** NOTE: I have gone back & forth about whether or not to actually write about it (not in detail & not with gossip) but I then remembered that the point of this blog is to be vulnerable & share how the truth found in God’s Word intersects with daily life and that includes the messy parts too. So, I will not divulge anything that may identify someone else, but I will tell you how God is growing me through it. “It” being losing a dear friend when I stood up for Biblical truth.
My heart broke in a hundred pieces. I cried all day long and my stomach had a pit in it the size of Antarctica. I was literally sick to my stomach because of grief.
I lost a dear friend in the span of a couple hours. In no way do I think that God was not honored. The falling out came because I was desperately calling her back to Scriptural truth as a professing Christian. I don’t doubt that she loves God, but it’s gut-wrenching when I saw the adherence to extra-biblical authority which I found & quoted to be heretical, which means it was in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. Not only contradictory to the Bible but also contradictory to her own Statement of Beliefs document as well.
Realizing that standing up for sound doctrine is not easy, it is even less so when you are also (knowingly) hurting a friend in the process. And then I realized something profound.
As much as my heart was hurting and sorrowful for my friend, God’s heart hurts like this all the time.
He sees His beloved creation wandering and following other gods – whether it be idols of proposed “gods”, money/success, family, “happiness”, or simply being deceived with something that resembles the truth but is not – and His heart is filled with sorrow at the loss of relationship.
I want to be clear that I continue to deeply love my friend. I continue to pray for her and I have no ill thoughts or feelings toward her at all. Just the opposite actually. My heart yearns for her spiritual health.
I was a crying mess for a few days and I still feel the loss. However, God’s glory & Biblical truth are more important than ensuring everyone’s “ok”. We are shown examples of people standing up for sound doctrine throughout the whole Bible & we are urged to it as well. God has given me peace about it, and I know I did the right thing even when it resulted is a severed friendship.
Obedience to Scripture as the infallible word of God is more important than “keeping the peace”.
Fear of offending a friend is not a reason to refuse to address serious spiritual fallacy.
Confronting the misleading of your friends may damage your relationship, but it honors the Lord in grace and truth.
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” — Proverbs 27:5-6
I am reminded of several verses which strengthen me during this time.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” — Matthew 10:34-39 (in which Jesus tells us that we ought to care more about Him & His truth than being accepted by even our families and friends)
When inspecting extra-Biblical “authorities” you need a few things:
- KNOW YOUR BIBLE! If you do not know what the Bible says, you will not know the false teachings of additional writings that are being held up as an additional authority to it. You will not be able to discern the contradictions that are cloaked within other teachings.
- PRAY! Pray fervently for Truth to spring forward and convict, bringing others to repentance as they truly see and grasp the glory of God found in the Gospel. Pray against works-based systems that teach people that what they do plays a part into whether or not they are saved. Works & deeds have nothing to do with salvation, though they are necessary in the practical walking out of our faith. They are merely evidence of our faith, not the source for it.
- WISE COUNCIL! Accountability to the inerrancy of Scripture and toward the grace and hope we profess. Have a support system that you can raise questions with and accept feedback and quite possibly rebuke. Accountability with like-minded, strong, growing Christians is necessary for evaluating the things we read and hear.
- A HEART TO SEE PEOPLE REDEEMED AND EXPERIENCE FREEDOM FROM THE LAW! If you don’t have a desire to see others walking in the Light, to be set free from all the encumbrances of this life and have assurance of their presence with God, then you ought not to open your mouth at all. See 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Passages urging us to reject false teachers & false prophets:
“Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” — 1 Timothy 6:2b-5
“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.” — 1 Timothy 6:20-21
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” — Galatians 1:6-9 (in which Paul pleaded with Galatian believers to not leave the gospel of truth and follow a different teaching).
2 Peter 2
2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Even Paul shed tears while admonishing, exhorting, & pleading with people to stay true to the Biblical truth of the Gospel (Acts 20:29-31)
An overview of false prophets and false teachers in the Bible
The Gospel Coalition posted an article on the mandate to reject false teaching while also being charitable & gracious, with A Sampling of Paul’s Instructions Regarding False Teachers & Sound Doctrine. While I am not a pastor, I do think that believers with the spiritual gifts of teaching, shepherding and discernment have a “responsibility to both teach the truth and respond to error.”