TEACHING: Heresy-Hunter Or Hunted
June 12, 2001

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Dear WPA and Others:

Sometimes, a sentence, taken out of context, will appear to be in error, but when the whole is considered, it may not be. We cannot with certainty recognize a false prophet by the existence of one line, in a long article, that appears on it's face to be erroneous. We must examine the totality of what is written, and judge the context of the whole against the word of God. Jesus says, "by their fruits you will know them". Fruits have to do with character.

Laura Kula, for example, defends the article by Joyner (Combating The Religious Spirit) , and I agree in almost all points. I do believe, however, that the overall balance of the article is not closely comparable to the balance presented by scripture. As I stated, what is written in that article by Joyner is NOT HERESY.

That being said, some of these one-liners, presented by Mr. Lee Ford, certainly do appear to be way over the edge. If I were presented with any of them, my eyes would begin to roll upward too.

And then, we also have the admonition of Galatians 5:15, warning us not to bite and devour one another. It is pertinent that this warning was given by Paul in Galatians, where he engages the Judaizers in verbal battle. Many of us have already seen the propensity of the Judaizers to accompany their arguments with the gnashing of teeth and the casting forth of dissenters from their synagogues. We have to remember that when we engage them, contending earnestly for the faith, we must not bite and devour them, even if they do so to us. We tend to do this whenever we seek to defend ourselves from their viciousness. We must trust in Jesus for our defense. In that way, our good fruit will be evident for all to see, and will be contrasted against the fruit they display.

Perhaps the group would like to know how I wound up in my written dispute with Bill Burns? We exchanged one private letter each after our series of public issuances. I told him his article was not half so bad after he explained it, but that I still felt he could have worded it in a less confusing way. He wrote back to me, and declared that there was peace between us, and asked me to accept that, which I have. I then noticed that all appearances of commercialization were removed from his website entrace points into the sections where words of prophecy are given. And so, as brothers, Bill and I have tried to work through things that we see a bit differently. I think we both come away changed by our Lord, and I am hopeful in Christ that he will walk before the Lord in a humble and teachable way. I'm sure that he is hopeful that I won't become a heresy hunter, looking for people to devour. I have no intention of becoming such a person.

I want our focus to remain fixed on Jesus of Nazareth. I want to continue to spend my time handling the real, not seeking out counterfeits. This is what I have always done! If we handle the real every day, we will quickly recognize the counterfeits when they SEEK US OUT or invade our territory. I do not want to start SEEKING THEM OUT. I do not see Paul doing that. Heresy invaded Galatia....then Paul dealt with it firmly. That is the example I seek to emulate.

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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