I Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:14
Brethren, be not children in understanding.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and for, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): False doctrines are described as contagious winds, that waft poison into the minds of men; a pestilence that walketh in darkness, insinuating its malignant influence in so insensible a manner that the work of death is effected ere the party is aware.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Because Satan knoweth well enough that the life of our souls standeth in God’s pure doctrine, therefore he taketh so much pains as he doth to deprive us of it―And if the devil see that he cannot clean take away true doctrine, and turn it into a lie, he will disguise it by some craft or other, so that it shall be known no more, as if a man should mix some sawdust with meats to make them lose their taste.
ANDREW FULLER: Error seldom or never goes abroad undisguised.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): You remember that the Apostle Paul in writing to Corinthians says, “evil communications corrupt good manners,” I Corinthians 15:33. By which he means this: that if we go astray in our doctrine, eventually our life will go astray as well…That is why doctrine is so vitally important. There are certain people who very ignorantly say, “Ah, I’m not interested in doctrine, I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m saved. I’m a Christian. Nothing else matters.” Well, of course, to say that is to court disaster for this reason: that the New Testament itself is the book that warns against that very danger.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The well-taught man in Christ Jesus stands firm where the uninstructed infant would fall or be carried away. “Be not carried about with every wind of doctrine,” says the apostle, and those are least likely to be so carried who are well established in the truth as it is in Jesus.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: It’s the children who are always tossed about and carried away by every wind of doctrine…Let me show you what I mean. The Apostle Paul’s categorical statement [in Ephesians 5:1] is this: “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Let us consider for a moment light that statement throws upon the very common teaching today about the universal Fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man. Now this is a teaching which, I’m sure, we are all more or less familiar: there is an idea current that God is Father of all, that all therefore are the children of God. Obviously people who hold such ideas don’t merely make statements, they try to substantiate what they’re saying from the Scripture. They say that the Apostle Paul himself in preaching to the Athenians about God said “we are all his offspring,” Acts 17:26-29. They say, “isn’t that enough?” And then they say “don’t we read in Hebrews 12:9, shall we not rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits, and live”―a statement that God is the Father of all spirits, or the spirits of all men. And then we told that in James 1:17, God is described as the Father of lights, which means the same thing, the father of the light that is in every man.
JOSEPH HALL (1574-1656): But what is this I see? Satan himself with a Bible under his arm, and a text in his mouth: “It is written, ” Matthew 4:6…What can be a better act than to speak Scripture? It is a wonder if Satan does a good thing well. He cites Scripture but with mutilation and distortion; it comes out of his mouth maimed and perverted; one piece left, all misapplied. Those that wrest or mangle Scripture for their own purpose, it is easy to see from what school they come…Let no man henceforth marvel to hear heretics or hypocrites quote the Scriptures, when Satan himself has not spared to cite them.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We reply, I say, in this way. That surely nobody can read the Bible without seeing very clearly that there is a great and a central division in mankind taught in the Scriptures. There are two groups. There are those who belong to God, there are those who don’t belong to God; there are God’s people, there are those who are outside His covenant; there are the good and the bad; the saved and the lost; those who go to everlasting bliss, those who go to everlasting perdition. Now I say that if you read your the Bible even superficially, you will be impressed at once that there is this fundamental division that runs right through it. It starts with Abel and Cain, and on it goes―those who were saved in the ark, those who were lost; the family of Noah, and all the rest; Abraham and his descendants, all the other nations…and in the book of Revelation, those who were inside the heavenly city, and those who were outside were the dogs, and were suffering in their perdition.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The fact is, brethren, that the relationship of a son of God belongs only to those who are “predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of the Father’s will.” The more you search the Bible, the more sure will you be that son-ship is the special privilege of the chosen people of God and of none beside.
JOHN CALVIN: He enlightens, by His Spirit, those whom it seemed good to Him to elect before they were born, and by the grace of adoption grafts them into His family.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: “Well,” says someone, “if that is true, how do you explain these statements that are quoted, such as Acts 17 and so on.” And the answer of course is this: that God is Father of all men in the sense that He is the Creator of all men. He is the originator of the whole of mankind in that way; and when we are told that “we are all his offspring,” it means that we are all the result of His work, His activity―we are all the result of His creation. And in that sense that He is the Father of spirits.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): [Young converts] often mistake errors for truth; they retail scraps and shreds of sentiments which they pick up from others, and for want of judgment misapply them.
JOSEPH HALL: How many thousand souls are betrayed by the abuse of that Word whose use is sovereign and saving!
ANDREW FULLER: Beloved, believe not every doctrine that is proposed to you―believe not every doctrine that comes to you in a holy garb.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): There is a spirit of error that conspires against the cause of truth, beguiling by subtlety.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth as a perversion of it. That is why half a lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. Hence when the Father of lies enters the pulpit it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity, rather does he tacitly acknowledge them, and then proceed to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application…He announces that God is spiritual Father of all men, when the Scriptures plainly tell us that we are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:26, and “that as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,” John 1:12.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Satan comes first with a spirit of error.
JOSEPH HALL: No devil is so dangerous as the religious devil.