I am continually seeing posts on Facebook about exposing false teachings and heretics. While I agree, we have to protect the truth and defend it with out lives, somehow I feel like we are missing the boat when we come up with our solutions to problems in the church with false teachers.
Of course, this problem is not only limited to false teachers and teachings, it is related to other aspects of the Christian life as well. For example, many Christians just give up and fall apart when they see how bad the world is getting. Some of my friends have actually gone into hiding because they want to protect their families from the impending danger that appears to be coming our way in the future not too far away.
I'm not against protecting our families or recognizing the signs of the times, but, there are those who are taking a defeatist attitude and just giving up, as if God has already designated their fate to be harmed, while they try to run to shelter somewhere. They throw the baby out with the bath water when they say that all politicians are evil. Do you think there is any such thing as a non evil politician? Is that a reason to run away and hide? Perhaps we should revisit this later on.
Today I am seeing, as usual, the posts containing the exposure or false teachers/heretics. If someone is actually teaching a false doctrine, we have every right and responsibility to pick the teaching apart and bring it into the light. But that isn't what I see people doing. Many are out there complaining because of the heretics or because the church has compromised. We get on this bandwagon and we all go for a heretic hayride. Or we complain because we think the church is not doing enough to expose false teachers and heretics.
If you are one who loves to expose all the false teachers you can find, please, I ask you to check your own heart on this. Do you love it when people fall? The Bible says not to rejoice when your enemy falls. Do you relish it when a Christian singer comes out of the closet? Do you find it enjoyable to now be able to call that person a heretic and destroy them? Again, I would ask you to look at your own heart. I would ask you to look at the Cross. I would ask you to look realistically at who you are and what you are capable of doing when it comes to sin.
We think its ok to criticize another person who falls, or who we disagree with, because we think we are right. We might be right. We might not be right. Many who have held a high standard for others to reach, have fallen into sin themselves.
Anyway, this is not what i intended to write in the first place. I was thinking of this scenario a little while ago: Someone writes about a problem, usually one caused by the irresponsibility by those in the government, or, a problem caused by the apathy of the church. Here's the crux of the matter: There's a lot of complaining or even just bringing up the problem and blaming whomever. Yes, there are people to blame, and people who are being irresponsible. Yes, the church has faltered and is continuing to falter as she either slumbers or engages in activities of the world instead of fighting the good fight of faith. We recognize the problems and the source correctly. But that is NOT going to solve the problem. Blaming the church's apathy for the world's problems around us today is probably a pretty good assessment of why we have the problem, but it is not the means to the solution.
What I struggle with today, is that we don't go any further than that. We criticize the church and then just resolve our thinking to a defeatist attitude. NO. STOP. This is why we should get on our knees (or whatever position we pray in) and pray. Why in the world do we not think to pray? I read posts all the time that people post who state that this is just an indication of the end of the world. Well, maybe it is, but are you just going to sit there and let the Enemy of our souls run over us? Even if Jesus comes back tomorrow, or World War 3 breaks out today, we are supposed to be responsible citizens of the kingdom of God who are passing through a very dark, broken world that the Enemy wants to keep in darkness. Do you really want your children and loved ones to be left out? Do you not want to become everything God wants you to become so you can minister affectively to them and watch them come into the kingdom of God, or, do you just want to sit there and complain about how bad the world is going, and how much worse it will be 10 years from now?
Sure, we are not going to convert every single person on earth today. It is just not going to happen, but if you look in the Bible, when the Gospel first spread, people were saying that the first disciples were turning the world upside down. Do you realize that the same Power who lived in them, lives in us today? God's power did not peter out when the Apostles died. God is just as powerful today as He was on the day he created the heavens and the earth. God is just as powerful today as when Jesus rose from the dead. God is just as powerful today, as He will be in the future when He judges the world.
When we come to Christ, God calls us to become instruments of reconciliation. God reconciles us back to Himself, and now we have this message to give to others. They can be saved. They can be set free and delivered (I know that only people who have had rough backgrounds really get this). Our churches should be discipling others. Everything needs to be done in grace with love.
Bottom line: Everyone who comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord needs discipleship, and in turn needs to be teaching others. Those who know the Lord need to be evangelizing. Churches need to regard the 10 Commandments and God's laws, not to hold them over our heads, but to help us understand that we cannot help ourselves when it comes to our need for salvation. We need to be saved because we have broken the rules and will continue to break them until we are rescued from our sins by a Redeemer.
The answer is not to dig deeper to find all the false teachers so we can expose them. The answer is to learn the truth, know the truth, and promote the truth wherever we go. Every generation since the beginning of the church has had an opponent and someone to challenge him, such as Augustine and Pelagius. Today, it should be the same, but what I see is something similar to when the Israelites were entering the Promised Land and saw the giants in the land. The giants were too hard for them to deal with, and instead of turning to God for help with their unbelief, they just gave up. We do that too. We see how false teachers are out there doing their thing. Can we challenge them in a mature, God honoring way and by doing so, expose their evil deeds, or, are we going to continue to slander them and destroy them by posting posts on Facebook about how evil they are.
The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That is exactly what we in the church are doing. We aren't doing nothing necessarily, but what we are doing amounts to nothing. Talking evil about people is not constructive, nor is it exposing false teachings. In debate circles, you learn certain tactics. One of them is to not attack the person. Even if the person is wrong, you don't attack him or her. You go for what the person is teaching or stating. That is what you are challenging, not the person himself or herself.
I watched a couple of debates that were very good. One of them was between Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D'Sousa. If you watched closely, you could see Christopher Hitchens attack Dinesh. It wasn't overly obvious but it was there. Hitchens was not following the rules for debating. He was using, at times, ad hominem, which is attacking the person, not what the person is saying. As Christians, we don't have to attack our opponent, but we do have to attack heresy. Yes, there are times to warn people about someone. We had that happen in our church years ago. One time, a guy was 'borrowing' large, expensive items from people and not returning them. We were warned to not lend anything to this man. Another time, many people were drawn to something called, 'Tree of Life' which was a church started in the home of a man who was an attorney. Our leaders listened to this man's teachings and he was obviously into antinomianism. He believed in total grace and that was all. Our church gave out the warning of this man's teachings. It was necessary to do that. No one had to smear this man personally. There was no need for that. But we can pray for God to have mercy on this man so he might be able to repent and come to Christ. That is what we should be doing, unless, of course, we think a person like that is too hard for God to save.
So, are we going to see these problems and just be in awe of them (Been there. Done that)?. Or, are we going to pick up the spiritual weapons God supplies for us and fight the good fight of faith? Are we going to go to Disney or would we rather go to a prayer meeting? What does our hearts want to do? Would we rather go to a party or the beach, or, would we rather go out evangelizing?
"But Be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22