Biblical Warrant for Calling Out Sin
Rock Harbor Church Bakersfield

Biblical Warrant for Calling Out Sin

In our relativistic world (nobody’s-right-nobody’s-wrong) ecumenical (can’t-we-all-get-along) and pseudo Christian culture, pointing out doctrinal error is taboo now. Apparently, in the cotton candy version of Christianity, naming specifically those who teach error in order to warn believers and prevent deception is not a “nice thing to do.” However, this line of thinking is not Biblical. Here are the many scriptures that give Biblical warrant to calling out the sin of culture and the sin of false teachers, false prophets and false teachings. The goal of calling out sin publicly was and is to destroy the lies of deception, destroy error, warn the church, and have people return to the truth. The sin of silence is not only tacit approval of sin, but fails to warn believers of deception. This sin of omission is one of the most unloving things a Christian can do. (Matt. 25:31-46; Luke 10:30-37; James 4:17)

Naming someone and their error is to correct the doctrinal problem that they have introduced as leaven into the loaf. Our job is to warn and protect the weaker brothers; speak the truth by calling out sin, mark and avoid those who spread the error; and to maintain the pure doctrine of the faith within the local church we are stewards over. When people believe that naming false teachers or those who practice sin becomes a greater offense than actually teaching the error, then the priorities of the person are contrary to the Word of God. When a person would rather protect the reputation of men or women rather than the truth, then they are putting men over the Word of God. The purpose of the church is not to support men or women in their ministries; it is to support the truth of the Bible and its ministry. When error is introduced, it should be named, corrected, and expunged out. Doctrinal error leads to ungodliness, and is dangerous if left to fester. If a pastor or leader departs from the truth, it is no longer the Lord’s ministry (1 Tim 2:4).

The proper response is not to ignore the error, whitewash it, hope it goes away, or compromise with it. The proper response is to fix it. It was not because of personal prejudice, a mean spirit, or unkindness that Paul named people. They had erred from the truth. They were teaching a wrong doctrine, one that had serious consequences. Paul knew that this wrong doctrine would result in damage to the body of Christ, as it had already overthrown the faith of some. Paul’s response was to point out the error and the teacher so that the problem could be excised. Correction, reproof, and teaching right doctrine all require pointing out error. When pointing out error it is important to point out who teaches it, so that the brethren know from where it is taught. The Prophets, the Lord Jesus, and Paul etched in scripture the names of those who they called out. Forever, will they be called out in Scripture for all generations to read about. Here are the scriptures that demonstrate what was said to the culture, society, and individuals who were in error.

The most dangerous errors are those taught by teachers who are most likeminded. It is from these teachers that sincere brethren do not suspect to be introduced to doctrinal poison. Paul named Hymenaeus, a fellow teacher of Christ, because he was introducing error among Christians who were listening to him thinking they were learning some new truth from the Lord. Shouldn’t Paul go to these men behind closed doors in private and discuss the matter? No. When teaching error creates a public problem, it can only be corrected publicly. When personal errors cause private problems they should be dealt with privately. Hymenaeus had a very public ministry and there Paul addressed it publicly.

Furthermore, the tasks of the pastor and the church is clearly spelled out in these scriptures:

Isaiah 8:20; Ezekiel 33:2-9; Acts 20:26; Matthew 3:7; Matthew 7:7; Mark 6:17-18; Matthew 23:1-36; John 2:13-14; John 8:44; Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Ephesians 5:11; Galatians 1:6-9; Galatians 2:11-14; Philippians 4:18-19; 1 Thessalonians 3:6,14; 1 Timothy 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:17-18; 1 Timothy 5:20; 1 Timothy 6:3-5 2; 1 Timothy 3:1-9 2; 1 Timothy 4:2; 2 Timothy 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:14; Titus 1:3; Titus 1:9-11; I John 4:1; 2 John 10-11; 3 John 9; Revelation 2:2; Revelation 2:14-15