Believers in Christ have been called by the Truth. The Father regularly comforts the heart through the Truth of our redemption in Christ. That is the sum and substance of Scripture. He has sent us to proclaim the Truth. “Let Him that has my Word speak my Word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:29). Indeed God the Father does not take kindly to teaching error. “Behold I am against those… who cause my people to err by their lies and by their recklessness” (23:31).
Christians will speak the Truth in love. Love is not haughty. It does not pick a fight. Love has at heart the interest of those to whom the Truth is spen. Love speaks sincerely because it recognizes that error is an affront to God, and is dangerous for the hearer. Love cares!
The proclamation of Truth does not avoid the reality of the Law, and sin that is uncovered by the Law. What is more loveless than to deceive someone into thinking that he does not need the Gospel. The proclamation of Truth emphasizes the Gospel, the good news of the blessings of forgiveness and salvation that God the Father gives us in His unique Son, Jesus Christ, true God and Man. The truth brings us to the cross and comforts us from the cross. Truth cannot abide error, because when truth and error are mixed only error exists.
When walking in the forest we admire the greenery, but we must also point out the poison ivy. Preaching of the Truth is like that. Error so often imitates truth. So preaching involves pointing out those things that are contrary to the Truth. Jesus often warned of the leaven of the Pharisees. The epistles of Paul preach the Truth of God, and expose the error and the errorists. It is not love to do one and not do the other.
This is not popular preaching. A pastor does not like to do it. People do not like to hear it. But on occasion it is necessary. Our Lutheran Confessions make the point. ” Moreover, since for the preservation of pure doctrine and for thorough, permanent, godly unity in the Church it is necessary, not only that the pure, wholesome doctrine be rightly presented, but also that the opponents who teach otherwise be reproved, 1 Timothy 3 (2 Timothy 3:16); Titus 1:9 – for faithful shepherds, as Luther says, should do both, namely feed or nourish the lambs and resist the wolves so that the sheep may flee from strange voices, John 10:12, and may separate the precious from the vile, Jeremiah 15:19″ (Formula of Concord- Thorough Declaration, Of Articles in Controversy. Triglotta, page 857).
From Scripture as well as from our fathers we are taught to speak the truth in love. Such speaking also involves pointing out the error and errorist so that precious lambs of God are not deceived and do not lose eternal life. Some mushrooms are good for eating. Others will kill you. To fail to point out the difference is not love, in the woods or in the church!