Whoever Ignores Correction Leads Others Astray

Whoever Ignores Correction Leads Others Astray September 12, 2012

The title of this post comes from Proverbs 10:17. I could have quoted Proverbs 12:1, or 15:12, or any number of other Bible verses about accepting correction, but Prov. 10:17 seemed the most fitting of all of them.

I’ve recently been trying to communicate with someone who, because he pays lip service to the divine authority of the Bible (and so allegedly should know and accept the teaching found in Proverbs) insists that I am not a Christian (since I disagree with his views), and therefore he does not need to and indeed shouldn’t listen to me.

But this makes no sense, and what’s more, it undermines the Bible’s teaching.

The only people who will correct you are those who disagree with you. If everyone who disagrees with you is by definition not a Christian and therefore not to be listened to, then by definition you will not heed correction from anyone.

Congratulations! You have just defined yourself as someone the Book of Proverbs says is a stupid person, a mocker, and one who leads others astray. That’s quite a high price to say just to convince yourself, in your prideful arrogance, that you are always right.

Of course, the Bible doesn’t actually suggest that people cannot learn from those outside of their own religious community. Jesus is depicted as having learned an important lesson from the Syro-Phoenecian woman and other Gentiles, about one of whom he said, having been impressed, that he had not found such faith among his own people. (Of course, as I mentioned recently, those same people who want to insulate themselves from correction will often view Jesus as one who never needed to learn anything – and so as his followers, they extrapolate, neither do they.)

In the Book of Numbers in the Bible, Balaam was famously corrected by an ass. And so even if someone thinks that I am an ass, presumably that doesn’t excuse them, Biblically speaking, from the possibility that I might have something important to tell them.

Fundamentalism seems to me to be more about pride than anything else. It is a well known fact that people who adhere to inerrancy draw very different conclusions about what Scripture means. In spite of that, more often than not among fundamentalists, belief in the inerrancy of Scripture is taken as a safeguard of the inerrancy of one’s own views.

Fundamentalism is not just about the idolatrous treatment of the Bible, as though it were divine and inerrant, attributes rightly ascribed only to God. It is about treating oneself as inerrant, and thus elevating oneself to the status of divinity. Can anyone who is not divine be confident that they have nothing they need to learn?

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  • It seems you’ve picked up a troll … Congratulations! It means you’re making sense when the … ahem … logically challenged become fixated on you.

  • Dr. David Tee

    No, no troll. McGrath again distorts the Bible for his own desires and doesn’t knwo what he is talking about. He tells people to disobey God and that is sin. This public article demonstrates that he does not know the biblical criteria and that he does not know where his own jurisdiction lies.
    He does not have any authority over anyone and uses the Bible to bully those who disagree with him and expose him for whom he really is. McGrath doesn’t accept God’s words and teaches things not in the Bible nor what Jesus and the disciples taught.
    That is a very dangerous thing to do. The Bible is very clear about what is true and what is false and McGrath doesn’t have the former. Jesus did not learn from the unchurched world, nor should those who love Him. The Bible is very clear on that as well. Only those who do not want God’s word think like Mcgrath.
    Beware, you have been warned.

    • Just Sayin’

      He’s been warned by a troll i.e. you.

    • David

      There is a critical question that you have never answered in all of your comments. It is clear that you believe that the bible is “God’s word”, although whenever the bible uses the phrase “God’s word”, it never refers to the bible itself. If you don’t trust me on this, you can verify it using any online bible search program (such as biblegateway.com).

      James, I think, does believe that the bible consists of books written by Jews and Christians who were believers in God over centuries of time, and, as such, the bible is an invaluable record and guide.

      But you believe that the bible itself, the specific collection that (I assume) is gathered in protestant versions, consists of words that were written by God Himself – through the hands of men perhaps – but still unerringly inspired by God, so that every word is perfectly true.

      Correct me if I’m wrong about your belief in that last paragraph. The question is this:

      Why do you believe that the bible is God’s unerring word? The collection of books that we call the bible was gathered together as a whole long after the first Christians (those who knew Jesus) were long dead. The first generations of Christians had no bible; they would have been lucky to have had access to a Torah and, perhaps, a copy of a letter from an apostle, but the bible as we know it was unknown until later centuries.

      The bible itself never “foretells” that certain writings would be gathered together later to be called the bible; nor does it say that such a book should be ever be considered the written word of God.

      There is a commonly referenced verse, 2 Timothy 3:16, which reads:

      “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

      But this verse can only be a reference to the Jewish Torah; it cannot be a reference to New Testament writings, because those writings did not exist yet (Paul’s letters precede the gospels).

      So the question is: why do you believe that the bible is the inerrant written words of God, when the bible itself never makes this claim.

      This is not meant as a “challenge”, it’s a real question, that requires a thoughtful answer.

      • Dr. David Tee

        “I think, does believe that the bible consists of books written by Jews and Christians who were believers in God over centuries of time, and, as such, the bible is an invaluable record and guide”
        That is called cherry picking and hypocritical. It also demotes God from being sinless, Holy and all powerful to sinful, unholy and incapable of keeping His promises.
        All McGrath is doing is setting himself up as superior to God’s word and that is arrogance or a haughty spirit.
        “The first generations of Christians had no bible;”
        This is not true they may not have assembled a canon but they had the OT and the letters that were written before the last books were penned.
        they also had the preaching of the apostles, their disciples and other true believers.
        “The bible itself never “foretells” that certain writings would be gathered together later to be called the bible”
        it doesn’t have to. You do not understand God or His ways.
        “But this verse can only be a reference to the Jewish Torah”
        that is not true and demonstrates you rlack of understanding of God’s word.
        Again you cherry pick the verses you will accept and determine where they will apply as if you are in charge of what the Bible says. You and McGrath are not. You look for statements and declarations from God like spoiled children. You are saying ‘God you didn’t tell us in the way we want to be told so we get to do and say what we want.”
        The Bible is full of instruction worded the way God wants in order that they cover more ground than they way you want things said. You and McGrath both demonstrate a lack of following the Holy Spirit to the truth and you clearly do not understand God’s word.
        “that requires a thoughtful answer.”
        actually it doesn’t as all you prove with your cherry picking is that you refuse to believe God’s word and you want others to disbelieve as well. You can’t accept God’s word as written, that i syour choice but at no time do you have the right to lead others to the same rejection and disbelief. That is a great sin.
        Jesus told people that anyone who caused the children to disbelieve in him should commit suicide for that would be the better of two actions. heed the warning.
        You and Mcgrath are not authorities who correct others, you are in deep need of correction, and you both need to repent.

        • aar9n

          Wow. First off, fake doctor, you didn’t answer the question. All you did was go on a condescending rant, belitle them, and tell them to go kill themselves.
          I have never seen a troll go so low. If you have done anything, you have convinced us that Christianity (at least your version) is nutty, deceitful, controlling and rude.
          You are not a doctor of any sort.

          • rmwilliamsjr

            If you have done anything, you have convinced us that Christianity (at least your version) is nutty, deceitful, controlling and rude.

            isn’t this the bottom line for being here?
            what does dr. david tee get out of his postings here?
            it looks like some kind of displaying the truth so God can rightfully judge this blogs readers for ignoring the truth he preaches?

            he spends a lot of time writing but they are not the type that encourage research and more study through their interesting and provocative ideas. they are rants, full of emotion and self assured confidence that he is speaking not just about God but for God. is this a reflection on his theology? is his interpretive community so insular that it’s representatives can only yell at the outside world?

            i don’t know, but there does certainly seem to be a personality type attracted to this kind of theology, at least they seem to be over represented online.

          • Dr. David Tee

            That depends upon the research you are wanting to do. Nowhere does the Bible limit research BUT it does limit how it is done, whom you listen to and what you are to follow.
            I think God is being very generous there but you want to pursue things that God did not say or do, listen to those who rejected God and sin plus you do not want to follow God’s word but your own ideas.
            Since God created all things and that it is His kingdom God gets to make the rules, not sinful man, don’t you think?
            Why am I posting here? Because you all need to hear the truth and you need to be reproved and corrected. you all are saying God lied and misrepresented Himself to His creation. That is heresy, sin and wrong and shows that you do not want God as He is but as you want to make Him.

          • Prove your claim? All you have done is make false accusations. All I am saying is you all are disobeying God and you sin. That is not low but telling the truth. You reject God’s word, you twist it , you dismiss it and you want to be patted on the back? Pullease…
            It ha snothing to do with who’s version of christianity. There is only 1–God’s. and you all are not in it.

        • Thank you for the reply, David.

          I think we agree about what was available to the first generations of Christians – “the OT and the letters that were written”.

          Here’s where I’m not understanding our differences. I know we’ve exchanged a lot of “smart-alec” comments, but this is an honest question that I think gets at the heart of where we differ.

          Your response to my comment that the bible itself never “fortells” that certain writings would be gathered together later to be called the bible”, was this:

          “it doesn’t have to. You do not understand God or His ways.”

          So it’s clear that you do believe that the gathering of the texts into our current bible is “God’s Way”. It’s clear that you believe that these texts represent “God’s infallible word”.

          But can you help me understand why you believe this? I’m not trying to be patronizing, now, I’m really trying to understand your thinking.

          Look at it this way. Usually, when you disagree with someone’s morality or religious statements, you refer to a biblical text to prove your point. But we don’t have a verse to point to if we’re trying to prove that the bible itself represents the infallible words of God.

          I understand that you consider me a sinner for not thinking that it is. You’ve said that I “lack … understanding of God’s word.”

          But saying that I’m a sinner and that I don’t understand, doesn’t answer the question; and it’s a real, vitally important question.

          Why do you believe that the writings of the Bible are the infallible words of God? It’s really a different question than, for example, why do you believe in God.

          • Dr. David Tee

            “But can you help me understand why you believe this?”
            Because it is true. God said, By faith you please Him and we need to make a choice, we either have faith that God has provided for us His infallible word or we doubt and sin.
            We hold to the Bible being His infallible word also because if we don’t then we demote God to being some incapable being who is not even strong enough to keep His promises and then we do not have a God nor salvation. If He is incapable of preserving and presenting His word to His creation then how is HE capable of providing salvation to them?
            Your unbelief that God created as He said already demotes God to being a sinner and that is just pure heresy. You and McGrath are NOT looking at the ramifications of what you are saying
            “But we don’t have a verse to point to if we’re trying to prove that the bible itself represents the infallible words of God.”
            Yes we do but you dismiss them plus the authority of the books tells us that they are God’s word. No man can write like that and they have tried.
            Your question can be answered by the reasons you give in response to: Why do you doubt the Bible as God’s word? What is it that you desire that the Bible interferes with?

          • David

            You’re understanding of scripture is not a universal understanding.

            There are many Christians that believe in God, and look to scripture for guidance, but don’t believe scripture to be infallible or written by God Himself.

            The belief that scripture is the infallible word of God is not something that you can just assume or take for granted. You should have reasons for that specific belief.

            You say that I “dismiss them [verses in the bible] plus the authority of the books tells us that they are God’s word.” But this is simply not true. The texts of the New Testament do not claim to be “God’s word.” You are saying that I am wrong about this – I hear you – but you don’t say why I am wrong.

            You say that if we don’t believe in the infallibility of scripture, “we demote God to being some incapable being who is not even strong enough to keep his promises.” But that does not make sense. You can read of many promises of salvation, but you never read that God promised a bible.

            You keep saying that I am wrong and a sinner, but you haven’t answered the question “why do you believe the Bible is the infallible word of God”.

            Is it because you simply cannot imagine Christianity without that belief?

          • aar9n

            So you know the Bible is true because God says so in the bible, and you know that what god says is true because it’s in the bible, correct?

            Did you study logical fallacies at all when you did you imaginary/fake doctorate?

          • And, David, to answer your specific question:

            “Why do you doubt the Bible as God’s word?”

            Because the bible does not claim to be God’s word! That’s the clear and simple answer. The bible itself claims to be many things: a letter from Paul to a church, a treatise to Theophilus, etc. But the bible never claims to be God’s word (though it does claim to contain some of the words of God – usually in clear quotations). The belief that the bible itself is God’s infallible word is, quite literally, an unbiblical belief!

        • David,

          I’ll add one more thought to the mix. Here’s a comment from me and a response from you in your last comment:

          Me – “But this verse can only be a reference to the Jewish Torah”
          You – “that is not true and demonstrates you rlack of understanding of God’s word.”

          So help me understand the way you see it. Here’s a little more context for the way I see it:

          2 Timothy 3:15 and 16″15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

          So if these are “holy scriptures” that Timothy has known since he was a child, Paul can’t be talking about New Testament texts, because they were not written when Timothy was a child.
          Do you see it another way? Can you explain how this verse could self-referentially include the New Testament?

          • Dr. David Tee

            Your error is in limiting the word ‘all’ to only the Old Testament and your conclusion that Jesus didn’t teach scripture.

          • Even if you grant inspirational status to the words of Jesus, you still have not addressed most of the New Testament, not even most of the gospel texts. I’ve address your comment about 2 Timothy above.

          • But why do you think that the word “all” refers to the New Testament, even to books that hadn’t been written yet, even to the letter that Paul was in the midst of writing the word “all”?

            This does not answer the question. YOU say that “scripture” includes the books of the New Testament. Paul does not say this, and the bible itself does not say this.

    • He tells people to disobey God …
      No, he tells people that there are a number of ways to interpret the Bible and that your interpretation need not be obeyed. Unless you are God, that is no sin.
      He does not have any authority over anyone …
      And neither do you.
      The Bible is very clear about what is true and what is false …
      Then why do so many people interpret it differently?
      Beware, you have been warned.
      So you have authority over James and everyone else?
      You don’t have to listen to others (you seem quite good at that, at least) but other people are free to make their own judgment of you based on that.

      • And you are wrong.
        Did I claim any?
        Because people do not want the truth.
        giving a warning is not the same as having authority over someone. stop distorting the message.

        • Yes, you are claiming the authority to tell them what “the Truth” is and threaten them with dire consequences if they don’t accept your interpretation of the Bible. James gives reasons for his interpretation of the Bible; you call down fire and brimstone on anyone who doesn’t accept your “authoratative” pronouncements, given with no reason other than that they are “the Truth”!

  • Dr. David Tee

    The funny thing about the article above is that the peopl eneeding correction are complaining no one is accepting correction from them. What they do not see is how wrong they are in their thinking, their theology, their rejection of the Bible and the fact that they are indeed in need of correction.

    • David

      There is nothing noble or helpful about calling someone a sinner, simply because he does not believe the same thing that you do.

      Imagine meeting some native of a distant land who had never heard of Christianity and the bible, and trying to convert him by saying, “See this book. You have to believe that God wrote it, or you are a sinner, destined for hell!”

      How can he believe something that he has no reason to believe. This is what you are failing to provide. A reason to believe that the bible is the infallible word of God.

      To call someone a sinner, or to say “because it’s true!” simply does not answer the question.

      • Dr. David Tee

        uhm, you have that messed up. A person is a sinner because they disobey God, preach things God did not do or say, and do not follow what the Bible says.
        Your anaolgy fails because believing that God wrote it is not the way of salvation, unbelievers can believe that God wrote the Bible BUT that act doesn’t save them.
        You can’t cherry pick, you can’t ignore instructions, you can’t call God a liar. You prove that you do not understand anything about scripture at all.
        You keep asking for a reason because you reject the reason given to you.
        Notice the scripture, it is by faith through grace are ye saved. did you see that evidence and calling God a liar are not included.

        • Have I missed it, David? What answer have you given to the question?

          Why do you believe that the bible is God’s infallible word, when the bible itself does not make this claim?

          • I gave the answer and you mis-apply one or two verses to ignore the declaration and you ignore the same message in 1st or 2nd Peter.
            You seem to want to say which parts of the Bible are God’s word and which are not yet you and McGrath have produced no evidence that God has promoted you to be overseer of HIS word.
            Jesus said the Holy Spirit will lead you to the truth He did not say the Holy Spirit will lead you to an interpretation.
            Too many people play games with God’s word and hide behind ‘interpretation’ to avoid the truth.

          • David

            You are so frustrating. How have I “mis-applied” the verses I mentioned. What verse in 1st or 2nd Peter do you think answers this question.

            You are filled with rage and accusation but you have never answered the central question. Name one verse that uses the phrase “God’s Word” in a way that includes the New Testament.

            And I think you don’t quite understand what we’re saying. We are not saying that the New Testament “fails” to be the infallible word of God – we are saying that the New Testament does not even claim to be the infallible word of God. That belief, the belief in the infallible inspiration of the collected writings in the New Testament, came long after they were written.

            Read the bible as it was meant to be read by it’s writers – not by the idolatrous prejudice of Christians who lived long after the text was written.

        • And by the way, we do not call God a liar. You call God a liar by putting words into His mouth that he never said. Show us one place, one text, in which God says that the New Testament is His personal word.

  • Dr. David Tee

    Jesus said–Ye are the light unto the world…’ It is pretty hard to be that light when those who call themselves followers of Jesus, listen to and follow after the very people they are to bring the light to.
    How can the world know they are wrong when the very people who are supposed to know right and wrong cast it off and follow after sinful teachings and ideas?
    You people just do not read the Bible very well or do not want to read it very well nor do you think things through. You are in too much of a hurry to get justification for your disobedience to God.
    It is either you are afraid that you won’t get to do the things you want to do or believe the things you want to believe or it is merely the fact that you do not want to humble yourselves and obey God. Whatever the reason you need to be honest with yourselves instead of trying to force people to follow after your sinful ways.

    • aar9n

      Believe the bible!
      Because its God’s Word!
      How do you know?
      God says so!
      How do you know God says so?
      It records it right here in the bible!
      Do you realize you are circular reasoning?
      You’re a sinner and going to hell!
      … I don’t think so…
      I am sent to tell you what to believe and how to believe it!
      Why should we believe you?
      Because God says so!
      In the bible!

      “Be honest with yourselves”

      I don’t pretend to have degrees I don’t have.
      Aaron’s honesty count: 1
      Fake doctor T: 0

      • I am begining to think you are just McGrath under another name.
        Why should you believe me? I haven’t said anything that is not found in the Bible nor inconsistant with Jesus or the disciples or the truth.

        • Yes, you have David. You cannot quote a verse in the bible that indicates that the books of the bible are the infallible word of God.

          • Dr. David Tee

            No I haven’t. You just do not accept the words which state them or you redirect them so you give yourselvves the room to change what you do not like to hear. 2 Peter 1:21 reaffirm Paul’s declaration and you should continue to read chapter 2 because it talk sabout false teachers.
            Then we have Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 7:12 where he makes a distinction between God’s word and his words. We know the whole Bible is God’s word, only those who want to believe alternatives declare it isn’t.

          • It is funny that you mention 1 Corinthians 7, acknowledge that in it Paul distinguishes between his words and “God’s word” (even though what he seems to be doing is distinguishing between his own words and Jesus’s words on the subject of divorce and remarriage), but then go on to assert that “we” (who?!) know that the whole Bible is God’s word – or did you mean words?

            So are you saying that the place where Paul distingshes his words from God’s words those are God’s words? Do you see why someone would find your stance confusing and unpersuasive and feel like you do not even care enough about the discussion to explain what you think and why?

            Talking about the Bible as the “Word of God” is a metaphor widely used by Christians to express the conviction that God has communicated and continues to communicate through the Bible – even through the words of the Satan in Job, even through the words of Paul when he says he writes as a fool and not according to the Lord. But to misconstrue that metaphor as a literal statement leaves you having to twist the Bible’s contents and claim that they mean the opposite of what they say. And that seems clearly to be what you are doing.

            But perhaps you would care to actually engage in conversation and respond to someone’s point? What you wrote seems not to make sense, to be self-contradictory, and at odds with the Bible’s own contents. Can you say anything in response besides more mere assertions that you are right and that everyone else is wrong – apparently even Paul himself in the words you quoted?

        • aar9n

          Lol, well I’ll take that as a compliment.
          No, I am not Mcgrath, and unlike you neither of us have to lie about our identity or credentials.
          The bible is a human product, not a divine product. You can pretend all you want, you can “warn” me all you want, but that is not going to changes the facts. The bible contains historical errors (Conquest of Canaan, Roman Census in Luke, even Acts disagrees with Paul’s letters about where Paul went and when), scientific errors (The sun cannot stand still in the sky, virgins do not give birth, there is no dome in the sky, and there is no way there can be a global flood) and forgeries (1 and 2 Peter both are written in an advanced style of Greek and show working knowledge of the LXX, both of which a Jewish fisherman would have no knowledge of), and ethical errors (condones slavery misogyny, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, and anti-semitism). You have given us no reason to believe you. All you have done is rant and rave and imply that everyone here except you is going to be tortured forever by your all loving and all powerful god unless we agree with you. You have given no reasons expect “the bible says so” which really ends up being “my interpretation of the bible says so”. The wheel of biblical infallibility sums up your argument quite well:

          • Dr. David Tee

            Again, I haven’t lied. But you lie against God, His word and the Holy Spirit. You are not christian and if you say you are then you do lie about your identity.
            I could give you a mountain of evidence but what is to stop you from dismissing it all because it isn’t what you want to hear? I say the same thing to those who oppose th 4e Global flood. Even if the ark was found, those who do not want to accept the truth will find some way to dismiss it as THE ark.
            Phillip Davies does this all the itme. He was given pieces of evidence after evidence and all he would do is close his eyes and repeat his mantra, ‘it did not happen.’
            Be honest with yourself and others and just say you will not believe or accept The Bible as God’s word no matter what anyone says or does.

          • aar9n

            Yes, you have lied. You are not a doctor; you pretend to be one so people will listen to you. I don’t care what you think my religious affiliation is.

            “I could give you a mountain of evidence ”
            Then why don’t you, instead of being condescending and self-righteous. Do you really believe that trolling is an effective witness to your faith?
            You are doing what is called projection; projecting your faults onto other people.
            You keep telling people to be honest, why don’t you practice what you preach and admit you are not a doctor.
            Prince A.

          • Dr. David Tee

            The reason to believe is salvation and eternal life. There is no monetary reward involved.it is all about eternity. You have to choose by faith and repent of all sins, then accept Jesus as your savior and not follow after sin again.
            those are God’s rules. they do not change.

  • jesse

    Interesting post! I recently started a blog on worship and music of the believer. Check it out!


  • Eli Odell Jackson

    What in the world are you trying to say by this nonsensical screed?

    Every book in the world, whether inspired or not, has an objective teaching – It’s author meant something when he wrote it.
    Therefore when a man attempts to understand what that book teaches and then proceeds to teach it himself; that is not only his teaching but the book’s.

    The Bible is the inerrant word of God, I say that because it proclaims itself so, its authors speak with one voice on every matter and without confusion.
    It may require study to determine just what is being taught, but I do not treat myself as inerrant or divine when I dogmatically stick to what the Bible clearly teaches.

    • You are mistaken. The Bible does not proclaim itself to be anything, for the simple reason that none of its separate books or letters was part of a “Bible” when it was composed, making reference to such a collection and itself as part of it impossible. You may also have missed that many of the authors identify themselves and do not claim to be God, and that Paul even says in 2 Corinthians that at one point he is speaking as a fool, and not “according to the Lord.” Any view of the Bible that rejects such evidence from the Bible itself is obviously a deliberate distortion thereof for ideological ends.

      The claim that its authors all speak with one voice is also demonstrably false. One needs only consider the views – and lack of views – on an afterlife throughout most of the Hebrew Bible to see this, but there are obviously many other points that one can point to as well. What Paul and James say about faith and works may be compatible, but they are certainly not saying the same thing in the same way.