Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Warnings Against False Teachers

One of my favorite books is The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel by Dr. C.F.W. Walther. This is what he had to say about false teachers:

Many solemn warnings against false teachers are found in Holy Scripture. One of the most solemn of them, if not the most solemn, is that found in Jer. 23, 22, where the Lord says regarding false teachers: "If they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My Words, then they should have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings." This shows that by teaching false doctrine a preacher may keep the souls entrusted to his care from being converted and -- a result awful to contemplate! -- will cause them to be eternally lost. True, the people who permit themselves to be led astray by false teachings are lost by their own fault; for in innumerable passages of His Word, God has with great earnestness warned men against false teachers and prophets and has minutely described them. Any one, then, who despises these warnings will in the end have to blame himself amidst the wails of the hereafter. Still, this does not exculpate the false prophets and teachers who proclaim false teachings. On the contrary, their guilt is increased because they did not only choose the false way for themselves, but also pointed that way to the souls entrusted to them. For it is written, Heb. 13, 17: "Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account." Alas, what terror will seize all false teachers on the great day of account when all the souls led astray by them shall stand before the judgment-seat of God and raise accusations against them! What terror will seize Arius, who questioned the deity of Christ and wanted to snatch the crown of divine majesty from Christ's head! What terror will seize Pelagius, who denied that a person is made righteous and saves solely and alone by the grace of God! What terror, greater than these, will seize the Popes, who have formed all anti-christian doctrines into a system! How will they quake with terror when the souls without number whom they have led astray and whose hearts they have poisoned will stand in the presence of God! On that day every false teacher will wish that he had never been born and will curse the day when he was inducted into the sacred office of the ministry. On that day we shall see that false teaching is not the trifling and harmless matter that people in our day think it is. (The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, Eleventh Evening Lecture, December 5, 1884, by Dr. C.F.W. Walther, p. 87-88; Concordia Publishing House, 1986)


At October 20, 2006 1:43 PM, Blogger Mike said...

That's really good. I'll have to put that on my list of books to read.


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