- May 6, 2006 at 12:20 am #1228
Many of us in the Lutheran blogosphere have been discussing the work of Rick Warren. What amazes me more than anything are those who would defend Mr. Warren by attacking those who question his book and teaching. Obviously, with the rampant ecumenism in the “Christian” world today, I should not be surprised that the art of polemics is looked down upon as un-loving and un-Christian. People don’t want to hear that what they believe is wrong, people don’t even want to hear that what others believe is wrong.
Even those who do not agree with the Roman Catholics do not like to hear it criticized. You certainly cannot tell them that the Catholic Church is the woman who rides the beast, the Church Apostate. Nobody wants to believe that the Pope is the very Antichrist about whom we have been warned. People do not want this.
Although some do not even find apologetics (defense of Christian doctrine from outside attacks) to be necessary, very few still find polemics (defense of Christian doctrine from internal attacks) to be necessary. Most Christians feel that polemics are tearing down the Church from the inside. Obviously, I disagree. Polemics may not be pleasant, but it is for the greater good. Much like pruning a tree, it will eventually cause greater growth.
[b:12ey1guj][color=red:12ey1guj]In the end, my opinion matters very little, so lets take a look at what Scripture has to say on polemics.[/b:12ey1guj][/color:12ey1guj]In Jeremiah 23, the LORD gives us some very strong words on False prophets. Notice especially in verses 30-32:
30 “Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the LORD.
You will notices that God is not talking about those who are openly of other religions here, but of those who claim to be from him. People who claim to be speaking for God himself. Speaking falsely about what God desires or decrees is a very dangerous thing to do. God sets himself against those who do so. This is not a case in which God hates the sin and not the sinner. God hates the sinner and sets himself against him. As a Christian we should not desire this to happen to anyway. We must correct and rebuke the false teachers. This is done not only for his benefit, but also for the benefit of those who may have heard and believed the false teachings, only because the false teacher says ‘The LORD declares’.
Christ himself dealt with false teachers constantly. The Pharisees claimed to be from God and yet, by example, taught a religion apart from the promise of Christ, their own messiah. How did Christ deal with these false teachers. Read the seven woes of Matthew 23.
13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
Christ did not tolerate these false teachers 2000 years ago, we should not tolerate them today. He goes on to condemn the focus on prosperity and material goods in the teachings of the day.
16″Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
We have seen so far that God the Father had no tolerance for false teaching. Christ himself had no tolerance for it either. There is no reason that we as modern Christians should have any tolerance for false teaching in the church today.
The Apostle Paul also spoke very harshly of false teachers in the churches of his day. Here are but a few quotes from the Acts and Pauline Epistles.
17I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. Romans 16:17-19
Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:7-9
When Paul left the Ephesians he gave them this warning:
29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Acts 20:29-31
Obviously, Paul was worried about false teachers and the effects that they can have on a congregation. He did all he could to point them out and warn people about their coming.
This is what we too should do. We should warn others whenever someone speaks in the name of the Lord but does not agree with the Word of the Lord. We should be on the lookout for them and make sure that others are too. Most of all, we should continue to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Risen. Christ is the true rock on which we stand, all other ground is but sinking sand. Let us do all that we can to warn people about that dangerous sinking sand.
Praise be to God for sending his only begotten son as an antonement for our sins, and for preserving the pure teachings of Christ crucified for us in scripture. May he grant us the power to keep our teachings true.May 6, 2006 at 2:41 pm #6078
[quote:1nnrzf5g]Even those who do not agree with the Roman Catholics do not like to hear it criticized. You certainly cannot tell them that the Catholic Church is the woman who rides the beast, the Church Apostate. Nobody wants to believe that the Pope is the very Antichrist about whom we have been warned. People do not want this.[/quote:1nnrzf5g]
Well, that’s because this is not true. ” title=”Wink” />
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