Disturbed and Distorted
“which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the Gospel of Christ.” – Galatians 1:7
There are two key words that are found in our verse today. They both start with the letter “D.” Disturbing and distort. Those are not happy words. No one says with a smile upon their face, “I was disturbed today.” Those words are troubling. Those words create problems. A disturbed congregation is not in a good place.
To disturb is to bother. I think of a big brother who likes to pick and tease a younger brother. He is bothering him. He is disturbing him.
To distort is to change. It carries the idea of twisting. What was straight is no longer that way. Here are some other expressions:
- Phillips: upsetting and travesty
- KJV: trouble and pervert
- ESV: trouble and distort
- CEB: confusing and change
Contextually, Jewish teachers were introducing portions of the law into the Gospel. The pure message was becoming mingled with things Jesus didn’t teach. The message was changing and the people were becoming bothered by this. Was circumcision necessary? Were certain Jewish holidays still necessary to observe? The instance of these things was causing problems. The Acts 15 discussion centered upon this very point. Was it necessary for a Gentile to become Jewish in order to be saved? Could one be saved without circumcision? This was not one of those items that you hold your view and I’ll hold mine. At stake was fellowship. At stake was Paul teaching correctly? At stake, were all those Gentiles actually saved?
This was not a topic that no one knew the answer. God had spoken. In Acts 15, the Holy Spirit had declared. Circumcision was not necessary for salvation. Those not content with that, kept insisting. They kept pushing. They kept bothering. They kept twisting. Like a gnat buzzing around you on a hot summer day, they were irritating, not encouraging. They were hurting, not helping. They were walking away and not towards the Lord.
And, within this is a spirit that was not content with what God had said. That same spirit is found in Paul’s warnings in Acts 20. Some of the elders of Ephesus were distorting and disturbing. Men will arise, the apostle said, speaking “perverse things to draw the disciples after them.” A distorted message. Twisting words. Changing meanings. Pouring their thoughts and ideas into what God revealed.
We need to see:
First, disturbed and distorted arises from a heart that is not content with what God has said. They want more. They want different. They want something else. They want anything else. Those that have enough conscience will try to justify it by going to ancient secular writings to manipulate a meaning that aligns with their thinking. Those without a conscience, simply do not care. They will float off to all kinds of wild ideas and cling to their feelings as new revelations from God. The Bible no longer is the standard for these folks. Disturbing and distorting.
Not content with what God says about worship. Not content with what God says about gender. Not content with what God says about marriage. Not content with what God says about salvation. Not content with what God says about purpose of the church. Not content. Dissatisfied. Longing for change. Wanting more. And, it’s that spirit that drives changes that are not according to the Bible. Feelings quickly replace God’s word. What I want replaces what God says. And, just like that, the Bible becomes nothing more than divine suggestions and not the absolute authority of God.
Second, there is always an element of cowardice found among those who want to distort and disturb. Very often, they want others to do all the dirty work for them, while they pump ideas through books and podcasts. So, when accountability comes into play, they hide behind the curtain and say they were just suggesting possibilities while others were carrying out their marching orders. A disturbed church is unsettled. It’s on the verge of busting and splitting. A war will soon take place. Satan smiles because he loves a disturbed church.
Third, one must close their eyes to plain Biblical principles in order to think that they can change the word of God. The evidence is overwhelming. From the O.T. through the N.T. the resounding message is to follow what has been delivered. God’s message isn’t fluid. It’s not changing. Culture doesn’t make adjustments to it.
Disturbed and distorted—not the elements that bring one closer to the Lord. Not the kind of things that will help you grow in faith.