Do you Love or Hate the Truth?
Why do some people react to what is said about someone’s teaching being incorrect even when it is proven by what the word says?
When ones false teaching is pointed out we often get one of two answers. Well no one is perfect we all make mistakes. The other is-What about all the good works this person is doing?
Let me address the first wrong premise. We are not talking about mistakes, slips of the tongue or mispronouncing what one means, or even ones freedom to express their personal viewpoint on a subject. We are dealing with FALSE teaching that is connected to one or more of the core doctrines of the faith. We are not dealing with personalities or presentations (though they can be inclusive in the teaching) but what Peter (and the other apostles) had written to warn us about (2 Pt. 2:1-3).
On the second point about the good works someone is doing or has done. We do not measure our relationship with God or are approved by God because of our WORKS. We are to know if someone is right with the Lord by the doctrine they hold to and teach to others and if their life is conducive to their doctrine. The fact is, God will judge all our works one day, in the meantime we are to judge teaching.
Both Jesus and Paul told us to judge false prophets / false teachers; to not listen to them but separate from them.
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”( John 7:24). By what the word of God says.
Paul writes in Titus 3:10 “Reject a divisive (heretic) man after the first and second admonition.” In Romans 16 We are to MARK them and AVOID them, NOT commend them, excuse them or ignore them!
Why do so many people overlook the Scriptures on exercising judgment (I do not mean being judgmental as in “being critical,” but careful.) and instead love the person when it can mean the difference between being shipwrecked or being safe, heaven or hell.
The Bible says in 1 Cor. 14:29: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.”
I Jn. 4:1-3 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
“Test ALL THINGS; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
“Judge not” is a popularized phrase for those who want to continue teaching their falsehood. When people persist to teach worthless and false doctrines we are commanded to exercise judgment. Those who teach- NOT to judge to are telling people to disobey God and His commands. He has written His word so He has already judged what is right and wrong. When Scripture is quoted to present that something is wrong, that isn’t our personal opinion- it's God judgment. Faithful shepherds will always warn the sheep of dangers from those teaching falsehood, a hireling is one who ignores it. A sheep that does not see the implications of what is false is one that is either a babe in understanding, immature or carnal (See Heb.5:13-14).
Paul writes to Titus (Titus 1:9-13) about the insubordinate, idle talkers and deceivers “Wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith.”
“That you may charge some that they teach NO OTHER DOCTRINE” (1 Timothy 1:3).
Correct doctrine (teaching) is essential for our spiritual learning and growth. There are different degrees of false teaching. Some can be far more harmful when others. God does not use blatant false teachers. He wants them to repent, but they cannot if they teaching is not pointed out to them or addressed.
I’m sure that some of the believers were not happy when Paul named those who were once ministering with him on the mission field. The apostle Paul gave the names of Phygelus and Hermogenes, they had turned away from him and he warned the body of Christ (2 Timothy 1:15). The apostle Paul also warned the church about Demas, saying that he had forsaken him and that he, “loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). And “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” (2 Timothy 4:14-16).
What would the apostle Paul do today if he turned on the TV or heard these heresies that are common to us? From what we have seen in Scripture we can be assured He would go ballistic. False teachers are free to spread their poison today because of the believers silence. The false teachers affect others, not just themselves as they distribute the lies they have fabricated in our Lord’s name.
Like the three monkeys: see no evil- hear no evil- speak no evil, we make believe that we do not see, hear what is taking place and we say nothing about it. While wolves in sheep’s clothing inside the sheep pen are eating up the flock. How sad. Your silence is killing others, it allows this travesty to continue and God will hold each one of us responsible for the voice and action we took or did not take. To be silent is sin by omission. “Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). Can we honestly sit by and continue to do nothing or speak the truth to those who desperately need it?
Some say the solution is to pray, just pray and let God take care of it. We pray, many are praying-- but there is a time for action when a problem becomes so widespread and prayer has been done, it is time to act. They ignore the fact that God tells us to judge (1 Cor. 5:11-13; 6:1-4; 11:31). God gave the church two means of protecting ourselves against false teachers and prophets: first, by His Word and second, the Lord gave to the Church the spiritual gift of discerning spirits, to distinguish whether a spirit is from God or from some other source (1 Corinthians 12:10). The Word of God is available to everyone and “is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), our heart and others.
God has allowed the false teachers to rise up in the church as judgment for being complacent in our faith. He is testing us with his eyelids (Ps.11:4; Deut.13). So instead of doing something to help other people and defend the faith their solution is only to pray. You are not walking in love when you say nothing about those who do harm to others by their deceptions. They are not moved by compassion to relieve people of their suffering. If you saw your friend hurt in a car accident would you say I’ll go home and pray about it and see what God will do? Do you think that sitting by idly and watching people get spiritually massacred is love? Jesus didn't and neither did those who were trained by him, they spoke up. We are expected to do something; not nothing.
There is a problem in the body of Christ when teachers stand before thousands week after week and teach that Jesus left his deity in heaven when He came to earth. Or that He came to earth as royalty and was extremely rich and we are to be too. Or that Jesus did not finish the work of atonement on the cross but descended into hell and continued to suffer by the hand of the devil to purchase our redemption. Finally He conquered the devil by being born again in hell. Or to teach we are little gods and we have the power and the Spirit to do whatever Jesus did. to deny the doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus being God in the flesh. To add works or obedience to salvation (tithing, being under a covering), etc. Many of these were all encountered in the early church and decidedly heresy. Where is the outrage to this, do you think the early church would sit on their seat allowing this to take place.
Gamaliel’s advice of wait and see is equal to doing nothing. His advice was not Biblical truth, He wasn’t even a believer. No one in the early church used Gamaliel’s advice for questionable practices inside the church (see 1 and 2nd Corinthians). However, we do have an example of what course of action we are to follow? The Berean’s, they instead searched the Scripture each day and judged what was right by the Word. They were commended by the Apostle Paul above all the others. Do you want to be commended or reproved?
Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for testing what self proclaimed “apostles” were telling them - He called them liars, “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” (Revelation 2:2). Do we want to be commended? Then we should be testing people’s teachings. Those who discourage you from testing teachers are not giving God’s counsel. (I suggest reading Matthew 23 and find how the real Jesus reacted when he sees something false or wrong). Jesus’ whole ministry was opposing the Pharisees who tried to have him agree with their own false Bible interpretations. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees as a group and told the people who wanted the truth not listen to them. He warned of their teachings as leaven, He compared what God said to what they were saying. These are only a few examples of where Jesus or a New Testament writer “named names” in order to either express disapproval over something someone had said or done.
Look at where we are at today. Why has the church been reduced to a dog and pony show? Because many ministers do not have faith! They do not trust God for the results of their preaching His word ,so they have decided to use other means to get results. Their own words and stories and props and plays for moving the people. They elicit enthusiasm and followers by having them partner with their power packed ministry promising the blessings they get to be passed on to their supporters. One needs to learn to discern truth from error. If you become familiar with the truth you will easily recognize error.
By being trained in the word we are able to discern and see things for what they really are, not how they want us to believe by their presentation. If one is trained in the word of God correctly and it will bring maturity, their discernment becomes sharp. They will then be able to recognize who is speaking according to the Spirit and the word of truth and who is not.
Many people ask who do I (or we) endorse on TV? Of course there are people that we can recommend, but this is asking the wrong question. Why are you looking at the TV for your teaching? The direction you are looking in is not the correct one. We should get away from the idea that unless someone is on TV they are not worth hearing. Too many have accepted these men as the standard for what real teaching, evangelism and Church is; for the most part, they are not.
Everyone should be part of a local body of believers. God has made the local church body to be salt and light in the community we live in and that is what we should be participating in. That is where you need to plug in and get involved. Get personally involved, exercise your faith, use your spiritual gift. I’m not saying to completely stop watching TV or listening to the radio or reading books but make sure these are not the mainstay for your spiritual food. Considering how few are really teaching from and through the Bible.
Do you have TV-itis? Are you conditioned by “Christian TV” and go to it for your “spiritual sustenance.” TV should not be equated with time personally spent studying the Word of God for ourselves or learning at our local church. Want to get fired up- get in the word and let God speak and direct you to be an ambassador for Jesus. We should not be looking for someone on TV for our church service. We should be more involved in our local church going each Sunday – going to the midweek Bible studies (hopefully they have them.)
We should not look to endorse only who is on TV. These visible ministers are few in number in comparison to the many that are doing God’s work without your knowing. There are many small congregations and not so famous evangelists doing God’s work, these people are making a real difference to those in need. They need your help and support as much as the TV ministries (probably a much better way to give your money). There are many small churches and preachers doing ministry correctly out there that are not seen. Remember, God is not handing out rewards for those who have the most people or impact, but to those who are faithful.
Of course there are a few on TV that are actually preaching the gospel- salvation from sin and teaching the Bible correctly. But it is only a few. The radio also seems to have decent preachers, if one is looking for truth in the content.
But for the most part, televised Christianity has had a mixed impact. It has made certain men into celebrities. I’m not saying TV is a curse, but it all depends in whose hands it is in. But so much money and time goes to them and the churches involvement in teaching and discipleship has been neglected. I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind when He said to go and make disciples from all nations. If the Church is not taught the Scriptures properly, there is no motivation for outreach. Is it any wonder the condition we are in, its from TV Christianity!
We happen to focus on a few of the main people that are promoting falsehood in the church, mentioning those to stay away from. By learning what they teach one should recognize others who teach the same things. There is no need to mention all the names here since the list is long. Many people think that because we say something about those inside the church that this keeps unbelievers from wanting to become a Christian. Nothing is further from the truth, in fact the main complaint I hear from unbelievers is what they see on TV Christian programs. Because they see the majority of the programming is about- MONEY. They make merchandise of the people (2 Pt.2). It’s seen as a scam by the world and sometimes they can see things more clearly than the Christians who have blinded themselves by their loyalty to these men. We are allowing them to mock the Lord in front of the world and this has only brought shame upon the Church. This should not be a cause of the world rejecting Christ. The longer we allow it the less powerful we become (in spite what they tell you). If your body had organs that did not perform their function properly- If they were atrophied or degenerated how would your health be? How healthy can the body of Christ be when we continue to allow these parts to affect us?
Ezekiel faced the same problem in his day “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. “Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD had not spoken. “The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger”( Ezekiel 22:27-29).
Do you see this happening today? Maybe if these men took time to teach what Jesus taught and gave a reason for people to believe in Christ as savior they would want to listen. But they rarely teach about the cross, sin and repentance. If we want to have a revival are these not the necessary components for it?
We have an integrity problem that is out in the public. Because of friendship there is an unwillingness to correct those who are friends. This does not help them, or the people that are following them.
Love helps people, it produces action. Love tells the truth, it does not cover things up. There is a lack of authentic concern for others. Some are so cold they carry no burden for telling the truth to unbelievers and believers alike. Authentic love means loving people enough to tell them the truth, so they can be helped.
Since most of the people today want their ears tickled, they have lost any sense of truth or justice. They do not care to defend or help the weak, even though they know they are being hurt. What has become of us?
Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”