In “Hill Street Blues“, Steven Bochco’s 1981 television series about an urban police precinct, there was character named Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (played by actor Michael Conrad) who was the desk sergeant. Sgt. Esterhaus would typically wrap up his daily message to the patrol officers with the words: “Be careful out there!”
In 1 John 4:1 the Apostle John warns us:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Ever since Jesus established it, the Church has faced competition from false prophets preaching strange gospels. Like the owner’s servants in Matthew 13:24-30 who found weeds growing up right next to the wheat, we believers face the challenge of distinguishing between truth and error in the “field” of modern Christianity. Since I became a believer in 1979 I, like many of you, have come across various problems and failures in Christian ministry. You have probably noticed however that things are different today. Ministry failures and excesses that would once have circulated mainly as rumors are now recorded as video and viewable by anyone on the internet. Of course the internet doesn’t just facilitate viewing of ministry failures. It also provides a platform for the bloggers who want to comment on it and I want to share some of their comments with you. Of course I don’t agree with all of the posts on these blogs, but I have found a number of them to be helpful: