8 Symptoms of False Doctrine
Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.
1. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their “earnestness” makes many think they must be right.
2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.
3. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.
4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.
5. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.
6. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.
7. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
8. There is a wide-spread “gullibility” among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man.
All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be carried away!”
~ J.C. Ryle
Taken from : Warnings to the Churches, “Divers and Strange Doctrines”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1967], 76, 77.
Note: Apart from what is given above by J.C. Ryle, I can say that in context of the times we live in, the love of money can also cause preachers to willingly stop preaching true doctrines and instead preach false doctrines, so they are overloaded with dollars, pesos and yens in return!
Beware of celebrity pastors
Certain preachers do more harm than good. They seek to gain more church attenders to their church by offering illegal things. And by this I mean preaching a gospel which is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I remember an instance of a certain friend of mine who had turned Pentecostal (a Christian denomination). He claimed that his original denomination was not doing the right things. His mother had got cancer and for her healing they attended Pentecostal worship services. He didn’t specify which subunit of the Pentecostal church he would visit, however he did say that his mother got healed of her cancer. Praise God for that. Now when his original denomination came to know of this, they didn’t care if there was healing for the mother who was slowing dying. Their question to my friend was why did he not come to them. He told me that he was prepared to face the worst from them; excommunication.
So he told his preacher in plain words that he and his family attended the preachers church but never got their desire healing so they attended the Pentecostal church. The preacher was very angry on hearing this. He told this man, that go to so and so religion (it was a non-Christian religion) but never to the Pentecostal church again. My friend told the preacher on what basis is he telling him to not be a Christian. But the preacher kept repeating the same thing. So my friend was wise enough to realize that his pastor in fact was telling him to give up the Christian faith altogether and even worship false gods. Obviously, this made my friends decision to continue with the Pentecostal church even more stronger. Soon enough his entire family switched over officially to the Pentecostal church.
When he narrated this incident to me, I was very angry with the blasphemous preacher. I told my friend that though there are different reasons why healing might not happen in a certain church or denomination, the preacher had no business telling him to change over to a non-Christian religion. I later asked him a series of questions to understand if he understood that he has to follow the Bible, pray to Christ and believe in God. He was able to answer my questions to my satisfaction. So I think the current church he goes over to is fine enough.
It’s said that if the Devil controls the preacher/pastor of the local church then he can potentially control the entire local church too. I only partially agree with this because each individual of the local church has been given free will by God to decide to act right or to sin. However, there’s a way preacher could spoil his church especially if the people have more respect for their preacher than they have for the Lord. This is also applicable, if the people are either ignorant of the principles of the Bible or are too lazy to act on the words of the Gospel.
The experience may vary from local church to local church and from denomination to denomination but still a Christian must be alert that one must not be awestruck by any flamboyant preacher they meet. Just because a preacher dresses up in all white all the time does not mean the congregation too must wear only white all the time. There’s no Bible verse that says that Christians are to only wear white garments.
Let me share my own experience at church too when I was very young. There was a preacher who at least in my opinion dressed up unlike a true preacher. He wore clothes, footwear and spectacles which were way too expensive. Maybe others didn’t bother about it but I was concerned. However, there was one thing we all agreed upon; his treatment of females. His sermons were crafted in favour of women. So must women were in favour of him. Obviously the males didn’t like him that much. However, what even got some women angry was that he’d take certain of the girls into his room alone for like an hour or two. The girls when confronted by the congregation would refuse to tell what would happen. This raised suspicions of fornication among the church members. Yet people didn’t act as yet.
Now the preacher went to transgress upon the Gospel. In fact I myself was there when he preached a heresy. He said “You must learn to satisfy your emotions immediately. If you are in need of love and affection go to another human person, don’t wait for God because God cannot come down in form of a human person and eat and drink with you”. Immediately some of the people hearing him publicly denounced his teaching as blasphemous and he tried to defend his teaching in vain. However every time he went to preach at church he kept teaching the same thing. The outrage (yes it’s Biblical to get outraged at blasphemy) at the local church reached dangerous proportions for the preacher. So he was sent to another area where there was a church. Even there he continued preaching his stupid heresy even there.
The people of my local church were not done with him. They contacted the other local church to enquire about him and as suspected they found the preacher kept at his evil deeds. So he was kicked out of even that local church. No other church wanted him. Eventually he was taken to the top ranking church official and this preacher repeated his foolish doctrine even them. So they sacked him out of the denomination since he was intentionally unrepentant despite multiple warnings.
My local church was under criticism from Christians of the neighbouring areas who seem to love the “Do not judge” Bible verse over zealously instead of understanding the context. However, we asked the criticizers a practical question, ‘Since the accusation is about blasphemy and if indeed the preachers words are blasphemous, do you give your consent to his words and by this are you willing to face God’s judgement if the preacher actually taught wickedness?’ Nobody said ‘Yes’ to this question. This preacher had a celebrity following in the neighbouring areas, so the people from there tried to defend him until we told them word for word what he actually spoke. Plus some of us even mentioned the Bible verses which refute his heresy. Then the supporters of him stopped defending and left us in peace.
Though the context my article is about being on guard against celebrity preachers who try to twist the word of God, I feel its better to also give you the Bible verses which refute my local ex-preachers heresies(yes I don’t consider him my preacher anymore), just in case someone in your state/region preaches the same lies. In fact, if used right these also will help to be alert not to fall prey to celebrity preachers who invent their own lies or weird habit to follow instead of preaching the Gospel. Here are the Bible verses:
- Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- [Jesus said:] Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
A lesson from Eli’s life – correcting others before they cause your downfall
Beware of all spiritual blackmail messages
Quick Reminder: Listen to a true preacher instead of a clownish preacher
“A preacher shouldn’t preach just to make you feel good. Then it’s about the money not about the teach. He should preach the truth because the truth shall set you free.” ― Alcurtis Turner
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.(2 Timothy 4:2-4)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
Do not marvel at all but beware of false gospels
I don’t get into any wonder when so many people are living in deception. As they accept the lies of the Devil and reject the truth from God. It’s a very foolish thing to take in false gospels and still expect to go to heaven. The verse which says “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” usually is used to warn us against the Devil. Indeed one must be on guard against this hellish serpent who is going to judged most severely on Judgement Day. Now to make your understanding more complete read the verses before the part where it mentions Satan appearing like an angel of light and it you will realize that the chapter of 2 Corinthians 11 is much more than warning about Satan alone.
This is a warning about false Gospels, false spirits and false men who claim to be servants of God. Satan is not alone in his gambit of deception, he will try to appear to lose to a few doctrine’ just so that you go off guard and then accept his lie. Some false gospels do speak against worship of idols but permit adultery. While other’s speak of repentance but do not warn against falling into sin later on. Some gospels acknowledge Jesus Christ but deviate from what the Bible says about him.
The main trick of false gospels it to have a percentage of deception mixed with truth but enough deception to keep you away from believing the true Gospel and serving the Lord God. It’s like a small drop of poison which is enough to kill a fully grown lion. Here are the verses of 2 Corinthians 11: 1-15 that you can reflect on:
11 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 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. 5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
False Prophets lie and say they hear from God
They have dreams and visions and prophesy…….
But they do not prophesy for God.
False prophets deceive many with their false doctrines
They are wolves in sheep’s clothing
The Bible warns us that in the last days there will be false prophets. There have always been prophets (or preachers) that did not declare the true word of God. They have wanted to please people and tell them what they wanted to hear. The ancient prophets of Israel were guilty of this. Many modern day “prophets” are as well. Who knows what their motive is? Perhaps money and fame. Perhaps ignorance. Maybe they are truly evil…..who knows? As time draws nearer to the Second Coming of Christ……there will be more and more false prophets that will lead many astray!
Here are some scriptures giving examples of Old Testament false prophets:
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The recurring theme of the Bible
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible has one recurring theme. This simply is to leave your sin’s and come back to God.
Forsaking your sinful ways is just one part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The next part is to get back to God. This involves a relationship with God where you are his child and the Lord is your Father.
Any gospel that excludes repentance from sins and being reconciled to God is a false gospel. Any gospel that focuses on material prosperity and efficiency of resources alone is a cheapened gospel. Any gospel that teaches a Jesus who doesn’t love you unless you follow a thousand rules is a legalistic gospel. Have nothing to do with any false gospel.
Obeying God by stopping drinking from the cup of sin is not an optional part of the true Gospel. We are called to be in a relationship with Jesus and his heavenly Father. This means that we do not let anything or any person come in between us and God. No sinful entertainment is to take that place. No obsessive passion should come in between. No worldly pursuit should replace this relationship. No man nor woman should be given the place of God in your life. People can be loved and valued without making them a replacement to the Lord himself.
We are called to hold on to Christ. We do this by believing in him. We do this by abiding in Christ’s teachings. We therefore must continue in our relationship with God always. Nothing else matters as much.
Give thanks to God for your salvation which comes from Christ Jesus. Amen.
The heresy of pre-forgiven sin
Galations 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
I pray that you truly understand the meaning of Galatians 1:8. Now I have noticed on those lines a lie that sounds very religious but in fact is a false gospel. Here’s what it is. It says that by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross not only your past and present sins are forgiven but also your future sins. Now for a second this seems legit but that lie further adds that if you live in sin in the future, even that is forgiven without you feeling the need to repent. This is simply a heresy of the highest order.
Such lies make a person who is struggling with sin, to give up and commit more sins in the false hope of being automatically forgiven. We are in Christ called to live in true hope. We are called overcome our weaknessess and failures instead of shirking responsibility. If you know you have sinned be humble and ask for mercy from the Lord Jesus Christ who will pardon you. To say that you never sinned is to deny the truth of Gospel which says Christ came for sinners and not for the righteous. He came to seek and save the lost. Amen, he continues to save people even today if they call upon his holy name.
Now the scripture can be used with amazing effect to fight heresies. The are principles in the Bible that stand the test of time. Like God will always be the ruler of heaven. Also Satan will never ever become a good person! Now coming to the point, the blood of Jesus does not automatically forgive you of your FUTURE sins, as these need to be repentanted off once the sin is done. If someone disagrees, why not consider as to why Ananias and Saphira were NOT pre-forgiven. Their sin is mentioned in the Bible along with God’s judgement on them.
The Sin of Ananias and Sapphira
A man by the name of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold some land. 2 He kept back part of the money for himself. His wife knew it also. The other part he took to the missionaries. 3 Peter said to Ananias, “Why did you let Satan fill your heart? He made you lie to the Holy Spirit. You kept back part of the money you got from your land. 4 Was not the land yours before you sold it? After it was sold, you could have done what you wanted to do with the money. Why did you allow your heart to do this? You have lied to God, not to men.”
5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down dead. Much fear came on all those who heard what was done. 6 The young men got up and covered his body and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in. She did not know what had happened.
8 Peter said to her, “Tell me, did you sell the land for this amount of money?” She said, “Yes.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How could you two have talked together about lying to the Holy Spirit? See! Those who buried your husband are standing at the door and they will carry you out also.” 10At once she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in, they found that she was dead. They took her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Much fear came on all the church and on all who heard it.
Now there’s more. Why does the Lord through the Bible keep warning of severe judgement if some were to receive the mark of the Beast? The are verses that say that those who recieve it, will never be forgiven. If the Lord knows that some people are going to sin why does he not use the ‘auto forgiven for the future’ stance? Because simply, such a thing does not exist and is wholly inconsistent with the Gospel. You need to repent if you sin. Period.