Someone my father greatly admired once told him, “If you can’t say anything good about another person, don’t say anything at all.” The godly intent behind this advice so gripped my father that he genuinely tried to live by this principle. He also often repeated this advice to his children, attempting to make a similar impression upon them. While this may be a good general principle by which to live, there are certainly needed exceptions. It is only prudent to warn others about a child molester, a dishonest businessman, those who sell drugs, an ungodly liar, or those with dangerously bad doctrine.
Many Christians in our present day have become convinced it is wrong to say anything negative about those who promote religious error. Their politically-correct concept is that we should only focus on the positive and what we have in common with others in doctrine. But we would do well to re-examine such a perspective. In Mathew Chapter 23, the Lord Jesus took such a strong, vocal, stand against religious error that it must have made the hair of some stand on end. The Savior repeatedly said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” (Matthew 23:14, 15, 23, 25, 27). He called them “blind guides” (vs. 16), “fools” (vs. 19), and “serpents” (vs. 33). The Lord Jesus Christ took such a strong stand against these religious leaders because their spiritual influence was making others “twofold more the child of hell” (vs. 15). They clung to man-made traditions while they “omitted…faith” (vs. 23). They consistently opposed true men of God (vs. 34) and were “full of…iniquity” (vss. 27-28). In godliness, the Apostle Paul likewise aggressively opposed false teachers who were leading other souls to eternal damnation. He warned others to separate themselves from those who would “pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7-8). In II Timothy 2:16-18, he even named names because they were “overthrow[ing] the faith of some.”
We are not advocating we should be looking for a fight, to dwell frequently on the negative, or constantly expose the false doctrine of others. However, the above examples should remind us there are times when taking a vocal stand is needed and appropriate. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Therefore, when sound and trusted Bible teachers warn you against spiritual dangers, thank them for their vigilance. Then, be a Berean searching “the Scriptures daily, [to see] whether these things be so” (Acts 17:11).
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