Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church, a blog over at Pirate Christian, believes that much of the bad teaching in churches happens because people who teach often make unbiblical assertions. And the gullible folks in the pews just assume what they’re being taught is the gospel truth. After all, pastors/teachers/church leaders would never stray from the truth, right?
Some pastors/teachers/church leaders get away with using assertions by claiming that what they’re teaching came directly from the Almighty, even when what they’re teaching is patently absurd. In other words, they use the “God told me” card to get gullible folks to accept what they’re saying.
So – now to Steve’s piece. He writes:
Assertion: (noun) a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason: Without providing any evidence, he made an assertion.
Assumption: (noun) something taken for granted; a supposition: She didn’t check the facts to see if it was true, she just made an assumption.
Have you ever received one of those ridiculous emails that claims you are the recipient of a multi-million dollar fortune from somebody in another country? But in order to claim your money you have to send a smaller amount of money to the complete stranger that sent you the email? Emails like this rarely fool people, but they work just enough that different versions of this scam re-emerge from time to time.
- The scam emailer is making an assertion. (“I’m telling the truth-really! I’ve got millions of dollars to give away-trust me!!”)
- The scammer hopes that the recipient will make an assumption. (“This email must be true, I believe it and will send the money”)
The reason these scams don’t work most of the time is because the assertion is obviously not true and most people do not assume that it is.
Much of the bad teaching going on in churches has both of these aspects. The pastor/teacher is making assertions and the people listening are simply assuming those assertions must be true. It looks something like this:
- The pastor/teacher makes an assertion, often quite vigorously; he says it with confidence and emotion or he even claims it came directly from God Himself.
- The people listening make the assumption that this pastor must be telling the truth. Why would he lie? He’s a super nice guy, or he seems very sincere, or he went to some college somewhere… there’s a million reasons why people assume they are being told the absolute truth.
Christians often use catch phrases that appear to be true, and the more often these phrases and ideas get repeated the more often they are assumed to be true. Popular pastors often have memes with their own sayings that are nothing more than mere assertions-usually meant to make people feel good.