Whenever there is a controversy that is dividing the church, I always find that one side is defending teachers they like while the other side is just simply trying to point people to God's word. ALWAYS. Many controversies could be settled rather easily if more people would stop making idols of teachers. There are even teachers I like who I don't agree with on everything. It doesn't mean that I think they are not sincere or don't love the Lord, but it is just human to get things wrong from time to time. Yet many in the church today seem to assume that someone is questioning a teachers motive if someone questions their doctrine. Too many teachers are being defended like they are the pope of evangelicalism. When I see this happening, the pride that people take in certain teachers always brings to mind the words of the following passage...
"For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:4-7).
As apostasy in the church increases and the churches focus is increasingly taken off of God's word, controversy also increases. Whether it's controversy over rapture predictions and other false prophecies, or controversy over interfaith dialogue, or controversy over a book like The Shack, I also notice that those who are on the side that is defending the teachers will commonly respond with ad hominem attacks rather than giving an actual reason why the teacher they are defending is not in error. I see it over and over from comments on Facebook and You Tube. I see this not only in those who are defending the teacher, but also in the teacher they are defending in some cases. Any teacher who truly wants God to be glorified should not be giving people the impression that they are infallible. In my article titled God's Word is The Final Word, I let people know that I don't want anyone to just take my word for it regarding what I teach, because I am still learning along with the rest of you. There are also teachers that I have recommended on this site in the past who I could no longer recommend after seeing that they refused to receive any correction.
Making an honest mistake in your teaching is understandable, and I think all teachers have done that at one time or another. So I try to give people the benefit of the doubt if they are off on something they are teaching, and not assume that they have malicious intent. But when someone refuses to receive correction and just gets angry about a false teaching being questioned (as if they or a teacher they are following are infallible), that is what I have issue with more than anything. Whether it is a teacher getting angry (even blocking me on Facebook for respectfully disagreeing with them rather than explaining what is wrong with anything I have said), or someone who is following the teacher getting angry... I think anger is a very telling response to a teacher being taken to task, and it just shows what it is that the person getting angry truly has a passion for.
If our passion is truly for God's word, then righteous anger will be the response if His word is being intentionally misrepresented, but it is not a mature response to get angry over a teacher you like being taken to task since none of us are infallible as God's word is. I am writing this article to give people a simple solution for increasing controversies that are causing division in the church: Intimacy with God's word. God and His word go together, and you can't have intimacy with Him without knowing what He says. But it seems many are only developing a passion for the personality of teachers they like rather than for the perfect character of God Himself. As the result, their minds seem closed to the possibility that a teacher they have developed such a passion for could get anything wrong. Many of them appear to be more interested in winning a debate than actually seeing God's perfect character glorified. Regardless of what great intellect any teachers may have, one thing to keep in mind is that the glory belongs to the Lord ("I will not give my glory to another" - Isaiah 48:11), and it is therefore His character that we need a passion for since it is the only perfect character. With that being the case, I will end this article with a verse that cannot be quoted too much since it reveals how we are to keep from being lead astray in these increasingly controversial times....
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
Lets get back to pointing people to the word that we are supposed to be abiding in rather than focusing so much on defending teachers. This will not only be more worthwhile, but it will also leave a better witness than showing the world that it is teachers who we have a passion for, which only encourages their view that "you have your truth and I have mine". If God's word is our ultimate authority, then it is His truth that matters.
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