But how (as in my situation with my former pastor) can I affirm an individual’s position and identity in Christ and the fact that we share the same Spirit, yet lovingly oppose the error he clings to without appearing to possess “superior knowledge” or “superior doctrine.” … Am I to simply keep my mouth shut and wait patiently for the Spirit to convict His heart of Truth, or is my role to be more proactive in calling error what it is and proclaiming Truth (realizing that it isn’t MY truth). I guess I am torn between how to love this man and at the same time not compromise the truth of the gospel. anonymous
The real error we cling to is usually more related to what is actually going on in our lives rather than a set of doctrines. It’s not that one doesn’t relate to the other, but it’s just too easy to assume everything is basically a matter of belief-errors instead of perception-errors. I’m saying that the real problems lies underneath our doctrinal beliefs.
After all, what exactly is false doctrine. I used to see it primarily as errors in the wording. Then I gravitated to seeing it as discrepancies in the belief system. Now, I see those things more as results of something more basic, which is my perception of myself as I attempt to relate to the world around me and to God as I see Him. For example, when I am trying to justify myself I am already perceiving myself, God, and the world around me in a false way.
False doctrine is any perception — even a correctly worded teaching — that is based on man without God. In other words, consider the fact that most teachings about Christ leave the reality of Christ out of their basic premise. Christ in us makes us pure, and right, and true, and worthy, etc (which is pretty close to what you already said in your letter :). I merely repeat it to reinforce my observations.
Every one who is in Christ has the life of God in them, but as you suggest, it doesn’t make their perceptions right. There is only one true reality of a perception that is sane, and it is in viewing all things as revolving around HIM. Those who are teaching false doctrine are doing so because their perceptions are floundering in the insanity of the old dead Adam. I have learned to listen carefully to what is going on when people say what they say, and amazingly, it all sounds rather familiar. Sometimes it seems so necessary to challenge a doctrinal position which often ends up alienating the one you hope to share life with, when in fact, the simple underlying error is screaming out and yet is not even heard.
My realizations have been that many preachers and teachers use doctrine as simply fluff to cover over their real thoughts. In listening to those real thoughts that are motivating the fluff, it becomes easy to simply tune out the unessential stuff and to begin to ask those real questions that are needing to be asked.
As examples, I’ve heard much dissatisfaction, loneliness, and desperation coming through carefully planned and delivered messages that I wonder why I didn’t notice it before. If you deal with those issues then you are dealing with the filler and fluff that is packaged as teaching.