How Should We Teach Those In Religious Error?

When we have a chance to have a face-to-face meeting with a person in religious error (such as a denominational person or fallen away Christian), we have a good illustration of how we should proceed in Acts 18:24-26. Here is that text in the NKJV – “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Notice Apollos was a religious man, but in error, so Aquila and Pricilla “explained to him the way of God more accurately.”

So there is nothing wrong with doing exactly that whenever we have opportunity. When a person is in error, it is our duty to warn them of such error (Ezek 3:18, Acts 20:31, James 5:19-20). As II Cor 5:11 puts it – “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

It is a very, very good thing to read the Bible, but later Apollos’ teaching was not just reading the scriptures; instead it was “shewing by the scriptures” (Acts 18:28). In Acts 28:23, Paul didn’t just read out of the law and the prophets; instead he was “persuading out of the law … and … the prophets.” And in Acts 17:2-3, Paul didn’t just read the scriptures; instead he “reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”

It is every Christian’s responsibility to get out and try to reach the lost (Acts 8:4, Matt 28:19). Don’t let anybody convince you that how Aquilla, Priscilla, Apollos, and Paul did just that is a bad method. When someone is off doctrinally, there is nothing wrong with directly confronting their error (in a kind way), as Paul did with Peter in Gal 2:14, and as Jesus did on many occasions with those in religious error in His day (e.g., Matt 23).

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