Is it right to name names?
Many Christians mistakenly believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name the guilty teachers; but they are wrong according to the Bible. This stance probably comes from the notion of being “politically correct.”Ultimately this is a whitewashing of truth.
Paul named (called out) Peter.
Peter was guilty of unscriptural practice:
“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed … But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Galatians 2:11-14).
The whole issue revolved around salvation by the law or by grace. When the integrity and purity of the gospel is at stake, then we have no choice when it comes to the matter of exposing error and naming names.
Paul named Demas for loving the world:
“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” (2 Timothy 4:10). Those who forsake the cause of Christ for worldly living and pleasures should be named and exposed.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Alexander:
Paul told Timothy to “war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1 Timothy 1:18-20).
God’s true servants should war good warfare, and name those who have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Paul is not here discussing the faith of salvation but the faith as a system of doctrine. These men had made shipwreck of it and Paul exposed them and called their names.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus:
He told Timothy to “study” that he might be able to “rightly” divide “the word of truth. “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth as canker. of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some (2 Timothy 2:15-18).
False doctrine overthrows the faith of some, so those who are proclaiming itmust be exposed.
Paul named Alexander the coppersmith:
“Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil. May the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words.” (2 Timothy 4:14-15).
It is clear that this is not a personality problem, but a doctrinal problem. Alexander had withstood the words and doctrine of Paul. He was an enemy to the truth. Godly pastors face the same problem every day. There are those who stand and proclaim the “so called” truth, then their members go home and hear this truth disputed by radio and TV preachers.
John named Diotrephes:
“I wrote unto the church; but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (3 John 1: 9).
He related how this man had prated against him “with malicious words” (v. 10).
He further said, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” (v.11).
It is not wrong to name those whose doctrine and practice is contrary to the Word of God.
In fact, the entire Bible abounds in examples of false prophets being named and exposed. All this modern day talk about love used as an excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love— but is really sloppy agape.
Moses called the name of Balaam.
(See Numbers 22-25.) Peter exposed “the way of Balaam … who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15).
Balaam was a prophet that was in the work for money, just like some of the TV false prophets today. They beg for money and live like kings, while multitudes of innocent people send them their hard earned money. They are always building colleges, hospitals, TV network satellites, and amusement parks that have a water slide for Jesus. And then we are suppose to keep our mouth shut about these religious charlatans. How can we be silent and be true to God?
Jude exposed “the error of Balaam” (Jude 11).
John exposed “the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication” (Revelation 2:14). This gets right to the heart of the matter, concerning the doctrine of separation. Balaam never did curse Israel even though he wanted the wages that he was offered to do so.
The men of Israel committed “whoredom with the daughters of Moab … and bowed down to their gods” (Numbers 25:1, 2).
Why did they do this? Because Balaam taught Balak how to break down the barrier of separation between the Moabites and the Israelites. We know this to be so because it is plainly stated in Revelation 2:14 and Numbers 31:16. This sin resulted in 24,000 men of Israel dying under the judgment of God.
False teachers are breaking down the barrier of separation between God’s people and false religion. There is too little preaching and teaching on the doctrine of separation. Balaam breached the doctrine of personal separation by causing the men of Israel to commit fornication with the Moabite women. He breached the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation by causing the men of Israel to bow down to Baal. This brought a curse upon Israel.
Until we get back to teaching the truth about personal and ecclesiastical separation, we can expect the continued widespread havoc that we have today.
NO ONE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST IS ABOVE CORRECTION
If they are in error and have strayed from the Word of God, they should be grateful for the diligent Bereans who check out what they say and offer correction where it is needed. Whatever they may do or say, no matter how contrary to the Bible it may be, is supposedly all right. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nathan identified the man.
There was a man in a very high place who was a secret adulterer. Surely this man who held the highest office in the land could not be rebuked by a lowly unpopular prophet. Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealed the sin in a parable form, and then told the enraged David, “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7).
Hanani named king Jehoshaphat.
In many ways Jehoshaphat was a good king, but he mistakenly forgot to practice religious separation. He caused his son to marry wicked king Ahab’s daughter.
(See 2 Chron. 18: 1; 21:1-6). He made an alliance with Ahab and went to the battle of Ramoth-gilead with him (2 Chron. 18). Hanani “…said to King Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?”(2 Chron. 19:2)
We have a question for those, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?”
Yes, it is right to expose error and to name those who are in error.
It is right to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
It was once delivered and it has never been recalled for revision.
We had better beware of “false teachers … who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).
Faithful messengers will warn the sheep of these heretics, and identify them by name. It is not enough to broadly hint of their identity, for the young lambs will not understand and will be destroyed by the wolves.
Hebrews 5:14: “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, eventhose who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
One of the reasons for the church being in such a sickly condition today is that believers have not obeyed the commands of God’s Word to judge error:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
The false teachers make the “divisions,” and not those who protest against their errors. An often misapplied Scripture is “Judge not” (Matthew 7:1).
This is a command against hypocritical judgment, and is not directed to those who in love and sincerity discern whether a teacher or teaching is true or false to the Word.
Matthew 7:1-5: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Actually, the last statement of this Scripture commands sincere judgment:“then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
We are not to forget nor seek to avoid the fact that our Lord Jesus commanded us to “judge righteous judgment.”
He commended one, “Thou hast rightly judged.”
He asked others, “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?”
(John 7:24; Luke 7:43; 12:57).
Paul wrote, “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.” (1Corinthians 10:15)
Again… “He that is spiritual judgeth all things” in (1Corinthians 2: 15)
It is all too common and easy for Christians to assume a critical and censorious attitude toward those who do not share their opinions about matters other than those which have to do with Bible doctrine and moral practice.
But it is our privilege and duty to do all we can to encourage their spiritual growth. We are to love and pray for one another, and to consider ourselves lest we be tempted. The safest and most profitable thing to do is to judge ourselves.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened (child trained) of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31, 32).
Proverbs 24: 24 -32:
“He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.
He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue. The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise.
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.”
And now my favorite, “Touch Not My Anointed!”
Benny Hinn once stated:
You cannot win attacking the servants of the Lord, no matter who they are or what they’ve done …if the anointing ever comes upon a man, don’t touch that man, even if he turns away from God, and serves the devil, don’t touch him. You are in deep, serious danger.
Benny, with all due respect you need to read your Bible!
What does the Bible mean by “do not touch?”
For those who are truly seeking an answer let us go through the story and its context to “do not touch God’s anointed.”
When God told Saul (His anointed) to “Smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not…” (1 Sam. 15:3) , Saul disobeyed and “spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord…” (v.15). Upon which Samuel wasted no time in publicly denouncing Saul’s disobedience, telling him that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (v.23), and that God had rejected him as king.
The Lord’s “anointed” was verbally condemned by Samuel for his disobedience. “Naughty naughty Samuel!” according to the modern day church this is anathema.
David who was anointed before God took away Saul’s position refused to touch Saul physically. When David and two other men sneaked into Saul’s camp at night one of the two men asked to strike Saul with a spear as he felt God had delivered Saul into David’s hand.
But David refused and said, “Who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” (1 Samuel 26: 3-11).
In verse 15-16 David even rebukes Abner for not guarding Saul and says he deserved to die for not protecting his own master. However this does not stop David from rebuking Saul for pursuing him since he was innocent and had done nothing to harm Saul.
Saul then repented of his actions and called himself a fool. He added he would not harm David any more since his (Saul’s) life was precious in David’s eyes.
David returned Saul’s possessions and said, “For the Lord delivered you into my hand but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” (vv. 17-24).
The story of Saul ends with David being kept from the battle that Saul and Jonathan both lost their lives in, instead he fought the Amalakites. An Amalakite messenger (who should not have existed had Saul obeyed and done what God instructed him to do,) came back with torn clothes and dust on his head showing he was in mourning. David inquired of him and he told David that he had killed Saul.
“So David said to him, “How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go near, and execute him!” And he struck him so that he died. So David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD’s anointed.’”(2 Samuel 1:13-16).
THE BIBLE IS CLEAR…TO TOUCH THE ANOINTED MEANS TO BRING PHYSICAL HARM AND/OR DEATH.
Psalm 105:11-15: “Saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,’ When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, “He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, Saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.’”
Again we are told that God protected His anointed (Israel) and His prophets from the enemies of Israel who would have done them bodily harm.
Are there any ‘anointed’ persons today?
2 Corinthians 1: 20-22: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”
1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
These verses are unambiguous …The entire body of Christ is “anointed,” not just certain people in the body, and all Christians have the same anointing… the same Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament certain people were indeed “anointed” in that they had a special visitation of the Holy Spirit.
This “anointing” could and did leave them under certain circumstances. For instance we can use Samson as a prime example. Our anointing as the church of Christ means that the Holy Spirit abides within every one of us. Even if we sin, the Holy Spirit remains within us. How long will the Holy Spirit be in us? FOREVER!
When someone says they are “anointed” one needs to establish what exactly they mean by being anointed. Do they mean that they have a special visitation of the Holy Spirit upon their lives which sets them apart from other believers? If indeed this is what they mean by being anointed, they are ignorant of what the Bible says regarding the born-again believer being anointed.
True, there are among us those who are particularly gifted to perform certain functions in the church. They have a gifting, but they are no more anointed than the newest believer who gave their heart to Jesus Christ an hour ago. The weakest born- again believer is greater than John the Baptist who was the greatest of the prophets, and was anointed by God for that purpose.
Why? Because the born-again believer has Christ and the Holy Spirit living within permanently.
Interestingly Paul, whose genuineness was often questioned, never once hid behind “Touch not God’s anointed” or “Do my prophets no harm.” On the contrary he applauded the Bereans and called them “noble” for checking Scripture to see if what they were being taught was truthful. If someone is truly anointed, they would want to encourage people to discern what is true and what is not. They would encourage people to pursue the truth no matter what.
Furthermore if one is really anointed surely you don’t have to make threats against those who contend for the faith and question faulty doctrine, since it is God who protects His anointed.
“Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” ( Psalm 20:6-7).
Your brother in Christ,