Know Your Bible
June 2001

"I Don't Go Along With All That My Church Does!"

There are many people today who willingly and knowingly fellowship error. When their unscriptural practices are pointed out, they say, "I don't believe everything my church teaches" or the statement in the title of this article. Are you one of those people? Are you willing to even admit that you realize that the church of which you are a member is getting farther and farther from the truth of the Bible? Many people are very uncomfortable with such things as the social, recreational, and entertainment craze that many churches are involving themselves in. But let it be understood there are many other things in addition to these.

Let me raise this question: Does recognizing and then denying wrongdoing in the church of which you are a member , free you from all responsibility in the matter? Let's put it like this: Can a person close his eyes to error and willingly stay in a group that he knows is doing things contrary to what the Bible teaches? Are we willing to let the Bible give the answer? God says, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11). "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth." (Titus 1:13,14). From these verses we must conclude that one cannot continue to have fellowship with those who are believing and practicing error. Rather, he has the responsibility to reprove and warn them. Yet, if no one raises their voice to oppose, by their silence they give consent and thereby become a partaker of wrongdoing.

How can one repent of an error while at the same time be a member of a church which believes and practices error? For one to repent of error, he must completely give up that error. As long as a person is a member of a church that has error, he is associated with error and is identified with error.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:13 "..Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." Those who are in a church that has error will be rooted up along with others at the last day. Those who recognize error in the churches in which they are members need to come out and be identified with the people of God.

We cannot help but believe there are those of you reading this bulletin who do not agree with the beliefs and practices of the church of which you are a member. We must all ask ourselves the question of who are we trying to please in religion. Is it man or God? There can be the wrong motive for the religion we have. "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10). If we seek to please men, it will not matter whether we condone things that the Scriptures condemn and give our silent consent to things that God does not approve of. But if our religion is to please men, "I should NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST".

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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"It's Not Doctrine, But The Way One Lives That Counts!"

Often the above statement is made by individuals. Sometimes they are heard to say, "It matters not what one believes so long as he is sincere!" I've often wondered if people who make such statements have really thought about what it is they are saying. Indeed, Satan has done quite an effective job of leading people to believe that the doctrine one believes and teaches has nothing to do with his eternal salvation.

The Bible clearly teaches that it does make a difference what one believes and teaches. The wrong doctrine can make worship vain (empty, meaningless). "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9). We have a charge to teach the right doctrine (truth). "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do." (1 Timothy 1:3,4). We are to attain unto good doctrine. "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained." (1 Timothy 4:6). We have a responsibility to withdraw from anyone who does not teach doctrine which is according to holiness. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." (1 Timothy 6:3-5). Not all doctrine is sound (true). In fact, many turn their ears away from the truth. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:2-4). Those who teach such things, as commandments that are of man's origin, are to be rebuked. "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth." (Titus 1:13,14). To not remain within the confines of the gospel of Christ is to be without God. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John 9-11).

Error (false doctrine) will eat our souls like canker or gangrene eats our flesh. "And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:17,18). Yes, false doctrine grows worse and worse. Those who put the emphasis on moral living and none on true doctrine would like to believe that these men in this passage were guilty of some gross immoral conduct. However, in these verses the reference is to what these two men were teaching; in other words, their doctrine. They were teaching that "the resurrection is past already".

Those who say it matters not what one believes as long as he lives right are absolutely mistaken. It makes a difference whether a person believes and teaches something that is Scriptural or not! Error condemns!

Let us not overlook one other thing in this passage of 2 Timothy 2:17,18. Notice that BOTH THE TEACHER AND THE FOLLOWERS ARE REJECTED! What these two men were teaching was overthrowing (destroying) the faith of those who believed the teaching. Hymenaeus and Philetus were condemned and so were all who believed their doctrine. Jesus said it like this, "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matthew 15:14). Both the blind leaders and the blind followers would suffer the same fate. In Titus 1:10-11 is recorded: "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."Also in 2 Peter 2:3, we read, "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." Can we not see from these passages that any who are believing and practicing error are condemned whether they are teaching the error, believing the error, or following (practicing) the error?

For this reason we need to realize the responsibility and necessity of doing what is commanded in 1 John 4:1."Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Let us "try" (put to the test) everything we hear, believe, and are following. God's word, the Scriptures, is the only measuring stick by which we can do such a task. It's not one man's opinion verses another person's opinion. It must be what God has said on the matter.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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