Anyone who dares buck up against the status quo are often called extremist. This also applies within the church itself. Anyone who stands up for the truth is labeled an extremist. I know this because anyone who adds to or subtracts from God’s Word are not called extremist. They are often called progressive, innovative, but never an extremist. False doctrine does not enter into the church quickly. It slowly enters in, blending with the truth as to disguise itself. Once false doctrine has entered in, it’s almost impossible to extract without tearing down its foundation and starting all over again.
Most teachers of the truth are labeled very early on, and either silenced or run from their midst. Jesus and his disciples were all labeled as a troublemakers and heretics. This is why they were beaten, rebuked, slandered, thrown into prison and eventually killed or banished. There are not too many today who will dare stand up for the truth of God, because they know of the hardships that will follow. In most communities, you can’t even work and support your family if you have the courage to stand up for what is right.
Elijah was one who stood up against the Baal worshipers of Ahab and Jezebel and their 450 false prophets. He was labeled as a troublemaker, but he immediately rejected such a label when he said, “I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father’s house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed Baalim” (1 Kin 18:18). Elijah identified the real troublemakers, and they are not the ones who stand up against error. No! They are the ones who forsake the commandments of God and replace them with the commandments and doctrines of men.
I have heard many so called gospel preachers of the church who dare teach that not all of man’s doctrines or traditions are bad. Really? Jesus did not agree with man’s doctrines. He said, “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt 15:7-9). The apostle Paul did not agree with man’s doctrines. He said, “Therefore, brethren, stand firm and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle ” (2 Thess 2:15). And again he said, “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (2 Thess 3:6).
Today, the real extremist, the real troublemakers are those who reject in part or in whole the doctrine of Christ and his apostles and teach for doctrine the commandments and doctrines of men. Man has no power to make any day holy. Man has no power to make any new commandment. Man has no power to make their traditions to be equal with God’s traditions. Today, anyone who speaks where the bible speaks and are silent where the bible is silent are labeled as a hypocrite or what they call a legalist. Truly, the legalists and hypocrites, as Jesus said, are they which teach for doctrine the commandments of men.
The commandments of Jesus and his apostles are few and easy to perform. They are as follows: Obey the gospel of Christ by Hearing the gospel, (Rom 10:17 f; 1 Cor 15:1-4) believing in your heart Jesus is the Christ, (Jn 8:24) confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ, (Mt 10:32) repenting of your sins, (Lk 13:3) and washing away your sins by baptism (Acts 22:16). Secondly, Christians must worship God in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:23,24). Early day Christians worshiped each Sunday to partake of the Lord’s supper and to give of their means (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor 16:1-3). They heard the Word by the means of preaching and such preaching was based upon the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (Acts 20:7 ff; 2 Tim 4:2-5; Acts 2:42; 2 Jn 9). They sang and made melody in their hearts to the Lord (Eph 5:19). They prayed (2 Tim 2:8). They studied (2 Tim 2:15). Faithful Christian men were their preachers and teachers and leaders (2 Tim 2:2 ff;1 Tim 3:1-13). Christian women remained silent in the churches (1 Cor 14:33-40). Aged Christians women outside of the assembly taught younger Christian women to love and obey their husband, love their children, be chaste keepers at home, bear children, and to obey their husband (Tit 2:3-5 f; 1 Tim 2:15). Thirdly, Christians are to be good and moral. They are to obey the laws of the land (Rom 13:1-7). They are to honor the king (1 Pet 2:17). They are to reject the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21). They are commanded to love their enemy, their neighbor, and especially fellow brethren (Mt 5:43-48 ff; Gal 5:14; Jn 13:34). Lastly, all Christians must endure trials and persecutions for the cause of Christ, and remain faithful unto the end (2 Tim 3:12 ff Jam 1:12; Rev 2:10). If their be any other doctrines other than these it is summed up in this, to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, for this is the greatest commandment (Mt 22:36-38). We love God when we keep his commandments (Jn 14:15)!
Anyone who teaches any other doctrine than these are truly the extremists, the heretics, the hypocrite or legalist, the real troublemakers!