The Standard of Truth #3

In our previous articles, we noted the gospel is the standard of religious truth — it is Christ’s law — and we are obligated to keep it (Matt. 28:19-20; Gal. 6:2; 2 Jn. 9). We noticed it is the truth that sets us free from sin and Satan (Jn. 8:32). This is why we present the truth and expose error in these articles.

The “gospel of the grace of God” is clear about exposing error. Paul warned the Ephesians night and day for three years about “savage wolves” (Acts 20:28-31). To help them in this struggle, he commanded them “to God and the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32). In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul said, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11). Why did Paul do these things?

Paul warned men about departures from the truth because they cause a man to be condemned (Gal. 1:6-9). He told others to sound the warning and expose error for the same reason (cp. Phil. 4:9; 2 Tim. 4:1-5). He did not do it to build his ego or a following. He did not do it because he liked to get into arguments with others. He did it for the cause of Christ and the salvation of men. If we love Christ and our fellow man, we will do the same.

Some may agree that exposing error is acceptable but say it is unchristian to specifically identify those who are upholding it. This is directly opposed to the Spirit’s teaching. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17-18). Paul practiced this when he exposed the circumcision and when he marked men by name (Titus 1:10-11; 2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Naming names is not done to aggravate others or to stir up trouble. It is done in order to reveal soul damning error. People need to know the truth. They also need to know the devil’s devices in order to avoid them.

Steven F. Deaton

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