Wherever there is truth there will be error. Wherever there are people teaching sound doctrine there will be people teaching false doctrine. Here, in video format, are 7 false teachers in the church today. Here it is for both YouTube and Facebook.
(For those wondering, the nerve syndrome that has kept me from being able to do my usual typing lingers, hence the unusual number of videos. I hope to see improvement in the weeks to come and, as that happens, to return to more writing.)
The Church is always at every time and in every place under attack. Satan is the great enemy of the Church, and he never rests. He is always on the offensive. One of his chief weapons, one of his most successful weapons is the false teacher. In this video we’re considering seven false teachers you’ll encounter in the church today.
The first false teacher you’ll encounter in the church today is the heretic. The heretic is the most prominent, perhaps the most dangerous of all of the false teachers. He denies core, fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. He takes what God says it’s true, and he outright denies it. He takes the things that God forbids and he affirms or celebrates them. He looks to the core and fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith and says, “That is not true! I have something else in it’s place.” He denies the divinity of Jesus Christ, or perhaps he denies the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, or he denies that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, or he denies that God is triune. He is the heretic and he is always, always on the prowl. The Bible speaks of the heretic. It says this: 1 Peter 2:1 (ESV) “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.”
The second false teacher in the church today is the charlatan. The charlatan is the teacher who is in it only for himself. He sees Christianity as a means to personal gain. He sees Christians as marks, as people he can take advantage of in order to enrich himself, in order to have a life of ease, of comfort, of wealth. No matter how much he gets, no matter how much he takes from other people, he is never satisfied. He always wants more. He always needs more. He’s in it only for himself. He pretends to be a shepherd, but he only ever takes. The Bible speaks to him as well: 1 Timothy 6:3-5 (ESV) “If anyone teachers a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”
The third false teacher in the church today is the prophet, the false prophet. This is the teacher who claims to bring fresh revelation from God himself. “Yes, God has spoken in the Scripture,” this person will say, “but now he has spoken anew to me. He’s given me a fresh word. He’s given me something now that supersedes the Bible, something that further explains the Bible, something that you need to believe in place of the Bible. Even if it seems contradictory I can assure you that God has spoken to me.” He claims to bring this new revelation. Sometimes this leads him into a cult. Sometimes this leads him right within the mainstream of Christianity where he peddles this error. He brings this false revelation and claims that it is true. The Bible speaks to him as well in 1 John 4:1 (ESV) we read: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
The fourth false teacher in the world today is the abuser. The abuser is the teacher that uses others to gain providence and to feed his sexual lust. So he may abuse people on his path to glory, his path to fame, his path to prominence. He may want a platform. He may want to be seen. He may want to be known in the eyes of all the people. So he’ll run over people. He’ll throw them to the side. He’ll run roughshod over them if only he can gain what he wants. He is abusive in that way. Or his abuse may be of the sexual nature, where he feeds his lust. He preys upon men, women and/or children to get what he wants, to feed the lust of his flesh. He is an abuser. The Bible speaks to him as well: Jude 4 (ESV) “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
The fifth false teacher in the church today is the divider. This false teacher comes into a church, perhaps he shows up physically, perhaps he comes in through books or through other forms of teaching, and he brings rifts within the church. Instead of bringing the unity that Jesus prayed for, the unity that is meant to mark Christians, he brings division. He tears Christian apart from Christian. Sometimes he goes after the leadership, telling people, assuring people that their leaders are untrustworthy. Other times he turns Christian against Christian, member against member, as they quarrel and fight on minor matters. He tends to major on very small things, to make the smallest points of Christianity the mark of Christian maturity. As he does that, he inevitably turns Christian against Christian. The Bible speaks to the divider as well: Jude 18-18 (ESV) “‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”
The sixth false teacher in the church today is the speculator. The speculator deals with what is novel, in what is original, in what is speculative. He may be an academic who needs to come up with something novel within the field of academia. He may be an author who’s trying to propose something novel in order to sell books. Whatever he does he undermines the certainty of the Christian faith, and he replaces it with novelty. He takes something that is true and undermines it with something that could be true, with something that is speculative, with something that is unimportant. Perhaps he’s finding hidden codes in the letters and the words of the Bible. Perhaps he’s found something else in a genealogy. Perhaps he’s obsessed with the end times and reading contemporary events into Scripture. In either case he is the speculator, and the Bible speaks to him: Titus 3:9 (ESV) “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”
The seventh false teacher you’ll find in the church today is the tickler. You know this one. The tickler listens to what people want, and then he gives it to them. He listens to what people don’t want, and he refuses to give it to them. No matter what the Bible says, if it’s uncomfortable, if it’s unpopular, he will shy away from it. And so he deals with what is popular. He craves affirmation from the world. He craves popularity within the world, so he won’t do anything that will turn the world away from him, that will make him look askance. He may have a church that is packed full of people, yet absolutely devoid of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. He may speak all day about heaven, but you can rest assured he will never speak of hell. He may speak of all the great benefits that come from being a Christian, you know he will never speak of the sin problem that is at the heart of every human being. He is the tickler. And wouldn’t you know it, the Bible speaks to him as well: 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) “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.”
These are the seven false teachers you will encounter in the church, though I’m sure there are many, many more. You see, Satan’s great ambassadors in this world are not pimps, they’re not politicians, they’re not the great power brokers. So often they are pastors. They are people pretending to have concern for God’s people when really, they are self-interested. They pretend to love God when really, they hate him. They pretend to love people when really, they despise them. Satan very seldom makes full frontal assaults on the church. He’s too clever, too wily for that. Instead, he sends his agents within the church, and they disrupt, undermine and destroy from within. This is exactly why God speaks to us through his Word. Here is what he says: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” Matthew 7:15-16a (ESV).
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