We should have learned from the Word of God:
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Much in the sacred Writ has warned and prepared the body of Christ about the departure from truth by those professing Christ. For three years Paul edified the body at Ephesus and warned them of the coming wolves. Those that would make followers of themselves rather than Christ. Unlike the Apostle and the godly men of old, we have ignored such a warning. We have toned it down and treated it as something only for the first century. We’ve allowed people to make us fear sounding the alarm and combating false teaching with the truth because they call us “alarmists,” “reductionists,” “fundamentalists,” “divisive,” “old-fashioned” “mean- spirited” e.t.c. but we should have learned from the Word of God. It’s easy for people to sit back and think it an over-reaction and an exaggeration. But when you see it happen in your own (small) community when you see lives in turmoil and friendships ruined or in jeopardy over false teaching it is no small matter. We should have learned and indeed we are learning. Perhaps we will take the word of God far more seriously than many present it.
We should have learned from god fearing men of old. From Athanasius against Arius to Augustine against Pelagius to Luther against Rome. More recently we should have learned from Martyn Lloyd Jones against Ecumenism. His bold stand against mixing truth with grave error. He saw the danger on the horizon and not only warned of it but took a Christ honoring stand against it. His reasoning:
There is no real fellowship and unity in a group of people where some believe in the ‘wrath of god against sin’ and that it has already been ‘revealed from heaven’ (Romans 1:18), and others not only do not believe in the wrath of God at all, but say that it is almost blasphemous to teach such a thing, and that they cannot believe in a God who is capable of wrath. Fellowship exists only among those who believe, as the result of the operation of the Holy Spirit, these essential truths concerning man’s lost estate-that we are all ‘by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3)- and the action of god in Christ Jesus for our salvation and restoration. There is no fellowship between people who believe that and those who believe something else, which they may call a gospel but which as, Paul tells the Galatians, ‘is not a gospel’ (Galatians 1:6-7).
There is an irreducible minimum , without which the term “Christian” is meaningless, and without subscribing to which man is not a Christian…There is to be no discussion about “the foundation”. If men do not accept that , they are not brethren and we can have no dialogue with them.
Those who question and query, let alone deny the great cardinal truths that have been accepted through the centuries, do not belong to the church, and to regard them as brethren is to betray the truth.*
We should have learned and I pray that, we do and, are learning. As Lloyd Jones told John Stott of their disagreement and how others perceived it as a clash of personalities, “They cannot distinguish between principles and personalities.”*
Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,
*The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 20:24–32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
*Murray, Iain. The Fight of Faith. Illinois: Banner of Truth, 2009. Print. P.428-429
*Ibid. P. 768