False Teacher

A reader wrote:
>Had Apollos continued to teach what he taught after learning the truth, he
>would have been a false teacher.

I believe you would be correct here with a modification. Apollos would have
been a false teacher if after he had been taught the truth and understood
it, then he dishonestly decided to persist in teaching error. Had he merely
not been convinced, and persisted in teaching what he honestly believed to
be the truth, then he would not have been a false teacher. All of us have
had disagreements, discussions of that disagreement, and came away from the
discussion unconvinced. Many times the root cause of the disagreement is
not the scripture themselves, but a deeply held desire to be consistent with
a philosophy, such as salvation by grace only. Because of a decision to
embrace a particular methodology, we resist interpretations of scripture
that are incompatible with our philosophy, even though a literal reading of
the text might contradict our view.

I do not believe that one who seeks to harmonize God’s word with an honestly
held philosophy of interpretation of the scriptures is being a false teacher
when he disagrees with some else’s honestly held conviction. Dave B and I
disagree on whether Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach Old Testament
doctrine, and we have discussed it at some length. We are only false teachers
if we understand what God wrote and knowingly persist in teaching
error for our own benefit. God’s grace is able to cover honest disagreements
over interpretations of the scriptures.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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