Since the beginning of time, there have been immediate objections to the true faith. We all know how the story of the Garden of Eden unfolded, with Satan’s open and direction opposition to God’s word. However, not all of the enemy’s tactics are the same. We are warned in Matthew 7: 15 that “”Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (NASB). This warning isn’t talking about when snakes come and openly oppose the truth of God, as identifiable as that may be. Rather, these false teachers have the appearance of truth. This is what makes the overwhelming population explosion of false teaching in the world so dangerous: It appears to be genuine truth. I think this is one reason why so many people follow these teachers for so long, or are blind to seeing the error. Most of those who fit the following descriptions are, or seem, genuine. Genuineness, though important, is not a safeguard for false teaching. I don’t know how many people I have chatted with will defend speakers like Joel Osteen based of genuineness or kindness. I believe that these individuals may believe what they teach, but it certainly does not mean to conform or compromise. False teachers, as just highlighted in the above scripture, need to be identified and treated as the ravenous wolves they are, that is, knowing the damage they and their teachings are causing, we cannot be silent.
1.) An Endangered or Extinct Gospel
When I began the Berea page, my goal was to have discussions surrounding teachings to run through the lens of scripture, to see if it were true. This has brought me through some tough roads, including having to admit my error and ditch beliefs I held for some time. What I began to notice for sometime was that these teachers that were popularly followed preached almost no gospel. How often does the person you listen to preach the gospel? Oh, and wait, lets first define the gospel. Many times the following scripture is rightly quoted as a clear summary of the gospel: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” We must know why Christ died, in order for this to truly be good news. That is, that we are all rebellious sinners from birth, having no hope in ourselves for salvation. Yet in his mercy, he has completely atoned for the sins of his sheep, securing their salvation Himself.
There has been a popular trend amongst these false teachers that I have noticed which is to undervalue this gospel. In addition to not preaching on it often, they will act as if it is of no value or importance, and once your born again, you don’t have to worry about it. There is no respect or honor given to something that is so difficult that God himself was the only one who could provide it.
2.) An Unhealthy Obsession with Healing/Miracles
I call it the un-Job effect. This is the focus of the Christian religion to perform or receive healing or miracles, and to receive them often. We, especially American Christians (though not exclusively), love to read about these great suffering heroes of the Bible and give them great honor and admiration, but we run as far and as fast as we can from any type of similar circumstances. We don’t suffer well. One of the results of this obsession has been the acceptance of faith healers. It is as if anyone who makes grand claims of miracles is accepted with open arms, and are not held accountable. What is often humorous, in some way, is that these false prophets are no different from the pagan “healers, seers, fortune tellers” or others. Do not let a bible fool you. A person who holds a bible in their hand, or quotes a random verse or two (usually out of context) should not be given a free pass. If you were to take out the direct quotes of a person’s teaching, does it sound like some of the pagan teachers out there? Why is there such a fear of suffering, when the Bible guarantees it for true Christians? 2 Timothy 3:12 states: “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (NASB). I probably don’t have to remind you of the other warning of obsessing about miracles: Matthew 7:22 “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
So really, this final point has two warnings: do not become a chaser of works, and, be immediately skeptical to anyone who claims to be a miracle worker. There is not one person in scripture who emphasized miracles and healings as many do today. The focus is on Christ, and the repentance of sin, and the spread of the gospel. A major concern of mine is the acceptance of these teachers allow complete and obvious lies to be accepted. Do not become blind to the truth, because of genuineness. Do not become lazy to judging claims, and holding them accountable: your souls depend on it.