I get people asking for free copies of my Bible prophecy book for various reasons. When a man with a website asked for one, I suggested I would be willing to give the book in exchange for a link from his site (which costs him nothing). He said no since he was like most Christian sites who are overly worried about sending someone to a site that has any “doctrinal error”. Our correspondence sheds some light on this overly emphasized fear:
I have been online for more than seven years and have never linked to someone else’s website, even though many have linked to mine (and I appreciate that). The reason is this: I do not know of any other website that does not have serious doctrinal error contained therein. And, if I found one I would not want to link to it because I would need to constantly monitor it in case false teaching was later added. Even with a disclaimer I would not want to be responsible before the Lord on the Day of Judgment for having a part in someone being led astray by false doctrines.
I have read enough on your website (that has nothing to do with end time prophecy) to know that you have several serious false teachings contained therein. And, of course you teach very serious errors concerning end time prophecy.
Please, just keep your book.
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).
In Christ Jesus,
My reply was as follows:
Doctrinal error is unavoidable without a prophet to interpret the scriptures for us today as they had in the First Century and in kingdom years. Surely you must admit you have doctrinal errors yourself.
Thus, certainly the judgment that James 3:1 is talking about has nothing to do with making an honest error in interpreting the very difficult book called the Bible, that Jesus said was difficult on purpose, quoting Isaiah and using parables to hide the meaning which is working quite effectively on Christians today [judging from how few understand his difficult words].
The judgment on teachers is for the typical sins we all do. But they are held more accountable to do what the bible says because they claim to know it well enough to teach it. I assure you, I walk uprightly and have a very happy wife and family as fruits to show it.
Principle of Accountability
For those who are not familiar with this principle of judgment weighted according to accountability, Jesus taught it in many places, including the parable of the wicked servants:
Luke 12:47-48 (KJV) 47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
If you think it through, James must be referring to this as the reason why teachers will be judged stricter. They know better what God’s will is and are more accountable to do it.
Accountability for Works, not Beliefs
There are good God-loving people often on both sides of every argument. The point is, the Bible is hard to understand as it proclaims itself is by design in both the OT and NT. Therefore, how could a loving God condemn us for misunderstanding what his Bible says and holding a false doctrine or belief? The Christian emphasis on doctrine is a result of all the many warring denominations differentiated only by their doctrines. However, the writing of James tells us it’s not about what doctrines we believe, but about our faith in God and our good works together that we are judged by:
James 2:17-20 (ESV) 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
Hopefully what I present above is clear enough in this short and quick post for the reader to realize doctrinal error or mistaken theological beliefs are not to be feared anywhere near as much as how we act and how we treat others.