Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flashback: How to Know and Treat False Teachers and Their Doctrines

This is SO important, that it deserves to be posted again. 


Part Two

We left off, looking at what false teachers are characterized by. Now Plumer suggests how to deal with them. Here are some of my favorite quotes. Please check out the full list he gives at the link at the bottom of this article. ~Denise

*As soon as we discern their false teaching, it is our duty to refuse to hear them or to read their books. Never was more wholesome or beneficial advice given than that of Solomon: "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge" (Prov. 19:27). In answer to a question from a corrupt writer, John Newton excused himself for not having read his book, by saying: "If a neighbor sends me a joint of meat, and I find one slice corrupted, I am not bound to eat it at all." Human nature is in most cases too weak to bear a long and voluntary subjection to evil influences without very ill effects. Were men wholly without sin, it would grieve them to be compelled to listen to lies and to slanders on God's truth and government. The less pain such false teachings give us, the more dangerous they are. All pleas for giving our ears to false teachers are in the teeth of the good petition: "Lead us not into temptation."

False teachers must also be firmly and meekly resisted in all their attempts to lead men astray. When even Peter was betrayed into deception concerning false doctrines, Paul withstood him to the face, and rebuked him sharply. Jude "exhorted" his brethren "earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints" (verse 3). He who is willing to risk nothing for Christ, does not love Christ. He who, being duly called to defend the truth, declines to do so, does not love the truth. That is a good saying, and none the worse for being old: "Do you love controversy? suspect your love. Do you abhor controversy? suspect your Christianity."

*In dealing with corrupt teachers, it is peculiarly important not to be intimidated by them. "The fear of man brings a snare." "Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe." (Prov. 29:25; Isa. 8:13-14). Truth is like the spear of Ithuriel. No falsehood can endure its touch. The sword of the Spirit is two-edged and very sharp.

*The longer a godly man lives, the firmer is his confidence in the simple truths of Scripture to renew the heart, save the soul, check error, and bring glory to God.

And some of my favorite “conclusions” by Plumer in this article:

There is such a thing as truth. Truth is light. It makes manifest. It is one. It is harmonious. No truth contradicts any other truth. In truth are no jars, no discords, no contradictions. Like its Author, truth is simple, eternal, immutable. It came from God, who cannot lie, cannot deceive, cannot be mistaken, cannot be outsmarted. Sin and holiness never were the same, and to all eternity shall be different. Right and wrong cannot agree, because one is conformity to truth and justice, while the other is at war with both. One is from above; the other is from beneath. Truth is the opposite of fiction, fable, falsehood.

*We are bound to distinguish true and false doctrine. The Scripture requires us to test all things, and to hold fast to that which is good; and to test teachers by their doctrine (1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1). This can be done. We can know the truth. The doctrine of the Pharisees and the doctrine of the Sadducees never did agree with the doctrines of Christ. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans subverted the doctrines of the Apostles. Light and darkness are not more opposite than truth and error. Nutritious food and deadly poison may look alike, but they can be, and they must be, distinguished.

*We cannot in the least depart from sound doctrine without affecting our views of God, His nature, government, or worship. It is necessary to believe that man is a lost sinner, in order to believe that the provisions of the Gospel are not nugatory. If men hold false doctrine, it is because they have not received the love of the truth, and so are swayed by pride, or prejudice, or lack of right affections.

*We must not only hold the truth—but hold it to the rejection of opposing error. After a fashion, the Pharisees held much truth, but they so mixed it up with error that they "made the word of God of no effect." One man in this age has sent forth the opinion that we may well believe all creeds, the more the better. For this strange notion, there is neither reason nor Scripture.

*We must be valiant for the truthWe must hold it at all costs and hazards. Myriads have wisely laid down their lives for the testimony of Jesus. All the truth of Christianity now upon earth has been preserved to us by the intrepidity of confessors and the blood of martyrs. Men, whose office, station, and profession require them to stand up for the truth—yet fail to do so—are among the greatest enemies of God and man (Jer. 9:3).

*Others say—good practice is all we regard; we care nothing for doctrines. But have such forgotten that "as a man thinks in his heart so is he" (Prov. 23:7)? The world furnishes no case of a man being better than his principles.Who would trust a man who believed it was right to lie, and steal, and murder?

*We must not shrink from a just exposure of false doctrine and a faithful vindication of the truth. The pious and amiable John Newton made it a rule never to attack error, nor warn his people against it. He said: "The best method of defeating heresy is by establishing the truth. One proposes to fill a bushel with tares; now if I can fill it first with wheat, I shall defeat his attempts." Surely the truth ought to be abundantly set forth. But this is not sufficient. The human mind is not like a bushel. It may learn much truth and yet go after folly. The effect of Mr. Newton's practice was unhappy. He was hardly dead until many of his people went far astray. Paul says: "Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching." (2 Tim. 4:2). The more subtle, bitter, and numerous the foes of the truth are—the more fearfulness and decided should its friends be. The life of truth is more important than the life of any man or of any theories.

Let no man forget that there is a rejection of truth, which makes ruin certain. "He who believes not shall be damned." A little error is bad; but error in fundamental truth hinders salvation. South says: "I know it is doubted, whether a bare error in judgment can damn a person; but since truths absolutely necessary for salvation are so clearly revealed in Scripture, that we cannot err in them, unless we are notoriously lacking to ourselves; herein the fault of the judgment is resolved into a precedent default of the will; and so the case is put out of doubt." If men are ever delivered from the bondage of corruption, the truth must set them free (John 8:32). And if men are turning from the holy commandment and the precious truth of God to fables and falsehoods, it must be because they love a lie. "For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion—so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness" 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.

Let us not grow weary in earnestly contending for the faith.

For the whole article go here.

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