of God, and to poison our attitudes toward Biblically-minded pastors and teachers.
This is the pattern followed by every cult leader since time immemorial. Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Sun Myung Moon, L. Ron Hubbard, Muhammad, the Popes, they are all the same.
Stop listening to people who say they have a new revelation that adds to the Bible or supersedes Jesus Christ! There is only one Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The only Christian leaders whose words bind and free us were the original New Testament apostles, of whom there are no more. There is only one Bible, made up of 66 books, and no more. Do not allow these so-called "prophets", whether modern men or figures out of the past, to alienate you from Christ, and His appointed and anointed representative Pal, and the other original apostles.
Jack is the teaching elder of Ironworks Pike Community Church. He is a graduate of Columbia Biblical Seminary http://www.ciu.edu.