EXPOSING DOCTRINAL ERRORS:
HERESY HUNTING OR BIBLICAL MANDATE?
Well, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, that Christians are simply supposed to love one another and be united together in faith. Should we, therefore, regard as divisive those Christians who speak out against teachings in the church which are clearly unbiblical?
I can tell you firsthand that it is no joy to be labeled a “heresy-hunter.” Yet, as Paul instructed Timothy, we are to zealously guard the purity of the message God has entrusted to us, and for good reason (1 Tim 1:18-19; 6:20; 2 Tim. 4:2-5).
We read in such passages as Acts chapter 20, and 2 Peter chapter 2, that false teachers will arise, bringing with them destructive heresies, distorting the truth and destroying the faith of some. Moreover, it is clear that these teachers will come not only from outside the church, but also from within the body of Christ as well.
It is therefore imperative that we test all things by Scripture (1 Thes. 5:21). It was in this spirit that the Bereans examined the words of the Apostle Paul, for which they were reckoned as noble in character (Acts 17:11).
Indeed, not only can the Bible be used for preaching, teaching and encouragement, but, it is equally valuable for correcting and rebuking (2 Tim. 4:2). As a matter of fact, we as Christians are held accountable for proclaiming the whole will of God, warning others of false teachings. (Acts 20:26-28; cf. Ezek. 33:7-9; 34:1-10).
This is not merely a suggestion, it is, in fact, a divine mandate. Of course if heresies are coming from teachers within the church, we ought to try and approach them first with our concerns. Should that fail to resolve the problem, we are told in Matthew 18 to expose their errors to the church; and if need be, divulge their names. (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; 4:14-15; 3 John 9-10).
We would, therefore, do well to heed Scripture’s explicit warnings to be on guard for false teachings (Rom. 16:17-18; cf. 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:13-14; Titus 1:9; 2:1), and to point them out to brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Tim. 4:6). At CRI, it is not our practice to make an issue out of peripheral matters on which honest Christians can differ. However, we are committed to exposing those who would compromise the essential doctrines of the historic Christian faith. Remember, controversy for the sake of controversy is sin. But controversy for the sake of the truth is a divine command.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
On biblical discernment, we recommend Christianity in Crisis [book] (B400/$12.99), Christianity in Crisis [CD audiobook] (CD139/$15), the DVD Back to Basics by Hank Hanegraaff (DVD183/$7.50), and the books Know What You Believe by Paul Little (B265/$10) and Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul (B110/$10). These resources are available through CRI. To order them please call our Resource Center at (888)7000-CRI.
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