We frequently hear people say, "I don't believe in criticizing other people's religion." Some people become angry - even violent - when people criticize their beliefs. Surely we should not condemn beliefs that are pleasing to God, but does this mean we should even avoid pointing out the religious errors of others?
Suppose you know that a murderer has broken into a friend's house and is waiting for him, but your friend does not know this. When you see your friend walking toward his house, what should you do? Surely you would not just let him go on and be killed, would you? Shouldn't you try to warn him?
Now instead suppose your friend believes a false religious doctrine. Matthew 7:15-23 warns that many people will be so deceived that they will think they are saved when really they are lost. Suppose this is your friend's case. He does not know he is lost, but you know it. What should you do? Should you just let him go on to eternal punishment? Surely if you love him, you should warn him by telling him about his error, shouldn't you?
What about Jesus and His apostles -- did they speak out against sin in the lives of others, or did they just "let other people's beliefs alone"? Let me suggest an experiment. Start reading the New Testament, and make a note of every passage in which you find religious error being rebuked by faithful teachers of God's word. I affirm that you will have difficulty finding very many pages of the New Testament where error is not condemned!
Likewise, we too should reprove and rebuke error, not out of pride or self-righteousness, but because we love the souls of others (2 Timothy 4:2-4). Jesus said: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" - Revelation 3:19.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1/30/2006
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