Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Exclusion of false teaching from among the Christian congregation is a Biblical command when it comes to truth. You cannot get around it. We call it out because we are called to do so by Scripture.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
There are indeed false teachings delivered by false teachers that the Church is to discern and reject for the sake of the spiritual health of the congregation and the preservation of Biblical truth. It's done through the tough, unglamorous but vital discernment of unbiblical falsehood and a publicly revealing and refutation of it. Too many churches turn into authoritarian cults or havens of dead, frozen irrelevant orthdoxy when the errors of false teachers are not challenged and corrected by Scripture by the power of the Spirit of God.
The dialogue that should occur during discernment is actually an act of faith, not intolerance, hate or any of the foolish deprecation that those who are so questioned like to sling right back. Those laboring under error are to be admonished and if they choose to remain in their error, they are to be shown as such. The Bible makes clear that correction of error is to be done with longsuffering and doctrine, as well as reproval and rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2). It is meant to be redemptive and restorative and engaged in civil dialogue (2 Timothy 2:22-26) but when the admonitions are ignored, these who Scripture calls "HERETICAL" are to be put away from among the church (Titus 3:10)
My rocky relationships to those in the church I've called out over the years weren't made rocky overnight. I've contended with many professing Christian teachers for several years over their falsehood. They got ugly because they cannot handle being called out. This was not the case with them when I first met them in a variety of venues and tried to dialogue with them after coming to observe their unscriptural teaching. The heat expressed in their rancor increases with the additional light of Scriptural truth I've had to display.
I don't hate any of them and in other instances we might be civil face to face, but I won't back down from what Scripture says about being exclusive with those who make truth a chess piece on their boards.
The New Testament's record on how this is done is plain, direct and unambiguous apostolic mandate. The language is indeed exclusionary. It may offend our inclusive Western mindset, and it doesn't seem to keep the heat level down, but that comes with the Biblical territory.
Read Jude 3-4. The verses described defending the faith as a full contact contention with the sneaky wiles stealthy men who slip into the church to distort and warp the Faith. An apostle commanded through an Epistle for the church to have that kind of passion. The sleeping church of today doesn't begin to come to grips with that kind of command. We don't do personal evangelism, tithe properly, pray and study as we should either, keep ourselves holy, so that's not surprising.
But boy do we want to be NICE and unoffensive. That's the new holiness of the age.
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Here is the great apostle Paul who, with tears, constantly warned the entire Ephesian church to "take heed" of those he called wolves who would enter in to divide them with speech of perversity and polarization around their own lust for leadership and authority. That Pharisee of the Pharisees wept "day and night" for 3 years over this. Don't tell me you aren't supposed to be passionate about truth and protecting the church! He used the very same expression Jesus used in Matthew 24:4 when he said to "take heed lest no man deceive you."
Years later, the apostle's admonition to watch out for these characters took a decidedly exclusive explication:
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Spiritual deception, division and offence coming by false doctrine spewed by false teachers is a spiritually destructive influence. The apostle begs the church to "mark" (or identify) those who labor under this malign spirit and to completely avoid them. In this Laodicean era of vast compromise, where backslidden churches, dangerous cults and deceptive claims are able to be media-magnified and replicated a thousand fold instantaneously, the need to address this is just as critical, crucial and necessary.
Don't look at me narrowly. It's what the Word says.
1 Timothy 4:1-7
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
The work of a minister is not just to preach the Gospel but to defend it against backslidden and errant men and women who, upon departing from the Faith, will preach doctrines of devils in hypocrisy that are to be refused (there's that exclusion again. How intolerant those apostles get). Putting the Church in remembrance of this end times peril is a testimony to the worthiness and integrity of a minister. Those who would rather just play this down are tools of the very devils they think they have underfoot. I could go on to cite other verses from the Bible about this, but we'll leave it at that.
Now, just why "others" choose to include among the flock of the Lord these wolves in sheep's clothing boils down to one of several reasons, which I list off the top of my head in no particular order.
They want to be
2) Open Minded
3) Dont Want To Seem Intolerant
4) Are Biblically illiterate or
5) Delusional About Deception..
I don't think I need to unpack that any further other than to say one can be so open minded to the point of ventilation when their brains fall out, along with any semblance of discernment. You'll have to ask those who want to violate Scriptural precept on this why they choose to do it.
They will answer to God for their folly .. and I will answer to God for my attempt to keep the flocks of God warned. I think I'll sleep better at night for what I do. I may not please men, but that's not what I'm here for. I may not do it perfectly, but I do what I know the Spirit empowers me to do.
1 Timothy 4:16
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.