My concern is this; We have taken this hunting of false teachers and heretics to an extreme, to a place where it was never intended to be. The Bible does tell us to watch out for false teachers. They do appear to blend in with the true teachers. But the fruit of their lives does not match.
What we are doing, many times, is simply pointing a finger at someone we don't agree doctrinally with. Now, I am aware that if a person does not believe in Jesus Christ being God in the flesh and dying for our sins, and rising from the dead, then yes, the person is a false teacher. If that person is promoting ideas contrary to those facts, they are teaching a false Gospel. And we do need to be concerned.
The problem is, many times, that we throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. Yesterday, I was reading an article saying that psychology is a false teaching. I have to agree partly with that statement, yet, as I continued to read the article, it became clear that anything that had to do with counseling, even Biblical counseling, was heresy. Those who have mental problems and baggage are just expected to repent. Otherwise, they will not take responsibility for their actions. So, you have a woman who has been traumatized by rape, and when she comes to you for counseling, I guess the only thing you need to tell her is to forgive her rapist and repent from any sins that she has committed. How do you think the rape victim is processing this when you tell her to forgive and repent? Does she need to forgive and repent? Absolutely. But she will never be reached or helped if that is the starting place in Biblical counseling. She will never learn about the God who is just, and who will take vengeance on those who harm His children. Her idea of God will be one of a harsh tyrant demanding forgiveness immediately after being violated. Does this make sense? In other words, it is making her responsible for the sins of those who have violated her. Chances are good that the rapist may never been caught or penalized for his actions, but we need to agree with her, that what was done is abominable. We need to take the burden of the rapists responsibility off her. We need to vindicate her first, then, as God leads, we will help her to understand what the Bible says about the price God paid for each individual sin that we all have committed, not just the rapist's sin. Over time, she will learn that she is accountable for herself and her own sins.
I guess these people who write articles like the one mentioned above, live in some kind of spiritual bubble. Jesus came to minister healing to the broken hearted. When the broken hearted are healed, they will repent. They will repent because their spiritual eyes will see Jesus and they will be in awe of Him. These people who think that the answer to every dilemma is to repent and forgive, first of all, do not understand what the Bible teaches. Sometimes, God has to meet a person where he or she is at, then repentance and trust come about. It is not the other way around.
Years ago, I remember hearing about a Christian band whose artists did not believe in the Trinity. They believed in modalism. It became common knowledge of this group and they were labeled by many as false teachers. I had made comments about the group, simply because it must have been fact if everyone believed it. I did a search on this group and found nothing. I found no evidence that they didn't believe in the Trinity. Their songs certainly do not indicate that they don't believe in the Trinity. Years later, they made a public statement that they believe in the Trinity. I have to wonder if a rumor got started and finally reached their ears and they came to defend themselves on the false accusations that they were hearing about themselves.
Maybe I have a couple of questions for those who hunt down false teachers. One of them is, 'what is your motive for hunting down false teachers?' I think a lot of people enjoy doing this because deep down in our darkened hearts, we love to slander and gossip. We think that because we are Christians, we don't slander any more. But unless that seed is destroyed in our hearts, we will still slander.
Is it to protect the church? If so, wouldn't it be better if we taught people the truth, and in particular, the truth that is the opposite of whatever the false teaching is? Truth always wins over lies. Let's make an example of this. Let's say there is a false teaching going around like modalism (modalism denies the Trinity). Can we teach the doctrine of the Trinity Biblically speaking, to our people? Can we promote truths that are in direct contrast to the false teaching of modalism? Instead of taking a person who believes in modalism, and ripping him apart, can we just mention his name and what he is teaching and why it is not Biblical? Anything beyond that becomes slander. Christians are never to slander, even if the person is deceitful and evil, wearing a sheep's skin.
There is a difference between exposing a false teacher and ripping him or her to shreds. We are not told to rip false teachers to shreds. This is a good opportunity though, to spend our time and resources on promoting the truth. We can be proactive in this. We can have the upper hand. When people have wrong teachings, it could mean that the person is ignorant. It could mean the person is in total rebellion. We don't know. It is not our job to destroy people. It is our job to point people away from false teachers and lead them into the truth.
So, please be discerning and hear my plea. Please do not add me to any Facebook group that is dedicated to hunting down heretics or ripping wolves who are wearing sheep's clothing apart. I am totally into learning about whatever false teachings are going on out in the world, and have voluntarily joined those groups.
We have to separate the truth from the lies. But we don't have to destroy people while we do that. God is very patient with us and some may actually repent when they realize the wrong they are doing. Meanwhile, we can be the deceived ones, not necessarily doctrine wise, but we can be disregarding what the Bible says about how we should treat others.
Jesus, Paul, and Peter had encounters with people who were false teachers. They dealt with the subject at hand. They warned people about the false teachers. Then they went on to whatever they were doing originally. They didn't spend a whole lot of time ripping the false sheep apart.
Finally, God gave us His Holy Spirit. He will guide us into all truth if we are open. The more we grow in truth, the easier is it to pick up on the lies. We can evaluate a person who makes a claim or has a teaching, and God will help us to know if that person is really from Him or is a counterfeit.
Some verses on false teachings. http://www.openbible.info/topics/false_teachings
|They can look just like the real thing|