A few weeks ago, I asked for anyone to submit an answer to my question, “What Should A Christian Do About False Teaching?” I asked those who opposed what I and others are doing to submit responses, and I would publish them. Not one responded. But I am happy to post all the responses I have received. I believe they will be helpful and instructional to you, especially those who have been confused about what to do as a Christian when faced with false teaching that can be destructive and harmful to many Christians. Scripture is clear, and I believe these answers will continue to put to rest any argument that we ought to stay silent and let false teachings and false teachers go unchallenged. I thank God for those who have been blessed with discernment and a love for protecting their fellow Christians from danger. I pray for and give warning to those who continue to close their eyes to the truth and refuse to confront evil for the sake of a false “unity”, because that is clearly the opposite of Christian love.
REFUTE ERROR WHEREVER AND WHENEVER
I believe the Bible is plain about how we are to deal with false teaching.
I believe the Bible teaches us that we have a responsibility to expose the works of darkness, to defend the Gospel, and to refute error whenever it comes into the church. With God being the same yesterday, today, and forever, His attitude does not change with regards to false prophecy. He said that if a prophet prophesies something in the His name, or by the name of a false god that that prophet should be put to death. Today we don’t practice stoning in the New Testament, but the penalty is the same eternally I believe. False prophecy is so offensive that it brings the same penalty as did adultery in the Old Testament. To fear the Lord is to love good and to hate evil, and false teaching is evil and leads men into destruction. False teachings bring a false gospel, a false salvation, and a false sense of eternal security. It is an abomination.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important document on the planet, it is the only thing that has the power to change men’s hearts, and to lead them to eternal life, and anything that takes away from it’s purity should be exposed to it’s light.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, and any teaching that casts a shadow on His Deity, or His finished work on the Cross comes from the lips of lying prophets, and lying teachers whose end is destruction.
It is love to warn false teachers and to call them to repentance, and it is merciful, and not judgmental as some would have us believe.
WHAT IS THE BELIEVER’S RESPONSIBILITY IN THE FACE OF APOSTASY? (2 John 7-11)
(Mission Venture Ministries)
Scripture gives us three references on this subject. The apostate the Bible talks about are not simply unbelievers, but are teachers of apostate doctrines, who propagate their destructive rejection such as denials of the Trinity, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, and the second coming.
First, we read in 2 John 7-11 that the believer is not to fellowship with such an individual. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
So if someone fits the description illustrated here, fellowship is forbidden, even to the point of not allowing the person into one’s home.
Second, this concerns the local church. If a member is found proclaiming a destructive denial, he is to be ousted from the church as Paul stated in Galatians 1:8-9: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be anathema!
As we read in verse 9, if anyone in their church is discovered to be an apostate, he or she is to be declared anathema which means “untouchable” and they should be expelled from the church. We also find this advice in Proverbs 22:10: “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.”
The third is where the believer is faced with a church where apostates are in control of the leadership of the church and cannot be ousted. In this case the believer’s obligation is to separate himself from apostasy. In 2 Timothy 3:5, after characterizing apostasy as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof,” Timothy is admonished from these also turn away. Timothy was urged to separate himself from such apostasy.
We also see Paul writing to the Corinthians about this: Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
This is an important passage for it cautions the believer to separate himself from the apostates and not to continue to congregate with them. As we see there can be no fellowship between unrighteousness and righteousness. Believers are a part of righteousness, whereas unbelievers are part of iniquity, and there can be no fellowship between the two in the same church.
Furthermore, there is no communion between light and darkness. Believers are of the light, but unbelievers are of the darkness. There is no common ground between the two. There can be no agreement between Christ and Satan as they have two separate areas of operation and two distinct programs. The same way, the believer is part of Christ’s program while the unbeliever is part of Satan’s. One is destined for heaven and the other is destined for hell. And there is no agreement between the temple of God and the temple of an idol. The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but the unbeliever is not. Since there is no fellowship, communion or agreement in the area of worship, with an unbeliever there is an unequal yoke, therefore we are not to place ourselves in a worship situation with unbelievers.
The command of separation involves three phases:
- Come out from among them
- Be separated and
- Touch not the unclean things
In verses 17-18 we have three promises that are given to those who comply and separate themselves:
- I will receive you
- I will be to you a Father and
- You will be to me sons and daughters
In verse 7:1 Paul concludes urging the believer, on the basis of these promises, to follow through on his separation from apostasy where necessary.
When we study the book of Revelation we read the letters to the seven churches, the last one being written to the Laodicea or apostate church. It can hardly be denied that the majority of churches today have given in to and become a part of the apostasy.
“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
APOSTASY & FALSE TEACHING
(Dr. Jay Jeffers)
There is little doubt that we are today in the midst of widespread apostasy. By that term I mean: Departure from the faith once for all delivered to the saints, for which we are to earnestly contend.  I believe that apostates include two types of people:
(1) Those who have knowingly turned completely from Christ and no longer even pretend to be Christians; and
(2) Those who still claim to be Christians but have departed from the faith.
The latter would likewise be divided into two groups:
a) Those who deliberately twist the Scriptures, perverting the gospel “to draw away disciples after them” or who endorse false teachers (though they know better) because they want to share their fame and power  – or who simply want to be
“positive” so as to “offend” no one; and b) The naive, who are genuinely deceived by false prophets/teachers.
Apostasy, of course, in some measure, has existed as long as the church. (most of the epistles involve, to some extent, correction of false doctrine and practice that was already in the early church in the days of the apostles.) It is the mushrooming, widespread incidence of the apostasy described under 2) above, however, among those who claim to be Christians, that I believe Scripture points to as a specific sign of the last days just prior to Christ return.
Christ’s warning made several things clear: 1) The major sign of the nearness of His coming would be religious deception by professing Christian leaders; 2) A central feature of the deception would be false prophets showing “great signs and wonders,” which, though convincing, would also be false; 3) The repetition of the word, “many,” indicated that this religious deception would be widespread, apparently worldwide; and 4) The words Christ’s, prophets, signs and wonders, and elect indicated that the deception would be among professing Christians, i.e., inside the church.
“When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14. Time on this earth is quickly drawing to a close. Let us determine once again to remain true to and earnestly contend for “the faith once delivered unto the saints.” And in that perseverance, may our example give renewed courage and conviction to many others – and may we rescue many before it is forever too late.
Dr. Jay Jeffers Christian Psychologist/Licensed Minister Sparks Nazarene Church
CONTINUE TO CONTEND AND CONFRONT
Jesus Himself writing in Matthew 24 predicted that there would come false Christians, false prophets and false Christs. Peter predicted false prophets and false teachers who would lead people astray and be very successful at it. John warned of many Antichrists who were already at work in the church in his epistle. Jude warned about evil, wicked, lascivious men who would come and cause us to have to contend for the faith, once, for all, delivered to the saints. And the Apostle Paul fought false teachers everywhere he went as he told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9,
“1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.”
Now Paul knows that it takes strong men to stand against this. He was one, he wanted Timothy to be one and certainly this became Scripture so that God might call us to be among those who take strong stands. Contend and confront is what I would call it. And there are very few who would do this or are willing to do this, contend for the faith and confront those who aren’t. There are a lot of pastors, leaders, and Christians that recognize this apostasy in the church but there seem to be few who want to get involved as stalwart soldiers with an uncompromising resolute commitment to stand against the tide that flows against the truth. And if you take strong stands and if you’re a non-compromising resolute kind of defender of the faith, the enemies of the faith attack you but some within the faith who are weak can’t understand what you’re so exercised and excited about. They don’t even understand the nature of the spiritual warfare and they treat the real fighters as if they were some off-balance fanatics.
What more could Satan do to try to destroy the church than undermining God’s Word, shifting the focus off Christ, and minimizing holy living? We all need to be praying that the Lord would elevate the authority of His Word, the glory of His Son, and the purity of His people in the evangelical church. May the Lord revive us!
The gospel message is a confrontational message. When you remove the confrontation-or soften, downplay, or bring it in through the back door-you have compromised the message. The modern pulpit is weak, not for a lack of witty messages, but because men fear to speak the hard truths of God’s Word powerfully and with conviction.
C. H. Spurgeon, facing a similar mindset in his day, said this:
“I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied. But Paul did not lay himself out to please the public and collect the crowd. If he did not save them he felt that it was of no avail to interest them. Unless the truth had pierced their hearts, affected their lives, and made new men of them, Paul would have gone home crying, “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”…
Now observe, brethren, if I, or you, or any of us, or all of us, shall have spent our lives merely in amusing men, or educating men, or moralizing men, when we shall come to give our account at the last great day we shall be in a very sorry condition, and we shall have but a very sorry record to render; for of what avail will it be to a man to be educated when he comes to be damned? Of what service will it be to him to have been amused when the trumpet sounds, and heaven and earth are shaking, and the pit opens wide her jaws of fire and swallows up the soul unsaved? Of what avail even to have moralized a man if still he is on the left hand of the judge, and if still, “Depart, ye cursed,” shall be his portion?”
The strategy of church-growth today focuses on attracting and keeping the unchurched. For what? To entertain them? To get them to attend church meetings regularly? Merely “churching” the unchurched accomplishes nothing of eternal value. That is where their strategy seems to end. We need to set our strategy for church ministry, right here and right now. And it needs to be straightforward, a Christ-centered proclamation of the unadulterated Word of God. If you trade the Word for amusements or gimmicks, you will not only find that you have no effective means to reach people with the truth of Christ, but you will find yourself working against the Lord Himself. The Pastor needs to “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). Why should we proclaim the wisdom of men when we have the privilege of preaching the Word of God? The truth of God does not tickle our ears. It burns them. It reproves, rebukes, convicts– then it exhorts and encourages. Preachers of the Word must maintain that balance.
The church’s duty should always be to confront such skepticism and answer it by clearly proclaiming the truth God has revealed in His Word. We have been given a clear message for the purpose of confronting the world’s unbelief. That is what we are called, commanded, and commissioned to do (1 Corinthians 1:17-31). Faithfulness to Christ demands it. The honor of God requires it. We cannot sit by and do nothing while worldly, revisionist, and skeptical attitudes about truth are infiltrating the church. We must
not embrace such confusion in the name of charity or unity. We have to stand and fight for the truth–and be prepared to die for it–as faithful Christians always have.
But as long as Christians are being duped or intimidated into softening the bold claims of Christ and widening the narrow road, the church will make no headway against this emerging church’s new view. We need to recover the distinctiveness of the gospel. We need to regain our confidence in the power of God’s truth. And we need to proclaim boldly that Christ is the only true hope for the people of this world. That may not be what people want to hear. But it is true nonetheless. And precisely because it is true and the gospel of Christ is the only hope for a lost world, it is all the more urgent that we rise above all the voices of confusion in the world and say so.
But the pastor who turns away from preaching sound doctrine abdicates the primary responsibility of an elder: “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).
Continue to contend. Continue to confront those who oppose these scriptural truths. God will prevail. He loves His church. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He will fight for us, He will be with us, and He will be victorious. He is still the risen Lamb of God! Fight on! And stand firm! 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!”
Until He Comes,
CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
We’re told to contend for the faith…If we leave those outside; Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those inside without a challenge we’re taking the chance of letting someone else miss the truth and going to hell.
With their eternities at stake, it doesn’t make much difference to me if I hurt someone’s feelings… Especially those who promote lies.
Three Things Suggested
I have thought of this for a while. 1. Challenge the minister or false teacher to teach what is in the Bible. 2. Withhold funds and ask others to do the same, but not to deprive the Lord. Set them aside, and when the errors or teachings are corrected give the tithe back to the church. 3. Leave the church to seek out a Bible based church such as the ICN, inform the board of what you are doing and give the withheld tithe to that church. And, you may also have Bible study at your home independent of church to correct the errors of the teaching. I think there are more ways, I know there are, but the fastest way is attendance and money. If there is false teaching they are more grounded in the ways of the world than of the Word so remove the things of the world that they are interested in.