Questions & Answers
Is there any place for anger against false teachers?
The false teachers you mentioned [in a Shoveletter], would these be the Judaizers? Anonymous
I would imagine that this group now known to us as Judaizers was probably responsible for quite a bit of the influence in Colosse. I say influence because I'm sure there were always those self-righteous die-hards from every locality that would join forces with these traveling "experts" of the law and probably carry a good portion of the opposition. Now I'm I also pretty sure this group of traveling lawmen carried their "papers" endorsing them as having the support of other "important" and "authoritative" people.
Often when confronted with someone presenting a commingled gospel (law & grace mixture) I find myself sensing an anger rising up within me. To me a false teacher is someone that mixes law and grace together. They in fact may be gloriously saved but negate grace by adding law. When Paul confronted Peter wasn't it because of the mixture he was propagating, and the effect it was having upon the believers, affecting even Barnabas. This anger that I feel and I believe others do as well gets all misdirected. For example, the thing of, "I'd better be careful that I don't start judging", or any number of other reactions.
Bro, I hear you loud and clear. So much of this misdirection is the result of our modern religious culture with its reactions to reactions heaped upon even more reactions. Because so many are waking up to the abuse they have been under in the name of "righteous judgment" there has come to be this automatic reaction to anybody who even sounds similar to those they were under so that they are now labeled "judgmental". Ironically, many of those who do the bulk of the labeling somehow think that they are exempt from doing the judging that they think they see in another.
As an example, many people are doing nothing more than following the same illusion of culture in the issue of "prejudice". The current meaning behind the claim that "I am not prejudiced" is simply that the one saying it is suggesting merely that he/she has no problem with the currently popular cultural biases, as in racial, or "sexual preference". I am amazed how ignorant we can be by buying into this load of crap! We only come to these conclusions as a comparative reaction against others we view as less than ourselves - or at least we are desperately TRYING to convince ourselves of this. Our western civilization is no less "prejudiced" now than it has ever been. If anything, our prejudices are just more camouflaged, just like the Pharisees had been by time Jesus came on the scene.
Damming the name of God to me is not as offensive as someone nullifying the work of God by adding their addendum. Some how I just don't envision Paul saying to Peter, now Peter look you've got to get the grace language down right, or saying, oh well Peter means well and besides he's so sincere, who could fault a guy for trying as hard as he is?
Consider the approach Paul did take with Peter and realize that when we try to do the same thing that we may not actually be doing what he did. haha! No, this is no trick, just the observation that we are often looking for certain verbal patterns or statements by which to base our judgments of "mixture". Do you realize that the letter to the Galatians reveals nothing that Peter SAID that caused Paul to lay into him in front of all? Does that mean that Peter might not have said something that also revealed his legal mindset? Of course not, but I think it is VERY significant that Paul based everything he said to Peter in view of the statement made by his actions of disassociating from the Gentiles after he had enjoyed wonderful freedom with them before the Jews came.
My point is that the "most obvious" statements were often not what brought Paul to react against the lawmen, it was the REAL stuff found in how the message of condemnation actually brought the believers into bondage. This is why so many well-intentioned confrontations over the "false gospel" turn into technical or intellectual arguments using Bible verses and/or the "original language" by which to spar.
We must listen for the real stuff which is so often hidden under so many words and profuse verbiage (sounds pretty impressive, huh? :). THIS is where we must take our stand, for it is where the teaching actually CONNECTS with those being offered death and condemnation. Anybody can argue the doctrinal points, and that is what makes up part of the objections. We must remove the confrontation from the arguable and bring it into the real - and this is where we will become MOST misunderstood by those who hold to the false teachings as they stand there with their sword raised with no return to their stated challenges. Let those who are afraid of true judgment come to hear for themselves the bogus sputtering and spitting of the fleshly arguments by addressing the real issues underneath all their "proofs".
Having said all that, I still hear believers posing that FEAR that we have no right to "defend the faith". That's not going to go away simply because there are too many "grace" teachers who haven't realized how reactionary many of their statements are. We just have to be more discerning because of it and say what we REALLY mean by NOT using the "misdefined" phrasings of the religious mindset. This is why I continually use less and less "Biblical" or "Theological" terms. It has taken me quite a while to discover that those terms, phrasings or wordings just don't communicate the real stuff of life to most of the people I write and speak to, but instead, that they often hide or disguise what is really going on in others or even between myself and others.
Getting back to this confrontation between Paul and Peter, people could say, well Paul certainly wasn't showing much love was he in this situation. In fact I see this as a most loving expression.
Bro, you're going to catch hell one way or another, and there is no way to get around it, you might as well get used to it. :) It will come from all sides. I have received (and continue to receive) praises from many parts of the world stating that what I have written is so easy to understand, but I have also received messages to the contrary. The fact is that I KNOW that I am probably one of the most misunderstood "grace" teachers that many will come across, even by those who at one time claimed how understandable I was to them. Why? Because the messengers of condemnation react and continue battering those who are seeing their freedom. They simply can't stand it that others are enjoying true freedom, because they themselves are not, and misery loves company.
This past week I have been considering writing a statement "to the preachers of condemnation" confronting them with the real issues behind all their religious BS. Yes, I was really mad this week!! :) Still am. Who knows, I may actually proceed with this idea.
I value your desire to get beneath the surface of all the BS. I know the life of Christ burns within you!! :) This is why I am not afraid of just throwing these thoughts at you because I know you are with me in this.