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- Jacob Ninan
What would we do when we come across a preacher teaching heresy? Do we say, "Well, it's none of my business. The Bible says not to judge"? Then we would be putting ourselves and perhaps others in jeopardy. When Jesus said, "Judge not," He did not mean that we should not have any opinion about people or their teaching. We are not to judge someone else in a way that condemns or despises him, because we have no right to do that since we ourselves are standing only because of God's mercy (Jas.4:12;Ro.11:22). On the contrary, we need to assess what is happening around us, what kind of people others are, what they are teaching or doing, etc., in order to decide whether we can agree with them, go along with them, or not. We ought to make judgments like that for our own safety (1Pe.4:7). If God has given us responsibility over others then we ought to warn them too. We can't afford to ignore what is going on and carry on as if it is none of our business. If we do that it will become our business soon in that we will get affected by it.
At the same time we make a distinction between errors that can actually harm people or hinder them in their spiritual growth, and others which are only a matter of academic interest or which have only a minor impact. This is only for the sake of avoiding having to go around bashing every person who makes an error. (Don't forget that none of us has got everything right.) We may have come across web sites that find fault with practically every Christian leader and bash them up (including some who are well known for godliness) without making this kind of a distinction.
However it is clear that erroneous doctrines and practices are on the increase, as expected in the last days (Mt.24:11;2Pe.2:1). We can recognise some outright frauds when we see that they are out to fleece us using various gimmicks rather than being interested in feeding us for our growth. When we see some preachers trying to impress us with 'hidden' truths, new revelations, etc., rather than helping us to love Jesus and His people more, a red flag should go up in our mind. If someone's aim is to entertain us rather than build us up, why should we waste our time with him? If a preacher always makes us feel good and never tells us things that convict us and make us want to change, he is not speaking on behalf of God. If someone wants us to think how great he is and try to make us dependent on him, watch out! If a leader threatens us with calamities if we disagree with him or leave his group, it's time to run. It becomes our responsibility to keep away from such and also to warn others we care for. False ideas of loyalty or the awe of their fame should not cause us to stay and get hurt.
Some of the 'famous' preachers of these days are teaching false doctrines, adopting devious ways, and making themselves wealthy and great at the cost of their followers. Every one of us should become more alert and discerning concerning these things.