Welcome to the course! The only materials you’ll need are a good set of earplugs and some of your favorite cherry-picked Bible verses. Let’s begin!
Say a Christian friend warns you about something–maybe a book or movie you’re into, or a certain teaching that may or may not be very biblical, or some other decision you’re making. Annoying, right?
Well, since you’d much rather avoid her arguments and just keep doing what you were doing in the first place, (because who wants to have to give up their idols, anyway?) I’ve got some pro-tips for you that will completely shut down the discussion and free you to go on with your undiscerning life!
And the best part is, there is no proper biblical interpretation required!
Try each of these approaches. Just say them point-blank, and if the annoying Christian replies, that’s where your ear plugs come in. Remember that if one doesn’t work, you have the other ones ready to throw out at any time!
1. Tell her that she’s “acting like a Pharisee.”
For sure, this is one of my favorite excuses! No one wants to be a Pharisee.
It doesn’t matter that your friend is actually using God’s Word to confront you rather than made-up legalistic rules like the Pharisees did. The point is that she’s taking God’s Word wayyyy too seriously. I mean, trying to obey God and apply the Bible to our lives?! Obviously as Christians we’re supposed to ride freestyle on the wave of God’s grace and not worry so much about pleasing the Lord. Surely he’s not concerned about something as unimportant as a movie, anyway. All He cares about is my heart! (Ignore her if she brings up that pesky verse about how we’ll be judged for the deeds we’ve done in our bodies. Or maybe respond with, “Judge not.”)
2. Insist that “None of us has all the answers.”
Sure, your friend knows the Bible, but that gives you a great opportunity to point out that she doesn’t know it perfectly! Which means there’s room for error. Which means she could be wrong (even if it’s clear as day that she’s right)!
Plus, you’ll be giving her a nice slice of humble pie by showing her how easy it is to dismiss the truth she’s sharing. Be sure to pat yourself on the back after throwing this excuse at her. You’re doing her a favor!
3. Ask her rhetorically, “How do you know God isn’t using it to save, help, or change people?”
Now, of course, you yourself don’t know for sure that God’s using that book/movie/false teaching to do those things, but hey, it’s God! He probably is! As long as it’s vaguely “Christian” and, most importantly, entertaining and pleasing to unbelievers, then there’s a strong likelihood it’s just the right brand of seeker-sensitive material to draw them in… and turn them into nominal Christ-professors that never read the Bible.
If not, then surely it’ll help people at least think about God, right?
I mean really. Why is your friend so bent on interfering with God and His kingdom purposes?
4. Snap back with, “That’s just your interpretation.”
Again, it’s not a big deal if her interpretation of the Bible she’s quoting is actually hermeneutically accurate and historically held by the true church. In fact, forget I said that!
Just focus on the fact that you know there are other interpretations out there, even if they’re all bogus, New Age teachings that no one in the church has held to in the past 2,000 years because they contradict Scripture.
5. Obscurely hypothesize that “The Spirit can work in mysterious ways,” and “God can do anything He wants, He’s God.”
If the book she’s criticizing teaches wacky stuff about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that is not supported by the Word, you always have the “mystery” card to pull out right when you need it.
After all, just because Jesus says that the Spirit leads us into all truth, doesn’t mean that He won’t occasionally say things to us that are false! The Scriptures may give us defined parameters on who God is and what He does or doesn’t do, but isn’t it much more fun to question those beliefs and exclaim, “Don’t put God in a box”?
6. Say, “You’re overthinking it and missing out on the beauty of it.”
Sure, the thing your friend is warning you about is riddled with lies and deception. But that’s okay, because you can look past all of those aspects and focus on the beauty of it–the pretty language the author uses, the emotional acting in the movie, or the heartfelt passion that false teacher has when she’s preaching to men.
As they say, “Chew the meat and spit out the bones,” right? If that sounds like too much work, just swallow the whole thing. You’ll be fine. Don’t worry about your accountability to God to worship Him in spirit and in truth. No one’s tombstone says, “Died from bad theology.”
7. Assert that she’s “being divisive and focusing too much on finding errors. It’s unloving.”
So your friend is going up against the current by opposing false teaching. Sounds like division to me! If she really wanted unity in the body of Christ, surely she would just stop resisting and follow the flow of what’s popular rather than what’s right. If everyone would put their Bibles down, quit studying theology, and blindly believe what sounds good, we would all just get along!
Is she truly loving you by warning you about something that will ultimately cause you to sin or fall into error, damage your relationship with God, or detract from His glory? Wouldn’t it be more loving to just let you go and do what you think is right?
Use your out-of-context verse, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” to insist that truth doesn’t matter.
Then push your friend out of your life. Wear the ear plugs until she stops talking to you. Slowly drift further and further away from the safety of sound doctrine, until you find yourself lost at sea, drinking bucketloads of saltwater to satisfy your thirst for the one Fountain of Life.
…Or you could do the opposite of everything I’ve said, thank your friend for caring for your soul, and exercise discernment to the glory of God. Your move.