Saturday, August 16, 2014

What To Do With False Teachers

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                Recently I and a few sisters in the Lord have been talking about false teachers and false doctrines that we see infiltrating the church. Many of these teachers are widely accepted by the Christian community and some of the doctrines even accepted and practiced. I am not here to name names, or to point out and ridicule these people who teach these doctrines. It is only my desire to share with you some areas that the Lord has shared with me in regards to these false teachers, and doctrines and how we as Christians are to handle them when we are encountered with them. The reason why I want to share this with you is so that you can be equipped to handle these teachers and these doctrines when you encounter them, because you will encounter them.
              At first this one false teacher, in particular, seemed okay. There wasn’t really anything that I could put my finger on at first, just something about the way she taught and some of the things that she would say just didn’t sit right within me. The Holy Spirit gives to us a spirit of discernment for a reason and a purpose, and He will use that same spirit of discernment to let us know when something is not quite right. (How we respond to that discernment is between us and God) This woman was well known, has many books and does numerous conferences throughout the world. If I were to say her name you would immediately know her and some of you would probably even question me in regards to my reasoning for thinking her a false teacher. But something about her was just not right. So, my sister in the Lord started to do some research on her, because we were not quite sure, and we found her to be a false teacher because most of the things she taught were not biblical, or she took the passage of scripture that she was teaching from out of context.
                This bothered us so we began to pray and ask the Lord what to do about it. She is a teacher that is well accepted in the Christian community; many women use her bible studies today and follow her teachings and read her books. The Lord, we believed was telling us to tell our leaders about this woman and our concerns at her possibly being a false teacher. At first I didn’t want to, I just wanted to keep quiet and let the Lord deal with the issue. But, that is not how the Lord works- usually when He tells me to do something it’s because He actually wants me to do it. So, taking a leap of faith I wrote to one of our pastors and told him our concerns. But, I also wanted to make it clear that if I was wrong in my thoughts and findings, that it was my prayer that the Lord would humble me and show me if all this was coming from me, my pride, or my selfish desires. We must check ourselves before we try to point out the concerns we have for others because our motives need to be God centered and not us centered.
                After I sent the email, I started to pray even more. I started to pray that the Lord would give the leaders wisdom, and that if I was not correct in my discernment, that He would show me. Well, I couldn’t sleep well last night because of this. All that kept running through my mind was whether or not I was right in my discernment, was I taking this whole thing way out of proportion, was I following self or was I following the Holy Spirit. Then I heard, “take every thought captive.” I woke up with those words going through my mind, over and over again. So, I did what the Lord has taught me to do, and that is to seek Him out through His word.
                “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
                Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church in regards to false teachers. Paul was being ridiculed for his teachings, the way he looked and some of the false teachers that were coming in were basically calling him a hypocrite. They would question why his letters were so bold and harsh, yet when he was with them he was all loving and tender. They accused him of being insincere towards the flock at Corinth. Paul, of all people, was nothing like these men were saying. He was a man whose heart chased after Jesus, and his life was a direct reflection of Jesus Christ. But some in the Corinthian church were being led astray and giving heed to the words that these false teachers were babbling. This broke Paul’s heart. So, he writes to them on how to deal with the false teachers and false doctrines that were creeping in, and today, we too can take this and apply it to our own lives.
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  First of all Paul was being accused of walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. False teachers and those who want to justify false doctrine will use all kinds of tactics to get you to see their way. They will manipulate and twist your words around, using them against you.  They will take scripture out of context and try to justify their way of thinking. They will uphold the word of God as long as it upholds their way of thinking. From such people as these, we need to run! Paul says to us that though we all walk in this fleshly body, we do not have to use the same tactics that they use to prove our point. In fact, we don’t need to prove anything at all. Our weapons are spiritual, they have been given to us by God so that we do not have to war, or make war, because the battle has already been won. We have spiritual weapons and armor and that is what we are to use. (Ephesians 6:11-18- I encourage you to take some time to read about the armor we have been given if you are not familiar with it.)
                The first thing we must do when we are confronted with false teachers and false doctrine is put on the whole armor of God. The weapons that they are going to use are carnal; they are manipulations, lies, and full of pride. They are going to try to tear you down, use your words against you and bring you to the point that you walk away in tears, questioning your own salvation. But, we have the armor of God and our waist is girded with truth. (Eph. 6:14) Nothing can stand against the Word of God. Nothing.
                My dog, Chase, loves to chew on rawhides. You give that dog a rawhide and he will spend hours, even days chewing and chewing on it until it is completely gone and in his stomach. Unfortunately, the effects of that rawhide on his stomach are not good, and he usually ends up getting sick from it. I am much the same way when it comes to false doctrines and teachers. I hear them, I listen to them and the next thing you know I am mulling over everything they have said, chewing and chewing on every little detail until I am sick to my stomach. I am like my dog with a bone; I just can’t let it go. False teachings and false doctrines, when they are exposed, need to be left alone. We cannot keep mulling them over and talking about them, constantly thinking about ways to disprove them. All this does is get us tied up in knots and causes us to lose sight of one of the most important things of all- our peace in God.
                Paul tells the Corinthians the same thing. He tells them that after they have proven that these false teachers are false, through the word of God, then they are to pull down these strongholds that these teachers have over them and let it go. We can get stuck in these strongholds if we are not careful. Strongholds are wrong perceptions, and thoughts. Strongholds will make us focus on all that is wrong instead of all that Jesus is. Strongholds will lasso our thoughts until we begin to use the same tactics these false teachers use, manipulating the word of God to fit our way of thinking.
                False teachers and those who believe in false doctrines, when exposed will want to debate with you. They use the argument that God’s Word supports their way of thinking; however, most of the time, their way of thinking has been taken out of context and twisted until it fits what they want it to fit. There is really no arguing with them about it. Besides, Paul warns us not to strive against them. (2 Timothy 2:14) The more you argue, the more they win.
                Paul tells us that we are to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (vs. 5) This is the next thing we need to do when we encounter false teachers and false doctrines. We need to hold up their
arguments to the word of God. Does it line up? If it doesn’t then toss it away, and cast it down. Do not argue about it; do not try to prove your point. Stick to the truth of God’s Word, stick the knowledge of God and let God do the rest. Those who are following false teachers and false doctrine will want you to prove your point, they will want evidence and no matter how much you give them, they will not be swayed. Don’t let your pride get in the way and become the thing that exalts itself. Let all that you do, all that you say, even your very thoughts, let them come into submission to Christ. Be obedient to remain the Christian He has called you to be in love.
                When I first noticed there was something not quite right about this one teacher in particular, I did not say anything at first. For years I have avoided her teachings. I do not read her books; I tried a few times, but could never get past the first two or three chapters, because something in her writings was just not right. But, I have done what I believed the Lord told me to do. I have made known the concerns that me and a few others have noticed, and now I am leaving the rest up to God. I could mull over it, chew on it and stress myself out over it. But that is not what the Lord wants me to do. He wants me to use the armor that He has given me, pull down the strongholds, cast it away and rest in the knowledge of Him. It is His Word, He doesn’t need me defending it, He just needs me to be obedient to Him as He does what He does best- and that is be God.
                False teachers and false doctrines are going to be everywhere. We cannot fight them all. But, what we can do is be obedient to hold these teachers and doctrines up to the word of God, not in pride or in selfish ambition, but in humility. Do not argue with them, just state the truth and nothing but the truth, don’t make it worse by worrying over it, or arguing with them about it, but bring yourself under submission to Christ and let Him lead you and guide you with the armor He has equipped you with. The only way we are ever going to get anywhere with false teachers and false doctrines is to stop following them. Pull them down and cast them away, if no one listens to them or buys their books- they will go away, because our God is mighty and He can defend Himself. Amen?

                Father, I pray today that we would see the false teachers and the false doctrines in the churches today and that we would become obedient to Your Word. Father, the only way we can truly combat these false teachers and false doctrines is through Your Word. Father, may we become a people that know Your Word, may we become a people that hold up those that teach to the light of Your glorious gospel, to Your Word and Your Word alone, casting down arguments and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of You. Father, I pray that anyone reading this today would not take my word for it, but would seek You and Your Word out for themselves. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.