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False teachers and prophets
Charles Spurgeon - If you simply take the name of Christ upon you and call yourself His servant, yet do not obey Him, but follow your own whim, or your own hereditary prejudice, or the custom of some erroneous church-you are no servant of Christ. If you really are a servant of Christ, your first duty is to obey Him.
False or incomplete Scripture teaching can lead individuals astray, distorting their understanding of Scriptures and compromising their spiritual outcome. False teaching undermines the Father's authority, promoting confusion, encouraging legalism or license, misleading spiritual seekers, and neglecting the intent of the Messiah's teachings.
If you are a Minister, Pastor, Reverend, Preacher, Parson, Vicar, Chaplain, Cleric, Father, Imam, Rabbi, Priest, Teacher, Elder, senior person in your gathering, etc, then you need to read this.
Throughout history, numerous instances of false teachings based on Scripture have emerged, distorting the authentic essence of the Scriptures and introducing personal agendas driven by power, combining religion, economics and governments. These misguided teachings have tragically led countless individuals astray, resulting in unimaginable suffering, death, and misery for those who refused to align with the falsehoods. The origins and consequences of such false teachings are a poignant reminder of their detrimental impact on believers and non-believers alike.
But false teaching still exists now in many doctrines and denominations, misinterpreting and manipulating Scripture. It causes confusion and undermines the genuine message of love, compassion, and moral guidance intended by the Father and the Messiah. However, it is important to recognize that false teaching does not occur in isolation; it relies on a medium through which it can be disseminated to others such as doctrine, teaching and denominations.
The Messiah talked about recovering his scattered sheep to the fold. The image of the Messiah gathering scattered sheep to the fold resonates deeply within the hearts of believers. It represents a profound message of hope, redemption, and spiritual renewal of people who have inadvertently strayed being recovered back to the fold.
With this metaphor, the Messiah assumes the role of a compassionate shepherd, diligently searching for his lost and wandering flock. The scattered sheep, representing individuals who have strayed from their spiritual path, find themselves adrift in a vast and bewildering world, yearning for guidance and solace. Within the fold, the scattered sheep are fed, watered, their faith rekindled, and their spirits revitalised.
But teaching Scripture is more than just a job. It's a calling and unique privilege, and carries with it a liability if the teaching is incorrect. Anyone proclaiming to be a teacher has a unique position of power over others, who become vulnerable due to the teacher’s greater knowledge. But that does not mean that all that is taught is correct, and all teachers should examine their own motives, knowledge and doctrine, ensuring that they are not biased to a particular doctrine and misleading others.
Teaching Scripture transcends the realm of a mere profession. It is a sacred calling and a privilege that bears significant responsibility. Those who proclaim themselves as teachers hold a position of influence and power over others, who often approach them with vulnerability and trust due to their perceived greater knowledge. However, this power dynamic does not guarantee the accuracy or correctness of the teachings imparted.
Every teacher, acknowledging the weight of their role, should thoroughly examine their own motives, knowledge, and doctrinal positions to ensure that personal biases do not obscure their understanding of Scripture and lead astray those people they guide. True teachers of Scripture bear the responsibility to diligently study, approach their work with humility, seek wisdom, and strive for a comprehensive understanding of the truth found within the Scriptures. It is essential for teachers to avoid promoting doctrines that deviate from the teachings of Scripture.
For instance, an important aspect that aligns with the Scriptures is the observance of the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath, and the Feasts. The Messiah, as well as Paul, the disciples, and the early church, upheld these practices. However, historical events like the Council of Nicaea, convened under the influence of Emperor Constantine, aimed to standardise religious practices and led to changes that deviated from the original teachings of Scripture, incorporating pagan elements into the early church, where it has remained ever since.
In light of such historical developments, it becomes even more crucial for teachers of Scripture to scrutinise and question Scriptural interpretations that they practice within their doctrine to eliminate false teaching and remove pagan influences.
In an article “Israel My Glory,” [April/May, 1995] and titled “Foundations of Faith”, Renald Showers recounted
“Many years ago I read an article that so impressed me that, in spite of the fact that I cannot remember the name and date of the publication, I have never forgotten its content. At the beginning of a seminary course on New Testament studies, the instructor told the students that they would work together on one major project during that semester. They would move systematically through the New Testament to categorize every area of truth and determine how many times each area is addressed. Their goal was to find what one thing is emphasized more than any other in the New Testament. When they completed the project, they were amazed to see that warning against false doctrine is emphasized more than any other thing, even more than love, unity, and experience.”
The Messiah reprimanded the pharisees for placing unreasonable burdens on people beyond what the Scriptures require, and exercising significant social, economic, political and religious power unjustly, this was false teaching.
Today there is a dangerous tendency to sacrifice and compromise the Fathers truth for the sake of unity and doctrine. The Father inspired the Scriptures, it is obviously very significant to Him, as is breaching the instructions and commands given in the Scriptures. There is no flexibility in the Scriptures, there is no tolerance of other beliefs, what does not align with the Fathers Word is not of the Fathers Word.
Both the Messiah and Paul exemplified the refusal to compromise the Father's truth for the sake of unity. The Messiah refused to sacrifice the Fathers truth for the sake of unity with the pharisees and sadducee's (Mt. 16:5–12; 23), and Paul would not compromise the true gospel for the sake of unity with the Judaizers (Gal. 1:6–12).
Ezekiel 18:20 makes it plain that it is individuals are judged for their own sins. But teachers are charged as watchmen of the Messiah with the responsibility of warning sinners of the impending judgment.
Believers and teachers should not betray themselves by knowingly compromising themselves in action or by following or teaching false doctrine. If you are following doctrine and interpretations that are specific to your organisation, you need to ensure that the doctrine aligns exactly with the Scriptures (Old and New Testament).
As a teacher you have a responsibility that must not be taken lightly. James wrote of the greater judgement that teachers would receive.
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment.
There are warnings on false prophets in the Old Testament and their judgement, for instance Jeremiah 23:11 and Micah 3:5
Jeremiah 23:11 “For both prophet and priest have become defiled. Even in My house I have found their evil,” declares Yahuah. 12 “Therefore their way is to them like slippery ways in the dark. They are driven on and they shall fall in them. For I bring evil on them, the year of their punishment,” declares Yahuah. 13 “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria, they prophesied by b-a-a-l and led My people Israel astray. 14 “And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible matter: committing adultery and walking in falsehood. And they strengthen the hands of evil ones, so that no one turns back from his evil. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah. 15 “Therefore thus said Yahuah of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘See, I am making them eat wormwood, and shall make them drink poisoned water. For defilement has gone out into all the land from the prophets of Jerusalem.’” 16 Thus said Yahuah of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, they lead you astray. They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of Yahuah.
Micah 3: 5 Thus said Yahuah concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who are biting with their teeth and have called out, “Peace!” They even set apart a battle against him who does not give for their mouths. 6 Therefore it shall be night to you without vision, and darkness to you without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them. 7 And the seers shall be ashamed, and the diviners embarrassed. And they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer, O Elohim.
Micah is particularly interesting as during the time of Micha (8th century BC), the northern kingdom of Israel was characterised by political instability, idolatry (no doubt including false teaching), and social injustice. The nation was deeply divided, with a succession of kings leading the people away from worshiping the Father and towards practicing idolatry. Corruption, oppression of the poor, and exploitation were prevalent in the northern kingdom at that time. How much like out current world is that?
Discovering that you are involved in an environment with false teaching is a challenging and disorienting experience, often leading to significant emotional and spiritual upheaval. Understanding that you have been part of false doctrine can cause you to question not only the specific doctrine or interpretation you are teaching or have been taught, but also your beliefs, values, and your spiritual journey. Additionally, this realisation may have broader implications, potentially affecting your relationships within the church/denomination, including friends and even family members who adhere to the same teachings.
It is essential to seek the guidance of the Father through prayer and fasting. There is no easy solution, you cannot deliberately be part of teaching or believing in false doctrine, you must step away into the Truth, seek forgiveness, and seek to recover the damage that you may have caused.
Here are a few suggestions on how to navigate this challenging situation:
Seek knowledge from the Scriptures: Take the time to educate yourself about the errors in the specific doctrine or interpretation that is being questioned.
You may be able to help others see the truth: Tell people in the same denomination what you have discovered and encourage them to question their own beliefs.
Find supportive communities: Seek out communities or individuals who share similar doubts, questions, or beliefs. Online forums, support groups, or local meetups can provide a safe space to discuss your experiences, find empathy, and gain insights from others who have undergone similar journeys. Connecting with like-minded individuals can be immensely helpful during this transitional phase.
Communicate with trusted individuals: Consider confiding in trusted friends, family members, or mentors who may be open to understanding your perspective. While some people may struggle to accept your changing beliefs, others might be more understanding and supportive. Having someone who can offer a listening ear or provide guidance can make a significant difference during this challenging time.
Common Examples of False Bible Teachings:
Quoting individual verses out of context, not using the full text of the passage, modern language and interpretations that often changes the meaning of idioms and terms that were common when the Scriptures were written.
Drawing similarities on the use of words in translations, perceiving patterns, connections, or meaningful relationships in random or unrelated verses, alternate documents, data, events, or stimuli to uncover secret or hidden meanings that may not actually exist.
Prosperity Gospel: This distorted teaching equates material wealth and prosperity with spiritual blessing, promoting the idea that faith guarantees material abundance. It neglects the Scripture’s emphasis on spiritual growth, humility, and service to others. It includes appealing to individual selfishness, the more you give, the more you will receive, and to the detriment of the followers own families. It becomes a form of gambling addiction.
Extreme End-Times Speculation: Some teachings obsess over predicting the precise timeline and events of the end times, often with sensationalistic and fear-inducing rhetoric. These teachings can distract from the Scripture's emphasis on moral living, compassion, and spiritual preparation, creating unnecessary anxiety and division. The Messiah said in Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only.”
Cult-like Teachings: Certain groups or leaders manipulate biblical texts to control and manipulate their followers, promoting exclusivity, isolation, and unquestioning loyalty. These teachings disregard individual autonomy, critical thinking, and the Bible's call to love and respect others.
Charles Spurgeon - That very church which the world likes best is sure to be that which God abhors.
Web page last updated 21 May 2023
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