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When Pastors Teach Bad Doctrine
So, we Christians have all been in the situation where we are either sitting under the guidance of or know of a pastor who is teaching bad or wrong doctrine. What is our obligation as "laymen"? Perhaps it depends on the severity of the bad doctrine. Maybe we will be told that we would need to go through an official process such as an elder board, but not all church structures even have an elder board. Sometimes the pastor is the end of line.
But is this really speaking of challenging a pastor on bad doctrine or rather on bad behavior. Verse 20 goes on to say:
So, clearly the "accusation against an elder" is in reference to his sinning. But maybe someone will object and say that when a pastor teaches bad doctrine, he is sinning. However, I would suspect that even most pastor's teaching bad doctrine don't do it intentionally. They aren't sinning, they are just wrong. Motivation is important, no matter how many people say otherwise. The Bible speaks much about a person's heart and how what is in the heart (motive) leads the decisions; including what a pastor teaches.
So, back to the original point; what do we do when a pastor is caught teaching bad doctrine? For example, there is a fellow who at least claims to be a pastor (I've never seen any certification or evidence of how and why) whom I have had conflicts in the past for his bad doctrine and especially his constant validation of heretical teachers (hyperpreterists).
This man recently quoted 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 and then tried to justify his validation of heresy with this comment:
Let's first look at 2 Thes 3:14-15 and see if we can figure out why he thinks this is connected.
Okay, now comparing the verses with the Mr. Naessens' comments we can see that Mr. Naessens is teaching bad doctrine because he is using those verses to justify his continued validating association with heretics. The verses he quotes are CLEARLY to believers about believers -- BROTHERS. Hyperpreterists are NOT "brothers". Of course wayward Christians aren't "enemies" but heretics that intention and stated goal is to undermine and replace historic Christianity with something OTHER-THAN-CHRISTIAN...those ARE enemies. Hyperpreterism's stated premise is that historic Christianity has been in error for 2000 years and that the Hyperpreterists are trying to convince people to replace historic Christian eschatology with Hyperpreterism. Yet here we have a supposed "pastor" that has repeatedly validated the heresy by acting like they are "brothers" -- he even uses 2 Thes 3:14-15, a passage about Christians to justify himself.
What do we do with this fellow? As far as I know he has no elder board; as a matter of fact Naessens once said he is "accountable to the Greek Orthodox Church" but then turned about and said that when the Greek Orthodox Patriarch was around, Naessens made a comment about him not "kissing the ring" of the Patriarch but instead telling the Patriarch to "kiss his butt". So, how do we do anything about his teaching bad doctrine?
This article is not about Naessens but about "pastors" like him. As another example "pastor" who ironically enough has befriended Naessens is also an untouchable type. This other pastor not only doesn't really have any accountability; he has actually structured it that way. You see, this other pastor broke from one denomination and started his own denomination, over which at least for a time he was head. (source) Further, this fellow is the president over his own seminary. How can anyone ever correct the bad doctrine of this man? His peers? Nope, most of them have degrees from his seminary so they would be "biting the hand that fed them" to ever say anything about this man's bad doctrine.
These are just two examples I have experienced but I'm certain people have experienced this at varying degrees. Typically what happens is we just move to another congregation that isn't teaching bad doctrine, but does that really solve anything?
I'm not certain what the answer is yet. I know I've tried to interact with pastors that are CLEARLY and demonstratively teaching bad doctrine, but often they will play the trump card that a layman shouldn't question a pastor unless with two or more witnesses. First off, I wasn't bringing an accusation [of sin] against an elder -- I was pointing out bad doctrine. But quickly, these "pastors" supporters come to insulate them from any challenge and attempt to demonize anyone that would dare challenge them. They often claim you are "slandering" the pastor simply by challenging them.
Some approaches could be to just ignore these "pastors" but then I wonder if a Christian has any responsibility knowing these kinds of folks are out there? What about the person who buys into their bad teaching? Another approach is to continue to challenge the bad teaching of the "pastor". Sometimes this gets somewhere as long as the "pastor's" protectors don't keep propping him up. He will eventually at least stop teaching the bad doctrine even if he never admits he was teaching it in the first place. I guess that is something. Rarely have I seen a "pastor" teaching bad doctrine be humble enough to admit it...especially if some lowly "layman" pointed it out.
TAKE POLL How would you deal with a pastor teaching bad doctrine?
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