I’m sure that many bloggers like myself have been accused of the same things when we try to expose error and point people to biblical truth. These range from things as not judging  to not questioning what ‘the man of God says’. I have already explained when I think it is OK to offend other believers without remorse but the latest thing that I have now been told is that I shouldn’t name names and that I have to be very careful not to speak against the man of God. So what does the bible say? Is it biblical? Is there any instances in the bible where the apostles name names of false teachers or deceivers? Well I saw this article from Forgotten Word which is quite lenghty but very informative so I will divide it up over the next eight days and hope it answers the question:

“Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:17

Identifying and marking “them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine” of the LORD, is to be a regular part of the Christian life. In an hour when the proliferation of false teaching is mutating at an increasingly exponential rate, those who love the LORD must examine and test everything against the final authority of the recorded oracles of God (Acts 17:11). The following warning enlightens us to understand this:

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8

Would the all-knowing God have put such a warning in His Word if being spoiled were not possible? People can be spoiled (derailed, made shipwreck of) through false doctrines and philosophies, which, without fail, elevate men and demote Christ (Col. 2:8-9; 18-19).

These derailment elements are designed to steal glory from Christ. If we love Him, we are to “hear God’s words” and “hate every false way.” (Jn. 8:47; Ps. 119:104, 128; Amos 5:14-15)

Let’s break this extremely important Bible text down:

“Mark them” – Beloved, we are mandated to simply and truly hearken to this divinely given instruction, to personally own this truth and walk in it, to be possessed with the protective love of our holy and “Great Shepherd of the sheep.” (Heb. 13:20) One of the ways the “Great Shepherd” protects the sheep of His pasture, is by His other sheep, scoping out and marking the wolves whose venomous lies would devour.

The clear instruction of the Word is to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine.” All human sediments, reasonings, and excuses must be crucified.

“Mark them” – the Greek word here for “mark” is skopeo, which means “to scope out; to take aim at, consider, watch.”

Believers are here mandated to wisely scope out closely, observe and scrutinize all teachings and spiritual leaders under the lamp of God’s holy Word. We are to closely discern between true and false doctrines and leaders and sound the alarm on that which is found to be inconsistent with holy Writ. This is to be done especially when dealing with foundational, essential truths (which are a salvation issue).

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalms 119:128

Looking closely at leaders from a Bible perspective is a mandate. Such only becomes a negative when done out of a critical spirit instead of out of love and obedience to the LORD and for the keeping of the way of the LORD in ourselves and others (1 Tim. 4:6, 16). Disciples are to examine every teaching, philosophy, and notion encountered in the light of His holy oracles. In such, the disciple is to identify deceivers, false teachings and practices and “mark them,” that is, watch out for and take aim at them, while warning others. The Holy Spirit also says we are to “avoid them.” (Rom. 16:17)

Concerning this text in Romans 16, Donald Stamps, in the Life In the Spirit Study Bible, writes:

“At the end of his letter, Paul gives a strong warning to the church in Rome to be alert to all those who do inestimable damage to the church by corrupting and extorting the ‘doctrine’ (teaching) of Paul and the other apostles. They are to ‘mark’ the proponents of false doctrine and ‘avoid them’ and their ministry. Those marked may have been antinomians (i.e., against the law), who taught that because salvation is by grace, saving faith does not necessarily include obedience to Christ Jesus (cf. 6:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:2; 11:3; Eph. 4:14; Rev. 2:4-5).

They believed that a person could live in sin and reject God’s moral law, and yet possess eternal salvation. These false teachers were eloquent orators, speaking with comforting words and flattering speeches (cf. Jude 16), but deceiving simple Christians.” (p. 1759)

This commentator denotes a specific teaching, all too alive and well in the modern church, that is to be marked and avoided along with those who propagate it.

William MacDonald states:


“It is an ungodly tolerance that has allowed so many pulpits in America to be filled with ‘false apostles and deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ’. Detecting a resemblance to conditions in Elijah’s day, J Sidlow Baxter writes ‘Such are the people who today, with sickly kindness, will tolerate teachers of errors in our pulpits because they are such smooth-mannered and amiable gentlemen. They would rather allow error to be preached and souls to be deceived than hurt the preacher’s feelings. Let Baal be worshipped rather than drought come! Let the cancer kill its victim rather than the cruel surgeon use the knife!…The best thing that could happen to some so-called Christian ministers of today is that they should be denounced in God’s name by their hearers’.

It is a sinful tolerance [1] that refuses to castigate a false church system that leads millions to eternal destruction with its perverted gospel. [2] That honours its head as a great evangelist at the same time that he is condemning evangelicals as wolves. [3] That labels God’s prophets as divisive when they denounce its idolatry, its mariolatry and its other heresies. [4] That sends converts back into its deadening clutches.

What has happened to the church of the martyrs?

We have an enormous craving for popularity. This is the stuff of which false prophets are made. We have a desire to avoid unpleasantness at all cost. A desire like this keeps us from confronting, from intervening when we should.

We have a distaste for being different. We find it easier to move along with the crowd, to drift with the tide. It is all too easy to remain silent when we are in an adverse theological climate. We are ‘slaves who dare not to be right with two or three’.

We have lost the capacity for being angry. We are not easily enough disturbed. We are in the sorry state of having no capacity for indignation. We are experts at putting off decisiveness simply because we don’t want to act.

Sometimes we are too blinded by friendship to stand against wrong. When a Christian spoke out against E. J. Carnell’s book ‘The Case For Orthodoxy’ because it argued against the inspiration of the Scriptures, a friend of the author said ‘Well you do not know him personally as I do. He is a gracious gentleman, a godly man’.

Jay Adams was right when he said ‘In some circles, the fear of controversy is so great that preachers and congregations following after them will settle for peace at any cost – even the cost of the truth – God’s truth. The idea is that peace is all- important. Peace is a biblical ideal…but so is purity. The peace of the church may never be bought at the price of the purity of the church. The price is too dear’.

Ecumenism and catholicity are two great buzzwords today. Let’s all get together. Don’t do or say anything to rock the boat. Doctrine divides, they say. What we need is unity.

What we really need is to contend earnestly for the faith in a day when it is being attacked, diluted and denied. We will be tolerant in matters of indifference but intolerant of departure from the truth of God. With Luther, ‘Here we stand. We can do no other’.”

Disciples of Christ are held accountable for progressively learning and proclaiming the whole will and counsel of God, which includes warning others of false teachings and those responsible for them (see also Isa. 58:1; Ezek. 33:7-9; 34:1-10; Acts 20:26-32; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Christ’s true representatives are known by their purity of character and doctrine (Tit. 1:5-9; 2:6-8).

Friend of Christ, are you beginning to see this truth and understand the reason our LORD instituted such?

“Mark (scope out, take aim at and watch) them which cause divisions and offences contrary (against; opposed) to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:17

Christians are held accountable for proclaiming the whole counsel of God and warning others of false teachings and those responsible for them.

To be continued…..

Related Post

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 2

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 3

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 4

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 5

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 6

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part  7

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 8 – THE CONCLUSION

  1. Becky says:

    This article, all 8 parts, has blessed me beyond measure. Thank you. They have brought me great encouragement. God bless you.

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