I received a comment recently which I think deserves an honest response. While I’m using this particular comment, it’s not to single this reader out. I get this comment (or one much like it) on a daily basis. I’d like to use this opportunity to respond.
I hope this comes across as intended: In love toward those who hold this view, but in vicious contention for the truth involved.
Below is the tweet in question, and one of several responses I received:
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my quote. I don’t want to single you out, but as I get this type of response occasionally, I’d like to respond to it and give others something to consider as they draft similar responses.
I’d like to start by praising God that you “love Jesus will all your heart”.. but to jump the gun here a bit.. I’d have to ask, which Jesus?
The Jesus who is one of many ways, and who is the same as the Mormon Jesus of Joel Osteen?
The modalist Jesus (not part of the trinity) of TD Jakes?
The Jesus of Paula White who promises “financial abundance” as a promise of the Atonement?
“God uses us all to bring glory to Him”
Amen! Some will be used to His glory in showing His grace, and others used as a means to show His perfect attribute of wrath. It is, however, our role to point out false teachers within the body of Christ. I see absolutely no scriptural guidance to allow them to continue, unchecked, simply because “God uses them”. Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth said this very thing.. that there must be heretics:
“in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” (1 Corinthians 11:19, ESV)
“I, personally, have been blessed and touched by some of the things several of these men have said.”
At the risk of sounding corny, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” While there are certainly very generic “christian-ish” or “Jesus” tweets that I would agree with from these false teachers, you don’t have to dig very deep or let them speak very long before you realize that they are in fact teaching blatant heresy.
“This breaks my heart.”
If you’re talking about believers being misled by heretical teaching, then yes, this breaks my heart as well.
“Make sure your heart, Marc5Solas, is full of HIM and not yourself, so He can use you.”
But He uses everyone, right? You said so in your first sentence. In all sincerity, I don’t trust my heart. It is wicked above all things. And I pray, daily, that my “stupid-self” wouldn’t in any way hinder my efforts to spread His gospel.
“What you have just said makes me turn away from anything you say. I will no longer “like” your page. I love Jesus with all my heart and am deeply hurt by your judgemental and negative comments.”
I wish I could say that I didn’t see this coming, but it happens every..single..time.
The very people who accuse me of being judgmental will end their posts being judgmental. Aren’t you, by saying that I’m judgmental and negative (and saying that you will turn away from anything I say) being, well…. judgmental and negative?
Am I being judgmental? Yes. I am judging their teaching against the faith “delivered once and for all” to the saints. Do you not agree that we are to, as scripture dictates,examine teachings in light of scripture? And in doing so, are we not to warn brothers and sisters of false teachers? If so, by the very command of scripture we are to not only judge, but warn our brothers and sisters about these teachings!
If you think this small tweet was negative, I’d submit the following from Paul as he identified false teachers by name:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6-11
Paul is saying that anyone teaching a different gospel should be accursed! (Pretty judgmental and negative, isn’t it?)
In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, he called these false teachers false apostles and deceitful workmen.
In 2 John, we are told that if anyone brings another gospel we are not to receive them in our houses or give them any greeting. (Well, that’s certainly not very nice.)
How about this from 1 Timothy:
“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”
or this from John 8?
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
or this from Matthew 23?
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
We have false teachers being called: Stupid, Children of Hell, Sons of the Devil, conceited, understanding nothing, deceitful workmen, accursed, whitewashed tombs, dogs returning to their own vomit, and in what would be completely unacceptable to our post-modern sensibilities, Paul says of the Judaizers in Galatia:
“I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” – Galatians 5:12
And I’m judgmental, negative, and unworthy to be listened to because I said these three false teachers were not to be listened to?
I’d ask you to take a long, hard look at these men, their teachings, and ask yourself what scripture would have us do with them. Play nice, or call them out as the false teachers they are in order to save brothers and sisters from false teaching, and to contend for the faith delivered to the saints.
If you want specifics on why these 3 (specifically) are false teachers, I recommend doing a deep study of their teaching. I won’t point you to biased articles, I’ll ask you to find them speaking, in their own words. I’ll give a short summary next to each false teacher for those who don’t have the time or inclination to read the full articles:
Joel Osteen: (Positive Confession, Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel)
Paula White: (Positive Confession, Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel)
TD Jakes: (Denies the trinity, Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel)
So, to circle back to my initial tweet to pastors:
If you’re people are posting quotes from these false teachers on their facebook walls, then someone is dropping the ball in:
Teaching: Teaching sound doctrine in order to show the contrast to heresy.
Discipleship: Nobody knows *everything* and discipleship is a lifelong process. It is entirely possible that many in the church came from backgrounds where this type of false teaching wasn’t examined. It takes intentional work to disciple believers in proper teaching.
Discipline: If your church is teaching orthodox theology, and discipleship is helping young/new believers grow in sound doctrine, people who continue to teach this false doctrine should be corrected and rebuked by their leadership.
So, I ask you in closing, sister… have you judged my teaching or have you judged my heart? Is your issue with me simply that I said someone was wrong? In that case, I would ask you on what logical basis would you call me wrong and judge what I wrote?
My issues with them aren’t personal, I simply call them out *by name* as Paul did to at least 8 false teachers, to warn others of their false teaching.
Sounds like a double standard. And frankly, I’m OK with that. I encourage anyone to read what I write on this blog, twitter, or facebook and examine it in light of scripture. I’m certainly not above question, and I’m open to correction.
I hope you’ll continue to read and respond to what I write. I mean that sincerely.