What makes a false teacher?( Below are points taken from Galatians 5:7-12 commentary by InterVarsity Press. )
- false teachers distract Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel
- false teachers replace the call of God with their own deceptive persuasiveness
- false teachers gain control over the whole church
- false teachers cause confusion and discouragement
- false teachers spread false reports about spiritual leaders
How often have we accused a brother of being a false teacher. When in a reality they may have misinterpreted a teaching or they were taught a teaching incorrectly. We do need to be careful who we are accusing to be a false teacher or not.
Recently I have seen those close to me accuse others of being false teachers. After studying what exactly these people said, I have come to conclude that the “supposed” false teacher was teaching a topic incorrectly. Because everything else they preached was sound.
Even though it was sound, they were still teaching one or two things incorrectly. To be honest, that will put me on guard. How am I to know if their future teachings will be correct or not? I once had about half of my family get wrapped up in a teaching that started out sound then turned cultist. So, I know very well about this particular thing. I am always cautious now. That is why we need to be alert and know Gods word for ourselves.
How many teachers of Gods word have taught something and led a person to a sinners hell because they taught incorrectly? That is why scripture holds a teacher at a higher accountability.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body” James 3:1-2
We are all in a learning process. Even the greatest of spiritual leaders still struggle at times. And that is not blasphemous to say. After all NO ONE is perfect.
I know some have issues with prosperity gospel and spiritual gifts teachings. Two big topics that many find to be false teachings and those who teach them are considered by to be “False teachers”. But, perhaps they have misinterpreted scripture? Those particular teachings have nothing to do with a persons salvation. Or how to get to heaven. Yet, so many call those teachers heretics and blasphemers, etc. for teaching these things. (well, in my opinion, it is blasphemous if you deny the work of the Holy Spirit..but another blog for that..sorry)
We have to see what else they are teaching. Does it line up with scripture? Are they teaching Jesus crucified, died and resurrected for our sins? That Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation? That is what Paul taught,
“For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. ” 2 Corinthians 11:4
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9
In today’s age, it is very easy to google anything. Knowledge is so accessible. So no one should ever say “i don’t know”. Literally everything is at our fingertips. No excuse. (providing you don’t live in a third world country or a country that controls information and or internet) So if you do not understand a teaching..google it, or ask a godly person(pastor, professor, etc)
Friends, the truth is if we study Gods word for ourselves, like we should, we will not be easily swayed. If we seek God and ask him for clarity on a passage or story or what He(GOD) meant…guess what? He will give you clarity! We will know the truth. We will be able to correct that brother in his misinterpretation of scripture.
If we are walking in the Spirit, and/or we are a leader/teacher, then we will not have problems with teaching sound doctrine/theology.
One last thing…
“ 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. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[f] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Romans 16:17-20