EMISSARY^7 (G²)

COMMISIONED by CHRIST 4 SHARING HIS LIFE/KEEPING IT REAL ADMIST THE LIES (II Cor. 5:17-21))

RELATIONSHIP/LOVE (PART 4): CORRECTION, Exposing ERROR/CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 11, 2007

In addressing the false teachings (and often times, what is simply downright “pimpery”) of many leading in the church, it would seem appropriate not only to discuss how we are to label them  but also the reason/motives behind why we do so.I read something in the Word recently that really caught my attention. It’s found in I Timothy 1:18-20” 18Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”Though no one knows what Alexander’s error was specifically, the Bible does address who Hymenaeus is and what his error was: He was one who was destroying people’s faith, much as many do today, by teaching that the resurrection had already occurred and his teaching was spreading like wildfire (II Timothy 2:17-18, II Timothy 4:14-15)

It’s a trip seeing how many, in seeking to properly deal with heretics, seem to have a “To Hell With Ya” mentality that suggests that there is no need for us to be concerned for their spiritual state when they have to face the Lord on Judgment Day…or they seem to gloat over their misfortune when those opposed to the faith fall by the way side….something that the Word calls us not to do (Proverbs 24:17-18)

 Yet, it’s interesting to note that Paul didn’t hand the heretic over to the devil (i.e. excommunication or practicing punishment/discipline) out of an attitude rejoicing in his destruction…taking pleasure in his misfortune in order to make himself the avenger and place himself in place of God (Deuteronomy 32:35)Although Paul removed him from the fellowship of the church and warned others to avoid, he did so primarily out of a concern that Hymeanues would see his error and repent…the ultimate purpose of the punishment was correction. There seems to be much to learn here from what the Word says here.On one hand, it’s true that the church today is often slacking in disciplining Christians who deliberately sin….and deliberate disobedience, whether in the local church or from those outside of it claiming to be for Christ but living otherwise, “should be responded to quickly and sternly to prevent the entire congregation from being affected” (I Corinthians 5).On the other hand to discipline/address sin must be done in a way that seeks to “bring the offender back to Christ and into the embrace of the church.” To practice church discipline in an attitude of “condemnation, suspicion, withholding of forgiveness, or permanent exile”, as opposed to doing so in an attitude of “strengthening, purifying, training, correcting, perfecting, etc…To do otherwise would be to do something that shouldn’t take place.For excellent commentary on the issue, go here:http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=788http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=532http://www.bible.org/topic.php?topic_id=26   Going along with that, Tts 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Tts 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
Tts 1:12 One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Tts 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
         At one time, when discussing the issue of church discipline & how it was to be carried out, someone brought up the point of SHARP REBUKE being for EVERYONE ON ALL OCCASIONS who was in ERROR. In his words, “Where is the distinction made between teachers and those not in authority?? Were they ALL teachers?? All chiefs and no Indians, so to speak?? Seems Paul had the same attitude toward them ALL, teacher or non-authoritative false teacher alike.            To that, I said that Kinda Seems that someone missed the clear distinction that Scripture made about the passage ( and for good commentary on the issue, go here: http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2591           You cannot understand the passage without properly understanding the people Paul initially was talking about. Look in verse 10, and you can cleary see he was addressing the Circumcision group, who were JUDAIZERS: Jews who deleberately TAUGHT (not initially struggled with believing) that the Gentiles had to obey all the Jewish laws before becoming Christians, and this regulation confused new Christians and caused problems in many churches where Paul had preached the good news. Paul wrote letters to several churches to help them understand that Gentile believers did not have to become Jews in order to be Christians–God accepts anyone who comes to Him in faith (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:2-7). Although the Jerusalem Council had dealt with this issue (Acts 15), devout Jews who refused to believe in Jesus STILL DELIBERTLY TRIED to cause problems in the Christian Churches Therefore, it would seem that the passage wasn’t talking about people easily decieved/drawn into a False teachers flock, and it wasn’t talking about how to respond to someone who follows a false teacher but initially defends them when questioned (much like it’d be with someone who supports Juanita Buynum but still struggles to disregard her doctrine and acknowledge her actions for what they are because they’ve has been decieved and heavily brainwashed under her influence for years)……The “Them” who Paul was specifically warning Titus to be on the lookout for and rebuke sharply were people of influence who TEACH WRONG DOCTRINE AND LEAD OTHERS INTO ERROR!!!THESE WERE PEOPLE WHO SPOKE MISGUIDED OPINIONS WITHOUT CHECKING THEM AGAINST THE BIBLE, PEOPLE WHO HAD EVIL MOTIVES AND PRETENDED TO BE CHRISTIANS JUST FOR WHAT MONEY THEY COULD GET (”DISHONEST GAIN”), ADDITIONAL BUISNESS, OR A FEELING OF POWER FROM BEING A **LEADER** IN THE CHURCH….IT WAS NEVER A MANDATE TO REBUKE THOSE WHO FELL INTO FOLLOWING THEM AND STRUGGLED TO LET GO OF THEIR FALSE TEACHINGS SINCE MANY OF THAT DAY, AS IT STILL IS NOW, ARE DECIEVED EASILY AND MAY NOT COME OUT IMMEDIATELY  

Otherwise, bump what Paul said when he clearly stated “

2 Timothy 2:23-26

23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant [1] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to As another wisely said on the subject, “The honorable vessel avoids senseless controversies because he knows where they lead – to fights (2:23). Instead, the Lord’s servant is to be characterized by a peaceable spirit, even when engaging those who hold and promote false doctrine:23 But reject foolish and ignorant controversies, because you know they breed fights. 24 And the Lord’s slave must not be a fighter but kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth 26 and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:23-26).I find here a very different spirit. The faithful teacher is one who seeks to win converts; the word wrangler is one who seeks to win arguments. There are some people who just love the fight, or more accurately, they love to fight. Those who strive to win arguments often lose. How many times I have watched men “contend for the faith” in a way that makes me angry with them, even though I hold to the doctrines they seek to defend. If we truly believe that it is the Spirit of God and the Word of God that convinces, convicts, and converts, then we need to lay aside our combative ways.”

13 Which of you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. 18 And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace (James 3:13-18).”

(http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=4858 )

    God’s still extremely angry about the reckless leadership done in His Name now (Ezekiel 34: 1-31), and By all means, please, Warn about and Strike down the “Wolves” (Matthew 7:15-20, Acts 20:29, but why kill the sheep being preyed upon in the process? How easily are folks manipulated and, like sheep, even just plain dumb/slow at times to really see the truth and not even know their error when it’s starring them in a face cause of the work of the devil has throughly done in em, ” who has taken them captive to do His Will (II Timothy 26).?   In connection with that, here’s something else to consider: Titus 3:9-119But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.I researched the context of this verse, and it seemed to be applicable to many of the points I was trying to make about being gracious (i.e. not “nice” but kind and patient in both giving someone the benefit of a doubt or giving them time to change/respond to correction when an issue is brought up)…the context of the verse specifically dealing with how to respond to a divisive man (”one who makes a choice pleasing to himself regardless of all other considerations…obstinately attached to an opinion that is not sound and threatens the unity of the church” From what the text seems to indicate,the warning was not meant to take place in an automatic heavy-handed action but rather with the intention of correcting “the individual’s divisive nature and restore him or her to fellowship”…”a person who refuses to be corrected should be avoided since he or she is sinning and knows it and is essentially “self-condemed” (Matthew 18:15-18)…although to avoid someone in blantant disobediance to the Word does not mean that we should advocate coldness/cruelty (II Thessalonians 3:14)Such a man who refuses to stick by the truth is to be rebuked, and if he doesn’t heed the rebuke, he’s to be avoided….(Titus 3:9-11), and there are various other instances where Scripture advocates the same thing…2 Thessalonians 3:6 Warning Against Idleness6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he[a] received from us.2 Thessalonians 3:1414 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Note: Paul here wasn’t advocating coldness or cruelty, but the kind of tough love that one would show a brother or sister.Even Jesus seem to advocate the fact that, in rebuking a erring brother (not necessiraliy pointing out every sin we see, but bringing sin to a person’s attention with the purpose of restoring him or her to God and to fellow humans…and having that rebuke tied to love for the person and and willingness to forgive),….those who refuse to change after lovingly being presented with the Truth should be avoided as if they were strangers(Matthew 18:15-17, Luke 17:3-4)For commentary on TITUS 3, go here:http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2595As rude as it may seem to turn people away, even if they are teaching heresy or openly sinning against us/others, how much better is it to be faithful to God than merely courteous to people!!!! We’d all be better off avoiding false teachers than working with them, for “Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly” (Proverbs 17:12)….and “No animal is as dangerous as a fool…someone who eithers denies the reality of God or refuses to obey his commandments…”…… But nonetheless, EVENS FOOLS SHOULD BE LOVED/CONCERNED FOR ……..   

Some people may act as if God is dancing gleefully at the thought of these men and women on their way to hell who may teach false doctrines or be rebelling against Him. As another said on the issue once, “Some feel that this is a special commission from God to rebut the growing tide of false teachers. I have no problem with that. I don’t judge whether or not God has spoken to you and called you to do this. I do ask, however, have you also wept over them?” You think that it is God’s pleasure to strike down anyone who teaches falsely? God is completely solid within Himself; which means that when He dispenses judgment, he is 100% just and 100% loving. Jesus openly confronted false teachers and false doctrine, but why? He did it because the Pharisees, Saducees and Scribes were leading people astray. You say, “That’s why I am doing it!” That’s only one part, however. Jesus said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (Matthew 23:37)  He wept bitterly over Jerusalem who killed the prophets and stoned those that were sent to them.  Who did that? The false teachers………if your heart is not overcome with grief at the thought that they are as far off as you say, you need to rebuke and weep; rebuke and weep; rebuke and weep. Be very careful that as you rebuke/expose/warn that your heart does not become lifted up with pride and in doing so you become that which you detest.”  There’s always room for  having genuine concern for those either in error or supporting error while also promoting the truth by denouncing actions done blantantly and contrary to the Word/Character of God like Jesus did……  To all of what that individual said, I say “AMEN”.  Although there is no explicit verse or formula saying outrightly “Rebuke and weep”, the general principle behind having sorrow/concern for the wellbeing of those you denounce seems to be pretty evident in the Word and there seems to be nothing against doing so in the Word….and the Word does seem to have alot of other examples that seem to support the point…What about prophets like Samuel, who even though he sharplyrebuked Saul for his sin/disobediance to the Lord and poor leadership of the people of the Lord , and yet he even moured for him till the day of his death even though he never associated with Saul again? (I Samuel 15, specifically verses 35)

What to make of Jerimiah the “Weeping Prophet”? As we all know good and well how often He rightly denounced the false prophets and the people of the Lord for sinning, no one can deny the deep grief that ran through him…he shed plently of tears not because of his personal sufferings or losss but because of how the people–t..he wept for the people around him who sinned against/rejected the God who loved them dearly…What about Paul and his situatiion with rebukingsomeone ( apparently, the text seems to indicate that it was not even a brother or a simply person misguided but a blantant herectic…someone who “wandered away from the faith” and made a shipwreck of the gospel) supporting damanable heresy (II Timothy 2:16-18) and yet having something of regard/concern for the welfare of their soul when they faced the Lord while admistering discipline (I Timothy 1:19-20)?      With Jesus, There were even other times in the Word where He openly wept over the soon-coming destruction of people’s resistance to Him, like the time where He wept over the city of Jerusalem because of how the Jewish Leaderswho followed them had rejected their King and refused God’s offer of salvation in Christ when He visited them in the flesh (Luke 19:37-44, and many of the other encounters that followed with the false leaders right after as they repeatedly tried to get rid of Him….Luke 19:47, Luke 20:1-44)…        Even if tears were never supposedly shed and even if tears aren’t really a necessary thing oncerning responding to false teachers,to be expressive over the destructiveness of sin and vocal concerning the sorrow one feels for those who blatantly promoted should be evident…. And GLOATING SHOULD BE NON-EXISTENT:

Proverbs 24:16-18 

 16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
       but the wicked are brought down by calamity.
 17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
       when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
 18 or the LORD will see and disapprove
       and turn his wrath away from him.
          Going back to Jesus relating to the Pharisees, this is something that can be seen many times. There was still a huge sign of great lament in what He was feeling toward the situation of His day toward his own beloved people and how they had rejected Him one too many times and now they were gonna suffer for it even though they could’ve averted diaster…. Even though the people/false leaders of His day would deserve destruction for how they would reject their Messiah, man…can anyone deny the mounting passion rising within Jesus before He pronounced judgement? How big was the intensity of His lament or how yearningly/wistfully He calls out to them In denouncing the people of God and before wishing farewelll, who can deny that He wanted all those rejecting Him to come to Him and that He genuinely loved them….and if that was the example that He set, I can’t help but think I shoud do the same…            I brought up a point one time to another concerning what the word says about love in I Corinthians 13. To this, one person said “V1 Cor 13………the “love” chapter. Believer/believer, NOT believer/deceiver.As is Mark 12:28-34, which is also not a treatise on how to deal with deceivers”     

To that, I say I Corinthians 13 was a chapter explaining to the Corinthians about the necessity of love (vs.1-3) and defined the essence of real love in 14 of it’s characteristics (vs.4-7) and contrasted the eternal qualities of love with the temporal qualities of gifts (w.8-13)…..it was written in a situation where the Corinthians, crazy/messed up as they were (I Corinthians 5), were in need of seeing evidence of their lack of love in the utilization of spiritual gifts and how love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body…..without love, great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and even miracle working power produce very little…..that was the context of the verse.Where in the text can we give support that because it was written to them it doesn’t apply elsewhere? The passage wasn’t defining what the essence of love was to the Corinthians soley, but what the essence of true love simply wasThough this person made alot of solid points, I’m having a hard time accepting his rebuttal that love wasn’t meant for herectics. Consider the inverse of this if it doesn’t apply to false teachers/herectics: I don’t have to be patient, I don’t have to be kind, I can envy, I can boast, I can be rude, I can be proud, I can be self-seeking, I can be easily angered, I can keep a record of wrongs, I can delight in evil but not have to rejoice in the truth……basically, everything of what Love is I can ignore with false teachers because it doesn’t apply. That doesn’t sound right, does it? If Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind”, and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” , are herectics not included in that? I thought that our neighbor was anyone of any race, creed, or social background who is in need (Luke 10:25-37). Luke 6:27-36 Love for Enemies
27″But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ’sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ’sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ’sinners’ lend to ’sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
 He never said, “Love your enemies who are unbelievers, but not the ones who are herectical.”….He simply said love your enemies…period.

Enemies would seem to be all-inclusive….anyone who stands in opposition to the truth can be considered an enemy….and Jesus loved the whole world, even though the world was in rebellion against GodTo say that things the Word of God says about love doesn’t apply to herectics doesn’t fly.Though Jesus used harsh language against the false teachers, that wasn’t an act lacking love. On the contrary, The Word makes clear that to rebuke open sin publically rather than flatter and tell only what one wants to hear, no matter how painful it may be, is an true act of kindness (Psalm 141:5, Proverbs 27:5-6, Proverbs, Proverbs 28:23, Proverbs 29:5). He may’ve sharply rebuked them at times, but it was never in a way that was rude, primitive, or without good reason. To clarify, To insult means “to treat with insolence or contempt by words or actions”…..and to be insolent means “to be proud or haughty; overbearing”.That being said, I don’t really think that He was being rude in calling out the Pharissees. It would have been insulting if He was calling them things that were not true or coming off in a way that seemed arrogant….calling them things when He didn’t even know them. In reality, Jesus had grown up/discussed things with them plenty of times before (Luke 2:46-47)….they had seen His walk, purity, innocence and heart for God, and yet they still denounced Him, refusing to believe. And the entire course of His life He was humble in asking questions, listening, having accurate assessment, and keeping His heart pure before God, doing only what His father wanted….far from a proud man who’s calling out things simply because there’s a crowd who loves Him and He’s getting more fandom than the Pharissees.Moreover, He didn’t call them anything out of line simply for the sake of shock value or to get a rise, or to make Himself feel/look either good or superior. Everything that they were doing, He called out for the sake of warning others to avoid their actions, and to humble them, and expose their evil hearts so they’d repent (Luke 13:10-17, Luke 20:45-47). To call them “hyporcrites” and shame them wouldn’t really be insulting cause He was pointing out what they were truly doing, gave them plenty benefit of the doubt , and truly knew them well enough to do it. Though there were plenty of times He was angry with them and could’ve been easily angered, how often did he show patience by not beating the living stew out of them but rather using His anger to correct a problem and getting them to face the truth by patiently asking a question so the error of their ways would be clearly seen….as opposed to not finding constructive solutions and tearing people down or expressing anger in selfish/harmful ways (blowing his top or blasting them to Hell….literally!!)? (Mark 3:7-12)Regarding the Temple Incident, He didn’t beat them up “Rambo” or “Rumble in the Bronx” Style, beating them for the sake of it……He simpy drove them out and, moreover, He didn’t do so reclkessly as a person consumed by rage would destroy everything in site becaues of the thrill that comes from doing so or because He or she is completely unaware……nor was He reacting out of Offense against Himself, personal insult, or petty irritation (The entire “You’re testing My Gansta” complex)……

He was made angry about the flagrant disrepect in God’s house and His anger, because it was directed toward the right issues, drove Him to do something productive (It’d have been pointless to have driven people out of the temple if He didn’t do as He did later on by seeking to direct people’s attention to the Lord and helping others (Matthew 21:12-14)…….results to glorify God, not simply to appease onself in throwing a temper-tattrum.How many times did Jesus, even though the Pharissees intrntionally tried to trap Him into saying or doing things for which He could be arrested, did He show graciousness/patience by coming on the Pharisees turf after He’d denounced them so many times (Luke 14:1-5, Luke 7:36)…..and even explained various truths to them that they needed to hear, despite their ill-will towards Him (Luke 14:1-23)?For Him to even be grieved/sorrowful over how they would reject Him, even after He’d finished denouncing them (Matthew 23:13-36) and for Him to say He wanted to protect them if they’d simply come to Him in repentance….how’s that not an act of love for them (Matthew 23:37-39, Luke 13:31-35)?Even as Jesus was standing before them in trial/judgement, for Him to even let them know that one day they’d be standing trial before Him in judgement, and for Him to essentially let them know that they would face a horror beyond description unless they got their acts together/woke up in repentance……How could that not be an act of Love? Though I would’ve cussed them quick and said “@##5874$% Ya’ll!!!!!”, How selfless was He and how much love was in walking in toward them for even choosing to warn them of the truth, even in knowng all they’d do to Him!!! Again, though the style of love may’ve been different toward the false teachers of Jesus’s day as opposed to that which believers are shown, it would seem that love was shown nonethelessFor excellent commentary on the subject, go here:http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2323http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1995/913_But_I_Say_to_You_Love_Your_Enemies_Part_1/http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/BySeries/62/914_But_I_Say_to_You_Love_Your_Enemies_Part_2/   More Later………

 

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