Jesus exposed the errors of the religious teachers and leaders of his day. The Gospel of Matthew records both John the Baptist and Jesus calling the Pharisees a “generation of vipers” and denouncing their errors (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34). Jesus identified the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees as a leaven that spreads and corrupts (Matthew 16:12), as well as how many of the overtly religious made “the word of God of none effect” through their traditions (Mark 7:13). He excoriated those who do their works to be seen of men (Matthew 6:1-5; Matthew 23:4-7).
Paul denounced false faith and faulty practice, even naming names. He labeled Hymenaeus and Philetus as erring from the truth and falsely teaching about the resurrection (2 Timothy 2:17-18). He called out Demas for loving the world and deserting the faith (2 Timothy 4:10). Alexander the coppersmith withstood the truth. Paul named him and warned Timothy about him (2 Timothy 4:14-15). John pointed out Diotrephes as one who loved preeminence and withstood him (3 John 1:9).
The Lord, through John’s writing, commended the church at Ephesus for judging certain false apostles and determining they were liars (Revelation 2:2). Paul advised the Thessalonians to withdraw from those walking disorderly rather than walking after the tradition they had been taught (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Unrepentant unreformed heretics are rejected (Titus 3:10). When a teacher falsifies the gospel, Paul goes so far to say of such an one, “let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
The censure of false preachers and teachers should not be taken lightly. Too often one proceeds without the facts, or in the spirit of censoriousness Jesus denounced. [ii] The proper response is not to say or do nothing. We should be slow to speak (James 1:19-20), have the facts first (Ephesians 4:29), and then and only then proceed with wisdom and fortitude – as did the early disciples of our Lord. Let us “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) and then say so.