The Bible Admonishes Us To Expose Error.
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” (1 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. The church at Ephesus was commended because they had “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Rev.2:14,15). It is never right to tolerate false teachers, but they are to be tried by the Word of God, and exposed. Of course those who want to disobey the Word of God will seek by every means to avoid this teaching.
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 judgement in the light of the Bible. The ecumenicalists, new evangelicals, and compromising fundamentalists will resist any effort to obey this Scripture. 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). This was written to Titus, because there were those going from house to house and subverting whole houses with false doctrine (v.10-16). Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Rodney Howard-Browne, Pat Robertson, and others are subverting whole houses with their false doctrine today. 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 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). Reprove means to censure, condemn, find fault, rebuke, and to refute. How can we obey this Scripture unless we try them by the Word of God?
We are to WITHDRAW from them. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us” (II Thess.3:6). We are to withdraw from those whose doctrine and conduct does not conform to the Word of God. The context clearly shows that obedience to sound doctrine is what Paul has in mind, for he says, “if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet, count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother. (II Thess.3:4-15). Paul admonished Timothy to “withdraw thyself” from those who “consent not to wholesome words ... and to the doctrine which is according to godliness” (II Timothy 4:2). This is usually an unpopular and thankless task but it is the duty of the God-called man.
We are NOT to RECEIVE them into our house.
“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” (II John 10,11). There is no doubt about who John is speaking about, it is “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ...” (v.9). By radio, TV, and literature, false prophets are brought into the homes of many Christians today. Brethren, this ought not to be!
We are to REJECT HERETICS.
“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10) We should reject those why deny redemption by the blood of Christ. There are many who deny this or some other doctrine of the Word of God. `If they will not respond to being admonished, then they are to be rejected.
We are to look out for those who preach another gospel. Paul warned about those who preached “another Jesus....another spirit ... or another gospel” (II Cor.11:4). How can we know them unless we judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God? Paul called such preachers “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (II Cor. 11:13). `He explains in v.14-15 that these preachers are the ministers of Satan. The God-called man must be just as faithful today in exposing the ministers of Satan.
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). Multitudes today are preaching a perverted gospel. Those who teach salvation by baptism, or by works, are teaching a perverted gospel. Those who preach a salvation that you can lose, are preaching a perverted gospel. The charismatics, Catholics, many evangelicals, and many fundamentalists(?) are preaching a perverted gospel. Yet, we are supposed to cooperate with them in evangelism and Christian work, according to many today. If we fail to expose these false prophets, then we have betrayed Christ and His gospel.
We are to SEPARATE from them. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Cor.6:17). This makes it plain. God’s people are to come out of apostasy and religious error. How can any Bible believer reImages in the National Council or World Council of Churches? How can they reImages in the Southern Baptist Convention, or any of the other apostate organizations? How can they reImages among compromising evangelicals and wishy-washy fundamentalists?
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 pleasure 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 was 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” (II 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 according 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 supposed 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 pre-eminence among them, receiveth
us not” (III John 9). He related how this man had prated again him “with
malicious words” (v10). 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.11). 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 modern day talk about love, used as an excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love but is really sloppy agape.
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 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?
Jude exposed “the error Balaam” (Jude 11). John exposed “the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” (Rev.2:14). This gets right to the heart of the matter, concerning the doctrine of separation. Balaam never did curse Israel even though he wanted the wages that he was offered to do so. The men of Israel committed “whoredom with the daughters of Moab ...and bowed down to their gods” (Num.25:1,2). Why did they do this? Because Balaam taught Balac how to break down the barrier of separation between the Moabites and the Israelites. We know this to be so because it is plainly stated in Rev.2:14 and Num.31:16. This sin resulted in 24,000 men of Israel dying under the judgement of God.
False teachers are breaking down the barrier of separation between God’s people and false religion. There is too little preaching and teaching on the doctrine of separation. Balaam breached the doctrine of personal separation by causing the men of Israel to commit fornication with the Moabite women. “He breached the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation by causing the men of Israel to bow down to Baal. This bought a curse upon Israel. Until we get back to teaching the truth about personal and ecclesiastical separation, we can expect the continued widespread havoc that we have today.
It seems to be believed by many that some people are too high and mighty to be named or exposed. Men in high places, pastors of large churches, and those with great radio or TV audiences, are supposedly above criticism. Whatever they may do or say, no matter how contrary to the Bible it may be, is supposedly all right. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nathan identified the man. There was a man in a very high place who was a secret adulterer. Surely this man who held the highest office in the land could not be rebuked by a lowly unpopular prophet. Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealed the sin in a parable form, and then told the enraged David, “Thou art the man” (II Sam.12:7).
Hanani named king Jehoshophat. In many ways Jehoshophat was a good king, but he mistakenly forgot to practice religious separation. He caused his son to marry wicked king Ahab’s daughter. (See II Chron.18:1;21:1-6). He made an alliance with Ahab and went to the battle of Ramoth-Gilead with him (II Chron. 19:2). We have a question for those who insist on working with charismatics, Catholics, and members of the National Council of Churches. “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?”
Yes, it is right to expose error and to name those
who are in error.
It is right to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). It was once delivered and it has never been recalled for revision. We had better beware of “false teachers ... who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (II Pet.2:1). Faithful messengers will warn the sheep of these heretics, and identify them by name. It is not enough to broadly hint of their identity, for the young lambs will not understand and will be destroyed by the wolves.
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