William S. Cline
God has always had to deal with the false teacher. From the early morning of time there has been the false doctrine to counteract the true doctrine of God. God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but the devil said they should eat and become as gods. The next few thousands of years of man’s history reads like a broken record. God has given Truth by which man was to be governed but the devil and his angels have sought to allure man away from God with false doctrine.
When Peter wrote his second epistle he was concerned with false teachers in the church. In chapter two he gave a scathing rebuke of those false teachers and told what their end was to be—eternal destruction. We would wonder if we cannot learn from Peter or Paul or James or Jude or many in the Old Testament who set the trumpet to their mouth or the pen to their hand and denounced the sins of the false teachers.
A tendency of man is to be tolerant of those who advocate new ideas and doctrines until they have been tested by the masses. In the religious world, which is woefully divided, we see such tolerance in the existence of more than 300 separate religious organizations. Within the Lord’s church we have not done much better! False teachers have reared their ugly heads and we have been slow in denouncing them. An advocate of “love and understanding” cries that we must give them time. But we would ask, “Time for what?” Time to subvert whole houses? Time to divide churches? Time to lead multitudes away from the Lord?
While the Christian is to manifest love and understanding, he is also to manifest diligence, vigilance and militance against the false teachers and their doctrines. Did not Paul tell Titus that the mouths of the false teachers must be stopped?
God hates the false teacher and every false way. “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5:5). If the child of God is to be like God in his attitude toward false doctrine then he must hate that doctrine. “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:128). The great apostle Paul, the one who manifested such love, concern and compassion toward all men, especially his own brethren, denounced the Judaizing teachers in Galatia with this arresting statement, “I wish those who unsettle you would multi late themselves” (Gal. 5:12, R.S.V. The translation mutilate which the R.S.V. uses is more descriptive of the original Greek word.) Thus we can see why Paul said that anyone who taught false doctrine was to be accursed (Gal. 1:6-9). Men of God were never slow to denounce error and neither should we. It is a mark of ungodliness to allow error to have free course. J. Sidlow Baxter, a denominational Bible scholar, writes,
When easy going kindness lounges in the place of righteous indignation, and allows Christ-dishonouring false doctrine to play havoc inside the Church, kindness has ceased to be Christian, it has become disguised disloyalty, camouflaged cowardice, and a moral wasting disease.
We should always seek to convert the false teacher from the error of his way so that his
soul can be saved in the day of the Lord, but at the same time, if conversion is not possible, we should manifest the attitude of the Lord and set our face against them that do evil, for the Lord hates every false way. It is time for the church to love the Truth and hate the evil.