By Larry Ray Hafley
When one defends the truth against compromisers and their sympathizers, it is charged that, “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness” (I Tim. 6:3-5). In effect, those who seek to expose the errors of the day are egotistical fools who do nothing but stir up stink and strife and surmisings and suspicions. They know nothing. Their minds are perverted and corrupt; so, “from such withdraw thyself.” These things are all mouthed and mumbled against gospel preachers who seek to terminate present problems of Pentecostalism and Calvinism before they can germinate further. In truth, anyone who fights any false doctrine at any time will be so accused and accursed.
But did you notice who Paul was describing in the text quoted above? He was not painting a picture of those who “fight the good fight of faith.” Whose portrait is it then? Who is the one that “is proud, knowing nothing?” Who is the man who generates “questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings?” Paul answers that it is the man who dares to “teach otherwise, and consent(s) not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Tim. 6:3). He is the guilty party. The one who will “teach otherwise;” the man who will “consent not to wholesome (sound) words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ;” the man who will not submit “to the doctrine which is according to godliness,” that man is your troublemaker.
Brethren have often unwittingly denounced faithful Christians who were standing in the ranks for the cause of truth. It was true in the warfare against the presumptions of the premillennial party and the encroachments and innovations of institutional entities. And it will continue to be so. However, if you are one who does it, from now on it will not be because you do not know better. You will be doing it because of hatred and bitterness against the faithful who stand and fight while you lie down and gripe, or you will be doing it because of your sympathy for the errors that are being broadcast. Either way, some one has your license and pedigree, for it is the one who teaches “otherwise” who is the cause of strife, surmising, and slander.
Truth Magazine, XX:18, p. 2
April 29, 1976