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Reader Mail: The NAR’s (Mis)use of Luke 9:49-50

April 28th, 2015 | 2 Comments | Posted in Brain Stoppers, Twisted Scriptures

e-mailI received a great question this week. A reader wanted to know my thoughts about the frequent NAR usage of Luke 9:49-50 to silence NAR critics. The passage of Scripture reads:

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”  (New International Version)

People in the NAR movement often cite this passage as proof that Jesus did not want his disciples to try to stop any other teachers who call themselves followers of Christ. By implication, those who criticize NAR teachers are guilty of disobeying Jesus’ instruction. In other words, NAR critics should just keep silent and mind their own business because everyone who names the name of Christ is on the same team. But is that what Jesus was really teaching in this passage?

Here’s an excerpt from the reader’s question. She supplied her own answer, which she stated well.

The Question

I’ve seen several comments on this site quoting Luke 9:49-50 in
defense of NAR activity, and on the surface that can seem like a
legitimate argument (although I totally disagree). But how do you
respond to that?

I can’t help but think of Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but
only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many
will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your
name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many
miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from
me, you evildoers!'” (New International Version)

Certainly we need not condemn every Christian who worships differently
than we do. But neither are we to permit anything and everything so
long as it is done in Jesus’ name. Many who participated in the
pogroms against the Jews, and the Holocaust, did so “in Jesus’ name.”
Many of the terrible cults have operated “in Jesus’ name.” Mormonism
and Islam both claim Jesus, after their own fashions. The question is
not just who a groups *says* they represent but who they *actually*
represent, and this can be determined by setting their beliefs and
actions against scripture.

My Response

I think you have it right. I don’t think I could have said it better myself. Notice that the disciples did not say “we tried to stop him, because he is promoting aberrant and dangerous teachings.” They said “we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” Jesus certainly never would have said, “Do not try to stop people who are promoting dangerous teachings that cannot be supported with Scripture.” As you already know, he and the apostles gave many stern warning about being on guard against false teachers and false prophets (Matthew 7:15, Matthew 24:24, Acts 20:29-31, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1).

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2 Responses to “Reader Mail: The NAR’s (Mis)use of Luke 9:49-50”

  1. PC Says:

    Your interpretation of this Luke account seems to ignore the last part, ‘Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you’. I could not imagine Jesus saying that about the Nazi action during the holocaust! His immediate followers clearly did not think such people could be genuine believers because they were not part of that immediate group, but Jesus rebuked them for thinking like that.

  2. Daniel Marsh Says:

    The Cult called Christian Science uses the claim of healing as proof that they are genuine followers of Jesus.

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