In “Inspired Apostle vs. Academic Whores,” Vincent Chueng offers some important insights on how many in the church today appease theological terrorists, that is, those who pervert the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He bases his discussion on 1 Timothy 6:3-5, which reads:
“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”
Here are some excerpts from Chueng’s piece (all words in bold are mine):
“Paul talks about the false teachers again and again. As usual, he condemns them in strong and descriptive terms, offering no flattery and showing no sympathy. He condemns not only the doctrines, but the persons.
“He condemns not only the actions, but the motives. He does not invite the false teachers to engage in dialogue with him to produce mutual respect and understanding. Christ’s government does not negotiate with theological terrorists.
“Contemporary believers take the opposite approach. They avoid outright and graphic condemnations. When they must express disagreement, they introduce their statements with flattery, citing the false teachers’ credentials and contributions to the church’s mission or to the academic world.
“Although they must disagree, they stress that they sympathize with the false teachers’ perspective. They try to focus on the false doctrines, and not the persons who promote them. Certainly, they will not take it upon themselves to condemn their motives.
“… The only people they would condemn as harshly as Paul does are those who condemn false teachers as harshly as Paul does. With the rest, they prefer mutual flattery and compromise.
“… Admittedly, there is no need to unleash a barrage of invectives every time we detect a tiny disagreement. Some doctrinal differences can be discussed cordially, and corrected over a period of time.
“The errors that Paul has in mind, whether by direct contradiction or by implication, would undermine some central principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”