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It is Time to Pick up the Shepherds' Rod and Stop Excusing False Teaching

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"Because of this, many Jews and Greeks were transformed. The story doesn't end there, however. But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also, stirring up the crowds (Acts 17:13). The Thessalonians actually went to Berea to hunt down Paul and agitate the people because of his message! I propose many who assume themselves to be Bereans are actually Thessalonians--people who are more intent on hunting, agitating and stirring up instead of eagerly receiving revelation from the Word of God. Let Love Lead. When engaging in conversation, especially online on social media or in the comments section of articles like this one, simply be nice. Discussions and healthy debates are supposed to be fun and edifying." -- John Burton

I urge you to read Matthew 7:21-23. This is not a game beloved. There is nothing fun or edifying going on in the verses when people stand before Christ after thinking they were serving Him for years only to discover He never knew them! It is not letting love lead to check discernment at the door. In fact it is cruel. By the way, no hunting is necessary. There is so much false teaching in the church today that all one has to do is wake up and it shows up on your doorstep. When I see a bloodied sheep trapped in the jowls of a wolf, I am not called to have fun with the wolf and debate him or her. I let love lead by trying to take the rod to the wolf and let God free the sheep.

"I try to make it a point to address false theologies while never assaulting the minister. I know, there are many who would argue that there are times in Scripture where false teachers were named, and they were addressed quite bluntly. Yes, there absolutely does come a time to do that, but it is not as often as many might presume--and it's always in a spirit of great love. I do my very best to honor all, even if I believe their theology is way off. What benefit is there in being rude, arrogant or aggressive toward them as a person? When I engage in discussions on Facebook or other places online, one of my core values is to be nice. I never want the person I'm engaging with to feel I'm attacking them or that I presume to be superior. While I will boldly communicate my position, I don't want anybody who might disagree to feel unsafe or devalued. They are precious people created in the image of God. Yes, if they pose a risk because of their doctrine, we must deal with that. But it's usually more beneficial to attack beliefs than to call out and defame people." -- John Burton

So we come to it beloved. It is the same problem I see every day in dealing with well-intended pastors. Address the false theology while never dealing with the wolf behind it. I remember once debating Dr. Michael Brown after he had written an accurate and hard hitting book teaching against antinomianism, or greasy grace. I asked him what he thought about Joseph Prince, the king of hyper grace. He said Prince was a good brother in the Lord who had some holes in his theology. No Dr. Brown. Prince is a ravenous wolf devouring the sheep of the Lord. I don't want us to miss this because it is crucial. Burton thinks that displaying great love is to be deferential to the preacher -- not the sheep and that is where he goes so horribly wrong. While I agree one does not need to be rude or arrogant there is always a place to be aggressive and even mocking in calling out what is false. Elijah mocked the 450 prophets of Baal by suggesting their god was too busy in the bathroom to answer them! I guess he was just being mean and religious. John the Baptist called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. The advantage of being this aggressive is it might wake up some who are slumbering under the false teaching. Beloved, wolves are not precious people to be honored.

"If I'm not exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in my conversation, I should not be communicating at all. It's time to shut off the computer and head into the prayer room. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control should dominate our discussions. Quit calling everyone you disagree with a heretic. Quit commenting on articles like this one with the sole intent of exposing the author as deceived, false or in some sort of error. Share your perspective. Offer your point of view. Reveal your concerns. Be teachable. Communicate with honor and humility without abdicating your mandate to be a true Berean. Your eagerness to receive truth will open the door for many to believe in Jesus." -- John Burton

In all seriousness John do you feel you have exhibited the fruits of the spirit in this article? Was it loving to call people who disagree with you trolls? Was it kind to call them Thessalonians? Was it good to call them riotous and selfish? You embody what you rail against. The difference is that a discernment minister is upset at disagreement with the Word of God while you are upset when people disagree with you. Everyone is not a heretic because heresy is a serious charge. Heretics however, are heretics and should be called out as such. I am not singing Kumbaya with wolves that devour my brethren.

"Please understand, I have thick skin. By the grace of God, I'm nearly unoffendable. When people are aggressive toward me personally when I write or preach, I honestly don't take offense. Reading unkind tweets and comments can be entertaining and even enlightening. I understand the messages I'm called to deliver are provocative, and I do know the arrows will fly. But I will say this. As someone who is deeply troubled when other preachers and prophetic people are attacked simply because of a disagreement over their theology or style of ministry, I want to simply ask you to be nice. Don't aim your arrows in their direction. Understand the accusations and cruel things you say not only hurt them, but they also hurt their spouses and children. Do you have any idea how many tears wives have cried because their husbands are mercilessly assaulted by others in the church through gossip and all over the internet? This is a very real and terribly sad problem, and it simply shouldn't be. Let love lead. Be kind. Be gentle. Be patient. Be bold. Stand for truth. Don't hate. Be tender in your debate. Put the arrows down and simply love." -- John Burton

Wow, nearly unoffendable and humble? Quite the package. Listen beloved, this wrap up smells about as disingenuous as the rest of this article. I do not know anyone who undertakes the thankless ministry of discernment for the thrill of the debate or with malice of forethought. I agree with being bold and standing for the truth. The truth is that John Burton has chosen to associate himself with some of the most egregious false teachers and prophets on the planet. IHOP deserves nothing but derision. Charisma News deserves a worse fate than that. I am not advocating for meanness, rudeness or arrogance beloved. The bottom line is the days grow shorter and we need to be about the Father's business. Time is running out. If you are called to minister you better pick up that shepherds' rod and protect what God has entrusted to you. I am sorry if you think that sounds unloving because it really isn't.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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