Every Wednesday night I lead a Bible study over Zoom with an array of students. Some of these students are extremely extroverted, and others are as quiet as can be. Some boast a huge following on Tik-Tok, and others borrow their parents’ phones to join the group. All of the students my team and I minister to have different personalities, upbringings, and interests. However, there is one thing that brings us all together: Among Us. Every single week we play this popular online game after Bible study for about an hour.
Among Us Is The New Mafia!
Among Us, similar to another fun game called Mafia, begins with each player privately being given the title of “crewmate” or “impostor.” The crewmates are on a space station, and they have to complete a number of tasks in order to win. The catch is that the imposters look just like the crewmates, and their job is to kill all the crewmates until they are outnumbered. This is where the fun starts. Throughout the game, all of the players discuss what has been happening, and periodically vote out those players who seem suspicious. During this portion of the game, the students collaborate to try to be victorious, while making the occasional joke. Because of Among Us, and the fact that we meet virtually, I get to see teenagers interact with peers who they usually wouldn’t. Some kids might typically try to avoid a conversation with me, but when they play Among Us, I get to interact with them and see them be their true selves.
False Teachers Are Among Us
Among Us not only gives us a great opportunity to build our community, but it teaches us a few things about Biblical doctrine or, plainly put, the essential truths taught throughout scripture. While preaching the Sermon On The Mount, the Lord Jesus says, “Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves” (Matt. 7:15 CSB). Jesus is saying here that there will be false prophets who are in reality wolves, but look just like the rest of the sheep. Sound familiar? In Among Us, the imposters look like the rest of us, but are actually trying to destroy us. Christians are called to be on the watch for those who teach the Bible falsely; the catch is, a lot of times they look just like us.
One Degree Off
I try to teach our youth the importance that we are not even “one degree off” when it comes to our doctrine. If my wife was six feet away and at a 59-degree angle away from me, but I walked to her at a 60 degree angle, I would still get to her. Sometimes we miss truths about scripture or misinterpret the Bible, but there is always room to grow and fine tune our theology with the help of the Holy Spirit and those who God has put around us to teach and encourage us. However, think about the analogy like this: if I were to travel from New York to L.A. by plane and was just one degree off, I would be around 60 miles away from L.A. In the long run, if we are even one degree off we can be led wrongly. This is why it’s important that we are acutely aware of our own doctrine, and make sure it truly lines up with the Bible.
If we continue to press on with bad doctrine, then the false ideas of God can seep into our daily lives and affect our walk with God. For instance, Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do all things through him who give me strength.” This verse is often taken out of context to mean that God will allow you to achieve everything you desire. This is of course false; taking this verse in context, Paul is giving glory to God while suffering in prison. Without sound doctrine, a student may take this verse to mean that God will make him an excellent basketball player. And if he were to continue on this train of thought, then he might think that God just gives us everything we want. A small misinterpretation in this case can eventually lead to the heresy of the prosperity gospel.
As leaders of youth, we must be watchful and diligent about where we get our doctrine from. Especially in this day, there are multiple “Bible Teachers” who seem legitimate, but in reality are wolves or impostors.
Five Questions To Filter
I teach our youth to put doctrine they hear being taught through a filter that mimics Martin Luther’s “Five Solas.” When listening to a Bible teacher we should ask ourselves five questions:
- Is this giving the Scriptures total authority? In other words, is the teacher using his own words or the Bible’s words?
- Is this showing God’s grace? Does this point to our desperate need for a savior and God’s saving love for us?
- Is this teaching salvation through faith alone? Is the teacher pointing to a mixture of faith plus works or the truth of faith in Christ?
- Is this pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ? Is the teacher teaching that Jesus lived a life we could not live, paid for our sins by death on the cross, and resurrected from the grave proving that he is Lord?
- Is this giving God the glory? Is the teacher giving himself the praise or does he point to God as the one who deserves worship?
There is one important task that we – the “crewmembers” – must do to defeat the impostor, and that task was given to us by Jesus Christ. With guidance from the Holy Spirit and humility as sinners ourselves, we must be watchful of false teachers and be mindful of our doctrine. This command was given to all Christians, no matter their age, interest, personality, or upbringing. So let us help our brothers and sisters by admonishing one another of the truths of the scripture. The Christian community is joined together because we have all been crucified and resurrected with Christ, it is important that we not let any impostors upset this unity. May God’s bountiful grace abound as we learn the truths of His word.