What About Philippians 1:15-18 As it Relates to "Tricky Teachers"?
On the last week of our "Tricky Teachers" Sermon Series we opened it up to the congregation for Q&A. We ended up spending almost all of our time together just talking with one another. Asking questions to each other and clarifying difficult passages. What a privilege to be a part of a Church where our questions can be asked!
One question that was asked which required further work on my part before I could answer was this:
How should Philippians 1:15-18 affect our response to false teachers?
Philippians 1:15-18 - "Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice." (ESV)
At first glance it seems like Scripture might be saying that even if people preach a false doctrine, Christ can still be glorified and we should still rejoice. Does this mean that false doctrine doesn't matter? Is this contradicting other passages of Scripture we talked about throughout the Sermon Series? Etc. You can see how this is such a good question! I couldn't wait to do some research and find out. I didn't have a chance until today to put that research all together into a sort of answer.
In the end, I don't believe Philippians 1:15-18 contradicts other passages in Scripture. I believe the message of Philippians 1:15-18 is that it is more important for the Gospel to advance than for the Apostle Paul's popularity to increase. In this passage Paul is consoling the Philippian Church, not excusing false teachers. To see my short answer (2 paragraphs) or my long answer (4 pages), you can read my paper on google docs here:
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