Should You Wait To Deal With Error?
Volume IX ~ Issue XLIX ~ August 30th, 2009
By: Brian A. Yeager
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We all remember back in June when Steve Stegall brought up some erring points relative to the perfection of Job and his knowledge in class. We also all remember reading his email wherein he used Mary Ann as his scapegoat saying she was upset with my teaching on the subject that day. In that email, Steve said: “Wisdom, would have been better to let time go by for say a week and with your haste last Sunday.” Steve is not alone in his mindset that error should not be dealt with immediately. I have heard similar comments from apostates many times. People in error do not want their errors exposed. They become angry when such occurs (John 3:19-21). While Steve has some problem mentally and really cannot express his thoughts clearly, others that say similar things do have their full faculties. The “wait to deal with error” mindset is popular.

We live in a time wherein popular preachers teach the concept of “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”. The idea behind this doctrine is not to teach anything that may be perceived as negative. Bible students who are sincere realize that all truth will offend someone. Putting off dealing with sin is just another mindset of the same basic concept of eliminating negative preaching. If we buy into this mindset, we’d find ways to steer clear of any subject that may offend or upset anyone.

The word of God is sharp and it cuts deep (Hebrews 4:12). For people to truly be converted, the heart has to be pricked (Acts 2:37-41). Of course, the pricking of the heart does not always mean there will be a conversion. When Stephen preached and accused the Jews of being stubborn with uncircumcised hearts and ears (Acts 7:51), those individuals were cut to their hearts (Acts 7:54). Instead of being converted, they stoned Stephen to death (Acts 7:55-60). In a class several years ago, a woman named Barbara Davidson said Stephen should not have used such harsh words to stir up the people like that. Ignorance is behind her statement. It was the Holy Ghost speaking through Stephen (Acts 6:5). Like Stephen, we should teach the truth instantly!

Be Instant Or Wait Till Later?

Part of the reason we have the inspired word of God is for correction (II Timothy 3:16). Without God’s inspired text, man is not fully equipped to be perfect (II Timothy 3:17). In the context upon which we find these truths, the inspired Apostle Paul instructs Timothy the preacher saying this:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (II Timothy 4:1-5). When we hold off from teaching the truth, we fail in the instructions above. As a preacher of the Gospel of Christ, I am expected by the Lord to be capable of teaching what is needed INSTANTLY. I am expected by the Lord to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. I am expected by the Lord to make full proof of my ministry. If I delay in teaching the truth, I am not wise because I would not be doing the will of the Lord (Ephesians 5:17).

I have often wondered how those who like to delay dealing with sin explain away James 4:13-14. I have asked several people this question, but never have gotten an answer. Why would the people of God count on tomorrow to teach people when we know tomorrow is not promised (Proverbs 27:1)? While we have the commands through Paul and the simple fact that tomorrow is not promised showing us not to delay in teaching and correcting error, we also have other instructions to consider.

Consider These Scriptures When Needing To Correct The Erring

“They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them… Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand… Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them… For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth… But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine… These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee… Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Proverbs 28:4, Ezekiel 3:17-18, Ephesians 5:10-11, Titus 1:10-14, Titus 2:1, Titus 2:15, and Jude 3-4).


This is one of those articles that could go on and on. There are many points to consider of which we have only began to dig into. However, for those who are truth seekers, any one of the points above should be enough to show us we need to deal with sin immediately. Today is always the right time to teach the truth and help convert the lost (II Corinthians 6:2). Whether babes in Christ or older ones, sin must be dealt with immediately (Acts 8:13-22 and I Timothy 5:17-20). We don’t want the blood of others on us (Acts 20:26-27).