Answering Fools According to Their Folly

by Mike Ratliff

1 Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι πειράζοντες ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς. 2 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· [ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε· εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός· 3 καὶ πρωΐ· σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός. τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν, τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε;] 4 γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ. καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἀπῆλθεν. (Matthew 16:1-4 NA27)

1 And having approached to test him, the Pharisees and Sadducees asked for him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But he answered and said to them, “When evening comes you say, ‘Fair weather for the sky is fiery red.’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today stormy weather for the sky being overcast is fiery red.’ The appearance of the sky you know enough to distinguish, but the signs of the times you can’t make out? 4 An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign and a sign will not be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” And having left them, he went away. (Matthew 16:1-4 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Today, my friends in the CRN discernment group sent me the link below to a tweet by Perry Noble.

Perry Noble tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/perrynoble/status/123786301538451456

RT @jamesmacdonald: Fool! or No Fool? New blog post – http://ow.ly/6TUP7 //THIS IS A MUST READ!!! #homerun 

Go ahead and follow those links and read James MacDonald’s post on Proverbs 26:4,5, which Perry Noble says is a “must read.” If you don’t think this is reference to the blow up over his invite of T.D. Jakes to his Elephant Room 2 discussion, his failed attempt to defend that decision, his losing Mark Dever from the Forum, et cetera then you haven’t been paying attention. Dr. James White said it best when he commented the other day on this whole sad affair by saying, “…the Elephant Room, whatever that is. Whatever it is, it sounds like a place where people sit around and discuss how to redefine Christianity while refusing to stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before…” Of course, his main comment was about the foolishness of inviting a known Modalist, T.D. Jakes, to a supposed Christian discussion about the Holy Trinity. 

Who is being foolish? Who is being presumptuous with theology that they have no business messing with? If you read that article by MacDonald then you know that all through it he hit on the fact that his detractors seem to believe “they have it all figured out.” I assure you, those who know theology enough to know when the doctrine of the Trinity is being attacked and discussed by someone who is a heretic, a Modalist, then they are being much less foolish then those who think it is in their purview to redefine Christianity on their on terms. Sorry, it isn’t and the fact they think it is puts them in the category of ‘the foolish.’

Here is Proverbs 26:4,5 from the ESV.

[4] [b]Answer not a fool according to his folly,

lest you be like him yourself.

[5] [c]Answer a fool according to his folly,

lest he be [d]wise in his own eyes.

(Proverbs 26:4-5 ESV)

[Cross References]

=======================================================

[b] [2 Sam. 16:11; 2 Kgs. 18:36; Luke 23:9]

[c] See Matt. 16:1-4; 21:24-27

[d] ch. 28:11; [Rom. 12:16]

All the commentaries I read on these two verses say that they appear to contradict each other. In v5 we are told to answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own eyes. This is to show up their folly. However, if the encounter turns into something like what our Lord had to continually deal with as in Matthew 16:1-4 then we give the rebuke and end it. This is why I have certain rules for commenting in place on this blog, which I didn’t have for quite some time. It became necessary because certain individuals simply will not give it up no matter how well their arguments are answered.

John MacArthur says in his Commentary, page 723 pertaining to these two verses:

“Taken together, these verses teach the appropriate way to answer a fool (e.g. an unbeliever who rejects truth). He should not be answered with agreement to his own ideas and presuppositions, or he will think he is right (v.4), but he should be rebuked on the basis of his folly and shown the truth so he sees how foolish he is (v.5).”

Take these two together and compare it to what James MacDonald has done and how he has tried to justify himself and misuse this part of Proverbs and we see that when we attempted to correct him about “his error” he responded as a fool by refusing to listen and it is obvious that he is still there.

Soli Deo Gloria!

22 thoughts on “Answering Fools According to Their Folly

  1. How can anyone with a shred of Biblical knowledge endorse Perry Noble et. al.? Even if you accept Noble’s statement of faith as accurate, his methodology and presentation is so compromised and even so crass that it should be impossible to support – unless you are counting noses and you use that as your criteria. But that is unbiblical to say the least.

  2. I cannot believe how quickly this is beginning to take over the churches (yet, we were told this very thing would happen in the Word). It seems the paradigm shift is pleasing each other (or not). Whatever happened to being concerned about pleasing God. I just don’t see it in these churches, pastors, etc. anymore. When someone brings up a concern about the teaching not being found in the Word, we are told that “that is your interpretation.” And, “who are you to speak for God?” Kingdom life is spiritual, with Jesus as the Head of the Church and God is Father. We allow the Holy Spirit to lead us that we might be conformed to the image of Christ, that we might be one, even as Jesus prayed for us in John 17. What happened? These NEW ones are trying to change everything. Where is their desire for unity in the Spirit? What happened to laying down our lives for one another, honoring one another, that the world might see the Love in us, because we love Him first, then others? I know these are the endtimes, we really do have to stay close to Him and pray for those who have been blinded and call out those who are false teachers and wolves. Thank you for your ministry Mike. BTW, I didn’t know who Perry Noble was so looked him up. How far we have fallen! I believe in another year or so, there will be very few pastors sold out to God. It will just be this circus of how clever they are in attracting the unsaved. But what are they attracting them too? As Jesus said to each of the churches, “Nevertheless, I have this against you.”

  3. “Taken together,….” (Proverbs 26:4,5)

    Simple, really simple. It would or should have taken a rudimentary digital flipping to uncover the entire contextual meaning of the mis-used verses. And once again I am amazed that not only would a “pastor” be so ill-trained or prepared as to handle the verses, but that all the ears in the audience don’t catch it either.

    It brings a particular shallowness to preaching when we grab scripture like chips passing on our way to the TV, only to paste them onto our pre-conceived, but not God revealed, Ideas. Once again we have men defending themselves, or attacking other men who question them, while no defense of their use of scripture or their office is given much shrift.

  4. i’m still troubled from the fact that MacDonald appears so comfortable affirming the “ministry” of sexpert, Mark “I see things” Driscoll. Throw in associations with Furtick, Noble and Jakes and you end up with Foolishness four-fold imho.

  5. Rom… I was in phone conversation with Ken a couple a weeks ago when all this started and I made the comment that went something like, “I can’t believe that anyone takes “Furtick seriously…” Ken’s response was that sadly they do. However, no one with discernment does and what have to do is make sure that all those with discernment are awake to the fact that those you mentioned are nothing but a pack of wolves and those who take them seriously as Christian leaders are simply sitting themselves up for deception.

  6. …”and the beat (down) goes on.”
    Today I have yet another example of the difference between the Church (living body of called out ones) and the religious 501 (c)(3) corporations that use His name in building a one world religion around their socialist man centered goals., of course orchestrated by the father of lies himself.
    Carniege a Methodist attender but Swedenborger believer introduced the incorporating of religious institutions, which LBJ codified when he was president. Remember our freedom was already established by our Constitution, and never challenged by the IRS for example.
    We keep thinking we are fighting a downgrade, when really we are trying to fix a system we see as breaking down, which is another’s system (satanic) that long ago co-opted the work of the Reformation! Don’t believe me? Who then is set up to be worshipped as if he is God? Why would God need to shorten times, lest even the elect would be decieved (“if it were possible)? What is the “Broad Road that many enter in by, which leads to destruction.”? Why would folks who think they were in the body hear, “Depart from Me, you workers of inequity…I never knew you!” ? It happens in the pulpits friends…just as we were TOLD it would!! Stop trying to fix what isn’t broken, but is in reality a goat pen, come out of her as we are commanded, and find a genuine body of believers lead by a serving Servant, backed by genuine elders.
    Like Peter learned, just because “It is good for us to be here”, let us start a building program…doesn’t mean it is “of God.” In fact Peter in essence heard, “This is My Beloved Son, Peter! Shut up do nothing, and LISTEN TO HIM!”
    It’s about time we did that, don’t you think brothers and sisters?

    http://visiontoamerica.org/4739/doj-says-feds-can-tell-church-who-its-ministers-will-be/

  7. The church isn’t and never was/will be… Just one more discernment tool when looking for His gathering of the Lambs under His called undershepherds! There is so much wrong from all sides of that article that one can’t even begin to address it. There are so many glimpses into the future of churchianity in that article that one can’t dismiss it either!

    Your point is to be well heeded brother!

    By the way, some of your “lurker” readers have tracked me down! LOL
    I guess they don’t realize that when you are in Him you have NOTHING to lose! For we are not ashamed of Him nor His Gospel. He IS everything to me.
    {Although at times I must admit I wished they would have picked the fight when I played played by THEIR rules. LOL…But then I repent, and pray for them. :) }

  8. Funny – I was in the last chapter of this book today: http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/5074/nm/Him_We_Proclaim_Preaching_Christ_from_All_the_Scriptures_Paperback_ wherein Johnson makes the same points about the same proverbs mentioned above. Is that a sign from God? :-) (There’s another good book that is an antidote to that bit of mysticism: http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/6262/)

    At any rate – the comment about 503(c) corporations caught my eye. Most folk fail to note another provision which exempts churches from having to incorporate under 503(c), section 508(c)(1)(A). My church, thanks be unto God, is NOT a 503(c) corporation – and our elders are not checking with the IRS before they preach on Romans 13.

  9. My pleasure, Mike. The one by Kevin DeYoung grabbed my wife’s attention BIG TIME. It is a great antidote to mystical seeking “God’s will” none sense that seems to grab so many of us. It was one of the book our church assigned to the men to read (we get one a month) to help us better understand how to lead our families. The other one, by Johnson, is on the elder training reading list, equipping men who desire to pastor; it is a wonderful look at why it’s important to keep Christ the focus and how we can do that in our study of the Bible – both parts. Intimidating to be sure, but encouraging as well.

  10. They are called by “mom” Manfred, not by God. Mom wants the power and presteige for her son, which spills on to her as well. But then there is the family tradition thing…Dad has a church, and paves the way for son, that is AFTER he returns as the prodigal. When he can, dad brings son in as youth pastor, or worship leader, and mom of course runs the office!
    If anyone doubts this, I can provide about 100 examples off the top of my head…perhaps they too can think of a few!

  11. Mickey – I don’t know who the “they” are that you refer to, but I do agree that many who fill pulpits are not called of God to be there. But I know the Bible shows us that man is called unto God, the “man of God” (pastor) is equipped by God, and others (first Apostles, then church elders) attest to and confirm him as such. I can provide examples if this as well. Our doctrine ought to come from the Bible, not from examples. Not sure of your point.

  12. My point Manfred is that the vast majority of preachers are not of the biblical model, but of liberal socialist university business models, as are their “churches.” I appreciate the few that remain of the biblical model, like I believe Voddie is. We do listen to him here at our home, but the drive to him is 2 days each way! LOL
    There are very few like him in this land today, and I agree with your full support of him, and echo your sentiment regarding the biblical model from above. Perhaps where we would differ is in your statement, “…but I do agree many who fill the pulpits are not called of God to be there.” My take would be replacing the word “many” in your statement, with the words “the vast majority.” The word “many” could be used in a minority usage, along with “but most are biblical” for example. I don’t intend to leave that wiggle room in my statements, as I firmly believe the biblical preachers are very few in reality. One simple extension of the verse, “few there be that find it” regarding the Narrow Road, would indicate this, even if we didn’t have real world examples all around us. There is also a “not many of you…” reference to teachers in scripture which points to the “narrow road few” being lead by even fewer “elders.” Again, just count the books in bible bookstores as well as the authors, to see that we have many “annointed ones” today. Another good test is to simply count the number of discernment blogs available today on the net, as well as the vast numbers of examples they each point to, regarding today’s preachers, with not a great deal of situational overlap and duplication of incidents! Are we not in a great falling away today, if not the great falling away?
    So, based upon your writings at DefCon as well as your comments here, you do know exactly who I was referring to, particularly in light of the quote I referenced above. So, I guess I am at a loss to understand your point, particularly after your comment above mine pointing to, “so many hirelings, so few called men of God.”

  13. Thanks for your reply, Mickey. I guess I’m not sure I have a large enough picture of the landscape to KNOW how many are hirelings vs. called men. The hirelings who pursue the applause of men are easy to spot because they are on TV, etc. and have large followings. I pray to God that many of the small churches have faithful men of God who care not for the approval of men.

    I do think we are in the great falling away and I have confidence that the Lord will preserve His remnant until the Great Day of Judgment. There will uncountable numbers of us, while there will be an even larger number of those who will not enter into the Lord’s rest.

    Blessings in Christ to the called.

  14. Thanks, for the reply and clarification, Manfred. I was in fact agreeing with your short statement about many hirlings few called of God, and commenting on the call of hirlings by other then God.
    Yes I too agree that over the past 2,000 plus years an un-countable (from our perspective) number of fellow believers are in Christ Jesus. I further agree that an even greater number are about to hear “depart form Me” soon. The Lord has 2 feasts plan for the end of the age. I, like you expect not to be at the one where the “Fowl are served.” Double pun intended.
    Great falling away…few there be that find it…many are called few are chosen…unless time be shortened…will He find (the) faith when He returns…the patience of the Saints…They all point to the numbers dwindling to a trickle toward the end and tough times that purify His Bride, IMO.

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