Have you ever noticed that we are warned about wolves and false teaching all throughout the New Testament? What I gather from this is that they are dangerous, especially when they among the sheep and the sheep don’t know the difference (Matthew 7:15). With everyone calling each other “wolves”, “false teachers”, and “heretics”…how does one know who the true wolf is? (Considering that I have been labeled a “wolf” and blogged about in the past).
I believe the Bereans in Acts chapter 17 verse 11 were on to something. What do you think? Considering that the Apostle Paul told Timothy that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)”.
So, how do you suppose these “wolves” go about their mission? Scripture tells us that they will come to us in sheep’s clothing, which means they will fit in. Matthew 7:15-23 gives us a great way to recognize them. Also, in 2 Corinthians 11: 1-11 speaks about the false apostles that would come and preach a different jesus, a different gospel. 2,000 years removed, it’s hard to figure out who the True Jesus and the True gospel is, huh? Especially when deception, twisting of the Scripture, and popular approval comes into play. Consider what we see the religious leaders in Jesus’ day doing. They twist what Jesus says, make assumptions as to what He means, and lie about His intent at every end they can. It’s a sad day when false teachers call the true teachers false. Oh so confusing it is!
BUT…WE HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways AND WILL BRING THE WAY OF TRUTH INTO DISREPUTE (2 Peter 1:20-2:2)”.
Does that remind you of John Nelson Darby and his crapture teachings? We could go on and on, and sadly these “secretly introduced” teachings have gained popularity, even to the detriment that many think that is Biblical Christianity. YIKES!
The lack of Biblical literacy has made it easy for false teaching. False teachers do what the devil did with the scripture when he quoted it to Jesus. They quote true things and lift them out of their context. The Apostle Peter explains that some of Paul’s writings “contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do other Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16)”.
Being that we are told to be aware of the false teachers, to rebuke false teachers and teachings, and to encourage sound doctrine, wouldn’t that imply that we would be able to know true from false? But how? Also, wouldn’t that mean some are wrong? This isn’t relativism, this is the narrow Way!!
Paul tells Timothy (contextual notes MINE):
“But as for you (Timothy), continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (the message spoken by Christ and the Apostles- 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11; Galatians 1:8-9), because you know those from whom you learned it (2 Timothy 1:13), and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which ARE ABLE TO MAKE YOU WISE FOR SALVATION through faith in Jesus Christ. All SCRIPTURE is useful for TEACHING, REBUKING, CORRECTING, and TRAINING in righteousness, so that the man of God may be THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK (2 Timothy 3:14-17)”.
So when we see something that is not in line with the context of the Scriptures (the need to understand hermeneutics is big today- audience relevance, time statements, apocalyptic language, etc..), what are we to do? Paul writes to Titus and tells him to straighten out what was left unfinished in Crete, and here we can get some useful advice. When telling Titus about appointer elders in the Church he finished with explaining that “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message AS IT HAS BEEN TAUGHT, so that he can encourage others by SOUND DOCTRINE, and REFUTE THOSE WHO OPPOSE IT (Titus 1:9). Also as you read through Titus chapter 2 you will see the concept of rebuking false teachings again. As I have pointed out, it was important that the same gospel being preached by the Apostles was continued (1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Galatians 1:6-8), therefore men & women of God were commanded to “contend for the faith that was ONCE FOR ALL entrusted to the saints (Jude 3)”.
Sadly today, many are even being taught against rebuking false teachings and demolishing strongholds. This is veiled with talk such as “love one another” and the promotion of a false sense of “unity”. FACT: True love hurts and tells the Truth. A false sense of “unity” is not unity that is spoken of throughout the Scriptures. God does not desire to be worshiped absent the Truth!
A prime example can be the false view of a future “coming of the Lord”. This is a misconception that has crept in to the Church as early as the first century, and has gained quite the foothold. The lack of an “eschatological council” to discuss these things and the lack of critical study on these matters, usually said to not be “salvation matters”, have further propagated this false teaching.
Why is the “Future Second Coming of Jesus” Teaching So Dangerous?
In light of Scripture evidence that Christ promised to come while some of His generation was alive (Matthew 16:28 & Matthew 24:34), many still arrive at the conclusion of “why does it matter?”.
Well, check out these teachings of Jesus Christ:
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24)”.
“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32)”.
So in response, do you mean why does it matter besides the fact that God desires to be worshiped in Spirit and Truth and Jesus made a big “IF” one holds to His teachings they are set free?
The reality is that in light of Scriptural evidence, we can decide that it’s not that important to understand the Truth or worry about the necessity of understanding Jesus’ teaching concerning “His coming”, which leads to an oddly “universalistic” or “mystic” teaching and makes the Bible completely unnecessary. OR, Jesus lied! Either Jesus meant what He said to the Apostles or he lied to them and was a false prophet and deserved exactly what he received! What sort of taste does that leave in your mouth?
To those who say that we cannot understand the teachings of Jesus- that’s ridiculous and again would make no sense out of Jesus even saying those things to the Apostles or God requiring to be worshiped in Truth (if we cannot know the Truth)! Plus…we then cannot even know if Jesus was the Christ- because we can’t understand prophecy!!! See how dumbed down this gets?
Due to the complacency of “Christians” to know and understand Biblical Truth we end up with a completely distorted gospel message (exactly what we were warned against) and we get an odd jesus. A jesus you accept into your heart, who is your homeboy, your lover or obsession, which ultimately becomes foolish nonsense that has no historical credibility. We end up having no way to even prove the Christian faith.
Worse yet, as Gary DeMar recently pointed out in an article speaking about the teachings of John MacArthur, a false view of the gospel hope leads to a hopeless gospel! You can read that article here: http://americanvision.org/6270/john-macarthur-there-is-no-hope-for-a-better-world/
Futurism continually has to arrive at and teach new scenarios every so often to fix the nonsense and lies they taught in the past. This leads to the snowball effect of false teaching, as we have seen throughout history- THANK GOD FOR THE INFORMATION AGE!!
All of this confusion comes up in plenty of the conversations I have. Sadly, I have seen this lead to apathy & complacency in regards to “Christians” seeking to understand the Scriptures and therefore leads to more and more false views. Have we just thrown out the aspect of study to show thyself APPROVED? Apparently, we have a lot more unapproved “Christians” running around, huh?
I’ll tell you what. We have launched a campaign called ASK YOUR PASTOR which we encourage Christians to ask their pastors about Matthew chapter 16 verse 28 and Matthew 24:34. Have you done so? Most pastors try to make their flocks complacent and ignore Biblical Truth. Have YOU asked your pastor?
I hear a lot of people say that harping on this is causing division in the body, which is ironic because AMEN, that is what Jesus said the Word of God would do. It is a sword that would set people against one another (Matthew 10:34-39; Hebrews 4:12). Lies cause division and make things confusing. Today, as men and women of God search the Scriptures we see a reformation happening, it has been emerging for quite some time, a move of God thanks to the information age. BUT, those who are well vested in the institution don’t want things to change. So they ostracize those seeking to REFORM in light of the Scriptures. I personally have experienced this. Ostracized as heretics, false teachers, those not in favor of unity, etc… Why not call the reformers- those that desire to worship God in Spirit and Truth?
I refuse to call men and women who fail to study to show themselves APPROVED and are willing to be intellectually dishonest – Christians. That is anti-Christ and leads to ostracism, confusion, and a complete disregard of Biblical Truth.