Q: Should the believing community judge the teachings of its leaders?
A: Not only is it permissible, it is our responsibility to do so. Nobody's teachings are above sound judgment — especially influential leaders. Biblical authority and accountability go hand-in-hand (Luke 12:48). The greater the responsibility one holds, the greater the accountability one has before God and His people (James 3:1).
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to practice good judgment by inquiring, probing, and thoroughly investigating a teaching or practice (Deut. 13). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul commands the Thessalonians to test all things (1 Thess. 5:21-22) and commends the Bereans for testing his teachings in the light of Scripture (Acts 17:11). Instead of rebuking them, he lauds their character as noble. While our Lord Himself cautioned followers not to judge self-righteously (Matt. 7:1-5), He also counseled them to judge rightly (John 7:24, cf. Matt. 7:15-20).
Christians are frequently uncomfortable with such judgments. They assume that since they are often painful they are also destructive. However, as apologists Bob and Gretchen Passantino explain, "The 'pain' of biblically conducted confrontation produces individual growth (1 Tim. 4:16), encourages others to Christian maturity (1 Tim. 5:19-20), promotes church strength (Eph. 4:15), and preserves the church's reputation in the world (1 Peter 2:12; [cf. 2 Peter 2:1-2])."
On today’s Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank addresses two questions he was unable to get to on yesterday’s broadcast. The first is from Tony, who wanted to know what the psalmist meant when he says “be still” in Psalm 46. In order to answer Tony’s question, Hank details the entirety of the Psalm to illustrate the meaning behind the phrase, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The second question is from Casey, who wanted to ask about the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew chapter 13; specifically, if the gathering and burning is referring to the return of Christ. Of parables, such as the one Casey is asking about, St. John Chrysostom writes that no one will be able to empty the parable of all its wealth. The deeper you dig the more divine thoughts will gush forth, for it is a never-failing spring. Parables are not only proverbs and riddles, but they are also allegories and as such contain hidden meanings—ways through which the wise may grasp the mysteries of the kingdom. They reveal truth to those whose hearts are prepared. In this specific case, the binding of the tares into bundles to be burnt references the condemnation of the tares upon Christ’s coming in judgment—as the Nicene Creed puts it, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead…”All Sermons by Hank Hanegraaff