[anzac] REBUKE PUBLICLY or PRIVATELY? - Andrew Strom

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2010 17:11:53 -0800
REBUKE PUBLICLY or PRIVATELY? 
-by Andrew Strom.

Some Christians claim that any correction or questioning of ministries 
should always be done PRIVATELY - and only to the leaders 
concerned - never in public. (It is important to note that many such 
approaches have indeed been made to Prophetic/ Apostolic leaders 
over the years. They have basically been ignored). But either way, 
I am afraid I cannot agree that public deception is only to be 
opposed behind closed doors. It seems to me that false teaching 
would thrive in such an environment. In Scripture we see clearly 
that there are occasions when private correction is appropriate, 
and other occasions when a more public airing is necessary. 
There is the quiet "Matthew 18" approach, and then there are 
others. After all, shouldn't we have the love and care of the 
precious sheep uppermost in our minds? Are we just supposed
to say nothing and let the "leaven" spread and spread?

We must not forget that in the New Testament the elders were 
commanded to correct severely (Titus 1:13) and to rebuke for sin 
publicly (1 Tim 5:20), though in 2 Tim 2:24-26 they were instructed 
to correct with 'meekness'. Remember, the apostle Paul rebuked 
Peter publicly in Galatians 2 for his hypocrisy, Jesus rebuked Peter 
openly in Matthew, and He even whipped the sellers out of the 
temple publicly in Mark (for making God's house a 'den of thieves'). 
In extreme cases the apostle Paul actually wrote to everyone that 
he was turning people over to Satan for correction (see 1 Cor 5 
and 1 Tim 1:20). The Bible is very clear that one of our major tasks 
is to "expose" the deeds of darkness (Eph 5:11). In 1 Cor 4:21 
Paul asks the people, "Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love?" 
The same apostle used 'boldness' in 2 Cor 10:1 and said that he 
would not spare anyone in 2 Cor 13:1-2.  

Many Christians insist on applying Matt 18:15-17 to every situation. 
But what about false teachers?  The above passage in Matt 18 
says that if my brother "sins against me" then I should go to him 
privately about it - then with one or two witnesses - and then to the 
whole church if he does not repent. This is a very important process 
for resolving issues where a brother has sinned against me personally. 
But what about FALSE TEACHING of a serious nature? What if it is 
spreading or starting to infect entire sections of the body of Christ? 
Is it still just a "private matter"? 

My understanding is that in the New Testament we NEVER see 
Jesus or the apostles treating false teaching as a "Matt 18" scenario. 
We see them publicly rebuking and correcting - trying to arrest the 
'cancer' before it spreads any further. This is an act of LOVE towards 
the body. It is trying to stop the damage before too many precious 
sheep are harmed. False teaching and false prophets are never 
treated "nicely" or "sweetly" in the New Testament! (By the way, I 
am not advocating today's "heresy hunters", whom I believe often 
go about things with entirely the wrong spirit. But I am just laying 
down a few biblical guidelines here).

This is certainly an important issue in these Last Days, when we 
are told that false prophets and false teachers will 'abound', and 
that the deception will become so great that "if possible it would 
deceive the very elect". It is vital that we get a grasp of what is at 
stake here. The false teachers and false prophets in Acts were 
rebuked very bluntly, and Paul even "named names" in some of 
his letters to the churches. So surely we cannot continue to claim 
that this is all a "Matt 18" situation? Surely it is more serious than 
that - and requires a more drastic response? 

Of course, we must always be "speaking the truth in love" - and
have the protection of Christ's precious sheep uppermost. But 
surely we must speak out if we see real danger to the Body?

Comments, anyone?

God bless you all!

Andrew Strom.