Few things in life are truly genuine.
Much of what masquerades as a Gucci, or a Rolex, or leather, or made-in-America is just a cheap replica. Even less tangible qualities like love, faith, generosity, or intelligence are often acquired from foreign sweat shops. They look good, they cost little, they make the owner feel important, but most won’t hold up over time.
Such observations were triggered from the closing paragraphs in our latest chapter review through the book Claiming Christ. In fact, that is the main thrust of the book; many claim genuine belief in Christ, but Scripture exposes their thin veneer as just another Christian knock-off.
As often occurs whenever one’s treasured possession is identified as a possible fake, the response tends to be defiant. The distracting antics of denial are typically the efforts of the immature who try to defend their choices rather than bow to revealed truth.
As with things, so with the response to criticism. The wise will control their rising temperature and carefully consider the outside input. If the evidence, regardless as to how we may feel about it, tends to confirm the observation that what we have, what we have done, or what we have believed, is less than genuine, then a mature response will incline toward things like gratitude, change, humility, and repentance.
However, like most products found in the large box stores or online, that which looks good is often lacking in lasting quality. Similarly, most responses to the truth found in God’s word, lack the wisdom of the Spirit.
I know of an ordained elder who is fully aware of a conflict with a fellow church member, and has been reminded of the scriptural command to leave one’s gifts of worship at the altar and first go strive for reconciliation. And yet, they are choosing the cheaper version of ignoring the broken relationship. They prefer the knock-off, rather than the more expensive demand of trying to fix relational problems.
I know of a pastor who committed to mediating a conflict, but after 4 years, has still refused to follow through, the conflict continues to fester, and others have stopped attending church because of it. The Bible says that our commitments of yes, ought to be yes, and no, no; anything else is of the devil. His yes, appears to be a knock-off response of something more resembling: ok, maybe in a million years.
I know of another minister, who when asked how he can continue to profess what he does in light of what several passages state in the New Testament, replied: “Well, only the Old Testament is actually Scripture”. He made it clear, that the New Testament part of the Bible is not reliable for forming beliefs, so Christians can believe whatever they like and it is still acceptable. And he teaches believers who have no clue of his outright dismissal of the reliability of Scripture. Those who listen to him, don’t realize they are being indoctrinated with a knock-off.
I have documented statements from a professor of theology at a popular seminary who rejected several passages that clearly refuted his teachings on a particular subject. He has no intention of admitting his knock-off ideas. Instead, he referred to the historic delay in accepting 2 Peter, Hebrews, and Revelation as part of the New Testament canon as “proof” that we don’t have to believe anything written in those books of the Bible.
One of the most well known theologians of our modern era, defended his description of who Jesus is, as revealed in the Synoptic Gospels, while rejecting any contribution from the Gospel of John. His reason? No one would read his book otherwise, since it is popular among scholars today to reject the book of John. He wanted acceptance. He got it. He has since been asked if he would change his verbal sketch of Jesus to now include what is revealed in John. He likes what he made, so no, no changes. His knock-off is popular, and he is content with that.
I know of leaders within a church denomination that have acknowledged that some of their official teachings misrepresent the word of God, but are afraid to do anything about it. (This was communicated between leaders of two different denominations). Millions of members could become so shaken that their “faith” might falter, so they do nothing about it. Another knock-off response.
Many misrepresent the name of God and bring disrepute upon his holy Name, causing unbelievers to blaspheme. Hypocrites. Foolish virgins. Weeds and wolves. Knock-offs.
“They have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
If you want the genuine thing, you must be willing to pass by all those aggressive and attractive side stands along the way. You must be willing to accept the rare; to sell everything in order to grasp onto that pearl of great price.
You must knock off the knock-offs, outside and within.
For those with ears to hear, that means you will need to humbly accept the word planted in you by the Spirit and in accordance with preserved Scripture. And then, in order to retain the genuine, it will require a genuine response from you.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”