04 May 2009

Do We Really Need to Wage War Against False Doctrine?

. . . and how evangelicalism's refusal to fight for the faith destroyed the movement
by Phil Johnson

I answered an e-mail this week from someone who suggested that we should not concern ourselves with people who teach false doctrine. "After all," this person said, quoting Gamaliel from Acts 5:38-39, "if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God."

My reply? an excerpt from a chapter I wrote for Reforming or Conforming?: Post-Conservative Evangelicals and the Emerging Church:

hristian leaders in particular are charged with the task of defending the truth against those who would twist it (Acts 20:28-31). As politically incorrect as this might sound to postmodern ears, there are abroad and within the church "many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers . . .. They must be silenced" (Titus 1:10-11). Or, in the more picturesque imagery of King James parlance, "[Their] mouths must be stopped."

How false teachers are to be silenced is one of those things in Scripture that is crystal-clear. It is not by physical force or auto-da-fé. But they are to be refuted and rebuked by qualified elders in the church who are skilled in the Scriptures, "able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" (v. 8). The duty assumes that vital truth is clear enough that we can know it with certainty. And in the battle against falsehood, Scripture prescribes a clear strategy involving exhortation, reproof, rebuke, and correction.

This is to be done patiently, not pugnaciously: "The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil" (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

And yet even within those boundaries, the defense of the faith sometimes requires a kind of spiritual militancy (1 Timothy 1:18; Jude 3). The Christian life—especially the duty of the leader—is frequently pictured in Scripture as that of warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:3-4).

So the defense of the faith is no easy task. But it is an indispensable duty for faithful Christians. Again, Scripture is not the least bit vague or equivocal about that.

Nevertheless, the defense of the faith is a duty the evangelical movement as a whole has mostly shirked for at least two decades. Since the formal dissolution of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy in September 1987, evangelicalism as a movement has never fully mobilized for the defense of any point of doctrine—even in the wake of seismic challenges to the doctrine of God in the form of Open Theism—and despite recent assaults on the penal, propitiatory, and substitutionary aspects of Christ's atoning work. It is no longer safe to assume that someone who calls himself "evangelical" would even affirm such historic evangelical nonnegotiables as the exclusivity of Christ or the necessity of conscious faith in Christ for salvation. Recently, it seems, the evangelical movement's standard response to that kind of doctrinal slippage has looked like nothing more than cynical insouciance.

Such trends represent nothing less than the abandonment of true evangelical principles. Historic evangelicalism has always had the gospel at its center. The name itself reflects that, and it also denotes a particular stress on the doctrinal content of the gospel message. Yet the typical message proclaimed in many mainstream evangelical churches—including some of the best-known and most influential megachurches—was long ago reduced to a set of simplistic, solipsistic aphorisms ("God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life"; "accept Jesus as your personal savior.") The message is sometimes overlaid with moralistic platitudes and a conservative, mostly-secular political agenda. In fact, a lobbyist's commitment to a handful of morally-related political issues is about as close to anything serious as you will find in the average evangelical community. So the message communicated to the world at large sounds like a social and cultural commentary driven by Republican-party politics. Gone are the clarion notes of personal guilt, the redemption of the soul, and the real meaning of the cross—which, after all, Scripture says is the one message worth proclaiming (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Why fight for a message that doesn't even have Christ crucified at the center anyway? Contemporary evangelicals have utterly neglected and virtually forgotten almost everything truly distinctive about historic evangelicalism. They have broadened their boundaries to include beliefs they once viewed as beyond the pale. They have now forgotten what the boundaries were all about in the first place. Meanwhile, with the gospel no longer at evangelicalism's heart and hub, the entire evangelical subculture has begun to seem like a kind of spiritual black hole, where bad ideas spawned at the fringes are sucked one after another into the void at the center.

Phil's signature


Reforming Baptist said...

Great observation, that's what we as fundamentalists have been saying for years!!!!

I'm glad someone has finally noticed.

Unknown said...

With all due respect Dr. Johnson that is simply not true. The Reformed wing of evangelicism has been doing this sense the more ''main-life'' evangelicals have compromised themselves into obsessing over the pre-trib. rapture, abortion, gay marriage, and electing George W. Bush. Things like T4G (Where 2008 was entirely about defending the cross and the one in 2006 addressed Clark Pinnock), the Gospel Coalition (where there was a call back to ''first things'' (1 cor. 15) and the revitalisation of reformed ministries (Ligonier, GTY, Banner of Truth, ect... from a select few- no punn intended in the 80's and 90's to a multigenerational gathering that leans young) is surely evidence of this. Would anyone 20 years ago would have thought that this year's shepherd's conference would have been so young and full despite a global economic crisis? Also the creation of denominations like Sovereign Grace Ministries which is NOT historically reformed yet still is moving in the right direction brings this prebyterian much joy.

The problem is not within evangelicism rather it is the shift of power within evangelicism. For decades the arminians have held power and wanted to work on social reform and now that the passion is on the calvinistic side tension is bound to come up. Carl F. henry, JI Packer, Colson, (or even a Russel Moore) ect... were far more likely to collaborate with Roman Catholics and the Orthodox than an Albert Mohler, D.A. Caron, or even a Tim Keller (despire my problems with him). Many those on the arminian side have, to be frank, abbandoned the faith once and for all delievered to the saints as they went off to University and while of course this happens in the Reformed camp from anecdotal experience it just does not happen as often. As Obama may have destroyed the religious right and many Americans got sick of their obsession on 2 issues but refuse to address others so they lost much funding, passion, and self-identity. The Reformed folk lost power in the 2nd great aweakening and just now are starting to maybe make a come back (whether or not this is lasting of just a fad I do know). But over all your judgment on evangelicals not willing to make theological judgment I found simplistic and ignored the entired thesis put out by David Wells. Even emergents (which I would consider evangelicals in an american sociological sense) make theological judgments---just wrong ones.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Do We Really Need to Wage War Against False Doctrine?"If a blogger does so, she or he may be labeled a "watchblogger" or a "heresy hunter".

"And yet even within those boundaries, the defense of the faith sometimes requires a kind of spiritual militancy (1 Timothy 1:18; Jude 3)."If a blogger does so, she or he may be labeled a "watchblogger" or a "heresy hunter".

"Since the formal dissolution of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy in September 1987, evangelicalism as a movement has never fully mobilized for the defense of any point of doctrine"Most unfortunate since the attack on Inerrancy (and by extension it is an attack on the Authority, the Inspiration, the Sufficiency, the Clarity) of Scripture has fiercely continued. It's not just the attacks on Inerrancy from unbelievers that's troublesome, it's the attacks on it from theological liberals PLUS the repudiation and distancing of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy from reputed evangelicals that's been particularly irritating.

tim said...

Thank you for a very clear message. I've been battling for years with what Michael Horton described as "therapeutic Deism" in our church.

CBC Portugal Missions said...

Agreed! We should contend for the faith...once delivered unto the saints. Especially since we have verse 4 of Jude - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." We need to spend more time contending for the faith and not against one another.

Eric O said...

“It is not by physical force or auto-da-fé. But they are to be refuted and rebuked by qualified elders in the church who are skilled in the Scriptures, "able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" (v. 8).”

To be clear, are you on the side which believes the scripture teaching that only Elders can refute.

Or would you say others can as well.

This is of course referencing the recent rebuke of “Watch bloggers”

donsands said...

"Why fight for a message that doesn't even have Christ crucified at the center anyway?"

Yet they will fight for a message that dosen't have Christ crucified at the center.

Paul says to mark those who are false teachers in his open letter to the Christians in Rome.

It's a demanding duty the Lord our Shepherd calls His undershepherds to.
They are not only to tend and feed the Lord's flock, but protect them as well. The true pastors of God will expose the hirelings. They will fight the wolves off. And they will expose the wolves in sheepclothing.
Incredible calling the pastors of the Lord have.

The Church should never have allowed preachers to preach heresy in the pulpits, but we did.
If someone doesn't believe in the Virgin Birth, but says he is an evangelical, then we let him share his view. Sad.

The false brethren in Jude don't stand in the pulpits and say, "I'm a false teacher." They say, "I love Jesus, and here's my good news for you."

Another excellent post. Thansk.

FX Turk said...

With the dust-up over the use of the word "blameless" in Paul's letter to Titus, I can't wait to see what happens when we get to vv. 10-11, and for that matter Chapter 2.

Douglas Kofi Adu-Boahen said...

I'm encouraged by this brief article.

Pastor Andy said...

I'm interested in a little history of historic evangelicalism, any books, articles websites you might recommend? How about some good "statements of faith"? Thanks!

Nash Equilibrium said...

I love this article. Thank you. What a mess we, the church, have gotten ourselves into by failing to stand for anything (and hence falling for everything). Now it has gotten to the point that even the elders of many churches are the ones forwarding unbiblical theology as being the Truth, so what are the chances that these elders will be the ones to refute error? Nil. We have a huge hole to dig out of, God help us to do it.

Jay said...

When expressing concerns to my pastor about "Wild At Heart"'s Open Theism and other non-Scriptural teachings, the response was "We know there is some bad stuff in there, but there is enough good to allow it to be used."
My response was to ask "so a little heresy thrown into teaching our men is okay?"
I've pretty much become a black sheep in the church for daring to speak out against heresy, false teachers/teachings and seeker sensistivity.

Unknown said...

Dear Brother Phil is a little too late to imagine that the myth of "evan-jelly-calism" was ever salvageable (e.g. the pathetic joke of having Beckwith & Pinnock in the spineless ETS!), any more than "fundamentalism" or "main/old-line" groups, though as John Piper ofreadsrwten rightly points out, fundamentalists rightly understood are usually of far more redeeming character than that for which they're usually given credit. As with most such laughable fleshly labels they are misnomers mostly man's idols he likes to substitute in typical stiff-necked fashion (Act 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers, so ye.) for God and His order, as He makes clear:
2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
I was just yesterday confirmed (5/3/09) in a LCMS fellowship, and ironically, despite my reformed charismatic theology-christology-pneumatology, have sadly found I am far more in accord with true "lutheran" theology historically promulgated than even the pastors and elders, not to mention the Biblically illiterate members, who are so bad off as to think the NIV a wholly reliable/faithful translation instead of the tragic synergist eisegetical paraphrase it so manifestly is. This has been a common experience for me in the many denominations I've visited as a mere Christian vainly looking for a consistently orthodox church home reasonably close,
As a reformed charismatic I've long grieved the spiritual blindness on both sides where together they wind up agreeing to reject God's Word and Spirit in order to attack the other. Phil's mention of the ICBI brought back sad memories of how both they and their supporters only claimed to support inerrancy consistently while in practice denying it when it came to Genesis creation (as did sadly foolish B. B. Warfield and contemporaries) in the blind delusion of ceding ultimate Biblical authority to modern pseudo-science in the blind failure to understand the gross bigoted incompetence and stupidity of most of its practicers with sub-NFL player intelligence. See www.creationontheweb.com.
A bird needs two wings to fly and so long as Phil and James White and company, together with the charismatics they mock and oppose who sadly give as "good" as rhey get, imagine God will let their part of Christ's Body get anywhere without the other, well all I can say is that, being a native Kansas son by birth, I've got some great Kansas City ocean front property!

Daniel C said...


Amen. I appreciate your balance on this topic, especially in light of Challies' post, which to be fair has good things to teach us IF he has not attacked the brethren in the process. Once he started to attack watchbloggers, whatever good that he says will very likely be lost.

Futbolfrk said...

Great post!


How far do we go in seeking for false doctrine? I've seen people get so caught up into the emerging movement not because they actually agreed with it, but because they were searching for every little false doctrine they could. Also, how do we know what is worth fighting over, and what is not?


Steve B said...

I not only bookmarked this post, but printed it off. This hits the nail squarely on the head, and speaks to the core of some of the problems the Church faces today.

It seems to dovetail a bit with your "Paper Pastors" post earlier.

The modern PC drive for inclusiveness and being-seeker friendly, trying so much to be attractive to the world that you can no longer tell the two apart. If we offer them nothing different than what they already have...

olan strickland said...

I answered an e-mail this week from someone who suggested that we should not concern ourselves with people who teach false doctrine.Sounds like the typical self-contradicting logic that says that Christians are to be known for what they are for but not for what they are against. However you cannot do one without the other. You cannot be for truth and not be against lies at the same time.

donsands said...

"foolish B. B. Warfield" -Russ

Never heard anyone call BB Warfield a fool before.

"Also, how do we know what is worth fighting over, and what is not?" CJ

Numero uno is the Bible. The Holy Scriptures are not that big of a deal for many in the Church today. And you have the other extreme of KJVOnlyism.

Of course the Gospel of grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone, for the glory of the Triune God alone.

Stefan Ewing said...
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Stefan Ewing said...

Pastor Andy:

Unless someone else beats me to it, I'll try to remember to put up some links later today. (No time now.)

pastorharold said...

Most of the passages listed in this very good post deal with false teaching within the church (the church you belong to). I know from scripture how church government is to work and the need to protect it's teaching.

The real problem for me is all the "other" churches in our town, and in your town. How can you tame what they are teaching? Reach the people they are misleading? How can we slow down the masses that flock to their buildings? How can we engage them with the truth?

All we have have tried over the years has failed to slow them. Exposing books have been written about almost all of these false teachers and their false teachings. Sermons have been preached on TV and radio as to their error. And public rebukes have been issued by leading conservatives, but to no avail.

Add to this all the comments from people who are in these "churches" and say "I am the only one in my church who sees what is wrong" or "I am treated like an outcast for asking questions". How do you rescue them and bring them into a solid, loving fellowship of believers. The Elijah syndrome of the last man standing seems to fill the com boxxes on the sites.

Is it wrong to be concerned about other "Churches" in your own town? Can we be burdened for those who are starving in them? Or should we just try to teach our own? Do you have any new ideas? (BTW going up on Mt Carmel and having a showdown is not the answer)

Hayden said...

I recommend that everyone read the little book called 'What is an Evangelical?' by D. MArtyn Llyod Jones. It is excellent.

I am reading a biography on JC Ryle and see how far that evangelicalism has deteriorated from his time.

Anonymous said...

In my denomination we're finding more and more blatant heresy creating problems.

I'm in a MCEC church (Mennonite conference of Eastern Canada) and there is a tradition there of pastor swapping from time to time, just moving guys around for a given Sunday morning. A good idea I think.

However, recently a pastor from another church approached our pastor about the idea that it may be time for a "Confessing Church" within the conference.
It seems that on the Sunday on which the pastors were to visit another church, the man appointed to speak in this man's pulpit didn't believe that Jesus was God.

How far have we fallen when we cannot trust a pastor, approved by a denomination, to eve n be a Christian?

Excellent post Phil. Very timely.

David said...

Great post if for no other reason than "simplistic, solipsistic aphorisms..."

The 77's from 1983:

"Eat the candy (spiritualism), Wear the blinders
(solipsism), What's it matter, anyway? (fatalism) Got a feeling
Like you're falling down a

Nash Equilibrium said...

Daryl, from my experience that is exactly the issue. Elders also cannot be trusted to be immune from getting their theology from Oprah's recommended book list. If it's just one Elder, that's a problem that can be corrected. However, by the time anyone knows what is going on, it's usually two or three Elders, and at that point its awfully hard to correct the issue.

Unknown said...


What is the biblical responsibility of a pastor when it comes to choosing to speak at conferences and the other men that will be speaking there as well? If another speaker at the conference is a false teacher, should that said pastor refuse to speak at that conference? Or would the thought process be for the pastor to speak at the conference to speak against the false teacher or provide a counterpoint?

Matt Chandler is speaking at the Catalyst conference in the fall and Rob Bell is also going to be one of the speakers there as well. Am I alone among my reformed brethren in being concerned about this? What does this say about defending the truth when pastors will share a stage with a false teacher, one that Mark Driscoll himself has even labeled as such. Where do pastors draw a line in choosing to speak at conferences and who they will share a stage with?

I know some of the more fundamental among us will point to the doctrine of separation. Is that applicable in this case? I am seriously struggling with seeing some of the most influential reformed pastors now speaking at a conference with Rob Bell and MD speaking at the Crystal Cathedral.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the memories...it's been a while since I listened to that album.

Great tunes!

Spud said...

The really interesting thing is that Gamaliel, the source of the poster's quote, was clearly incorrect! If he had been right, we wouldn't have Islam, Mormonismm JWs, Scientologists... They would have all faded away by now. Galamliel sounds so wise, and yet--he wasn't. Funny how that comment was used by God for good in the book of Acts, but has been used to promote falsehood ever since.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Spud - good point. Who ever said Gamaliel was offering up inspired, eternal truth? Clearly he wasn't - but a lot of us have never really thought that through all the way to its conclusion. But you have - thanks for sharing that.

The Blainemonster said...

pastorharold: I've had the same thoughts regarding other churches, and have almost come to the conclustion that my responsibility lies within my congregation. It seems there's plenty there to keep busy with in terms of keeping solid doctrine in the hearts and minds of the people.

Phil - "But they are to be refuted and rebuked by qualified elders in the church who are skilled in the Scriptures" I've been disturbed, and continue to be, with the fact that often the "elders" (deacons, board members, what-have-you) in churches, even my own, have very little doctrinal understanding. I don't like the way we choose or vote in our elders according to who is a "nice guy". Grrrr. Of course, if you start choosing elders according to their Christlikeness and ability to correctly handle the Word of Truth, we'd upset some people because that's judgemental. Oh dear.

FX Turk said...

CJ --

How far do we go in seeking for false doctrine? ...
Also, how do we know what is worth fighting over, and what is not?

Two great questions, and without speaking for Phil but as someone who is like-minded enough to be his fellow workman here at TeamPyro, let me offer these answers:

We should go as far as we need to go to identify and correct all false doctrine. I tried to choose my words very carefully there, so let me unpack that just a little: all error, left uncorrected, is error and will lead us to disobey God and defame the Gospel. Any person who doesn't see error this way, doesn't understand sin and doesn't understand holiness.

All errors should be sought out and corrected. The question is only whether one needs a chainsaw, a scalpel, a stick pin or the corner of a tissue to pluck the error out. And it is in this qualification that almost everyone (including me) goes astray.

This leads me to your second question, to which I would answer, While every error is worth correcting, every correction need not be a fight.

And this point rests entirely on the person offering correction and the person receiving correction. Correction doesn't have to be a fight unless one side or the other (or both in some cases) is a infantile ego.

I'd say more about it, but my lunch break is over. Mull that over for your own edification.

~Mark said...


extremely well-stated brother. That may just go on my wall as a perennial reminder.

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John said...

First, fundamentalists have not contended for the faith - they have for the most part fought for the vain tradition passed down by their fathers, and 2000 years of church history have not changed that. Second, I believe the point of the "watchblog" conversation is that correction should be as personal and public as possible (person to person, not on the net) and for the purpose of edification/restoration, while watchblogging is a primarily carnal habit designed to inflate the ego and feed the flesh while hiding behind a digital ring of Gyges. Not sure that applies here, fellas...

donsands said...

"First, fundamentalists have not contended for the faith" -John

Which fundamentalists are these? All of them? A few? Most?

Chris said...


I'd submit that one of the only reasons watchblogging even needs to exist in the first place is due to the fact that postmodernists and carnal, theological liberals of various stripes use the medium of the internet so heavily in the dispersing of their wicked lies and heresy. I, for one, am tremendously thankful for watchblogging. The personal dimension certainly does not exist in those electronic environments devoted to the recycling of ancient heresies. Furthermore, when commentors on these sites are in agreement with one-another, they certainly don't bemoan the medium and it's "impersonal" dimension; no, it is only when someone challenges their ideas that they go into script-like defense mode, claiming "uncharitable" or "legalistic" at even the suggestion that what they teach is un-Biblical. I guess it has been "really uncharitable" when I've said that some of the teachings I've found at thesae sites are not only un-Biblical, but anti-Biblical or blasphemous.

Unknown said...

"Why fight for a message that doesn't even have Christ crucified at the center anyway?"

Indeed. Yet, to the shame of the church, far too many involve themselves in politics and culture war, where their opinions are marked by selfishness, shortsightedness and blind cultural dogma.

Alexander M. Jordan said...

Thanks Phil, for again clearly reminding Christians of this critical, biblical responsibility we have-- to refute false doctrine and to preach the true gospel.

I think one of the reasons this duty is often neglected is that it is difficult work-- we need to know (and live) good doctrine well enough to defend it, and must also do the hard labor of understanding exactly why bad doctrine is bad, and know how to argue against it.

Our doctrine of who God is and how He works through the gospel affects everything we do, our entire strategy for living out our faith: how we know God's will and make wise and proper decisions; how we mature and grow in our spirituality; how we evangelize-- especially what is the content of our message; how we approach trials and suffering-- all of these and more are affected by our theology, which if unsound, leads us to into all sorts of errors, some minor and some deadly.

I am glad for blogs like yours committed to preaching right doctrine. I hope my blog Jordan's View will also be known as a defender of true Christian faith.

Grace to you,


Ron Livesay said...

Amen! Error keeps creeping into the church, just as the Scriptures predict. It is of utmost importance to "contend earnestly for the faith."

CR said...

Excellent Post

Steve said...
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Unknown said...

I do not read gossip websites that don't even make complaints with their own name. It shows theological cowardness

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

I have been recently dis-fellowshiped by some old friends because I dare to confront them with their easy acceptance of false teaching at Mars Hill Church. The fact that I was willing to point them to J. MacArthur and Phil Johnson on the issue of abuse of the Song of Songs has earned me a we-will-not-talk-to-you status with people I have known for forty years.

These gutless wonders are completely sold out to pragmatism. If MarsHillChurch "gets people saved" then it must be a work of the almighty. That kind of logic will always work with the mainstream of evangelicals who think that a growing church is a healthy church no matter how compromised the teaching. That fact that they can even stomach the standard fare at MarsHillChurch in Seattle is enough to put light years of distance between us.

I have a simple litmus test. If the preaching doesn't evidence a sort of first hand encounter with the almighty, like Isaiah, Ezekiel or Daniel, if the there is no FEAR of GOD in the tone of delivery then I am quick to conclude we are not dealing with worship of the same deity as these folks in Ballard.

Unknown said...

I say this to everyone on this blog: If you are so weak in your christian faith that you are willing to get into fights over Mark Driscoll sermons with friends then you really need to grow up. It is one thing to speak on these things in a blog article, at a preacher's conference or even a book chapter but some of you obsess about finding so called heretics (a term you throw around like its an synonym for arminian or non-calvinist) that all you do is just play the martyr and say you are defending the faith once and for all delievered to the saints when reality many of you are hate-filled preacher wannabes who have no theological training and blog about persons you have never conversed with or interacted with in a serious intellectual way. I disagree with Dr. Johnson on some things but I know when he criticizes someone he can back it up with pages of notes that we do not see. This Mark Driscoll thing seems to me very similiar to the RC Sproul JR controversy of the early millenium only this time Driscoll has a bigger blogosphere defense than Sproul JR had that protects his name.

steve s said...

I go a long way alongside Grigs on this. Driscoll is flawed! We're all flawed! (except some that regularly post on this blog's comments ;-)) Sure we need to expose (and correct) false teaching but setting our brothers up as antichrist is nothing short of the devil's work.

Unknown said...

It may be devilish pride however I love it when person's agree with me. I am not saying criticism is a bad thing (we all need it to keep us humble and to better ourselves) however many internet posters have this martyrdom complex that says ''I am contending, and all who try to make nuanced statments are just post moderns who don't have theological conviction.'' The job of exposing heresy is not the job of the every day lay-man it belongs to that of elder (specifically that of teaching elder) of a local congregation. Some persons feel gifted in that area of apolegetics well to them I would say: SHUT UP AND WHY DON'T YOU USE APOLIGETICS ON ATHEISTS RATHER THAN PERSONS WITH WHOM YOU DISAGREE ON STYLE! GOD DID NOT CALL YOU TO BE A HERESY HUNTER BUT TO A SECULAR VOCATION MOST LIKELY! DO THAT AND DO IT WELL AND DO NOT WORRY ABOUT DRISCOLL, WARREN, BELL, ECT... It is not your job! And if you know someone who is liking them send them to Phil and let him to a far better job than you ever could... that's why he gets paid the big bucks and has a good mac computer.

Jon said...


You're posts seem to me to be a convoluted mess of contradictions. "I disagree, I agree, I disagree, this is good, those guys are bad, don't get into arguments, let others do it for you, you're not worthy to argue... blah blah blah."

Oh sorry, I'm not supposed to think for myself anymore, just let the "elders" do it for me. Well sir, thanks but no thanks. I hope I'm wise enough to listen to my real elders in the body of Christ and also search the scriptures myself. Or should I get permission for that too? Nevermind, it's probably just my Pre-Trib eschatology sinking in...

Mike Riccardi said...


Since you're not my pastor, you're out of bounds and I cannot take your... whatever-that-was... seriously. I'm sure you understand.

Steve said...
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Tournifreak said...
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Steve said...
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Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Do We Really Need to Wage War Against False Doctrine?"Would the Pyromaniacs say that there is a need to declare war on the doctrine of "progressive Christianity" as promoted on this 4 minute video clip?

Anonymous said...


I believe they've done that. That video is just a rehashing of the same of Emerg*** trash.

They're pretty certain of their uncertainly, which is a funny thing in and of itself.

Chris said...


Well Said. I agree.

Every Lie of Emerg*** Rubbish (Whether it is Likewise Called Postmodern or "progressive") Belongs Back in the Hell from Which it Came...Along with All of the Ancient Heresies that are it's Devilish Parents. Satan Continues to Recycle Old Lies!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Daryl and Chris,

After watching that video and seeing how loving Liberal Christians are, I know you both want to be Progressive Christians. Don't deny it. :-)

P.S. This is a "war". And it's still going on. That means the battle is going on and on and on and ...

BTW, I speculate that the number of progressive Christians combined with their influence on others was enough to tilt the election electorally over to Obama.

Phil Johnson said...

Note to all:I'm just catching up on the comments from yesterday, and I've decided to do some housecleaning on this thread.

This post is not about SGM, so comments targeting them specifically are off limits. I don't have the facts about the disputes referenced in those comments, but this isn't the forum to air them.

Comments on the above blog-post are still welcome. Rabbit-trails that take us into realms we have neither studied nor written about anywhere on our blog are clearly off topic. Please bear that in mind.

wordsmith said...

You know it's a sad state of affairs in Christendom when people posit that waging war against false doctrine is optional (or even detrimental) for the Body of Christ. Granted not all are called to this ministry; that does not negate the necessity of the ministry, however.

The Body of Christ needs its leukocytes if it is to remain theologically healthy.

donsands said...

"False teaching undermines the gospel and as result detracts from the glory of God in it. Furthermore, by spreading their erroneous doctrines false teachers are in effect protesting the very happiness of God. ...We have a responsibility to insist that those who would be teachers in the Church handle the Word of God faithfully. ...Do not regard false teaching lightly. Consider what is at stake and insist on the clear teaching of God's law and His gospel. Do it for the love of God and people." -Tom Ascol, Excerpts from an article in May's Tabletalk.

Jon said...

I believe this applies here. For how can we be loving if we don't confront error with the truth?

Proverbs 17:15 - He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

Steve B said...

"who have no theological training"

This comment by Grigs is strangely appropo. An all too common view that unless I have a masters of divinity or have graduated from seminary that I am somehow unqualified to refute errors in Biblical doctrine.

I do not believe that this is solely a Pastor's role. I have never served from a pulpit, but have called into accountability MY pastor for misstating the Scriptures and misrepresenting Christ.

It's not an issue of qualification, but rather, obligation as a member of the body of Christ.