“The Minister and Heretics”

By Larry Ray Hafley

If you can read around and see through some of the denominational language and concepts, the following words by a Calvinist (Hardshell Baptist) will be helpful. The author, Wayne Camp, was formerly a Landmark Missionary Baptist of the Ben M. Bogard, Hoyt Chastain, Vernon L. Barr, Albert Garner school of thought. However he has left them, and is tied and allied in dogma and doctrine with the Primitive Baptist philosophy. Though he would prefer to be labeled (I say not libeled) as a “Sovereign Grace Baptist,” it amounts to the same thing. Under the title above, Camp says:

“One of the first things Paul mentions in his first letter to Timothy was that he had left him in Ephesus to rebuke some who tended toward error. ‘I besought thee to abide in Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine’ (1 Tim. 1:3). In the fourth chapter Paul again deals with false teachers and their heretical doctrines. Paul then tells Timothy: ‘If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim. 4:6). Those members of the Lord’s churches who read these lines need to hear these words of Paul. I once spoke about the heresies of one false teacher and one member of the church that I pastored at the time came out and rebuked me for mentioning other churches and preachers from the pulpit and being critical of them. He said: ‘I don’t think you ought to mention other denominations and what they believe.’ I said: ‘Brother, you must not want me to be a good minister of Jesus Christ.’ I then showed him these words of Paul and he went on his way. Later he apologized. When your pastor mentions false teachers and their teachings and warns you of their error, he is just doing part of the full work of the gospel ministry. To seek to silence him on these matters is tantamount to seeking to make him less than a good minister of Jesus Christ.

“In his epistle to Titus, Paul listed the qualifications of a minister of the gospel. Among other things he said that he must be one who is ‘holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught.’ The purpose of this is ‘that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith’ (Titus 1:9-13).

“It is incontrovertibly clear that the good minister of Jesus Christ will “pose, refute, and rebuke sharply those who peddle perverted doctrine. The church member who objects to his dealing with heretics and their heresies would keep him from being a good minister of Jesus Christ. In 1 Tim. 4:1, Paul declares that those who ‘depart from the faith’ do so because they are ‘giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons.’ It is hard to understand why anyone would object to the minister exposing demonic doctrines and those who teach them. If you have a pastor who speaks out against heretics and their heresies from time to time, be thankful that God has given you a pastor who is a good minister of Jesus Christ!

” . . . Paul instructed Timothy to ‘preach the word’ in season and out of season. He was to preach it when men wanted to hear it and preach it when they rebelled against it. There is simply no substitute for the preaching of the word of God. . . This preaching of the word may include rebukes to those who err. It includes reproving and exhortation” (Camp, The Grace Prodamator and Promulgator, September 1, 1987).

In an era of counterfeit ecumenism and genuine (but condemned) compromise, it is refreshing to see some who will take a militant stand. Preaching that does not reprove and rebuke men and their errors has been, is, and always will be popular (Isa. 30:11). There is no place for noncombatant, conscientious objectors, in the army of the Lord (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-18). Praise, applause, subscriptions and “a preaching position” must not be allowed to blunt the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. Agag still must be hewed in pieces, but where is Samuel? Goliath’s head still must be cut off, but where is David? And what of the future if Samuel becomes Absalom and David becomes Delilah?

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 2, p. 37
January 21, 1988