Exposing error is as much a part of preaching the gospel as is presenting the positive precepts of divine truth. This is undeniably proven by the following Scriptures:
Jeremiah 1:10 “See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, to pull down and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” In this verse, are found four terms: three negative (“root out,” “pull down,” “destroy,” “throw down”), and two positive (“build” and “plant”). Two thirds of Jeremiah’s preaching was to be negative, and one third positive.
2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Three terms are used in this passage: two negative (“reprove,” “rebuke”) and one positive (“exhort”). Hence again, two thirds is to be negative.
Those non-combative soldiers of the cross who have more sympathy for the espouser of error than for its exposure had better spend more time taking inventory of their own preaching and less of it trying to determine if the combatant soldier is complying with their judgment in the battle.
The apostle Paul confronted the apostle Peter face to face concerning hypocrisy. “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy:. (“Gal 2:11-13). If we don’t confront sin head on, others will follow that error and cause many to fall away. The church of Christ is the pillar and ground of the truth which must reveal the manifold wisdom of God to the world (1 Tim 3:15 f; Eph 3:10). Therefore, we must prove (1 Thess 5:21), defend (Philip 1:15-18), and contend for the faith (Jude 3).
If we learn anything from the above passages it is that more of our time should be spent in exposing error than in imparting the positive truths of the word. It takes more time to clear new ground of the trees and noxious weeds than it does to plant the seeds once that is done. The same is true in the spiritual realm. It is much harder to undo false teaching than to teach them correctly in the first place.
All my ministry I have had to fight error with a mass of compromising brethren about my neck. They usually say they are behind me, but when I investigate, I find they are so far behind me that nobody can tell whether they are supporting the truth or the error! They usually have a lot to say about how sound they are, but generally I have found them to be more boisterous than sound! They think they have to tell everyone how sound they are, otherwise, they might not find out about it! One would never guess it from their actions. Remember, lightning kills, not thunder! Actions speaks much louder than words.
It is strange how some brethren think they can convince others they are sound when they fellowship error, and fraternize those who espouse it while destructively criticizing those who expose it! They are so afraid of being accused of having a judgmental attitude and being politically correct, that they forget their God given responsibility to reprove (reprimand) and rebuke (scold) as well as exhort (encourage). Christians need to stop trying to be the friend of the world and start being the friend of God. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he who does the will of God abides for ever” (1 Jn 2:15-17). We can only be the friend of God by preaching the unchangeable, uncompromising, and never yielding Word of truth!