Mal Couch PH.D., TH.D. and Russell L. Penney Dr. Sc.
copyright 1996



  • Romans.................................
  • Titus..................................



In almost all "moral" areas of life, compromise is the name of the game. In the secular universities, truth is no longer seen as an absolute that can be pursued and discovered. And certainly this applies in the fields of philosophy and "religion." Truth is what you make it. Right and wrong are what you perceive them to be. Situation ethic prevails when trying to find a course of moral action. Since each event has its own set of circumstances, there are no measuring guidelines for certainty of moral response.

This all of course impacts heavily on the proclamation of the Bible that there are absolutes because there is an eternal, unchangeable Law-Giver who does not vary in His righteous demands. In many ways the secular universities have won in the battle for control of Western culture. With no absolutes the Scriptures are certainly not reliable as a source of morality or eternal truth! In fact the Bible is now seen through the glasses of fallible humanism. The supernatural has been removed from its pages. The prophets and apostles were politically and mystically driven to fabricate twisted versions of history. The only thing left at best, so the humanist say, is a very uncertain, confused and jumbled history, void of any authenticity and certainty.

Since the absolute has been removed from the arena of human events, the world of reason has been turned upside down. Right has become wrong, and wrong has become right! From this a new humanism has emerged what I label "Sympathetic Humanism." The sympathy now goes to the bank robber who got shot in the leg while holding up the bank; the homosexual who flaunts his sin before society gains almost unlimited government assistance and support. Victim mentality rules. No one has to muster personal responsibility or common sense!

Self-fulfillment and self-actualization now overshadows reason. What is good for me becomes a driving person force. There is no God to answer to. To live fully for the now is the consuming emotion. "You only go around once!" "Grab all the gusto!" "Life is short. Play hard!" These and other slogans exemplify the cultural attitude to life, existence and yes, even to the lack of an eternity!

Thirty years ago Francis Schaeffer, the great Christian teacher, saw our day coming and warned of its impending disastrous consequences for the Church and the Gospel. He wrote concerning the philosopher Hegel:

He opens the door to that which is characteristic of modern man: truth as truth is gone, . . . relativism [now] reigns. Man will keep his rationalism and his rebellion against God, his insistence on total autonomy even if it means he must give up his RATIONALITY. (ESCAPE FROM REASON)
Unfortunately, the philosophies of the culture are hammering away at the Church of the Lord with deadly effect. Those who are aware of what is happening must sound the alarm. But they must also decide what are the truths that cannot be compromised. The answer to this could very well be simplistic in nature: "No biblical doctrine can be forfeited or given away!" But for argument sake, this author has made his list of "the least' that we must hold to at all cost!



Though compressed and abbreviated, the Genesis record of Creation is factual and reliable. Humans have a special creational relationship with their Creator. This false philosophy of evolution makes all events simply accidental, random happenings. "There is no God, there is no plan nor logical purpose for the universe," so says the skeptic and atheist.

The Bible claims the uniqueness of mankind's creation. He was created and formed upright, intelligent, able to communicate, capable of understanding moral concepts, and able to make choices. After man turned away from God and sinned, he was cut off from the Lord thus becoming a child of wrath. Though his reasoning powers were marred, man can technically conceive and create. In his genius he can construct skyscrapers. In the dark recesses of his evil heart, he may imagine and then carve idols of wood, stone or plastic! The Lord still has a claim on mankind as a being created in His image and likeness.

As a unique creature, man cannot claim innocence in reference to his God-ward responsibility. Man is both morally and spiritually a responsible creature. He cannot hid behind the theory of evolution nor his "animalness." Man can know, can sense a future judgment, and can retain or drive God forth from his conscience.

But through it all, man is still a creature bound to the providential keeping of his Maker. God blesses, holds man responsible, takes his life from him, and brings him to judgment. Our people in the pews do not sense their creature limitations. They have absorbed the cultural pride of life. They believe they are here for the duration not simply living for a season. Thus many believers in Christ act out the world's hopes and dreams. Big cars, fancy homes, VISA cards maxed out. They believe psychology holds the answers for emotional health, church is but an institutional necessity, Super Bowl Sunday night in the church cafeteria is justified.

But the Bible speaks to Christians and reminds us God has marked out days. After the Father has used us we fall asleep. We are but a vapor and grass that is here today, gone tomorrow. Clearly, as His creatures, we will survive through another year if it is His will!



Our culture is into the cult of Positivism. Our churches are living the material dreams of Armenianism. Both philosophies put man into the driver's seat of his journey. Both believe human beings are captains of their own destiny. But the Bible tells us the captains cannot be trusted. We cannot even understand our own motives much less comprehend our own physical and spiritual journey. The Bible tells us that mankind is born of trouble just as sure as sparks fly upwards. It reminds Christians we were children of wrath, that we were dead in sins, that even our faith was a gift of God. The Scriptures relate how no one within himself alone seeks God and that there is none who knows God. Only the Holy Spirit using the written Word, brings about conversion. The Word of God even correctly insults us by telling us our righteous acts are so pitiful they seem to the Lord as bloody menstrual rags.

Even after trusting Jesus as Savior, we struggle with the Old Man, the sin nature. We can walk as immature, look like the world, befriend the culture, quench and grieve the Holy Spirit. The truth is, we cannot even trust ourselves much less the world.

The doctrine of depravity should cause humility and caution. It should melt pride and create realistic expectations in us about our spiritual abilities and motives. Some in the Evangelical world bombastically boast how we can change the world. How if we focus our efforts we can "cause" revival. And if we simply join together, the energy we produce will somehow cause God to act. The Lord is seen in heaven simply waiting on us. WE HAVE THE PLAN! We simply call on Him from time to time to be the wall socket of electricity!

Our people need to be reminded and taught that the power and plan are His. We innately do not have the strength much less the insights to know what to do. The Father has elected to use us even in our stupidity but the Plan is really His! What he seeks from us is contrition and humility.



Absolute Truth is a critical "doctrine" if you will, that is extremely important for our day. The culture tells us that there are no longer absolutes. It tells us that propositional truth cannot be known. Personal experiential reality is what counts. In other words, "you create your own reality." "What is right for you is right!"

Again, Francis Schaeffer saw this day coming and wrote:

What Hegel changed was something more profound than merely one philosophic answer for another. He changed the rules of the game in two areas: EPISTEMOLOGY, the theory of knowledge and the limits and validity of knowledge; and METHODOLOGY, the method by which we approach the question of truth and knowing . . . A central reason Christians do not understand their children is because their children no longer think in the same framework in which their parents think. It is not merely that they come out with different answers. The methodology has changed -- that is, the very method by which they arrive at, or try to arrive at truth, has changed. (ESCAPE FROM REASON)
David McCallum expands on this in his book THE DEATH OF TRUTH. He says our culture now accepts the basic ideas of postmodernism. Reality is in the mind of the beholder. People can't think independently because they are "scripted" by the culture. No longer can one prove anything, especially by history. And more specifically, by history quoted in the Bible. McCallum notes that, ironically, people are very interested in spirituality but reject biblical Christianity! William H. Smith (WORLD, April 20, 1996) adds that the Church since the Reformation has always practiced "boundary-set thinking," with doctrine-established scriptural fences. He points out that the paradigm has shifted to a "centered-set thinking." Centered-set thinkers are not concerned with boundaries but direction. Center-set thinkers are relativist with no walls. The center-set thinker would say, "the Gospel can include what you want it to, and it's OK if your heart is right." You can describe Jesus and the Gospel by the Bible or by Mormon or New Age standards. Fences do not count!

The Reformers believed that the biblical truth could and should be stated propositionally and systematically. Their confessions drew boundaries and testified to the world, in concentrated form, the truths proclaimed in Scripture. There is no doubt that creeds have weaknesses. Because of the humanness of believers in Christ, no doctrinal statement will be perfect. That statement must continually be refined and tested by the Word of God itself. But to throw away propositional statements of truth completely will bring upon us a new spiritual dark age that will be more wicked than all our present failures wrapped up in a bundle.

Though fallen, man is created in the image of God and the Lord has given in His Word "contentful" knowledge which man desperately needs. The Bible then sets forth its own statement of what the Word of God itself is all about. It presents itself as God's communication of propositional truth, written and in verbalized form, addressed to those who are made in God's image. Thus, mankind can understand because God speaks on our human level.

But the culture now vehemently denies the fact that God has clearly spoken in His Book! Working from what they would call a closed system (that is, that if there is a God, He cannot break through the world of man), but the secular and the unbiblical theological thinking of today would say that it is absolutely impossible to truly know truth as recorded in Scripture!

Thus simply aim to "feel" God and you do this by "feeling" yourself! Emotions become your truth. The emotional reality becomes the message! Can we see the results of this in our churches? Absolutely!

What occurred at Mt. Sinai? Moses said to the crowd, "You saw God's great power; you heard." In a certain sense Moses was saying, "What you heard was a verbalized communication from God to man, in a definite, historic space-time situation." Moses was not giving some kind of contentless, existential experience, nor taking an anti-intellectual leap. He was giving to Israel God's clear, understandable message! We find exactly the same kind of communication occurring in the New Testament, as for example, when Christ spoke to Paul in Hebrew on the Damascus road.

Though all learning and all knowledge is skewed by human limitation, nevertheless, truth is truth. An apple may be red. But if I am going blind it may appear to me as purple. The problem is not with the apple but with my eyes. Properly researched biblical history reveals for us the truth though we may have a learning limitation. Yet the truth is still there. The world is disavowing that we can know truth, and especially biblical truth. The Bible is presented as a scrapbook of big pieces of mythology and a little bit of disjointed history. Schaeffer continues:

It is plain, therefore, that from the viewpoint of the Scriptures themselves there is a unity over the whole field of knowledge. God has spoken, in a linguistic propositional form, truth concerning Himself and truth concerning history and the universe. (THE GOD WHO IS THERE)
When God speaks about history or reveals something of Himself in the heavenlies, the unity of truth is there because God has spoken truth into all areas of our knowledge. Though the Lord is transcendent and beyond us, He has condescended to reveal Himself in the Scriptures because of His great love for us. This revelation of who He is, is certain.

Others foresaw our day when truth and the search for truth would be diminished in the area of biblical studies. The great Reformation thinker and Calvinist Charles Hodge wrote over one hundred and fifty years ago:

It is one of the distinguishing doctrines of Protestants that knowledge is essential to faith. This is clearly the doctrine of Scripture. How can they believe on Him of whom they have not heard? is the pertinent and instructive query of the Apostle. Faith includes the affirmation of the mind that a thing is true and trustworthy. . . . Truth must be communicated to the mind, and seen to be possible, before, on any evidence, it can be believed. If, therefore, we cannot know God, we cannot believe in Him. (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, Vol. 1, pp. 353-354)
Hodge further stated:
No man hesitates to say that he knows that there was such a man as Washington, or such an event as the American Revolution. If this testimony of man can give us clear and certain knowledge of facts beyond our experience, surely the testimony of God is greater. What he reveals is made known. We apprehend it as it truly is. The conviction that what God reveals is made known in its true nature, is the very essence of faith in the divine testimony. We are certain, therefore, that our ideas of God, founded on the testimony of His Word, correspond to what He really is, and constitute true knowledge. It is also to be remembered that while the testimony of men is to the mind, the testimony of God is not only to, but also within the mind. (Ibid., p. 364)
Our people need to know that the terms doctrine, teaching, exegesis, truth, are not bad words. They reflect the fact that God has given us absolute and certain knowledge. The Word of God is sufficient for the truth about ourselves, the truth about our Lord, and about our eternal destiny! Recently revisionists have called on Christians to forsake their fixation on "head-knowledge." They say we're concentrating too much on knowledge and too little on feelings and creativity. No one doubts the place of heart conviction and its place in our sincerity, commitment, and response to God. But again, that response is built on tangible truth and promises. Thinking and knowing cannot be left out of the formula.

Our people need to know that the Bible is reasonable and requires reason to understand. The Lord says "come lets us reason together . . . " (Isa. 1:18). Paul adds in II Timothy 2:15, "Start taking pains to station yourself as one approved by testing before God as a craftsman who doesn't need to be ashamed, cutting apart accurately the Word of truth."

Since we are so finite and jaded spiritually, prayer and the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit is certainly required for our illumination. But God still works through that which is objective, written reasonable, mental and verbal. The Scriptures tell us this plainly, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching . . that the man of God may be able to meet all demands, equipped [by that inspired Word] for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17). "Proclaim the word; . . . with great patience and instruction" (II Tim. 4:2). "Belief comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). (Arndt & Gingrich notes that PISTIS [belief] can also be translated "reliable," "confidence," "conviction," "assurance.")

Our people must be taught they cannot jettison doctrine, teaching, instruction, reproof. Doctrinal teaching and verse by verse exegesis must be restored and taught with enthusiasm in order to again strengthen our churches. Paul reminds Timothy that he must be able "to teach, . . . if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of truth, and they many escape from the snare of the devil, . . . " (II Tim. 2:24-26).


Coming back to Charles Hodge, he writes:

We need, therefore, a divine supernatural revelation. Of this revelation, it is to be remarked, first, that it gives us real knowledge. It teaches us who God really is; what sin is; what the law is; what Christ and the plan of salvation through Him are; and what is to be the state of the soul after death. The knowledge thus communicated is real, in the sense that the ideas which we are thus led to form of the things revealed conform to what those things really are. God and Christ, holiness and sin, heaven and hell, really are what the Bible declares to be (Ibid., p. 364).
When we speaking of the written Logos of God, we mean the objective, unchangeable authority from Him to us! Though written over centuries of time, and by the human instrumentation of many personalities and experiences, the Bible equally is the work of the Holy Spirit. And though those human authors were imperfect, the Spirit so worked as to give us an infallible and trustworthy record in all areas whereof it speaks.

No other authority is necessary for what is needed for Christian living. There is no other source for knowing God's will. There is no other reference point for spiritual truth. There is no "extra" revelation that can add to what we have now in the Scripture. Peter writes:

"Seeing that His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness, THROUGH THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM WHO CALLED US BY HIS OWN GLORY AND EXCELLENCE" (II Pet. 1:3).
Peter says he reminds his readers of these things "though you already KNOW them, and have been established IN THE TRUTH . . . "(1:12). Notice, the believers "know through the true knowledge, having been established IN (BY) the truth!"

The Scripture of the Old and New Testament form a canon because of the fact that they are authoritative Oracles. By the term AUTHORITATIVE it is implied that the Bible in all its parts is the voice of God speaking to men. Its authority is inherent, being, as it is, no less than the edict, "Thus says the Lord."

Lewis Sperry Chafer in his SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (Vol. 1), gives seven reasons for the authority of Scripture:

1) It is authoritative because it is God-breathed (II Tim. 3:16).

2) The Bible is authoritative because the imperfect human instruments (prophets, apostles) were preserved from error by being "borne along" by the Holy Spirit. Thus their consciousness, intelligence, experience were used in inspiration by God; they did not speak simply from their "human will" but they "spoke from God" (II Pet. 1:21).

3) The Word of God is authoritative because it was so accepted by those who first heard it. In other words, the people in almost all cases realized that God had given them something that was not simply human generated.

4) The Word is authoritative because it was attested by Christ Himself. Jesus put His stamp of approval and reference on almost all the Old Testament books.

5) The Scriptures are authoritative being received, delivered, and attested by the prophets. The people, either of Israel or the Church, were given no authority to deliver Scripture themselves, but they were commanded to obey and keep the words given to them by God's message bearers. For the most part, the people understood that prophets were in their midst and they realized "the Lord has spoken."

6) The Word of God is authoritative in that the Word is clearly attested as the work of the Spirit. The Scriptures are called "the sword of the Spirit." Though quoting human authors, the writer of Hebrews often says, "the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; . . ." (10:15). And Paul agrees when he writes: "The Spirit speaks expressly . . . " (I Tim. 4:1).

7) The Word of God is authoritative because it alone is sufficient to change lives spiritual. The great message of Scripture is about the Gospel that is "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). Its pierces through soul and spirit (Heb. 4:12), is to be obeyed (Acts 5:32), and Christ prayed "Sanctify them through Your truth; Your word is truth" (Jn. 17:17).

Thus SOLA SCRIPTURA, only Scriptures! We need no other authority, not even creeds, as perfect as they may be! (Though doctrinal statements help us summarize.) We need no hierarchical or ecclesiastical sanction. Only through the Bible can we know the way to God through Christ. The Scriptures are sufficient for all that we need to know about living the Christian life and obeying our God. And finally, only the Bible gives us an accurate picture of things to come and eternity.

Roman Catholicism of course denies the sufficiency of Scripture. In their seminary textbook FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA, they write:

All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God written down AND WHICH ARE PROPOSED FOR OUR BELIEF BY THE CHURCH (p.4).

By DOGMATIC FACTS are understood historical facts, which are revealed in Scripture, but which are intrinsically connected with revealed truth through the legality of the Pope or of a General Council, or the fact of the Roman episcopate (p. 9).

Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith which is based on the sole authority of the Church. These truths are as certain as dogmas proper (p. 9).

Though the Bible does not speak on all matters, by inspiration it gives us all we need to know. All Protestant scholars have held that when the book of Revelation says that no more words are to be added to, or taken way from "this book," the reference is concerning "removing" revelation recorded in Scripture or "adding" so-called "new" revelation. The book of Revelation then is the last book. No "prophet" or "apostle" today brings additional revelation from God, either through a Pope or Protestant "prophet." Those who make such claims are self-inflated egotists! Prophets who make these revelatory claims today are liars! In fact the words bear them out that they indeed are false prophets. No one has recorded their words and presented them to the Church as having equal authority alongside our canon of Scripture. Self-proclaimed prophets today know their "messages" from the Lord are not inspired! If they were, why are not their words published in a book as equal authoritative messages from the Lord?

Our people must be taught the Doctrine of Bibliology and what is Scripture and what is not!



Another hallmark of the Reformation was Sola Fide, "only by faith." Though there were some variations as to what this meant, generally it carried the idea of the apostle Paul, that by grace one is saved through faith in Christ alone. There is no other salvation, no other Savior, no other means!

Possibly millions died for this doctrine. Dozens of associations and denominations were begun on the foundations of this truth. Hundreds of religious institutions and thousands of churches were spawned on the basis of this spiritually liberating truth of the New Testament. Since the Reformation and up until recently, no Evangelical group would have dared think of abandoning Sola Fide. No one would have dreamed of tampering with this biblical truth. Few biblical conservatives would have imagined that for the sake of unity, Protestants and Catholics could come together in a filial way and embrace as Christian brothers and sisters. All Evangelical groups clung to the principle that we're saved by the grace of God apart from human works, ecclesiastical effort, or simply by some church relationship.

But today salvation itself is being re-defined. "If one is sincere, if one uses the right language, if one simply claims to be a Christian, despite what he believes about salvation itself . . ." then, indeed he must be a child of God! Never mind doctrinal distinction! Never mind the issue of the deity of Christ! Never mind if Mary is added to the equation as a co-redemptrix for our salvation! Never mind that Christ's sacrifice is not sufficient alone to save. Thus, it is becoming more and more popular to add to Jesus' death on the cross human works to place God!

For generations most Evangelical Protestant churches were certain that this truth could not be compromised. Evangelical churches would not dare tamper with the heart and soul of the Christian faith, and that is -- there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. We are helpless in our sins. Only by simple faith and trust in Jesus Christ can we ever receive eternal life. Few Evangelical Protestants have ever questioned what the apostle Paul has clearly written about the doctrine of salvation and justification by faith!

Could you officially work with any group that compromised the Gospel or other truths that are clear in Scripture?

Could you evangelize or cooperate theologically with the Mormons who proclaim:

Could you evangelize or cooperate theologically with the Catholics who proclaim:
How different from Paul's words:
The great Calvinist Baptist John Gill summarized for us:
The Gospel is called the word of faith . . . the faith once delivered to the saints. The Gospel includes the free, sovereign, everlasting, and unchangeable love of God; of eternal, personal, and irrespective election . . .to grace and glory . . . of the everlasting, absolute, unconditional, and sure free grace; of particular redemption by Christ, proceeding on to a full satisfaction of divine justice; of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ; of reconciliation and pardon by His blood; of regeneration and sanctification by the Spirit; of the perseverance of the saints in faith and holiness, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal glory. Now this faith the apostles preached, published, declared, spoke out openly and publicly; fully and completely, without dropping, concealing, or keeping back any thing clearly and plainly, without using foggy phases, or words of doubt meaning, with all faithfulness and integrity, boldness and persistency.


The Evangelical Church has had a literal invasion of secular psychology. Beginning in earnest in the 1950s with Dr. Bruce Naramore, more and more books were produced that advocated a wedding of psychology and the Bible. The key word used presently is "integration." And as I speak today, the momentum for this integration is accelerating faster than we can possibly imagine.

It is my opinion that from the beginning Christian writers who attempted an integration process of the Bible and psychology, made a fatal error. For example, Dr. Hildreth Cross in his 1952 volume AN INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY (Zondervan) argues that this field studies man in his total environment: physical, mental, and spiritual nature. He then notes that the secularist has trouble gathering laboratory data on the spiritual aspect of man because the psychologist can't find an experimental approach to this elusive aspect of study. He then hints at the fact that psychologists have a bias against the idea of the soul and thus do not include it in their research (p. 25).

The bottom line is, the world does not believe the Bible nor does it agree to the fact that the number one human relationship should be with the Creator. Man is seen only as an animal. He has evolved into a higher form and yet he still is imply an animal. If there is a God, He cannot be known. Man is the author of his own destiny.

What is so interesting is that Dr. Cross and other Christian "integrationists" simply plowed on in their effort to make psychology fit into a biblical mold. They succeeded in popularizing and "christianizing" an evolutionary saturated pseudo-science. The next step was to bring it within the walls of our churches.

The word psychology is a good Greek word, coming from Psuxa, meaning "soul," or "life." Or, "the seat and center of the inner life of man in its many and varied aspects." (Arndt & Gingrich) In the New Testament the word is often translated in regards to feelings and emotions. Sometimes the word may refer to the mind. But from the very beginning of secular psychology, any kind of biblical focus was excluded from the field. And yet Evangelical seminaries are accelerating in their emphasis on secular counseling, psychology. Many are downplaying their Bible training as over against their infatuation with psychology courses. More and more Bible colleges have just recently moved to psychological counseling. For example, you can now get the following degree in:

Clinical Counselling -- Lincoln Christian Seminary

Family Therapy -- Anderson School of Theology

Marriage & Family (Doctorate with state licensure -- Bethel Seminary

Clinical Psychology -- Wheaton College

Psychology (doctorate) -- George Fox College

Psychology (doctorate) -- Regent University

Foundational Theology and Psychology -- Emerge Ministries (college)

Licensed Clinical Counsellor -- Ashland Theological Seminary

Stated: "Integration of Psychology & Theology"
Clinical Psychology (doctorate) (licensed) Gestalt Therapy -- Rosemead/Biola

Community Counseling (licensure) "Integration & Integrity" -- Indiana Wesleyan University

Social Work (accredited) -- Roberts Wesleyan College

Community/Clinical Counseling (certified) -- Eastern College

"Professional" Psychology
All courses integrate psychology &
a Christian world-view. (licensure) -- Geneva College

This list is but the tip of the iceberg. Most schools have counseling departments that are using tainted textbooks and secular theorists. George Fox College notes:
"We are committed to the integration of biblical principles and the science of psychology. . . .professional practitioner model within the context of a Christian world-view. Our faculty brings a wealth of professional experience and diversity of theoretical backgrounds."
Unequivocally, TYNDALE does not teach assimilation of Psychology and Christianity in its Biblical Counseling Department. The Bible is our guidebook. We refuse to teach toward licensure. We are preparing people to work only under the context of ministries or churches. In the last few years over a dozen people coming to the school's counseling center have accepted Christ as Savior. If any textbook statement is suspect it is flagged by the professor. At TYNDALE we teach students "to learn and discern." We use only one secular textbook entitled: AN INTRODUCTION TO THEORIES OF PERSONALITY, B. R. Hergenhahn, Prentice Hall! What do some of the secularist teach?
Many of these and other philosophies are coming into the churches through pastoral courses or placing state licensed Christian counselors into the ministry program. To be state licensed, the student must attend a state university or Christian college that is integrating the Bible with secular psychology. They must work for years under the supervision of an MD or Ph.D. in psychiatry or psychology.

The Church should have nothing to do with psychological counseling. Psychology needs to be purged from the pulpit and pastors need to get back to biblical training in order to learn to teach just the Word of God from the pulpit! And they need to learn again how to counsel from Scripture.


On almost every page of the New Testament we are reminded that Jesus is the Lord and we are His servants! Today there is an unstated supposition that the Lord serves us! Many pop devotionals and even many of our contemporary Christian songs proclaim how Jesus wants to make us happy. We are told over and over how valuable we are to Him. In so many words we are told how we must cooperate with Him, how His plans are thwarted without our help. But the Scriptures contain none of the above ideas.

Instead, the Bible tells us Jesus is "our Lord" (Rom. 1:4). We are "called" by Him and we received grace and apostleship (1:5). We are now servants of righteousness (Rom. 6:16), servants of God (1 Pet. 2:16). Paul reminds us we were bought with a price. "Now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God" (Rom. 6:22).

Because of psychology and its emphasis on self, few Christians see themselves as serving the Master! But our redemption and salvation is to bring honor and glory to the Lord. Somehow, we have it the other way around. Normative to the Church Age is suffering and persecution for Christ's sake. He is to use us when and how He pleases. The apostle Paul understood the plan of suffering well.

Paul writes, "we are afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed" (II Cor. 4:8-9). Persecution is producing for us "an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (II Cor. 4:18). If we are not suffering for Christ's sake today, it means He has given us a narrow window of a reprieve from persecution. But in the past the Church of the Lord has suffered much for His name's sake!

The self-esteem movement has wreaked havoc on the humility factor in the body of Christ. But Paul reminds us "Do nothing from selfishness or 'empty glory,' but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. . " (Phil. 2:4).

When the Jews who returned from Babylon realized how far they had drifted from the Lord by marrying Canaanite women, they along with Ezra, were broken spiritually. Ezra writes "they trembled at the words of God because of their unfaithfulness" (9:4), they felt their guilt and open shame (9:6, 7). Ezra cried out "now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God . . . to give us a peg [a nail to hang onto] in His holy place . . . a little reviving in our bondage" (ch. 9). As well, God reminded the people not to seek the peace or the prosperity of the culture. If they obeyed this command they would leave an inheritance to their sons forever (9:12). Because of conviction, the people trembled and wept bitterly! (10:1).

We need to teach our people about returning to humility. We all need to weep over our sins and the sins of the Church!


It has been said of one of the popular "conservative" evangelical writers in the area of spiritual warfare that reading his books is like eating steak laced with arsenic. The steak tasted great and makes up the major portion, but the arsenic, imbedded throughout, will kill you. I can't think of a better analogy of what is going on in evangelicalism today. "Speaking the truth in love" is no longer "popular" or "politically correct" so many in the evangelical world have lost their taste for it. Thus, one of Satan's most effective weapons against Christ's Church is tearing away at the very core of Biblical Christianity. That weapon being, teach a lot of truth and mix in a little bit of error. Once we have developed a taste for error the dosage can and will be elevated!

One of the problems is that we have bought the lie that to confront error is not showing love. We have redefined love! In the context of Scripture it is not the one who allows his brother to continue in sin and error who is showing love but the one who confronts is showing love (Matt. 18:15). Love and truth can no more be separated than can God, who is Love and Truth by His very nature!

The phrase "speak the truth in love" comes from Ephesians 4:15. Paul begins this chapter in Ephesians with an appeal to "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Thus unity was extremely important to Paul. Paul lists even elements of Christ's unity, those being: (1) One body (the universal church), (2) One Spirit, (3) One hope (a future eternity with God), (4) One Lord (this historical, Biblical Christ, (5) One faith (the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints), (6) One baptism (believer's identification with Christ's body - 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:1-4). There can be no unity with those who do not come together on these seven elements!

Paul continues in Ephesians 4:7-16 discussing how that unity in the body of Christ is preserved. After discussing the gifted men that were given to the church to "equip the saints for the world of the service," Paul goes on to show how only through this equipping process will we mature to the point of knowing sound doctrine in a way that we are not "tossed here and there . . . and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:15). With a solid doctrinal understanding, we can then speak the truth in love and reach full maturity ("grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, Christ").

The bottom line is, without doctrinal understanding, there can be no stability in the body and thus no maturity.

Probably nowhere else can Paul's insistence on the teaching of sound doctrine in the church be more clearly seen than in the Pastoral Epistles. This makes sense since it is the elders (pastor-teachers) who are responsible for studying, learning and passing on that truth to the Body. In Paul's final word's of wisdom to his spiritual disciples and successors, look at the emphasis on teaching truth and confronting error in I Timothy alone!

Paul's greatest concern in his final years of life was that these men teach doctrinal truth. As we have already seen in Ephesians chapter four, doctrinal teaching is essential for maturity and stability in the Body and a compromise in this area can lead to eventually forsaking the very Gospel for the sake of unity. Paul told Timothy, "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1 Tim. 4:16).


Because of Humanism and the deification of mankind, the concept of death is almost beyond our realm of reality. The world is told to play hard, live for the now. In fact the very term "Hedonism" mean "the present," "to want it all now." Since most of us will cross the great divide in a sterile hospital bed, and because of the art of body preservation by embalming, few Americans see the full frightening impact of dying. But our mortality is real! And the only hope beyond the grave is personal faith in Jesus Christ as the only Savior and hope.

But there is also a large scope to consider when thinking about Eschatology. Many Christians today are confused about this doctrine of Eschatology. Many argue against the idea of the rapture of the Church on the basis that this view leads to pessimism and attitude of "pie in the sky by and by!" Some argue also that the idea of the rapture leads to sloppy Christian living, that it removes an incentive to witnessing. Actually, none of the above objections are true.

The greatest and most effective missionary training schools of the last century have been the premillennial/rapture teaching institutions like Moody Bible Institute or Philadelphia College of Bible. Because these schools and others taught the soon return of Christ, the missionary imperative was tremendous.

As well, almost all the rapture passages of the Bible have verses attached that give a strong command to live a Godly life "because He's coming back soon!"

These and other important Eschatological truths impact the fact that "this world is not our home." "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20). Paul goes on: "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;... for the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Cor. 4:18) and "we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven" (5:2), but as well we "wait for [God] Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who [will be] rescuing is out from the wrath approaching" (I Thess. 1:10). Though you may differ with me on some of the details of the end-time events, eschatology is important and must be taught.

But there is the personal aspect of Eschatology. For example, as Evangelicals we cannot water down the doctrines of heaven and hell. Universally, "it is appointed for [all] men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27). For those in Christ, absent from the body, present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:6). For those without the Lord Jesus, there are the flames "where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mk. 9:48).

Evangelicals cannot give up on or weaken the view of eternal judgment. We cannot sally forth witnessing about a loving God and fail to warn of His wrath upon those not in Christ. And how we treat eternal issues may reflect on how we proclaim and live forth present issues! If we honestly believe the Gospel is true and the only way to eternal life, then likewise we believe all must be saved from an eternal hell, by that Gospel!


Satan, using the culture, is attempting to destroy the witness of the Church. In his commentary on the book of John, Van Doren says the tendency of this world is (1) to stir up and strengthen the impulses of our animal-like nature, (2) to destroy the sense of individual responsibility, (3) to produce habits to superficial though, (4) to produce forgetfulness of God.

Doctrine forms the concrete walls that hold out such moral and spiritual erosion. This is why Paul told Timothy:

Pay attention to the reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. ... Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, ... Start looking within yourself and start examining your teaching; stay on top of these things; as you do this you will be keeping from harm, both yourself and those who are listening to you (Gr. I Tim. 4:13-16).
Your list of what is most important doctrinally may be different than mine. But in actuality, every truth put forth in Scripture is to be heeded and obeyed simply because "God gave it!" Every doctrine in God's Word is crucial!

In conclusion, John Armstrong in his book THE COMING EVANGELICAL CRISIS gives a frightening analysis of where we are today. What he writes is most applicable:

[Concerning some practical issues], we give relative authority to the Scripture. To give it absolute authority would be to question a good deal of what is presently happening in a significant number of [doctrinal] areas. We have grown accustomed to things as they are, and as long as they seem to work we plan to stay the course. The Word truly unleashed would judge us. We would be forced to begin a [doctrinal] reforming process that would be painful and costly. We are not sure yet if we want to do this, especially as long as the "good times roll" (p. 23).


Simply put, the apostle addressed Doctrinal Deviation head-on. Paul didn't mince words. He refused to back down from controversy. He also was not afraid to call names and be specific with the nature of error. Throughout his letters he made it clear that the way to silence error was to teach doctrine and to instruct. By the power of the Holy Spirit and sound words, Paul felt the mind had to be changed by the input of new spiritual truth.

The early Church was full of heresy and error. For example the false religions of (1) Gnosticism apparently were rampant in the early Church setting. As well, the apostle Paul considered (2) Jewish legalism as heresy that had to be addressed with all speed lest it destroy the truth of justification by faith through grace alone. There was also the (3) mixing "assimilation" or syncretism of paganism and Christianity would assert itself in Catholicism. These three main errors are described below:


The Gnostics were the New Agers of their day. Though we don't know of all that the Gnostic groups taught, they did for certain believe they were gifted to receive revelation others could not know. Thus the word "Gnostic," TO KNOW WHAT OTHERS CANNOT FATHOM or, TO HAVE SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE! Many Gnostics held to strict asceticism, prophetic utterances, the deity of human beings and that there were many paths to God. They also denied the true humanity of Christ.

Jewish Legalism

In Galatians, Paul encounters head-on Jewish legalism. Even some Christian Jews apparently were arguing for faith in Christ PLUS keeping the Law in order to obtain salvation. They certainly were urging Law-keeping and faith for living out the experience of salvation. Paul seems to become more angry about this issue than any other. There can be no mixing of Law and Grace!

Assimilation of Paganism and Christianity

The most conspicuous mixing of paganism and Christianity in the New Testament is found in the book of Revelation. By some accounts of the church fathers, the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6) were a sect advocating license and free love. They promoted a hierarchy that could have led to the concept of the Roman priesthood. John the apostle hints that some at the church of Pergamum had fallen back into idolatry (2:14), and some tolerated Jezebel who lead many astray to acts of immorality and sacrifice to idols (2:20). Later, many churches fell even deeper into idolatry and page practices.

But it is common knowledge that, after the New Testament period, and early in the development of the Church during the early Middle Ages, Christendom was assimilating with paganism. Mariolatry was the most obvious doctrinal deviation from biblical orthodoxy, Quoting Dave Hunt's book A WOMAN RIDES THE BEAST:

The only "queen of heaven" mentioned in Scripture is an idol which was worshipped by the pagans and to which the Jewish women gave offerings, bringing the wrath of God upon them: The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger . . . (Jer. 7:18).

Because you have burned incense [to the queen of heaven] and because you have sinned against the Lord . . . therefore this evil is happening unto you (44:15).

Far from being embarrassed by such pagan connections, Rome flaunts them. May Catholics boast that Mary has taken the place of "Maia, the nymph of Greek mythology, who was the mother of Hermes by Zeus, the sky god." The month of May was named after Maia, who was known as "the queen of May . . . [and] the Jesuit effort to turn the Queen of May into the Virgin Mary was successful . . . (p. 441, Harvest House, 1994).


Both of these men spoke out about being on guard and not being carried away by the error of "lawless" men (II Pet. 3:17). Peter says these "false prophets" came in "among" the believers (2:1). By coming into the churches they "cleansed" themselves outwardly and morally by escaping "the defilements of the culture" (2:20). They had an outer acceptance of Christ but then "turned away" from the truth (2:21). One of the characteristics of those in cults is that they can look like believers in Christ. They can appear "religious" and pious. But Peter in no uncertain words says they never know the Lord in personal terms.

Jude writes that these false prophets "crept into the churches unnoticed who were marked out long ago for condemnation." He adds they were ungodly men who turned God's grace into "debauchery" (Gr. aseigeia) (v. 4). he goes on to write that they went after the error of Balaam (v. 11) and were "hidden reefs" [of destruction] in their love feasts (v. 12). Jude further describes them as "trees without fruit," "doubly dead, uprooted" (v. 12). He forcefully concludes:

These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage (v. 16).

These are the ones who cause divisions, [they are] worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit (v. 19).

Peter says they are "self-willed," and indulge the flesh while despising authority (2:10). He says they are Hedonistic (Gr. hadonan, "Living in the Now!"), living in luxury; they are stains and blemishes and speak out "arrogant words of vanity [and] entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality" promising freedom while they are slaves of corruption (2:18-19).

In terms of Eschatology, Peter adds that "in the last days mockers will come ... following their own lusts, and saying 'Where is the promise of His coming? ... [since] all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'" (3:3-4). The apostle tells us why they say this and that is, they have their own selfish agenda (their own lusts) whereby they want the world to continue as it is (3:3).



In Paul's first letter (49-55 AD), the apostle comes out blasting Jewish Legalism! He calls the Gospel "the grace of Christ" (1:6) and warns of those teaching a "different" Gospel (1:6), disturbing the believers and distorting the Gospel message (1:6-7). He calls "accursed" any who preach a contrary Gospel, no matter if the message-bearer is from heaven or earth! (1:8).

Paul makes it clear that the pure Gospel is not from men and that it came by revelation (1:11-12). The apostle makes no bones about the fact that he is the Lord's exclusive, first-line message-bearer and that he received this truth from the Lord, outside of himself. It's origin is not from mean! (1:11). Paul goes on and explains that opposition comes from "false brothers" who have sneaked in and spied out the Church's liberty "which we have in Christ Jesus," with the intent of bringing believers into "bondage" (2:4).

Paul further reminds his readers that he submitted his Gospel message to the church at Jerusalem. The Lord Himself guided Paul to share the "revelation" he received from Christ to the apostles in private (2:2). James, Peter, and John recognized the grace that had been given to Paul (2:9). Later, though not preaching heresy, Peter was not consistent in his practicing the Gospel of grace (Ryrie. In time, Peter was convinced of his error!

In the heart of his Galatian letter, Paul argues that you cannot mix Law and grace, both in the issue of salvation and in the issue of living out the Christian life (3:1-5). Paul speaks strongly that "God would justify the Gentiles by faith . . . " (3:8). He adds that by being under the Law, one is cursed! (3:14). The apostle adds that God has "hemmed in, enclosed, confined, imprisoned" (Gr.) all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe (3:22). No argument could be more clear than what Paul puts forth here in Galatians!

But into the believers' camp comes opposition!

Paul writes of those who are attempting to "persuade" the churches differently (5:8). He speaks of those who are "hindering," "disturbing" and "troubling" the body of Christ. He argues that their ultimate goal is to "make a good showing in the flesh" by trying to Judaize the Gentile Christians back into circumcision (6:12).


As Paul closes this book he urges his readers to watch carefully certain brothers in the Lord and "turn away from them" (16:12). He adds, "for such men are slaves . . . of their own appetites" and deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting by "smooth and flattering speech" (16:18).

I & II Corinthians

The assembly at Corinth had more problems than any other church. Paul addresses their division (1:10) and quarrels (1:11). He focuses on the power of the Gospel for salvation (1:18) and the great need in the Christian life to grow up (ch. 3). The apostle closes I Corinthians with few specific warnings but he does remind the readers to "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith . . . " (16:13). As well, he comes down hard on anyone who does not love the Lord by saying "let him be accursed" (16:22).


In this letter Paul has only one paragraph of a warning nature, in regard to apparent error. He writes, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (5:6-7).


In this epistle Paul is furious at the inroads of the Judaizers. He detests the mixing of Law with Grace. He writes a stinging rebuke and says, "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; ... put no confidence in the flesh" (3:2-3).

Most commentators believe the term "dog" is referring to the Judaizers who claimed circumcision as necessary for salvation. Though dog was generally a word reserved for pagan Gentiles.


Paul comes out blasting those who were "defrauding" the Colossian saints (2:18). They were mystics who worshipped angels, had visitations fro them and had an egotistical, self-inflated mind. Paul writes that these people were not "holding onto the head," Christ, who brought about spiritual growth (2:19).

As well, the apostle writes against the ascetics who looked at things physical as sinful, "Handle not, taste not, touch not!" (2:21). Ascetics followed after the commandments of men that appeared wise but were really practices of "self-made religion . . . and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence" (2:23). Paul urges his readers to raise set their eyes on things above, not on the things of earth (3:2).

I & II Thessalonians

The apostle closes I Thessalonians by commanding all in the church to "admonish the impulsive, cheer up the small-souled, help the sick [of heart] . . . " 5:14. Besides this, he urges the church to appreciate those working among them and who "give you instruction" (5:12).

The church at Thessalonica was suffering terribly from persecution. But Paul was still concerned about error, apostasy and doctrinal departure and about those who lived undisciplined and lazy lives. At the end of II Thessalonians he writes: "Keep away from every brother who leads an undisciplined life . . . " (3:6). With even harsher words, he says "If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. . . . yet do not regard him as an enemy but instruct him as a brother" (3:14). The apostle was determined to create a strong, mature Church that could withstand any onslaught of error!

I Timothy

In the Pastoral Epistles, the apostle comes down even harder on doctrinal drift. In 1:3, Timothy was told to stay at Ephesus in order to "'command with authority' (Gk.) certain men not to teach 'Heterodoxy' (Gk.) nor to pay attention to mere speculations that do not further the work of the God by faith!" These men, he says, have strayed from "commands given by authority" (Gk.) and have "limped" (Gk.) towards fruitless discussions (1:5, 6). Paul says these men are "legalists" and do not "mentally reason" (Gk.) what they are saying and know nothing about the things they seem confident about.

The apostle does not mind mentioning the names of those who have drifted from the truth. He writes of two men named Alexander and Hymenaeus who became shipwrecked in faith (1:19). Alexander was delivered over to Satan because of his blaspheming (1:20). Further, this man "vigorously opposed our teaching" Paul adds (II Tim. 4:15).

Paul also went beyond his day to ours. In 4:1, I believe he addresses our apostate church by his strong words:

"For the Spirit emphatically is saying that in later times some will themselves 'apostaize' (Gk.) away from The Faith (Arndt & Gingrich), turning one's mind (Gk.) to 'impostor spirits' and to demonic didactics. . . . {They are doing this by the influence of those] liars with 'inferior discernment' (upokrisis) who have been seared by their own conscience" (4:1-2).
The apostle adds that Timothy will be a good servant to point "out these things to the brothers" (4:6) who need to be continually nourished on the words of faith and of the sound doctrine "which you [Timothy] have been following."

Paul urges young pastor Timothy to avoid "worldly babblings" (4:7) and "empty chatter" (6:20) with [doctrinally] opposing arguments of what is falsely labeled "knowledge" - which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith (6:21).

The apostle concludes this letter to Timothy with the following strong words:

Be teaching and counseling with these principles! If anyone [teaches] heterodoxy (Gk.), and does not set-forth sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, . . . (6:2-4).
II Timothy

Because of the rejection of doctrine and of the Gospel, Paul warns Timothy of the struggle he must endure for truth. Paul points out that all in Asia turned away from him (1:15). He uses in this letter phrases like "suffer hardship as a good soldier," "compete as an athlete," "the hard-working farmer," "enduring all things," "persecutions and sufferings," "imprisonment as a criminal though the word of God is not imprisoned"!

Timothy was to remind those drifting to stop "wrangling" about words, which is useless, and "leads to the ruin of the hearers" (2:14).

In this epistle also Paul is not afraid to call names. He mentions again Hymenaeus along with Philetus, who had "gone astray from the truth" and had "upset the faith of some" (2:18). These men were teaching that the resurrection had already come and gone with the result that many were spiritually shaken within. Paul also urges Timothy to "reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (4:2) because, the time will arrive when men will not endure sound doctrine (4:3). They will want their ears tickled and desire teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. These men will turn away from the truth to myths (4:4).

In this book the apostle also warns of the last days when hard times will come. Men will be self-lovers, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedience to parents, ungrateful, unholy, . . . holding a form of godliness but denying its power (3:1-5). They will be those who are ever "learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (3:7).


In many ways Paul is tougher on error in this letter to Titus than in any of his other writings. In giving the qualifications for the elder, the apostle says this church leader Titus should be "exhorting with 'healthy' doctrine and exposing those who argue" (Gk.19). In a lengthy diatribe the apostle lashes out against "rebellious men," "empty talkers," and "deceivers" (1:10) who "must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain" (1:11). He adds "reprove them severely that they may be sound in faith" (1:13). He goes on: they teach the commandments of men "who turn away from the truth" (1:14).

In contrast, Titus is to "speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine" (2:1). Paul then addresses the spiritual and practical needs of older and younger men and women. He ties "good deeds" together with "purity in doctrine" (2:7). He again urges Titus to speak "these things" and exhort, reprove with all authority" (2:15). In doing so, "shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law" (3:9) for such discussion are worthless, he says. And finally, "reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned" (3:10-11).


On the progressive invasion of Feminism into the Evangelical churches, some pastors have answered: "But I don't want to make the ladies angry!"

On the silence of teaching eschatology in Evangelical churches, some pastors have answered: "But teaching prophecy can be controversial!"

On the issue of teaching about the heresy of Catholicism, some pastors have answered: "But I have people in the congregation who have been former Catholics!"

On the issue of warning in regards to Promise Keepers, some pastors have answered: "But I have a group of deacons who go to PK and want a PK support group here at the church!"

On the issues of a certain friendliness toward secularized counseling, some pastors have answered: "But I have many in my church who follow the Christian psychologist on radio. If I speak out, they may leave my church!"

How would the apostle of the New Testament answer these pastors?

1) Paul and James would say, "no matter the cost, you teach doctrinal truth."

2) John would say, "truth is never sacrificed in place of love. Both are proclaimed an bonded together."

3) James and John would say that "we are at war with the culture. We can never compromise and assimilate biblical truth with the philosophies of the world!"

For example:
1) James argues, "if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will 'remove from sight' a multitude of sins" (Ja. 5:19-20). The writer of Hebrews adds, "do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings;..." (Heb. 13:9). Paul goes on, "if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, . . . do not associate with him, . . . put him to shame. [And yet] admonish him as a brother" (II Thess. 3:14-15).

But Paul goes even further in his argument for teaching strong doctrine. He writes in II Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is God-breathed (Gk. theopneustos) and is useful for TEACHING [a body of doctrine propositions], REPROOF [a statement of negative reprimand], CORRECTION [getting back on course], TRAINING in righteousness [a new path in living].
Paul concludes with a solemn charge: "Start proclaiming the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (II Tim. 4:2).

2) The apostle John comes down hard on the issue of Christian love and doctrine. He does not argue "just love everybody!" Nor does he argue "just teach doctrine only!" He argues for both. "Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" Jo. 3:18). He continues:

"[To those] whom I love with truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever" (II Jo. 2). "Grace and mercy from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (v. 3). He adds that he is glad to find the believers "walking in truth" (v. 4) and notes that this was commanded by God the Father!
John says he is so glad to hear from other believers that those he wrote to were "walking in the truth." He states further, "I have no greater joy than this to hear of my children walking in the truth" (III JO. 4).

3) Finally, we are at war with the culture. The world coming into the church and taking over the lives of believers, is possibly one of the most alarming and frightening events happening. Discernment is gone! Pastors and people no longer seem to know the difference between the influence of the world and biblical truth!

James and John speak to this issue head-on. John first reminds his readers they are strong because "the word of God abides in you" (1 Jo. 2:14). But he reminds the Christians, "do not love the world (culture), nor the things in the culture," because the one who loves the culture cannot have the love for God the Father within (2:15). He adds, the philosophy of the world and all it offers is not from the Father (2:16). From the culture we are tempted by the "cravings" (lust) of the flesh, the "cravings" of what our eyes long for. As well, we are tugged by the culture toward the pretentious pride of living (Gk., bios)!

In no uncertain terms James blasts away at the believers' who sleep with the world. "You adulteresses, do you not know that a friendship with the culture is 'war with God'?" (Ja. 4:4). "Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the culture makes himself an enemy of God." James then pictures God as a jealous husband. He has placed His Spirit within us because He desires to have an exclusive and intimate relationship as a husband with his wife (4:5).

Finally, James writes that God has given us a "greater grace" to overcome the temptation of the culture. Worldly temptation is fueled by a selfish pride which God is not committed to (antitasso) but instead, He will grant grace to those who humble themselves and repudiate the world and all its glitter! (4:6).


In wrapping up, Lenski writes:

Titus should do but one thing with these people, namely gag them, stop their mouths and silence them by force. Paul does not say how this was to be accomplished; [but] in I Tim. 1:4 he wants Timothy to order them to stop their contrary teaching. (TITUS, p. 901).
Calvin notes:
If we do not turn away from the simple doctrine of the gospel, if we wish to be governed by the will of God; if we are not carried away by our . . . passions, if we do not walk by our groveling appetites; in short, IF WE ARE GOOD SCHOLARS OF OUR GOD, AND RECKON IT ENOUGH TO HAVE RECEIVED THE DOCTRINE WHICH HE TEACHES US; IF THAT BE THE CASE WE SHALL BE FORTIFIED AGAINST ALL EVIL! ( TITUS, p. 303).
Closing with John Gill:
"Sound in the faith" (Titus 1:13) means "healthy" in faith. Thus we speak wholesome words of Christ to create strong and robust and healthy believers. What about those who are weak and sickly in their profession of faith? We should rebuke those who are infected with bad principles and practices, like the physician removing the causes of disorder; and with rebuke, admonition and censuring. THIS IS ULTIMATELY FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE CORRECTED. (TITUS, p. 351).