Thoughts to Ponder

How much false doctrine is too much?

Paul told Timothy to watch his doctrine closely. (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. Why would Paul tell Timothy that, if doctrine was not important? Why would Paul tell Timothy that is how he will save himself and his hearers? It would seem that Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit felt that doctrine was important.

All too often these days, we are told to look for what connects us and ignore those things which would divide us. That may sound good on the surface and I would even agree that there are side issues which could divide the Body of Christ and which are not important to salvation. However, there are many 'doctrines' being promoted today which are false, unscriptural and which are leading people to hell, and I believe we as Christians need to speak out against them.

People will tell you that you are not to judge others, but that is unbiblical also. We are not to judge hypocritically, which is what Jesus warned about: (Matthew 7:1-5 NIV) "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. {2} For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. {3} "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? {4} How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? {5} You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. We are not to look at the struggles of others and condemn their every move. We are all or should all be striving to be more Christ like each day. This does not preclude pointing out false teaching or wrong doctrine, or even addressing something in a believer's life that God points out to you. It does say that you should first look at your own life and get it in line with God's will.

Paul (again under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) states very clearly that we are to judge those who claim to be brothers in Christ: (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NIV) I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- {10} not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. {11} But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. {12} What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? {13} God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

Below I have some quotes from some popular 'Bible' teachers of today. I want to say right up front that I believe most of these quotes are blasphemy, but I think it is important to show what these people are saying:

Adam was God manifested in the flesh.

Jesus existed only as an image in the heart of God, until such time as the prophets of the Old Testament could positively confess Jesus into existance through their constant prophecies.

Adam was not subordinate to God.

God could not intervene since He had made Adam the god of the earth. God was left on the outside looking in.

Jesus was dragged down into the bowels of Hell where He was beaten and bruised by Satan and his demons until Jesus could finally fight His way out of Hell 3 days later.

Any O.T. prophet could have attoned for our sins if they knew what Jesus knew.

Christians are little gods.

Sow a big seed, when you confess it, you are activating the supernatural forces of God.

We (the church) are Christ.

The only time people were poor in the Bible is when they were under a curse.

I place a curse on every man and every woman that would stretch his hand against this anointing; I curse that man who dares to speak a word against this ministry... I will gladly accept this curse because: greater is He who is in me then he who is in the world!

Jesus said, 'It is finished.' And He meant the Old Covenant. The job He had to do was just getting started. He really did the job the three days and nights that He was in hell. That's where the job was done.

He was pronounced guilty on the cross but He paid the price in hell.

All the hosts of hell was [sic] upon Him. Upon Him. They got on Him. They got Him down in the floor and got on Him. And they were laughing and mocking.

Sunday morning, here comes the Son. Sunday morning, God gets Himself together. Ho, hoooo. Justice has been met, somehow the thing's been taken care of. And ol' God gets His voice together and He hollers out three words and they go roaring through the universe and entering the gates of hell. He said, 'It is enough! It is enough!

Pain is a spirit. When it gets on your body, tell it to leave.

These are all pretty obviously false teachings, but yet many people love the people who spout this stuff. Why? Because they also preach good theology, this stuff is just mixed in here and there. That is what makes it so dangerous. Secondly many Christians refuse to speak out against this kind of blasphemy and heresy because they are afraid that they will be called judgmental or divisive. I have news for them, Jesus was very judgmental and divisive. He called sin, sin. He called false teaching and false teachers just that; false.

Jesus often used strong words and I think we need to take heed of what He said: (Matthew 10:32-40 NIV) "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. {33} But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. {34} "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. {35} For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- {36} a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' {37} "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; {38} and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. {39} Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. {40} "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Jesus tells us that His message is going to turn even families against one another. Could it be that He was talking about just such instances as our speaking out against those who claim to know Christ but whose actions deny Him? Are we in danger of disowning Him by keeping quiet when we know that false teachings are going on?

I have to wonder just what Jesus would call disowning Him. He says that if anyone disowns Him before men He will disown them before the Father. That sounds pretty serious to me so maybe we ought to take a look. I believe in taking scripture literally unless there is some overriding reason not too. I think we can take this passage literally and if we do it says what it means; anyone who denies, rejects, disowns Jesus will be disowned by Him also. So the question needs to be what does He mean by disowns?

Obviously if you reject Him or deny Him as Lord and Savior that would fit, but what else? Is that all that could constitute disowning Him? I don't think so. Let's try to break this down into human terms we can more easily deal with. Let's say you have a friend. Someone who has stood by you and loves you and has supported you. Now let's say that there are other people who claim to also be friends with this person, but they are spreading untrue rumors about the person. Making that person seem to be someone that they aren't. You hear these things but you keep your mouth shut. You never stick up for the true character of your 'friend' you never confront the people spreading the false rumors about your 'friend.' You tell people what your friend is really like, but you never condemn anyone who speaks falsely. Are you truly a friend? Could your friend honestly complain that you disowned them? I think your friend would have a good case. That should make us all stop and think. Are we disowning Jesus, not by what we do say, but by what we don't say?

The Bible tells us that in the last days many false teachers will come along and deceive many. We are told to test the spirits, to know God's word so that we can discern the teachings from God from those of Satan. Yet most Christians seldom pick up their Bibles, much less regularly read them.

Most pastors will not speak out against much of anything. They think it is best to just teach the truth. Well teaching the truth is great and I would agree with it whole heartedly. But if that is all a pastor does he is not doing justice to his flock. If this were a closed society where the only teaching the congregation got was from the pastor that might work, but it is not a closed society. Television is flooded with false teachers. Try watching TBN (The Trinity Broadcasting Network -maybe it should be called The Blasphemy Network - no error seems to be too much for them to broadcast ). Again, TBN does have some true Biblical teachers on it, but there is much error too. Many of the above quotes came from TBN programs. Christian book stores have shelves covered with blasphemy laden, heresy teaching books. How is a Christian to know that there is anything to fear out there if they are not told? Yes the Word of God will tell them, but again most Christians don't bother to read it much less study it!

If a person can't stand the heat then they should get out of the way and allow God to appoint someone in their place who can. I am picking on pastors and leaders in this devotional because you are the spiritual leaders. You will be judged more harshly then the rest of the believers, because you are the teachers.(James 3:1 NIV) Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. If you refuse to make waves, if you refuse to preach the truth, if you refuse to call sin what it is, if you refuse to take a stand because you are afraid, then you are no longer a legitimate teacher. You are an accomplice to those who are false teachers, because you are allowing wolves into your church to devour your flock.

What do you care about most? Is it being popular and having a church with thousands of attendees? Or is it doing God's will even if that means having a church with just a few hundred or even less than a hundred attendees, but where the truth is declared and false teachings are denounced, where people are growing in their faith and becoming more like Christ?

If you happen to have a church where thousands come to worship, then you have to know that either you appeal to people's flesh, or God has brought those people to you. If you appeal to the flesh then you will probably lose your large gathering if you start speaking out, however, if God brought those people to you, then speaking out is not going to do anything other then what God wants to happen. You have nothing to lose.

It is not only the out and out blasphemy and heresy that needs to be spoken out against, it is also the false gospels which are being taught. Many of them appeal to modern Christians. They tickle their ears and make them feel good. Things like self-esteem. Many books claim that we can't understand how much God loves us until we love ourselves. This is heresy!! It denies the work of the Holy Spirit in a person's heart. Self-esteem is not how to get a revival going. To start a revival you need people who humble themselves before God and call on Him to help them, who deny self.

There are a couple of what I call 'yardsticks' you can use to see if teaching is correct. First does it go against the Bible? The items I quoted in this article all go against the Bible, so you can throw them out without looking any further. But what if you don't see anything in the Bible which condemns or contradicts the teaching? The next yardstick I use is this, does it bring glory to or point to Christ? If the answer is no, then you better take a closer look.

For instance, there is a lot going on in what is called the Latter Rain movement. There are worship services where people laugh uncontrollably, bark like dogs, squat as if giving birth, are stuck to the floor with "Holy Spirit glue" or other strange manifestations. I don't see anywhere in the Bible where these kinds of things happened and were documented, however, I must admit I don't specifically see them condemned either. So let's see, do they bring glory to Christ?

Does barking like a dog, laughing uncontrollably, being stuck to the floor, etc... bring glory to Christ? I don't think so. I often hear people including pastors who say, well there is some good that comes out of these things, people who come to Christ, etc.. and therefore I don't feel right about speaking out against it.

Well since I believe that the first authority that we should judge things by is God's Word, let's look at what God has to say: (Deuteronomy 4:28-29 NIV) There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. {29} But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Proverbs 8:17 NIV) I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Matthew 7:7 NIV) "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Do you see what is being said; if a person truly seeks God they will find Him. He will make Himself known to them. So does it not follow that if a person who is truly seeking God goes to these services God may even use them to reach that person? I believe that these strange manifestations are demonic, but I will not deny that some people may still come to know Christ in these services. That should not stop us from speaking out against the error.

I want to close by showing the difference between Fundamental Orthodox Christianity and Gnostic/New Age Thought:

FUNDAMENTAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY:

GNOSTIC/NEW AGE THOUGHT:

(2 Timothy 4:2-4 NIV) Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. {3} For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. {4} They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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