Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 11, 2007

Romans 16:17-20

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.



For those who are wondering, the reason why I am writing this post is because I’ve noticed a common occurance among many Christians who have high zeal for “contending for the Faith” (Jude 1)

As the Word says,1 Timothy 4:16 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.However, Although there is a danger in burying our head in the sand and ignoring our doctrine/issues taking place in the world (that, and the fact that Christians don’t have the option of ignoring whether what they believe is in line with the WORD), I think that there may be equal danger if we as Christians become more adept at enjoying the detection of error n’ identyfing those who may be false teachers than we are in actually delighting in the truth/living it out.As John Piper once said,


Joy in the Truth Is Dominant

Now let’s pause here before looking at the reasons for these commands in verse 18. I want to make a clarifying comment about both of these commands and the doctrine that connects them.First, with regard to the command to “watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught,” it is possible to go overboard on this. I hesitate even to say it, since I don’t think this is the temptation of most churches or most Christians today. But it is possible, and there are churches and people that do go overboard.What I mean is that they become so obsessed with spotting doctrinal error that they lose their ability to rejoice in doctrinal truth. They’re like dogs that are trained so completely to sniff out drugs at the airport, that even when they’re off duty they greet everybody that way. It doesn’t make for a very welcoming atmosphere.

The book of Romans does not make this mistake. Periodically Paul warns against doctrinal or ethical error. But most of Romans is a glorious display of the work of Christ for us and in us. So let’s ask the Lord to help us get the balance right here. We must do this: “Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught.” But this is not the main thing we do. Vigilance over error is necessary, but joy in the truth is dominant.



I think that Piper makes an excellent point here……and it has really served to help me reshape some of the ways in which I approach identifying error.. Furthermore, it has made me wonder whether or not those who seem to thrive on soley identifying what they deem to be false teachers/their teachings may be correct in their approach.


So often many in the school system will be REACTIVE to the mess taking place in the schools (ex. getting metal detectors after Columbine, sex-education, suspending Bullies from school or “No Child Left Behind” in regards to poor educational quality) while never being Pro-Active in actually preventing the problem from the root up(i.e. counseling the individuals, having the parents involved in children’s education, teaching them about abstinence/respect for one’s body and the spiritual aspect of sex rather than the physical alone, promoting proper worldviews, etc)

Tying into the post, many often become REACTIVE to the mess transpiring in the Body and seek to address EVERY false teacher appearing, in order to help others avoid them, but never become PRO-ACTIVE in PRIMARILLY addressing the worldviews supporting it….much like trying to attack a dead tree by attacking the branches First but ignoring the roots.

As beneficial as discernment/watchman sites can be, focusing solely on warning about false teachers seems to have limitations…and it’d seem that mainly addressing the issues rather than the person (like at websites like www.carm.org does) would help solve the problem of people being unable to identify false teachers and would help lessen the support of their followers. Correct the Worldview first and actions should logically follow……


 In the words of another powerful individual (and on a bit of a side note),



“The false doctrines and teachings concerning which God leads me to
write, are long reaching, and have spread to an incalculable number of souls,
being promoted and promulgated, not by one or two individuals but rather
hundreds upon hundreds of men.”

“If you remove one branch from a tree, or pluck one rose from a
rosebush, both the tree, and the rosebush continue to survive. If however you
go to the root of said tree, and pull it from its roots, if you take the
rosebush and pluck it from the earth, they no longer have any hope of survival.”
“It is the same with manmade doctrines, and twisted scripture. My
duty before God is to expose the root of the matter, and the core of the
problem, not to single out any one man, for if one man is brought low, if one
man is exposed, five others will take his place, younger more energetic, and
with more impeccable syntax.
If we know what deception is, then we will no longer look upon the face of the
man who is speaking it, but merely judge the substance of his words. “
” This is where I believe the body of Christ has failed in large
part, for rather than attack the doctrine of a man most often we choose to
attack the man himself. That man quickly fades into obscurity is soon forgotten, but like mushrooms after a spring rain, a dozen
more rise up in his place, having plagiarized his teaching, spouting the same
regurgitated unscriptural doctrines. A piece of coal is still a piece of coal,
no matter how pretty a box you put it in.”
“I n order to avoid deception, we the children of God must know the
truth. We know the truth by continually going to the Word, by being infused
with the teachings of Christ and with the Scripture. Once the Word of God has
taken root in our hearts, it becomes a doctrinal and spiritual lie, and
deception detector, sounding the alarm every time it hears something that does
not echo the Bible, or that is contradictory to the scriptures.
It would be far easier for me to name names, and deconstruct the teaching or
doctrine of a certain individual, far easier than exposing the doctrine itself
and pointing out the perils thereof. Pointing out one individual however, would
be a futile endeavor, a waste of time, in light of the fact that it is the doctrine of a man that is the danger, and not necessarily
the man himself.”
“The best way I can describe what I feel is my calling when it comes
to modern day false teachings, is to help the individual believer to discern for
himself, or herself what is truth, and what is deception, to once and for all
due away with the idea of the individual and rightly judge based on his
If we know the symptoms we can diagnose the disease, and being able to diagnose
the disease, we can go to the word of God to find the cure, and thus be restored
to good spiritual health.” (go here, by the way, for reference…. http://www.handofhelp.com/michael_27.php )

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the issue, I’d love to hear sometime……..for it is my desire that the Lord smile on us all……but I fear that in our desire for the TRUTH (Correct Doctrine, we may end up forgeting to focus on the SOURCE OF IT–CHRIST JESUS. Though I can be zealous for identifying falsehood and have great intolerance for anything short of perfection, if my motives/focus are not my First Love and I grow content in the fact that I can see the wrong, I’m still in danger with the Master (check out here, for this individual says better what I desire to say….. http://www.handofhelp.com/teaching_6.php )

What do ya’ll think?????


One Response to “Delighting in the TRUTH verses VILIGANCE IN EXPOSING ERROR”

  1. […]  https://emissary7.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/delighting-in-the-truth-verses-viligance-in-exposing-error… […]

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