I once heard a teacher say (of Galatians) that “the Gospel + something = nothing.” As we consider the religions of the world (and how to seek common ground) it is important to understand that there is a continuum of belief. On one end is the life and teaching of Jesus (promised through the Jews). It is 100% authentic. On the other is teaching which is ignorantly or intentionally false. It is twisted: the Gospel plus or minus something. Between lies the human experience of faith based upon each person or group’s chosen truth.
One of the most chilling God-statements about twisting truth is found in the last chapter of Revelation: “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”
“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
False teaching intentionally twists truth for an advantage. In Jude we read “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.”
What is the rebellion of Korah? It would be good to know. Check out Numbers 16. Chilling my friend. Being prepared to recognize false teaching is part of what God’s community MUST be able to do. Especially if we search for common ground with others to avoid the Korah factor. 🙂