“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. [Matthew 7:15 ESV]
A couple of weeks ago I posted about snowgators and fear. This week, revisiting the wily critters, I’d like to spend a bit of time talking about false teachings.
Scripture calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing…but the snowgator analogy works as well. They lie under a pristine layer of white, waiting to attack. Coming to the surface, people don’t take them seriously…at least not at first…by the time they realize the danger, they…or someone nearby…are gripped by powerful jaws.
Same is true of false teaching. End-times foretellers, extra-biblical writings used to twist the truth, ‘special’ knowledge which “God has kept hidden for thousands of years to only reveal it now”…there are all types out there. It only takes a little browsing on the internet to find some strange teachings, and most of them have followers. I don’t have time to get into the details of these teachings. I don’t plan on going through the teachings themselves…instead, I’d like to give out a few things to consider when looking/reading/researching any teaching…including those you read here or hear at any church.
First and foremost –
How does the teaching stand up to scripture?
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. [1 John 4:1 ESV]
Or another way to put it…be noble:
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. [Acts 17:11 ESV]
If what someone is peddling doesn’t square with the rest of Scripture, or if the authority they draw on isn’t Scripture…then it’s not from God.
This goes for those who have to bring in “other teachings” to help “correct” Scripture. There’s nothing wrong with research and using other sources to help understand Scripture, but it should support – not teach something different.
If someone uses a phrase along the lines of “incorrectly translated” when speaking about the Bible, put in extra effort in validating and researching the claims made by such a person. Quite often they are relying on someone not searching out the “real translation” of the Hebrew or Greek. (By “real translation” I mean the warped translation to support the false teaching they are promoting.)
Don’t buy into something just because a lot of others have as well…
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. [2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV]
The popularity of a teaching is not a validation of what’s being taught. In that same vein…if all that is being offered as validation is “feeling right” then you’re, most likely, dealing with something false.
Something else to ask of any teaching you encounter. Does it matter? Sometimes we get caught up in some teaching to help us “understand” God more…and in the end it doesn’t…but even if it were true it wouldn’t change anything, nor would it complete your “understanding” of who He is. He’s beyond our understanding (and that’s a good thing).
There are a lot of “teachers” out there who are selling a different gospel…some may be doing it out of deception, others may be deluded themselves. Either way, what they teach doesn’t stand up to Scripture. They may have historical documents, they may be promising a better understanding, a more complete way…but we have been told the way…Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Anything selling something different is a lie straight from the enemy.
In today’s world, and actually, it has always been this way…people are searching for the easy way, a better way, something that makes them “feel good.” They are chasing the experience…and once they get “it” they need another…always looking for more. Jesus is all we need, why do we look for anything beyond Him? He didn’t promise fireworks and a life of ease…He promised peace, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and Himself.