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Devotional - Stop Excusing False Teachers

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. - Acts 20: 28-30 (NLT)

    There has been a lot of controversy lately over the discussion of false teaching and false teachers. As always there is a renewed call for kumbya Christianity where unity appears to be more important than doctrine. Over this past week I have read compelling cases for such but they seem to fall just short of the mark. I understand the call for unity - it is completely scriptural:

    I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” - 1Corinthians 1: 10-12 (NLT)

    While the kumbya crowd is quick to quote that we are to live in harmony they seem to forget the rest of the context. We are not supposed to be unified for the sake of unity. We are supposed to be unified in and by Christ. We are supposed to be of one mind - united in thought and purpose! Thus if your thinking is wrong - in other words doctrine - then I am not supposed to be unified with you at all! If the purpose of your ministry is to sell prosperity instead of salvation then I am not supposed to be unified with you at all! Not only that but Paul provides us with an example! He had heard that some were disagreeing about who it was that they were following. Let me offer some insight here. Those that were saying they follow anyone other than Christ were falling into doctrinal error. Paul did not want anyone "unified" with that error so he corrected the error.

    Which brings us to the next point. Exactly what is the difference between error and false teaching? An error is a mistake that when pointed out - is changed! If the person refuses to change because they believe that this really is your best life now - then they have left the realm of error and have wandered into false teaching. The dictionary defines a heretic as:

    a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

    I want us to focus in on the word "maintain", because that is the key. It is the insistence that their false teaching is right that makes it false teaching and not error. Paul provides us with another example:

    This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. - 2Timothy 2: 17-18 (NLT)

    First of all, Paul calls the false teachers out by name. So enough of this foolishness that we are not supposed to call the wolves by their names. Notice that Paul clearly states that Hymenaeus and Philetus have left the path of truth. They left the true Gospel and in doing so were leading some people away from the faith.

    And that really should be the larger point. I often hear a lot of concern over the preachers in question but never that much about the flock following them down the broad path to destruction. I have read recently some question whether we should be calling Joel Osteen a false teacher! This is a man who on national television has denied Christ as the only way to heaven, said that telling people the dos and don'ts of doctrine wasn't his gifting, and that it is not his place to say who God will let into heaven. You do not get more anti-fundamental than that. His book titles are as follows:

    Your Best Life Now!
    Becoming a Better You!
    How to Be Happier!
    Proclaiming the Promises of God Over Your Life!
    It's Your Time! Finding Favor, Restoration and Abundance!
    Five Keys to An Extraordinary Life!

    I see a whole lot of YOU and not so much about God. Joel Osteen is a motivational speaker pretending to be a pastor. If you cannot say that he is a false teacher than no one is! His Gospel is a hybrid of the word faith heresy and prosperity heresy. His Christ has the power to save no one because he never deals with the core doctrines of sin and repentance, be it his gifting or not. The reason why I have no qualms in saying so is because I am far more concerned about the hundreds of thousands of people who watch Joel as their sole source of faith. I am concerned because one day they will stand before Christ and they will say - "Lord Lord, didn't I attend Pastor Joel's church every week for thirty years? And He may very well say - away from me, I never knew you.

    Now, when it gets this personal, I usually hear two well intended but specious arguments. The first is that someone knows someone who was saved in Osteen's church. So what? If you are truly seeking God you will find Him. He is not that hard to find. I would venture that person was saved in spite of Osteen's messages not because of them. The second specious argument is that Osteen said this or that correctly. Beloved, false teachers are not always false. They do not come with neon signs around their necks. One can look at Benny Hinn and see him for the poster child of false prophets that he is because he is such low hanging fruit. Just because Benny preaches salvation correctly, that does not excuse everything else. That is why someone like Joseph Prince is so insidious. Because so much of what Prince says is 100% accurate. But the leaven running through his doctrine is lethal to the unaware. They will follow it straight to hell because the Jesus he preaches is not the Jesus that saves people. It is a candy coated, sugar frosted Jesus who makes us oblivious to sin in our lives. Prince's roots are also proudly in the word faith nonsense. When Paul says that Hymenaeus and Philetus have turned people from the faith THAT is what we should be concerned about. Joesph Prince is not in error - he is a false teacher. Joel Osteen is not in error - he is a false teacher. I have occasionally heard a third specious argument that we should not be judging who is going to hell or heaven. I wholeheartedly agree but pointing out false teaching is judging the teaching. I have heard people say that Benny Hinn is a great guy or that Joel Osteen is very sincere. Fantastic. Their teaching is still false and my concern is with who might be following them.

    The key verses today remind us of the realities to which we speak. Breaking down the verses will feed us and show us the truths God wants us to be aware of when it comes to false teaching. These verses are Paul's final words to the elders at the Church of Ephesus. The first admonition is that we are to guard ourselves and God's people. Guarding ourselves deals with our own theology and ensuring we stick to Word of God. When Paul was saying farewell to his protege Timothy he told him to only guard two things! His life and his doctrine. Why?

    Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV)

    It is our doctrine that ensures our hearers are meeting the right Jesus. It has to be about the people that are in the pews not the pulpit. Note however from the key verses that we also are to guard God's people! They need guarding! We are supposed to feed them. Not rotten meat and spoiled milk but the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not just the seeker friendly parts. Not just the purpose driven parts. Not just the hyper grace parts. All of it. In this same farewell, Paul declares himself innocent of the Ephesians blood because he did not hesitate to proclaim the entire Gospel to them!

    Next in the key verses Paul reminds the Ephesian elders and us today that the church was purchased with the blood of Jesus. It is not some trifle to play games with. It is not some casual thing that can be altered and massaged to fit some carnal man made agenda. Oh that people would discover the reverent fear of the Lord again! This is not about hurting the fragile sensibilities of your favorite false prophet. It is about the fact that God does not want any to perish and so many are marching down the broad path, singing kumbya, and holding hands with someone claiming to be a man of God but who does not introduce him to God.

    Next we see the nature of false teachers. Paul does not mince words here. He is not concerned about hurting the feelings of anyone. He is certainly not concerned about creating a false sense of unity. They are vicious wolves beloved. They will not spare the flock! I am sure that Joel Osteen does not fancy himself a vicious wolf but it is his teaching that is not sparing the flock of God. When you sell a compromised Christ you end up with a compromised salvation.

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. - Romans 1: 16 (NIV)

    Do we get this? It is not unity that brings salvation - it is the Gospel! It is not the gospel of grace, as Prince likes to say. It is not the gospel of prosperity that hucksters like Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland sell. It is not the gospel of self help and motivation that Joel Osteen preaches. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, - 1Corinthians 15: 1-4 (NIV)

    By THIS Gospel you are saved! Not a word about prosperity and word faith. No hyper grace ignoring sin. Otherwise you have believed in vain! This is not about money. It is not about being motivated. It is about Christ dying for our sins!

    The key verses conclude with Paul getting even more personal. He warns them and us today that some will come from amongst our own group and distort the truth in order to draw a following. How many millions follow Osteen's motivational gospel? How many millions follow Prince's hyper-grace gospel? How many millions follow the prosperity gospel? They call it the broad path for a reason - there are a lot of people on it. Where are those millions of people going? How many will have to say, "Lord Lord?" The end result of this all is that the fastest growing mission field is in the pews across America. Millions of people sold a false god by a false teacher. Millions of people told they are saved by a three sentence prayer devoid of sin and repentance.

    Millions of people and we stand around debating whether or not to call false teaching what it is. We are not all on the same team beloved. I think we can take the personalities out of it by focusing on the teaching. I can believe that Osteen and Prince are sincere but as my pastor likes to say - you can be sincere and sincerely wrong. This is not about people I differ with. This is about people whose teachings differ from the Bible. This is also not about non-essential doctrinal differences. Those arguments just poison the well and muddy the waters. Reasonable people can disagree reasonably. But unreasonable teaching that deviates from Scripture and has the potential of leading people away from the path to life - that cannot be negotiated. The eternal destination of men lies in the balance. Errors can be corrected. False teaching must be exposed. We should be unified in doing so.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - October 30, 2013
  2. am kinda not clear on that definition yet of difference of error and false teaching....

    can you comment on following verse how it relate to what is being discussed:

    Philippians 1:12-18New King James Version (NKJV)
    Christ Is Preached
    12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
    15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former[
    a] preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
  3. I do not post here anymore due to the combative nature of some who refuse to hear the truth but I will try and answer your question.

    The Philippians verses you cite speak to the motivation for preaching the Gospel, not the substance. Paul says some preach the Gospel from strife, some from envy and some from goodwill. In other words some are sincere and others not. He concludes however that as long as Christ is preached - meaning correctly - then he will rejoice. They are not false teachers because they are correctly proclaiming Christ. They may have carnal reasons for doing so and they will answer to God for that, but either way - Christ is preached.

    I try to stay away from motives because they are difficult to determine. I try to stick to what is preached because only the true Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of men. Let me know if this helped. Thanks.
  4. Yes thanks, that helps, that summarizes the idea…
  5. Romans 14:10 (KJV)
    But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
    Euphemia likes this.
  6. Sad to see nothing has changed here. I really wish that people would stop and understand scripture instead of merely posting it out of context. Romans 14 deals with a strong Christian passing judgment on a weaker Christian for the things they may or may not do, such as what they eat. It has nothing to do with exposing false teachers. The Bible however is not silent on this matter:

    For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the churchwhom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” - 1Corinthians 5: 12-13 (ESV)

    He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. - Titus 1: 9 (ESV)

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. - Romans 16: 17-18 (ESV)

    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. - Colossians 2: 8 (ESV)

    As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. - 1Timothy 5: 20 (ESV)

    Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. - Ephesians 5: 11 (ESV)

    Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” - John 7: 24 (ESV)

    Aha - feel free to message me anytime if you have any questions but this is why I stopped posting. Be well.
  7. Rev. Wade, you're swimming against the current. Keep that up and you'll be plenty unpopular.
    Then again, being unpopular with the right people is pleasing to God, so hats off to you.
    anthony wade likes this.

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