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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Certainty of False Teachers

With the Wednesday morning study I went through Jeremiah 31 for the third time this morning – not with them but my third time with a group.  I summarized what we have seen in the book through the first 30 chapters as we started:
If it is the case that there are false teachers in the Church, how do we identify them?  Thoughts at DTTB.
All the way through this book the thing that is being emphasized over and over again, there will be false teachers that come up against the people of God.  Those teachers will be in the form of leaders both political and religious.  They will speak in the name of God but not be really sent by Him.  The people will be held responsible for whether or not they follow this bad teaching.  The question becomes then how do we as a people attempting to follow God sort out what is true and what is not?  This is an incredibly important issue.  Acts 17:11 comes to mind, as does, Jeremiah 23.22
The problem is that those who are teaching the truth will be maligned.  The enemy will do all that he can to discredit them.
The other passage that parallels this warning is 2 Peter 2:1 – 3.  There Peter warns, after testifying to the validity of the Scripture in 2 Peter 1:18 – 21, that there will be false teachers in the Church just as Jeremiah experienced false teachers.

We observed that there was a bout a 750 year time period between Jeremiah and 2 Peter.  If both men were writing about the problem of false teachers.  It is probable that we have the same issue today.

This morning we asked the question how do the people of God identify these false teachers.  We came up with an answer or two.  How would you say we are to identify false teachers?


  1. Terrifically relevant post, Mike; we can be so naive about false teaching and teachers, assuming that those who agree with us are obviously right allowing me to potentially be furthrer confirmed in my own errors (or partial truths which may be worse.
    What to do?
    1. Be everlasting in the Book for myself with the attitude of conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate teacher.
    2. Interact with hopefully both in person and through the writings of the spiritual ages of the ages on different sides than my own. God promises to meet those who are humble (Ps.25:8,9)
    3. As I get older, I realize more of how prone I am to settle into my convictions on even essential doctrines and be unwilling to see things in different ways. Allowing others to challenge my positions to force me to reconsider (Biblically) why I believe some things. Several illustrations come to mind.
    4. Continually ask myself, no matter where I am in the Word, "Where is the cross in this passage?" Since all of God's promises are of God are "Yes" and "Amen" in Christ (2 Cor.1:20) I should find it's great shadow nearby.
    5. Consider what I believe and am learning in the light of the Glory of God. Does my understanding confirm His majestic sovereignty and glory? Does it uphold the complete, finished work of Christ accomplished already for me? For all mankind in all places in all ages?
    6. What does the entire Bible have to say about my understanding of everything I believe? How does the N.T. as it reveals Christ and His Work relate to the Old?

    I would love to see others disagree, interact, contribute to this discussion. Our eternal destinies could subtly depend on it; false doctrine has deadly consequences (2 Peter 2:1,2); and if not subtle there likely wouldn't need to be such strong warnings.

    1. As always, awesome thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to share them.

  2. There are indeed false prophets in the church and in the world. The questions of how to identify a false prophet and how to protect ourselves from being deceived are both addressed here:

  3. I'm surprised, I guess, that these answers have not floated up yet: Luke 6:43-45, Matthew 7:15-20 - Jesus says you will know them by their fruit.. and in Matthew 7:21-27 He clarifies that some of that fruit is the ability to do what God/Jesus say to do.

    1 John 2:18-27 speaks about staying in fellowship with Christ and listening to Holy Spirit in order to discern who are false teachers, as well as giving two obvious citations of false teachers who deny Christ as the Son of God. He goes on to repeat his warning in 1 John 4:1-3, but this time is slightly clearer, saying that denying Christ as He was in the flesh on this earth is a clear sign that someone is a false prophet or teacher. For many years I glossed over this passage as head knowledge until one day my wife asked me regarding a movement that had my spiritual hackles standing on end, "How does that agree with the life that Jesus lived on the earth?"... and of course, I asked, "What do you mean?" and she replied, "If we are testing these 'spirits' by how Jesus lived, and compare their message to the messages of His life, death, burial and resurrection, then how does this group compare?" - I quickly stated that the scripture only said those who deny Christ came in the flesh, but as I prayed and studied these verses, I felt the Holy Spirit giving me more understanding and simply saying that my wife was right.. what Jesus did and said should be our ultimate test of any movement, teaching, spirit or interpretation of scripture. If it doesn't agree with what He did in the flesh, then it is NOT of God.

    And finally, in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, Paul warns us not to go too far the other direction either.. be careful not to despise or stifle what the Holy Spirit is doing, even if you don't necessarily understand it all at first.

    1. - Andy.. forgot to sign it..

    2. Really good - well stated. It seems like you may have married way up.