Eph. 4:14 – “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
We continue today from Tuesday by looking at the different kinds of false teachers in the Church today as well. False doctrine is a cancer that must be rooted out of our belief system, and the only way is by diligent study of the Word of God….
There are seven kinds of false teachers in the Church today. Please note that the use of the male he/his/him is inclusive of both genders.
- The Heretic – This is the most prominent and most dangerous of all, because they are well regarded and accepted, and teach damnable heresies as truth (2 Pet. 2:1). He is an extrovert with strong leadership skills, teaching just enough truth to mask his deadly error. He may deny the virgin birth, or Christ’s resurrection, may alter the Word of God, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, or add to it, like the Mormons.
- The Charlatan – This teacher is only interested in the work of God to the extent that it fills his wallet, using his message as a means of personal enrichment (1 Tim. 6:3-5). He uses his leadership position to benefit from others’ wealth. Just like Simon Magnus (Acts. 8:9-24), the charlatan always seeks prominence in the church for personal pleasure.
- The (False) Prophet – This person claims to be gifted by God to bring fresh revelation outside scriptures, with new authoritative words of prediction, teaching, encouragement or rebuke (1 John 4:1). He has always been on the scene of the Church, and even today, many people claim to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and claim their revelations, which are extra-Biblical, are the words of Jesus Himself. They turn homes upside down with guesses and estimates, pitting husband against wife, or children against parents.
- The Abuser – This person uses his position to take advantage of other people, usually to gratify his sexual urges, and his need for power (2 Pet. 2:2, Jude:4). He is domineering, well-spoken, and may often guilt-trip people into service. He may also employ a divide-and-rule approach to his staff, to ensure secrets are kept, and unless strongly opposed, may continue unabated.
- The Divider – He uses false doctrine to divide and disrupt a church (Jude:18-21). He brings strife, not love, and also generates factions loyal to him and opposed to one another. He may ambiguously undermine ordained leadership, and seek prominence unduly (3 John 1:9). He may introduce a minor change in a generally accepted doctrine with the intent to create factions that he may steal away with.
- The Tickler – He is more interested in teaching what the people prefer to hear than what God wants him to say (2 Tim. 4: 3-4). He craves popularity and respect, and so preaches only the portions of the Bible that his followers find palatable, preaching an empty gospel to a packed-out church. A lot more entertainment than preaching goes in in his services, to keep people interested and returning.
- The Speculator – He is interested in novelty, originality and speculation, and may twist certain scriptures to produce a new but incorrect teaching (Heb. 13:9, 1 Tim. 1:3). He will obsess about inconsequential matters in the Bible, tossing aside the weightier matters. He may introduce strange teachings about standard truths in the Bible, always speculating, never certain. His rhetoric raises more questions in his hearers, which are hardly answered or cleared up.
Christians are more likely to be deceived when they are taught false doctrine by men of the clergy, and this is the devil’s strategy. He brings in people who will look right, talk right, and then subtly take people’s attention away from the true message of the cross, and point them either in a less weighty matter, or in an altogether wrong direction. Stay alert by being diligent enough to study the Word of God for yourself. God will keep us all in Jesus’ name. Amen.
…to be continued on Monday….
Have a blessed day – Carl Erinle