Dear False Teacher: The Puritan Thomas Brooks Would Like a Word with You
Dear Mr. False Teacher,
Permit me to write boldly to you. You have repeated your shallow shibboleths in sermons, blogs, and conferences, and you have tried very hard to pretend that secular society is a neutral playground, a marketplace of ideas where Christianity is welcome to flourish.
You punt for nuance every time and have made every clear teaching of the law and gospel a grey area of ambiguity.
You have sought the middle road on every issue: gay marriage, transgender normalization, Black Lives Matter, and abortion.
You always seek the third way.
But it’s getting harder for you to persuade your flock because some of them see that a raging spiritual war has washed out the middle road and the third way.
I believe that you are at a crossroads.
So let me put it straight: if you are a true Christian who has fallen into some bad theology, I’m throwing you a rope. Why not grab it?
Your rhetorical strategy was to yield the moral language to the left--using transgender pronouns, normalizing all things LGBTQ+, and generally asking, “Did God Really Say?” anytime biblical clarity came with a cost. Maybe you tell yourself that you mean well. Perhaps you truly believe your innovations are better than God’s word because you fancy yourself more merciful than God. You and your friends redefined the biblical concepts once foundational to all Christians, like being born again, forsaking sin, and finding liberty in Christ.
By redefining biblical words through secular definitions, you almost persuaded yourself and others that:
- Being “born again” meant coming to grips with your personal truth.
- “Forsaking sin” meant not offending unbelievers with God’s word.
- “Finding liberty in Christ” meant doing whatever your feelings dictate.
Believe me. I understand your dilemma. Let’s not forget that I once promoted garbage ideas, such as “pronoun hospitality,” and garbage aphorisms, such as “homosexuality is a sin, but so too is homophobia.” I repent before God and men. Christians “repent of their particular sins particularly,” as the Westminster Confession of Faith XV.V teaches. As God’s Word says, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7-9).
Perhaps you think I am exaggerating the problem?
Did you miss the federal government program that puts LGBTQ+ in all government schools as part of an anti-bullying mandate? But instead of warning your flock of danger, you told them that “Love is Love,” therefore, the Christian’s responsibility in the government schools is “Love, Don’t Leave.” (Way to go using an aphorism instead of the Bible. It’s catchier; you can say it around unbelievers without offending them, and you won’t risk bringing God into the equation.)
Did you miss that after the State of Tennessee passed a law protecting minors from self-mutilation under the Frankensteinian umbrella of “gender-affirming surgery,” the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice leveled a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee? Did you catch that? My friend Andrew Branch put it best: “It’s official: A 14th Amendment claim by the federal government over castrating minors.”
And although by now you are likely “feeling triggered” --as your peer group likes to call it--I suggest you man up, Mr. False Teacher, because Mr. Thomas Brooks would like to have a word with you.
In Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (1652)--a book that every Christian should read, especially those in the dangerous predicament of having compromised biblical doctrine for pluralistic nonsense—Thomas Brooks provides the medicine for what ails broad evangelicalism.
According to Brooks, knowing a wolf by his characteristics is needed to kick him to the curb, so he provides seven.
1). False teachers are men-pleasers. They preach to “please the ear,” and not to “profit the heart” (Isaiah 30:10); they “handle holy things rather with wit and dalliance than with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-undoers…[they] skin over the wound, but never heal it…. Not bitter, but flattering words do the mischief.”
- False teachers use therapeutic language to describe the transgression of sin. They see themselves and others downstream from Genesis 3 as victims needing sympathy, not sinners needing a savior.
2). “False teachers are notable in casting dirt, scorn, and reproach upon the persons, names, and credits of Christ’s most faithful ambassadors.”
- They claim their place among conservative Christians but write elegant columns in well-heeled secular journals that throw biblical truth and the Christians who proclaim it under the bus of pluralism.
3). “False teachers are venters of the devices and visions of their own heads and hearts.”
- They lie about what the Bible actually says and then quote from their lies as though the Bible comports with their deception. Take, for example, “gay Christian” Matthew Vines, who so outrageously twists Scripture as to assert, “To affirm same-sex relationships would not change the Bible’s core truths about sin, repentance, and redemption. In fact, given that same-sex orientation is consistent with God’s image, affirming those relationships is the only way to defend those truths.” Reminiscent of Jeremiah 14:14, “And the Lord said to me, the prophets are prophesying lies in my name.”
4). “False teachers easily pass over the great and weighty things both of law and gospel and stand most upon those things that are of the least moment [of the least importance].”
- Matthew Vines says, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have inestimable dignity and worth. So how could the suffering that they endure when they are not affirmed by their families and churches express God’s intentions toward his creation?” The tremendous and weighty matter of sinning against a holy God is of no consideration to Vines. What matters is that we must “affirm” all sin to avoid hurting feelings. Hellfire is a small matter to Vines; hurt feelings are colossal.
5). “False teachers cover and color their dangerous principles and soul-impostures with very fair speeches and plausible pretenses, with high notions and golden expressions.”
- The mantra of the gay rights movement in defense of gay marriage was Love Is Love. But love only has the integrity of its object. Loving sin is satanic; Satan and his minions want you to love it with idolatrous confidence.
6). “False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions, not better them in their [Christian walk].”
- James Brownson, in Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships, writes, “The church is faced with gay and lesbian Christians who exhibit many gifts and fruits of the Spirit and who seek to live in deep obedience to Christ. Many of these gay and lesbian Christians seek not to suppress their sexual orientation but rather to sanctify it.” Mr. Brownson wants to persuade you that sin can be sanctified and that you can live in “deep obedience to Christ” while trampling on his blood. Brownson explains that he changed his position on the Bible when his son came out as gay, and his book intends to work the same wiles on you. False teachers want you to forget that the sin of homosexuality is rebellion against the creation ordinance (which is the same sin leveled by letters of the alphabet soup, LGBTQ). Rebellion against God’s created order, which he calls good, isn’t erased because the person committing this sin is someone you love.
7). “False teachers make merchandise of their followers…. they eye your goods more than your good.”
- False teachers keep up appearances, especially on social media. They encourage shows of solidarity around causes, not Christ. If your pastor tried to convince you that Christian unity required marching with Black Lives Matter, you have a problem. Atheistic social justice programs cannot serve Christ or His Church. They deny both law and gospel simultaneously. Instead, the Bible witnesses that peace comes from God, from above, not from man: “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes” (Psalm 133:1-2).
If you read this list and see your pastor in it, flee. Sheep can’t redeem wolves. Perhaps you tell me you want to stay and be a “soft presence”? Here’s a News Flash: You carry water for the other team by being a “soft presence” here in Sodom.
Dear False Teacher, I want you to know that the gig is up.
Rosaria Butterfield, a former professor of English and Women’s Studies at Syracuse University, is married to Kent Butterfield, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina. Rosaria is the author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Crown and Covenant Publications, 2012), Openness Unhindered (Crown and Covenant Publications, 2015), The Gospel Comes with a Housekey (Crossway, 2018), and Five Lies of our Anti-Christian Age (Crossway, forthcoming in September 2023).
 See “Executive Order of Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals,” https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/06/15...
 Kimberlee Kruesi, “US Sues Tennessee Over ban on Care for Transgender Youth,” April 26, 2023, AP News. https://apnews.com/article/gender-affirming-care-tennessee-ban-817981c7d...
 Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1652, reprint 2019: 260-264.
 Wes Hill’s Washed and Waiting (Michigan: Zondervan), 2010, replaces biblical repentance with overly- emotive self-pity. The implication is that homosexual desires make one a sufferer, not a sinner.
 David French, “Pluralism has Life Left in it Yet: The Respect for Marriage Act, and the Harmony Between Religious Liberty and LGBTQ Rights,” The Atlantic, November 18, 2022. https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/the-third-rail/6377fb0dce44df0038de4...
 Matthew Vines, God and The Gay Christian: The Biblical case in Support of Same Sex Relationships. New York: Convergent Books, 2014: 166.
 Vines, 166.
 James V. Brownson, Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013: 11.