Monday, 18 September 2023

The biblical duty of exiting a denomination that tolerates false teachers

In my previous post, "Avoiding false teachers", I noted that the Bible does not simply instruct us to avoid false teaching, but to avoid false teachers.

And this inevitably implies the further duty to exit compromised churches, partnerships and associations. i.e. To depart from denominations or groupings of churches which do not discipline and ultimately excommunicate false teachers. False teachers will arise, but the question is what happens to them when a disciplinary case is lodged.

Believing brethren in, to pick an obvious example, the Church of England, generally seek to avoid false teaching via not teaching it themselves, and teaching against it, and telling them hearers not to go and listen to false teachers. (I've never actually heard of a brother who even tried to lodge a disciplinary case against any of them).

However, the Church of England in general tolerates and propagates false teaching. In a Biblical organisation, this could be dealt with via disciplinary cases against the false teachers - for example, those who deny that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was both penal (a punishment for sins) and substitutionary (a punishment endured in the place of others), those who deny that sin will ultimately be punished through eternal punishment in hell, or those who deny that the Scriptures in their entirety are God's inspired word, without error.

Once an organisation no longer disciplines false teachers, by ejecting them, the only way that remains to obey God by separating oneself from false teachers, is by oneself voluntarily departing.

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Avoiding false teachers

 "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies" - 2 Peter 2:1

Whilst looking at a related verse, I can't help but notice that whilst the Bible consistently warns believers to identify and avoid false teachers, the emphasis in modern times in the evangelical church (where indeed there is any such emphasis) is on identifying and avoiding false teaching

I think we are indulging the proud conceit that we're kinder to people in general and to Christ's sheep in particular than God is. Let's resolve to repent of this, and follow the ways of the Good Shepherd (who, when on earth, clearly practised the Biblical pattern rather than ours) instead.

Sunday, 26 February 2023

The highest favour that heaven confers

"A minister when he comes to die, feels that the highest favour which heaven has conferred on him has been in turning his feet away from the paths of ambition, and the pursuits of ease or gain, and leading him to that holy work to which he has been enabled to consecrate his life." - Barnes' commentary on 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, 1 January 2023

The Year of Our Lord, 2023

At the end of the year it's natural to look back, take stock, reflect on what has been done, and what has not been done. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why, as we understand as we read in Genesis 1, God divided our lives with years, seasons, months, weeks. They break up our lives, help us to give meaning to and perceive patterns in different phases, and have time to relate it back to our Creator's purposes for us.

But when we do that, we must not stop with only the reflection upon what we have done, and what we have not done. Because that will always be inadequate. At best we will only be able to say "we are unworthy servants; we did no more than it was our duty to do". From there we must proceed to rest in what Jesus has done for us. Our years will have had many inadequacies. But the righteousness of Christ in which we stand clothed in the presence of God, has no lack, no defects - it is perfect and entire. The offering he made for our sins, and the life that he lived to the glory of God - in these we can rest. We can say "it is enough, and much more". We can lay our heads down at the end of another year and say "Jesus is sufficient to lead me out of this year, and into the next, and as many as there shall be, until I see his face."

The Year of Our Lord 2023 dawns. May the glorious name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit be glorified throughout yet more of the earth. Amen.

Sunday, 25 December 2022

Friday, 16 December 2022

Lead us not into temptation

“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” - Luke 22:40.

From this we can infer that the person who thinks lightly of entering into temptation, is a person who thinks lightly of sinning. If we are commanded by Jesus to pray against entering into temptation, then can we then lightly enter into temptation?

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Sauron is alive and well, and writing Guardian editorials

One of the great insights of Tolkien in the "Lord of the Rings" triology is that those who are corrupted by their thirst for power and desire to re-make the world in their own image cannot understand the motives and actions of those who aren't. They misunderstand and misinterpret what's going on, because it is beyond their self-limited way of interacting with the world. They can't foresee the way that others who aren't similarly corrupted will act, and are baffled when they do things that would never enter their own minds.

On which note, the above link is to the Guardian's editorial on the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Sauron is apparently alive and well, and drawing his salary these days from that particular periodical.