From time to time we are MCOI have to stop to reminder ourselves why we are doing what we do. I am particularly reminded when I receive from pastors which say:
Stop attacking everyone! LOVE LOVE LOVE … do you actually ingest the WORD when you read it or is it just a judgement stick for you against all the evil people in the world. You should learn caution against such things you don’t absolutely know. Your anthropomorphistic rhetoric falls apart if you play it out all the way. Maybe Jesus wasn’t really a man maybe the gospels like the rest of the OT is just one giant anthropomorphism
Other times it comes in the form of responses on the blog from non-Christians defending why practices such as Yoga can be Christian in some sense and registering their displeasure at what they consider judgmentalism. The reason this ministry exists is in response to biblical mandates. For example, the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:28-30:
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
He also wrote in 2 Timothy 4:1-4:
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
It is fairly clear, simple and straightforward. Proclaiming the gospel is pretty clear and generally practiced in the church but monitoring, examining, teaching about and exposing false teaching is not highly regarded and not often practiced. The pastor’s email also demonstrates a lack of clear thinking. If he really believed that it is wrong to correct someone’s teaching, he wouldn’t have written to correct our teaching. Oddly, his writing actually demonstrates the validity of what we do. Correcting error, addressing what someone sees as harm to others, is something which God has created within us. We don’t always practice it and sometimes allow our emotions or even selfishness to cloud our thinking. But at some level, we know it is right to expose error. For Christians this is clearer because God has devoted a great deal of space to the issue of false prophets, false teachers, abusive leaders and evil workers. The late Dr. Paul Martin claimed there is more Scripture devoted to these issues than to adultery, lying, fornication, homosexuality and stealing combined. That may be and if so may not have as much to do with it being more important but perhaps because it is more easily glossed over. If we have a favored teacher that is teaching falsely, we don’t really want to know and certainly don’t want it publically exposed. The Scriptures do not really give us that option though. We did a more in-depth article on this in our Journal titled, ”Stranger Danger”.
I like the reminders though. They help to reclarify our mission from time to time. They also serve to cause us to ask ourselves if we can address some of these issues in a more kind way? Sometimes, the answer is no and sometimes it doesn’t matter how we address false teaching. Just the fact that we do so offends many. But then, we are not in a popularity contest but rather we are in a pursuit of truth.