A Mixture of Error

Rarely does even a heretic get everything wrong. Usually the problem with a false teacher is that they have mixed SOME truth together with error. Elihu, the 4th and youngest of Job’s “friends”, is an example of this:

In some ways, Elihu demonstrated an exalted view of God. In fact, as you look at how he described God to Job in Chapter 37, he attributes to Him some things similar to what God says about Himself in the next chapters:
:4 “He thunders with His majestic voice”
:6 “To the snow He says, ‘fall on the earth'”
:11 “With moisture He loads the thick cloud”
:18 “Can you, with Him, spread out the skies?”
Elihu didn’t get it all wrong. Some what he said, especially about the grandeur and glory of God, was right on target.

But the problem was, he added to that good theology a mixture of error.
In Chapter 36:11-12 he said: “If they hear and serve Him, they will end their days in prosperity and their years in pleasures. But if they do not hear, they will perish by the sword.” This is what we could call today a “prosperity gospel” (which is really not the “gospel” at all!) that everyone who serves God will be blessed with prosperity and pleasure. It is simply not true. Wicked people often prosper, and godly believers may suffer hardship.
So Elihu was way off base here, as are all who adhere to similar teachings.

Rare is the person who gets EVERYTHING wrong in their theology and teaching. Even false teachers will usually employ some mixture of orthodoxy with heresy or aberration. Thus it is our task to be discerning. We should not accept everything someone teaches because some of it seems correct. We need to continually pluck the chaff from the grain by comparing whatever is being taught with the “pure milk” of the word of God (I Peter 2:2) — which contains “truth, without any mixture of error for its matter.” (Baptist Faith & Message)

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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2 Responses to A Mixture of Error

  1. Rick Gomez says:

    Thanks for pointing that out. I missed that bit of error by Elihu.

  2. Abbie says:

    This is such a great reminder for the family of God. We neglect the reading & studying of His Word for whatever reason (lack of time, feelings of inadequacy in understanding, lack of desire) and then can’t believe we’ve been duped when it occurs.

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