Saturday, May 28, 2016



We are to be self-critical. If we do not examine ourselves, God will, as Paul had explained:

* Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:28-31; ESV)

If we do not judge ourselves, there will be serious consequences. We are also required to judge our brethren:

* My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

Of course, before we judge others, we must hold ourselves accountable to a standard at least as stringent as the standard we use to judge ourselves. This is what it means to be "spiritual":

* Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

We have to first be humble, realizing that we too are liable to the same kinds of temptations. We should never think that we are above them, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12).

There is also a calling, especially for pastors and teachers, to correct other Christians in leadership positions, lest they bring disrepute upon the Church. In this regard, apologetic or discernment ministries play a vital role. For example, Hank Hanegraaff has often exposed the false teachings of prosperity ministers:

* Paul Crouch, founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), went so far as to suggest that if God does not kill “heresy hunters,” he will. Benny Hinn took it a step further. On TBN’s Praise the Lord program, he said, “You have attacked me. Your children will pay for it.” On another occasion Hinn shouted, “If you care for your kids, stop attacking Benny Hinn; you’re attacking on the radio all the time. You will pay, and your children will. Hear this from the lips of God’s servant. You are in danger.” Other threats could be cited, including the time Hinn ominously snarled, “I’m not exactly the normal kind of guy, you know. I’m from Israel. Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. I’d blow your head off.” ("Christianity in Crisis: The 21st Century")

If the Church fails to expose and to distance themselves from ungodly teachers, then the world will distance themselves from the Church and the brethren will be led astray.

For an example of the disrepute that these teachers have brought upon the Church, Hanegraaff writes:

* This cancer has now reached the epidemic stage, and is spreading with such speed as to genuinely warrant the words “Christianity in Crisis.” It has so disfigured the face of Christianity that pagans looking on from without either smile with condescension and cynicism, or, with CNN founder Ted Turner, caricature Christians as “bozos” and “idiots.”

However, the damage done to the Body of Christ by false teachers is even a greater concern. Therefore, Paul warned the Ephesian elders:

* “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31)

Because of the inevitability of false teachers arising even within the church, the elders had to be vigilant. Why? Because false teachers could ravage the flock! Consequently, Paul had insisted that the elders had to be able to scripturally defend their churches:

* He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. 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 1:9-11)

The only remedy to error is truth. The only answer to Scripture twisting is sound teaching and correction.

This means that we must judge, if we love the Church. Besides, sometimes even loving God requires us to judge. For example, God had warned the Church at Pergamum to repent for tolerating false teaching:

* “But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Revelation 2:14-16)

Their tolerance of false teaching was a sin against God, and they were called to repent of this sin.

To be a friend of the world by tolerating what we should not is to be an enemy of God.

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