Thursday, April 11, 2019

Seminary Question: How Do We Publicly Challenge False Prophets Like David Owuor?

How Do We Publicly Challenge False Prophets Like David Owuor?

April 11, 2019

During our Tuesday class this week a particular question was raised about how we as pastors should address or confront false teachers and teaching, such as is carried out by David Owuor. In addition to the discussion we had in class I would like to offer this from Dr. Martin Luther’s Lectures on Galatians in 1535 (Luther’s Works American Edition, Volume 26: pages 17-18).

In his comments on verse 1, chapter 1 of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians Luther discusses Paul’s defense of his own call. Luther stated:

“God calls us in two ways, either by means or without means. Today He calls all of us into the ministry of the Word by a mediated call, that is, one that comes through means, namely, through man. But the apostles were called immediately by Christ Himself, as the prophets in the Old Testament had been called by God Himself. Afterwards the apostles called their disciples, as Paul called Timothy, Titus, etc. These men called bishops, as in Titus 1:5ff.; and the bishops called their successors down to our own time, and so on to the end of the world. This is a mediated calling, since it is done by man. Nonetheless, it is divine. 
“Thus when someone is called by a prince or a magistrate or me, he has his calling through man. Since the time of the apostles this has been the usual method of calling in the world. It should not be changed; it should be exalted, on account of the sectarians, who despise it and lay claim to another calling, by which they say that the Spirit drives them to teach. But they are liars and impostors, for they are being driven by a spirit who is not good but evil. It is not lawful for me to forsake my assigned station as a preacher, to go to another city where I have no call, and preach there. (As a doctor of divinity, of course, I could preach throughout the papacy, provided that they let me.) I have no right to do this even if I hear that false doctrine is being taught and that souls are being seduced and condemned which I could rescue from error and condemnation by my sound doctrine. But I should commit the matter to God, who in His own time will find the opportunity to call ministers lawfully and to give the Word. For He is the Lord of the harvest who will send laborers into His harvest; our task is to pray (Matt. 9:38). 
“Therefore we should not intrude into someone else’s harvest, as the devil does through his sectarians. With ardent zeal they claim to be saddened that men are being so miserably led astray, and to want to teach them the truth and rescue them from the devil’s clutches. Therefore even when a man seeks, with pious zeal and good intentions, to rescue with his sound doctrine those who have been led astray into error, this is still a bad example, which gives ungodly teachers an excuse to intrude themselves, after which Satan himself occupies the see. This example does a great deal of damage. 
“But when the prince or some other magistrate calls me, then with firm confidence, I can boast against the devil and the enemies of the Gospel that I have been called by the command of God through the voice of a man; for the command of God comes through the mouth of the prince, and this is a genuine call. Therefore we, too, have been called by divine authority — not by Christ immediately, as the apostles were, but ‘through man.’”

Thus far Luther. What Luther stated is consistent with the Augsburg Confession of 1530:
Article XIV: Of Ecclesiastical Order.
Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called. 

The official public mechanisms have adapted to different regions and different times. Nonetheless, one should be confident in one’s own call by the external mediated call of Christ through His congregation. And, one should abide within the authority of that call.

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