The Christian church has always faced challenges in relation to false doctrines and sins that infiltrate it.
The issue can be seen throughout the New Testament and is a problem we face today as well.
While it is true every Christian denomination does not have the same doctrines, and that there is a possibility of differing on certain non-essential points of faith.
The question arises: What to do in the face of false doctrines and sin in the church?
I’d like to address that perspective from a scripture fragment located in the book of revelation:
“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
I know where you live—where Satan has his throne.
Yet you remain true to my name.
You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.
Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna.
I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
| Revelation 2:12-17
This passage presents us with Jesus’ loving perspective for a religious community that stood firm in his name but was tolerating people in its midst who brought dissent, false doctrines, and infiltrated sins.
The message Jesus gives to the church in Pergamon is that it should oppose these people and their teachings more vehemently.
That he was to revoke sin and denounce it outside the midst of his community.
This particular text speaks to us of a ‘what’ and perhaps not a ‘how’.
That is, in this text the Lord Jesus tells that church what to do, but he does not tell him how to do it.
The Bible presents different ways of dealing with different people.
The Lord Jesus Himself did not treat the Pharisees the same as the publicans in relation to their sins.
However, the Lord Jesus gives a teaching on how to deal with situations of sin and dissension among us:
Therefore, if your brother sins against you, go and reproach him while you and he are alone; if I hear you, you have won over your brother.
But if I do not hear you, take even with you one or two, so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is recorded.
If you don’t hear them, tell the church; and if you do not hear the church, consider him a gentile and a publican.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.
If they listen to you, you have won them over.
But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
| Matthew 18:15-17
Everything should always be done within the framework of trying to redeem the sinner with love and patience.
However, if the person does not repent, the Lord teaches us not to have fraternity with him or her.
Today, this message becomes relevant because we see how an unbalanced message of “tolerance” has been unconsciously instilled in us.
Ideas like that there is no absolute truth, that everything is relative.
That it’s not good to express being right and that someone else is wrong.
We have been told that we must remain silent in the face of the opinions of others and not contradict them, or else we are intolerant.
But this is not the biblical perspective of the matter.
Our foundation must not be the current culture that is constantly changing.
Our foundation is in what God tells us in his word.
So let us remember that it is our responsibility as children of God, together, with love, to confront and oppose the sin and false doctrines that arise within our churches.
The Lord will ask us to account for what we can stop doing and what we did but did not do well.
What is your experience with false doctrines, heresies, and sins in your church? Share it with all of us to learn together.
Blessings and a hug.