In This Offend-Me-Not Culture Pointing Things Out Is The Christian’s Duty
The culture of today is completely obsessed with the idea that no one is allowed to offend anyone, and if you offend someone then you are doing one of the worst things imaginable in the entire world, and are a very mean and nasty person. They cry out “intolerance” and “I’m offended” over and over and make a lot of noise. This is seen all over the politically correct media when someone makes a silly joke that happens to offend someone or a person expresses their conviction that the media propagandizes as hate. What is really sad is that the current Christo-religious culture embraces this attitude. In this squishy, soft, “evangellyfish” culture— in order to impress the world and look nice— evangelicalism has also adopted this philosophy. The current church, or non-church (or whatever-you-want-to-do-style religion of the day) is preoccupied with this nonsense that everyone has a right not be offended, and it saturates their interpretation of the bible and attitude about Christian living. This is the idea that truth is hard to know, or unknowable, except for a few positive-only things from the Bible. If it is negative then we can’t really know if it is true or not, or it must be interpreted differently and spun towards a positive nature so it won’t offend anyone. For example, the doctrine of hell has to either be ignored, or claimed unknowable, or only be something in the past that may or may not have happened, or it’s not really speaking about people in real life. And often times people refuse to admit someone is most likely going to go to hell. This is basically what Rob Bell did a year or so ago in his book Love Wins.
Nonetheless, people claiming Christian are constantly yelling out the “don’t be judgmental!” fallacy when anyone brings up a point of truth, or points something out that is wrong. This is especially true when someone *gasp* dares to name someone’s name! Now THAT is the ultimate cardinal sin for evangelicals it seems. Don’t you EVER says someone’s name. EVER! And do not point out a belief, or group of people who hold to a belief, you find is wrong. After all you don’t know them personally. This is a completely fallacious argument that is spoken by people who do not love truth, but are unconcerned with what is true and are steeped in false humility with a skewed idea of what is and is not a “loving” attitude. I have written an article responding to a critic a year ago who was using the That Is Unloving Fallacy where I list a bunch of Scripture commanding people to argue, rebuke, exhort, correct, debate, call out, reject, fight against, and condemn for what is true. In this article though, I will take a look at 1 Timothy 4:6-7 which says,
“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths.”
The context of this passage is speaking about false teachers who promote lies propagated by demons. In other words, false religion. The previous verses in the chapter (1 Timothy 4:1-5) explain that people will “depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons.” Then it explains, they listen to the hypocrisy of liars and their consciences are seared and that these types forbid marriage, and command people to abstain from certain foods. This was in the context of certain groups as the the Jewish Essenes mixed with contemporary Greek thought which promoted such ideas as physical things in this world being evil and being preoccupied with marriage or eating food is impure. MacArthur (1997), in his study bible explains they “viewed matter as evil and spirit as good” (p. 1866). He also states, “[The teaching] contained elements of truth, since Scripture commends both singleness…and fasting” (p. 1866).
The point of Paul warning Timothy to be aware of false Christians who would “depart” from the faith was not to specifically warn him of ONLY the Essenes at his time, but it was a universal call to be wary of many apostates that will come, and who already have come. Paul was generally explaining that the Spirit of God has warned about future apostates, and Paul was tying it into what the current situation was with their current false teachers in their time. Paul was explaining some people who will participate in church and claim Christian will learn some new teaching from a false teacher and will be led astray and “depart from the faith.” The unsure, evangelical who does not embrace logic will try to argue that that verse can ONLY be applied to the people who forbade marriage etc. This is a nonsense argument. A rational understanding of the passage, after reading it, has the attitude of all false religion being evil and demonically inspired. The rest of the Bible is pretty clear on the issue of warning about all false-doctrines, false-christs, false-brethren, and false-gospels, that they do indeed exist, have existed in the past, and will be created in the future, and should be argued against and pointed out to keep the church pure. This means even doing one of the things that these evangellyfish believe is absolutely an extreme sin….NAMING PEOPLE’S NAMES! “Oh no! Not that!” you say? Why, yes Paul in chapter 2 of the same letter names 2 men named Alexander and Hymenaeus who were among people Paul has delivered up to Satan. Delivering someone up to Satan is a pretty extreme thing to do but necessary. Therefore, according to Scripture it is not a sin to call out someone’s name and tell Christians to avoid them. The absurd notion that you have to know them in person before you do that and can only privately talk to them first about it is irrelevant. This is painstakingly obvious. Public delcarations spoken to a wide range of people deserve a public and wide reaching rebuke. These types of people who promote this silly idea do not even live it out in their daily lives outside of their religious conversations. Did they have to meet Osama bin Laden in person before they could talk to their friends about how evil he is? Do they have to meet Kim Jung Eun of North Korea to know he is an evil dictator? Did they have to actually meet James Whitey Bulger to know he was a mafia boss and murderer before they could tell their friends about him? Did they have to personally know Saddam Hussein before they would declare he is evil and gassed his own people and is not a true believer in God? The answer is an obvious no! Such people who hold a belief you have to actually personally know someone in order to know if they are real or not, and then only can you in private talk to them are hypocrites because they don’t even live this out in real life towards other people.
Now back to chapter 4 of 1 Timothy and taking a look at verse 6 where Paul commands Timothy to “point these things out to the brother” it is obvious it is every Christian’s duty to be aware of these demonic doctrines and to point them out to Christians, warn them, and guide them into the truth. To express truth you must correct error when it comes around. Popular teachers, rockstars, hipster-missionaries etc. have a wide influence and much of the time Christians might become influenced by them. It is the informed Christian’s duty to warn the other Christian not to follow them or listen to them. If a false teacher claiming Christ openly declares a false belief publicly and has high popularity in the media then speaking out against it publicly is the only option. This is not a private and intimate matter. It does not matter if it offends people, or the actual false teacher becomes offended and goes on a tirade about “unloving, judgmental judgers.” That is simply his deceptive defense to avoid actually providing evidence through Scripture for his claims of belief. This should be obvious to any Holy Spirit filled believer of Christ.
The Christian should not pay attention to “irreverent, and silly myths.” The Christian should not be associated or be “having anything to do with” such ideas. Paul was declaring to Timothy that it is his duty to point out these false beliefs and silly myths and to separate from them and teach his church members to do the same. If this causes offense, then so what?
What is true belief and true faith is found only in Scripture; the way God speaks to us. It is not a matter of private ideas or an imagination that reads between lines and comes up with faulty interpretations based on stupid reasoning. For instance, Tommy Green’s faulty interpretation of Revelation 1:9-18 and Philippians 1:12-18. He says since God has a voice that sounds like “many waters” it must mean God speaks in many ways that are different from one another therefore, contradicting ideas, as long as they say the name Jesus, are okay and acceptable; and that means Joel Osteen is a Christian who saves souls despite the fact his “ministry” is completely devoid of the Gospel! This is just absolutely ridiculous. So because he “feels” God’s voice sounds like many waters he is going to use his imagination and come up with the idea that “controversy in the bride, and conflicting dogma and theology” are acceptable even if it is outright heresy apparently.
Reality though, the explanation of those passages is that “many waters” is only talking about the sound of God’s voice and how intense and powerful His Word is, not that He has many messages or conflicting pastors teaching random things in His name. Also, the term “many” is actually more correctly understood with the idea of “cascading” or “rushing” waters. As explained, simply the sound of his voice being powerful to the Apostle John.
Green uses the Philippians passage to state that even if preachers are in it for themselves we cannot judge them and should not be against them. Again reality though, the Philippians passage is easily understood that if people preach the gospel and do it to show off or be cool, (for their own personal gain) then the Gospel will still be heard and the message itself stands as true. It does not say the messenger is okay and should be allowed to preach. It is simply stating the idea of the Gospel not being inhibited by the speaker. The Gospel cannot be stopped and it does not matter even if the messenger is corrupt. And pay attention the the fact it is THE GOSPEL! Probably about 00.001% of arrogant, prideful, self-serving preachers teach the true Gospel for their own personal gain. Most of the time they are occupied with false doctrines that promote heresy and do not save souls at all. So 99.999% never preach the true Gospel. Once in awhile such heretics might mix a little truth in, in order to look legitimate to gullible people so they can argue that they are orthodox, but still they are dangerous and should not openly be supported by real Christians.
As Paul told Timothy, point them out!!! Well, at least Tommy Green isn’t offending people and hurting their feelings by saying someone is wrong, that is unless you disagree with him then of course you are wrong and it is okay to offend you. In fact it is a virtue to offend you according to their mindset because it is okay to offend people who they deem offensive. What a self-refuting mindset!
Now it is easy to see how far out teachings can get if someone makes up their own ideas about a passage and then starts telling the Scripturally-ignorant church-kids and “unsure evangelicals” to follow their advice. Thomas R. Schreiner (2001) in his book Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, A Pauline Theology, expresses the concern for preaching the truth to christians relating to the 1 Timothy 4:6-16 passage:
“Paul does not contemplate some mysterious and private interaction between people and God. It is necessary to hear a spoken and articulated word [from Scripture] in order to become right with God. In both Colossians and Ephesians Paul prays for boldness, for the spoken word is often offensive. And Paul does not only pray for opportunities to proclaim the message; he also prays that people will be saved” (pp. 65-66, emphasis mine).
If a teacher is preaching a false message people are not going to get saved. If a preacher who is well studied in the Bible is preaching, then such truth will be offensive to those who do not embrace absolute truth; but on the other hand people will actually get saved.
It is clear that Paul was commanding Timothy to point out those who contradict the Gospel, and it is plain that the Scripture teaches through 1 Timothy 4:6-7 that it is the Christian’s duty to point out false teachers and warn people not to stray from the truth that was taught to them.
MacArthur, J.F. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible. Thmas Nelson, Inc.: Nashville, TN.
Schreiner, T.R. (2001). Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL.