False teachers are always marked by 5 things: (These are all the opposite of what Paul describes as a True Teacher in 2 Corinthians 12:12-16)
1. Pride- They like to puff up their egos.
2. Selfishness- They will always put themselves and their own desires above all other’s, especially their deceived flock.
3. Deception- They cannot speak the whole truth because it’s offensive, therefore they must twist scripture and take verses out of context in order to cause congregates to have warm fuzzy “worship bumps.”
4. Irreverence- They lack respect for God’s word and will often pervert scripture for their own lustful desires and for shock-and-awe in order to further their selfish pride by obtaining media coverage. (placing a bed in or on top of their church building for instance.) They are usually marked by sensualism.
5. Destructiveness- Their teaching is destructive…like “gangrene,” (2Tim. 2:17) destroying the hearers eternally.
False teachers are crafty… Smooth… Deceiving, if it were possible, even the elect (Matt. 24:24.) These lovers of money, self-proclaimed-agents of God, become concerned that people are catching onto their deceptions or are at least becoming suspicious of the “feel good” messages lacking doctrinal fortitude and so they have to do something seemingly radical in order to keep up the facade.
The new tactic I see amongst this group is they come out, Sunday morning, “with a heavy heart,” or a contrite spirit or some other phrase that makes them seem spiritually wounded and vulnerable, and they declare they were wrong about some things they taught in the past, or they focused too much on prosperity, but NOW they want to get it right. Of course then, the organist plays, the choir chimes in- harmoniously- and this supposedly spiritually wounded teacher proceeds to whip everyone into an emotional high with inconsequential, meaningless, empty, bumper sticker doctrine until everyone in the room is “slain in the spirit”, shouting “Hallelujah,” and thrusting their wallets into the offering plate.
If one of these men or women had a TRUE epiphany from God, that they have been doing it wrong all these years, they would stop being teachers, for their’s is a greater condemnation (James 3:1).
“If a preacher of the word is found to be in sin and openly admits and repents, can he ever be in ministry again? Sure…but just like you wouldn’t give the keys of the safe back to a thieving bank manager, neither would you return a thieving minister to the pulpit.”
You might say, “well, false teachers like Benny Hinn are obvious… What true Believer would sit under their teaching?”
When you go fishing, do you cast out a hook with a little neon sign on it that reads, “hey fish! Come die so I can eat you?” No, you drop something down there that LOOKS like fish dinner, right? The idea is deception. Sheep are dumb. They need a Shepherd. One who will rightly handle the word of God and present a scripture buffet on Sunday rather than dumpster crumbs.
This is the work of an effective False teacher. They don’t come right out and say, “hey! I want to let you all know ahead of time; fair warning, I am going to teach 45% truth and 62% fallacies…”
But, their messages will always be off SOMEWHERE. It may not be obvious like, the doctrine of depravity, or hell, or even God (unless you’re Rob Bell.) They don’t have the Spirit and therefore cannot correctly exposit and properly handle God’s word. This is why WE MUST be in the word DAILY so as to obtain wisdom and discernment, which all false teachers lack. They may be crafty but they lack biblical wisdom and understanding.
Ezekiel, in 13:3, calls them FOOLISH. They follow their own spirits he says. They forsake Jesus’ commands ostensibly to reach the lost.
“We don’t offer different kinds of Bible studies…Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, and Joyce Meyer, no…you know what we got? We got Jesus. We preach Him….If you know Jesus, this church is not for you. If you need the doctrines of grace as defined by John Calvin to get excited, you in the wrong church…Let me get a phonebook, there are 720 churches in Charlotte, I’m SURE we can find one where you can stuff your face until you’re so obese spiritually, but you can’t even move. Luke 19:10 ‘seek and save that which is lost;’ it’s the mission of Jesus, it’s the mission of this church.” – Steven Furtick (confessions of a Pastor – 2008)
“The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” – Apostle Paul
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Jesus
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” – Jesus
In the end, if a pastor does not measure up to a 2 Timothy 2:15 description of a preacher, its time to look for another church.
The key word is “ashamed.” Anyone who teaches anything other than that which is accurately reflective of the Word of truth ought to be ashamed, that’s the main idea. The dictionary describes shame as the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of having done something dishonorably. Anyone who propagates false teaching ought to be ashamed and has reason to face God in a state of utter ashamedness. In other words it’s worthy of condemnation, not COMMENDATION.
To put it simply, anyone who misrepresents, misinterprets, ignores or distracts from God’s Word by giving false teaching or confusing people with useless, audacious, human reasoning, has cause to be ashamed no matter how many degrees you have, or how many PhD.s or how great he thinks he is. If he violates the Word of God or misrepresents its glorious truths, he has every reason to stand before God in shame. One should feel painfully conscious of having done something dishonorably in mishandling God’s precious Word.
Jesus rebuked false teachers, but we cannot forget, He still of course loved them.
“Matthew 23 is one of the most serious passages in Scripture. Jesus here makes the word hypocrite a synonym for scribe and for Pharisee. He calls them sons of hell, blind guides, fools, robbers, self-indulgent, whitewashed tombs, full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, serpents, vipers, persecutors and murderers of God’s people. He uttered every syllable with absolute self-control but with devastating intensity.
Yet Jesus was never cold or indifferent. On this occasion, His judgment is mingled with sorrow. It is not the Son’s will any more than the Father’s that a single person perish, because it is the gracious divine desire that everyone would come to repentance and salvation (2 Pet. 3:9). At the end of His denunciation, Jesus extended, by implication another last invitation for belief, suggesting that He would still gladly gather any unbelievers under His wings as a mother hen gathers her chicks, if only they would be willing. (Matt. 23:37).” – John MacArthur
Well, why can’t we have it both ways? I mean, Joel Osteen says a lot of good stuff and so does T.D. Jakes…even Joyce Meyer speaks the truth occaisionally…why can’t we listen to the good and just leave the bad?
“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” – 2 Timothy 2:16-18
I don’t know about you, but if someone baked me a batch of brownies and said, “oh, by the way, a little bit of dog poop fell into the batch when I was making them, but it was only a little bit….there’s still a lot of good. Just pick out the good and leave the poop…”
That’s not a batch that would be going anywhere near my hands, let alone my mouth.