Letter to the Editor: How To Deal With Those Who Teach False Doctrine in a Scriptural Manner

To Lighthouse Trails:

In these days of conflict, confrontations and controversy, one thought has come to the surface that seems to be needed in writing by those on the front lines of evangelicalism.  It is perceived that such organizations as Lighthouse Trails and many others in the creation movement are unloving and harsh in their attitudes toward those who hold to unbiblical and controversial views.  They are deemed as not exhibiting “sweet reasonableness” in their writings.  While I do not agree with this assessment, it appears time for a substantive essay on how to balance a declaration of all the counsel of God with grace and calm reason, while at the same time describing the consequences of false teaching and living as revealed from God’s own evaluation in His Word.  It would be helpful to have this in booklet form to pass on to those who are presently on the “fence” in need of a change of outlook and commitment to the Lord’s total revelation in Scripture.

Would you consider this as a possible project in upcoming issues of your publication?  Thanks.

Lighthouse Trails Response:

At Lighthouse Trails, we have made great and consistent efforts to always speak the truth in love. We attempt to never be vitriolic or judge one’s motives, not even the “worst” of them. We leave that part up to God. We also attempt to make sure any article we link to by a fellow researcher is of the same caliber. While we do occasionally link to an article that might not fall perfectly into that criteria, our regular authors and writers are of the same mindset as us. Aside from all that, you are right, something of this nature would make a great article/booklet – on how to rightfully and in a godly manner (following the example of Jesus, Paul,  and the disciples) deal with those who are bringing false teachings into the church.

In thinking about following the example of Jesus, the disciples, and Paul, below are some Scripture verses that might help us outline our thoughts, for while we can show verses that talk about showing love and respect to others, we can also show many verses that talk about how to deal properly with those bringing heretical doctrines into the church.

While we don’t believe the New Testament condones cruel or hateful behavior to anyone, we do see a consistent pattern in Scripture that does not look lightly upon those who are teaching heretical doctrines or practices.  Let us heed the whole counsel of God, which we believe tells us to remain humble and in an attitude of grace (knowing that we are no better than anyone else in that it is only by the grace of God that we can see these spiritual things), but also tells us to speak courageously, with confidence, honesty, and strength.

We are in a battle for the continuance of the Gospel message – souls are perishing – and words must be said. While we do care for the souls of the men and women who are bringing in dangerous  false doctrine and practices, we cannot, in good conscience, take it lightly or have congenial “conversations” and futile  private discussions.  “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12). The Bible says that the message of the Cross is the power of God unto salvation (i.e., the doctrine of Christ -2 John 1:9-11) . That is because it is the only way of salvation. When teachings such as contemplative spirituality, Spiritual Formation, and emerging ideology (which all  have roots in panentheism, occultism, and interspirituality), threaten to diminish the “doctrine of Christ,”  it creates a very serious situation that cannot be handled “sitting down.”

Scriptures on how the Christian contender of the faith should speak and behave:

1 Timothy 4:12 [B]e thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Ephesians 4:14-15 . . .  that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

Ephesians 4:24-27 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor . . .  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I . . .  beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Jude 1:17-23 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;  how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference:  and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of . . .

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

2 John 1: 9-11 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Jude 1:3-5 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not . . .

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Galatians 1:6-10 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Revelation 2: 2-3 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Galatians 2: 4-5 . . . and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:  to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Luke 10:3-12 (Instructions to the disciples from Jesus before his death and resurrection) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.  And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,  Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

Acts 20: 28-31 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. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember.

Related Material:

Frequently Asked Questions About Lighthouse Trails

Matthew 18 – And Heretics and Hypocrites by Paul Proctor

 

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