I’ve had more than one person make the following argument and at the time, I assumed they were right. However, upon further reflection and understanding of Scripture, I no longer agree with them.
“X group ultimately failed and is no longer because they had something fundamentally wrong.”
They then conclude that we should never look to such groups for anything because of said failure.
My answer now:
Besides the logical leaps exhibited, there is the following . . .
It only takes the way-wardness of sinful men’s hearts to cause a particular church, denomination, etc. to “fall apart” or “fail” as, in their rebellion, they turn from God to other philosophies. It does not mean the original way of life of a group were originally or essentially wrong to create the failure. While it could be the case, it is assumptive to say so when there are other sources of failure to consider.
You’ll only be able to understand where the true failure lay after you have actually studied said group.
What’s more, some groups never actually died; under a changing environment and splits in the group, they chose to change their name and people came to see them as distinct or something new. Never mind that they were merely the original group under a different title.
In the end, the above sort of comment or sentiment is hasty and over-simplifies. Most I hear from are simply copying what they have heard or taught by others without having analyzed it for themselves. If you hear such things, ask them to give specific reasons for why they think it. You will quickly discover whether they have any depth of knowledge to speak of.
What do you think? Comment below to add to the discussion.