From Facets of Grace:
Archive for the ‘false teaching’ Category
World Magazine reports:
A St. Petersburg Times investigation finds that the Church of Scientology pressures its members into having abortions. The article interviews church members who have brought lawsuits against the Church for pressuring them into having abortions.
They and others testify that the church interrogated pregnant women, urged them to consider the good of the church instead of their babies, separated couples and assigned recalcitrant pregnant women to heavy manual labor. In her filed complaint against the Church, Claire Headley says she unwillingly had two abortions, faced with the prospect of hard manual labor and no money, support or contacts outside the church.
Continue reading here.
Dr. Andy Snider:
“Get to know the God of open theism and then try trusting Him for your next big decision. Get to know the God of open theism and try praying to Him.”
In other words, if you really know the God of open theism how can you trust him at all? He is untrustworthy and it is useless praying to Him. The God that open theism purports is not a God who inspires trust or engender prayer.
“It is clear from those letters to the churches in Revelation that battling heresy is a duty Christ expects every Christian to be devoted to Whether we like it or not, our very existence in this world involves spiritual warfare—it is not a party or a picnic. If Christ Himself devoted so much of His time and energy during His earthly ministry to the task of confronting and refuting false teachers, surely that much be high on our agenda as well. His style of ministry ought to be the model for ours, and His zeal against false religion ought to fill our hearts and minds as well.”
–John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, p. 208. (I highly recommend this book)
Some readers might question whether Christ is really the example we should follow in confronting error. After all, He was God incarnate, with all the wisdom of divine omniscience available to Him. He could see into other people’s hearts and read their thoughts. He knew truth perfectly without any of the limitations we suffer from as fallen creatures. We’re naturally prone to error; He was immune from error of any kind.
And didn’t Jesus Himself say we should not try to separate wheat from tares? “Lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. [But] let both grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:29-30). He also said, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned” (Luke 6:37). After all, “The Father…has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). Who are we to step into that role and usurp authority that is explicitly given to Christ?
That is exactly right when it come to judging the secrets of men’s hearts—their motives, their private thoughts, or their hidden intentions. We cannot see those things, so we cannot judge them adequately. We’re not even supposed to try. “He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts” (1 Corinthians4:4-5). Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stand or falls” (Romans 14:4). “God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16)
That is the whole point of the parable of the tares: the tares look like wheat in every superficial way. Until they bear fruit and it ripens it is virtually impossible to tell wheat from tares. The tares therefore represent people who look and act like Christians—false professors. They blend into the fellowship of the church, give a fine-sounding testimony about their faith in Christ, and otherwise seem exactly like authentic believers. But they are not authentic. Their faith is a sham. They are unregenerate hangers-on. We know there are tares in almost every fellowship of believers, because Jesus gave that parable as an illustration of what His kingdom would be like in the church age, and because from time to time one of the tares will abandon the faith completely, embrace some damnable heresy, or sell out to some sin which he or she is unwilling to abandon or repent from. In such cases, we are supposed to confront the individual, call them to repentance, and put them out of the church if they steadfastly refuse to repent (Matthew 18:15-18).
–John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, pp. 202-204 I highly recommend this book!
In The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, (pp.170-71), John MacArthur states,
“If the stridency of Jesus’ dealings with the Jewish leaders shocks you, bear in mind that He had the advantage of knowing their hearts even more perfectly than they themselves did. The fallen human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The potential for self-deception is so profound that we are not to trust our own hearts (Proverbs 28:26). Only God knows how to judge a human heart perfectly (Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10;20:12). Jesus is God, and therefore we can rest assured that His unrelenting harshness with the Pharisees was fully justified (Luke 16:15), even when He seemed to respond to them without much visible provocation.
Obviously you and I cannot assess other people’s hearts perfectly—much less trust our own hearts (1 Samuel 16:7; John 7:24). Therefore we are also cautioned repeatedly to deal with others as patiently and as gently as possible (Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 4:5; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). So let’s be absolutely clear about this once more: Jesus’ harshness with the Pharisees does not give us an unrestricted license to deal roughly with others every time we happen to disagree. Gentleness should characterize our relationships with people, including those who persecute us (Luke 6:27-36). Love “suffers long and is kind…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7). Those are general rules that should be paramount in all our interaction with others.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ constant friction with the Pharisees does show that conflict is sometimes necessary. Harsh words are not always inappropriate. Unpleasant and unwelcome truths sometimes need to be voiced. False religion always needs to be answered. Love may cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), but the gross hypocrisy of false teachers desperately needs to be uncovered—lest our silence facilitate and perpetuate a damning delusion. The truth is not always “nice.”
“Generally speaking, avoiding conflicts is a good idea. Warmth and congeniality are normally preferable to cold harshness. Civility, compassion, and good manners are in short supply these days, and we ought to have more of them. Gentleness, a soft answer, and a kind word usually go farther than an argument or a rebuke. That which edifies is more helpful and more fruitful in the long run than criticism. Cultivating friends is more pleasant and more profitable than crusading against enemies. And it’s ordinarily better to be tender and mild rather than curt or combative—especially to the victims of false teaching.
But those qualifying words are vital: usually, ordinarily, generally. Avoiding conflict is not always the right thing. Sometimes it is down-right sinful. Particularly in times like these, when almost no error is deemed to serious to be excluded from the evangelical conversation, and while the Lord’s flock is being infiltrated by wolves dressed like prophets, declaring visions of peace when there is no peace (cf. Ezekiel 13:16)
Even the kindest, gentlest shepherd sometimes needs to throw rocks at the wolves who come in sheep’s clothing.”
John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, p. 19
“For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” (Titus 1:10-11, ESV).
“God chooses not milksops destitute of backbone, to wear His glory upon their faces. We have plenty of men made of sugar nowadays, that melt into the stream of popular opinion; but these shall never ascend the hill of the Lord, nor stand in His holy place, nor wear the tokens of glory.”–Charles Spurgeon.
John MacArthur in The Jesus You Can’t Ignore argues,
The thought of being perceived as harsh or negative is more odious to some Christians than actually being undiscerning. So false teachers are given free reign to promote their false teachings and flaunt their extravagant lifestyles.–pp. 65-66
Today’s evangelicals generally think if we offend someone by pressing the claims of the gospel too firmly or too plainly, we’ve done something terribly wrong. The reality is quite the opposite: if you think the gospel can be proclaimed in a way that is always appealing and never upsetting to unbelievers, you have the wrong idea about what the gospel message says.–p. 68
“There are times when we must confront rather than being collegial.” p. 206
Brian McClaren thinks so:
“In an age of global terrorism and rising religious conflict, it’s significant to note that all Muslims regard Jesus as a great prophet, that many Hindus are willing to consider Jesus as a legitimate manifestation of the divine, that many Buddhists see Jesus as one of Humanity’s most enlightened people, and that Jesus himself was a Jew, and without understanding his Jewishness, one doesn’t understand Jesus. A shared reappraisal of Jesus’ message could provide a unique space of common ground for urgently needed religious dialogue—and it doesn’t seem an exaggeration to say that the future of our planet may depend on such dialogue. This reappraisal of Jesus’ message may be the only project capable of saving a number of religions, including Christianity.”–quoted in John MacArthur’s The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, p. 18
I disagree that we need to seek “common ground” today with false teachers. Instead we need “to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)