15 August 2011

Be On Guard

Let us be on our guard against false doctrine. Unsound faith will never be the mother of really sound practice, and in these latter days, departures from the faith abound. See then that your loins be girded about with truth, and be very jealous of receiving anything which cannot be proved by the Bible. Do not think for a moment that false doctrine will meet you face to face, saying, “I am false doctrine, and I want to come into your heart.” Satan does not go to work in that way. He dresses up false doctrine like Jezebel — he paints her face and attires her hair, and tries to make her like truth. Do not think that those who preach error will never preach anything that is true. Error would do little harm if that was the case. No! Error will come before you mingled with much that is sound and scriptural.
~ J.C. Ryle

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.
1. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their “earnestness” makes many think they must be right.
2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.
3. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.
4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.
5. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using. Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.
6. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.
7. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
8. There is a wide-spread “gullibility” among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man.
All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be carried away!”
~ J.C. Ryle
Warnings to the Churches, “Divers and Strange Doctrines”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1967], 76, 77.
HT: J.C. Ryle Quotes

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