While I may privately read after a number of sources to stay abreast of the latest heresies or literature available, I am deeply aware that I must never exalt such literature or writers to a pedestal by quoting them in a positive or spiritual context. I would hate to confuse a “weaker brother” who would then follow after such a man or heretic.
Paul the apostle appears to have quoted from outright unbelievers’ literature at Mars Hill, which is precedent for the acceptability of reading and quoting literature by an unbeliever when the content is morally acceptable. However, Paul showed absolutely no tolerance for false teachers. Never did he quote them. Never did he bid them well. In his Roman letter, he told believers to mark and avoid such men. In his letter to the Galatians, he desired that false teachers were “cut off” to use his words. In that letter, he also said that men preaching a false gospel should be “anathema” (damned). He also stated that you may eat with unbelievers, but not with those who claimed to be “brethren” who were engaged in certain sinful practices.
John, the disciple beloved to Jesus, stated that a false teacher should not be received into one’s property or edifice and that believers should not even greet them, because doing so would make the believer a part of the false teacher’s evil deeds. Jude and Peter both had scathing remarks for false teachers. Many Scriptures deal with separation from false teachers and how they were to be treated. Jesus spent about half of his ministry countering the attacks and questions of the religious leaders, and He specifically warned His disciples about ravenous wolves who would come in sheep’s clothing. Ultimately, it was the “religion crowd” of his day that schemed to have him arrested, tried illegally, and crucified.
Beware of anyone quoting Tim Keller. Mr. Keller is a dangerous heretic. If some say he’s done “a few good things”, that was true of numerous heretics throughout history.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” – [Romans 16:17]
Not only is Keller a member of the Gospel Coalition preaching a gospel of works, but he is also preaching evolution (and has already collided head-on with Ken Ham), eastern mysticism (called contemplative prayer), and a host of other false teachings associated with the heretical “emergent church”. If you find a theologian or pastor recommending his works, run … they should know better.
Here are some links for your consumption:
The job of a pastoral shepherd is to mark the wolves, run them away from the fold, and protect the sheep. A pastoral shepherd’s job is NOT to quote their favorite wolves TO the sheep.
If someone has a lot of great information, but then adds a bit of untruth, that is how cults are formed; thus, we can’t tolerate such mixture of truth and error. Neither should we exalt those who do. Remember what the apostle Paul said of those who wanted to add requirements to the simple repentant faith in Jesus Christ?
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubles you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.” – Galatians 5:9-12
If you or I wrote Christian books on the family or helping hurtful hearts or parenting, and the books made people feel tingly inside or even promoted high standards of morality and strict virtues, does that make us any better than ultra-conservative Judaism adherents or Catholics? Does it give us rights to change the Word of GOD or the Gospel of Christ or other doctrines of the faith or add requirements to repentant faith in Christ? Absolutely not!
If we are mesmerized by a speaker who uses convincing arguments for why GOD exists or to prove other worthy matters with superior intellectual capability and extremely eloquent wording, but he then teaches a false gospel, how is he considered a “great apologist”? What did Paul say of those who preach “another gospel”?
Speaking heresy makes one a heretic regardless of how much we “contribute” in other ways to literature or self-help books. Heretics are not to be promoted, whether they be Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic, or Episcopalian priests who teach “means of grace” theology or who present other false doctrines, or whether it be those who claim to be “Protestant” who do the same.
If we quote Tim Keller, we are in error. Why did Paul in Galatians speak with authority in saying that he wished that those who add works to the Gospel of Christ were “cut off”? Why did Paul also state that if anyone proclaimed a false gospel of works, they should be anathema (eternally damned)? Aren’t those strong words when you consider that a whole host of popular preachers today are preaching a “means of grace” salvation just like the Judaizers of the apostle’s day and just like the Vatican of our day? Evidently, GOD is very serious about the dangers of heretics. To understand what the Bible says about “means of grace” salvation, be sure to read the article at this link.
And if we are not to quote heretics as a theological or moral authority, then why do certain pastors, who claim to be standing for the fundamentals of the faith, quote Gospel Coalition pastors who are affiliated with the Gospel Coalition’s statement of faith which includes “means of grace” works salvation as can be seen at this link? If the Gospel Coalition leaders are opposed to its doctrinal statement, then why do they associate with it? And if more conservative evangelical and fundamentalist pastors and ministries claim to be opposed to “means of grace” salvation as taught by the Pope and the Vatican, then why do they also quote from men like John Wesley, Martin Luther, and John Calvin who also believed that the sacrament of baptism served as a “means of grace” for salvation?
Why do some conservative pastors quote and exalt the works and theological writings of C.S. Lewis who believed in not only “works salvation” like the heretics listed above, but also in prayers to the dead and purgatory as seen at this link?
Exalting Lewis’ works, such as the ten popular theology books listed at this link, to the level of “great spiritual literature” or “wonderful Christian allegories” is a great way to point people to a man who taught heresy. Entire exposés on the subject of Lewis’ false teaching can be found at this link here and here and here and here. Furthermore, C.S. Lewis claims to have been converted due to the influence of two men – J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton. Both were Roman Catholics who relied heavily upon the “wisdom of words”. Both preached “another gospel” – a “gospel” to which C.S. Lewis converted.
The Scripture commands shepherds to mark such wolves and to protect the sheep from them; yet so many shepherds find more enjoyment in quoting them in these last days. By doing so, they must seemingly believe “a little leaven is wonderful”.
In fact in all practicality, they are saying the opposite of the apostle Paul who said to “mark” them and “avoid” them. Instead, they exalt them and quote them. Few, if any of those who quote them, actually mark them as heretics.
I heard one pastor state that he didn’t necessarily endorse a book or author, but then proceeded to quote what he considered some “good things” from the book. Where is there logic in this approach? What if someone picks up the book this pastor quoted and reads it, and as a result follows after that heretic? I understand that we all may quote heretics if we are addressing matters of heresy and rebuking the heretic we are quoting, but I am talking of those who are quoting them in a positive context. I am speaking of those who call heretics by the name of “great apologists” just because these heretics use eloquent words, complex syllogisms in their arguments, and contribute to the discussion of GOD and morality in an intellectually superior manner.
Should we really be that awed by a heretics’ intellect? Or should we be horrified that his giant intellect may attract a massive following which will allow him to preach to them a damning gospel of works?
Are pastors today really so poorly trained in Scripture that they must use other men’s thoughts for their messages? Are they not capable of just quoting Jesus Christ, the apostles, and prophets of Scripture?
Why do we exalt human wisdom rather than Scripture? Why do pastors feel the need to say “This man is a heretic who is sending people to hell, but I felt the need to share with you from the pulpit some great thoughts of this great intellectual giant”?
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17-21