religion, christianity, articles
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Stop Signing Those Checks!

By Leamon Stewart

religion, articles, christianity

In this generation faithful preachers are giving their lives to proclaim the unadulterated Truth, in an effort to keep Christ's church on the strait and narrow road which leads to heaven (Matt. 7:13-20). There are those, standing in pulpits across our land, proclaiming doctrines that are so perverted or watered-down that they would be welcomed in most denominational pulpits. In fact, some have accepted these denominational invitations. Others have departed so far from the truth that some of the denominations will not accept them. How can this be happening with the safeguards that God has built within his church?

God has built within the church of Christ a three safeguard to help preserve the purity and integrity of each congregation:

  1. Elders - qualified men to whom God gives authority to oversee the church (I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11).
  2. Preachers - faithful men with the God-given responsibility to proclaim the unadulterated Word regardless of the cost (2 Tim. 4:1-5; Luke 9:62).
  3. Individual members - loyal disciples who are to share God's Word with others yet refuse to support those who promote false teachings (Acts 8:4; 2 Tim. 2:24; 2 John 9-11).

The mouths of most of these false teachers would soon be shut if elders would meet their God-given responsibilities:

  1. They are to love Christ and his church (Matt. 22:37; 6:33; John 14:15).
  2. They must give an account for each soul in the flock they oversee (Heb. 13:17; Acts 20:28).
  3. It is their responsibility to oversee and feed the congregation (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2).
  4. They are to use the Word of God to rebuke, reprove, and correct those in the flock who need it (Titus 1:10-11; 2 Tim. 4:2).
  5. They must stop the mouths of gainsayers and false teachers (Titus 1:9; Jude 3).
  6. They must realize that any child of God who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God and is therefore, without Christ or hope (2 John 9-11; Eph. 2:12).

For elders to fulfill their God-given duty they must study God's Word and be aware of the issues facing the Lord's church. They cannot "stop the mouths" of false teachers if they do not know who they are or what error is.

Why do some elders continue financially to back these false teachers? When one looks closer at the issue, he learns it is for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Many elders are so weak in Bible knowledge that they do not know truth from error. If this is so, they are not qualified to serve as elders (2 Cor. 2:11; I Tim. 3:2). They should study or step down.
  2. They agree with the error being taught. Therefore they are not qualified to feed the flock and must repent or be removed (2 John 9-11; I Tim. 5:10; I Pet. 5:2).
  3. They are afraid to speak out against promoters of false doctrines. The Lord says "the fearful" will not enter heaven (Rev. 21:8). Elders should resolve to do their duty as elders; otherwise they are disqualified (I Tim. 3:1; Rom. 16:17-18).

Elders who are not willing to fulfill their God-given duty of tending and guarding the flock should resign. Congregations ought to select men as elders who love the Lord, the Truth, and the church and who will uphold and defend the purity of spotless things (Eph. 5:25-27).

If elders stopped signing checks supporting false teaching, it would be astounding how fast mouths would be stopped. Elders, preachers, and individual members have a God-given responsibility to do what they can to preserve purity of doctrine and practice.

Thank God for faithful elders standing four-square on God's Word, striving to protect the flock, and defend, the faith. Every saint should esteem highly godly elders who are fulfilling their duty to God and the local congregation. Let them know you stand solidly behind them in their defense of the Truth (Jude 3; 1 Pet. 4:11).

Published July 1993