Many today believe that it is wrong to
expose error and to name names. Liberals have always seemed to
believe this, but in recent times it has been widely espoused by
evangelicals and charismatics. Now we are seeing the same fatal
error being declared by those who profess to be Bible believing
fundamentalists. Those who are faithful in exposing error according
to the Bible are now being widely denounced, and are accused of
being unloving and unkind. We intend here to present the teaching of
the Bible on this vital subject.
1. It Is Right To Practice Biblical
One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, ‘“Judge not, that ye
be not judged” (Matt.7: 1). Every Scripture verse should be read in
its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In
vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v.1 is referring to
hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye
should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye.
The lesson is plain; you cannot judge another for his sin if you are
guilty of the same sin.
Those who cling to “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” to condemn
those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said,
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing...”
(v.15). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the
Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to warn
the sheep of these “ravening wolves?” All through the Bible we find
proof that they should be identified and exposed.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good
fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (v.16,17). Did
the Lord mean that we could not judge the tree (person), by the
fruit of their life and doctrine? Certainly not, for you cannot know
without judging. All judgment should be on the basis of Bible
teaching, not according to whims or prejudices.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous
judgment” (John 7:24). Here out Lord commands that we are to “judge
righteous judgment,” which is judgment based upon the Word of God.
If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of
God, it is a violation of Matt.7:1. Webster’s Dictionary says that a
judge is “one who declares the law.” The faithful Christian must
discern or judge on the basis of God’s inspired law, the Bible.
A fornicator is described in 1 Cor.5: 1-13. ‘Paul “judged” (v.3) the
man even though he was absent, and he told the church at Corinth
that they were to “judge” (v.12) those that were within. The Greek
word for “judge” is the same here as in Matt.7: 1. Paul did not
violate “judge not, that ye be not judged,” in judging the man, nor
in instructing the Church to judge also. All of this judgment was
according to the Word of God.
A person who is able to discern between good and evil, has at least
one of the major marks of spiritual maturity. “But strong meat
belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason
have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb.5:
14). W.E. Vine says of the meaning of discern, a distinguishing, a
clear discrimination, discerning, judging; it is translated
`discerning’ in 1 Cor. 12:10 of discerning spirits, judging by
evidence whether they are evil or of God.” Strong also agrees that
it means to judge.
Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning or judging
between good and evil are in this manner revealing either their
disobedience or their immaturity.
II. It Is Right To Expose False Teachers.
False teachers are free to spread their poisonous doctrines today
because there is a conspiracy of silence among many bible believers.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing are thus enabled to ravage the flock,
thereby destroying many.
John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious
leaders of his day) “a generation of vipers” (snakes) (Matt.3:7).
Today, he would be accused of being unloving, unkind, and
Jesus said to the religious Pharisees, “O generation of vipers, how
can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of
the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt.12:34). To many evangelicals and
some fundamentalists, this would be unacceptable language today, but
it is biblical language and it came from the mouth of the Son of
Standing face to face with these false teachers, Jesus Christ the
Son of God, called them “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind,”
“whitewashed sepulchers,” “serpents,” and “ye generation of vipers”
(Matthew 23:23-34). Yet, we are told today that we are to fellowship
with men whose doctrines are just as unscriptural as those of the
Pharisees. Some who say they are Bible believing Christians insist
on working with Roman Catholics and other assorted heretics. Yet,
according to many, we are not supposed to rebuke them for their
Near the beginning of His ministry, “Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And
found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and
the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of
small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and
the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the
tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence;
make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:13-16).
Our Savior is presented today as one who was meek, lowly, kind,` and
loving, even to false teachers, but this is entirely false. When
dealing with false teachers and prophets, His words were sharp and
His actions plain.
Near the end of His public ministry, Christ found it necessary to
cleanse the temple once again. The exposure of false doctrines and
practices is a never-ending job. At that time He said, “Is it not
written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of
prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11:17). Is it
any different today? The thieves come into the house of God, and rob
God’s people of the Bible and peddle their perverted Bibles instead.
At the same time this den of thieves rob the people of the doctrine
of separation and the doctrine of sanctification. Then you can
hardly tell God’s people from the people of the world. In all
honesty, should not these thieves (false teachers) be exposed?
In our day these false teachers have come into the churches with
their books, literature, movies, psychology, seminars, and have
turned the Father’s house into a den of thieves. ‘It is time that
men of God stand up and expose their errors for all to see.
The Bible Admonishes Us To Expose Error.
We are to TRY them. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the
spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are
gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). All doctrine and teachers are
to be tried according to the Word of God. “To the law and to the
testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because
there is no light in them” (Isa.8: 20). Every message, messenger,
and method is to be judged according to the Word of God. The church
at Ephesus was commended because they had “tried them which say they
are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Rev.2:
14,15). It is never right to tolerate false teachers, but they are
to be tried by the Word of God, and exposed. Of course those who
want to disobey the Word of God will seek by every means to avoid
We are to MARK them and AVOID them.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and
offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid
them” (Rom.16: 17). Those whose conduct and teaching contradicts the
Word of God are to be marked and to be avoided. This requires
discernment and judgment in the light of the Bible. The
ecumenicalists, new evangelicals, and compromising fundamentalists
will resist any effort to obey this Scripture. They cannot be marked
and avoided, unless they are judged according to the Word of God.
We are to rebuke them.
“Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith”
(Titus 1:13). This was written to Titus, because there were those
going from house to house and subverting whole houses with false
doctrine (v.10-16). Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Rodney
Howard-Browne, Pat Robertson, and others are subverting whole houses
with their false doctrine today. Are we to sit silently by, while
they do this, without rebuking and admonishing people to avoid their
teaching? No, the faithful servant of the Lord is to be “Holding
fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able
by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayers” (Titus
We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with them.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but
rather reprove them” (Eph.5: 11). Reprove means to censure, condemn,
find fault, rebuke, and to refute. How can we obey this Scripture
unless we try them by the Word of God?
We are to WITHDRAW from them. “Now we command you, brethren, in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from
every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition
which ye received of us” (II Thess.3:6). We are to withdraw from
those whose doctrine and conduct does not conform to the Word of
God. The context clearly shows that obedience to sound doctrine is
what Paul has in mind, for he says, “if any man obey not our word by
this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he
may be ashamed. Yet, count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a
brother. (II Thess.3: 4-15). Paul admonished Timothy to “withdraw
thyself” from those who “consent not to wholesome words ... and to
the doctrine which is according to godliness” (II Timothy 4:2). This
is usually an unpopular and thankless task but it is the duty of the
We are NOT to RECEIVE them into our house.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive
him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that
biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John
10,11). There is no doubt about whom John is speaking about, it is
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of
Christ...” (v.9). radio, TV, and literature bring false prophets
into the homes of many Christians today. Brethren, this ought not to
We are to REJECT HERETICS.
“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition
reject” (Titus 3:10). We should reject those why deny redemption by
the blood of Christ. There are many who deny this or some other
doctrine of the Word of God. `If they will not respond to being
admonished, then they are to be rejected.
We are to look out for those who preach another gospel. Paul warned
about those who preached “another Jesus.... another spirit ... or
another gospel” (II Cor.11: 4). How can we know them unless we judge
their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God? Paul
called such preachers “false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (II Cor.
11:13). `He explains in v.14-15 that these preachers are the
ministers of Satan. The God-called man must be just as faithful
today in exposing the ministers of Satan.
Paul warned the Galatians about those who “pervert the gospel of
Christ.” He also said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you
than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (See Gal. 1:6-9).
Multitudes today are preaching a perverted gospel. Those who teach
salvation by baptism, or by works, are teaching a perverted gospel.
Those who preach a salvation that you can lose, are preaching a
perverted gospel. The charismatics, Catholics, many evangelicals,
and many fundamentalists (?) are preaching a perverted gospel. Yet,
we are supposed to cooperate with them in evangelism and Christian
work, according to many today. If we fail to expose these false
prophets, then we have betrayed Christ and His gospel.
We are to SEPARATE from them. “Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you” (II Cor.6: 17). This makes it plain. God’s
people are to come out of apostasy and religious error. How can any
Bible believer remain in the National Council or World Council of
Churches? How can they remain in the Southern Baptist Convention, or
any of the other apostate organizations? How can they remain among
compromising evangelicals and wishy-washy fundamentalists?
III. It Is Right To Name Names
Many mistakenly believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name
the guilty teachers; but they are wrong according to the Bible.
Paul named Peter publicly.
Peter was guilty of unscriptural practice. ‘“But when Peter was come
to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be
blamed...But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to
the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou,
being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do
the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”
(Gal.2: 11-14). The whole issue revolved around salvation by the law
or by grace. When the integrity and purity of the gospel is at
stake, then we have no choice when it comes to the matter of
exposing error and naming names.
Paul named Demas for loving the world. “For Demas hath forsaken
me, having loved this present world” (II Tim. 4:10). Those who
forsake the cause of Christ for worldly living and pleasure should
be named and exposed.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul told Timothy to “war a good
warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have put
away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and
Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not
to blaspheme” (I Tim.1: 18-20). God’s true servants should war a
good warfare, and name those who have departed from the faith that
was once delivered to the saints. Paul is not here discussing the
faith of salvation but the faith was a system of doctrine. These men
had made shipwreck of it and Paul exposed them and called their
Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus. He told Timothy to “study”
that he might be able to “rightly” divide “the word of truth. But
shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more
ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth as canker: of whom is
Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying
that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of
some” (II Tim.2: 15-18). False doctrine overthrows the faith of
some, so those who are proclaiming it must be exposed.
Paul named Alexander the coppersmith. “Alexander the coppersmith
did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of
whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words” (II
Tim.4: 14-15). It is clear that this is not a personality problem,
but a doctrinal problem. Alexander had withstood the words and
doctrine of Paul. He was an enemy to the truth. Godly pastors face
the same problem every day. They stand and proclaim the truth, and
then their members go home and hear this truth disputed by radio and
TV preachers. Often times these false prophets are sending their
publications into the homes of members of true churches. Then the
man of God is supposed to keep his mouth shut, according to many.
Only a coward will be silent when the truth of the Bible is under
John named Diotrephes. “I wrote unto the church; but Diotrephes,
who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not”
(III John 9). He related how this man had prated again him “with
malicious words” (v10). He further said, “Beloved, follow not that
which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God,
but he that doeth evil hath not seen God” (v.11). It is not wrong to
name those whose doctrine and practice is contrary to the Word of
In fact, the whole Bible abounds in examples of false prophets being
named and exposed. All this modern day talk about love, used as an
excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love but is
really sloppy agape.
Moses called the name of Balaam. (See Num.22-25). Peter exposed
“the way of Balaam...who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II
Pet.2: 15). Balaam was a prophet that was in the work for money,
just like some of the TV false prophets today. They beg for money
and live like kings, while multitudes of innocent people send them
hard earned money. They are always building colleges, hospitals, TV
network satellites, and amusement parks that have a water slide for
Jesus. And then we are supposed to keep our mouth shut about these
religious charlatans. How can we be silent and be true to God?
Jude exposed “the error Balaam” (Jude 11). John exposed “the
doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block
before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols,
and to commit fornication.” (Rev.2: 14). This gets right to the
heart of the matter, concerning the doctrine of separation. Balaam
never did curse Israel even though he wanted the wages that he was
offered to do so. The men of Israel committed “whoredom with the
daughters of Moab ...and bowed down to their gods” (Num.25: 1,2).
Why did they do this? Because Balaam taught Balac how to break down
the barrier of separation between the Moabites and the Israelites.
We know this to be so because it is plainly stated in Rev.2:14 and
Num.31:16. This sin resulted in 24,000 men of Israel dying under the
judgment of God.
False teachers are breaking down the barrier of separation between
God’s people and false religion. There is too little preaching and
teaching on the doctrine of separation. Balaam breached the doctrine
of personal separation by causing the men of Israel to commit
fornication with the Moabite women. “He breached the doctrine of
ecclesiastical separation by causing the men of Israel to bow down
to Baal. This bought a curse upon Israel. Until we get back to
teaching the truth about personal and ecclesiastical separation, we
can expect the continued widespread havoc that we have today.
It seems to be believed by many that some people are too high and
mighty to be named or exposed. Men in high places, pastors of large
churches, and those with great radio or TV audiences, are supposedly
above criticism. Whatever they may do or say, no matter how contrary
to the Bible it may be, is supposedly all right. Nothing could be
further from the truth.
Nathan identified the man. There was a man in a very high place
who was a secretly an adulterer. Surely a lowly unpopular prophet
could not rebuke this man who held the highest office in the land.
Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealed the sin in a
parable form, and then told the enraged David, “Thou art the man”
(II Sam.12: 7).
Hanani named king Jehoshophat. In many ways Jehoshophat was a
good king, but he mistakenly forgot to practice religious
separation. He caused his son to marry wicked king Ahab’s daughter.
(See II Chron.18: 1; 21:1-6). He made an alliance with Ahab and went
to the battle of Ramoth-Gilead with him (II Chron. 19:2). We have a
question for those who insist on working with charismatics,
Catholics, and members of the National Council of Churches.
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?”
Yes, it is right
to expose error and to name those who are in error.
It is right to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). It was once delivered and it
has never been recalled for revision. We had better beware of “false
teachers ... who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (II
Pet.2: 1). Faithful messengers will warn the sheep of these
heretics, and identify them by name. It is not enough to broadly
hint of their identity, for the young lambs will not understand and
will be destroyed by the wolves.
We pray this
article has been of help to you in your search for the truth
Forgotten Word Ministries