Guarding the right doctrine

Paul as church planter 12

“And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them”, Acts 15:2.

After Paul and Barnabas had appointed elders in all churches that they had founded, the travelled back to Antioch, their home church. There they encountered Jewish believers who tried to convince Christian to live according to the Jewish law.

What happens then is somewhat understated. We would probably say: ‘Paul and Barnabas had a terrible fight with them’. We are living in a culture in which being nice and accepting each other even though there are differences, have been exalted as the highest values.

Paul isn’t impressed. He must have thought: if the Gospel is important enough to get stoned for, it is important enough to fight over when false teachers are changing it.

Missionaries are proclaiming the simple Gospel of grace for sinners through Christ’s death on the cross. It is certainly true that finer points of theology are not addressed yet at that time. Planting churches and theological hair-splitting do not go together. But everywhere the Gospel may be distorted. Paul is our example: in those cases we stand for the truth unwaveringly.

I need to do that in Thailand as well. For young churches are especially vulnerable. For me it means that I have to guard against the heresy that being a Christian is a guarantee for health and wealth. In that way, the Christian faith is corrupted into serving Mammon.

We should do everything in our power to provent false teacher to get a foothold. That is part of the spiritual responsibility of being a church leader, whether as a missionary or at home.

Are you defending the right doctrine, so people are not being swept away into the abyss of heresy?

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