In the past couple of years, false teaching within the body of Christ has been front and center for me. It comes up in one-on-one conversations and shows up on my social media. I often wonder if I have said too much or too little regarding false doctrines and specifically false teachers. Should we expose, by publicly naming, false teachers on social media?
It’s been my deepest desire to truly KNOW God’s Word and lead others into a deeper relationship with God’s Word. We are subject to false teaching when we don’t know the Word. I have sat through hundreds of feel-good sermons based on one scripture that led me to believe in all sorts of things about God. As I have matured in Christ, I have learned to not take one scripture and build an entire message or theology. Scripture is meant to be consumed in whole parts. I have believed false truths for years because I did not research them myself. I was guilty of not knowing the Word of God and believing whatever was stated from the pulpit or by a popular Christian teacher.
There is so much research about false teachings and practices that circulate within the body of Christ today. I must admit I enjoy diving into the research and growing in my understanding. Growth is exciting! As I grow, I want to share, as do many others. In the past couple of years, I have become convicted of naming false teachers on social media. Here are my reasons:
- I don’t know them personally.
- I have never sat with them face-to-face to discuss their incorrect usage of the word (1 Tim 1:3-7).
- If I am not careful I can easily slip into gossip and slander about such people.
- I can become a keyboard warrior rather than an ambassador of Christ (ALL that Christ represents).
What is a false teacher?
Before we publicly name anyone, we need an understanding of what false teachers/teaching really is. Jesus and many of the apostles warned against false teachers. He said they would come in sheep’s clothing, but be “ravenous wolves”. That’s pretty strong imagery and a warning from Christ!
Identifying false teachers in the Bible requires a discerning and careful approach.
- Study God’s Word: Recognize false teaching, it is crucial to be well-grounded in the truth. Regularly study and meditate on Scripture to develop a solid foundation of biblical knowledge.
- Test the Teachings: Compare what is being taught with the teachings of the Bible. False teachers often distort or misinterpret Scripture to fit their own agendas. By examining their teachings in light of God’s Word, you can identify inconsistencies or deviations from the truth.
- Evaluate Their Character: Assess the character and behavior of the teacher. Do they exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)? (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Look for Fruitful Results: Jesus taught that a good tree bears good fruit. Examine the impact of the teaching on the lives of those who follow it. Does it produce spiritual growth, love, and righteousness? False teaching often leads to division, strife, and a deviation from biblical truth.
- Seek Wisdom and Discernment: Pray for wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit as you evaluate teachings and discern false teachers. The Holy Spirit can reveal the truth and protect you from deception.
What is false teaching?
False teaching refers to a distortion or misinterpretation of the Word of God that leads people away from the truth revealed in the Bible. False teachings can take various forms, including heretical beliefs, erroneous doctrines, misleading interpretations, or practices that deviate from the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.
What does some of this false teaching look like?
- Exaggeration of the Word
- False claims about specific scriptures
- Adding/subtracting the Word of God
- Extra-biblical knowledge
- Doctrines that contradict fundamental biblical principles
It is important to discern and identify false teachings by comparing them with the entirety of Scripture and seeking wisdom through prayer and guidance from reliable biblical sources.
How do we approach false teaching on social media?
As a whole, I think we do more good for the Kingdom of God when we disciple others in the WHOLE WORD OF GOD and lovingly show those we are in a relationship with what God’s word says about the problematic teachings/practices that are circulating. This involves conversation; talking and discussing with each other as opposed to hiding behind keyboards.
Each of us has been gifted in various ways for the purpose of building up the Kingdom. I think in whatever capacity we use social media, we should also pray about our intentions and be reminded that we are Ambassadors for Christ always. Remember, no one is immune to making errors, including teachers. Correction and reproof should be done in a spirit of love and humility, seeking to help others stay aligned with biblical truth.
As I mentioned, sharing these truths in relationship settings is the first approach to handling false doctrines. I am available for coffee/virtual time to truly unearth some of these popular trends and would am more than willing to share my research privately.
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I get asked A LOT which Bible I used for studying. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites.
|ESV Study Bible, Black Genuine Leather
|NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition, Leather, real, Brown, With thumb index
By Tyndale House