False Teachers

Posted on January 9, 2013


Minister's Text Message-

I do not know the individual responsible for this message. I do not know who received it. I know where I found it and I could, if I were so inclined, research the individuals involved in the conversation. I am not so inclined. I do not believe that their identities will have any bearing on my opinions.

Furthermore, I will not address every statement in this message. I have thought about it. My notes for this post are arranged along those lines and I believe I have a response to each sentence. There is only one, however, that I want to write about at the moment. I am addressing it because I believe it speaks to an essential problem with some Christians, specifically Christian leaders and their churches.

“…praying to God will not in fact avert the tragedies of our world… we’ve all seen/experienced that tragedy happens inexplicably.”

This is a tragedy. It is a terrible thing for any Christian to believe, but for a minister… here I must simply shake my head and cry a little.

If you search for the word “pray” on BibleGateway.com, you find between 300 and 500 results (depending on the translation). This suggests that prayer is important to the Christian, on par with love (which appears about as often). Prayer appears in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Dueteronomy and just about every other book (except, possibly, the very short ones). When I looked for Jesus and prayer I found only 25 results, but each one speaks to an act performed by Jesus. Indeed, where Jesus spent his time in prayer, often there was an impact: a demon was cast out, a man was healed or someone just felt better.

So we know that the Bible considers prayer important. And we know that Jesus prayed often, and to good effect. Let’s also consider that modern medicine and science has shown a strong correlation between prayer and good feelings. In other words, people who pray often report feeling better about themselves, their lives and their situations, regardless of how amazing or dire they really are.

Why am I fixated on this? Why does it bother me that a minister should tell his people, “praying to God will not in fact avert the tragedies of our world?” I mean, besides the fact that it’s not supported by Scripture?

The claim that prayer does nothing is false. I know, this person does not say that. He/She says that prayer will not stop tragedy. First of all, I don’t believe that. I base my belief on Scripture where there is ample evidence that prayer can effect a significant change in our lives. But even if I accepted the claim, does it mean that I should stop praying? Should I tell people the same, that prayer won’t do them any good so they might as well quit?