Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Heretics Divide Churches

Sadly, the word heretic gets thrown around too little or too much, and the result is that most people are not sure what or who a heretic is. Heresy is false doctrine, and heretics do exist. The church is to fight against heresy and heretics, and not give them any voice in church matters in the name of being polite.

The Bible refers to itself as a sword for good reason: we need this offensive weapon to fight against false-teaching heretics. Since the garden Eden, the serpent, who Jesus called the father of all lies, has been continually at work propagating his falsehoods. Joining him is a legion of false apostles, and false teachers inspired by demons and taken captive by Satan to serve his cause, who promote false teaching that includes a false gospel about a false Jesus.

Paul warned that false teachers would RISE UP from AMONG THE FLOCK OF GOD, right out of your own congregation - people you know - and when they do they must be stopped:

28 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. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. (Acts 20:28-31).

False teachers are like savage wolves, and church leaders being like shepherds entrusted to care for the flock of God for which Jesus died, must stand against heretics.

Paul instructed Timothy to stand against false teachers in his church, some of whom had probably even become teaching elders. He told Timothy to not only quell this uprising, but to replace it with “sound doctrine” (I Timothy 1:10).

Elsewhere, Paul tells Timothy he must preach and teach the Bible with the strength of an ox, fight like a tough soldier, train and compete like a skilled athlete, and sweat at his labor like a farmer (I Timothy 5:17-18; 2 Timothy 2:3-4; 2:5; 2:6). When done right, ministry is hard work. It includes not only teaching what is true but also refuting what is false. Many Christians today respond in horror when church leaders rebuke people who teach false doctrine and drive them from the church, declaring, “That is not very Christ-like, and not very nice.” Maybe they should take another look at the ministry of Jesus to find out what He was really like. Paul was adamant in his declaration, “We DEMOLISH arguments and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The New Testament calls heretics dogs and evildoers, empty and deceitful, puffed up without reason, given to mystical speculation and vanity without understanding, products of shipwrecked faith, demonic liars with a seared conscience, peddlers of silly myths, arrogant fools with depraved minds, the spiritual equivalent of gangrene, foolish, chatty deceivers, destructive blasphemers, ignorantly unstable, and antichrists (Phil 3:2; Col 2:8; I Tim 1:3-7; 19; 4:1-2; 6:3-5; 2 Tim 2:14-18; 23; Titus 1:10-14; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 3:16; I John 2:18). So much for being polite. The stakes are too high to be nice when it comes to heresy.

The problem with some churches and their leaders is that they won’t fight, and the problem with others is that they won’t stop fighting. They key is to fight for what is most essential to the gospel of Jesus Christ and His work in the earth, and to do it with the humble courage that God requires

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