The third faithful saying found in Paul’s Pastoral Epistles focuses on false teaching in the church and the absolute need to reject any and all teaching that is contrary to the Word of God. Entertaining false teaching leads to an abandonment of the faith and eternal perdition. This third faithful saying is found in 1 Timothy chapter four.
1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11These things command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:1-11
We have to keep in mind that there are some who depart from the faith and give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Not all teachers and leaders in the church are heretics. However, too many give way to those who have substituted a false eisegesis of Scripture in place of the truth. This false teaching often comes from the early church and is propagated in today’s church leadership through Christian seminaries and theological institutions that promote the false teachers’ ideas. It is not coincidental that apostasy has spread like a flood engulfing the visible church in its destructive tide. Notice that man-made ordinances accompany the lies. The Catholic Church forbids marriage for its leadership; this man-made ordinance is right alongside of their false doctrines. The Catholic Church can trace its heresy back to Augustine. Today there is ecumenical reconciliation between the Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations; Augustine was also embraced by many of the reformers. Heresy from the Catholic Church also permeates the nominally evangelical church through contemplative practices, which focus on mystical experiences that are based on pagan and occult practices derived by Catholic mystics. So it is apparent that the deceiving spirits that led Augustine astray are working today, the demonic doctrines have varied very little.
Another religious institution entrenched in false teaching is the Muslim religion. They curse any who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world. They reject certain foods, calling them unclean, and have many other man-made ordinances alongside of their false teaching. The false teaching they promote is also impacting the nominally evangelical church through those who have embrace Islam, Allah, Mohammed, and the Koran as equivalent with Christianity, God, Jesus Christ and the Bible. There was a letter written by Muslim clerics to American pastors a few years ago called “A Common Word Between Us and You”. Pastors from our country responded and in their response placed Allah and God, Mohammed and Jesus Christ, the Koran and the Bible, right alongside one another and compared them favorably to one another. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels both signed the letter from the American pastors to the Muslim clerics. Rick Warren from Saddleback Church in Southern California has had a very aggressive outreach to Muslims. He is not only ecumenical with the Catholics, but also with Muslims.
We must reject these lies and believe the Scriptures! Marriage and food are both given by God for our good and profit. The Word of God has sanctified all foods and God blesses us in our marriages as we marry in the Lord whether a leader in the church or not. Elders are to be the husbands of one wife; obviously married elders are not a problem with God. When man-made ordinances are added to or replace the two ordinances instituted by Christ, baptism and communion, it is clear that “church” is false. If a “church” states that only those baptized by them or who take the Lord’s Supper through them are genuine believers, you can be sure they are false. The Church of Christ is one such false church because they preach a works based gospel (baptismal regeneration), and baptism has to be administered by them for the person to be saved. Our elders and pastors must be men who warn us against false teaching and teachers, exposing error, naming individuals and false churches.
Pastors and elders must reject profane fables. They must instead expose them. One such fable that comes readily to mind is the book The Shack by William Paul Young. The author blasphemes God by depicting the Trinity as a young Asian woman, an Oriental carpenter, and a black woman. Young is not a Christian and does not revere biblical doctrines in his novel, but expressly contradicts God’s Word. Many have embraced his lies, even within “Christian” leadership. Paul warns Timothy to reject this nonsense and instead pursue godliness which has promise for this life and the life to come. Godliness finds it foundation in the Word of God which teaches sound doctrine and godly behavior. Those ensnared in fables, which endorse false doctrine and perverse behavior, can only pursue a downward course the leads to greater depravity and damnation in hell.
Exposing false teaching and false teachers is a faithful work and should be accepted by all those who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason we stand up for the truth is because God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. We stand up for the truth because our Living God is loving and merciful, wanting all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. False teaching will always controvert the gospel of Jesus Christ and gainsay Jesus Christ our glorious Lord and Savior. Deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons will continuously lead men and women away from the truth and ensnare them with the lie. Those who belong to Jesus Christ and are His under-shepherds must be diligent to present the truth, expose the lie and warn their beloved brethren against false teachers and apostates. May God bless His people with His truth by His Holy Spirit. Amen!