Before I get into the topic of today, yesterday’s post on 2 Corinthians 6:2, was the precursor to Paul’s teaching on what a ministry should be 2 Corinthians 6:3-10. Of course, the bible has much more to say about what the makeup of church leaders, ministers, teachers, deacons, etc., should be.
It also has much to say about False Teachings or Teachers. The KJV Bible online for instance has 17 verses listed while the Open Bible has nearly 100 listings. My point in this is to make it clear that the Holy Spirit (the author of the Bible) wanted to be sure we knew there would be many of those opposed to sound biblical doctrine who would arise and try and lead folks astray.
Four of my favorite verses on the subject are 1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 3:5, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 John 2:18-25. Again in reading these, it is plain that many a false teacher is wandering around just waiting for the gullible follower. What is most disturbing is John’s warning that they will be known to us for they will claim to be “religious folks” that is they believe the bible but their actions deny that truth. Or maybe worse we will know for certain they have come out of the “church” and are now spreading false doctrines.
J.C. Ryle, the Anglican theologian of the 19th Century wrote about Eight Symptoms of False Doctrine: (and those who spout it)
Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.
- There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their ‘earnestness’ makes many think they must be right.
- There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.
- There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.
- There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.
- There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.
- There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.
- There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself as an angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11:14).
- There is a widespread ‘gullibility’ among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man.
All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, ‘Do not be carried away!’
From J. C. Ryle’s Warnings to the Churches [Banner of Truth, 1967], ‘Divers and Strange Doctrines’, pages 76-77, with slight editing.
Heavenly Father, there are so many false teachings and doctrines of demons that are flooding mainline churches today, and I pray that You would give me discernment and protection from all those, (whether knowingly or unknowingly) who are distorting the word of truth and the gospel of grace.
Give me wisdom and understanding as I read Your Word, so that I may be enabled to discern what is biblical truth and what is a distortion of that truth. Father, Your Word tells us that in the last days there will come times of great difficulty, where love will wear thin and people will be become proud and arrogant, abusive and unholy, having an outward appearance of godliness but denying the truth of the gospel. Protect me I pray, and all those I love from being influenced by such evil distortions, and keep us under Your promised protection, by Your grace.
Protect our hearts and minds from all those who distort the truth, and keep us all covered in the love of God, and protected by the blood of Christ, as we wait for His any day return. He alone is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen