“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” (Matthew 13: 24-30; 36-43)
This verse is commonly used to justify taking a non-judgmental position toward error and false teachers.
It’s commonly used by Christians to remain silent when they should use rebuke and reproof; as II Timothy 3:16 states.
But in this Evangelical age of “Love”, what else should we expect?
In all things, we should pray that the Lord will open or close our lips according to His will. Rather than spouting off about anything and everything.
But, we must guard against the common tendency to remain silent when we should be vocal about things that need to be exposed. And, sorry to say, there is a lot these days that needs to be exposed.
For the sake of the flock, there needs to be much more open discussion and teaching about false doctrine and false teachers.
And much less hesitancy to do so in the face of increasing spiritual error in the church.
The “Wheat and Tares” Rebuttal
When I was much younger, I managed a shipping dock for an adhesives company. And I had an assistant who was a Christian. Someone who was a few years older than me.
One day, when we were talking about Billy Graham, I brought up the problems created by Billy and his leadership in the New Evangelical movement. I also mentioned Billy’s continual unwillingness to clearly separate his ministry from Catholic leaders and mainline Protestant leaders; who denied Salvation by faith alone. These were basic facts.
My assistant rebuked my judgmental attitude. He cited the “wheat and the tares” passage mentioned above. Which, it would turn out, was an oft-used response I would receive from various other “brothers in Christ” down through the years.
I bring this up now, because I just heard it again from one of our local pastors. Using it to justify a similar position.
The “Counterfeit” Theory
The other rebuttal, I have often heard through the years, has to do with how Treasury agents are supposedly trained to identify counterfeit bills.
The story goes something like this. When agents are trained, they are only allowed to handle real money. To learn everything about real money. And not to handle any of the counterfeit stuff.
Supposedly, this makes them able to quickly identify the counterfeit currency whenever they would encounter it.
The application here, of course, is that Christians, likewise, should just preach the truth of God’s word and the gospel message; and not be concerned with all the errors. So that, if they will just teach people the truth, then people won’t need to learn about false teachers and false religions.
Frankly, while I know that those who use this example are sincere and dedicated people, I doubt the facts behind this Treasury story. For one thing, years ago, I made a delivery to the Cleveland Treasury building while working as a delivery driver for a local printing company. While there, I stopped into the Treasury bookstore to see what they had on display.
Interestingly, they had at least one book dealing with counterfeit currency and how to identify it. The book illustrated many areas on bills where errors were introduced by counterfeiters. Specific areas and specific deceptive techniques.
Gee. Imagine that.
Specific Areas of Vulnerability
It makes perfect sense to me to alert people to special areas of vulnerability.
It’s like what happens if you hire a security guy to advise you how to protect your home. His job is to point out the common ways a thief would use to break into your home. Into your home specifically.
How else would anyone know how to protect themselves from a thief? By identifying specific areas of vulnerability and then making provision to protect those areas from break-in.
It then occurred to me that I’ve been handling good currency all my life. I’m sure that I’ve been handling it much longer than most of the agents who are with the Treasury Department. Yet, I would still need to be trained how to identify a false bill.
And, who knows how many counterfeit bills we’ve each handled in our lifetimes? If they are good copies, how would we ever know?
The New Evangelical Foundation
The problem here is that we’ve all been fed a bunch of reasons why we shouldn’t point out error. Most of these reasons have to do with a wrong view of “love” and “non-judgmental-ism”. Or by being shamed for being “fruit inspectors”.
Which is at the core of why the Evangelical church is in such a big-heap of trouble.
Because, the movement has grown in numbers due to its willingness to remain silent in the face of sin. And to go along and get along with most anything that has entered the mainstream portals of Evangelicalism.
Yes, there has been a willingness to deal with some blatant, outward moral issues. And to publicly preach against those sins. But, the same zeal does not apply to sound doctrinal defense. In doctrinal areas, leaders have remained pretty much silent.
Which is why it is so difficult to even KNOW what an Evangelical believes today. And whether Evangelical leaders and teachers even hold to the same gospel?!
The Neglected Gift of Discernment
The philosophy of New Evangelicalism, that Billy Graham and others have pushed, has become the Foundation of modern-day Evangelicalism. Virtually every church one might go to today is steeped in that compromised philosophy; which is based on a tolerance, cooperation, and association with error.
And most Evangelicals don’t even realize this about their churches and denominations.
Which makes it very dangerous for churches today.
Because they no longer have a foundation from which they can resist the tide of error in their midst.
They are paralyzed by it. Unable to move against it for fear of violating the “law of love”. They are shackled by the “kindness” mandate.
The are bound by the Prime Directive to not criticize others. To not focus on doctrine. To not be a “legalist”.
In essence, to refuse to exercise the Spirit of Discernment that the Lord has commanded us all to exercise.
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