The writer is a longtime Church of God member,
a frequent Journal contributor and editor of The Gilmer Mirror.
GILMER, Texas--Is the minister you listen to on the radio or TV or maybe even in person a wacko or, worse, a loonytoon? Is there any way to tell for sure?
Longtime Church of God member Pam Dewey of Allegan, Mich., and longtime COG evangelist Ron Dart of Whitehouse, Texas, say there is a way.
The two have published a booklet, Doctrinal Self-Defense: ANT Control in the Information Age, that addresses the issue.
ANT, by the way, doesn't just refer to six-legged bugs. It stands for "Amazing New Truth," which the authors say is chief among the characteristics of many Church of God and other preachers presenting something "New."
Here is a summary of Mr. Dart's and Mrs. Dewey's advice:
"You are under no obligation to listen to the claims of every would-be preacher you encounter. Have a little self-respect. After all, you didn't become a Christian in the first place without reading the Bible ... In becoming a Christian, you are obliged to read, not books about the Bible, but the Bible itself ..."
Respect tradition, the "accumulated judgment of a community over time ..."
Develop a biblical worldview. "If something doesn't sound quite right, there's a significant probability it isn't right ..."
Dismiss intimidation. None of us has ever been intimidated by a bullying minister, right?