Critics of Criticism
Shall We Be Silenced?
Let me speak of some hard realities. Second Timothy 4:3, 4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." Acts 20:29, 30, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to therefore, draw away disciples after them." 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, criticize their error. They use believe not every spirit, but many methods to do this, which try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out surest into the world."
To contend that there are show from the Scripture that false teachers that have what they are teaching is true, arisen among us is an understatement. We hear the false doctrines of grace only, instrumental music, premillennialism, denial of the identity of the church and kingdom, Christians in all denominations, perversions of the teaching of baptism, theistic evolution, women preachers, a "new hermeneutic," there is no pattern to follow, and so on. We are told that these changes are coming and there is nothing we can do about it. So confident and arrogant are the heretics.
But why should they be among us? They are not of us. They usually go out from us, but today they seek to stay with us and do their dirty work of destruction. God has provided the way to send them out by discipline. Why allow them to remain? Why use them? Why make it appear they do no harm? It is a lack of love for truth that they are permitted to remain among us. False teachers are not guiltless and neither are those who fellowship them. Many act as if Scripture were never written that forbids fellowship with them (Eph. 5:11), forbids bidding them God-speed (2 John 9-11), calls for marking them and avoiding them (Rom. 16:17), withdrawing from them (2 Thess. 3:6), and accepting the anathema Paul pronounced against such as they are (Gal. 1:6-9). For these false teachers to make headway they must silence the voices of those who con-tend for the faith and, therefore, criticize their error. They use many methods to do this, which will be the burden of my remarks. The easiest and surest way to silence us would be to show from the Scripture that what they are teaching is true, and the criticisms we make are false. But they will not do that. They cannot, but run in fear from having what they teach and practice examined in the light of what the Bible teaches. It is neither overly critical nor an overstatement to say that truth no longer means anything to them. They are usually obsessed with the world's "scholarship," denominations, subjective feelings, and their own self-appointed superiority.
But they are gaining much ground through such extravaganzas as Jubilee, the Tulsa Workshop, similar events in various places, youth rallies, books, papers, the schools (the Bible Departments), and general subversion of churches where they can gain control.
The Cry For Love
They make their appeal through what they call "love," calling for "unity," as if they were the first angels of light to consider the words. We have no objections but support love and unity. But not the perverted "love and unity" for which they clamor. What do they love? Where is love for truth? Where is love for those who love and defend truth? Their love is for error and self.
Unity? What do they call unity? And at what price? Shall we compromise truth and agree to disagree and call that the unity for which Christ prayed? They do not seek unity, but they want fellowship in spite of division. They call it "unity in diversity." Unity must be founded on truth and agreement with the truth (Amos 3:3; 1 Cor. 1:10). They lie when they say they do not want to change doctrine, but only attitudes. Their arrogant attitudes remain the same. It is the doctrine they are changing to accommodate the sinful world, perverting the gospel of Christ, making fair speeches subverting whole houses, practicing deception and dishonesty, and being abusive beyond imagination of those who do not bow to their ways. They march to the drum-beat of human wisdom, denominational error and their emotions and feelings, with a "do your own thing" religion of theft own making.
This is a persistent weapon in their arsenal. They affirm a superior intellect. They have their scholars' seminars, having learned their heresy at the feet of unbelievers. (Thatis the way to become a real scholar.) They deny biblical teaching and adopt human philosophies and theories. No faithful brother of the past is considered a real "scholar." They parade their arbitrarily determined degrees as if that made them somewhat. We wonder where was wisdom and knowledge before their day?
They answer critics, "You are not qualified to question me," or, "Where did you get your Ph.D.?" Some people could strut sitting down.
While they profess a greater "spirituality" than the lowly faithful Christian, they claim discerning between right and wrong is to judge. But they do it! They say we are not in the line thawing business. But shall we not respect the lines God has drawn? When we do, we are not sinfully judging but judging righteous judgment (John 7:24). How loudly they criticize criticism if the criticism is directed toward their false doctrines.
They Say Come Personally And Privately First
They would silence their opposition by contending their opponents must fast come to them personally before any criticism can be made. It matters not to them that they are propagating theft heresy openly, loudly, and publicly. But if you object, you must go into their corner to speak with them before refuting it. That is a false doctrine. They pervert and misuse Matthew 18: 15-17 for such a stand. That passage deals with personal matters. When one teaches publicly false doctrine, that is not a personal matter. That is a matter of truth versus error, and that is the business of brethren everywhere.
I have dealt with many liberals personally and privately, but they lie. They will say one thing privately, and then publicly continue their false doctrines. But they do not practice their own doctrine. They will openly castigate their opponents without ever contacting them first about it. They, being liberals, permit themselves a double standard. They make their tirades against the church and faithful brethren openly and publicly. Indeed, the legs of the lame are unequal. They are a double minded people, and dishonest to the core.
Do you criticize Catholic doctrines? Have you first gone to the pope? Do you oppose Mormon doctrines? When are you going to Salt Lake City? Such trash they speak!
Blame The Division On The Faithful
Division exists and is growing. But the cause is error and those who teach it. We were united and prospering until liberals became malcontent with truth and began their vicious devouring against faithful brethren who contend for the faith once delivered. But, like Ahab did Elijah, they blame God's people for the strife. They whine, "You are going to drive people away." This is like the complaint made against Jesus in John 6. But he did not change his doctrine to suit the whiners. False doctrine is what causes division, not standing for the truth as revealed in Scripture. They do not recognize who the real troublers of Israel are.
By "straw men" we mean fake and pretended issues and positions that never really existed, and then the "courageous" destruction of those "men." For instance, liberals will accuse the church of driving people to incest, as was done on the DLU Lectureship by Gayle Napier. Shelly accused the church of teaching people they can and do work their way to heaven. The church is accused of making women second class citizens because the church teaches God's word on the role of women in the church. They love to parade what they consider to be the shortcomings and failings of some brethren and with a wide brush paint everybody that same color. But the truth is, they lie, and do so knowingly. Their conscience is so seared they have no respect for right and wrong unless it advances their agenda. What they really want is to displace God's will with their own. Because some elders fail and are even bad, they pro-pose to invalidate the governmental organization of the church. Because some preachers are immoral, they conclude all are that way. Because everybody does not do everything they ought to do, they conclude everybody is a hypocrite. Because some have tired of the Lord's pattern for worship, they inject a "religious Hee Haw" instead. What they cannot understand is that human failure and weaknesses do not justify changing God's law. Because some do not sing well does not mean we should let some "professional" chorus do the singing and everybody else listen, then applaud. (To be continued in the next issue.)
Reprinted with permission from Knight Arnold News, 4400 Knight Arnold Rd., Memphis, Tennessee 38118-2948
Guardian of Truth XLI: 18 p. 1