Saturday, January 19, 2008

DISCERNMENT OR ATTACK?

Yesterday I left a comment on Part 3 of a book review at morebooksandthings about a book entitled Stricken By God?, which is a compilation of essays by author Brad Jersak. I am reposting my comment here on my own blog, as it relates to some of the other topics I like to write about. One of the commenters reprimanded us for "attacking" other Christians, stating that we should emphasize what is good, and affirm it, rather than criticizing what we disagree with. (Click HERE to read the other comments on Part 3).


N. T. Wright, an essay writer included in Stricken By God?, is a liberal theologian who I have studied and written about and criticized in earlier posts (DO YOU NEED A NEW PERSPECTIVE? and THE SOCIAL GOSPEL). The question needs to be asked, "Should a Christian be critical of other people who claim to be Christians and their work?". Is this a biblical way to deal with false doctrine? What is the gift of discernment and how should it be exercised? I invite your comments on this topic as it is an important one in this day and age. The multitude of books being written these days, and the prevalence of new varieties of theology can be overwhelming at times. I have become aware in the last few years just how important it is to know my Bible as well as I can so that I can be able to distinguish truth from error, and I encourage you to do the same.


My reposted comment is included below:


The way I see it, dialogue on matters of faith with people of another faith, or with those who have a low view of Scripture and the cross, always seems to lead to a compromise of the truth. This is never acceptable, as it runs counter to God’s way. Some think there is a need to compromise truth for the sake of love, but in God’s economy this isn’t necessary since speaking the truth is a loving thing to do. In today’s politically correct world we aren’t used to using harsh words when dealing with someone face to face. We expect people to be more diplomatic when confronting someone they disagree with.

Christ went so far as to call the Pharisees “a brood of vipers”. In another place in Scripture we are told to be gentle and to live at peace with others as much as is possible. In context, false doctrine was always dealt with very harshly in Scripture. Both Christ and the apostles understood the spiritual damage that would occur if false teaching were allowed to continue unchecked. The apostle Paul rebuked Peter publicly for going along with the Jews attempting to force the Gentiles to be circumcised as part of their new-found faith in Christ, adding works to faith. In matters not important to the doctrines of the faith (as in matters of food or the color of the church carpet) we need to give people some leeway, however, and be gentle. These are disputable things; doctrine (especially the doctrine of the cross) is not.

As Christians, we have the freedom to walk in the way laid out before us because we have been freed from the curse of the law, but we do not have the freedom to step outside the parameters of the gospel as given in the whole counsel of God’s Word. I think when this happens we are compelled to correct those doing so and if there is no repentance we are to warn others to stay away and label the person a false teacher, so that they know WHO to stay away from.

I read a sign in a doctor’s office not long ago that said:


“The five most dangerous words in the English language are: MAYBE IT WILL GO AWAY!”

This is especially true of false doctrine, which could be seen as a serious infection in the body of Christ. It should not be ignored, as it will only continue on its course, getting bigger and more pervasive with time, possibly becoming gangrenous. A doctor would be foolish to tell a patient “Maybe it will go away” or to go home and just focus on the positive things in their life if there was something he could do to help. If death were imminent a patient might want to do that, but we are talking about the body of Christ here, which is supposed to be a bride without spot or wrinkle, ready and waiting for her Bridegroom. She is to keep herself pure and to be faithful for the purpose God has called her. She could never be so if she allowed a dirty old dog with muddy feet into her chambers who could soil her wedding garments. It would be absolutely reasonable for her to become angry, try to protect herself and warn her bridesmaids if this were to happen, and have the dog expelled from their midst.


Blessed are they
that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city.

For without are dogs, and sorcerers,
and whoremongers,and murderers, and idolaters,
and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.
I am the root and the offspring of David,
and the bright and morning star.

Revelation 22:14-16


2 comments:

Patricia said...

“I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Re.2:9 below). An xample - the Pharisees (Jn.8:37-47 below).


Re.2:9 I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (Jn.8:37-47 below).

Jn.8:37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me (Jn.8:40 below), because my word hath no place in you.

Jn.8:38 I SPEAK that which I have seen with my Father: and ye DO that which ye have seen with your father (Jn.8:44 below, Matt.13:38).

Jn.8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

Jn.8:40 But now ye seek to kill me (Jn.8:37 above), a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God (Jn.8:38 above): this did not Abraham.

Jn.8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father (Jn.8:44 below, Matt.13:38). Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, [even] God.

Jn.8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father (Matt.13:38), ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Jn.8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.

Jn.8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil (Jn.8:41 above, Matt.13:38), and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Jn.8:45 And because I tell [you] the truth, ye believe me not.

Jn.8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

Jn.8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear [them] not, because ye are not of God (Jn.8:44 above, Matt.13:38).



Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web

Vee said...

"Should a Christian be critical of other people who claim to be Christians and their work?". Is this a biblical way to deal with false doctrine?

Well, I think that we should all be quite and not say anything, put on our rose coloured glasses.... ummm, this way nothing would be dealt with would it?

If some doctrine or teaching has been made public, then surely it needs to be tested publicly. Why on earth shouldn't it be critically examined biblically??

I say that compromising truth for the sake of love is actually no love at all for the truth. Perhaps they are loving them straight to hell because the truth is not found in them. And if you have no love for the truth, then the bible says this concerning salvation...

2Th 2:10 and in all deceit of unrighteousness in those being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth in order for them to be saved.

I ask what kind of love is this, they who do not love the truth? You have to love the truth in order to be saved.

Compromising truth is always aligning oneself with lies. Is it not?

In today’s politically correct world we aren’t used to using harsh words when dealing with someone face to face.

Sad really isn't it? But the point of the salvific gospel is this. If accepted and applied it stops the person from spending an eternity in Hell. They don't like the word Hell... of course they don't, because their concept of love is distorted into something completely different from the whole council of God. Their [g]od of love neither punishes or acts out in wrath against sin and this [g]od is far more palatable for today's politically correct world.

That is why they have to eventually change the doctrine of the 'Atonement' as this flies in the face of their concept of a loving [g]od. What kind of [g]od does that to [h]is only [s]on, how could [g]od be a child abuser??? The injustice of it all doesn't make sense to them. So, they consider that the cross and the atonement is more about the injustice of a social system, dominated by the religious, governmental system of Christ's time. It becomes a cross of social injustice. More could be said about this. [please note that I have not used a capitalised 'g' or 'h' purposefully]. But I will leave it for now.

Hope this makes sense?

Great post!