Worldview Weekend by Brannon Howse
Note: Best of Flash Back. This article was originally posted on our website back in March of 2006. We have chosen to run this piece again after our piece last week on Joel Osteen. It seems every time we seek to expose the dangers of false teaching we get e-mails from people, including pastors, that claim we have not practiced the steps of Matthew 18:15-17. This article explains the great need to study the Bible in context.
If you've read some of my articles before, you know how much I enjoy pointing out the intolerance of people who scream the loudest about how important it is to be tolerant. And it's almost amusing that those who yammer about not judging others are the most judgmental of your judgments. Well, I've found a new set of hypocrites that try desperately to bully us into doing as they say but not as they do. I've christened these folks the Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police. Usually, of course, I go after liberals, but some of the PCM18s are simply misinformed yet genuinely well-meaning Christians. Either way, they're also dead wrong.
What exactly do PCM18s do with the Matthew chapter (specifically 18:15-17)? They twist it to fit their convenience and use it against people like me who try to blow the whistle on bizarre or heretical claims made in the name of Christ.
Recently, I heard from members of the PCM18 Police (they're stationed all over the country) as a result of several articles I wrote earlier this year. In February and March, I produced a three-part series on the false teaching of Christian happy-talk superstar Joel Osteen. Indicting him was easy. All I did was quote from Osteen's interview on Larry King Live and from his book, Your Best Life Now. Although his statements obviously contradicted the Word of God, I pointed it out anyway, and perhaps that's what made some folks so mad.
I also released an article on 85 "evangelical" leaders who had signed a left-wing global warming initiative that is being funded by radical, anti-Christian foundations. A few in this group of 85 held press conferences and interviews and even launched a series of national television commercials and radio spots to ballyhoo their "insights."
Then I did what may have been the most unpardonable, un-PC act of all. I wrote an extensive article on the dangerous and unbiblical beliefs of the Emerging Church and some of its leaders.
Citations from the PCM18 Police rolled in like a tsunami. But did they e-mail to privately chastise me for my "unbiblical" conduct of writing and speaking out against the false teachings of Joel Osteen, the Emerging Church, or the liberal activism and unchristian funding of the group of 85? No, of course not-even though that is exactly what they were writing to tell me I should have done. (You'll recognize that the hallmark of any tolerance monger is that they want you to do what they would never do themselves.)
The PCM18s ignored my private e-mail address-which is clearly posted on our Web site-and instead posted their virulent objections in the feedback section. I had to laugh. Without first coming to me in private as the scripture they quote says to do, they publicly blasted me for not first going in private to those about which I had written.
Now don't get me wrong. I think Matthew 18 is a great chapter of the Bible and one that should be followed (of course). However, the PCM18 Police strip Matthew 18:15-17 from its context in order to force their politically correct, "non-judgmental," tolerance agenda on Christians that challenge unbiblical beliefs, doctrine, or worldviews. If you read the verses in context, it is clear that they address how to handle a private issue or a personal offense. These three verses detail the steps that should be taken for church discipline of an individual that has sinned. If the offending person does not repent when you confront him or her privately, then you are to take one or two people with you. If the individual still will not repent, take the issue before the church. If even that doesn't work, the person is to be removed from fellowship until he or she does admit to the sin and repents.
PCM18s would have you believe Matthew 18 means you should never write or speak publicly to oppose one of their Christian happy-talk gurus unless you first speak to that person privately. This is just an absurd manipulation of Scripture. In reality, the PC "Police" seek to intimidate and manipulate by guilt those with whom they disagree. Apparently, such childish techniques are the best they can muster when backed into the proverbial corner with solid biblical facts. With finger wagging and heaping helpings of self-righteous indignation, they offer verbal or e-mail lashings about how you are sinning and should repent and cease at once from speaking out against false teachers and their accompanying doctrines. PCM18s drone on about how you are not loving or are creating disunity among Christians and how this is such a bad witness to unbelievers.
A bad witness? And it would be a better witness to allow false teaching and a false gospel to go uncorrected and unchallenged? What the Police don't want you to know is that throughout the New Testament the great apostle Paul himself publicly denounced false teachers by name without first going to them in private. After all, how can one privately correct public false teaching? It can't be done, and that's exactly why we are to publicly point out erroneous teaching once it has been promoted in books, television, radio, Web sites, and other public forums.
So now you're ready. If you should ever happen to get "pulled over" and given a citation by the Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police for boldly refuting someone's public false teaching, take the law into your own hands and make a Christian-citizen's arrest by pointing out their illegal handling of the Scriptures.
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