The Apostles weren’t afraid to speak the truth boldly about those who teach falsely in order to protect the sheep of God. For example, Peter said of wolves in sheep’s clothing:
They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. – Peter, 2 Peter 2:13b-15a
Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley believes that today’s pastors should do as the apostles did — boldly call out false teachers! And, as always, she goes to Scripture to back up what she says. Here’s her post:
I love pastors. I really do. As a minister of music’s wife, church member, and through involvement in other ministries, I’ve known a lot of them. They have a tough job that most of us wouldn’t take on in a million years. I pray for and encourage my own pastor and my pastor buddies regularly, and try to remind y’all to do the same from time to time. All this to say, I’m not a preacher-basher. Far from it.
But sometimes there’s a bit of a veering in a dangerous direction, like a vehicle heading towards the center line, among (some, not all) pastors who are momentarily distracted and might need a friendly “Hey, did you see that truck we’re about to crash into?” from their terrified, front seat passenger.
Color me terrified.
There are pastors out there who treat false teachers with kid gloves. They refuse to label anyone as a false teacher, or only vaguely allude to certain false teachers without naming names. I’d like to encourage those pastors to pull the steering wheel to the right and call a spade a spade. Yes, they need to use the label of false teacher soberly, sadly, and only after making sure, with hard evidence, that it is warranted, but enough with grown men of God pussyfooting around under the guise of “we don’t know what’s in that person’s heart” or “I’m afraid to be painted with the ‘mean old discernment blogger’ brush.”
The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that a pastor shouldn’t call someone a false teacher and warn the flock about him just because the pastor doesn’t know for sure what’s in the person’s heart or because he’s afraid of what others might think. We are all to look at their words and their behavior and judge (that’s right, I said “judge“) whether or not they are teaching what accords with sound doctrine. And if they’re not, they need to be denounced. Not in a wild-eyed, foaming at the mouth, wingnut way, but certainly loudly and decisively as a mature man of God. [Bold added] Continue reading