The silence of many tells a frightening story that says that if we cannot and will not speak up on even the basic issue of what to do to be saved, the church is ripe for a mass apostasy. If “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 4) means to keep silent because one must never engage “much dispute”(Acts 15), then we are not even the same church as the church that Stephen stood and died for engaging in debate with the Synagogue of the Freedmen and others (Acts 6-7). If we cannot engage “much dispute” as the apostles and elders did in Acts 15, we have received a different set of morals and principles than they received and we stand to be taken over by “every wind of doctrine” that blows in (Eph.4:11-16).
If you do not have the courage of conviction to oppose and challenge brethren bringing in a wind of doctrine contrary to the New Testament our Lord died for, then please let me encourage you not to stand in the way or discourage those who are trying to take a clear stand for the truth. If you suspect that someone who challenges another is being unkind and has not prayed fervently and tried to appeal to those brethren behind the scenes, at least ask them before you make that rash judgment. We need to make sure we are not aiming our displeasure in the wrong direction. If you think, without even investigating, that brethren have “‘handled this all wrong”, and you have not demonstrated how it SHOULD be handled by actually getting involved with the teacher of error to try, in whatever way you imagine he should be confronted, to move him/her to correct their error, then don’t discourage those who are trying, in their best judgment, to do what you should have already handled yourself. This spirit of aiming your displeasure, not at the teachers of error, but at the defenders of truth, really plays well into Satan’s hands. There is nothing he would like better than for brethren to either say nothing or to come to the aid of those who teach heresy. We really need to think about this. – Terry W. Benton