The religious leaders of Jesus’s day accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners and in league with Satan himself. How did Jesus respond? He called the religious leaders of the day hypocrites, greedy, wicked, fools, vipers, sons of hell, blind guides, whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones. He even said that the devil was their father.
We must remember that the religious leaders of Jesus day preached the 10 Commandments, told people to obey the sacrificial system. They taught people to participate in the various Jewish festivals. They taught the word of God. However, Jesus told his disciples as to avoid the religious leaders of the day.They may preach God’s will for the Jewish people, which is what the people should do, but they didn't practice what they preach.
We see the same thing happening with the church through the writings of Paul. Paul confronted Peter as being a hypocrite. There were those who were part of the faith that were teaching false doctrine and Paul compare them to gangrene and gave them over to Satan. The history of the church is replete with examples of people speaking out against Christian leadership about how they have strayed from the New Testament teachings of what a community of believers should look like and act like. As a result some of these people who spoke out against these Christian religious leaders were killed because they took the stance against them. They were silenced in the name of Jesus.
Some would say that this kind of rhetoric that we see in the New Testament from Jesus and Paul and Christian people throughout church history is not good because it makes Christians look like they’re divided against one another. And this perception is somehow not “Christlike”. And because it is not Christlike these people who speak out against the abuses of the people in religious authority should be silenced. It is this kind of thinking that would have spoke out against Martin Luther himself. And did.
Could you imagine someone coming up to Jesus and saying to him that he shouldn't judge the religious leaders of the day because it might offend those people who are friends with those religious leaders or under the teaching of those religious leaders. “Hey Jesus that’s not very loving and you’re being very judgmental. We are friends with some of these Pharisees. As a matter of fact we're related and what you are saying will make it very awkward for us to say we know you.”
Or telling Paul that he should not write those harsh words in his letters where he judges another believer about a particular doctrine or practice. “Hey Paul that’s not very loving and you’re being very judgmental. Hey Paul I know those guys and hang out with them and you’re making it uncomfortable for me because I see these guys all the time therefore you can’t write that stuff. As a matter of fact you have to tear up that letter you wrote were you mentioned them by name. If you don’t we can’t hang out with you any more. After all what would people think about Christians calling out other Christians.” What do you think Paul or Jesus would say in response? Would we even have a New Testament?
Jesus said woe to you that all men should speak well of you because that’s how they treated the false teachers. Speaking out against people in religious authority when they abuse and shake the faith of brothers and sisters in Christ should never be silenced. The abuses should be shouted from the rooftops, proclaimed on every street corner, told to as many people as possible, to avoid those who think they’re doing the will of God but destroying the sheep of God. People can preach Jesus but serve their own religious appetites.
1 Timothy 1:20
2 Timothy 2:17-18
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