One of the great obstacles to unity and one of the biggest causes of division within the body of Christ is doctrinal disagreement and disputes. The media and the internet are the largest facilitator of this strife and division within the body of Christ. The gossip, the slander, the defamation of character of godly ministers that is found on websites, YouTube and social media is at an all-time high.
Heresy hunters, who appear to be growing in number, are the primary advocates and instigators of this strife. They seem to glory in their self-appointed purpose of policing the body of Christ against what they claim is false doctrine and heresy. To these self-proclaimed heresy hunters, everyone is a heretic except them, including anyone who doesn't believe the way they do. How arrogant!
For example, there are websites dedicated to exposing even great pioneers of the past who have already departed from us such as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, C.S Lewis, Martin Luther, John Calvin and even the recently departed Dr. Billy Graham, one of the most humble, respected and high-character men of this past century. Then there are the websites who are critical of some of today's preachers such as Bill Johnson, Andrew Wommack, Paul Washer and Charles Stanley, to name a few.
There are even websites that refer to the apostle Paul as a heretic. Can you believe that? The reason given was that Paul's teachings conflict with some of the gospels and what Jesus said. I'm convinced that most of these heresy hunters are like trolls just looking to promote their divisive agenda by sowing discord on the internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people; by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into doubting godly ministers. Frankly, these heresy hunters need a life. Apparently they don't have enough to do.
These self-appointed heresy hunters are hard to please. They will always find ground for disagreement. Just like many of this magazine's commentators, the majority are critical, cynical, and use the comment section to promote and ride their little pet hobby horse or slander another minister. I can hardly read the comments on my own articles anymore because many of them are so downgrading and derogatory. I'm sad to see such negativity that is so unbecoming to Christians.
People are free to disagree with any topic and express their opinion, but when you personally attack ministers whom you don't even know, it is so grievous to the Lord and will cause you to eventually reap judgment, especially when you refer to them as an agent of Satan, a wolf or a heretic controlled by a demon.
Heresy hunters believe they somehow have the right in their minds to attack, slander and falsely accuse ministers by name, and in some cases completely misrepresent what these ministers teach. For example, I came up under the tutelage of the late Kenneth E. Hagin, one of the finest men of God of this past century. He was a true prophet of God with impeccable character, a deep prayer life, with many visions and visitations that contained phenomenal messages for the body of Christ. For decades, I never heard one critical word about another person come through this beloved man's lips. Yet some people, who call themselves Christians, have the gall to call him an agent of Satan. Wow!
Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin was also one of the most scripturally sound ministers of this past century, and yet again, heresy hunters who somehow think their theology is heaven's standard, identify him with hyper-faith, hyper-prosperity and teaching that Jesus went to hell. How lopsided a view that is of his life and ministry to those who really knew what he taught.
The heresy-hunters' motto is if people don't believe and interpret the Scriptures the way they do then these ministers are heretics, and these heresy hunters attempt to prove it with their own version of what the Scriptures say. What a travesty! Most of the time they wind up twisting the Scriptures and presenting them from the small murky lens of their church or denominational traditions, or the brand of theology they've been taught and brainwashed with.
It's time for the body of Christ to put away this grievous behavior and grow up, for this type of ungodly behavior is an indicator of gross carnality or spiritual babyhood at best.
"Therefore put away all wickedness, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. As newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow" (1 Pet. 2:1-2).
It's time for the body of Christ to mature in love and quit being so disagreeable. Everyone has different degrees of understanding and light from the Scriptures. No two people will agree on everything. Do I agree with every minister? No, a thousand times no. Do I believe certain doctrines are harmful to the body of Christ? Absolutely. But I am not going to spout off ministers' names and slander them.
If I don't really know their hearts and have a personal relationship with them, then it's just best to pray for them and leave them in the Lord's hands. They should have people in their lives to hold them accountable. If not, then that's their fault.
If you want to challenge a certain doctrine that you believe is causing harm to the church, then do so without naming names and degrading ministers you don't even know. The apostle Paul called some false ministers out because he knew them and because their doctrine or lack of character were endangering the churches he planted or of which he had oversight.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including the newly released, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation and the highly sacred book, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness. An anointing of fire marks his ministry with frequent demonstrations of the Spirit and power of God. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, conferences, on the streets and in homes. He and his wife Carolyn also host The Holy Ghost Forum – a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
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