Sunday, December 11, 2011

False Teachers and Prophets

Doctrine of Devils
An introduction to False Teachers and Prophets
1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

The above passage is talking about leaders within the church that have fallen because of their lust and now are teachers in their ways of perdition[1].  False teachers which mingle the truth with a lie; Paul warns that in these latter times there will be false teachers. All true Christians know that false teachers exist; and though it may sound harsh, I will go as far as to say that if no (local) false teacher instantly came to mind when I made that statement. Then you are more than likely a prime candidate to be (if you are not already) a sheep that will be slaughter by a false teacher.

Even as a child I was able to discern the con –men of the gospel.  I remember walking down the street on Sunday morning while neighbors turn on their AM radio to the God Father of false teaching Reverend Ike. Reverend Ike was a flashy totally transparent false teacher, that at the height of his popularity boasted a Sunday morning  broadcast of over  of 1770 TV  and radio station across the United States, and a viewership of over 2.5 million.  Known for his gaudy mink coats, and his fleet of 13 Rolls Royce automobiles, Reverend Ike was the first real prosperity preacher of modern time to deal almost exclusively with African Americans. Because of his outspokenness Rev Ike was not well received by many whites, yet many of his heterodoxal statements like "The best thing you can do for the poor is not to be one of them, and Forget about the Pie in the sky (alluding to salvation) get yours today !”; and his most famous statement, “Money is not the root of all evil, it is the lack of money that is the root of all evil” has become the calling card of preachers and hucksters of the prosperity gospel today.  In July of 2009 Reverend Ike dies of complications due to a stroke

 Recognizing False Teachers
One of the biggest mistakes by Christians today is that we add everyone that say they love Jesus to our mist. This includes false converts, like Judas and Demas (John   6:7, 2 Tim 4:10) and false teachers like Hymenaeus and Alexander; (1 Timothy 1:20) But Jesus warns us that not everyone that names of the name of Jesus will be one of his.(Matthew 7:22-23) in that verse he is speaking of false converts. In Matthews 7:15 Jesus warns us against false teachers,  in the book of Titus and also in First and Second Timothy are laced with examples and warning of  false teachers. So the question is not are there false teachers, the question is how do we recognize these false teachers? 
3If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;  4He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-6

 Using the above scripture as a guide line we can say that there are 7 major characteristics of a false teacher, and any one of these characteristics are a likely hood to the other 6. To some degree a flse teacher will have all of these characteristics (though fame and power over people may be exchanged for, or added to money is all cases) with that said let’s address the 7 characteristics of a false teacher.

1.     False teachers advocate a different doctrine besides what Christ advocates.
(V3A false teacher may start off with small insinuations but will grow into full blown misdirection away from the truth which is in Christ Jesus. They may alter the message of the gospel so that it is less offensive, or they may bring question to scripture so that the bible becomes one source for truth rather than the only authority of Truth. Statements like “We all worship the same God” are an immediate red light for me.  ( John 14:6)
2.     False teachers do not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(V3)When confronted about their teaching, false teachers typically refuse to listen to what the Bible has to say. They prefer playing mind games using the intellect, anecdotes, stories, confusion and quotations rather than quoting chapter and verse from the Bible.
3.     False teachers promote a lifestyle of ungodliness due to the errors in their teaching 
(V4) Without exception false teachers have major problems with sin themselves. And it is their problem with sin that is the driving forces behind their incorrect theology. Their hidden agendas or perverted and twisted minds motivate them to use the bible to promote their personal perversions.  This is ultimately important that we understand that all false teachers have a hidden agenda in their teaching. Bar-none.
4.     False teachers are conceited and yet they understand nothing
(V4) False teachers are prideful and conceited for them teaching is a platform to show their intellectual superiority, they thrive on making other feel inferior. Yet when their knowledge of scripture is contested it becomes evidently clear they don’t know as much as they think they do.
5.     False teachers have a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words
(V5) False teachers, like to sire up question that make themselves appear intelligent. This is often done in a humble setting while in truth they seek to create their own platform. In the end the false teacher will cause division in the local body not unity.
6.     False teachers create within the body of Christ envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and destitute of the truth.
(V5)  Friction and strife will especially come from those that are already developing their own agenda, therefore a false teacher will oftentimes  be developing other false teachers after himself (Matthew 7:16-20). Also there will be strife with those that are destitute of the truth, as new coverts, and those not well verse in scripture. (Hosea 4:6) Lack of knowledge may give the false teacher the upper hand, but Paul teaches that we must “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.'' ( 1 Thess 5:21)
7.     False teachers use a form of godliness to advance some selfish agenda for their own advantage. 
(V5)  They believe that they can use religion and people’s spiritual fervor to take advantage of them. Many false teachers can be known simply by the fact that they are fleecing the sheep by taking their money or worse yet, their dignity. The bottom line is that they are not about Jesus Christ and the gospel but about themselves and earthly gain

Ok now that we know how to recognize false teachers what do we do when we encounter one?  How to deal with false teachers  Part 2 Contend for the Faith

Your Brother in Christ
T.Charves FireSpeaks

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[1] Perdition = a state of final spiritual ruin; loss  of the soul; damnation.

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