Open Letter To The Church: Don’t be so zealous to call out false teaching that you live with a critical spirit

False teaching is absolutely rampant these days. Deception lurks around every corner, inside many articles and hides within the text of “informative” social media posts. It’s hard to be a Christian and walk the narrow path to life. It seems nearly impossible to go through a day without 18,000 voices shouting at you to “LISTEN TO THIS!”, or “This will change your life!”, or “This is the key to spiritual growth.”

There are so many opinions out there as to how to walk the road Jesus called us to. Some say it’s all suffering and sorrow as we make the Pilgrims Journey to heaven. Others say letting God’s kingdom come means earth should look more like heaven and always be full of joy and peace. I think the truth is somewhere in between. Suffering is a reality in life. But so is the peace and goodness of God.

As we dig through the mountain of theological arguments, sermons and biblical texts, it can get overwhelming. God’s word is already a daunting book without 90,000 pastors telling you the “right way” to interpret it. And then ….. OH! and then… let’s not forget The Theology Police. You know them. The people who constantly post about some pastor or leader being a heretic based on one post they share that they don’t agree with. Day after day, these people post about how everyone else takes The Word of God out of context without taking a second to wonder if they could be taking the words of someone else out of context. So many pots calling the kettle black, while forgetting to notice their own ebony hue in the mirror.

Before we go further, let me say this. There is a biblical mandate to call out sin within The Body of Christ. (1 Corin 5:12; Matt 18:15-18; James 5:19-20) I do not want to imply that “The Theology Police” are entirely wrong for calling out sin and/or wrong teaching in The Body of Christ. I appreciate their passion for truth. I really do. I share the same passion and from time to time have made public posts calling out wrong theology myself. Like I said earlier, with the days we live in, it is very hard to walk in truth because there is so much deception.

However, I think some believers make it their mission to be The Theology Police. They live to call others out. They love the thrill of having “wisdom” about God’s Word others seemingly don’t have. And whew wee, if they can share that wisdom online and get a bunch of people to notice them, what may have started as a pure desire to lead people to truth quickly turns into a desperation to be known for having all the answers.

May it never be so.

May we never, ever take our call to uphold truth as an excuse to elevate our own name. May we never beat new believers over the head with revelations it took years for us to receive. May we never hold doctrine at such a high level that we forget it always has to be interlaced with love.

Love is patient. Love is kind. It doesn’t envy. It doesn’t boast. It isn’t proud. It doesn’t dishonor others. It isn’t self-seeking. It isn’t easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It protects, hopes, trusts, and perseveres.

LOVE never fails.

Just like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 “If I have the gift of prophecy, can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

We can have incredible insight from God and spot false theology from a mile away, but if we live to prove others wrong, all that exercise in truth is meaningless. An assault on false teaching will never outweigh a critical spirit. Our motivation matters. Calling people out in a way that dishonors or embarrasses is never ok. Calling someone out publically that you could never speak to privately should not be standard for Christian rebuke. In fact, it is the exact opposite method we are given in Matthew 18.

We have to be careful friends. If you are tired of seeing The Church led astray, I get it. I am too. But our job is not to run our mouths online and assume the position of internet troll every time we see a 15-second clip of a teacher we know nothing about. That is not love friends. That’s arrogance. Assuming we know all and have the spiritual insight to correct every teacher is nothing but sheer arrogance.

I’m sharing this today because after evaluating the motives of my heart, I see they aren’t always motivated by love. There is a real draw to be known within our souls. There is a deep-rooted desire to be loved and admired. So, in our quest to bring light into a dark world may we never use that as a means of filling our spiritual love tank at the cost of depleting someone else’s. May we not be so zealous to call out the darkness that we fail to see the shadows lurking in our critical, judgemental mindset.

That’s what Jesus was talking about in Luke 6 when He said “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

A critical spirit is a huge plank that can do a lot more damage than good to The Body of Christ. We must take time to get alone with God before we fly off the handle and post whatever we want or spend our time criticizing every sermon we listen to. Chances are, you and I may need just as much correction as the person we are calling to the carpet. So, let’s fight for truth, let’s never let deception reign, but also, let’s always do it in love.

Beloved Rejoice

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