Mark and Avoid

Sep 16, 2020 | Apologetics, Blog

Yesterday, I released a podcast episode about creationist cancel culture.

I figured I would follow up with some thinking around the concept of marking and avoiding false teachers, as we’re instructed to do in Romans 16:17.

It says this:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

The context of Pauls admonition here is false teachers—essentially, those who teach something contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as is evidenced by the very next verse:

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Thus, we must understand it is crucially important to follows Paul’s advice, here!

When someone comes along teaching false doctrine (namely, heresy), we should mark and avoid them.

Theologically, especially for young believers, they have the power to lead people astray from the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

However, this is not the same thing as marking and avoiding those we merely disagree with on an issue—even an important one.

Here’s a good example. Two brothers may have a disagreement about Calvinism and Arminianism.

Now listen, I am good friends with both Calvinists and Arminians, and both of them will tell you the other’s view is potentially very harmful (if not detrimental) to the gospel.

But it’s the rare case I’ve ever seen one tell others to completely avoid the teaching of the others.

And that, friends, is the differential between “marking and avoiding” and genuine disagreement with a spirit of unity in the gospel.

In chapter 7 of my book, Truth Be Told, I introduce folks to what I call (and others have called) The New Creationism.

It provides a helpful take on the state of creation science today, and gives some admonition for how we ought to approach the conversation altogether—even when we disagree with others.

Check it out here:

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Hi, I’m Steve, an author, speaker, and Bible teacher with a heart for exploring God’s Word and God’s world.

I’m interested in the surprising connection between creation, theology, business, and storytelling. We explore those themes and more on this blog.

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