Donations for the month of January


We have received a total of $140 in donations towards our goal of $175.


Don't want to use PayPal? Go HERE


Search

Member Spotlight
Pilgrim
Pilgrim
NH, USA
Posts: 13,354
Joined: April 2001
Show All Member Profiles 
Forum Statistics
Forums30
Topics6,587
Posts50,931
Members922
Most Online373
Mar 5th, 2017
Top Posters(All Time)
Pilgrim 13,353
Tom 3,374
chestnutmare 2,895
J_Edwards 2,615
Wes 1,856
John_C 1,750
RJ_ 1,582
MarieP 1,578
gotribe 1,057
Top Posters(30 Days)
Tom 50
Pilgrim 40
John_C 2
Kaylin 2
Meta4 1
Recent Posts
Theotokos
by Tom. Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:08 AM
Overview of Scripture
by Tom. Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:56 AM
Jesus vs Paul and the Church
by Pilgrim. Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:09 AM
John the Baptist
by Meta4. Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:53 PM
Paul on a Young Earth
by Pilgrim. Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:23 PM
Oregon Baker's ordered to pay 135k
by Anthony C.. Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:48 PM
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate This Thread
Hop To
#39722 - Tue May 27, 2008 10:57 PM How to deal with a factious heresy hunter  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
BradJHammond Offline
Member
BradJHammond  Offline
Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
TN
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or could recommend some biblical passages, articles, or books that deal with how an individual should deal with perceived error or erroneous "tendencies" in a church or a pastor.

My mother has received several unsolicited emails from a lady who has recently joined her church. At this point, I will not bother to describe what she believes the "dangerous tendencies" in the church are, since my focus is on how she should handle her concerns, or how we should tell her to handle her concerns. Frankly, I do not think her concerns have much merit -- and after reading several of her letters that my mother has forwarded to me, I believe that this lady is a semi-professional heresy hunter and a full-time, factious troublemaker. She has left and/or been kicked out of several (conservative, evangelical) churches in the last few years, accusing various members and leaders of various forms of New Age, neo-pagan apostasy. Her "sources" include people such as Martin and Diedre Bobgan, and Rick Miesel -- heresy hunters who denounce men of such stature as John MacArthur, J. I. Packer, Erwin Lutzer, Michael Horton, Ed Welch, Jay Adams, Wayne Mack, and R. C. Sproul for various forms of neo-paganism and "psychoheresy". In one of her letters she states that she believes the pastor has fallen into serious error, and that her desire is to "help lead him and others in the church into truth."

Is it biblical to join a church if you believe its leaders are deceived, have fallen into heresy, and are teaching falsely? Shouldn't your focus be finding a "true" church where you can grow, serve, and flourish? Is it a woman's calling to "correct" the pastor and leading elders of a church, especially a church that she has just joined in full knowledge of these perceived errors?

I would appreciate any help in how to respond to this situation (and person) in a graceful, respectful, and biblical manner.


[Linked Image]
#39723 - Tue May 27, 2008 11:09 PM Re: How to deal with a factious heresy hunter [Re: BradJHammond]  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 969
Peter Offline
Old Hand
Peter  Offline
Old Hand

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 969
USA
Quote
Is it biblical to join a church if you believe its leaders are deceived, have fallen into heresy, and are teaching falsely? Shouldn't your focus be finding a "true" church where you can grow, serve, and flourish? Is it a woman's calling to "correct" the pastor and leading elders of a church, especially a church that she has just joined in full knowledge of these perceived errors?

I would appreciate any help in how to respond to this situation (and person) in a graceful, respectful, and biblical manner.


Brad unfortunately my bible software decided to crash and so I have to re-install it. However from the top of my head (so to speak and you more smarter elders, correct me ,and you know who I mean guys) if the woman is schismatic bring evidence of it before the elders and have them deal with her. If she is married then they should bring it to the attention of her husband. If she doesn't listen to the elders then excommunicate her. Schismatics don't belong in the house of God.

As for finding a true church, yes that is what we are to do however, as you and all of us know finding a perfect church is impossible. So we must find one that we can "grow, serve, and flourish". If your heresy-hunter woman is looking for the perfect church ultimately she'll start one around her and well we all know where that leads.

IMHO


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#39724 - Tue May 27, 2008 11:29 PM Re: How to deal with a factious heresy hunter [Re: Peter]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
BradJHammond Offline
Member
BradJHammond  Offline
Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
TN
Dear Boanerges,

Thanks for your response. I think you're exactly right about what to do once it is obvious that this woman is "schismatic" and there is sufficient "evidence." Some might consider her previous history adequate evidence; but, she has professed to my mother that she used to be a "troublemaker," but has seen the error of her ways. At this point I still wish to give her the benefit of the doubt, and would like to offer constructive advice/instruction/admonition/correction privately first if that is possible. My first thought is to recommend that she respectfully share her concerns with the pastor himself, rather than asking questions, nodding, taking notes, and talking about him behind his back. What do you think?

As for finding a "perfect church" -- I know that this is impossible, and I like the old saw that says "If you find a perfect church don't join it because then it will no longer be perfect." I also like the old saw that responds to the charge that the church is full of hypocrites: "Well, there's always room for one more."


The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Tim. 1:15


[Linked Image]
#39725 - Wed May 28, 2008 12:43 AM Re: How to deal with a factious heresy hunter [Re: BradJHammond]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
BradJHammond Offline
Member
BradJHammond  Offline
Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
TN
I have looked at several of the biblical passages that might appear to apply to this situation:

Quote

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Titus 3:9-11



Quote

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Romans 16:17-18


Quote

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-16


My question has to do with application. The passages in Titus and Romans are referring to obstinate heretics, not individuals who may inadvertently cause divisions by standing up for the truth. This lady believes that false teachings have infiltrated her church that threaten to undermine the gospel -- I do not find her claims or the evidence she offers compelling -- but she sincerely believes them. At this stage she is not openly trying to cause division. The main thing I find troubling is the fact that she joined this church believing that it was deeply corrupted, with the intention of reforming or redeeming it. That is what I would first like to address. An analogy might be a Reformed Christian who joined an Arminian church with the intention of reforming it. This just doesn't seem biblical, but I'm having difficulty formulating a thoroughly biblical objection and would appreciate some suggestions or guidance.


[Linked Image]
#39726 - Wed May 28, 2008 11:24 AM Re: How to deal with a factious heresy hunter [Re: Peter]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
BradJHammond Offline
Member
BradJHammond  Offline
Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
TN
This is from a sermon by John MacArthur on Titus 3:9-15, and echoes what Boanerges said:

Quote

On factious people...what's the last word? Verses 10 and 11, "Reject a factious man after a first and second warning knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned." Now this certainly could refer to those who teach unsound doctrine because they would be factious, that is divisive. They would separate. They would be a problem in the church. They would be a sectarian influence. But really it's beyond that. It goes beyond those who would engage in some wrong doctrine, those who would split the church over a doctrinal issue, it doesn't confine itself to that, it's anybody who tends to divide, to fracture the fellowship, to tear the seamless robe, as it were, of the garment of the unity of the church. The church, as you well know, has always struggled against false doctrine and always struggled to maintain unity. It will always be assaulted by people propagating lies and it will always be assaulted by people who try to divide it.

Truth in unity is the stock and trade of the church's evangelism. Sound doctrine and love expressed is what is our message. What makes our sound doctrine believable is the integrity of our unity as Jesus made so very clear in the time He spoke to His disciples in John 13 and said, "By this will all men know that you're My disciples if you have love one for another." So the church has not only always struggled against error, it has struggled against discord, division. You remember Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and the first several chapters clear into chapter 4 are all about trying to bring to that church the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. After all, there is one God, there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism...we, Jesus prayed, would be one and we are in essence. We've all been baptized in to one body through the agency of the Holy Spirit, have all been made to drink of the same Spirit, there is a spiritual unity but there needs to be a real and visible one as well. We are called sacrificially to love each other.

In that 1 Corinthian epistle, chapter 1, I think Paul sums it up in verses 10 and following, " I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all agree and there be no division among you but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. I have been informed, concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you. Has Christ been divided?"

It was that very desire for unity that prompted him to write to the Philippians, only conduct yourselves, chapter 1 verse 27, in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent I may hear of you that you are striving together, standing firm in one spirit for the faith of the gospel. The unity of the church, absolutely crucial.

And that is that to which Paul addresses his attention in this second category. There are some people in the life of the church who are factious. They disrupt. They bring discord. They're divisive. Any of us at any point could do that if we're in sin. The term here for a factious man is hairetikos from which eventually our English transliteration heretic came. The term heretic to us means an apostate, someone who teaches something other than sound doctrine, someone who rejects the truth. We usually think of it in a doctrinal sense. And by the second century hairetikos had come to mean a heretic, or an apostate. But at this time those who study the Greek language tell us that the word really did not have that kind of connotation. It came from the Greek verb hairetomi which simply means to choose, or to prefer...to take for oneself.

It could refer to the particular group that a person chose to belong to. It wouldn't necessarily have been a bad one. For example, it is used throughout the book of Acts and translated the sect of the Pharisees. It is even used in the book of Acts with reference to the sect called Christianity. It simply means a group, a choice. But we start to see its bad connotation, for example, in Galatians 5:20 where it is translated factions and it is shown as one of the expressions of the flesh, the unregenerate wicked fallen flesh.

Summing it up, it had the idea of someone who makes a resolute choice. It then started to mean someone whose choice is obstinate and against the truth. It is used here to mean one who had chosen an idea, one who had chosen a teaching, a doctrine, a viewpoint, a perspective, a course of behavior that was not acceptable to the church. It was not acceptable to the Word of God or it was not acceptable to the mind of the Spirit as revealed through the leadership. Literally, one who chooses for himself, he will not become a part of the consensus. He will not submit to the Word. He will not submit to the leadership. He will not become a part of that which is the mind of the Spirit revealed through the elders.

And later, as I said, by the second century it comes all the way to meaning a heretic and an apostate. But here we have someone who has chosen some unbiblical, some unacceptable way and he's gathering adherents and he's causing strife and division and factions in the church and will not move in to the area where truth resides and the testimony of the Spirit leads.

Lenski, the commentator, writes, "This person chooses for himself what the church by choosing the scripture must repudiate and disdain." So he stands against the truth and against the leadership of the church and against the will of the Spirit. He may be holding some novel interpretation, some novel myth, some genealogical extrapolation or mystical interpretation. He may be holding some ignorant interpretation of Scripture. He may be also holding some course of action, some personal whim, some personal preference about behavior or conduct or whatever. The issue is he's divisive.

What do we do? The verb says reject. Reject, that's the last word. Have nothing to do with them. Reject. Don't have anything to do with them. It's very much like Matthew 18:17, "Let him be to you as a pagan and an outcast." Cut him off from the fellowship. In 2 Thessalonians 3 verse 14, "If anyone doesn't obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man, do not associate with him so that he may be put to shame. Do not regard him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother." You know he belongs in the family of God, you assume that, and he's in sin. Remember that he is a brother, don't treat him like an enemy but do not associate with him. Don't have fellowship, don't have a meal, don't make it easy for him to feel comfortable so that he may be shamed by being put away from the accepted fellowship.

And this is really church discipline. In fact, look at verse 10, it says, "You don't even do this unless you have had a first and second warning." You're following here the process of Matthew chapter 18. You go to him, he doesn't repent. You go with two or three, he doesn't repent. Now you tell the whole church and then you treat him as an outcast. Reject him after properly going several times to warn him. Why? Because it isn't that you want to put him out, you want him to repent. It's always true that church discipline is remedial, it is restorative, it is redemptive. And so you want to go to this individual before you have to turn him over to Satan that he might learn not to blaspheme. Before you have to turn him over to Satan such as 1 Corinthians 5 for the instruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved, before you have to cut him off from fellowship, you want to be gentle. And Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:25 you want to be gentle, you want to instruct him with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant him repentance and he'll come to the knowledge of the truth on this issue and you will have gained your brother. So you go through a process of admonishing. The word warning here comes from the Greek verb noutheteo, we use that word "neuthetic"(?) to speak about counseling. It is a gentle kind of warning telling someone you better change the direction because the end of your course is dangerous, tragic, chastening, judgment of God.

So you go through a warning process. You go graciously to this individual, realizing he is a brother, and you call him to repentance. In Romans chapter 16 verses 17 and 18 Paul says, "I urge you, brethren, to keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned and turn away from them for they're not truly slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ but of their own appetites. And by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting." Turn away from them. Where you find a factious divisive person who is propagating error on the one point or standing in the way of the unity of the church on some personal matter, turn your back, reject them, treat them like an outcast, don't fellowship with them, don't let them be a part so that they can be shamed and learn they can't do that.

Boy, it would sure change the complexion of the church today if the church would rise to that level, wouldn't it? We've got people running loose espousing all kinds of bizarre mystical stuff, all kinds of unbiblical stuff and we have a tendency in the church in the name of unity which is just the opposite of true unity to not only allow them but to give them platform and honor them. And what he's saying here, this same verb, reject, is translated in 1 Timothy 4:7 "have nothing to do with....have nothing to do with." Often it's translated such as 1 Timothy 5:11, Hebrews 12, "Refuse." The last word on divisive people is refuse them.

You say, "Well we're trying to get unity. Does unity do that?" Yes, unity does that because unity demands that we are united around the truth of the Word of God and the mind of the Spirit. Doing this should be easy because of what we know, verse 11, "Knowing," that's oida, that word tends to mean...it becomes clear to everybody, it's observable..."knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning...being self-condemned." I mean, it would seem obvious to do that because it should be obvious to all of us that someone who has made his choice to stand pat and is divisive about some teaching or some matter of behavior or choice is perverted. We ought to put him away. We ought to keep him at arm's length. We ought to reject that individual because it should be apparent to everybody by observation that his character is revealed by his stubborn hard heart, he is perverted. That is a very strong usage of a strong term. It literally means turned inside out. It could be translated distorted, twisted. It is used in medical literature and translated dislocated.

Here is a dislocated distorted twisted perverted inside-out individual. He has the truth. He has been told the truth. He's been warned again and again. This isn't some pagan who never heard. This isn't some individual who doesn't know the truth and doesn't know what is desired and what the mind of the Spirit is. But he's a perverted individual and is sinning...he is sinning. That's willful sin in the present tense. He's guilty of continuing in a course of belief and teaching and attitude and action, contrary to the Word and the will of God. Put him out. Reject him. He is self-condemned. It ought to be apparent to everybody he's condemned himself by his error...katakrino, strong word meaning condemned. And this man is autokatakrino, self-condemned. He's passing judgment on his own perversion by the way he's acting.

There are people today who teach error, who live ungodly, who carry unholy attitudes who are self-willed, divisive both in local churches and in a wider sense of area of influence. And rather than being rejected, they're allowed to maintain their profile in the local church or in the greater assembly of the body of Christ, they're tolerated, they're often even respected and given a platform for their aberrations. The last word on false teachers is shun. The last word on factious people is reject.


[Linked Image]
#39727 - Wed May 28, 2008 11:46 AM Re: How to deal with a factious heresy hunter [Re: BradJHammond]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
BradJHammond Offline
Member
BradJHammond  Offline
Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
TN
Also I found this very good sermon by Steven Cole called "Dealing with Factious People"

I found especially helpful his discussion of "prideful"
people promoting "peripheral" or "uncertain matters" as if they were essential, and trying to build a following by forcing people to choose between their views and those of godly church leaders. I think his conclusion is especially apt:

Quote

"It is far easier to debate theology or abstruse points of doctrine than to love your wife as Christ loves the church; to love your children and bring them up in the instruction of the Lord; to be a good worker at your job; and, to practice the fruit of the Spirit on a daily basis. This is not to say that theology is unimportant or irrelevant. Quite the contrary! Rather, it is to say that it is easy to use theological debates as a cover for sins, such as selfishness, pride, anger, impatience, and laziness. Properly understood, sound doctrine leads to submission to God, humility, and holiness before God, beginning on the thought level. Speculation about matters that do not lead to godliness and good deeds are unprofitable and worthless. We want to keep our focus on the gospel that changes lives.


[Linked Image]
#39728 - Thu May 29, 2008 12:27 AM Re: How to deal with a factious heresy hunter [Re: BradJHammond]  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 969
Peter Offline
Old Hand
Peter  Offline
Old Hand

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 969
USA
Your too kind, besides how can I compete with John Mac. He has what I think the definitive word on the issue.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo

Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 16 guests, and 99 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
SmallFry, drewk, patrice, Robert1962, Ron
922 Registered Users
Shout Box
January
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Today's Birthdays
Saved_n_kept
Popular Topics(Views)
686,676 Gospel truth
Page Time: 0.044s Queries: 15 (0.002s) Memory: 2.6098 MB (Peak: 2.8918 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2018-01-20 19:06:16 UTC