Watch Out for Those Who Teach God Speaks to Them, Pt 4

September 14, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Sometimes, false teachers are easy to spot, while other times, they're more difficult.

Sometimes, false teachers are easy to spot, while other times, they’re more difficult.

I’m going to finish this short series on people who claim to “hear” from God (as in complete sentences and even conversations). If you haven’t read the first three parts, you can find them here, here, and here. Note that we zeroed in on a specific teaching by one specific individual who claims that God told her His “Bride is paralyzed.” We dealt with why we believe this is impossible, therefore what she claims to have heard from God, could not have been God she heard it from and that means she was either talking to herself or she heard it from Satan.

But whether you agree with my summation and conclusions or not, you would probably agree that many within Christendom today lack discernment. I would certainly go so far as to say that too many true Christians lack discernment and we lack it is because we use emotional virtue to determine truth. We should never rely on how we feel about something to determine truthfulness. God’s truth is never determined by our feelings, but by what He has already revealed in His Word.

With respect to false teachers, I’d like to point out that I believe there are two types. First, there are those who start that way right out of the gate. Their full intention all along has been self-aggrandizement via deception of the masses. They want fame and fortune so as con artists, religion seems a natural choice because people in that arena are often gullible. Certainly, the extravagance by which many so-called Christian leaders live their lives, was completely unknown to Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, and the rest.

Second, the other type of false teacher we run up against is the one who started out great, true, and on fire for the Lord. Their teaching grabbed you and through them, you immersed yourself in His Word. Things seem to line up with God’s truth. Unfortunately, over time, they became careless and started either watering down their original message or began to adopt patterns and practices that more aligned with New Age practices than with Christianity. This has happened to many, many leaders and that should help us to realize that we are all susceptible to error (myself included), and if not careful, can stray from the correct doctrinal path.

Even though there are essentially two different types of false teachers, the Bible is clear about how we should deal with each one. Paul tells us plainly that we should avoid them (cf. 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

When are the “last days”? We’re living in them and so was Paul. He is warning us (as Jesus warned followers in His Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21), that these traits would characterize people toward this end of this age and would become dominant. No one person would necessarily exhibit all of these traits, but they would be prevalent in their demeanor and attitudes. The saddest part is when we see these type of things in those who are leaders within Christendom.

Paul then goes onto offer even more insight into this type of person and how they work to get what they want.

“They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone,” (2 Timothy 3:6-9)

Please note that Paul refers specifically to “teachers” (v. 8) here. These people think they have something to say and they have the ability to sway gullible people who aren’t well-versed in Scripture. They are often fascinating and captivating speakers and writers able to draw people into their web of deceit. What do they gain from this? Money, fame, and eventually, fortune. They are lionized and idolized.

I wonder how a “ministry” that has an operating budget into the million dollar range can actually be free to follow God? Wouldn’t you think you would get to a point where – because of the people that are in that ministry’s employ (with health insurance and other costs) – you would need to de-emphasize certain things in the ministry so that the widest spectrum of people as possible are connecting with you regularly?

This is the largest problem, in my opinion. There is this constant temptation with any huge religious organization to hit the widest spectrum of people so that money continually comes in either through direct sales of merchandise, donations, or both. The pressure to maintain and even grow a “ministry” once it hits a certain level must become all-encompassing in some ways. Is it any wonder why today’s religious corporations are not an accurate reflection of the way things were done in the first century?

There are many articles out there that tell Christians how to determine whether a leader/teacher is presenting a false message. Why do false teachers succeed? For two reasons and two reasons only. First, Christians don’t know their Bibles well enough and that can only happen with continued, proper study over the long run. Second, too many Christians are tossed about by every wind of doctrine because they use their feelings as the final arbiter (since they don’t know the Bible well enough). If it “gels” with their feelings, it is often accepted as truth.

Any good article will tell you the same thing in different ways, but here’s my non-exhaustive list of false teacher characteristics.

  1. Another Gospel – the teacher will present a different gospel altogether, but tries to make it sound like it’s biblical. Though they may speak of “Jesus” often, they almost universally deny Christ’s deity. They will say He is “a” god or even go so far as to say He is divine, but will not give Him His due.
  2. Another Bible – Any group that defers to another book or another set of writings should be suspect. Though they will often say the Bible is their ultimate authority, they will usually go by their own peculiar books and writings as the final authority when things are in question between their writings and the Bible.
  3. Lies for Truth – This one seems entirely obvious, but it isn’t. Too many people are taken for spiritual rides today by unscrupulous leaders who do not care about the people in their audience or “ministry.” This is especially prevalent within the “name it claim it” movement where it is believed that God wants us rich and the only thing that keeps us from that is our unbelief. Too often these lies are presented as truth and “backed up” with hand-picked Scripture verses (usually out-of-context). Unbelief is often stressed by these people.
  4. Reliance on Emotionalism, Signs and Wonders – Today, there is a very strong movement afoot where teachers attempt to draw people in through avenues that are wholly mystical. These “New Age” concepts and tenets have been around for centuries, but are being embraced by one leader after another within Christendom. The push is to draw “near” to God so that you can “hear” His voice. This is part of the “spiritual formation” movement (we’ll deal with this in a multiple-part set of articles soon). If it feels good, we are taught that it is good. This is a concept of secular humanism, not biblical reality.
  5. Hobnobbing with Questionable People – One thing you’ll begin to notice if you have not already, is that many Bible teachers today often get drawn into a larger circle of Bible teachers and pretty soon, it’s as though doctrine doesn’t matter because of the great cross-section of leaders involved. You’ve got this person over here who believes in the Oneness doctrine; the belief that there is One God (true) who appears as God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit at different times but is never all three at the same time (false). That person is seen with other leaders that we thought were fairly doctrinally correct, but for the sake of “unity,” they all appear together at the same conference or in the same DVD.
  6. Basic Characteristics – The following brief list highlights the characteristic of many of today’s false teachers (not exhaustive):
    1. Pride/Arrogance – don’t dare question them or their message because it’s from God – they are self-aggrandizing
    2. Selfish – it seems that many things they do are designed to enhance them, their religious organization, or both
    3. Deceptive – sometimes, it’s difficult to get a straight answer from them. We rarely hear “yes” or “no,” but they too often sound like politicians
    4. Irreverent – they will joke about things in a down-home, country way that should not be joked about under the excuse that God has a “sense of humor”
    5. Destructive – ultimately, these people divide and conquer, they do not bring real, true unity to the fold

Some leaders within Christendom are obviously just bad actors with no good fruit. Others are far more nuanced, intelligent, and seemingly real. This means you need to know your Bible and you must know how to rightly divide it.

In Matthew 4, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. After 40 days/nights, Satan struck. He came to Jesus with temptation and used Scripture (incorrectly). Imagine what might have happened had not Jesus known the Bible. What about us? We always have God the Holy Spirit working within us to help us in our time of need and temptation. When you hear something that sounds great or seems questionable, there is a responsibility to compare it to God’s Word. If you are unsure, then ask someone else whom you trust.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…”
  • Proverbs 1:5 – “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”
  • Proverbs 15:22 – “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.”
  • Proverbs 11:14 – “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

Thanks for sticking with me in this series! We’ll get back to Daniel 11 and we’ll also be starting a short series on the ins and outs of “Spiritual Formation.”

Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

Watch Out for Those Who Teach God Speaks to Them, Pt 3 Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 13


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