Plants and weeds
Can we distinguish between the seeds of weeds and seeds of the plants we planted? They are so alike. Hardly distinguishable. Yet in the parable of the weeds, we are called to distinguish between the two of them.
On the macro level, the world is the field, God came and sowed good seeds. But the enemy also came to sow seeds. God sowed many and so did the enemy. When these seeds grow, they become churches. So there are churches of God and ‘churches’ of the enemy, what we call churches of the other gospels.
On the micro level, God sowed many good seeds in the church. But the enemy also came and sowed seeds. So in the church, there are true disciples and false disciples. False disciples are the ones who believe in false teachings and doctrines and going around spreading them.
Therefore not all churches are the same. There are cultic churches, prosperity churches that go on to spread teachings that distort and misrepresent the Bible. Yet in these churches, there can be good seeds, true disciples of Jesus Christ who adhere to the teachings of the Lord. Likewise, there are good churches who are faithful to the teachings of God with false disciples spreading wrong teachings and doctrines in church.
The first implication is this: discernment is needed. We need a good church and hang around true disciples to pursue holiness together, but keep away from false teachings and doctrines. While we are called not to judge anyone and even to love and accept everyone, we must never accept false teachings or follow false teachers. The Bible does warned us of these people and have nothing to do with them. We must not be deceived by them for they are wolves under sheep’s skin. We must be especially careful even when we work or partner together though I would personally not recommend.
The second implication is responsibility. We are responsible for the quality and quantity of our faith. Even if we are in the enemy’s church today, we can still be a true disciple. It depends on how we respond to the truths of God and reject the false teachings. Of course, it may still be better to find a good church to worship; it may not affect us but may affect our children in the long run.
Will God remove the false churches? The answer is no. The parable tells us that false teachers are here to stay because uprooting them would affect the true disciples as well. It’s not surprising that weeds grow faster than plants. In fact, these weeds may be among the fastest growing churches. But when both kinds of seeds grow together, their roots would get entangle together. So God would only remove them during harvest time. But God would surely judge them. So meanwhile, hang on tight with Jesus. Don’t believe the wrong things and follow the wrong teachers. Let the wrong teachings press us even closer to the Lord. Amen.