(Avoid False Teachings and False Prophets)
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” – Matthew 7:15
Just Like Fake News, There Are Also Fake Gospels. As much as I wish this section of the book wasn’t required, it is needed badly, perhaps today more than ever. In fact, this book has shown you that we have had to confront (and overcome) the false teachings, distortions and perversions of Scripture by man at every single step along the way, literally from the very first sentence of Genesis, right up until the very last chapter of Revelation! And at each and every step along the way, you have had to choose whether to believe in the wisdom of man and Satan or believe in the wisdom of God which is given in Scripture.
We are called to worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth” (my bold), not in spirit and the opinions, theories, schemes, myths, wild speculations, superstitions, fantastical conjurings, “traditions” and seemingly endless false teachings of man, committees and institutions. So, I urge you brother or sister in Christ, do not be ignorant of the truth as given in Scripture and thereby gullible and misled by the “wolves,” “vipers” and modern day “Pharisees.” Be on guard so no-one takes (or deceives you out of) your crown of life! You see, these false teachings are leading many to have a false sense of security; in reality, many will therefore be led to destruction. That is why these false teachings are not just a simple matter of “minor doctrinal differences.” The false teachings will actually cause many to be eternally lost!
This section of the book is pretty hard hitting and direct, as I forcefully confront many false teachings of man. It’s time to wield a sharp sword of truth to cut through the absolute nonsense and trash that passes for “Christianity” today in modern, liberal, so-called “reformed” churches! I trust you will understand and respect that I am trying to prepare you to stand firm in the faith that was handed down once for all time in Scripture. I must prepare you to confront any and all teachings which lead away from Christ and eternal life.
Note: If you want to just jump to the list of false teachings, click here. For the first false teaching, click here. But I strongly encourage you to spend the time to read this introduction chapter first. It covers a lot of very important ground.
Take our Gospel IQ quiz to see if you are already
under the influence of the wolves and false teachers!
(The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes)
Here is a reminder from the introduction of this book as to why this section is desperately needed today:
Yes, we’ve had nearly 2000 years of man-made false teachings being preached, published and taught and masquerading as Christianity. As you will see in this section of the book, false teachings abound today in epidemic proportions, created by the apostate minds of modern man, who continue today, as in times of old, to espouse man-made doctrine after man-made doctrine which serve only in seeking after the worldly agendas of man and institutions who continue to lust after worldly fame, fortune and power by distorting Scripture.
The fact that this section of the book even exists is both an abomination to the Lord and a complete disgrace to man, for the minds of man have twisted and distorted the gospel almost beyond recognition. Not only was this section of the book the most tedious and tiresome to write, it is also by far the longest. We will have to cover some difficult ground here. Not only must I teach you what is the true Word of God, I must also train you to know what is not the Word of God – so you are not deceived and come up short of eternal life! The way of a Christian is fraught with all kinds of peril, traps, pitfalls and snares of man and Satan which are laid up for you at each step of the way.
Compounding all this is the “itching ears” of modern American Christendom which gravitate towards “easy faith,” trying to take the easy way to heaven, using “feel-good” religion with a (very) large number of professing “Christians” today believing that simply saying a little prayer (the so-called “sinner’s prayer”) at one instant of their life saves them for all eternity, with nothing else whatsoever required of them! I challenge those who teach, preach and believe that to go resurrect one of the martyrs from The Acts & Monuments of the Christian Faith (i.e., Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) and ask them what they believe – after having gave their life for Christ, often being torn in pieces, sawn in half, tortured and mutilated or burned in flames at the stake for their faith. Those true saints of Christ were not looking for the easy way or a feel-good form of Christianity – they were true devoted Christians willing to sacrifice anything and everything, even their own lives, for Christ. Many do not even realize today that at various times and places throughout history, one could be burned at the stake simply for having a copy of the Bible in English!
Scripture says that Satan is the originator of lies, for he is described as the “deceiver,” “our adversary,” and a “liar” (Genesis 3:1-5, 1 Peter 5:8-9, 1 John 3:8, 2 Corinthians 11:3, John 8:44, John 10:10, Revelation 12:9). He deceives many who therefore teach falsely (the false prophets, wolves, 1 John 4:1-6) in an attempt to deceive you.
Jesus warned us not to be naïve and gullible:
This warning is true especially for infants in Christ (i.e., a newly born-again Christian) and those who are what might be termed gullible Christians, and who have not pressed on to maturity and grown in the “grace and understanding” of the Lord. We are admonished not to succumb to the “spirit of error”:
Always remember that we are in the middle of a raging spiritual war. Do not make the mistake of ignoring this fact (truth):
It is also written that we must really and earnestly contend for (fight for) the faith that was handed down once for all time in Scripture. You must REALLY want and desire truth (God’s truth, not man’s truth) with all your heart, your mind, your soul and your entire being:
Take our Gospel IQ quiz to see if you are already
under the influence of the wolves and false teachers!
(The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes)
SOURCES OF FALSE TEACHINGS
While Satan is the originator of lies, fallen sinful man is all too willing to go along with his schemes as they also further their own lustful worldly pursuits of fame, fortune, wealth and power. At a high level, there are three distinct sources of false teachings:
- The secular/atheistic God-denying world,
- The “wolves” who come into the church intentionally to deceive,
- Well-meaning but horribly misguided Christian pastors and teachers.
It is helpful to understand more about each of those groups.
1) False teachings arise from the first group, the God-denying secular world, for obvious reasons – for it is written that if you are not of Christ, then “you are of your father the devil.” Once you believe in God, the false teachings of this group are somewhat easier for you to spot, although many of them (e.g. the “Theory of Evolution”) have been drummed into you since you were a wee infant, so you’ve already been brainwashed into believing them as truth and may not even realize it.
2) The second group, the “wolves,” are much harder to spot for they are in disguise, camouflage if you will. Christ warned of this very subject:
As did the apostle Paul:
Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” (giving what appears to be truth but isn’t) and his ministers disguise themselves as “servants of righteousness.” It is these “wolves” who pretend to serve Christ, appearing (dressed up) as “Christian” ministers and pastors, but they are actually “of their father the devil” (i.e. modern day Pharisees). These wolves are also described as “false prophets.” They use intentional deception to deceive the unsaved masses into following worthless man-made “religious” rituals, false doctrines and theology, myths, “traditions” and nonsense which lead to eternal death instead of eternal life. Jesus warned us about this:
These wolves mislead naïve and gullible Christians into departing from the straight and narrow path towards eternal life and back into the ways of man and eternal death; Scripture warns us further:
These wolves are intentionally deceiving you – as they serve the selfish goals and agendas of man and institutions and do so under the disguise of Christianity and Jesus. They are indeed very slick, subtly twisting and distorting Scripture to support their own false teachings which lead away from Christ or which outright deny Christ when one looks into them more closely. They do this through lies, half-truths, taking verses out of context, distorting symbolic passages by forcing literal interpretations on them, claiming special prophecy and revelations from God, and so forth.
These “wolves” appear in churches which seem to be Christian, for they may even use Jesus Christ in their names, etc. – but they are not of Christ. They come in many shapes and sizes, from innocent looking little old ladies, to the casual hipster, to the powerful man/pastor/elder/author of authority in a popular church all dressed up in a well-tailored suit with lots of initials and abbreviations placed before and after their name, even having “Doctoral Degrees in Divinity”!
3) The third group are what I believe to be genuine, honest to goodness born-again Christians who think they are following Christ, but they are misguided, gullible and simply go along blindly believing many things they have heard or been taught without properly testing them against Scripture as we are admonished to do. These genuine Christian pastors and teachers should know that they are under a stricter judgment (James 3:1) and that they are called to “properly divide” (accurately handling) the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).
What confuses me about this third group is that whenever I’ve tried to help any of them see the error of their teachings, they flat out refuse to even consider that what they are teaching may not be in agreement with scripture. I can only speculate that this comes in large part from pride, which is something we must constantly guard against – at all times and until death. All I know is that I’m supposed to teach you correct doctrine in accord with Scripture, and that I’m responsible for doing so – so that is what I’m doing in this book.
A TIME TO SPEAK
It is written:
So, I am speaking out with this book, I’m not remaining silent. For it is way past time to return to the pure gospel message of truth and to put aside all manner of false teachings, myths, superstition, “traditions,” wild speculation and fantasies of the mind of man! It’s time for a good dose of solid food – the pure truth of the New Testament Gospel as it was handed down once for all time in Scripture and as it was practiced in the apostolic era (the years just after Christ’s death). If you will, I’m the voice of one crying out in the wilderness of modern, liberal, corrupt, apostate, lukewarm, dead, make-believe, pretend Christianity: make straight the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!
Please know that this section of the book is written in the spirit of love out of concern for your eternal well-being. Because unlike some who think that having you come forward at the end of a church service or dumping you in the middle of a giant stadium means that their job is done, I don’t leave you with the job half (or not even) done – and the job at hand is to teach you the truth of Scripture and help ensure you reach your ultimate goal, which is eternal life in heaven with God and His Christ. You will see for yourself that after you come to Christ and look for a church which actually teaches what is in New Testament Scripture, you will be absolutely bombarded by and inundated with a veritable blizzard, yes, a massive avalanche, of false teachings and false churches in every direction that you look and as far as the eye can see. Furthermore, and most seriously: following many of these wrong teachings will lead you to eternal death! It cannot get any more grave or serious than that. The cults, “isms,” sects and groups which are teaching falsehood should be labeled with a “black box” warning label, just like they do with some medicines which may have fatal side effects: stating that if you follow their teaching, it can lead to eternal death.
In the continued spirit of telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I confess here and now to you that I also believed and was deceived by many of these false teachings, for they were the only things I ever heard preached, promoted, taught or published for many years, and they all sound very convincing and “biblical” on the surface. I was a gullible baby Christian (infant in Christ) and I didn’t grow in the grace and understanding of God, so I was deceived – and I fell away, back towards this world and eternal death! But here’s the key point you must take away: I pressed on towards truth, by growing in the grace and understanding of the Lord. I came out of darkness into light – I came out of Babylon:
As a new Christian, I had to wade through this absolute maze of man-made nonsense and doctrinal distortions on my own to find truth which was in agreement with Scripture – for I had no church. It has taken me several years (about three) of study to see through all the false teachings. It was only through determined hard work in reading and studying the Bible, in a persistent and relentless rigorous desire for absolute truth, along with the stunningly gracious wisdom and guidance from God, that I was able to finally extract myself from their grip. What is written in James 1:5 was key: I kept asking God for wisdom, His wisdom – which is truth!
And soon also, you will have read the truth about these false teachings, so you will be without excuse – you will need to come out of Babylon also. You cannot continue to willfully sit in churches under these teachings and under those who teach them while claiming to worship Christ “in spirit and in truth.” Scripture asserts that claims of ignorance will not be an excuse on Judgment Day, for we are admonished to always be “growing in the grace and understanding of the Lord” and we are also called to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (see Acts 17:22-32, Romans 4:15, Leviticus 5:17-18, 2 Peter 3:18, 2 Timothy 2:15). You will be judged by the amount of light (truth) which you have received.
Those of us living today have more light and access to truth than at any other time in human history! We also have the complete canon of Scripture widely available as never before. Even further, we have many great writings, commentaries and testimonies from the saints and martyrs who have come before us to learn from. We will therefore be under greater accountability before the Lord for how we respond to having received so much light and truth. How grateful we should be today for having readily available access to the Word of God (in large part, not in all places of course). Those who attempt to claim ignorance of the truth of Scripture today are doing so against an overwhelming body of evidence and abundance of light (truth), for it is written:
It is also written:
These verses speak not only of how you use the material provisions God has given you in grace, but also to your level of knowledge and understanding of the truth. Scripture teaches that those who have been given greater light (and truth) have a greater responsibility to respond to it. Matthew Henry writes on this subject: 
Proverbs 7 speaks to being naïve (lacking sense) and further reinforces that ignorance of the truth of God’s Word (and His commandments), or abandoning that truth in favor of man-made false teachings, leads to eternal death:
The harlot represents the false teachers, false religions, false doctrines, etc. of this world (e.g., see also the great harlot of the book of Revelation). The young man is you. You can have wisdom or not; wisdom is only found by learning and keeping God’s Word. You must know it by diligently reading and studying the Bible as if your life depended on it (and it does!). The naïve, those lacking sense, and those with “itching ears” will seek out and follow the schemes, doctrines and deceptions of man! The choice is yours.
It is out of care and concern for your eternal soul that I am trying to warn you about these false teachings and identify anything that might keep you from eternal life. You can see that Jesus did similarly, trying to help and warn those who were going astray:
But even further, I also have a duty to warn you about them! In contrast, the enemy (the wolves and vipers) will “kiss you” with their false teachings which appeal to itching ears, but in the end only lead away from Christ (and possibly to eternal death).
To the brother or sister in Christ who may already believe in some of these false teachings, I hope you recognize that my warnings about such herein are given in the spirit of love and helpful “wounds from a friend” as it is written:
A CALL-OUT TO FELLOW BELIEVERS:
To the Christian reader who may sincerely believe these false teachings, and to sincere brothers and sisters in Christ who find themselves in churches under pastors who are teaching these false doctrines, may God grant you grace and wisdom to now see truth. Are you in Babylon and don’t even know it?
We are sent out as sheep among wolves; so please don’t continue to be a gullible Christian and sit in churches and under those who teach wrongly – you must come out of her (Babylon)! Scripture is clear that ignorance will not be an excuse on Judgment Day, and Scripture also declares that judgment will be in accord with the amount of light (truth) one has received and how one has responded to that light. After reading this book, you now know truth (see also Acts 17:22-32, Romans 4:15, Leviticus 5:17-18, 2 Peter 3:18, 2 Timothy 2:15).
You should be learning Scripture yourself every single day, and you should even know it as well as or maybe even better than your pastor or preacher does, so you are not deceived! May you have eyes to see and ears to hear the truth:
A CALL-OUT TO PASTORS, TEACHERS & ELDERS:
Dear Christian pastor, teacher or elder: Are you teaching the pure truth of the gospel as it was handed down once for all time in New Testament Scripture, or are you leading others into Babylon and towards eternal death? If so, beware James 3:1! And to those pastors and teachers who choose to continue to preach and teach falsely despite now knowing the truth, please read and pray over the verses given below – and may the Lord open your heart and your mind to see and hear truth, for these false teachings are in fact “another gospel which is not another.” Paul said those teaching such things should be accursed, and he repeated it twice for emphasis! You too need to come out of her (Babylon), or beware:
While I do believe that God has children in the many various churches and denominations (despite them not being supported in Scripture) that will be saved to eternal life (for God is a God of amazing mercy and grace), the situation for those church leaders (pastors, teachers and elders) in the false churches will be quite another matter (see again James 3:1).
Take our Gospel IQ quiz to see if you are already
under the influence of the wolves and false teachers!
(The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes)
The chapter on perseverance showed you that Scripture admonishes us not to treat our eternal salvation lightly or with carelessness. We are exhorted to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” and to “test yourselves [examine yourselves!] to see if you are in the faith” (and the truth!):
Part of examining ourselves is to (continually) test our beliefs (and teachings) to ensure they are in conformance with New Testament Scripture, for we may have been (or are being) led astray by the wolves. Wayne Jackson writes further on this matter: 
For pastors, teachers and elders, I realize that most of you truly love the Lord and believe that you are teaching correctly, but you are not, and isn’t it wise and prudent to heed the apostle Paul’s advice and examine things more closely. While you may be teaching Christ crucified, that is not enough – you must also honor Christ by teaching His whole gospel message and do so correctly, properly training up the saints so they can make it all the way to eternal life. This is what James 3:1 is about at its core: for if your teaching causes some to come up short of eternal life, you will be held to account for their lost soul on Judgment day. For example, if you teach that baptism isn’t required to be saved (i.e. that it is just a good work of obedience or whatever) and practice delay in performing them at your church, and if someone under your care and teaching then accepts Christ but delays their baptism for months or even years and dies before they “get around to it” (after all, you have taught them that it’s not required), you will be held to account for their lost soul!
Please don’t let pride stand in the way of coming to a better understanding of the truth and correcting any false teachings that may be present. We have the splendid example of Apollos set before us:
Even though Apollos was very well versed (mighty) in the Scriptures up through John’s baptism and spoke out boldly, he was teaching wrongly. The important part is that he humbly accepted (and embraced) correction from Priscilla and Aquila who gave him a greater revelation of truth, and then he continued on again to be a great warrior for Christ, but now with a greater understanding of truth. What a wonderful example of humility and willingness to continue learning truth – a process which ideally continues all our life.
HOW FALSE TEACHINGS ARISE
Nearly all false teachings arise when some verses are picked (which one personally likes), interpretations are then made and beliefs constructed upon those verses in isolation, while other verses that may contradict that interpretation/belief are conveniently ignored. One of the most basic principles of Bible study is that if your interpretation and understanding of a verse causes either: 1) a conflict/disagreement with other verses (especially clear literal obvious unambiguous ones), or 2) gives God the slightest appearance of being unloving, unmerciful, hateful, mean or having any moral flaw whatsoever – then your understanding and interpretation is wrong.
This selective interpretation often consists of taking one verse (which may be harder to understand) completely out of context and then finding other verses (also taken out of context) to support that interpretation, thereby building up a whole theology and doctrine behind it. The wolves favor their fanciful interpretations of difficult verses (which often use symbolic or figurative language) even when they are in direct opposition to other easily understood, clear and direct literal verses.
This is why I list as many relevant verses in each chapter of this book as possible, not simply to multiply verses, but because correct doctrine can only be attained by considering in aggregate all of what Scripture has to say on any particular subject. You build biblical truth by having interpretations that are in agreement with all of Scripture, not just some specific verses that can be misconstrued to support whatever personal interpretation and doctrine you fancy, as it is written:
Many groups (e.g., 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, etc.) go even further, claiming to have their own special prophets who have received new revelation or inspiration directly from God. Scripture also warns against this:
What they are indeed hearing are either the fanciful imaginations of their own deluded mind, or even worse, demonic spiritual influence. Scripture also states:
The canon of Scripture was closed up and sealed with the Book of Revelation, complete and final for all time. Therefore, every group or person who claims to be a prophet of God having received special revelations or inspiration directly from God (but not given in Scripture) is a false prophet, a liar and a deceiver! There are no exceptions.
REMEMBER, THIS IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE
For the reader who may not have encountered this avalanche of false teachings yet, count yourself fortunate, but also be advised that you will with almost 100% certainty encounter them at some point in your life, either before you accept Christ or after (or both). In fact, even after you have been born again, you will be continually bombarded by lies, half-truths and blatant distortions and misinterpretations of Scripture which are cleverly designed to turn you away from Christ again! These false teachings all have the appearance of truth, but when you know Scripture better, you will see that they are all just deceptions hiding behind a very thin veil/veneer of distorted verses masquerading as Christianity.
While we are blessed to be living in these last days (this gospel/church age of grace) where Satan’s activities have been largely bound (by Christ on the cross), we are still strongly admonished to: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore, do not make the mistake of underestimating him. Although unlike in times past where he has had the power to directly harm humans (see the book of Job for example), today he is largely limited to using the method of deception – but wow, does he work overtime in doing just that!
It is important to understand what is going on here. Satan and his forces of evil are trying to lay as many obstacles as possible in front of you and all around you, working through men who do not know God or His Christ and also those who actually desire to serve Satan. These obstacles are also called “snares,” “traps,” and “pitfalls” designed to:
- Turn you or trick you out of the straight and narrow path which leads towards Christ and eternal life,
- Cause you to quit the faith altogether and turn back, or
- Lure you into some man-made “religious” system which leads away from Christ
You have already read in the chapter on Science vs. the Bible that the “Theory of Evolution” false teaching aims to stop you at the very first sentence(s) of the Bible – knowing that if you doubt or disbelieve those, then you almost surely won’t read or believe the rest either. However, many other false teachings are laid up for you after you are born again. In fact, by now, I hope you have noticed in the course of reading this book that these snares are laid up for you at every step along the way – you have encountered them in nearly every single chapter! These snares, traps and pitfalls are thrown down in front of and all around you, on all sides, nearly as far as the eye can see – it’s as if you are in a minefield trying to make your way through to eternal life, running the gauntlet, if you will, through these deceptions. Once you are aware of them, you will notice that these false teachings are shouted with extreme ferocity and volume today; in fact, they are shouted nearly 24/7/365 (i.e., all day, every day, all year, every year) from both secular as well as “Christian” sources, “Christian” publications, “Christian” radio, “Christian” movies and media, and even “Christian” churches! I’m using “Christian” in quotes here for a reason, as the teachings are anything but Christian.
You have already been exposed to many of these lies, propaganda and conditioning starting all the way back to the time you were a small child! The basis for many of the false teachings have their origins in the secular God-denying world and they infect nearly every broadcast, TV show, movie, book, textbook, and educational institution you have ever read, seen, heard, or attended – yes, since you were an infant! These false teachings have been drummed into you for so long and so hard, that they are even unconsciously affecting what you think and believe today; in effect, as I said, you have been brainwashed. You may not even be aware of them, as the false teachings are the only things you’ve ever known as “truth”; you may believe them so deeply that they are actually operating at an unconscious level within you. That’s what brainwashing does.
It is beyond the scope or ability of this book to present a rigorous critique/rebuttal of each false teaching, as doing so would fill hundreds of pages (even whole books). You must read and study Scripture for yourself, following the example of the Bereans:
How is one not deceived? It is by being diligent to grow in the grace and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that takes hard work and determination – you must want to do so. You must press on to the truth; and this is a never-ending process until death. You must love truth, and seek it with all your heart, mind and soul. Note that this is a vital component of the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17, verse 14 in particular). You must diligently read and study Scripture, and you must learn how to read and interpret Scripture for yourself correctly. As a Christian, we are called to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Furthermore, one must ask God for His wisdom which comes from above (James 1:5) and stop relying on the wisdom of man which only leads to sin, suffering and death (Proverbs 14:12). And if at first you do not receive wisdom, keep asking – pray again with persistence! This lesson is given to us in the parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8). We are to be persistent in prayer with our requests, not in a rude or demanding fashion, but by continually presenting our requests before God. You can also remind God of what His own Word says – yes, it is very profitable and good to do. King David did this often in the psalms, and I’ve found that doing this greatly helps me – for it is not God who needs to be reminded of Scripture, but us.
You must contend for the truth, for the faith that was handed down once for all time; you must fight to retain it and remain in it, as it is written:
WHY FALSE TEACHINGS MATTER
Some of the false teachings I expose in this book relate directly to matters of salvation and are therefore of critical and eternal importance; others may seem (on the surface) to be of much lesser importance. I’ve heard many Christian pastors/teachers claim that we should all “just get along in the name of Jesus” and that these are just “minor areas of disagreement.” I disagree with that sentiment; let me explain why.
I’ll start by repeating these explicit warnings from Scripture, which show you that you can come up short of eternal life and be tricked out of your “crown of life” by the false teachings of man, and by not knowing the truth of what is actually written and taught in Scripture :
Case in point, I was talking with an older gentleman at the gym as I was writing this book. In fact, this happened on the very same day that I was finalizing this chapter’s introduction. He was raised as a Catholic and attended Catholic schools since childhood. He therefore has heard about Jesus his whole life, but he has not accepted Christ by his own admission. When pressed, he does acknowledge that there is a God, although he thinks he will pass into nothingness after death (the false teaching of annihilation). So, although he has known and heard about “religion” and God and even Jesus his whole life, he doesn’t believe – in fact, he doesn’t even know what to believe. All he has heard taught and preached his whole life are the distortions and false teachings of man, and those were wrapped up in staggering hypocrisy by the ones teaching and preaching them. He knows that that what he has heard and been taught is “a bunch of hypocrisy and nonsense.”
And now we get to the crux of the matter: When I tried to explain the correct gospel message of truth to him, I could make no progress whatsoever. He finally just came out and said to me: “You know, I’ve seen and heard so many things which claim to be Christianity, that very frankly I don’t even know what or who to believe anymore. It’s all a bunch of crap!” He also again (repeatedly) mentioned the hypocrisy of those who profess to be telling him the truth, but then do not act in accord with Scripture themselves.
Yes, every single bit of what he was taught and experienced was from those who call themselves “Christians.” That they are not true to the Christianity of the Bible he could not have known without a lot of diligent bible reading, but when you’re lost to God, that’s not what you do. Frankly, he has all but given up, so when I come along and try to explain things all over again correctly to him, he simply doesn’t want to hear anymore. He’s heard so much nonsense that it has disgusted, overwhelmed and discouraged him completely. He’s given up on it all. And frankly, deep down he does actually believe that there is a God. How tragic!
So, you see, it does matter. It matters a lot. This guy has been deceived all his life – first by the deception of Roman Catholicism from his childhood, then followed by exposure to the various bizarre, nonsensical and ridiculous stuff that passes today for being “Christian” – but which does not lead to eternal life and does not conform to what is actually taught in Scripture. And, on top of all that, he sees an endless parade of self-proclaimed “Christians” around him behaving in abject hypocrisy.
One further example must be given here. Did the apostle Paul just “get along” with Peter when Peter was acting hypocritically with respect to the Mosaic Law in the mixed company of Jews and Gentiles (see Galatians 2)? No, he didn’t just “get along” – he confronted Peter and he did so boldly! For Peter’s actions and example might have caused others to stumble and fall away from Christ and grace back under Mosaic Law. These are matters of utmost seriousness, for it is a battle for eternal souls!
And lastly, very frankly, I think most of the false teachings are disrespectful to the Lord Jesus Christ in one way or another – either expressing infidelity or outright denying Him and His blood on the cross! Just “going along” with these false teachings indicates a lack of understanding of what Jesus did on the cross, of Christ’s commands as given in the New Testament, or of nature of the Kingdom of God (which is not of this world).
THE DANGER OF COMPLACENCY
I also disagree with the “just get along” sentiment because the false teachings can lead to complacency, which is another huge danger as I have already discussed, causing many to procrastinate in accepting Christ or sharing the gospel in urgency with others. Many of the false teachings are intentionally designed to lull people, both the saved and the lost, into complacency – a lack of determined daily spiritual growth in oneself (growing in the grace and understanding of the Lord), a lack of urgency in sharing the gospel, and a lack of attending to and doing the Lord’s business today!
This happens because the false teachings basically send this message (I’m paraphrasing here): “Don’t worry, there’s still more time left, because here are a bunch of (false) prophecies which we are still waiting to happen before Christ returns, so when you see these (false) prophetic events happening, you can then get serious about all this stuff.” Those succumbing to the false teachings are therefore falling into the exact trap they were designed to create, and they do not even realize it!
Scripture warns repeatedly and explicitly about falling into complacency for the great Day of Judgment will arrive when most are thinking “safe and secure,” like a “thief in the night,” whether you are ready to meet God and His Christ for judgment or not! It is written:
As you can clearly see, Scripture warns us in no uncertain terms to be alert and to guard against complacency!
THIS IS JUST A PARTIAL LIST
Also know that what I’ve included in this chapter is only a partial list of the false teachings that you will likely encounter. The fact of the matter is that some of the items (e.g., churches and institutions) that I have listed here are themselves comprised of many false teachings within! I also must mention that it is very common that where you find one false teaching, you will almost always find other false teachings within the same group/sect. False teachings usually travel in packs!
If you want to pick one single false teaching topic to dig into first yourself, I would suggest it be Dispensational Premillennialism (of various forms, with its attendant pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, mid-tribulation and secret rapture false teachings). I’ve found that deconstructing and understanding that one particular false teaching helps lead one to then be able to discern many of the other false teachings more easily.
Additionally, by studying that one particular false teaching, you will also become aware of the particular groups/sects/cults/churches which are promoting (yes promoting – as in advertising, pushing an agenda for gain or political objective) many of the other false teachings as well. You will also find that as you search for a church which is free from false teachings, one by one churches will eliminate themselves from your consideration and you will be left with only one church to pick from – for there is only one which isn’t full of false teachings! Amazing! See also the Finding a Church chapter.
As I suggested earlier, you should study each of these teachings yourself and draw your own conclusions. I also recommend reading The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It is a wonderful book which describes the journey of Christian from this world to that which is to come. Along the way, he meets many different characters and false teachings which try to trick him and turn him out of the straight and narrow path to eternal life, to try to cause him to stumble and fall, and to cause him to turn back from Christ. You will see that this very highly regarded book reinforces my warnings about the danger of false teachings.
THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE PREVAILS
I have presented to you already in this book the truth as given in Scripture. I have outlined the biblically specified conditions for eternal salvation, which are: being born again (through belief, repentance, confession, and baptism by immersion), obedience to the commands of Christ as given in the New Testament with the natural result of a truly saving faith being made manifest through action (i.e., good works, bearing fruit for the Lord) and persevering in faith until death. Remember that being born again is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for eternal salvation; it is only the start of your journey. Being born again is only the first step (but by far the most important step) on your path to eternal life – which is your ultimate goal and destination.
Any teaching which makes claims contrary to the above is a false teaching. Scripture is clear that all of those are components of eternal salvation for the Christian, you cannot omit any of them, simply because you don’t like them. The thing which the wolves do is that they cleverly and subtly mix bits of actual Scriptural/Christian truth in with all of their false teachings so it looks all very authentic and true to Scripture. All teachings should be directly tested against Scripture (including anything I write in this book).
These lies, distortions and false teachings aim to take away your crown of life! I pray that “those who have an ear to hear, hear” the warnings I’m giving in this section of the book, and may God give you grace in wisdom and understanding of His truth. Again, I say, be not deceived! The list of false teachings follows after the related scripture below.
under the influence of the wolves and false teachers!
(The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes)
NOTE: Scripture given below applies to the entire Wolves section, not just to any one false teaching in particular.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
For we are not as many, which corrupt [and peddle] the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 2:17 (KJV)
O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the Lord. They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The Lord declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken?”’”
Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, I am against you,” declares the Lord God. “So My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will have no place in the council of My people, nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel, that you may know that I am the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 13:4-9
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. – Romans 16:17-20
For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision. – Titus 1:7-10
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” – Matthew 23:1-3
Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” – Matthew 15:1-9
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” – 2 Peter 3:3-4
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. – 1 Timothy 4:1-3
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully [i.e. you do not abandon the truth for the false teaching]. – 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” – Matthew 24:4-11 [Note: While these verses applied to the period leading up to the events of A.D. 70, they also serve as caution today, for what has been will be, for there is nothing new under the sun!]
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” – Matthew 24:23-25 [Note: These verses applied to the period leading up to the events of A.D. 70, but they also serve as reminder of caution for us not to be misled today.]
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. – Hebrews 13:9
“‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’” – Deuteronomy 18:20
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 23:1-2
“For both prophet and priest are polluted;
Even in My house I have found their wickedness,” declares the Lord.
“Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing:
They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray.
“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing:
The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood;
And they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.
All of them have become to Me like Sodom,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.
They are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own imagination,
Not from the mouth of the Lord.” – Jeremiah 23:11, 13-14, 16
“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?” – Jeremiah 23:25-27
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.” – Jeremiah 14:14
“An appalling and horrible thing
Has happened in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love it so!
But what will you do at the end of it?” – Jeremiah 5:30-31
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. – Ephesians 4:11-16
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows [fiery darts] of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8:44
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. – 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. – Colossians 2:20-23
“Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.” – Revelation 3:9
And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. – Revelation 19:20
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9 [Note: Some might wonder why I’ve included this verse in this chapter. This last verse reminds you that what has happened in times of old also happens today also. So, just as false prophets abounded in Old Testament times, they also abound in New Testament times!]
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. – Hebrews 2:1
“I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” – Revelation 3:11
Click here for the list of the false teachings
(A list so long it won’t even fit in the site menu!)
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AGAIN, I SAY, BEWARE! DANGER AHEAD!
EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS IN THIS SECTION
OF THE BOOK IS A FALSE TEACHING.
under the influence of the wolves and false teachers!
(The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes)