Question:

There is a young man that I go to church with who tries to teach me that Calvinism is true and that you can't lose your salvation. I used to believe what he teaches, but I stopped believing it. He even laughs when talking about people being prepared for destruction or God's wrath being poured out on people, almost in a sadistic way, and I find it very offensive since my entire family are unbelievers and I still care about them. We go to a church of Christ and I think the other members know that he believes these things, but they just want to teach him that it's not true. However, I don't think they know that he doesn't seem to be budging and tells me these things when they're not around.

I find it difficult and hard to refute some of his arguments, but his attitude toward those who won't be saved really makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes I think he's going to the church just to try to teach me or others, but that may not be completely true. I can tell he feels that there are things that can be learned at this church, and he feels it's important to spend time around believers.

Is this something that I should tell the pastor about? I feel like just leaving and honestly don't like spending time around him because of what he talks about. I thought that God was just testing me, but after I hung out with him last night I'm starting to feel that I should run in the opposite direction.


Answer:

Yes, you should let the elders and preachers know that this young man is teaching things that are not true behind their backs. Also let them know that he makes you very uncomfortable. Leaving a church because there is someone teaching false doctrine there doesn't solve the problem. Imagine if everyone did that. Soon there would be no one left but the false teacher.

False teaching must be confronted. The church at Pergamum was scolded because they tolerated false teachers in their midst (Revelation 2:12-17). Don't take this as saying that if someone disagrees with you that they have to be tossed out. But if you have someone who isn't willing to learn what God has to say on a subject and who encourages people to believe doctrines that are not found in the Bible, then he needs to be talked to, and the elders and preachers are the best people to carry it out. "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting" (Romans 16:17-18).

When dealing with a false doctrine, remember that you don't have to be able answer every single argument (though it would be nice to be able to do so). If I can prove 8 out of 10 of his arguments are wrong, then overall he is wrong. If you would like to learn why one of his arguments are wrong that you can't answer, then please ask and I'll try to find you an answer.

Meanwhile, you can tell the young man that you are not interested in what he is teaching and that you find his disrespect for the lost to be wrong, so you won't be hanging out with him. His disrespect violates the example of Paul, who said, "I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen" (Romans 9:1-5). He also doesn't imitate Jesus. "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:36-38). It is necessary to have a love for lost souls so that we are motivated to reach out to them.

Thank you, Jeff, for the response. I think I will tell someone about it, but I think I will also voice my concerns to him personally when the time comes because he is sure to mention these things again. I have told him I don't believe most of the things he suggests and have shared why I believe so.