Lately, I have been having a short on and off discussion with someone related to Christian practices. One of us believes the need to expose false teachers, the other feels we should still show the love of Jesus by not calling them out, but still warn others of bad teachers.
How can we warn others of bad teachings, without exposing the false teaching?
The problem comes down to a false understanding of Love, Agape Love. This we won't be getting into in this article, but it is important that the Christian come to an understanding of Agape love throughout the whole scriptures, rather than this perfect "niceness" Jesus had.
It is important we challenging our own spiritual growth that we take a few things into mind.
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is an important "cornerstone passage" when it comes to growth. Why? Because if even Satan is capable of masquerading around as an angel of the Light, then he too is capable of using the scriptures to confuse us and lead us down a wrong path of righteousness.
- Jesus does not once give any exposer to the pagan religions. In the three years of ministry, we have recorded, we find that every confrontation was with the "Christians" of that time. The Pharisee - religious leaders, teachers, and sometimes even with the followers.
- Jesus warns to be on guard of false teachers, many will come after Him and claim to be working in His name. Matthew 7:15-20 - It is also important to note, that in this passage Jesus mentioned a good or bad fruit, sour or rip. In human nature, we all have different tastes. Some like sour flavors, others prefer sweet. I don't think Jesus is trying to stress the idea of "Look out to see how good they are" but rather "Does their teachings align with My Word", "Are they leaving anything out or adding to?" - Also note that "Sheep's clothing" is not a reference to the believer, but to the teacher. During the time Jesus spoke, it was the prophets to who sleeps skin.
- Pharisee claimed themselves to be Children of God through Abraham. But yet, Jesus calls these very people children of the Devil - John 8:44
Is it right to expose?
Is it right to expose?
There is quite a number of points I could bring up when it comes to the basic foundation of this issue, but the question still remains, should we expose false teachings in the Christian faith?
I think it is important for us to keep a grip on how to confront this issue, first, we should be willing to follow a similar practice that Jesus lays out for sin confrontation Matthew 18:15-20. But also keep in mind the spiritual dangers that could happen if we take only passive action against these false teachers.
- Jesus calls them blind, hypocritical serpents. Matt. 23:23-34
- The Bible admonishes us to expose error. 1 John 4:1, Isaiah 8:20, Romans 16:17.
- We are to rebuke them. Titus 1:13.
- We are to have no fellowship, withdraw, and turn away from them. Ephesians 5:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Timothy 3:5-7.
Is it right to name names?
Is it right to name names?
This is where it gets interesting. Because not only are we at the point where we should be exposing these errors. But according to the Word of God, we should also be naming the names of these false teachings. Now when we get to the point, you have already been labeled (by popular secular culture) an unloving Christian, or even a Pharisee. But again we must keep in mind, the purpose of this exposing is not to tear someone apart and see their life go down the toilet. The point it to bring them back to the narrow and righteous path God has set before us, as well as our own attempts to keep others from falling astray to whatever false teachings might be presented.
- Paul publically names Peter Galatians 2:11-14
- Paul names Demas for loving the world. 2 Timothy 4:10
- Paul names Alexander, the coppersmith 2 Timothy 4:14-15
- John names Diotrephes 3 John 9
Moses called the name of Balaam. (See Num. 22-25). Peter exposed “the way of Balaam , who loved the wages of unrighteousness ” (II Pet. 2:15). Balaam was a prophet that was in the work for money, just like some of the TV false prophets today. They beg for money and live like kings, while multitudes of innocent people send them their hard earned money. They are always building colleges, hospitals, TV network satellites, and amusement parks that have a water slide for Jesus. And then we are supposed to keep our mouth shut about these religious charlatans. How can we be silent and be true to God?
- Moses names Balaam Numbers 22-25
- Peter exposes the way of Balaam 2 Peter 2:15
- Jesus calls the name of Jezebel Revelation 2:20
- Jesus calls the name of Balaam Revelation 2:14
- Jude calls out Balaam Jude 11
- Nathan identifies a man 2 Samuel 12:7
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 and living a comfortable and passive Christian lifestyle, is not really biblical love but is really sloppy "agape".
It is important that we do expose these errors, but as mentioned, if possible, confront the person in error first, only when they do not listen should we begin to make this public. Not as a means to destroy, but to protect the faith, and build others up in Gods defining righteousness.