Bookmark and Share print

Forbid Them Not
April 7, 1997
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143,
fbns@wayoflife.org
MARK 9:38-40 - "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part."

LUKE 9:49-50 - "And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us."

These passages are frequently abused by those who promote ecumenical fellowship and unity. When a preacher exposes the compromise and error of some Christian leader or movement, they protest that this is not God’s will and they cite these verses as evidence. They say, “Don’t you know that Christ said you should not forbid another professing Christian who is doing works in His name.”

We know that this is a misuse of Scripture because the Bible does not contradict itself. If the Lord Jesus Christ was saying in these passages that it is wrong to judge and expose error, He would be contradicting His own Word. Many other Scriptures describe the preacher’s responsibility to judge doctrine and to warn publicly of error and compromise. See, for example, Matthew 7:15; 16:6-12; 24:4,5; Romans 16:17; 1 Cor. 14:29; Galatians 1:8,9; Philippians 3:2; Colossians 2:8; 2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:1-6; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; Titus 1:9-11; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 8-11; Jude 3; Revelation 2:6, 14, 15.

We know, therefore, that whatever the Lord Jesus Christ is saying in the aforementioned passages, He is
not saying that it is wrong to mark and expose the error and compromise of Christian leaders.

In truth Christ was forbidding the disciples to exercise ecclesiastical control over other men who claim to follow Him. He was warning against that natural impulse to control others. He was not saying that we cannot
reprove another Christian; He was saying that we cannot forbid another Christian. These are completely different things.

The apostles had great authority to establish the first churches and to complete the canon of Scripture, but they did not have unlimited authority. They were not popes. Their objective was not to establish the kingdom of God by force. They could not bear the sword against those who refused to follow them. They could not exercise physical force against those they considered their enemies. They could not imprison them or beat them or confiscate their property or kill them or otherwise seek to “forbid” them to preach.

The Roman Catholic Church ignored this warning and claimed authority over all Christians. Rome attempted to forbid all men to serve Christ unless they served Him after the Roman Catholic fashion.

The preacher that exposes error is not trying to forbid other men to preach the gospel or to serve Christ. He is not exercising authority over anyone or persecuting anyone. He is merely doing what the Word of God requires; he is measuring men and movements by the Scripture.

When I warn of dangers I see in Billy Graham’s ecumenical crusades, for example, and I warn about how he has turned converts over to the Roman Catholic Church, I am not forbidding him to preach the gospel nor am I trying to exercise any type of authority over him. I can praise the Lord for every soul that is genuinely saved through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade or any other movement. I do not try to stop them with force or governmental authority or human deception. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

This does not mean, though, that I am going to ignore error. I must reprove heresy and compromise and earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and to do so is not contrary to what Christ forbade.


copyright 2013, Way of Life Literature

- Receive these reports by email
- "About" David Cloud
- www.wayoflife.org

______________________

Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family, but they cannot be posted to web sites. You are also welcome to use excerpts from the articles in your writings, in sermons, in church bulletins, etc. All we ask is that you give proper credit. Things we do not want copied and distributed freely are items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18).

Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.

Offering: We take up a quarterly offering to fund this ministry, and those who use the materials are expected to participate (Galatians 6:6) if they can. We do not solicit funds from those who do not agree with our preaching and who are not helped by these publications. We seek offerings only from those who are helped. OFFERINGS can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see: www.wayoflife.org/about/makeanoffering.html.