Beware of False Teachers

In our post-modern society, we have forgone the sound doctrine that so many great theologians developed. Society has reimagined Jesus Christ to match the prevailing cultural relativism of our day.  It is popular to imagine Jesus as simply an easy-going guy that was nonchalant and only preached a message of peace. Perhaps we want a Jesus that does yoga with friends and afterward gets a soy latte with fair-trade sourced coffee beans at the hip café in the art district. Then our imagined Jesus goes for some killer microbrews at the new brewery in town for some vegan tacos and trivia night. Then our Jesus posts some artistic selfies to social media to show how fun of a night they all had.

This is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible; however, that’s the hip Jesus society is trying to make. That is the “buddy Jesus” so many desire. I hope you see the absurdity of this image, for these false teachings are just as absurd to me. Why must we conform the true image of Christ to the ideals of modern society? The simple answer—sin. Humans are sinful. Humans do not like to conform to the image of Christ, so they conform Christ to their image. This is what scares me so much for each one of you—the Jesus that is taught to so many is not the Jesus that can provide you with eternal life. Instead, the Jesus that the false teachers preach is simply one to make you feel good. While I wish for you to have an uplifting experience, you must realize our happiness comes from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Yes, God is love, but let us admit that the whole story behind the gospel is quite tragic. God is absolute love, so he must hate sin. We are sinners, yet he loves us, and He loves us so much, that it was His desire for His Son to suffer an excruciating death that we might be reconciled with Him (Is. 53:10). Jesus death was the perfect, necessary sacrifice for our sin. Your sin separated you from God, but the sacrifice of His son has justified you before the Holy Lord. We were dead in our sins, but we have been raised to life with His Son, Jesus Christ. How amazing a gift to us, but how sad that we were the cause of the death of the only perfect person!

It is heart wrenching that Jesus died for my sins, and it frustrates me to see people saying He was not good enough the way He was, so instead, they teach of a Jesus in their own image. How dare people do this! And when somebody speaks out against those that falsely teach, we condemn the one that is defending the true Jesus! Tim Challies eloquently states, “There’s more patience for those who smilingly subvert the truth than for those who boldly defend it.”

We must speak out against these false teachers, and if you do not believe me, believe the Bible and check what I say against it. I am fearful to teach you anything that is not true, and although I am but a human, prone to error, I try my hardest to teach what the scripture says and not my personal feelings about it. With fear and trembling, I say these things for if I am wrong, I fear the Lord’s justice. If somebody tasked with watching your child taught them to do something bad, you would be upset and do something about it. How much more will the Holy Lord pour out righteous justice on those that lead his children astray?

Titus 1:7–11 (ESV) “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

Each day, it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit continue to empower me to conform to the image of Christ, so that it is no longer me that is seen, but Christ reflected. We are called to be the light in a world of darkness, but if it is only darkness that lives in you, how can you be the light? There is nothing good in me or you, except Christ! I so appreciate the words of Paul, for when I was saved, I understood how good I was not! I’m not good and that’s why I need Jesus. That’s why you too need Jesus.

Romans 7:18–25 (ESV) “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

I must speak out against these false teachers. Yes, I worry about their salvation, but I worry so much more for those they teach. The teacher has a duty to study the scripture, not only to work out their own salvation (Phil. 2:12), but so much more so for those that listen to them. There is a duty of the teachers to protect against false teachers (Titus 1:9). And while I feel there is nothing special about me, I cannot sit idly by without saying something about what I see happening. I do not wish to disprove each and every false teaching for there are an infinite number of wrong teachings, but there is only one true gospel. And I literally owe my life, just as you do, to our saving grace, Jesus Christ. Jeff Durbin feels the same way, but he says, “Loving your neighbor requires us to act in love towards them and if you see them lunging into darkness it is an act of hatred to say and do nothing.” So, I take time to share the knowledge that I have gained because of the love I have for you. I am spending my money to go to seminary to ensure that I have every tool at my disposal to help others because I care. I work a full-time job and I spend nearly every evening after work studying the Word of God so that I do not lead you astray. I spend my entire Saturday studying, and then I go to church Sunday, return home to study, and then go to evening service. And you may have guessed already, I go back home to study in the evening. Yes, I enjoy this, and I hope you study the scriptures for your salvation is at stake, just like mine, but ultimately this is not for my own good. It’s because of the love God has shown me and His calling that I dedicate my life now to furthering His Kingdom. And I do not boast of these things like I am good or better than you because of them, but instead, I do these things because I realize how I am NOT good. It is because of the free gift of mercy and grace that I do these things.

I so desire for you to receive salvation through Jesus Christ, but there’s only one way—the true gospel. Be alert to these false gospel messages being preached, whether purposefully or out of thoughtless handling of the scripture, for they are a pitfall that I wish you to not fall into. I will continue to teach the true gospel and point out the false for the scriptures say:

Acts 20:28–31 (ESV) “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.

So, if I must be condemned socially for defending the true gospel that saved a wretch like me, then let it be so. I was dead before I was raised again in Jesus Christ, and I can never repay this gift. I will however defend the faith no matter what it costs me for I am grateful that Christ died for me. I must do this because God taught me how to love, and out of love, I must teach the real God and Savior to you. Paul tells us that if we are to boast, it is that we boast that we are allowed to suffer for Christ, and if I must receive criticism for defending the true gospel, and pointing out those that teach a different gospel, then I welcome it if it means even one of you receives the true salvation of Jesus Christ. I will make mistakes and I will not be perfect; however, I will try to do everything out of love so that you may know Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:13–17 (ESV) “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

I pray that you accept my heartfelt message to you. It brings me great distress that some of you do not understand why I do these things. Please understand that I do them because the scripture commands me to and I must love you, as my neighbor, just as I love myself. I wish I had more teachers warn me of these false teachers, for I listened to them in the past thinking they taught of the real God, but I was so deceived. Thus, I must not let them deceive you, as they once deceived me.

I apologize if you find any mistakes for I wanted to get this out as quickly as possible. I am so busy right now, but I must do this with a sense of urgency for your salvation is at stake and we have no guarantee of a tomorrow.