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CHURCH TRUTHS QUESTION 16
1 Corinthians 11:19 says “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” Does this mean that God will place false teachers in the midst of the Church so as to reveal who the TRUE Church is?
The word “heresies” here is in reference to the sects [or sections] of the believers at Corinth, as clearly noted in 1 Corinthians 1:12; “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” And so to
To answer the question one must recognize the problems which existed in the church at Corinth; (1) There was fornication among them, some were even “puffed up” about it (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1-2), ( 2) They were going to law one against another, and that before unbelievers (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8), (3) There were marital problems (cf. 1 Corinthians 7), (4) Idolatry (cf. 1 Corinthians 8, 10), (5) Disorder regarding headship (cf. 1 Corinthians 11), (6) Drunkenness at the Lord’s Supper (cf. 1 Corinthians 11), (7) Misuse of spiritual gifts (cf. 1 Corinthians 12, 14), (8) False doctrine about resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15).There were other problems as well, but this will suffice to make the point.
Carnality of this extent will cause division in any church. Some will agree on some things, while others will disagree. And in Corinth this led to parties or sects being formed among the believers. All of this was a challenge to those who were true to the word of God, who were against all the various sins being committed, but not against the people themselves. So, in context, the verse referred to in the question above means that with such a variety of problems there must be divisions among them, so that the approved among them could recognize and correct these sins by teaching and practicing what was right.
It was the carnal people in the church which produced the “heresies” in Corinth. God did not put them there. However God then used these heresies to exercise those who were right with the Lord to manifest themselves in speaking against these sins. This has always been true throughout the Bible. In the midst of Israel’s sins God raised up an Isaiah, a Jeremiah, etc. to manifest the truth and to oppose evil, and the same is much needed in our day where the Christian standard is no better than that of the world, and apostasy is abounding among the churches.
To the unsaved reader I say, you do not need a church to be saved, but you do need Christ. It is not enough to believe about Him, you must come to Him as a sinner and trust Him completely as Saviour and Lord.. He says, “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Will you come?
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated January 23rd, 2014 by Sandra Felix