Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Does ANY false teaching EVER die?

I just learned that someone of whom I think very well holds a position which, in my opinion, has been well, often, and thoroughly discredited, and which I thought had long-since been left by the roadside.

Who it is doesn't matter, what it is doesn't matter, for my purposes here and now. And of course it might be that I'm wrong. My friend might be right. But for the purposes of this one single question, assume that I'm not. So here's my question:

Has ANY false teaching EVER been just simply, roundly, and universally been rejected and left for dead, for good?

Seriously: can you name one? Modalism, Socinianism, universalism, Docetism; KJV-only, Pelagianism... I could go on and on. They've all been staked right through the heart. They've all been dusted. And they're all still parading around as if they were gems of truth that had just been discovered.

Am I missing anything? And I'm talking about teaching, not persons. Well, actually, I could even expand that to persons, on reflection. I was going to write, "For instance, Montanism. Nobody says Montanus is a prophet anymore, but there are still people trying to prop up prophetism." But then I remembered that that Charismatic "historians" have tried to claim Montanus as proof that prophecy never died out.

So you could perhaps even add people. Has any false teacher ever been completely rejected for all time -- or do all the discredited still teach on, whether living (Hinn, Camping) or dead (Pelagius, Wellhausen, Hagin)?




HeavyDluxe said...

I suppose that false teachings (and teachers) will continue as long as sin continues.

And, like a greatest hits album, the best false teaching will come back again and again and again.

DJP said...

Yes, but D -- the same ones??! Like we should be saying, "Oh! you don't believe the Trinity? Oh! we never thought of that! Maybe we should re-examine the Biblical evidence on this -- for the five million and ninety-seventh time!!?!!"

< puff, pant >

Sorry. I'm okay now.

Jim Crigler said...

Re: Bueller?

Ferris Bueller, maybe.

candyinsierras said...

The same ones.....dressed in different clothing.

Carla said...

This reminds in some ways, of Christian online chats. You and your chat friends may be discussing something and in comes FreeWillyJoe and flips out because someone just typed into the room that free will is an invention of man (or something to that affect).

Well it begins again, for the 8,461,654,210th time - the conversation regarding totaly depravity, man's desires, God's grace, and on it goes. For some people, it's the same old conversation yet again and they just don't care to be a part of it (since they already know which objections, which verses, which rebuttals, etc.) again, so they bow out of the conversation.

But for FreeWillyJoe, it's the very first time he's so much as heard these things. The subject being brand new to him, he's going to have questions, objections, and arguments (albeit faulty) to defend or support his position.

By God's grace, FreeWillyJoe comes back into the chat channel within a few weeks, months or years, and says "remember me? I used to be FreeWillyJoe - your teachings were completely bizarre to me at first, but the more I studied the Scripture, the more it all made sense!" (yes, it happens, and it happens quite often in fact, and it's a great cause to rejoice).

False teaching works the same way. These aren't new teachings (although they were at one time), but they have new ears to find a home in (just like the doctrines of grace). With each passing generation, these new ears either hear good and solid teaching and come to a sure footing about doctrine and theology - or they hear nonsense and adopt it as their own.

So the short story is, no, false teachings never die.

The good news is, neither does truth.


Michael Herrmann said...

Great question Dan. There's always a new crop of christians that coming along behind us. We fill the potholes (false teachings) and leave them behind us but the false teachers come along and dig the holes again. New christians, and the older less discerning ones, fall into the holes.

I think of all of this from another perspective. With the oldest christian alive at a generous 100+ years old, we only have that much living rememberance. Yet Christianity has withstood tremendous changes in the world, in cultures, in technology, science. I see it as an obvious work of God that Christianity remains, despite the false teachers.

Besides that, blogging would be boring without the error. (c:

Libbie said...

What Carla said.

One of the very important reasons not to get rid of the older members in a church in favour of everything yoof.

David Castor said...

"Has ANY false teaching EVER been just simply, roundly, and universally been rejected and left for dead, for good?"

Perhaps not. I hear that Protestantism still has a healthy following even after being knocked on the head at the Council of Trent ...

Chris said...

Oooh ouch.

Dan, it isn't me and my "If It's On At Least 5 Blogs, Then It Must Be True" teaching, is it?


William Dicks said...

I don't think it is just the sin problem that can explain the continuous resurrection of thesze false doctrines. I believe there is something else, spurred on by sin (Ok, then it is a sin problem LOL).

It has a lot to do with laziness. Very few people are willing to spend the time and effort to actually study the Bible and to see how these doctrines have been refuted in the past. It simply is too much hard work. So, in the end these people are fed by others and are led away from the truth way to easily. Of course, these false teachers thrive on this laziness of people and are actually like vultures swooping in for a tasty meal.

While nobody in the pew checks on them, they can happily carry on with their false teachings.

By the time one of their followers discover that there are people who think that their "holy" teachers are false teachers, they are so brain washed that they simply have no ability to separate truth from heresy.

Taliesin said...

It has a lot to do with laziness. Very few people are willing to spend the time and effort to actually study the Bible and to see how these doctrines have been refuted in the past. It simply is too much hard work.

On the nose.

Highland Host said...

Satan has found they all worked in the past, so why should he go to the trouble of inventing new heresies?

Seriously, this is why we should study Church History.

Martin Downes said...

To quote Harold O. J. Brown:

"Over and over again, in widely separated cultures, in different centuries, the same basic misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the person and work of Christ and his message reappear. The persistence of the same stimulus, so to speak, repeatedly produces the same or similar reactions."

The problem is with the truth. It provokes a limited number of logically possible responses from those who refuse to submit to God's Word.

Dan B. said...

I echo highland host and Mr. Downes--especially the quote by Mr. Downes. People don't pay attention to history, and that's why it gets repeated, over and over again.

And with different cultures, as the quote above points out, it's new to THEM, but not knew on the world scene. Solomon was onto something when he said there was nothing new under the sun. (Eccl. 1:9) It may be packaged a little different (as someone above said), but it's still the same at the core.

Dan B. said...

Sorry--that should be:

"not new on the world scene."

Ruben said...

Well, I once thought the ebionites were extinct --and then I met a man who was part of a cult that had resurrected them.

SFB said...

The "resurrection" of false teachings is the direct result of wrong ideas concerning Sola Scriptura. When a person's "morning devotions" are nothing more than taking a Bible and adding "my tea, my toast and the Holy Ghost", they are in danger of not watching their step and running right into the old heresy traps that caught their forefathers. Even the most ardent of reformers have always relied on the wisdom of the great minds that came before them. I believe more than one great preacher has described themself as "standing on the shoulders of giants", and I could not agree more. Right hermeneutics and exegesis have pedigrees; popular preachianity is a pack of mongrel dogs that just keep coming back to knock over the trash cans AGAIN.