Berean cogitations

Sunday, September 04, 2005

"Whoever is not against us..." -- Misapplying Mark 9:38-40

Last month, I was talking to two gentlemen about church doctrines. We discussed the way many churches water the gospel down, or otherwise use questionable tactics to keep people within their pews. At one point, these gents said, "Ah, but remember, even if we disagree with their tactics and doctrines, that doesn't make them wrong. Jesus did say that whoever is not against us is for us." This was a clear reference to Mark 9:38-40.

I objected, saying, "I don't think that's what Jesus meant! He wasn't saying that these doctrinal differences are unimportant. Rather, he was talking about preachers who were not travelling with the Apostles, but who gave no indication of doctrinal falsehood." Indeed, verse 38 makes this clear. It shows John saying, "We saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us." There is nothing about false teaching in this passage; it is all about membership in the Apostolic clique.

I think it's disappointing to see how many Christians are willing to overlook fundamental doctrinal errors for the sake of unity. How many are willing to tolerate the teachings of Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and their ilk by saying "Whoever is not against us is for us?"