Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Berean example in Acts 17:11

One of the most common criticism I get from fellow Christians is I spend a good deal of time talking about what is wrong with other churches and preachers. I'm often told by these people that I should spend this time trying to further the kingdom of God instead of tearing down other ministries. While this advice sounds good on the surface, making many in the seeker-sensitive movement applaud, it's not very biblical advice. The misconception is that by discussing these types of issues within the church, that I am trying to tear down another person's ministry. This is not the case nor is it my agenda. By pointing out problems within movements like the seeker-sensitive camp, shining the light of the Scriptures upon errors taught in the church, and calling people out by name is by no means tearing down these ministries. It's simply exposing problems in hopes these errors will be corrected in the future and also warning fellow Christians about the dangers of poor doctrine.

In the Scriptures, the Apostle Paul went to a group of believers in Berea. When Paul delivered the message these people were not quick to accept it as the truth. They dug deep into the Scriptures and examined what Paul said in order to verify his word as the truth.

Acts 17:10-11 (New American Standard Bible)

Paul at Berea
10The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

This example encourages me to blog about dangerous teachings within the Christian faith. I cannot sit around and say nothing just because I might be perceived as tearing down the kingdom.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (New American Standard Bible)

2 Timothy 4

"Preach the Word"
1I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

The Bible tells us to reprove and rebuke errors with great patience. It does not tell us to remain silent and do nothing. In Galatians 2 we see a good example of this when Paul correcting Peter's error in public.

Galatians 2:11-14 (New American Standard Bible)

Peter (Cephas) Opposed by Paul
11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

12For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.

13The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

Paul did not remain silent just because Peter was in the same camp. Paul corrected Peter and contended for the faith.

Romans 16:17-20 (New American Standard Bible)

17Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

18For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

19For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.

20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

The Berean example encourages deep study and backing our beliefs with the Scriptures. There is nothing wrong with exposing false teachers, false doctrines, and errors in the church as long as we expose these errors in truth and love.

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