Question: I don’t see how anyone can spend his time reading and screening all the books that Christians may read. As a steady diet it would be too disquieting for my soul. . . . I don’t know how far one is obligated to explain what the Word means to those who are in error. . . . In my own experience, nothing anyone could tell me would have made any difference until God himself opened my heart.
Response: We don’t spend all or even a large percentage of our time trying to screen everything being printed or to track down every heresy rearing its head in the church. Our work would be impossible were it not for the many “Bereans” around the world who act as our eyes and ears and pass along their concerns and documentation.
As for one’s obligation to point out error and to persuade others of the truth, most of the New Testament and much of the Old (certainly the major and minor prophets and the epistles) was written for that very purpose. Paul corrected Peter publicly, named those who were leading others astray, and continually combatted error in his epistles. We must do the same if we are to obey God’s Word and “earnestly contend for the faith once [for all] delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Paul said that the Bible was given for “doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness: (2 Tm 3:16) and he exhorted Timothy to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine” (4:2).
Christ himself set the example we must follow. He was gentle with those who had been deceived, but sternly rebuked the rabbis who had perverted God’s Word by false teaching, and He did so publicly. As for the unsaved, Paul disputed daily in the synagogues and in the marketplace (Acts:17:17), doing all he could to “persuade men” (2 Cor:5:11). Yes, only the Holy Spirit can convict and convert the soul, but He is pleased to use us as His instruments. What a responsibility and privilege we have!