All this modem day talk about love, used as an excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love but is really sloppy agape.Guest Writer: Danella Steele Carpenter
I. It Is Right To Practice Biblical Judgment
One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7: 1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v. 1 is referring to hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye. The lesson is plain, you cannot judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin.
Those who cling to “Judge not, that ye be not judged, ” to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing… ” (v. 15). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to exam the sheep of these “ravening wolves?” All through the Bible we find proof that they should be identified and exposed.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment ” (John 7:24). Here our Lord commands that we are to “judge righteous judgment, ” which is judgment based upon the Word of God. If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matt. 7: 1. ” The faithful Christian must discern or judge on the basis of God’s inspired law, the Bible.
A person who is able to discern between good and evil, has at least one of the major marks of spiritual maturity. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning or judging between good and evil are in this manner revealing either their disobedience or their immaturity.
II. It Is Right To Expose False Teachers
False teachers are free to spread their poisonous doctrines today because there is a conspiracy of silence among many Bible believers. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are thus enabled to ravage the flock, thereby destroying many.
John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious leaders of his day) “a generation of Vipers” (snakes) (Matt. 3:7). Today, he would be accused of being unloving, unkind, and unchristian.
Jesus said to the religious Pharisees, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). To many evangelicals and some fundamentalists, this would be unacceptable language today, but it is biblical language and it came from the mouth of the Son of God.
Standing face to face with these false teachers, Jesus Christ the Son of God, called them “hypocrites”, “blind guides, ” “blind, ” “whited sepulchres, ” “serpents, ” and “ye generation of vipers” (Matt. 23:23-34). Yet, we are told today that we are to fellowship with men whose doctrines are just as unscriptural as those of the Pharisees.
Near the beginning of His ministry, “Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence, make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:13-16). Our Saviour is presented today as one who was meek, lowly, kind, and loving, even to false teachers, but this is entirely false. When dealing with false teachers and prophets, His words were sharp and His actions plain.
Near the end of His public ministry, Christ found it necessary to cleanse the temple once again. The exposure of false doctrines and practices is a never ending job. At that time He said, “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mark I 1: 17). Is it any different today? The thieves come into the house of God, and rob God’s people of the Bible and peddle their perverted Bibles instead. At the same time this den of thieves rob the people off the doctrine of separation and the doctrine of sanctification. Then you can hardly tell God’s people from the people of the world. In all honesty, should not these thieves (false teachers) be exposed?
In our day these false teachers have come into the churches with their books, music, literature, movies, psychology, and seminars, and have turned the Father’s house into a den of thieves. It is time that men of God stand up and expose their errors for all to see.
We are to TRY them. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4: 1). All doctrine and teachers are to be tried according to the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Every message, messenger, and method is to be judged according to the Word of God.
We are to MARK them and AVOID them. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them ” (Rom. 16:17). Those whose conduct and teaching contradicts the Word of God are to be marked and to be avoided. This requires discernment and judgment in the light of the Bible. They cannot be marked and avoided, unless they are judged according to the Word of God.
We are to REBUKE them. “Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith ” (Titus 1: 13). Are we to sit silently by, while they do this, without rebuking and admonishing people to avoid their teaching? No, the faithful servant of the Lord is to be “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers ” (Titus 1:9).
We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them ” (Eph. 5:11).
Paul warned the Galatians about those who “pervert the gospel of Christ.” He also said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (See Gal. 1:6-9). The whole Gospel
III. It Is Right To Name Names
Many mistakenly believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name the guilty teachers; but they are wrong according to the Bible.
Paul named Peter publicly. Peter was guilty of unscriptural practice. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed … But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Gal. 2:11-14). The whole issue revolved around salvation by the law or by grace. When the integrity and purity of the gospel is at stake, then we have no choice when it comes to the matter of exposing error and naming names.
Paul named Demas for loving the world. “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Tim. 4:10). Those who forsake the cause of Christ for worldly living and pleasures should be named and exposed.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul told Timothy to “war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme ” (I Tim. 1: 18-20). God’s true servants should war a good warfare, and name those who have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Paul is not here discussing the faith of salvation but the faith as a system of doctrine. These men had made shipwreck of it and Paul exposed them and called their names.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus. He told Timothy to “study” that he might be able to “rightly” divide “the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth as canker. of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some ” (11 Tim. 2:15-18). False doctrine overthrows the faith of some, so those who are proclaiming it must be exposed.
Paul named Alexander the coppersmith. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil. the Lord reward him “cording to his works: Of whom be thou ware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words ” (II Tim. 4:14-15). It is clear that this is not a personality problem, but a doctrinal problem. Alexander had withstood the words and doctrine of Paul. He was an enemy to the truth. Godly pastors face the same problem every day. They stand and proclaim the truth, then their members go home and hear this truth disputed by radio and TV preachers. Often times these false prophets are sending their publications into the homes of members of true churches. Then the man of God is suppose to keep his mouth shut, according to many. Only a coward will be silent when the truth of the Bible is under attack.
John named Diotrephes. “I wrote unto the church; but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (III John 9). He related how this man had prated against him “with malicious words ” (v. 10). He further said, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God ” (v. I 1). It is not wrong to name those whose doctrine and practice is contrary to the Word of God.
In fact, the whole Bible abounds in examples of false prophets being named and exposed. All this modem day talk about love, used as an excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love but is really sloppy agape.