Doctrine or Love? The False Choice
2 Timothy 2:25-26
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
The emergent movement that is infiltrating the church body all over the world at a rapid rate is being accepted and taken on as truth by many. Their whole agenda, as subtle and sneaky as it is, is to replace God’s Word with tolerance. They de-emphasise knowing the Bible’s contents and focus on what they call love. You may be thinking that this doesn’t sound so bad so far because after all, God is love.
However this is where the lie enters because they are in actual fact, redefining love. By using words like ‘love’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘humanity’, people are lulled into a false sense of belief that this movement is doing God’s will. They teach that the ‘loving’ thing to do is embrace sin, which means accepting and supporting those who are professing to be a Christian, yet are outwardly choosing to live in sin. It may not always be easy to recognise, but this is where the root agenda rests. Of course they won’t say it like that; they’ll dance around the truth and say things like, ‘we need to love one another like Christ loves’ and ‘we need to make people feel comfortable’.
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t love one another or make people feel welcome, but this is where the deceit comes in, by playing on people’s emotions and telling them that love is what it’s all about, and then polluting minds into believing that the kind of love they’re teaching is what true love is. This is very slightly pulling people off our central focus—Jesus! What this is doing, is teaching a different type of love, which is a different Jesus.
2 Corinthians 11:4
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
And the way to know whether it is a counterfeit or not, is by using our Bible to measure it and see if it lines up or not.
We need to get our definition of love from the Word of God!
Remember that the enemy is continually prowling around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) and he is very cunning so he presents lies, dressed up as truth. We don’t want to be fooled into thinking that this sort of thing could never happen to us, or that we would see it well before it entered our hearts.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve was convinced by Satan’s ploy and fell straight into his trap by succumbing to her own desires. But how did Satan successfully deceive Eve? He did it by using a false sense of love. He played on her emotions and twisted God’s words to make it seem like God was withholding something special from her. Satan even re-worded and twisted God’s command, posing the question, “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1)
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
Notice that Eve’s outward senses were stimulated. Instead of holding steadfast to God’s Word, she allowed her flesh to be temporarily satisfied by sin.
We can all relate to this because we’ve all made that same decision to yield to temptation at some point or another, but we need to recognise the subtle way in which the enemy comes in to steal, kill and destroy. He uses what’s worked for him since the beginning of time, offering selfish pleasures.
So what appears to be loving, in actual fact is causing destruction.
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.
The Bible states that the love of most will grow cold in the end days, so if most will turn away from the faith, we need to be aware so we don’t become entangled in lies, but always remain in the truth. People are going to betray and hate each other. These are strong words but it shows us that we need to understand the severity of how powerful this delusion will be.
The people you have within your circle of Christian family and friends right now is going to look very different, very soon. Who you think is genuine, may not be, and who you think is authentic, may be fake. It is not for us to judge who is or isn’t saved. That is God’s business. However, it is up to us to stay alert and be watchful so we’re not ensnared by false preachers, always scrutinising the teachings we hear and examining the Bible to make sure it’s Scriptural (Acts 17:11).
If we aren’t equipped with the knowledge of the Word of God, then we are like a naked child running through a battlefield: exposed, vulnerable and an easy target. God has given us all we need through His written Word, but it’s up to us to ensure that we identify its value and actually read it so the truth can take precedence in our heart (Romans 12:2).
Because while we have the Word continually running through our spirit and soul, when a devious false teaching comes our way, we will be able to see through the deception and know it for what it really is, a destructive dart from the enemy, and quickly return it to sender, not allowing it to penetrate or cause confusion.
The emergent church has successfully branded those who don’t agree with their agenda as ‘unloving’, ‘radical’, ‘extremists’ and ‘fundamentalists’.
Our God is holy, pure and just (1 Samuel 2:2), and He has commissioned us to love one another (John 13:34), but the word ‘love’ has been so distorted these days that we have been trained to think that it is unloving to be honest and speak God’s truth. And we end up staying silent when we should be standing up. When people around you are saying we need to just love, what they’re really meaning is they want to suppress the truth. Love does not mean hiding truth because the truth is what makes us free (John 8:32)! Love does not mean staying silent. Many biblical men of God had to arise and make a stand, no matter what the outcome.
Have you ever heard a parent say they love their child, then in their actions they allow that child freedom to roam the streets at night, watch all kinds of shows that are not age-appropriate, don’t command respect when spoken to in a rebellious tone etc. Although in their words they say they love their child, they’re actually not loving them at all because that child is raising itself with no real guidance from their parent.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
Every child is in desperate need of being raised in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6) because sin is bound up in his heart.
He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
As difficult as it can be to receive or even give discipline, the Bible tells us that it is necessary and that it will do us good. To correctly discipline, is to love. So we can see here that love is not just all fuzzy and warm, but it also chastises.
After Jesus, Paul was the greatest grace preacher of all, yet on several occasions, he had to deal with the hard situations and make tough choices—yet all those decisions were done out of love.
1 Corinthians 5:1-5
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife... As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this... hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
This was an extremely hard situation that Paul was dealing with here and it required much wisdom and discernment. Worldly wisdom would suggest that the loving thing to do would be to let the man be, after all, he’s not hurting anyone. Godly wisdom, which is the kind of wisdom Paul used, was to not only confront the man on this sin, but also have him put out of the church.
Does this kind of behaviour come across as unloving to you? If it does, then you seriously need to re-adjust your way of thinking to what the Bible teaches because this behaviour was what was necessary for not only the church’s protection, but also for helping the man to admit that what he was doing was wrong. It was out of love that Paul came to such a conclusion in this circumstance.
Think of it like this; say a man who had leprosy, which is a highly-contagious flesh-eating disease, didn’t care about whether he infected others with the disease or not, was trying to enter a house where a family lived. Now it would be irresponsible for the father of that house to allow the diseased man into his home because he would risk his family contracting the deadly germ. Likewise, it is irresponsible for the pastor to allow anything that is not of God to enter their church; false teachings or professing Christians blatantly living in sin, unrepentant.
2 Timothy 2:17
Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
Now that we’ve established that worldly love (which is filtering through churches today) differs from God’s love, and that in order to know what is loving, we need to refer to the Bible, what about teaching sound doctrine? What is the loving thing to do when someone comes to you teaching a doctrine that is not biblical?
2 John 1:10
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him.
Again we see here that we are not to play around with this sort of thing, and for good reason. Learning a wrong doctrine is hugely damaging to our walk with the Lord and can place us on the wrong path where we’ll end up disillusioned and confused.
The Bible tells us not to receive these people into our house, nor even greet them! That’s pretty harsh don’t you think? Well, this hard-hitting attitude is of utmost necessity in order to guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Let’s not permit ourselves to fall victim to the enemy’s tricks by learning wrong doctrines—these false teachings desensitise people into conforming to the world’s beliefs bit by bit, a little at a time.
1 Timothy 4:1
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
While we’re in this world, we need to always be on guard and of sober-mind, keeping ourselves drenched in God’s Word to ensure we are sincerely and purely devoted to Christ.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
Emotional worship is not true worship. And what I mean by that is where the scene has been set with the right mood lighting that’s visually appealing (eyes), soft-sounding music (ears), feel-good lyrics (mouth), comfortable room temperature (touch) and a heightened moment of inner feelings being tantalised, it can be a false sense of worship because it’s enticing you to rely on your physical feelings alone. There certainly can be times of true worship in this, however, all those ‘things’ are not necessary in order to have the Holy Spirit show up so to speak. Remember what we saw with Eve and how she was lured in with the wrong pretences? We can worship our heavenly Father, anywhere, anytime. Like Paul did when he was imprisoned where it would’ve been dingy and cold, dark, and there wouldn’t have been any music (except the sound of his voice), yet the Holy Spirit was with him and he was full of the presence of God. Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
The problem with churches having to set the scene for worship means people are entering into a false kind of worship by learning to be moved by how they feel, not by the Spirit of God. It’s all become a hyped-up experience which may tug on your heart strings, but sadly, alot of the time it is merely your own emotions that are being carried away.
Once again, we need to know what love really is so we are able to enter into a time of genuine worship to our Lord.
What about the term ‘grace’ that has been so cheaply thrown around nowadays. Many are using grace as a licence to sin, saying that ‘we’re covered anyway’ and that ‘grace means we don’t have to worry about repenting’. How does this fit into the equation?
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
When Jesus came, He brought with Him grace and truth. You can’t have one without the other. They go hand in hand. Grace is not being accepting of anything and everything because grace is always with truth!
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Delivering the truth in love is the very essence of Jesus—grace and truth! This is a fundamental element for all believers to take hold of and live by.
In Paul’s writings to Timothy, he mentions two people whom he handed over to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 1:18-20
Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
These men had rejected the truth—so Paul lovingly put them out from among the others, marking them and confronting the issue. He didn’t sit quiet and say nothing so as to ‘keep the peace’ as some might say. It is not peaceful to allow wrong beliefs to sit within the church causing havoc, these divisive people need to be outed and dealt with in a biblical manner so that they repent of their evil ways and turn to the Lord.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
One who is born again will already have a heart of continual repentance, which is why we, as soon as we muck up and make a mistake, repent of it and move on. It does not mean that we simply stay in the sin and accept it, nor do we accept or condone others who are choosing to live in sin.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
The last line is a very clear indication that even approving or supporting those things is not right. So being open-minded and tolerant towards those who practice these things is unbiblical, and a believer cannot condone it. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reading the whole Word and not just focusing on the areas that we like to read. Even though there are some sections that can be difficult to grasp, when we accept it all as God-breathed truth (2 Timothy 3:16), this is when the power follows and God’s wisdom is imparted into us.
So when an ungodly movement enters the church saying half truths, you will be able to distinguish the hidden agenda and warn others of the danger.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
If we say we love Jesus, then we will love all of His Word, because He is the Word!
-- By Jenny Ayling