2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV): “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of G od may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV): “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV): “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
(You can read Part 1 here)
SATAN INFILTRATES THE PULPIT
SATAN HAS INFILTRATED the pulpit of many so-called Christian churches, leading whole denominations to veer away from preaching the Truth.
The shift from the church’s firm teaching of God’s Word as His truth, in keeping with the Bible’s claims for itself, takes place gradually.
Step-by-step, over time, the pulpit shifts from proclaiming God’s Word as “inerrant and infallible” to introducing “new” revelations into the sacred text, revelations deduced from recent revelation based on the reader’s “reasoning powers.”
A CASE STUDY
LET’S LOOK AT A recent example of a well-respected cleric in his denomination, who, driven to find Scriptural approval to support his beloved daughter’s homosexuality that included her same-sex marriage of 30 years, encouraged himself to believe in, and then teach others, false doctrine.
Again, he is doing so motivated by his love for his daughter, which is commendable, even though God’s Word tells us — and him — that anyone who loves son or daughter more than Jesus is not worthy of Jesus (Matt. 10:37 NIV).
A link to the article is here.
The man — described as a retired bishop in his denomination, which is a position of influence over the teaching of church pastors who in turn teach doctrine to their flock — has magnified his error by encouraging others under his authority to believe a falsehood.
IN EDEN’S GARDEN
THIS FALSEHOOD IS NO DIFFERENT from the original lie described in Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden. There, the devil, disguised as a serpent, told Eve to disregard God’s law that anyone eating from the tree in the center of the garden would die.
Eve was deceived and so ate from the tree. She gave some of the fruit to Adam, who disobeyed God by eating the fruit.
In so doing, Adam and Eve brought judgment on themselves and, by extension, to the rest of mankind.
We continue to suffer from their sin because our own natures, according to God’s Word, are sinful from birth onward:
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (ESV): “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
WHAT LIES AHEAD?
FIRST, THOSE OF US who are pledged to follow sound doctrine must, with love and compassion, admonish those who are straying.
We need to tell them through the Holy Spirit, that they need to come back to the Word of God.
John MacArhur, in his book, Final Word: Why We Need the Bible, said this: “However, true biblical Christianity requires a denial of every worldly value and behavior, and Christians must be willing to make a commitment to the Word of God, with a full understanding of the implications of doing so.” (Kindle, p. 25)
We are told that Scripture is “God-breathed” and inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as such, is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training others that each one of us will be equipped for every good deed.
That means we are to call our fallen brethren to repentance, not because we are holy and blameless, for we are not, but out of love and compassion for their souls and because their false testimony will lead others astray.
Second, we are to examine our own souls with the light of the Holy Spirit, to see where our own sin lies that we might root it out, all of this under the power and authority of God’s Spirit, not our own power.
Jesus instructed us to shine our light into the darkened world that others would see our good works and do what? Give the glory to the Father. Not to us, not to brag about ourselves, not to tout ourselves as holier than others, but to point to the Father, who alone is Good.
AVOID HARMING OTHERS
WE CAN DO SUCH HARM if we take our firm beliefs in God’s Holy Word and use it as a weapon to further our own agendas. We must guard against that.
Just as we see those following apostasy down the road to ruin, so we also are privy to following our own arrogance down a similar path.
Let’s be clear: Those who are teaching a false doctrine will not suddenly realize their faultiness and thank us for helping them out. Instead, they will point back to our own haughtiness, our self-righteousness, our judgmentalism as if our failings disqualify the truth of what we say.
Our sin will not disqualify the message, but it very well could disqualify us as proper messengers.
This burden should weigh heavily on our hearts. We should be burdened with the task of correcting those wallowing in doctrinal error, but in humility and weakness, we must ask Almighty God to direct our path so that we do not camouflage the message of Truth with our own sin in presenting the message.
SO, TO SUM, THERE IS a balance that must be struck between Truth and Love. Jesus did it perfectly. None of us can or will do it perfectly. Nevertheless, we must preach the Truth (“the message”) and present it with Love (“the method”).
Failing to preach the Truth is not Love and cannot be confused with Love. We cannot allow those following a false teaching to believe God affirms their disobedient and deviant behavior. Neither can we interject our own sin by shining a light with a haughty, self-righteous attitude.
Yes, Jesus did it perfectly; let us imitate Him as best we can.
May God bless those who are following a false doctrine, even sincerely believing it to be true, but in so doing may He send messengers who with love and compassion can steer them back to the teaching of His Holy infallible and inerrant Word.
HOLY AND MIGHTY GOD, please forgive us who claim to belong to the body of Christ for our sin. While some in our midst teach, or practice, false doctrine, others of us fail to call them to account.
MANY, EVEN IN the church, sin by following, promoting, or teaching false doctrine, especially in the area of sexual sin; while others of us sin in our pride, arrogance, and judgmental attitude when pointing it out, as though we, ourselves, are without sin.
LORD, BECAUSE OF our sin, our message of repentance often goes unheard. This allows those who practice sexual sin, whether same-sex or opposite-sex behavior, to continue in their deviant and disobedient actions because our testimony is tainted. Lord, only You can save Your children. Only You can calm the storm and right the ship.
WE PRAY, LORD, that You will charge us who follow correct teaching to do so with humility and compassion and for those who promote and participate in a false doctrine to find a loving home within the body of Christ for them to return and to do so soon.
LORD, WE LIFT this pray in the loving, holy, and just name of Jesus Christ. AMEN