I have noticed a curious trend on social media as of late, one of which I have also been tempted to entertain. The trend is this idea of purposely seeking to have one’s social media account blocked by any number of false teachers and heretics. On its face this seems relatively harmless and, in fact, some may subconsciously think it to be an affirmation of one’s outstanding holiness or, even further, affirmation of their salvation.
Brothers and sisters, this ought not be so.
Please understand, I am not writing from a position of self-righteousness. I do not intend to somehow showcase my holiness by sitting on high and policing social media interactions. Rather, I hope and pray this article will give you pause, cause you to ponder your interaction on social media with all persons, false teachers and believers.
You may very well end up disagreeing with me, and that’s perfectly fine, as brothers and sisters in Christ there is room for disagreement on tertiary matters such as this. But, I ask that you at least consider what you’re about to read as a note of concern and exhortation from a brother in Christ who cares for the body as if they were my own blood relatives.
Marking False Teachers
Publicly rebuking false teachers is something that is highly personal to me as I was deceived by these charlatans for a time before God saw fit to choose me. The Bible directs us to mark false teachers as dangerous and point out their errors and scripture twisting. Absolutely! What, then, is the scriptural prescription for calling out the wolves among us?
As Jesus began to close his Sermon on the Mount, he issued a sharp warning to those listening when he said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) There have always been false prophets of Satan as long as there have been true prophets of God. In fact, there are times when God would even use false prophets to judge His people (Zechariah 11:16).
If you would like an in-depth understanding of the Biblical method of calling out error, be sure and check out this article from the men over at Grace To You. In short, in 1 Timothy Paul speaks of the necessity of stopping false teachers in verses 3-11. Stopping them demands an understanding of four things: their error, their goal, their motive, and their result. In other words, we must understand their error and its effect, and understand their goal and its contrast with scripture.1
We are in no way whatsoever to tolerate false teachings. We are absolutely to point out the charlatans and those teaching falsely to the body of Christ in order to protect them from these ravenous wolves. We defend our faith at all costs.
All that said, what is our motivation? What is the posture of our hearts as we purposely seek to be blocked on social media by a false teacher? Are we responding out of vengeance? Are we addressing these false teachers as a way to playfully mock those seemingly condemned (granted, there is biblical precedent for mockery, e.g. Elijah mocking the priest of Baal)?
Are we not to evangelize even the false teachers?
Striking A Balance (Where the Rubber Meets the Road)
Scripture is very clear that there is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and destroy. (James 4:12) We are charged to speak the truth at all times and the Great Commission directs us to spread the Good News to the ends of the Earth. But do not forget, scripture also commands us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18)
We do not know whom God will choose to save. Could you imagine the ground shaking impact for the Kingdom that would take place if God chose to save Joel Osteen?! Or Joyce Meyer? Or any other handful of false teachers?
Only you and God know the motivations of your heart. I would exhort you to plumb the depths of that heart to ensure you are reaching out to these teachers in humility, as one who has been bought by the Savior. Remember, none of us chose God when we were dead in our trespasses and sin; not a single one of us. Our motivation is to give glory to God in all things, not rack up how many false teachers can block us as a kind of spiritual currency. Rather, we are to correct opponents with gentleness because it is God who grants repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-25).2
We as fallible men have no way of knowing who has been hardened to the point that they are beyond saving faith. Our only charge is to preach the Gospel to the lost, not decide who is too lost to hear. We shouldn’t make sport of harassing false teachers even though they often make sport of harassing true believers. We have a higher calling than that. Sometimes we’ll get blocked just because we speak truth, I realize that. Further, as one who is familiar with–and been part of–discernment circles for quite some time, I also realize the position I’ve outlined in this article is quite unpopular.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us absolutely speak truth to those teaching falsely; let us absolutely guard the sheep who may be duped by these charlatans, but maybe, maybe there’s a better, more biblical way than purposely trying to be blocked from their accounts on social media.
This is not a rebuke of my brothers and sisters, rather, in the spirit of 1 Timothy 5:1, an exhortation and encouragement to examine the motives of our hearts as they relate to online rules of engagement for both believers and false teachers alike.
Soli Deo Gloria!