May 23, 2003

My study on church unity has led to another very interesting (and relevant) thread: false teachers. The New Testament writers make it pretty clear that false teachers are to be avoided at all costs. It would seem to make sense, then, that if you found your church was being led by false teachers, you'd be Biblically justified in leaving it. Of course, even this black-and-white teaching isn't as clear as it might seem. For example, where do you draw the line between those who are false teachers and those who are simply in error and in need of correcting? (Perhaps on this side of those who unrepentantly distort the Scriptures; see 2Pe 3:16 and most of the book generally.) And what about the many areas where we as Christians have legitimate differences in the "non-essential" areas of doctrine? (Perhaps on this side of those who get consumed with the "foolish controversies" of Ti 3:9-11.)

What about other uncomfortable church situations that don't involve false teaching? The implication (always a dangerous word when dealing with the Bible) seems to be that those who belong to "screwed up" churches should stick it out and work to "unscrew" the situation. The Revelation letter to the church in Thyatira (and less explicitly, the Sardis letter) may be relevant.

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