In March we linked to Rick Becker’s “8 reasons believers shouldn’t remain in a church” and in April “10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers.” So now Becker offers his view of the 10 ways to identity false teaching. In #5, False teaching Misinterpret the kingdom of God, he reminds us:
Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, but some teachings make the kingdom all about this world. Dominion theology teaches that man lost dominion in the garden, and this is the time of restoring that dominion. The church will supposedly conquer the seven mountains of society: religion, education, business, family, government, arts, media. Jesus contradicted this false notion: ” “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36
Now, discover some of the ways in which we can identify false teaching:
Throughout history false teachings have infiltrated the church. Heresies that plagued the early church have not been silenced; instead they continue to flourish. The “Christian” who slams the door on a visiting Jehovah’s Witness has no qualms embracing a “born again Jesus” that came to make us wealthy, suffered in hell, and laid aside his divinity during his incarnation. These are some of the heresies promulgated by well known brands such as Hillsong, Bethel, and the host of word of faith and prosperity churches that litter the globe. In this post, we offer some simple markers that will be helpful, in a general sense, to identify a false teaching.
- False teachings are Man Centered
The description of this current generation is found in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and could be summed up in three words found in those verses: “lovers of self.” It is this love of self that has been injected into scripture via narcigesis, and in doing so, the bible has become a book about us. We become the hero in a biblical story – a good example can be found in the way many popular teachers approach the biblical account of David and Goliath. This story has become a source for many topical sermons, comparing us to David. We become the giant slayers, the hero of the story. While we may certainly learn from David’s faith in God, there is a bigger and marvelous picture in the account that escapes many due to the tendency of narcigeting texts. David is a type of Christ, who has overcome the enemy for us. If we were represented in the story, we would be the dismayed and fearful Israelites, perhaps even the stubborn Goliath who needed to be slayed. This man centered approach will focus on your destiny, your legacy, your gifts, your breakthrough, your potential, your worth etc. You determine your future through your creative words that contain inherent power. False teachings will meet your ‘felt needs’ instead of addressing your real needs. Your emotions will be tickled, your conscience ignored. Contrary to popular teaching, our “best life now” can only be found when our identity is in Christ, not self.
- False teachings Misrepresent the nature of God and man.
False teaching emphasizes some attributes of God and excludes others. God is loving, kind, and gracious; his love is so great that Christ died for us while we were sinners. This same loving God is also righteous, a consuming fire that hates evil and punishes sin. There is mercy because there is judgement, and the good news of the gospel is good news for those who know and accept the bad news – that they are sinners under the wrath of God. This is the nature of all men and women, but false teachings would have us believe that all humans are inherently good, just somewhat lost and damaged, but not depraved. We are purported to be victims, not perpetrators; worthy of salvation, not deserving punishment. If that were true, we would not need a saviour but a life coach. The truth is that the brokenhearted will find consolation in the work of the cross, but not before the wretched heart in all of us is dealt with.
What we believe about God and ourselves is what defines us.
A different Jesus, more human than divine, has duped thousands into believing they can walk as the Son of God walked on earth. A new breed are so familiar with “papa God” that when he supposedly manifests his presence in a glory cloud, they whip out their smartphones to record the fog. Where is the reverence for a holy God that should cause us to fall prostrate before him, trembling in awe? The future of those who have such a low view of God and high view of man can only be further deception, and apostasy.
- False teachings promote Methods False teachings contain methods to harness spiritual benefits – a quick sinners prayer gains entrance into the kingdom of heaven, breaking a generational curse will restore health and finances, tithing will ensure prosperity, praying in tongues will ensure a breakthrough, praying the prayer of Jabez will enlarge your camp, spiritual mapping identifies strongholds, spiritual warfare will bind demons, aligning oneself under an open heaven will bring revival….and the list goes on. Each year a plethora of new courses flood the market. Not content with income from book sales, teachers now offer paid courses based on their latest book release. Their revelations are touted as words for the body of Christ. We are told that we can discover our prophetic personality, find out what our Kryptonite is, or discover the keys to success and prosperity. False teachings place the emphasis on what you must do, instead of what Christ has accomplished for us.