For The Time Is Coming When People Will Not Endure Sound Teaching

by Mike Ratliff

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:12-17 ESV)

The Great Down Grade Controversy in the late 19th Century was between Charles Spurgeon and a few orthodox ministers who stood against the trend towards modernism that was sweeping through England in the last years of his ministry. That conflict had many similarities with the battle we are in the midst of right now with the movement into “relevance” and “the new evangelism.” Just as in Spurgeon’s day, there seems to be only a remnant that is standing against this onslaught against the truth for the sake of being man pleasers.

Another similarity is that those who appear to be progressives declare that those who point out their errors using scripture are being divisive. The Baptist Union, which had become more and more apostate, censured Spurgeon when he took his church out of that association. He did so because his warnings against false preaching and teaching within its member pastors were totally ignored. A careful, historical study of the controversy leaves one puzzled. Why? It is as if those who voted to censure Charles Spurgeon had zero discernment or had made a step into some form of darkness that caused them to be be full of unbelief and spiritual darkness. From that they were able case Charles Spurgeon into the role of the divisive one.

What causes apostasy to overtake every movement of the spirit, seemingly nullifying all of the good work that came before? The Protestant Reformation was followed by a period of apostasy, which brought about the Puritan movement. The Puritans were devoted to the Sovereignty of God in all things while those who opposed them simply wanted religious power. A slow movement into spiritual coldness followed the Puritan era. The First Great Awakening in the mid 18th Century was next. It was a great movement of the Spirit, but it was soon followed by a period of hyper-Calvinism. This cycle seems to continue over and over. What is the root cause?

When the authority of God’s Word is seen as anything less by professing Christians and their leaders, compromise soon follows. These compromises come in many flavors and they always seem to be innocent enough at first that few see the danger. It seems that it is as more and more leaders take their flocks into apostasy that the few who remain faithful raise the alarm. Look at the passage below.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:12-17 ESV)

What is the contrast here? Those who are evil and seducers always wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. They are the ones who persecute those who stand on the truth. The ones persecuted do not compromise the truth from God’s Word while those they oppose do that very thing even to the point of ignoring clear teaching from the Bible so they may continue in their rebellion.

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober- minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:1-8 ESV)

If that statement doesn’t describe what is going on the Church today then I don’t know what does. We must preach the truth. We must reprove, rebuke and exhort no matter who opposes even when we really don’t feel like it. Doctrine and Creeds are good if they are scriptural. Guess what those in apostasy say about that. Yes, that’s right. They say, “We don’t need no stinkin’ creeds!” Why do they say that? It is because the truths within them rebuke what they say and do. They do not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. In other words, they have their favorite preachers and teachers who tell them what they want to hear and never rebuke them.

These fellows ignore the authority of the Word of God. They have created another gospel and serve a god of their own making. We must never cease rebuking them until and unless they repent.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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