2 Corinthians 1:12; 4:2
The apostle Paul was accused of “commending” himself to the Corinthians at 2 Corinthians 3:1. Paul answers the accusation in the first 5 chapters of 2 Corinthians by explaining that his preaching was not about gaining a following through teaching his personal opinions, convictions, or reason. The gospel is a divine message with divine origins. To preach any other message would be to pervert the gospel. Unfortunately the factious of every generation seek to bring down preachers of truth. Let us examine 2 Corinthians 1:12 and 4:2 that we may see what real preaching is. Continue reading » Preaching is Not about Me
The Bible makes a distinction we must not miss. When it comes to sin in the camp, what the church should do depends on whether the Christian is sinning on an individual basis or is taking others with him through teaching error.
Continue reading » Distinguishing Private from Public Sin
1 Kings 18 records a conversation between the great prophet Elijah, and Obadiah, the steward over the house of King Ahab. Despite his close association with the evil king, scripture describes Obadiah as a man who “feared the Lord greatly” (18:3).
Elijah gave Obadiah instructions to set up a meeting between him and the king. The two were mortal enemies, and Ahab had been searching for him ever since Elijah had instigated a drought in the land in response to Ahab’s evil practices. As Obadiah told him, “As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,”’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you” (18:10). Elijah was now ready to reveal himself to the king, and recruited Obadiah to set up the meeting.
A number of lessons can be learned by becoming familiar with these two men, and examining the conversation they had on that eventful day.
Continue reading » Lessons to Learn from Elijah and Obadiah
Searching through a box of old bottles in an antique shop one day, my wife and I came upon some bottles which not only looked old, but were cast in different shapes and sizes with embossed messages and raised ribbing on the sides. Some of the bottles were hexagon; others were octagon, while others were flat or triangular.
The sales lady told us poison bottles by law were altered in appearance to safe guard the public in both England and in the United States from 1870 to 1930. These bottles were made with labels such as, “not to be taken internally” or simply “not to be taken.”
The poison bottles came in different colors such as green, cobalt, black or amber. When someone in the 1800’s went to a medicine cabinet and looked for a bottle of medicine by candle light they were apt to innocently pick up a poison bottle, sincerely mistaking it for a bottle of medicine.
Continue reading » Not To Be Taken
The word “false Teacher” is found only one time in the Bible at 2 Peter 2:1. The apostle Peter wrote, “But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers…” Unsuspecting brethren are often amazed that the subject of false teachers is taught from the pulpit with regularity when it is only found this one time in the Bible. The objective of this article will be instructive regarding the actual frequency of this subject in both the Old and New Testament. The very words “false teacher” suggest a standard of teaching that is violated. Let us consider the identity, work, effects and the faithful Christian’s responsibility toward false teachers. Preventative measures are ordained of God that we be not infected with their error (2 Timothy 2:17).
Identity of False Teachers
The Greek word representing “false teacher” is pseudodidaskaloi which is defined as “a false teacher, one who inculcates (to teach by frequent repetition; to instill…) false doctrines” (Moulton’s Greek English Lexicon pp. 441). One who teaches or instills doctrines that oppose divine revelation is a false teacher. There are few books in our Bibles that do not deal with this subject in some form or fashion. To illustrate this point let us connect some associated words. Peter refers to false teachers as those who “deny the master” (2 Peter 1). The apostle John identifies those who deny the master as liars and antichrist who “hath not God” (2 John 2:22-23). Those who “hath not God” are those who teach doctrines that are opposed to divine revelation (2 John 9ff). Paul warned the Galatians (Galatians 1:6ff) and Timothy (1 Timothy 6:3ff) of those who would teach a different doctrine. Due to the frequent attacks against God’s divine revelation Paul pleaded with Timothy to guard the purity of truth (1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:12-13). These verses are all interconnected and reveal the actual frequency that the subject is dealt with in our Bibles.
Continue reading » The False Teacher
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Peter 2:1-3).
With these words, the inspired Apostle begins to show his and the inspiring Spirit’s total disgust with those who are called here “false teachers.” Where is the emphasis in this chapter so as to alert us as to the danger of the false teacher? Some have directed us to the word in verse one “secretly”. Certainly Peter would warn us of the motive of the false teacher, and I grant that most false teachers today as well as then were of the stealth kind wanting to worm their way in so as to have an evil influence on a totally unsuspecting audience. However, what follows in 2 Peter 2 is absolute evidence that the danger of the false teacher has little to do with his motivation or his method, but, rather, the results of his teaching.
Continue reading » Associate Editorial: 2 Peter 2 and False Teachers
To Paul from Asthenes
Peace and grace to you from our God and Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to commend you for your wonderful work of preaching Christ and Him crucified. Your compassion and concern for the jailer at Philippi was inspiring. I also appreciate your comment, "I have been crucified with Christ…who loved me and gave Himself for me." What wonderful words of comfort. Thank you.
I have a concern though; a concern that you may not have noticed, but others have. I know this to be so because I have discussed it with them and they feel the same way I do. I want you to be aware of it so your service to Christ may be even more effective, more fruitful. My concern is this, your poor attitude and actions toward others on some occasions — not all — but some. It seems to be driving people away from Christ instead of drawing them near. This cannot be good under any circumstances, can it? Let me give you specific cases.
Continue reading » Scripture Studies: Letters from Asthenes (A Satire)
Feature editor’s note: This writer recently returned from an preaching effort in the Philippines. Brother Osborne’s article is timely, showing as it does the significance of current issues among brethren in the U.S. to faithful brethren in other countries and to efforts to take the gospel to the lost of the world. (Steve Wallace)
For several years, the South Livingston church of Christ has supported brother Domie Jacob in his work of preaching the gospel in the Philippines. We have been thankful for his faithfulness to the truth and have admired his diligent and effective work in service to the Master. Having just returned from a brief stay with brother Domie, I would like the members of this congregation to know a little more about the faith, diligence and effectiveness of this dear brother.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Intolerant Attack of the Broader Fellowship Crowd
Hill Roberts’ Work in Russia
A report on a missionary trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, was recently brought to my attention. It was written by brother Tom Couchman and detailed efforts in which he and brother Hill Roberts had taken part, and was posted on brother Roberts’ web site. (To access the article, click here. If the "Enter Network Password box comes up, click cancel, and the article should still load. At the time this article was posted to Watchman Magazine, the mentioned article was still available on the Lord I Believe site). Note: Some of you may remember that brother Couchman circulated a response to the open letter which was sent to Florida College regarding its use of Hill Roberts in their lecture program ). Though somewhat dated (the trip took place Feb. 17-25, 2001), this report should be of interest to all who hold the cause of Christ in foreign lands near and dear. This is because it involves compromises that most of us will find hard to believe. Without further ado, let us notice a couple paragraphs from brother Couchman which tell of the brethren with whom he and brother Roberts worked while in Russia:
Continue reading » A Matter of Serious Concern
(Editor’s Note: Brother Roberts wrote this article in November of 1979. So, 23 years have passed. The article is still timely. It is interesting that some of the same arguments made by those who were advocating "Neo-Calvinism" in the late 1970’s are being used today by some brethren. As the actual individuals he addresses are not germaine to our present study, their names have been ommitted).
Some strange teaching is making the rounds these days about "false teachers." This teaching is based upon an incomplete and limited definition of "false" as it applies to those who teach error. Supposedly, one cannot label a teacher "false" unless the teacher "wilfully, knowingly, consciously and intentionally" teaches error. With this limited definition, a teacher that taught error without knowing it to be error could not be so labeled. This is not an accurate use of the term as we shall show. However, it is not strange nor unexpected to find some who are entering the "New Unity Movement" to be using this definition, particularly since they are eager to broaden the ties of fellowship with many who are embracing liberalism, institutionalism, denominationalism and other "ism’s."
Continue reading » Associate Editorial: False Teacher
I will address points of brother Jenkins response to my article appearing in Watchman Magazine.
In paragraph one Jesse states I had charged him with believing “…one must have a flawed character like is described in 2 Peter 2:1-3 before he can be labeled as such,” i.e. …, a false teacher.” Jesse says that I know that is not so unless I have a “good forgetter.” It seems that Jesse is forgetting what he himself has stated on the subject. I spent almost three hours discussing this very point with Jesse in December of 1998 and that was his position then.
He refused to accept the definition offered as to the phrase “false teacher” from Liddell and Scott; Oxford. They tell us, “…the verb pseudo can (and does — they quote it from ancient texts)! mean” mistaken in or about a thing,” “mistaken in opinion”,” “deceived in notion or estimation. “An alternate form of the verb was used this way in another text: “..which I do not speak falsely about him.” (Note 1 John 2:21 in connection with this.)
Continue reading » Rebuttal to Jesse Jenkins’ Response
A Response to the Last Paragraph of Bobby Holmes’ Article
Bobby wrote that according to Jesse Jenkins “…one must have a flawed character like is described in 2 Peter 2:1-3 before he can be labeled as such,” i.e.., a false teacher. Bobby knows that is not so unless he has a very good forgetter. I am a stickler for using words or phrases like I believe the Bible uses them. This is the reason I do not use the word “Christian” as an adjective. However, I have never said one sins if he uses the word as an adjective, such as speaking of a family where all are Christians, as a “Christian family.”
Just so, I told Bobby that I will not call one a false teacher unless I am convinced that he has both a character problem and a doctrine problem. But I also told Bobby that I do not think one sins if he calls one a false teacher simply on the basis that he teaches false doctrine if he lets it be known that he is only taking about the error taught and not the man’s character.
Continue reading » Response to: "Guarding the Guardian"
Editor’s Note: You may be surprised to know that the following article was written by brother Roberts July 31, 1977, and first appeared in the West Side Weekly, a local bulletin he edited for the West Side congregation in Ft. Worth, TX. The more things change, the more they remain the same!
I suppose that every preacher of the gospel (as well as most Bible teachers) has a number of shelves full of commentaries, reference books and other material that originated within denominationalism. Such study helps are used to read, compare, study from and, within limits of revealed truth, shed light on difficult matters. The use of this material should not, and does not, suggest approbation of all that is contained in each volume. In fact, denominational material may be used simply to learn what a certain sect teaches on a doctrinal matter. This is a proper and profitable use of such material.
However, there is another use which changes complexion altogether. This involves the use of books, commentaries, articles and bulletins in such a manner that endorses false teaching. Of this, we must beware.
Continue reading » Suspicious Source Material
For many years I have stated that the greatest threat to God’s people was in the realm of fellowship. A few years ago, in the now deceased Christianity Magazine, Ed Harrell launched his plea for “a better understanding” of brethren regarding brother Homer Hailey and advocated a continued fellowship with him, placing such matters in the context of Romans chapter 14. Many brethren felt that the controversy raised over a false interpretation of Romans 14 would be the greatest battle to be fought against Satan and his forces. While the false doctrine that is being advocated by so many on Romans 14 is indeed a very real threat to the people of God, and while it’s ultimate end, if followed, will allow any and all sin into the fellowship of God’s people, I believe the subject of fellowship in general is the very core our problem. If you will think for a moment, it becomes very obvious that God has placed “fellowship” as His guardian for the purity of His people. It was so in the Old Testament when He forbade His people to have any “fellowship” with the people of other nations. It was so when He commanded His people to put away their strange wives (Ezra chapter 10). It is so also in the New Testament.
Fellowship was the “Guardian” for the purity among God’s people in the realm of morality (cf. 1 Corinthians 5). The Corinthians were told to “put away from yourselves that wicked person” ( 1 Corinthians 5:13). The reason is given in verse six. He says that wickedness will corrupt others as well so were told to “purge out the old leaven,” verse seven. In doing so they used God’s “Guardian” for maintaining moral purity among them. Continue reading » Guarding the Guardian
It feels rather strange among God’s people to be considering the matter of the days of creation (literal 24 hr. days) compared to ages of time. Young people have learned for years that God created the earth in six literal days (24 hrs.) and rested on the seventh day. Before I became a Christian and attended a denominational church I learned as a small child that God created the earth in six literal days and rested on the seventh. I am glad that I did not meet any of these day/millions of years brethren when I was learning about the truth of the Bible and obeying the word to become a Christian. Had I heard this kind of nonsense I never would have been persuaded to become a Christian. To top it all off, we have brethren telling us it makes no difference what we believe on this matter.
It is quite clear from the scriptures in three areas of study that it does make a difference what we believe about the days of creation. It also makes a difference in the matter of teaching the gospel to the lost and in fellowship among brethren. These areas of study are faith, the inspiration of the scriptures, and God’s testimony of Himself. These are fundamental facts to the Word of God and our salvation and fellowship among brethren. If we cannot speak the same thing on these matters fundamental to the faith then there is no grounds of fellowship. Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” We are commanded to be of the same mind on matters of faith. Those who give uncertain sounds are not to be heeded. “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8). Those who give uncertain sounds on the matter of faith will be held accountable for those who follow, ( compare Ezekiel 33: 1-6; & James 3:1). Continue reading » Does It Really Matter? (Days of Creation and Fellowship)
Truth Magazine, October 1956 (Volume 1, Number 1)
There is an attitude in the hearts of some Christians that regards debating as beneath the dignity of the followers of Christ and as detrimental to the spread of the Kingdom. The world regards debating with suspicion. This almost universal disapproval of religious debating outside the church has had its effect on the members of the church. For this reason it is good to examine the Scriptures to learn the true attitude one should have toward such matters.
Truth is in constant conflict with error. In view of this situation, what should be our disposition and action amid such a conflict?
Some of those who find debating obnoxious remonstrate with us when we try to reason with them by saying that “debating” is condemned in the Bible. They then quote Romans 1:29 and 2 Corinthians 12:20 from the King James Version: “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers…,” “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.”
The words debate and debates in these passages are pounced on to condemn religious discussion. Continue reading » Voices from the Past: The Christian and Controversy (Clinton Hamilton)
The problems facing institutional churches are well chronicled. Some in the institutional churches have awakened to the need for strong and distinctive preaching in the face of “change agents” who have sought to destroy the divine hermeneutic, and replace it with a new “non-patternistic” one. Recently, while reading the April 1998 issue of The Spiritual Sword, I ran across a quote from Alan E. Highers in his editorial “What Is Happening in the Church?” It admits to what non-institutional preachers and writers have claimed for many years about our more liberal brethren. The quote came in the context of previous polemic struggles with the denominations.
“Unfortunately, just as the opposition had strengthened churches of Christ and had caused members to know what they believed and why, so the lack of opposition caused some to grow soft and indifferent. Without the opposition and frontal attacks, their interest in doctrinal preaching waned and so did their knowledge and understanding of the truth. As a result, doctrinal resolve weakened and many were left vulnerable to the influence of false teaching and error. We sowed the wind and today are reaping the whirlwind of thirty-five years of indistinct teaching among churches of Christ” (pg. 2, The Spiritual Sword, April 1998).
Of course, our viewpoint is somewhat different. In the 1940’s and 1950’s institutional issues threatened, and ultimately succeeded in dividing the people of God. The polemic struggle often was not with the denominations, but rather between brethren. As with the struggles with the denominations, truth had the upper hand. So, those who wished to retain their precious human institutions ceased debating (with few exceptions), and instead shifted their tactics to a more subtle attack upon non-institutional brethren. Instead of direct debate there were whispers shared about those “anti’s” and “orphan haters”; churches which were “dying on the vine.” The resultant inability and unwillingness to defend from the pattern of God’s word their man-made inventions led to the indistinct preaching mentioned above. The analogy of sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind is apropos. It is precisely because of such indistinct preaching that liberal churches are having to deal with the “change agents” and the so-called “new hermeneutic.” Continue reading » Editorial: Is Something “Happening” in the Church?
[The Gospel Guardian, Vol. 18 No. 13, August 4, 1966]
When a person has been led to believe a thing to be true when it is not, the person has been deceived. God warned people in the Old Testament against being deceived. “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them” (Deut. 11:16). The New Testament contains warnings against being deceived. “Let no man deceive himself… “ (1 Cor. 3:18). “Be not deceived,” are the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33. Paul warned the Galatians, “Be not deceived.. ” (Gal. 6:7). The Hebrew letter contains a warning about deceit. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13).
People Are Deceived by False Teachers
When a teacher can persuade a person to believe a false doctrine the person has been deceived. Solomon said, “He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit”
(Prov. 12:17). The Bible warns us against false teachers. John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”
(1 John 4:1). In describing such false teachers, Paul said, “For such are false apostles deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works”
(2 Cor. 11:13-15). Continue reading » Voices from the Past: The Danger of Being Deceived (Johnie Edwards)
As you may know, last month we reviewed an article by an attorney, H. John Rogers, a New Martinsville, WV Methodist. (If you are a new reader, please click here for the article.) We received two critical responses to our review of Mr. Rogers. Incorporated and included below are the replies made to those who were displeased of our handling of Mr. Rogers and his material. Our critics have done us a favor by expressing themselves. Since they may speak for many today who do not believe it appropriate to”argue the Bible,” especially when sarcasm and sharp rebuke are employed, we thought it good, not to defend intemperate words, but to provide material for consideration.
Frankly, the non-controversial, non-combative, non-confrontational approach to preaching is cause for alarm. Often, though certainly not always, such a spirit resides within those who are liberal minded and who have no respect for “the good fight of faith” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Timothy 6:12; Jude 3). Not being sure that error condemns, and not being convinced that denominationalism is not of God, some have begun to sympathize with false teachers and apologize for those who oppose and expose them. Continue reading » Queries and Explications: How Do We “Fight the Fight”?
In 2 Peter chapter 2, the inspired apostle gives us a vivid picture of those who are called false teachers: He warns that they will lead many astray through their destructive heresies; that they will speak deception to those who are escaping from sin; and will entice them through the lust of the flesh. Then, continuing his thoughts (verse 19), Peter says “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.”
Recently, I’ve seen some who profess to be gospel preachers, but instead are like those described by Peter. Rather than standing firm in God’s Word, they teach the weak and unlearned to be less concerned with living righteously and more concerned with loving others. While I do agree that we need to teach how to be more loving, we must not do so at the expense of standing firm in the Truth and Righteousness of the Gospel. Continue reading » They Promise Them Liberty