by Steve C. Halbrook
Weiland's writings may appeal to some theonomists. He rightfully opposes today's secular humanist approach to civil government—which to one degree or another has infected most of American Christianity. This is indeed an area that needs reformation. He also rightfully points out the anti-Christian nature of the U. S. Constitution; not that we deny that it is has some good procedure law, but it is at the very least dishonoring to Jesus Christ in its neglect of recognizing Him as the highest political authority in the land. (Covenanters pointed out this fatal flaw long ago.)
But, here's the problem: Weiland's promotion of heresies.
While the unsuspecting theonomist who visits Weiland's Mission to Israel site to read an article on biblical civil government finds it safe enough, a careful investigation of the site reveals otherwise. The site is used as a platform to peddle a false gospel of works and race—namely, the soul-damning doctrine of baptismal remission, and a form of, or something similar to, the racist and schismatic "Christian identity" ideology. And, as we show in this article, this racist theology Weiland is so invested in, that he is willing to blaspheme God for it.
Before proceeding, let us be clear: though to some this article may seem to use strong language against Weiland, this is not some shoot-from-the-hip, heresy hunting article that is out to get him. Rather, this is written as a warning about the very serious spiritual dangers of Weiland's teachings. Scripture considers the spreading of heresy an urgent matter. Consider the book of Galatians, where the Apostle Paul, alarmed by the teachings of the Judaizers, wastes no time in pointedly warning the Galatians. And the teachings of Weiland—like the teachings of the Judaizers—are extremely dangerous, as this article shows.
Finally, we must note that this is not the first critique of Weiland from a Reformed theonomist perspective. In the May/June 2012 issue of Chalcedon's Faith for All of Life, Martin Selbrede and Archie Jones penned a critique of Weiland in an article titled "Faithful in Little Things?" While the article mainly takes issue with Weiland's view of the Constitution, Jones also argues that in his book, Weiland seems to be teaching salvation by works. Whether or not Jones took the particular comments he had in mind from Weiland in context, Weiland at the very least makes water baptism a necessary work for salvation (as we show here). Thus we are not the only one to see Weiland as problematic.
|"Of all lies which have dragged millions down to |
hell, I look upon this as being one of the
most atrocious--that in a Protestant Church
there should be found those who swear that
baptism saves the soul."
-- Charles Spurgeon
Ted R. Weiland teaches that water baptism saves
Whether these passages are ignored, explained away, or pitted against other passages, the Bible clearly and unequivocally asserts the following about baptism:
- Baptism is a part of our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus’ given Hebrew name) the Christ.
- Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins.
- Baptism is when the Holy Spirit indwells us.
- Baptism is when we are added to the
the Christ. churchof Yeshua
- Baptism is when we are born from above to walk a new life.
- Baptism is when we put on Yeshua the Christ.
- Baptism is when our hearts are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ.
Like the scribes and Pharisees described in Matthew 23:15, Weiland is very eager to win you over to his false gospel. His site includes an obvious "salvation survey" promoting baptismal remission. And he just can't wait to promote his heresy in Bible Law vs. The United States Constitution—where on the first footnote of the first page, he remarks:
Not everyone claiming to be a Christian has been properly instructed in the Biblical plan of salvation. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41, 22:1-16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:11-13; and 1 Peter 3:21 should be studied to understand what is required to be covered by the blood of Jesus and forgiven of your sins.
The careful student of Scripture can see right through the interpretations Weiland gives to his barrage of prooftexts. Since Scripture teaches justification by faith alone (Romans 3:28, 29; 4:1-12; 5:1; John 3:16; Philippians 3:9, etc.), to the extent that any given passage of Scripture has baptism in view and connects it in some way to salvation (although not all passages raised by baptismal remissionists necessarily have water baptism in view), then Scripture must be either A) speaking of Holy Spirit baptism (the greater baptism, Matt. 3:11 & Acts 10:44-48), or B) water baptism as symbolic of salvation.
Regarding the former,the word baptism in Scripture is never self-defining. It can mean more than one thing. There are at least two other meanings. John 3:11 refers to baptism of the Holy Spirit and baptism with fire. Context, then—as determined by surrounding verses, and Scripture as a whole—must determine the word's meaning. Thus imposing water baptism on every mention of baptism in Scripture from the outset is either due to bias or ignorance. Nicodemus failed to see the word "born" as having more than one meaning, and terribly interpreted Christ's words as thus: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” (John 3:4b).
Regarding the latter (again, water baptism as symbolic of salvation), the Bible often uses symbolic language. Here's a very obvious example: Christ says in John 10 that "I am the door" (v. 9a). Clearly this is not literal, and neither is His language in John 6, “I am the bread of life" (v. 35b)—clearly, Jesus is not bread.
The Lord's Supper is spoken of symbolically of salvation when
Christ says"for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
As we noted, the Bible does not contradict itself. As such, it is easily deducible that Scripture cannot refer to water baptism in a literal saving sense. Scripture very clearly speaks of faith as the alone instrument of justification; once one believes in Christ as Savior, God declares that person righteous and his sins forgiven (Romans 4:1-12). No subsequent religious rite or work is necessary for salvation; thus Scripture goes out of the way to say that Abraham—the exemplar of faith—was saved through faith prior to his circumcision (baptism's predecessor) (Romans 4:10).
(Romans 4 teaches that saints in both testaments are saved through faith alone, apart from works of the law. Since perfect obedience to the law is required for salvation, and since no man can obey the law perfectly, man, to be saved, needs Christ—Who was sinless and obeyed God's law perfectly—as a substitute on his behalf. First, for breaking God's law, man needs Christ's sacrificial death to pay the penalty for all of his sins past, present, and future. Second, for failing to obey God's law perfectly, man needs Christ's perfect obedience imputed to his account. Faith is the sole instrument that results in this great transaction.)
And the Apostle Paul, in Galatians, very adamantly pits the true Gospel against any so-called gospel that adds or takes away from “hearing with faith”: "Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:2b). Weiland's water gospel adds to “hearing with faith” with the requirement of water baptism; it denies that one receives the Spirit by hearing with faith, and instead says one receives the Spirit by water.
(With Weiland, we do oppose the idea that one is saved by "asking Jesus into his heart." Rather, one is saved through believing in the finished, saving work of Christ. These are two different concepts entirely.)
And if you hold to justification by faith alone, know that Weiland is not shy about your need to turn away from a Pharisaical tradition that can't result in salvation. He states:
[P]eople have replaced what the Bible clearly declares about baptism and its relationship to salvation with man-made traditions, much as the Pharisees and Sadducees did during the ministry of Yeshua:
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:8-9)
On his site Mission to Israel, Weiland writes: "We denounce all forms of racism, white supremacy, or any other form of unbiblical elitism, which is essentially nothing more than a form of humanism, or self worship." We are glad that Weiland makes this statement. However, when judged by Scripture, his teachings advocate racism—and therefore the very thing that he condemns.
I would have endorsed outlawing African slavery because both Old and New Testaments generally promote segregation rather than integration, uniculturalism rather than multiculturalism, and racial purity rather than amalgamation.
The more racially mixed and multicultural
becomes, the more religiously pluralistic she becomes, and the more pluralistic she becomes, the more pagan she becomes. America
Before 1965, when immigration quotas favored Europeans,
was predominately Christian. (Why are most Europeans Christian and most non-Europeans non-Christian? Could the answer be found in Hebrews 8:8-9?) The instructions given by Moses in Deuteronomy 7:1-5 are still valid. Nothing has changed. The consequences of interracial and multicultural immigration (regardless the race) and its promotion of integration are just as cogent today as they were in Moses’ day. This is a reality most Americans do not want to face. Such information is usually met with accusations of racism and white supremacy, but the real racists are those whose agenda destroys the distinct God-created races and their cultures through amalgamation. America
The race problem is best solved through segregation. With segregation, there can be no race problem. Integration inevitably leads to amalgamation and ultimate amalgamation is equivalent to genocide.
If for no other reason, the African slave trade that was practiced in early
Americawas wrong because it led to the integration and mixing of peoples whom Yahweh never intended to be integrated and mixed.
Miscegenation [interracial marriage] was forbidden long before man became aware of these statistics. For the Israelites, the command for racial purity is inherent and principally found in Yahweh’s mandate that they remain a distinct and separate people.
Now, in his desire for a white-only nation and in opposing "interracial" marriage, Weiland agrees with the dangerous kinist heresy. Although it seems he may allow for some exceptions to segregation; above he argues that the "Old and New Testaments generally promote segregation," and elsewhere he says that "non-Israelites can be proselytes to the New Covenant just like they could under the Old Covenant." (For Weiland, Israelites are whites, which we explore later.) Whether or not he would ever allow "proselytes" to dwell with whites, we are not sure; but his main emphasis is racial segregation.
Regarding Weiland's statement that most Europeans are Christian, that is simply not the case. Rather, most are apostate secularists. Moreover, if there are not more Christians in non-European countries today, it is possible there could very well be more in the near future. Just consider Christianity's growth in China and Africa. (Also of interest is Kevin Swanson's index of the most and the least evil nations in the world.)
In his appeal to the Old Testament to oppose interracial marriage, Weiland misses the point made by Scripture. The Israelites were not forbidden to interrmarry with foreigners on the basis of skin color, but on the basis of their pagan religions: "You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods" (Deuteronomy 7:3, 4a) (emphasis mine). This principle continues in the New Testament, which restricts marriage on the basis of religion (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)—but nowhere on the basis of race.
Ironically, despite his advocacy of segregation, Weiland in that very chapter (again, Chapter 22 of his Constitution book) cites passages that contradict race-based segregation: Exodus 12:43, 44 (which allows foreign slaves to join the Israelites in taking the Passover); Leviticus 25:44 (which allows the purchase of slaves from other nations [although in light of Exodus 21:16, this would seem to preclude purchasing kidnapped slaves]); Deuteronomy 20:14 (which allows enslavement of war captives); and Deuteronomy 23:15, 16 (which allows fugitive slaves from other nations to "dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him") (emphasis mine).
And, in the subsequent chapter of his book (Chapter 23), Weiland cites Exodus 22:21-24 (which requires just treatment of foreign sojourners) and Deuteronomy 1:16-17 (which requires judges to be impartial to everyone—strangers in the land included).
Weiland then can't say that the "Old and New Testaments generally promote segregation rather than integration," when the aforementioned passages (and others) can hardly be reconciled with racial segregationalism—whether in an absolute sense, or even in a general sense. Note that in none of the aforementioned passages racial exceptions are made; those of any race could sojourn in Israel.
And Weiland would be hard-pressed to find any New Testament passages supporting his claim. Indeed, in Colossians 3:11-16 Paul affirms the lawfulness of fellowship between Christians of different people groups (e.g., Greek, Jew, barbarian, Scythian). In the text he teaches that all Christians—regardless of race—are to be patient with one another, bear with one another, and forgive one another. They are to engage in “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Such matters of interpersonal relationships and corporate worship between those of different people groups are not possible in racial segregation.
|"Men have tried over and over|
again to establish a community
on the basis of blood. Modern
attempts to do so include the
national states, Nazi Germany,
the Arab States, and Israel."
R. J. Rushdoony, on racist
ideas of community that
Moreover, the Great Commission advocates crossing all national borders to share the Gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19a) (emphasis mine).
Also in chapter 22 of his book Bible Law Vs. the United States Constitution, Weiland, lamenting the decline of white Christian Protestantism, writes:
In 1776, approximately 2.5 million people resided in
America. More than 99 percent of that population were white Christian Protestants. The remaining 1 percent was collectively represented by 20,000 Roman Catholics, 3,000 Jews, and some deists. In light of these statistics and America’s present-day demographics (51.3 percent Protestant, 23.9 percent Roman Catholic, 3.3 percent other Christian, 1.7 percent Jewish, 0.7 percent Buddhist, 0.6 percent Muslim, 0.4 percent Hindu, 1.2 percent other religions, and 16.1 percent no religion, it is inescapable that the more non-European immigrants allowed to enter and remain in this country, the less Christian this nation becomes. The more racially mixed and multicultural Americabecomes, the more religiously pluralistic she becomes, and the more pluralistic she becomes, the more pagan she becomes.
Of course, Weiland is wrong, and it is actually he who advocates a false gospel; but even if America remained a mostly "all-white" nation, I'm not so sure we wouldn't have such a problem with heretical groups spawned by whites. Just consider the Campbellites, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, etc. Heresy, apostasy, and idolatry are not respecters of races.
A great irony is that Weiland opposes the so-called moral declension from racial integration in the very book based on the idea that the Constitution promotes, as he puts it, "sedition against Yahweh" (chapter 34 footnote). And yet, no racial integration can be blamed for this. The Constitution was written and approved by whites.
Now, there has been a problem with racist violence in America for some time on both sides (e.g., whites lynching blacks, and blacks attacking whites in the name of Trayvon Martin). Racist violence, however, is not caused by racial coexistence, but by wicked hearts. And these same wicked hearts naturally promote violence on members of their own race as well.
|The first murder ever committed was intraracial;|
and no outside race could be blamed for
influencing Cain's decision to kill his brother
Abel. Rather, it was due to Cain's own wicked
heart (1 John 3:12)
Mass murder has occurred throughout the history of the world—and not just in the context of interracial strife, but intraracial strife as well. When we consider abortion and 20th century communism, the latter seems to have seen more violence than the former. Of course, the first murder ever committed was intraracial; and no outside race could be blamed for influencing Cain's decision to kill his brother Abel. Nor did Abel's "kinship" with Cain stop Cain; Cain's problem was his wicked heart (1 John 3:12). The greatest evil ever committed in the world was the murder of Jesus—where His death was instigated by His own people.
If Weiland is interested in alleviating racial violence, he can start by publicly retracting his racist statements. I don't think he himself approves of racial violence, but his writings fuel the kind of hatred that leads to such violence. Moreover, if Weiland really wants a society with minimal violence, he would not advocate segregation of race, but segregation of religion—namely, an all-Christian nation that rejects non-Christian religions (which naturally promote violence). Since Christianity has adherents from all so-called races—and since many whites reject Christianity—then there is no reason to advocate an all-white society in order to attain societal peace (relatively speaking).
Weiland's White Israelitism
“the Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, and kindred peoples (hereafter identified as Celto-Saxons) [are] today’s genetic Israelites”
"Just as Yahweh promised, He has made the New Covenant with Israelites." [which Weiland calls 'Celto-Saxons']
That said, I don't want to mislead anyone here on this blog or anywhere else. Whereas, I do not hold to the term "Christian Identity" for the reasons I stressed to Angela (I prefer the term "Christian Israel," if a term must be used at all), I do accept Hebrews 8:8-9 at face value--that is, that the New Covenant was made with a remnant of Israelites from the house of Judah and the house of Israel via Christ's blood atoning sacrifice and resurrection from the grave. In other words, no automatic salvation by race or lineage. I also believe that whereas the covenant is specific to Israelites (Romans 9:3-4, Hebrews 8:8-9, etc.), unlike most Identity folk, I also believe that non-Israelites can be proselytes to the New Covenant just like they could under the Old Covenant.But regardless of Weiland's belief that not all whites will be saved, and that some non-whites can be saved (not that Weiland understands the biblical doctrine of salvation), Weiland's theology holds that being non-white drastically reduces one's likelihood of salvation. Thus even if he doesn't realize it, he attributes a kind of racial superiority to whites—mixing racism with the Gospel by making the Good News of the Gospel, in general, good news just for whites. Race replaces grace, as Christ's sacrifice alone is not good enough—white skin is, at least generally, needed for the news to be "good."
I'm not sure exactly where Weiland stands on the biblical doctrine of God's total sovereignty over man's salvation (Romans 9:16, John 6:44, Ephesians 1:11). However, if he denies it, then his teaching amounts to genetic determinism—predestination by whiteness. That is, there is something inherent in the white race that makes one more inclined to believe in Christ and serve Him than those of other races. (Some sharing Weiland's views may try to escape this implication by irrationally holding to God's predestination and man's freewill simultaneously; but this would be equivalent to holding to God's predestination and genetic determinism simultaneously—which still has the stigma of affirming genetic determinism.) The notion of racial genetic determinism where whites are morally superior to other races sounds more like Darwinian evolution than biblical Christianity.
Indeed, as Scripture points out, Christians "are all sons of God, through faith" (Galatians 3:26b)—not by race, race in addition to faith, or race that increases the likelihood of faith. Hence,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Phillippians 3)
If in fact God has predestined for salvation a certain people group in greater numbers than another, we have no way of knowing, since it has not been revealed in Scripture: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). In short, Weiland and those like him de-emphasize grace for race; they have adopted the sense of racial superiority of the Pharisees and Judaziers. But the true Gospel of Jesus Christ knows no racial boundaries. It is to be proclaimed to those of all races (often in the context of interracial "mixing" and immigration)—without favoritism. God determines the "great multitude ... from every nation" at His own good pleasure. His hands are not tied by white supremacists like Weiland, who "devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith" (1 Timothy 1:4b).After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands ... (Revelation 7:9)
|While we are not sure where Weiland stands on|
the biblical doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty
in salvation, if in fact Weiland denies this, then
his white Israelitism amounts to a racial genetic
determinism, which sounds more like Darwinian
evolution than biblical Christianity.
Weiland willing to blaspheme God over his racism
(Warning - Offensive Language)
Weiland is so hardened in his racism that he is willing to blaspheme God for it. In another one of his sites, "Constitution Myth Busters," Weiland astonishingly says:
I also believe it can be proven Biblically, archeologically, and historically that today's Israelites are found in today's Celtic, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and kindred peoples. In fact, I believe I can also Biblically prove that if this is not the case then Yahweh is an impotent liar who cannot fulfill His New Covenant promises. (post date: 7 months prior to this article)
For critiques of racial segregationalism, see
Refuting Kinism by Steve C. Halbrook (
The Kinist Heresy: A Biblical Critique of Racism by Brian Schwertley
Also see this clip by Brian Schwertley, which shows the absurdity of national segregationalism. Nations have been borrowing from other cultures and intermixing for centuries, and so it would be impossible to have—let alone identify—a nation that is culturally and racially pure.
For critiques of Christian Identity and white Israelitism, see
An Open Letter to Those in the Identity Movement by Greg Price
Christian Identity by Watchman Fellowship
(note: we don't know enough about the authors of the Identity articles to endorse their overall theology)
|"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves|
enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own
selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away
disciples after them" (Acts 20:29) -- the Apostle Paul
Weiland is a wolf within the theonomy fold who, while not wielding an enormous influence, is nevertheless very dangerous: "A little leaven leavens the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9). He may be winsome, he may use Christian terminology (at least at times), but don't be fooled—it is all part of the sheep's clothing. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15, 16a). If Weiland's teachings are not the fruit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, then I'm not sure what is.
Just as Nicodemus made a grave theological mistake in confusing the spiritual with the physical (John 3:4), so does Weiland, who clouds the Holy Spirit's work on the inward person with the externals of water baptism and skin color. Weiland's advocacy of salvation by water baptism and his white racism takes the focus off of Christ and puts it on water and white skin. But contrary to Weiland, Scripture says,
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:28, 29)Weiland can't save himself from charges of denying the Gospel simply by saying he believes in salvation by Christ alone. For the Apostle Paul in Galatians, to deny faith as the sole instrument of justification is to deny salvation in Christ alone. And Weiland clearly rejects faith alone for justification by demanding that water baptism is necessary for salvation. Moreover, no one would charge those who hold to justification by faith alone as not believing in salvation by Christ alone; and yet for Weiland, they hold to a false gospel that cannot save. Thus even for Weiland, the instrument of salvation is a crucial matter.
Futhermore, Weiland can't save himself from charges of racism simply by denying that he's a racist. He may simply consider himself a "separatist," and feel no ill will towards other races. However, since loving or hating our neighbors is determined by how we interact with them in terms of God's law (Matthew 22:37-40)—and since Weiland violates God's law in relation to other races by advocating segregation (whether totally or generally)—Weiland hates his non-white neighbors, which is racism.
Of course, Weiland's biggest problem is that he opposes God in about the worst possible way. Weiland has publicly declared war on God by using the internet to aggressively promote dangerous heresies and by voicing his willingness to blaspheme God. I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of a man who so strongly opposes the Awesome, Almighty God.
Weiland advocates a theonomic society—and yet the irony is that a theonomic society would not tolerate Weiland's heresies and blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16; Deuteronomy 13; cf. Zechariah 13: 2, 3). Weiland gets away with peddling his heresies because of the religiously pluralistic, secular society that he opposes. Ultimately Weiland's worldview is just as opposed to a Christian nation as secularism. And, in advocating white superiority (however unintentionally), he agrees with scientific racism, Charles Darwin, the KKK, and Adolph Hitler. (Not that he is the same in every respect; he does not, for instance, advocate the persecution of other races like Adolph Hitler did of the Jews. Nonetheless, his theology of white supremacy has a trajectory in the same direction.)
Theonomists who are willing to ignore Weiland's dangerous doctrines because Weiland ostensibly advocates Christian cultural dominion should seriously reconsider. In Galatians, the Apostle Paul does not endorse working with the Judaizers in order to overturn the paganism of the Roman Empire. Instead, he anathematizes them. It is also self-defeating, in the name of Christian civilization, to align with someone who claims to support it, but who undermines some of its foundational doctrines. And the wolf within the fold (e.g., an author within Christian circles who promotes heresy) is more dangerous than the wolf outside of the fold (e.g., the tyrannical secular state). While the latter may persecute the body, the former leads the soul astray to everlasting torment.
Now, do we wish for Weiland's salvation? Absolutely. We hope and pray that God converts him and uses him mightily for Christ's kingdom. We don't want him to be lost. We hope for his salvation—both for his own sake, and for the sake of those he would otherwise lead astray. Until his salvation, though, we implore Christians to heed Romans 16:17, 18:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.