I want to call out by name five false teachers that are doing damage to the church of Christ. I have wanted to write this post for a while and am convinced that the time is right. These teachers do more harm than good to the gospel of Jesus. Here are five false teachers Christians should stop listening to immediately:
1. Folk Theologians. This type of teacher is one that says tradition trumps Scripture. For them, cultural tendencies are far more holy than Biblical truths. These are people who say that those Christians who commit suicide go to hell, that those women who don’t wear head coverings are being disobedient to the Bible and those people who don’t dress like them, talk like them, act like them or read the same books like them are ultimately deceived, have gone astray and are no longer clinging to the faith. This is a folk theology that is a false methodology. The church is a different bunch of sinners, in need of the same looking cross. Folk theology is a poor substitute but an easy escape because you no longer are wrestling with the truth. And if you have all the answers, you have stopped learning.
2. Critics. In his first letter, John tells us not to believe every spirit but rather to test them, to see whether they are from God. Why? For many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Here is the thing: Not all critics are bad. Those that genuinely want to see you doing well and come alongside to encourage you, are great. But there are others who are just as sincere about tearing you down. Not because they don’t like what you do, but because they don’t like you. But this is completely ok. You won’t be able to please everyone. In fact, the quickest way to absolute personal meltdown is trying to please everyone around your or attempting to get acceptance or approval from everyone. It won’t happen. There will be people who will de-friend you, reject you, not like you, not accept you, will hate you and generally wish evil upon you. It is all good, keep doing what you were called to do.
3. Fear. This is one of the most damaging and crippling false teachers. It is no wonder that over one hundred times in the Bible we find the liberating “fear not,” statements. Rather than being in fear, we should dwell on the words of Jesus found in Luke 12:22-31. Why is fear crippling? Because every time you fail, or get rejected, or find out people don’t like you, it feels like there is no reason to move forward. But that could not be further from the truth. In the last few months I have had over thirty people unsubscribe from this blog. But guess what happened? Almost double that amount of people subscribed to receive fresh, gospel-centered content.
In the last three months, I have had ninety-five people unfollow me on Instagram. But in the last three months, over six hundred people found the posts I put up encouraging and a fuel to their faith and started following.
Even if you just judged me right now because I shared some social media numbers, I am completely fine with that and am not offended. Why am I saying this? Fear is a false teacher that continues to lie that you are not good enough, not worthy enough and should just sit alone and not make your voice heard. Jesus ultimately saved you to love you forever. This is why the best thing you can do in your life, is image Jesus with your life.
4. Experience. This is another false teacher that followers of Jesus need to stop listening to. Life experience is prescriptive, not prophetic. A testimony of someone that has been saved by Jesus won’t save another person. Only Jesus can do that. A supernatural experience that someone else tells you about can’t save you. Only Jesus can. Whatever crazy or out of this world experience you or I could have, has no power to save someone who is spiritually dead. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the experiential story, we completely miss out on the gospel story. It is about Jesus, not our experience. It is about Jesus, not our mountain top experience. It is about Jesus, not the invigorating passion we experienced singing our favorite worship song. I have heard people personally tell me that they cannot experience Jesus by reading the Bible. But the reality is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. If we want to know what Jesus sounds like, we need to read the Bible. If we want to know what God sounds like, we need to read the Bible. Our experience very often cannot be replicated and neither should it be used as a firm foundation for our life. Only Jesus can be our cornerstone.
5. Doubt. We have these false teachers who are serial skeptics. Instead of speaking into life the things that Jesus can do, they always keep talking about what they personally can’t do. This false teacher reminds me of the interaction that Jesus had with Thomas. You do remember what Thomas said right? “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:24-25). Jesus said to Thomas then and is now saying to you: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
If the universe we live in is upheld by the power of Jesus’ Word, what is to Jesus the issue that you are facing. Destroy your doubts and believe that Jesus is bigger, better and more satisfying than any doubt you have percolating in your mind.
I stopped listening to these five false teachers completely. Will you join me?
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Question: What other false teachers would you add to this list?