Speaking the Truth in Love

The Secret Teachings of Jesus

See the source imageChurches with a cult mentality keep some of their doctrines secret. Representatives knock on our door and share some of their group’s beliefs, but they’re trained to answer certain questions evasively. If pressed for an explanation of this practice, a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness may point to the example of Jesus.

When Christ told the parable of the sower, his disciples understood that he wasn’t giving a farming lesson. They wanted to know what the parable meant. Jesus replied, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand'” (Luke 8:10). Did Jesus mean that his true church would keep the uninitiated from learning spiritual secrets?

Not quite. On trial Jesus was questioned about his teachings. “I have spoken openly to the world,” he answered. “I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said” (John 18:20-21). Jesus hadn’t come to conceal but to reveal. He cherished no secret doctrines. Everything he taught was public knowledge.

So why did the Lord speak in parables? He explained his reason by quoting from the book of Isaiah. The prophet had warned that refusing to see what was plainly visible and understand what was clearly heard would lead to a hardening of the heart (Isa. 6:9-10). Jesus spoke in parables to protect his audience from the great spiritual peril of rejecting his teaching (Luke 8:9-10).

See the source imageBut the new truth revealed by Jesus (the secrets or mysteries of the kingdom) has long since become the old, old story. True followers of Christ feel no need to hide their religious beliefs or practices. Everything we know can be spoken openly in the pulpit for all to hear or posted online for all the world to read.

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