Heresy Hunt or Bible Mandate?

You may recall a few weeks ago we did an unscheduled podcast over the book of John 3. This was motivated by a local pastor who gave a sermon over the same chapter but used it in a far stretch beyond its original context. After watching the sermon presented, I attempted to reach out to this ministry with a sincere concern for the message that was given. To my surprise, this resulted in my social media being banned from a Facebook page in which I broke no established guidelines, nor posted any form of offensive remarks.

The following Sunday, this same pastor indirectly responded to the idea that those who pick apart doctrines in which he called “Doctrine Police” or could also be called “Heresy Hunters”. This pastor goes on to say that this is exactly what the Pharisee did. We all know their reputation… But what he fails to realize is that the Bereans too were these “Doctrine Police” when it came to Pauls ministry (Acts 17:11), more so Jesus does the same in (Matthew 23:3) against these religious hypocrites.

This same pastor goes on to accuse anyone who is a “Doctrine Police” is lost. But this is a broad and bold claim in which he does not have the authority to make. I am personally aware of a number of ministers, John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Costi Hinn (nephew of Benny Hinn) and others who are more than willing to correct false doctrines. Each of these men are slaves of righteousness, for the sake of Jesus Christ.

If we don’t identify false teachings, how can we possibly discern them from that which is true? Are all doctrines acceptable?

Article from Christian Research Institute:

I can tell you firsthand that it is no joy to be labeled a “heresy-hunter.” Yet, as Paul instructed Timothy, we are to zealously guard the purity of the message God has entrusted to us, and for good reason (1 Tim 1:18-19; 6:20; 2 Tim. 4:2-5).

From Within as Well as Without
We read in such passages as Acts chapter 20, and 2 Peter chapter 2, that false teachers will arise, bringing with them destructive heresies, distorting the truth and destroying the faith of some. Moreover, it is clear that these teachers will come not only from outside the church, but also from within the body of Christ as well.

It is therefore imperative that we test all things by Scripture (1 Thes. 5:21). It was in this spirit that the Bereans examined the words of the Apostle Paul, for which they were reckoned as noble in character (Acts 17:11).

Correcting and Rebuking
Indeed, not only can the Bible be used for preaching, teaching and encouragement, but, it is equally valuable for correcting and rebuking (2 Tim. 4:2). As a matter of fact, we as Christians are held accountable for proclaiming the whole will of God, warning others of false teachings. (Acts 20:26-28; cf. Ezek. 33:7-9; 34:1-10).

Church Discipline
This is not merely a suggestion, it is, in fact, a divine mandate. Of course if heresies are coming from teachers within the church, we ought to try and approach them first with our concerns. Should that fail to resolve the problem, we are told in Matthew 18 to expose their errors to the church; and if need be, divulge their names. (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; 4:14-15; 3 John 9-10).

Scriptural Mandate
We would, therefore, do well to heed Scripture’s explicit warnings to be on guard for false teachings (Rom. 16:17-18; cf. 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:13-14; Titus 1:9; 2:1), and to point them out to brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Tim. 4:6). At CRI, it is not our practice to make an issue out of peripheral matters on which honest Christians can differ. However, we are committed to exposing those who would compromise the essential doctrines of the historic Christian faith. Remember, controversy for the sake of controversy is sin. But controversy for the sake of the truth is a divine command.