Welcome to Carnivorous Caribou

Monday, January 30, 2006

Cliff Notes to Spotting False Teachers

If they bag on Job, I probably wouldn't keep listening.

I was channel surfing the other night and happened to stop on "Christian Television". Paula was on and I have to admit, I usually stop for a little while when she is speaking. This can be explained for two reasons:

1. The cuffs of her sleeves are always gigantic. Seriously, I find myself gazing at the television wondering how many children may be hiding in her sleeves. It's fascinating.
2. She's one of those speakers who often ends up rhyming. It's obviously on purpose, most of the time. But occassionally, I think the poetry just flows out accidently. That's when it's most entertaining. Usually, however, I turn before too long after being completely disgusted for her disregard for context in Scripture when preaching.

This weeks doozy came from Job 7:6. In the New Living, it says, ""My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle flying back and forth. They end without hope."

She then followed that by quoting James 1:7-8, that a double minded man will receive nothing. She said that Job was bouncing around like a weaver's shuttle. No wonder God didn't bless his life. He had to quit being double minded before God could bless him.

But is that what Job 7:6 was saying? An examination of the text, as well as preaching from a more accurate translation*, would have proved this wasn't the meaning of the text. Job is stating in chapter 7 that his life is short and ultimately futile. He is concluding that his life is but a breath (Didn't have to look too hard for that one. It was in the next verse.). Here today and gone tomorrow. (*Please understand, I'm not saying the New Living Translation is bad. It just isn't a word-for-word based translation and I would quesiton whether it is wise to preach from it. I would only quote New Living in a sermon if I had first looked it up in a more reliable translation and new the New Living accurately conveyed the idea while being more understandable. Also, fear the preacher who bounces around from translation to translation during a message, but that's another Cliff Notes indicator.)

I'm not sure what it is about Job, but I heard Joel pick on him as well. I can't remember his exact verse, but he claimed that Job's afflictions came to pass because he had dwelt on them. He merely reaped what he sowed by focussing on the negative. (Of course, that fits right into his "word of faith" teaching.)

Have they not read Job 1:8--The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."

God says that Job is blameless and upright. The book of Job says that Job's miseries were caused by Satan's accusation that Job was only blameless because his life was so easy (thus acknowledging God's claim). God allowed Job to be tested to prove Satan wrong and to glorify God. Therefore, if a teacher wants to blame Job for his trials, they are basically saying that they can examine Job's character better than God. I think that would indicate they are a false teacher.

If a person calls you to turn to the book of Job, listen carefully. Are they making the same observations as God, or are they making "discoveries" even God wasn't privy to. If they tell you they can show you how to be good by seeing that Job was bad, take caution. What they really offer you is something bad in exchange for the good that we could learn from Job.


  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger the chelsinater said…

    woah!!! definitely didn't know that you had a blog!! but i guess, blogs are officially an acceptable use for communication, so I don't know why it would surprise me!!..
    But thanks so much for letting me tag along w/ you guys!! it was well worth the trip and I hope to be able to go again next yr!:)

  • At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I generally tell the folks in my church, "Don't get your theology from the television."

    I think we should forbid Paula, Joel and a host of others from EVER preaching on Job. Hasn't the poor guy suffered enough already?

  • At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    But seriously. I think if you asked Job at the end of his life to evaluate his suffering, I believe He would say, "What suffering?"

    He talked to God. Face to Face.("Now my eyes have seen you.") I think he would prefigure the words of Paul, "I count it all rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ."

    But that's just my opinion

  • At 11:45 AM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    "What suffering?"

    Other than the bit about having his body ravaged, his possessions destroyed, his employees and children killed? I tend to think that even a conversation with God won't erase a lousy week like that.

    I have a lot of difficulty with Job. Speaking frankly, I'd rather not view God as someone that makes childish wagers with Satan. Or as someone who has too much pride to give Job a straight answer when Job justifiably asks "why?".

    And I've never been able to work out why it was such a wonderful blessing for Job to have his dead children replaced with new, improved kids and a thriving business.

    Does this make me an ignorant Westerner?

  • At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I appreciate your frankness; I too have struggled with certain aspects of Job. But here are a few thoughts (thanks, btw, for inspiring me to read parts of the book again!):

    1. Since God, being omniscient, knew the final outcome, and was fully in control throughout the whole ordeal (Satan could do precisely what God allowed him to do; no more), I'd say the phrase "childish wager" seems a bit of a misnomer.

    2. To call God prideful is correct! He calls us to be God-centered, so He must be, too! (Danny once posted on this, but I haven't yet been introduced to the wonderful world of hyperlinking.)

    3. I don't believe God was avoiding giving Job a straight answer. Job needed the reminder of Who he was addressing. Once God gave him a little perspective, he readily admitted, "Surely i spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (42:3)" And, "Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. (42:6)"

    4. I couln't agree more about the replacement family! How could any number of children, no matter how beautiful they are, make up for one lost child? I guess maybe the point is that God rewarded him many times over for his integrity, even in intense suffering. I imagine it was also pretty difficult to overcome the wounds inflicted by his three moronic "friends." In the end, though, God was glorified, and Satan silenced. (wow - ya gotta love alliteration!)

    5. I love the fact that both God and Job speak sarcastially (26:1-4, 38:4-5). There's hope for me!

    6. I enjoy reading your blog - nice makeover!! And the occasional choice word isn't too offensive to me as long as it's used correctly. I can't stand it when people use cusswords incorrectly.


  • At 6:47 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Yeah, I suppose I could add something from experience. I don't think Job would have said that his "new, replacement" family "made up for" the ones he lost.

    My wife and I actually did lose a child.

    We have since had two beautiful kids.

    Neither one "replaces" the one we lost, but WOW are they (still) a blessing from God!

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…


    1. I sort of see where you're going, but to my mind, God's omniscience makes His behavior even less honorable. Obviously, God wasn't trying to prove a point to Satan, He was making His point to Job (and, consequently, to us). So why couch it in this ridiculous "bet"?

    2. Demystified!

    I guess it just seems to me that the type of pride God demonstrates to Job by witholding answers from him is similar to the type of pride that the Apostles spent an awful lot of time instructing us to avoid.

    3. I'm not a scholar of the original Hebrew, but it's pretty hard to read the tone of God's reply as anything other than a chastisement. And whether or not He made some awesome claims doesn't change the fact that a dodge is a dodge. Frankly, I'd like to know the answers to Job's questions as well, but God seems to have taken the tack of intimidation to get around the answer. Why?

    4. I've never had a child (or an employee) to lose, so I can't speak to what sort of experience that must be. I imagine, though, that there is no "compensation" for something like that. Job went on to live the sweet life, but, unfortunately, his children didn't... and thanks to what? Job's obedience? And what's Job's solace? "Well, my first set of children are dead, but at least I now know who can tame Leviathan."

    And it may be a little harsh to call his buddies morons. Like his wife, they were only human and they were good enough to sit with the guy while he wasted away. Don't forget, they didn't have the luxury of Bibles, so they were forced to wing it.

    5. True dat.

    6. Danke. You should set up a blog of your own, gal. Swear up a storm!

  • At 10:12 PM, Blogger danny2 said…


    with much love and gentleness, i encourage you brother to proceed with caution.

    while we should obviously be honest with God in conversation (why wouldn't we since He sees our heart anyway) we should be very careful about our tone.

    God is not obligated to do anything for me or you. therefore, He is also not oblligated in any way to explain His purposes to me. i have no right to demand a thing from Him.

    this seems to be much of the point of the book of Job. there was purpose behind what was happening. God, as Sovereign, will never be thwarted from those purposes. we, as humans, may never know the purposes. and again, God has His purposes when He exposes His desires just as He has His purposes for not revealing His desires.

    one question we must ask is about our ultimate purpose. is it not that our ultimate purpose is to glorify God? didn't job get an incredible chance to do so through this ordeal?

    i think of a man in our church. i have jokingly referred to him as job before. this man has been through immense tragedy in the last 6 months. yet he has been an amazing testimony to the faithfulness of God. a testimony, quite frankly, that i can't be as God has spared me from similar situations. i think if you were to sit down with this man, though these tragedies break his heart, i think he considers it a privilege to glorify God in the midst of it.

    john piper suggests that when we go through hard times, we should look to God and acknowledge His grace that we don't face these hardships our entire life (for i deserve nothing but punishment for my sin) and when good things happen, we should look to God and thank Him for giving us just a glimpse of what we will see in eternity future.

  • At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think God gave Job a better answer than most people give him credit for. But much of the answer lies hidden behind the behemoth and leviathan imagery. Behemoth can be translated "beast." Its the same word David used when he said about himself, "apart from God I was a beast before you." I think by showing Job the mythopoeic beast he showed Job the beastly sin within himself that he couldn't tame. I think Job had to think back on his own rants against God. He had to acknowledge that he needed God to help him control the evil within himself.
    Leviathan can be rightly translated "serpent." Biblical and even Babylonian creation epics use serpent imagery to depict the evil that exists in the world. I think serpent imagery showed Job that Satan was involved in the backround and Job had no ability to confront or control the evil that existed around him in a sinful world.
    Job's suffering was the prelude that prepared Job to receive the answer to the question he wanted most. Why do the righteous suffer? To allow them to confront the evil within and give them strength to confront the evil without. All to the glory of God. The "bet" with Satan was what caused Satan to do what God wanted him to do in the life of Job.

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    Is there ever a time or place where we can or should look critically at our God and the decisions He's made?

  • At 9:17 AM, Blogger HOFF said…

    No.... I think we can address him strongly, as Habbakuk did, but to ultimately question His implicit goodness and his perfect decisions..No. I think when we come to Him to express our feelings, etc.., it's in full knowledge that He is the answer to our pain, suffering, confusion, frustration...not our circumstances or the change thereof.

  • At 2:41 PM, Blogger danny2 said…


    sorry, i really didn't see that you had commented last (until you linked back to it on your blog). i hope you didn't think that i just ended the conversation.

    i agree with matt.

    hebrews 11:6 says, "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

    obviously, living in a fallen world means that experience and truth are not always going to match up. however, to grow in my faith, i have to acknowledge that God is, and that He is good (rewarding those who seek Him).

    now, we may question what the reward is. we may question the circumstances we are in. we may question why we are going through things.

    but i don't think it is good to question whether God is just and righteous and good. i think we have to acknowledge is character, even if we are struggling with our circumstances.

  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger Charity said…



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home