They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.Titus 1:16
Why should we use strong language in dealing with heretics? After all, are we not supposed to show the love of Christ? Are we not supposed to be gentle to all men and show perfect courtesy to all people in the hope that God might save them (2 Tim 2:24, Titus 3:2)?
We are absolutely commanded to show love to all people. We are absolutely commanded to be kind, gentle, and courteous to all men. If you are not than you are disobeying God’s word. Why then do we speak with such harsh language to false teachers? I would like to suggest that using strong language does not necessarily contradict biblical commands.
I believe the Bible presents moments where strong language becomes necessary and essential. I would point you the example of Christ. Was there a more kind and courteous man to ever live? You can examine so many examples in his ministry when Christ was as delicate as a flower to hurting sinners. Yet there are moments where Christ used harsh, offensive language:
You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.Matt 23:27
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.Matt 16:11b-12
Jesus saw there were moments when the harshest language needed to be used. Consider also Paul in the book of Titus. In the first chapter of Titus, in verses 11-16, Paul goes on to slam the character and doctrine of false teachers. In verse 16 Paul reaches the crescendo of his attack when he says:
They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Ask yourself: would Paul’s words here fit into our standard of gentleness? If not, then you have come to a theology of speech that is not in line with the word of God. Your view of love is short-sighted, based in traditions of men rather than on the Scriptures.
You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.Leviticus 19:17
We have to understand something about false teachers, they do not just seduce with sensuality but with fear. Modern-day Word of Faith preachers love to say, “touch not God’s anointed!” in order to escape any accountability. Consider the story Todd White’s daughter’s former dance coach. When he gave Todd White a copy of “The American Gospel” Todd White not only rejected it but made a prophetic curse on the man. That is pure intimidation.
When we speak with strong language against these heretics we are dispelling their superstitions. We are showing that men like Todd White, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, and their ilk are liers. The ones who should fear the wrath of God are not the faithful discerning Christians but the lying prosperity pimps.
Speaking with open defiance of these men shows those under their chains that these men are simply men. There is no magic woo-woo that will happen to anyone who stands against them. In speaking strongly to these men we show that there is true freedom from their power, that there is freedom in Christ.
One of the biggest keys to living a holy life is maintaining balance. I will not deny that there are many who do polemics just because they love to put others down. Some have an unhealthy appetite for controversy, but not all. We must maintain balance and ask God for wisdom. Wisdom so we can rightly answer all men with the proper courtesy and for wisdom when a sharp rebuke is in order. God will lead us into truth as we seek him. Keep seeking the Lord in prayer and consider the example of Jesus. Keep fighting the good fight.