There are different levels of false teaching out there. Some come from good, well-meaning Christians who have just not paid attention to their doctrinal integrity and have let subtle false beliefs creep in (such as Yoga (which means worship in Hinduism), contemplative prayer (another Hindu worship practice), false versions of the Trinity, the belief you can lose your salvation, or that baptism is what saves you, etc.).
Others peddle false teaching and doctrine for political, monetary gain and prominence (think of almost everyone you see on Trinity Broadcast Network, or people like Benny Hinn). They even know that it’s false, but they can’t fly around in $65 million planes, or run around in $4,000 sneakers if they don’t keep the charade running.
Mez McConnell, a pastor in Scotland, says:
- “Being a loving church, being a loving Christian, is no excuse for accepting false teaching… Being loving, doing good works? Not enough. We have to guard the truth that’s been entrusted to us.”
On one hand I’m strongly tempted to hand you a long list of false teachers or good teachers who are dabbling in unbiblical concepts. But, that would be too extensive right here, and it’s not good enough for you to just hear that they teach unbiblical ideas, but you need to know what and how their teachings violate Scripture. That too would be overwhelming in a devotional such as this.
But, remember how I mentioned that the more you handle the truth the more you will recognize error?
There’s one other element that I would like to add to this: The Holy Spirit. If you read the Second London Confession of Faith 1689, it repeatedly admonishes us to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit with regards to handling Scripture. Below is an example from Section 1 “Of the Holy Scriptures”, subsection 6:
- “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”
At this point I am going to simply say that the only limitation to this process is you. If you are not humble, repentant, submissive, and prayerful, then you will certainly not be filled with the Holy Spirit and will lack in receiving His guidance and discernment. He can illuminate the deeper truths of Scripture, bring cohesion to your doctrine, and draw your mind to other Scriptures that bring clarity to many passages. He will point out error and set off alarms in your head when you receive false teaching.
- Suggested Resource on False Teachers: https://justinpeters.org/
- You can see many of Justin Peters’ videos on YouTube.
- He doesn’t just highlight false teachers, but he came out of the unbiblical “Word of Faith Movement” himself, so he speaks from personal experience.
- Suggested insights into how to read the Bible: http://www.newhopefairfax.org/files/Baxter%20Reading%20Scripture.pdf
- Richard Baxter was a Puritan author who wrote a very convicting text that I refer to in my own reading entitled, The Reformed Pastorwherein he sets the bar extremely high for pastors, yet offers practical advice on loving and leading their flocks.
- This link above is from a Presbyterian church which took his 10 points on reading the Bible from one of his books and listed them nicely.
- Before you read the Bible each day, ask God to fill you with His Spirit, to open your eyes, to convict you, to encourage you, and to draw you closer to Him (James 4:8).
- When you hear Bible teachers, or read their books, ask God to protect you from false teaching, and to alert you to anything not true:
- Write down any statements or doctrinal positions that you’re unsure of and research them out later.
- There is no easy way to research false teachers on the internet since many good teachers will be slandered by opposing voices. But, overall you can trust organizations such as:
- In your Bible reading this week, have you encountered any instructions against false teachers? Or have you seen any narratives of people who didn’t trust and follow God’s Word, maybe even leading people astray? ________________________________________________________
- One of the recent trends from some heretical groups nowadays is to verbally attack you if you dare claim they and their beliefs are not biblical. They won’t defend their beliefs with Scripture—No! No!—They defend their beliefs with emotion. They’ll say “How dare you try and restrain the Holy Spirit!”, or they’ll claim that you’re blaspheming Him by not believing in the so-called miracles and prophecies they’re producing. They’ll attack you for not having faith (as if faith divorced from the Bible even matters). They’ll use anecdotal arguments rather than “thus says the Lord” arguments, and they’ll try to back you in a corner until you admit you may be wrong. Look up the following verses and write down the repetitive instruction God gives:
- Philippians 4:1 ______________________________________
- I. Thessalonians 3:8 __________________________________
- Ephesians 6:11, 13 & 14________________________________
- Galatians 5:1 ________________________________________
- II. Thessalonians 2:15 _________________________________
- I. Corinthians 15:1 ____________________________________
- I. Corinthians 2:5 _____________________________________
- I. Corinthians 16:13 ___________________________________
The Bible Stands Hymn by Haldor Lillenas
1 The Bible stands like a rock undaunted
‘Mid the raging storms of time;
Its pages burn with the truth eternal,
And they glow with a light sublime.
The Bible stands tho’ the hills may tumble,
It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;
I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,
For the Bible stands,
The Bible stands.
2 The Bible stands like a mountain tow’ring
Far above the works of man;
Its truth by none ever was refuted,
And destroy it they never can. (Chorus)
3 The Bible stands and it will forever,
When the world has passed away;
By inspiration it has been given,
All its precepts I will obey. (Chorus)
4 The Bible stands every test we give it,
For its Author is divine;
By grace alone I will expect to live it,
And to prove it and make it mine. (Chorus)