By Mark J. Ward

What do you think about folks who would call the names of specific religious groups that they differ with? I am talking about how you feel with regard to, say, a teacher in religion, whether on radio, on television, on the web, in religious journals, or otherwise, just out and out calling the specific names of religions and talking about error they believe, teach or practice! Have you ever heard this, or seen this happen? Is this scriptural? Does God approve of this practice? What does the Bible say, if anything, about such a thing?

Before you read the Scriptures below, ask yourself a question. If you were about to walk off a cliff and did not know it (yes, I know that’s a little hard for YOU to believe that about yourself <grin> but just "go with me" there, for a moment, please), would you be "offended" if (even in a crowd of people out in public) if I called out your NAME and shouted, "Hey <insert YOUR NAME here>, watch out for that cliff! You are walking toward a 100 foot drop-off and can’t see that you are about to die!" ??? How would you "feel" about that kind of warning? That kind of warning MIGHT save your physical life.

Now, think about what would be even MORE IMPORTANT than your "physical life" …your spiritual existence in one of two places….heaven or hell. Would you like a warning if it were meant to help save your soul? As long as it is given with love, would you like it even if it involved "name calling" in order to warn you of false practices and teachings? I hope we all would! I know I would. But what I might "like" is NOT the basis for whether or not something is "right" or "wrong", is it? God’s Word determines that. What does the Bible say about this?

Jesus Christ is our Perfect Example. He called names. Oh yes. He did it! He did it for the right reason(s), at the right time(s), hoping for the right outcome(s)! So did Peter, and Paul, and other followers of Christ. Please consider the following passages of Scripture and "re-think" your position if you think it is wrong to "call names", in love, in religious matters today.

Matthew 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [It is] because we have taken no bread. 8 [Which] when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let [him] go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did [it], as [did] also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 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 Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, [as] they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots [they are] and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [ the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans , which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold 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. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans , which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly,

The "stakes are too high" not to "call it like it is"…with love, treating others like we would want to be treated. I, for one, would want to have the name calling take place, so I could be aware of the spiritual dangers that might lie ahead and damn my soul.

God demands that we "fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12) and this is not to be taken as being "passive". Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:1 that we are to imitate him, as he imitated Christ! Yes, I Cor 13 teaches we should do all things with love in our hearts. When you read articles in The Religious INSTRUCTOR "calling names", check it out! See if the things that are being said are true. If you don’t think so, write a "response" in the proper spirit that a follower of the Lord would use in disagreement! Use scripture, however, to make your points! "I think so’s" are NOT the proper basis for our authority in religious matters today (See Rom. 10:17; John 17:17; John 8:31,32; Col. 3:16,17; 2 John 9). Thanks for listening. I love all and it is my privilege to preach Christ, Him crucified, and His saving gospel, God’s power to save (Romans 1:16)!  --mjw

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