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They’re Wrong – What Should I Do?

March 1, 2017

Last month I posted a tweet, asking a deceptively simple question: “wouldn’t it be nice if all followers of Jesus would simply focus on following Jesus and inviting others to follow Jesus?”

The fact is that there is a lot of heresy-hunting within the Christian community, detracting from our main task of proclaiming the Gospel to those who haven’t yet surrendered to King Jesus. Must following Jesus involve telling other followers they are wrong?

Then I thought about it and realised that the answer to that is actually “yes, sometimes”. The fact is that there is an awful lot of false teaching around, and even though correct doctrine isn’t a prerequisite for a ticket to heaven, false doctrine is one of the tools Satan uses to keep people from getting there.

The Bible is quite concerned to make sure people know the truth, and the idea that the categories “true” and “false” don’t apply to “spiritual truths” would have baffled Jesus and the apostles.

This doesn’t mean all errors are equally harmful. We can happily disagree on liturgy, clerical robes and which Bible translation is the best. What we cannot allow is for the core truths of the Gospel to be compromised. When a Christian leader denies the divine inspiration of the Bible, or condones sexual immorality, or claims that we are all Sons of God in the same way as Jesus, we have no choice but to say, “Well, actually, no”.

Some people think this is a violation of Jesus’ command not to judge others. It can be, if it involves personal spite or unwarranted condemnation; but Jesus also tells us to tell our fellow believers when they sin, so that they may repent; and teaching heresy is as much a sin as adultery or embezzling the steeple fund.

There’s also quite a range of less erroneous beliefs, derived from misunderstandings or popular ideas. Should we correct those, or is it better to leave people with their unimportant but nevertheless mistaken beliefs?

I think that depends on the circumstance and the spiritual maturity of the person in question – and to what extent it affects their understanding of the Gospel. If it becomes a distraction from simple discipleship, it might be better to ignore it…

Still, even if we don’t always correct others, our personal desire should always be for a better understanding of reality, both the physical and spiritual side of it. Satan is constantly spreading lies about us, God and the world, whereas Jesus is the Truth personified. So why should we his followers settle for less than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

 

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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