I have to admit, when I saw the advertisements for Ted Dekker’s The Forgotten Way, red flags went up. Words like “waking up,” “alignment” and “being light” are potential New Age terms that have been seeping into Christianity for some time. And so, I wrote this blog to call fellow-Christians to exercise discernment.
I haven’t read all of Ted’s Forgotten Way devotionals. My initial critique of this study (which I’m amending a year later) leaned heavily on his free e-book “Waking Up” and excerpts I’d read, as well as the advertising. I’m editing this post, and taking a few other posts down because I’ve had the benefit of further review and additional input.
The most important point to make here is that regardless of whose study or commentary we select to supplement our Bible studies, we should always make sure it is only a supplement–not the main course. That holds true for preachers or teachers we come across. If you attend a church, you are considered “noble” if you search out the scriptures to confirm what is being taught–as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11 (and they were examining what Paul was teaching!).
We should be wary of any teaching that claims to be the final interpretation of the Bible. The Catholic Church claims to be “infallible” interpreters of Scripture. Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!
I read a number of Ted’s “meditations” on verses and see some concerning interpretive methods. He tends to pull a lesson from a verse by massaging it with his own spin. Overall, he gets a lot RIGHT.
His emphasis is that if Christians walk in darkness, they are not abiding in Christ. Abiding in Christ, specifically in demonstrating His Love, is what Dekker contends is the “Forgotten Way.”
And he’s 100% right. So many professing Christians seem to lack evidence of love. So many have a form of godliness that ultimately denies it’s power.
Ted hopes to point people to Christ’s love, as found in 1 Corinthians 13, which he says “holds no record of wrong,” or “no judgment.” His interpretation of this is a mixed bag to me. I read that passage as “not easily provoked,” and then “doesn’t take account of evil.” Basically, I think the context suggests that our love to each other should not remember past offenses and we shouldn’t be an open nerve to everything our fellow Christians do.
Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of those things. Otherwise, Paul wouldn’t have had to write it!
I’ve read a few other meditations, as well as some posts by folks who are doing the study as a group. I think there is a lot of good that can come from a study that encourages people to examine their walk as image-bearers of Christ.
Some of Ted’s marketing for the study has concerned me, though. He merges two texts, one from Matthew 5 “You are the light of the world,” and then 1 John 1, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” The result suggests that we are the light and there is no darkness in us. He’s getting at the fact that when we abide in Christ, we walk in the light. But, this comes across oddly in the promotional material.
In this day and age we have a lot of voices declaring advertising a “new” perspective, etc. A lo of that is marketing. I’m a bit weary of the ad agency lingo that is used in connection with Bible studies or church programs. “Do you feel like …”, “Well, maybe what you’ve been longing for is within your reach …” “Don’t wait, take the plunge, you can be free for only …”
That’s how marketing gets our attention. I see that sort of thing and it turns me off. I’m sure there is more subtle advertising that still gets me.
Ted also uses an analogy of Superman for the Christian who is not abiding in Christ’s love. In this example, Christians “forget” they are Superman, and need to be reminded to go to the phone booth and take off their clothes (lies, faulty beliefs) to reveal they are actually Superman and can fly.
I’m not a fan of the analogy. First of all, I’m a Marvel fan, not DC. 🙂 Second, Superman is a rip from Moses and Christ. The creators designed him that way. He was sent in a “basket” away from certain destruction and adopted by parents on Earth who raised them as their own. He then realizes his true nature as an adult and uses powers to be a light to the world and provide hope.
Basically, there are things that could be issues, depending on how they are presented in the full study. And, regarless of whose study you choose to use, exercise discernment! I enjoy the works of F.B. Meyer. I’ve been encouraged by his devotionals and have been blessed with his insight on Scripture. That said, I compare what he says to what the Bible says. Because our standard is the Bible, not F.B. Meyer, Ted Dekker, John Piper, or any of the others out there (past or present).