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Thread: Should I Continue in a Church that Upholds Doctrinal Error?

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    Post Should I Continue in a Church that Upholds Doctrinal Error?

    My wife and I were challenged with a number of churches that accepted false teachings, albeit subtle in some cases, but malignant Progressive heresies non-the-less. We could have continued by ignoring teachings that allowed deviations away from biblical counsel, but to do so would be an effort to silence the Holy Spirit, the fire that seeks to purify and sustain God's righteous truth. False teachers and acceptance of deviant writings is a matter where scriptures are not silent, “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.” 2 Cor. 6:17. While this passage is quoting Isaiah 52:11, and directed toward the rebellion that rejects God, the counsel bridges with the separation from fellowships that persist in error; those who prove to lack discernment by the very act of not seeing.

    “Be clean”, signifies such a purging as is made by separation, by removing the clean from the unclean, by separating the wheat from the chaff. The people of God are a separate people in election, redemption, and the effectual calling, and ought to be so in their conduct and conversation. They ought to separate themselves from all superstition and worldly display and desire rather to worship in biblical wholeness, separate from the evil customs and manners of the world. They are sure to become unwitting prey who continues to expose themselves, finally to accept worldly juxtaposition over Godly counsel.

    We are commanded to recognize that fellowship with false teachers and blind leadership and their adherents cannot possibly be true Christian fellowship. We are urged to separate from a church that has not dealt with the deception in its midst; it is, in fact, no longer a true church of Christ. We are instructed to recognize what is at stake: light versus darkness, truth versus error, operating under the Spirit of Christ versus operating under another spirit. It is a matter of healthy spiritual life versus spiritual contamination. Those who desire to walk in the truth can have no part with false teachers or those who uphold divergent doctrines - no communion, no harmony, and no accord with them. We are instructed to come out from among them, to be separate, to stop even touching that which is spiritually unclean. Only then, says the Lord, can true believers themselves be in proper fellowship with Him.

    It is at this point that some Christians will be surprised to learn that they are willfully compromising their relationship with God through Christ by continuing in fellowships that have partially for fully departed from the narrow path. It is not a matter to be trifled with, to be treated lightly as of non-effect.
    In Revelation 2:20-23 we are told that a woman named Jezebel was teaching false doctrine and accepting false teachings in the church in Thyatira. God had given her time to repent, but she did not cease. It was going well with her, her following was plentiful. Finally God moved the Apostle John by the Holy Spirit to write and publicly rebuked her; “Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”

    Notice that God also said that those who followed Jezebel would be disciplined too! Every false teacher or mislead church leader needs followers to be effective. In fact, a teacher cannot succeed as an effective figure without a group of people following. Who qualifies as a teacher if no one is following? The answer is obvious: “No one!” Those who follow have either accepted the teaching or are at least passively supporting those who hold to doctrinal error. This passage reveals that the false teacher and her followers would both be punished, and therefore the followers of Jezebel were warned as well. Both the teacher and the followers were responsible for allowing the false teaching.

    The question might be asked, “Do we want to be held responsible for what is being taught?” To remain is to participate in what is being taught. The purity of doctrine is more important than most Christians comprehend. For example, in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 we read that two men are rebuked for teaching that the resurrection had already occurred. This is a doctrine about the future. “...and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.”

    These two men were publicly rebuked for their error and Christians over the last two millenniums have been able to read about their error. Is doctrine important? Is it important to be sit under correct teachings – to hold fast in accordance to Scriptural truth? If we find that error is being taught or that subtleties in doctrine is winked at (tolerated), then we have only two choices; a) confront the error, or b) leave the church. While details may vary from situation to situation, we have an obligation to carefully weight what we must do in light of Scriptural revelation.

    As the ecumenical movement gathers momentum, we must be strong and continue to contend for the faith, no matter what others might do or say. Let us pray for our evangelical leaders to return to the authority of Scripture for every issue of faith. Let us use God’s Word to lovingly admonish any church leader who encourages unity with apostates or unbelievers. And finally, let us resist the pressure to participate in any activity or event that will deliberately suppress or compromise biblical truth for the sake of unity. We must return to the inspired Word of God to heed its warnings and obey its commands. The Bible exhorts us to test all teachers and spirits (1 John 4:1,6). We are to expose false teachings and the evil deeds of darkness (Eph. 5:11). Christians are to lovingly confront and rebuke false teachers (Titus 1:9, 13). We are to separate from those who persist in teaching error (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10). If we ignore these exhortations we may be disqualified for service (2 Timothy 2:20), or worse yet, be identified with the false teachers themselves (2 John 10-11).

  2. #2
    Christ's Bride Johanna's Avatar
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    The Circle Maker

    I remember hearing about a 'technique' from a book called “The Circle Maker” a while back during a Bible study online... it just sounded wrong so it's great to learn why.

    I understand the book has started making the rounds through churches as the latest “new method” to access untold blessings from God. Written by Pastor Mark Batterson of National Community Church in Washington D.C., The Circle Maker teaches a new method of prayer by drawing a circle either on the ground or in the Bible based on an old Jewish legend from the Talmud and misuses verses from the Bible to put a new spin on the Prosperity Gospel heresy that wrongly teaches that Christians can receive whatever material blessing they want from God.

    Not only is this a false teaching and heresy, it is also embracing concepts from witchcraft. The popularity of this book among Christians is yet another sign of the growing apostasy as the church moves away from the Bible to adopt any new method despite being linked to the occult.

    How pivotal it is to be grounded in the Scriptures because deceit is so subtle. Wish all this nonsense would go away

  3. #3

    Unfortunately, nonsense such as this book will never go away. Instead it will only get worse as the end-time apostasy escalates, as revealed in Scripture. "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." 1 Tim. 4:1.

    False teachers and deviate movements gorge on the souls of unchaste and mislead professors of the faith. “While evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Tim. 3:13.

    Thankfully, as Johanna aptly points out, Christians can have honed and spiritually endowed discernment, e.g. steeped in Scripture, as not to be easily deceived. However, we must never be so lifted up in our station ( “Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” Rom. 11:20b) thinking we can outwit Satan, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matt. 24:24 signifying the difficulty, not the impossibility, of drawing them away from the truth.

    Praying that we should always give diligence to make our calling and election sure, where only in the oneness and person of Christ can we escape delusions sent by the enemy, for multitudes of the profession are easily mislead into the wide path.

  4. #4
    Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Psa 119:63 I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your Commandments.
    Psa 26:4 I have not sat with lying men, neither will I go in with hypocrites.
    Psa 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, and will not sit with the wicked.

    Pro 2:1 My son, if you will receive my words and hide my commandments with you,
    Pro 2:2 so that you attend to wisdom, you shall extend your heart to understanding;
    Pro 2:3 yea, if you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding;
    Pro 2:4 if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures,
    Pro 2:5 then you shall understand the fear of Jehovah and find the knowledge of God.
    Pro 2:6 For Jehovah gives wisdom; out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
    Pro 2:7 He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly.
    Pro 2:8 He keeps the paths of judgment, and guards the way of His saints.
    Pro 2:9 Then you shall understand righteousness and judgment and honesty, every good path.
    Pro 2:10 When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasing to your soul;
    Pro 2:11 judgment shall keep you, understanding shall keep you,
    Pro 2:12 to deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man who speaks wicked things;
    Pro 2:13 those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness,
    Pro 2:14 who rejoice to do evil and delight in the perversities of the wicked;
    Pro 2:15 whose ways are crooked, and are devious in their paths.
    Pro 2:16 They will deliver you from the strange woman, the stranger who flatters with her words,
    Pro 2:17 who forsakes the guide of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God.
    Pro 2:18 For her house bows down to death, and her paths to the dead.
    Pro 2:19 All who go in to her do not return, nor do they take hold of the paths of life,
    Pro 2:20 in order that you may walk in the way of good and keep the paths of the righteous.
    Pro 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
    Pro 2:22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
    Php 3:17 Brothers, be imitators together of me, and mark those who walk this way, for you have us for a pattern.
    Php 3:18 (For many are walking, of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ;
    Php 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, those who mind earthly things.)
    Pro 13:20 He who walks with the wise shall be wise, but a companion with fools shall be destroyed.

    I. Of all the external circumstances which mold our life and character, our daily companionship may be said to be among the most potent, and the Bible utterances are very strong on this subject. Sometimes they dwell specially on the causes that draw men together, assuming that like chooses like, and that a man may in fact be known by his associates. But more frequently the texts warn us rather of the consequences of intimacy than of the causes of it. They warn or exhort about companionship because we become, as they assume, what our companions are; because men who live together in close contact and communion mold each other, as iron sharpeneth iron.
    II. It is probable, indeed, that we should all direct our life, and choose our companionship, more carefully if we duly considered the long results of these things; if we remembered that in moral relations, as in other matters, it is not easy to start afresh when we please and unencumbered. Friendships are two-edged tools, which may open up for you the way to life or the way to death.
    III. There is no more certain support to the weak or the young than the feeling of nearness to some friend whom they know to be strong and pure, earnest for what is right and a hater of evil. Our companionship with such an one is like living continually in a pure and healthy pasture, and as the nearest earthly resemblance to walking with God in Christ, as we hope in our perfection to walk with Him hereafter. These are the true servants of Christ, and they only have the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
    J. Percival, Some Helps for School Life, p. 155.
    References: Pro_13:20.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 355; Outline Sermons to Children, p. 75.


    Scripture warns us not just about corrupt companions but also corrupt congregations. These associations will bring us closer or further away from God.

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