Should Denominations be Refuted?
Text: Psalm 119:97-104
I. Some brethren are, well, squeamish when denominations are publicly refuted
A. There is a fear that visitors, their friends and relatives, will be offended by such plain language
B. In the end, there is more allowance for sin to continue unchecked.
C. Is it possible that we do not mind our friends following the broad road to hell as long as they travel it in good humor?
II. There must be indignation aimed at error - Psalm 119:104
A. Philippians 1:16 - Paul saw his duty in defending the gospel.
1. Defense against what?
2. There are always men who will modify the hope of our salvation - Galatians 1:6-10
3. Notice the strong language in these verses against any who alter the gospel.
B. Matthew 15:1-14
1. Jesus had strong words for the Pharisees. When his disciples pointed out that his words were offending his audience, Jesus made no apology.
2. Yet, some brethren today would turn beet red if a preacher said such things. “Why, you are driving off people!”
III. We have a misunderstanding of the words love and truth
A. Ephesians 4:15-16 - “You see,” we are told, “growth comes from love.”
1. Yet their love is one that never hurts.
2. What if a parent so loved their children that they would never spank them? - Proverbs 13:24
3. Obviously, it is the definition of love that is in conflict with the teachings of the Bible. Love requires correction - Hebrews 12:6-11
B. We have to teach the truth
1. No where in the Bible does it say that the truth never hurts.
2. Paul feared the Galatians would stop dealing with him because of his truthful teaching - Galatians 4:16
3. The truth of the gospel is a two-edged sword - Ephesians 6:17.
a. Brethren, swords hurt!
b. The truth can be misused, to cut where it is not required, but that doesn’t imply that it should never cut.
IV. The denominational world is in a mess
A. Just this weekend the paper had an article about a group of denominations organizing to address racial issues.
1. Sounds nice, but “Full members commit to oppose all marginalization and exclusion in church and society on the basis of such as race, age, gender, forms of disability, sexual orientation and class”
a. Now we have denominations claiming that homosexuality is a race issue
2. Almost every point in their agenda violates the Scripture
B. Could such errors be addressed?
1. Would anyone even listen? - II Corinthians 4:3-4
C. Why are there denominations?
1. Because various groups have developed doctrines and names unique to a particular group
2. These denominations are not reluctant to advertise their names nor their doctrine.
3. Why should those defending the truth tie themselves down and not refute the falsehoods? - Jude 3
4. If the doctrine is accurately portrayed, then why shouldn’t it be compared to the doctrine of Christ? - I John 4:1
D. “Fine, but just don’t mention names.”
1. Again, we assume that the beliefs of a person are fairly and accurately represented.
a. Often a doctrine can be addressed without a name being mentioned.
b. But is it required by the Scriptures not to mention names?
2. Why do we find the following?
a. Hymenaeus and Alexander - I Timothy 1:19-20
b. Hymenaeus and Philetus - II Timothy 2:17-18
c. Diotrephes - II John 9-10
d. Nicolaitans - Revelation 2:6, 15
3. Note names are mentioned of individuals and groups. Why?
a. They are warnings to be on guard and, in particular, for what to be watchful.
b. When I traveled to the Philippines, I was warned not to drink the water or use ice in my drinks. I’ve heard similar warnings for Mexico.
(1) Is this being unfair to the Filipinos or Mexicans?
(2) Are they being harmed because I was warned about their water supply? Are they being disparaged?
(3) Yet, when all is said and done, “don’t drink the water.”
c. Warnings are given about people and groups because their teachings are harmful. The warnings should be accurate, but warnings are still needed.
V. It is the job of preachers to warn of false doctrines and false teachers - II Timothy 4:1-5
A. The teaching is not just to the ones committing the error.
B. It is also to warn others not to fall into the same trap.
1. Propagators of falsehoods don’t want their names mentioned because fewer people would listen to them.
2. Propagators of falsehoods don’t’ want their doctrines described or refuted because they want a chance to persuade the naive.
C. Why make Satan’s work easy?
D. Do no hamper the spread of the truth by insisting that preachers and teachers refrain from doing what Jesus and his apostles did.