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Friday, March 10, 2006

Quiz: Is It a Sin to Teach False Doctrine?

Please use the comment feature to answer the question: Is is a sin to teach false doctrine? In this case, don't send me private emails. I want to see what comments you will post. Keep it brief please. Thanks much.

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Martin Luther said...

Anyone who teaches, or lives, contrary to God's Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

c. l. miller said...

Yes, it is a sin to teach false doctrine. The first verse that come to my mind is from James 3:1-2 "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment."

VirginiaLutherans said...

I am surprised no one has already listed the following:

2 Peter 2:1
1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.

1 Tim 6:3-5
3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

Sorry if this is longer than intended, but I would be remiss to leave the actual text out of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it is a sin to teach false doctrine, assuming that the usual conditions of sin are met. For it to be sinful, one must intentionally teach doctrine that one knows to be false, or which one should know is false.

elaine p said...

Pr S, Please address anonymous's comment that one must intentionally teach falsely in order for it to be sinful.Don't we "unintentionally" sin all the time? One example would be the evil thoughts that just "pop" into our heads..another the anger and hatefulness which just flares up..Teaching false doctrine whether you know it to be false or not is still a breaks the 2nd commandment.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Elaine is right. One sins by breaking the law, whether one knows it is a sin or not. Try explaining to the police officer that you didn't know you weren't allowed to turn on a red light.

People are by nature objects of God's wrath. They all should know better because of natural law.

Teaching false doctrine is ALWAYS an offense. However, it is possible that some false teachers are guilty more of ignorance or sloppiness than of rebeliousness. In these cases, they will respond to rebuke by repenting and changing their ways.

Kurt Wall said...

Yes, it is a sin to teach false doctrine. Perhaps doing so knowingly with the intent to deceive is a greater sin than doing so from ignorance, but either is nevertheless a sin. Thanks be to God that we can can confess our sin and be cleansed from this unrighteousness, too.

Scott said...

That such questions may be seriously asked shows how far we have strayed from the teachings of the Holy Apostles!

Galatians 1:8, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a Gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be Anathema."

Such was the teaching of the Apostle Paul. Such was the practice of the Church. Witness the proclamation of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion--all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them."

Xrysostom said...

Well, duh. Even doing so by accident or out of ignorance constitutes a sin. However, it's the persisting in this sin that really causes the problems.

TKls2myhrt said...

Pastor Stiegemeyer,

I really struggled with this as a new confessional Lutheran. I would say that for about a year or so, I struggled with anger against those who taught me decision theology, separate and succeding baptism of various sorts, etc. One day, I asked one of our pastors if the pastors who taught me false doctrine would be punished in some way by God. He smiled and reminded me that our own sinful desires would like that to be true. He then assured me that unless they were purposely and persistently teaching things they already knew to be false (thereby losing their faith), then they too would worship at the throne with me. I think it was then that my anger began to coexist with compassion for them.

Bob Waters said...

Aside from the damage it does one's hearers, to preach false doctrine is to bear false witness against God.

The Griper said...

A smile crossed my face at seeing the question along with responses so far. it is a question that leads to another, the bearing of false witness against your neighbor. is it bearing false witness when a teacher of one's religion teaches about the teachings of another religion totally misrepresenting the teachings of that religion? i know i have sat in numerous religion classes and have heard this done. as my nick implies that has been a gripe of mine.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

And Griper,
It is false witness to accuse someone of false witness w/o providing any evidence. Be careful.

The Griper said...

he smiles respectfully as he responds. you are correct pastor and illogical also.

and if you look at my previous post i never accused anyone. i asked a question. a question based upon my experience,as posted. a question i may add, pastor, left unanswered.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...


You didn't answer the question of the post.

I'll ignore your rudeness and ask it again. Is it a sin to teach false doctrine?

The answer to your question is this:
Yes, it is bearing false witness when a person intentionally misrepresents the position of another.

My second question to you (in addition to the post) is: What's your point? Are you asking hypothetically or do you have a specific case in mind?

This is a post about whether it is sinful to teach false doctrine. You have changed the subject to be about bearing false witness.

So are you accusing someone of false witness or are you just arbitrarily changing the subject?

If you want to discuss a topic other than the one I bring up, get your own blog.

If you want to make an accusation, then by all means do so. But at least be kind enough to sign your real name. I am not willing to entertain accusations, explicit or implicit, from someone who will not reveal his identity.

And if you are neither going to stay on topic nor get to a point, then please keep quiet.

The Griper said...

my pardon, pastor. it wasn't meant to be a post of rudeness. it was meant out of respect. i was asking the question for greater clarification of the issue you brought up for discussion. to me it seems as if in both cases we are addressing one of the ten commandments in regards to bearing false witness. when a person teaches isn't he or it bearing witness? the only difference being that in misrepresenting the beliefs of another he may be misrepresenting a false doctrine also. so to answer the original question that you asked i'd say anyone teaching false doctrine is breaking that commandment. again my apologies for the misunderstanding of my intent and purpose of my question.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hi Griper,
I too apologize for my part in the misunderstanding. Thanks. God bless!

The Griper said...

he smiles once again. no need to apologize pastor. it was my question as posted that began this misunderstanding and you took no part in that. it was my question as written that led you to assume i had ulterior motives and you took no part in that. i should have known better. i should have posted the question so as to reveal my intent and purpose in the first place. though i enjoyed our exchange of ideas which led to the end results. sometimes misunderstandings can lead to deeper understanding between persons.

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