There is nothing wrong with faith teachings, if and only if, the teaching is established on the written word of God. The problem on faith teachings occur when someone teaches someone’s personal experience instead of the written scriptures. You need to realize and understand that individual personal experience differs from everyone else. Every believer has a unique encounter with God, and has a distinct place and function in the Body of Christ. There is no such same or exact duplicate of believer’s encounter with God.
The confusion on faith teachings arises when someone is extremely and overly zealous in thrusting or shoving his “own personal experience” to someone’s throat as the basis of faith.
The teacher or preacher could be an extreme conservative believer or the opposite. Personal experience with God is not the absolute foundation of faith. Our individual personal experience with God stands as a personal testimony that is subject to clearance from the written word of God. Our personal experience stands as a witness to the written word of God; however, it is not the foundation of truth. The written word of God is the sole foundation of faith. The written word of God is the only revelation of God for the Church.
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” ((Romans 15:4).
Also, the confusion on faith teachings arises when natural man attempts to comprehend spiritual things. It is impossible for a natural man to grasp spiritual things of God. Why does natural man reject the spiritual things of God?
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJ).
Who is this natural man the apostle Paul is referring to? The natural man is a person who denies spiritual truths. For him, no such spiritual thing exists but only the physical or material things. He attempts to convince himself to accept the truths of things surrounding him based on his physical senses. However, can a natural man ever trust his own physical senses to establish the truth? Of course not!
In his epistles, Paul obviously established himself as one of the great intellectuals of the planet, highly educated, and overzealous to a religious tradition to the point of persecuting the Jewish populace. In spite of being sincere to his religious belief, Paul did not have the knowledge of Christ. Not until Jesus met him and revealed himself to him in a very personal way. It was a revelation in the spirit. It was not an intellectual or mental knowledge. As a result, Paul had written the most profound epistles of the Bible. It was a realization of the wisdom of God that led the transformation of Paul from a religious fanatic to a New Creation in Christ.
On the other hand, it is impossible for the natural man to receive the spiritual things of God. The natural man is spiritually dead because of sin. Sin has separated him from the presence of God. The natural man is so soaked with the physical and natural laws, that he considers spiritual matters as sign of lunacy. He cannot understand spiritual things such as faith and how it works. Sadly, even the most faithful Christians who sincerely believe in the teachings of Christ, when situations arise that require a simple faith, they fail. Rather than standing firmly on the Word of God, they succumbed to believe the natural and physical things around them.
To expound the traits of a natural man, let’s consider one of the prevailing struggles of his faith which is confronting sickness. At this present age, it appears that many church goers have thrown divine healing out of the window. And who is to blame? Of course the culprit is that Old Liar, the Devil along with his cohorts. They twisted the truth and invented evil doctrines which include divine healing as an obsolete spiritual truth. Because they are unable to understand the spiritual truths of divine healing, they surrendered their faith and have resorted to the natural man’s sense based faith and unbelief. Instead of standing and resting on the word of God, they accept physical senses as basis of their belief.
John 20:24 “One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Thomas was a classic natural man. At one time Thomas thought he was the smartest of the twelve disciples. He even proposed forensic evidence that challenged the resurrection of Christ. You see, natural man does not accept spiritual things unless it is backed up by physical or material evidence. He has to see, touch, smell, feel and hear before he accepts that it exists. He clings to a phrase “To see is to believe.” Interestingly, thousands of case laws have emerged that have proven that not all you see is believable. You cannot believe everything according to your physical senses. Most of the times what you see is not true. Therefore, natural man does not know how to operate in faith. Because faith is a direct opposite of physical senses, the natural man could not understand what faith is. Spiritual things are direct opposite of the physical senses. Spiritual things are discerned or can only be understood by faith.
1 Corinthians 2: 9-11 “But as it written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
You see, it is through the work of His Spirit that God has revealed spiritual truths to us. In the Gospel of John, Jesus challenged Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that unless a man is born in the spirit, he shall never see and enter the kingdom of God. The truth is man shall never come to the understanding of the personality and character of God unless man is born in the spirit. And a natural man is not born in the spirit. He utilizes his reason, his wisdom, his intellect and physical senses to comprehend God. As a result, he comes out with all kinds of foolishness, believing that he is able to explain God not realizing that he is spiritually blind, without the Spirit of God in him.
On the other hand, hyper-spiritual men are all over us to deceive us and cause us to depart from faith. Especially on the last days, they will deceive many even the chosen ones. These are spiritual extremists that believe in spiritual manifestations outside of the written word of God. At this moment, some actually claim to have deeper revelation of the things of God than those of the original apostles of Christ. They are extremely moved by their feelings, dreams and visions. Don’t get me wrong because I also believe in dreams and visions, however, if dreams and visions are not according to, or not in-line with the written word of God, then they are just product of man’s senses. At times, they are influences of the devil.
The natural man does not accept the authority of the written word of God. Because he does not have the spirit of truth in him, he relies heavily on his feelings and emotions to believe the things of God. The natural man needs to feel something in order to convince himself that there is a spiritual manifestation from God. He could not take the word of God literally and submit himself in obedience to what it says. His feelings and emotions are not stable all right. Of course they are not trustworthy either. Feelings and emotions are subject to change at any moment. Obviously, when you hear a song or music or noise, your mood suddenly changed. Or when you see things that you’re not supposed to see, you feel bad.
The written word of God is our final authority in both physical and spiritual world. Any claim of fresh revelation and prophecy that is not according to the written word of God is a lie from hell. People may label themselves as apostles or prophets, but if they prophesy outside of the written word of God, then it’s a lie. The whole counsel of the written word of God is a revelation and a prophecy itself. It is complete and there is nothing else to add or subtract from its wholeness.
The natural man does not accept the things of God because he is blinded by darkness. He allowed himself to be dominated by his physical senses, feelings and emotions. Spiritual truths are founded on the teachings of the first apostles of Christ. The first apostles are the eyewitnesses of the death and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. They touched Jesus. They smelled Jesus. They saw Jesus. They heard Jesus. They felt Jesus. Before and after His death and resurrection, the first apostles were with Jesus the Christ. And everything they wrote about the Christ is a revelation from Jesus Christ Himself. Believers who have never seen Jesus and yet believe are more blessed, because they have learned to operate in faith. They have experienced the joy of living by faith.
Be on guard, unless a natural man is born in the spirit, he shall not see the kingdom of God. Anyone who denies the authority of the written word of God belongs to the group of the last day false prophets. Anyone who advocates the irrelevance of the written word of God is of the devil. After fasting for forty days and in the wilderness, Jesus defended the righteousness of the kingdom of God when he rebukes the devil by quoting the written word of God. Jesus said, “It is written …”