“I cannot endure false doctrine, however neatly it may be put before me. Would you have me eat poisoned meat because the dish is of the choicest ware? It makes me indignant when I hear another gospel put before the people with enticing words by man who would fair make merchandise of souls; and I marvel at those who have soft words for such deceivers. “That is your bigotry,” says one. Call it so if you like; but it is the BIGOTRY OF THE LOVING JOHN, who wrote, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed; for he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds.” I would to God we all had more of such decision, for the lack of it is depriving our religious life of its backbone and substituting for honest manliness a mass of tremulous jelly of mutual flattery. HE WHO DOES NOT HATE THE FALSE DOES NOT LOVE THE TRUE; and he to whom it is all the same, whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart. Oh, if some of you were like your fathers, you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing. The apostle spake by inspiration when he said, “If we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” According to modem effeminacy he ought to have said, “Let him be kindly spoken with in private, but pray make no stir. No doubt the good brother has his own original modes of thought and we must not question his liberty. Doubtless he believes the same as we do, only there is some little difference as to terms.” This is treason to Christ and treachery to truth and cruelty to souls. IF WE LOVE OUR LORD, WE SHALL KEEP HIS WORDS AND STAND FAST IN THE FAITH, coming out from among the false teachers. Nor is this inconsistent with charity; for the truest love to those who err is not to fraternize with them in their error, but to be faithful to Jesus Christ in all things.”
C H Spurgeon
2. Here’s a handy saying: “No church is perfect!” The assumption here is that it’s not of any value to carefully examine doctrine because all churches are wrong in one way or another, so just accept anything. If you go to the church because “you feel comfortable there” and the “worship team really rocks” you’ll probably never have to think much about doctrine anyway. This can also be modified as: “No pastor is perfect!” False teachers and mediocre pastors really appreciate it when you think this way.
3. Focus on your feelings rather than the clear teachings of Scripture. Because you’re a sinner, this will be very easy. For added validation of your false beliefs, convince yourself that God told you to disobey Him and somehow violate His word; but don’t use such obvious language. For example, say: “I really feel that God spoke to my heart, that’s why I believe it’s okay to (fill in the blank with whatever sin and/or false doctrine you want). A great little catch phrase to instill this principle would be something like this: “Theology will never change a man as much as a direct encounter with God.” Of course, if you really had a direct encounter with God you’d probably be dead…
4. Allow false doctrine from a teacher because “he has some good things to say, too…” A handy little phrase to repeat is: “Chew on the meat and spit out the bones.” Although this concept isn’t Biblical, pretend that it is. It will probably help you to imagine yourself “open-minded” and “non-judgmental” when you repeatedly ignore God’s clear instructions to hold fast to correct doctrine.
5. Consider “doctrine” the same thing as “religiosity” or “legalism.” If you realize that doctrine is just another word for teaching (and the Bible demands correct teaching) you might decide to become more discerning, and remember, false teachers everywhere are counting on you to stay ignorant and gullible.
6. Promote false teaching “for the sake of the un-churched.” You want to have lot’s of new people coming to church, don’t you? Well, give the public what they want and watch attendance skyrocket! Remember, the unrepentant sinners out there will show up if they are promised something to appease their selfish desires. Better sex? Bigger paychecks? Well-behaved children? God can give your un-saved neighbor all of that-and more! The seeker-friendly pastor already knows this dynamic growth program, and with your blind support (and weekly tithe checks) he will craft emotionally appealing motivational speeches to convert pagans into regular attending members! And let’s not forget that these same pastors (“leadership experts”) will provide your community with a sense of purpose and identity (and a six-figure salary for themselves), so don’t bog them down with Biblical requirements that would stunt the growth of the organization.
7. “Group Think” is a major component of false doctrine, so, “go with the group!” Fortunately for you, there are plenty of groups that are teaching and promoting false doctrine, so just pick the one you’re most comfortable with and buy into their twisted version of Christianity. Here are some of your choices:
First, there’s the “What do we believe this month?” “Emerging”, Post-Modern church (think: Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, etc.). Millennials love this one; it’s hip and it only get’s hipper as it dumps Biblical doctrine in favor of pagan mysticism and cultural sensitivity (which is usually just capitulation to the culture). Remember, you’re never actually believing false doctrine, you’re just “having a conversation!” Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Second, for the suburban soccer-mom crowd, there’s the “seeker-friendly” mega church (think: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, etc.). These churches are a mash-up between a cinema-plex, a shopping mall and a Starbucks. Bigger is better, right?! And if you ever (accidentally) start to question whether anything lines up with Scripture, you can just take a look around the vast auditorium: this many people can’t be wrong! As long as you think so, you clever little conformist!
Thirdly, for the truly adventurous, you can find a vast number of Charismatic churches that aren’t even close to orthodox Christianity! (Think: Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, T.D. Jakes, etc.) What’s not to like about a church that believes anyone can come up with new doctrine anytime by hearing directly from God?! Oh sure, they give lip service to the Bible, but with proof-texting, they can make the Bible appear to say anything! Does God just want you to be rich, happy and successful? Sure He does! Do we just have to “speak that into existence?” Sure we do! Remember, the Holy Spirit is your personal genie in a bottle, and after you’ve swayed back and forth with the praise band for an hour or two, you’ll actually start to believe that. Key words and phrases: “Woooo!” “Fire!” “More, Lord, more!” “Shaba!” “I feel a releasing of the anointing that is beginning to shift the atmosphere, and the mantle of His presence is about to come down so that the glory of His anointing can release His presence into the manifold destiny of His glory…”
Many things combine to make the present increase of false doctrine especially dangerous.
1.) There is an undeniable zeal in some teachers of error—their “earnestness” makes many people think they must be right.
2.) There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge—many think that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe to listen to.
3.) There is a general tendency to completely free and independent thinking today—many like to prove their independence of judgment by believing the newest ideas, which are nothing but novelties.
4.) There is a wide-spread desire to appear kind, loving, and open-minded—many seem half-ashamed to say that anybody can be wrong or is a false teacher.
5.) There is always a portion of half-truth taught by modern false teachers–they are always using scriptural words and phrases, but with unscriptural meaning.
6.) There is a public craving for a more sensational and entertaining worship—people are impatient with the more inward and invisible work of God within the hearts of men.
7.) There is a superficial readiness all around to believe anyone who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, forgetting that Satan often masquerades himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians:11:14).
8.) There is a wide-spread ignorance among professing Christians—every heretic who speaks well is surely believed, and anyone who doubts him is called narrow-minded and unloving.
All these are especially symptoms of our times. I challenge any honest and observant person to deny them. These tend to make the assaults of false doctrine today especially dangerous and make it even more important to say loudly, “Do not be carried away with strange doctrine!”
— J C Ryle
“False doctrine does not meet men face to face, and proclaim that it is false. It does not blow a trumpet before it, and endeavor openly to turn us away from the truth… It approaches us secretly, quietly, insidiously, plausibly, and in such a way as to disarm man’s suspicion and throw him off guard. It is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and Satan in the garb of an angel of light.”
— J.C. Ryle
Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.