by Matt Slick
‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand,’ (Ezekiel 33:6).
This section on preachers and teachers is a sad necessity. Some will say it amounts to a witch hunt for only the negative in people who don't agree with CARM's particular brand of Christianity. Others will see it for what it is intended to be: an examination of preachers and teachers and testing them against Scripture.
"A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough," (Gal. 5:9).
It takes very little poison to harm someone. A few drops of arsenic added to a drink can kill, even though the majority of the drink is fine. So too with false teaching. It isn't the majority of the good stuff that that is a concern. It is the small amount of error. Some error does not affect one's salvation, but others do.
If someone were to teach that the rapture isn't going to happen at all, that doesn't make the person a dangerous teacher. But, if that same person said that Jesus was not God, then it would mean the person is violating one of the essentials of the faith and that person should be avoided. Just a single error - of the right kind - is dangerous.
So, when we examine various teachers and preachers, we aren't so much concerned with the differences of opinion in the non-essentials. We are interested in the issues that concern the health of church and the proper representation of biblical theology. Therefore, we are concerned with their views in areas such as...
- Affirming its complete sufficiency and inspiration
- Using God's word in a manner that is consistent with its context
- Extra biblical revelation
- Claiming revelation knowledge directly from God.
- Harmony with the essentials of the Christian faith
- God: The Trinity, monotheism, the immutability of God, the holiness of God
- Jesus: Second person of the Trinity, his two natures, his permanent indwelling as man, his physical resurrection, his sinless life, his priesthood and intercession
- Man: Man's sinful nature, utter helplessness to save ourselves, not being divine (i.e., little gods), fallen nature, original sin, call to repentance and holiness
- Atonement: The atonement of Christ was completely finished on the cross, vicarious, efficacious, legal
- Salvation: salvation by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone
- Baptism: a ceremony for Christians, but not necessary for salvation
- The call to men as leaders in the church
- Women are not to be pastors and elders
- The Church is to equip the body of Christ, not make it dependent upon the teacher/preacher
- Seeker sensitivity - is the service aimed at unbelievers or believers?
- Emergent church
- Christ centered sermons verses moralistic preaching.
- Are they asking for money - this is not wrong, but it is important
Today's Errors Include...
There are many false teachings within the Christian church today. Some of them include saying that we are little gods, that Christ died in order to make us wealthy, that Christ lost his divine nature after being crucified and regained it later, that homosexuality is just an alternative lifestyle, that abortion is acceptable, that salvation is maintained by our good works, etc. These and other profound errors attack the very fabric of Christian truth. This is why we have to be diligent, to examine everything (1 Thess. 5:21), and to use Scripture as our final authority (2 Tim. 3:16).
The seriousness with which all Christians should take God's word, and examine those who teach it, cannot be overstated. We teachers are in for it on the Day of Judgment if we don't teach properly.
"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment," (James 3:1).
It is not our desire at CARM to look only for dirt on people. In fact, it is with sadness that we examine the preachers and teachers within Christianity and seek to identify any problems - problems that are, unfortunately, way too profound and common. But, we are obligated to compare all things to Scripture, to use sound judgment, to promote the truth of God's word, and denounce all who would oppose and misuse it. So, may these examinations of various preachers and teachers be used by God to inform his body and also, by his grace, to help those who are teaching falsely to repent.