Honest Bible teachers do not evade the Truth

by | Posted May 29th at 5:01am

“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your Word, which is truth” (John 17:17 NLT)

Jesus is referred to as the express character of God, revealing His father’s love and His maxims expressed in His Word to mankind. He said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV) He came to reveal a new way of thinking about love, about grace, mercy, and forgiveness – a way of freedom from guilt and the eternal consequences of sin. Apostle John says that the Word of God is truth and is a standard to rely on.

Jesus also told His disciples to adhere to and seek truth from the Holy Spirit: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:3 NIV) The Bible’s view of the truth of our Lord, in our focal verse is to make men holy, separate from the world, aside from those knowingly contradicting or evading truth made intelligible via scripture alone.

Jesus quoted Jeremiah when He taught that many have ears but cannot hear, many have eyes, but they cannot see (Jeremiah 5:21). He sought to teach the blind who were misled by the blind guides — the leaders of Israel — who did not follow scripture accurately but rather twisted it for their own ends.

I have thought a great deal about why a man or a woman might not align with any truth when clearly presented, whether in life or scriptural discretion. I get that atheists could care less as they live by a determined ungodly philosophy. Christians, on the other hand, seeking to be more like Christ, to my mind, should desire truth. To evade truth revealed in scripture, they would need to go against conscience, and evade the facts of “it is written” clearly presented.

Why church leadership is culpable where biblical error persists Generally, church goers are passive concerning theologically based scriptural study. Most congregations rely on their pastoral leadership. There is a distinction between dependence and dishonesty. A Christian who has accepted Christ’s work on the cross and is fully justified by faith may be passive regarding weighing scriptural evidence concerning truth versus blatant error. Believing something he or she has merely gone along with in a denomination — the social consensus of accepting a prevalent view – though it is not academically admirable, it is not necessarily dishonest, nor does it necessarily involve deliberate evasion of truth to sustain a specific misunderstood view. Even pastors who focus on preaching Christ crucified, and express the love and mercy of God, might prefer a slogan to avoid controversy in their tenure such as “I don’t get into theology”.

Sadly, many scriptural errors can be found promulgated in many active churches that do preach Christ crucified. Let me illustrate. Say a leader in the limelight taught something wacko, and all the pastoral leaders that you know agreed. What if an acclaimed regional or national leader stood up and taught the laity that the plan of salvation was made after the fall of man as follows: “The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race”? And let’s say that you know this can’t be true because the Bible is decisive on this point – it says the opposite about God’s foreknowledge about Yahweh’s son working with Him to reconcile mankind: “who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus”. (2 Timothy 1:9-10 ESV) And collectively, what if you found over fifty such scriptural errors published and distributed worldwide as an ongoing commentary to “enlighten the Word of God” in your own church?

The key to knowing if a leading elder or pastor is evading the truth If a man of God, as a senior leader called to teach the Word accurately, sees the need to think about an issue which contradicts scripture, and has some idea of how to go about dealing with it, and then fails to do independent and interdependent query, fails to study or assess the concern, and fails to demand an open forum — if he fails to lead his flock into the solid ground of scriptural truth — then he’s dishonest, because he’s evading biblical facts that he discerns oppose a false reality. Regardless if it’s a motive of laziness, parasitism, or he’s afraid he’ll be defrocked or lose his pension, or he just wants to be popular or desires more power — he just shuts his mind down to the Spirit’s leading and goes along with the error.

This is individually immoral before the Lord, especially regarding the man who has a high degree of reasoning powers in the sense that he’s deliberately rejecting his conscience – the Spirit’s revelation to his mind to now correctively share with his laity. Doing that requires sustained blindness to a call to review truth, terrifying evasion, ongoing evil, side-stepping reformative action, and therefore it is degradingly dishonest before the judgement seat of God. It is a moral tragedy within the church body when a leader inflicts self-deception. It is reverse mutiny turned on his flock. Leaders are often politically fearful of crossing sword points with the brethren. Yet their cowardly conduct is observed in heaven by the higher counsel, by the 24 elders who hear the prayers of God’s elect (see Revelation 5:8).

Ask, is the flock led astray? Laity often goes along with others for a different kind of reason — through helplessness — the flock without a true shepherd is spiritually harmed in the sight of our Lord. And that’s particularly true regarding the need to exposit scriptural truth. Not everyone has the capability to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Most people absorb doctrine from others, without considering that they might be absorbing controversial error, or that any alternative interpretation is supported by scripture.

They may have a view that doctrine is a subject that can’t be dealt with, it’s all a matter of opinion, or decreed by pre-established authority figures, or there are no answers, it’s irrelevant to church life — none of which you can blame them for having, given the way its advocates present the subject often through repeated indoctrination, church culture or lingo, or demonization for facing the truth of scripture.

Some people within a denomination’s laity may accept that a doctrinal subject is important, yet have no theological method to go about comparing scripture or weighing the evidence presented in the Bible. Without the cognitive capacity to unpack or compare a viewpoint, they cannot think about it and defer to their leadership. In this context when leadership chooses to evade scriptural truth revealing contradicting error, that leadership is culpable for hiding revealed truth.

Does God not refer to shepherding the flock as a holy responsibility? It is not a sin for the laity to end up conforming, accepting what they’re taught, fitting in, not so much out of laziness or fear or non-partisanship as out of ignorance, helplessness, and not even knowing that there is a real issue to think about or how to begin the process, because it is hidden from them! They’re caught in the position of officially being influenced to believe or half-believe that these issues of truth are insignificant — or of zero consequence before the Lord. The “helpless dependent” may be a good man who is baffled – albeit purposely stupified by the irresponsible leadership.

The responsibility of the intelligent laity with theological insight Now laity does include individuals who are intelligent and have a high capacity to reason. Some can teach, some can preach, some administer as elders or deacons. Some are intelligent fanatics who flaunt error to acquire a following. Insofar as they are dishonest conformists these leaders align with the evaders of truth.

All intelligent leadership is then responsible if their decided collaborate evasion creates inner chaos and confusion for any people within a congregation honestly seeking God’s truth. Such active, deliberate dishonesty would deny the Holy Spirit’s guidance into all truth as Jesus indicated He would relay to His disciples: “He will take of mine and reveal it to you” (see John 16:13-15)

Balanced compassion is a must How do you socially treat your comrades in the church despite doctrinal errors? In the case where the laity is innocent of promulgating deception, the proper policy regarding the weak dependents is to delimit your advocacy for specific truth or pedagogical efforts of teaching them directly about evasions that may affect your role as a thought leader in the church. You must deal with them in the realms where they’re innocent — praising the Lord together as mutually forgiven Christians. The difficult balance is found if you try to lead those who feel that they are already well-led into all truth. I believe that rocking their faith-boat may cause it to capsize. You do not want to fracture otherwise honest, beloved relationships whom you can guide in union with Jesus.

The weak dependent may be much like the misled flock when Jesus metaphorically taught them that you cannot put new wine into old wineskins, or you ruin the skins, i.e. the prominent religious view; and spill the wine — meaning, that hearers would lose the value of the truthful doctrine. Though the misled laity may be wrong, they are not Luther-like heroes of independent thought. Like Jesus you must have compassion – you cannot say the innocent laity is dishonest.

However, like Jesus, beware of the dishonest advocate, the deceptively misleading intelligent believer, the legalist, the populist, the religious politician, the puppet who is not just going along with others but is actively evading and ganging up —  going about-face in the back room to backstab truth, to choke it, to pull it down — working to sustain erroneous unreformed doctrine. He or she is essentially wicked, corrupt down to the roots. This distinction is important.

Ethical Summary Again, the typical leaders, the instigators, the theologians who are out promoting blatant scriptural error, those who decry honest eldership and theologians, yet tell their converts that they believe sola scriptura are downright two-faced — they are demonstrably dishonest and unfit for eldership. But as far as the laity are followers, and not leaders, on the whole, I won’t make that judgement. The distinction is that the followers go along with what they’re told, and they may indiscriminately veto their own mind to avow 13, or 24 doctrines come hell or high water — many relinquish scriptural management to their church leadership — they don’t dig for answers or cannot cognitively understand even if they did study the facts. Many who are loyal to a traditional view may be confounded by media-driven liars who continue to teach error and breed confusion.

Scriptural doctrinal errors can only be allowed to persist by culpable leadership, more so if in high places, which if their consciences perceive allowed error, are dishonest or cowardly if silent. It is wickedness — an evil affront to the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If our consciences are not yet affected by grace, let us defer to scripture: “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”. (Ephesians 4:14-15 NIV)

Article posted by Glen R. Jackman, founder of GraceProclaimed.org

Glen has optimized his eldership role to teach the full scope of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ without boundaries.
You can read his testimony.