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A Firm Stand Against False Teaching

(1 Timothy 1:3-20)

Lesson 8 -- third quarter 1992
July 26, 1992

by Mark Roth
Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications

1. What are some false doctrines in our churches today?
2. What is a young person to do when a respected leader begins to teach a false doctrine?
3. How do I distinguish between standing for the truth no matter what and stubbornly insisting on my own way?

The battle is on! Our congregations are being assaulted by false doctrines. Unless we stand uncompromisingly for the truth, we will "awake" on Judgment Day to discover we are casualties. The stakes are indeed that high.

"All we need is love." To the casual listener, this doctrine sounds genuine. However, close examination reveals that the peddlers of this doctrine use it to undermine obedience (holy living) and discipline. That makes their teaching false. Biblical love obeys, reproves, and disciplines. If we accept that, then we can truthfully say "The greatest of these is love" and "Love is the fulfilling of the law."

"God is constantly adding to His knowledge." This JW-style doctrine is based on human reason alone. It leads to conclusions like "God has learned a lot in the last 1000 years" and "If God isn't learning anything, then He must be sitting in a corner doing nothing." One assumption is that experience teaches; another, that perfection is not static. And when applied to man, both are altogether true. But we dare not attempt to squeeze God into our human framework! To do so leaves out so much of His greatness that He becomes merely human and no longer divine. They err who presume that God's ample experience has taught Him anything. Can you imagine God ruefully saying, "The more I know, the more I realize I don't know!" God's perfection is complete and pure. His perfection today is not "new and improved" compared to His perfection 20 centuries ago! And His perfection today is no less "new and improved" than it will be 1000 centuries in the future. God does not look back 20 centuries nor does He look forward 1000 centuries--they are all now to Him. I AM inhabits eternity where time does not exist; God knows no past and no future. That means He has experienced nothing new these last 6000 years. If God were learning and expanding His perfection, we would have no guarantee, no assurance whatsoever that a certain old Book still reflects the truth. The natural conclusion of this doctrine is that we cannot trust the Bible's infallibility and inerrancy just like we cannot trust God with our lives because He will most likely goof. Praise God this theological baloney is not true! We serve the Almighty, All-wise God who is utterly unchanging and totally right!

"The literal words of Jesus as we find them in the Gospels are more important and inspired than Paul's writings in the Pauline Epistles." If this doctrine isn't a deliberate assault on the equal inspiration of all Scripture, it certainly helps lower our defenses against such heresy. Those holding this view also utter "gems" like this one: "If Jesus and Paul don't agree, I blame Paul, not Jesus!" When Paul wrote under inspiration, he always agreed with Jesus. Paul's inspired writings and the literal words of Jesus are all God-breathed. They are equally inspired and therefore, equally important.

Doctrinal error espoused by an esteemed leader is extra difficult to handle. Too many tolerate it since "so much else of what he teaches is truth." Others, because "he has been right so many years!" And some, because "he has such an attractive personality." If the other ministers have taken proper action in defense of the truth, we must be supportive. A divided response does nothing to help the erring leader. However, if others do not recognize the error or are unwilling to do anything about it, we need to be willing to stand for what is right. This could require bucking popular opinion and standing alone.

Any person with the "stand alone" mentality drilled into him may reject wise counsel and stand alone when he shouldn't. He may utterly disregard what other people think because, after all, isn't it important to stand alone? So, how do we distinguish between firmly standing for truth and stubbornly insisting on our own way? With absolute honesty, submit your stand to this simple test:

  1. Am I content with obscurity instead of "publicity"?
  2. Do I live with a servant spirit?
  3. Will this serve the best interest of others?
  4. Would I choose this if it meant my death?
  5. Am I content under authority?
The more of these you have to answer with no, the more you will have to question the validity of your stand.

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