Watch your life and your doctrine closely. 

Persevere in them, because if you do, 

  you will save both yourself and your hearers.

  1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV, 1978)

I have always tried to veer away from overt self-promotion because I view that as being contrary to the humility that Jesus taught his disciples. In a similar fashion, I don’t believe that drawing inordinate attention to someone else’s mistakes or ignorance does anything to bring honor to myself or to the cause of the Gospel.  That being said, I was confronted not long ago by a situation that illustrates what Paul was writing to Timothy in the verse above.

We were contacted by someone who was sincerely desiring to enroll in the ministry of Adult & Teen Challenge to address a multitude of personal issues. Their purpose in contacting us was to inquire as to their ability to continue practice certain tenets of a religion they had been studying while incarcerated. These practices included a certain prayer ritual as well as the study of “scripture” which has some commonalities with the Bible, but ultimately does not teach the divinity of Jesus Christ nor of His atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind—insurmountable issues.

While I was clearly sympathetic to their questions and to the fact that this religion was giving them the only measure of “peace” they had been able to experience, I made it clear that those practices would not be permitted to continue if they were to attend ATCM. I expressed my regret that we would likely not be a good fit for his spiritual growth since so much of our doctrine specifically concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ would run in opposition to his current views. A funny thing happened. The more I tried to dissuade him from applying to us, the more his “devotion” to his beliefs began to waiver and become more negotiable. Eventually, he decided to follow through with his application. We who name the name of Jesus can agree to disagree on so many minor issues, but I believe what we witnessed with this caller was God honoring His word before our very eyes. His is the ONLY truth that breaks chains and brings new life. When we refuse to waiver on the Person of Jesus Christ, He will draw to Himself those we never could!