Season: 3 Episode: 039
Shanda shares warnings about false teachers in the church and what you need to know so that you are not duped by them. We will talk about why it’s not mean or unloving to call out false teachers and why knowing God’s word equips you to handle false doctrine.
“If the devil uses the word of God to deceive, there are false teachers our there who do the same.”
“You identify counterfeit by measuring everything to the truth.”
“It is the responsibility of every Christian to contend for the faith.”
“If you don’t know the truth you will be deceived.”
“It is not unloving to call out false teachers; It is unloving if we don’t.”
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires. Today, we are talking about false teachers in the church. I actually did a short devotional on this topic about a month ago in my FB group and I have seen and heard so many things about false teachings lately that I thought I should dedicate an episode to it.
Before I get into the episode, I want to let you know that we are almost ready to wrap up season 3 and get right into season 4. I have episode topics in the works on nutrition, voting (don’t worry, I will never tell you who you should vote for), phone addiction and much, much more.
I will also be offering an online course on how to study the Bible and all non-fiction text for those of you who like to read other books on theology, or for those of you looking to dive deeper into studying.
So stick around for that!
Also, I am now on YouTube, so if you want to see my hands flying and the weird faces I make when I talk, head over to Shanda Fulbright on YouTube and please subscribe because I cannot change the name of my channel until I get more subscribers … and right now my YouTube is kind of sad and needs some love.
Ok, so back to fakes, phonies, and false teachers!
I am really excited about this episode because I feel it is my job to equip you with all the things you need in order to serve Jesus well and not be deceived by those who call themselves Christians, yet teach false doctrine.
So today, we are going to talk about these things:
- How do you identify a false teacher?
- Is it wrong or mean to call false teachers out?
- What do you need to know in order to not be deceived by a false teacher?
I mentioned before that the Netflix documentary “The American Gospel” is a great resource for those of you wanting to know what is currently going on with false teachers in our country. I highly recommend you watching it for more insight.
Also, a lot of false teachers teach on the prosperity message and some will never speak on sin because they do not want to offend others and that alone is a false teacher.
Here’s the deal, when we speak on sin, we preach the gospel with it. Just like when I talked about hell but mentioned the good news that Jesus saved us from it.
So, it is not loving to not teach truth.
I am going to be 100% honest and transparent here when I say this .. I have to be careful because I get very fired up about God’s word and I do not want to come off hard hearted and snippy with this episode.
On the contrary, I want to bring to light some of the things that are killing the church in America and some of the reasons cultural Christianity has been so popular in America for a long time now. A lot of it has to do with the false teaching.
So I probably won’t touch on the prosperity gospel today in detail. I hope to do an episode on it eventually, but we won’t have time today.
Just understand that this is an age old problem in the church.
Jesus mentioned wolves in sheep’s clothing which were false teachers. Paul mentioned false teachers. Jude mentioned false teachers. Revelation condemns churches for allowing false teachers to remain in the church. Paul also mentions that some in the church will purposely round up false teachers because they have itching ears that only want to hear what makes them feel good (aka … prosperity gospel. AKA … love yourself. AKA … you’re enough and you can fulfill your dreams).
So, how do we identify false teachers?
False teachers are in the churches. They sit in the seats next to you. They fellowship with you at your BBQ’s, and play church softball with you and crack funny jokes that make you laugh.
People who call themselves a Christian and possibly have an Instagram page with the title Influencer.
A false teacher is Someone who does not belong to God but preaches the word in deception. They can be hard to identify only IF you don’t know the word of God.
Remember what Jesus said to Pharisees and religious leaders, “You are of your father the devil.”
And the devil uses this same tactic.
If you go back to Genesis chapter 3 (have I mentioned lately how much I love Genesis 1-3?), you will see that the enemy knew the word of God and used it against Eve.
He did not quote the word verbatim. He knew it well enough to deceive Eve with it. Don’t think for one second that the enemy and his minions do not know the word of God better than most Christians.
The enemy said, “Did God really say you cannot eat from ANY tree in the garden?”
And Eve’s response was, “We can’t eat from the tree in the MIDDLE of the garden and we cannot touch it or we will die.”
She did not say the name of the tree. She said the tree in the middle of the garden. And God never said they couldn’t touch it, He said don’t eat from it.
It appears that the devil knew the word better than Eve here.
The devil uses the word all of the time. When he went to Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4), he tempted Him with the word of God and misquoted it there as well.
Now, I’m a very naive person. I take people at face value. If you tell me you’re a nice person and don’t do anything wrong, I’ll believe you for too long … and then once you spit in my face I’ll start to question you.
So it’s very hard for me to understand that there are people out there in the world who want to deceive God’s people. But there are.
I dated one for 4 years! 4 years! (I told you it takes me a while to believe you’re not who you say you are).
But there are! And if the devil is one of them then there are people that are of their father the devil. They work in the same ways.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing will always tell you what God really said about anything to do with what’s acceptable in culture. And they’ll be as convincing to you as the Devil was to Eve.
Many of them call themselves scholars, pastors, bishops, deacons, and because they wear this title you are convinced they must know more than you.
How do you know if they’re a wolf? The only way to know that is if you know the Word of God. When teaching someone in the banking industry how identify counterfeit money, no one ever shows them the fake money. They show them how to spot the real deal and then they measure everything else up to the standard of the real money. That is how a counterfeit is identified.
It’s the same when it comes to God’s word. I can’t say it enough. Everything that gets filtered through our minds should be measured against the world of God … the books we read.
You will know them by their fruit.
Again, Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that we will know them by their fruits. Bad trees cannot bear good fruit. It is only by the Holy Spirit that the fruits of the spirit are evident.
To have the fruits of the Spirit means we allow God to work in us. There is no love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, or self control in a wolf.
What do they condone and what does their lifestyle speak of them? It is our responsibility to evaluate the fruit in their lives.
This is not the same as spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts can be mimicked by false prophets and that’s why the Bible tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God.
Wolves in sheeps clothing speak to emotion more than truth because they want a following.
Today, we see many teachers in the church speaking to what they call “felt needs”. A felt need is something you’re struggling with or a need you want God to meet.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, but the biggest need that will take care of every other felt need is sin … and not many preachers want to speak against sin.
It’s not popular. 1 Cor 2:14 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
And because wolves want to gather the pack, have lots of followers and gain from their following, sin isn’t something they want to preach on.
If you follow a preacher/teacher who does not speak to sin, stop following them. Every message that is preached should and will always lead back to Christ.
And that brings me to my next question: Is it wrong or mean to call out false teachers?
No. That’s the short answer. Here’s why: Scripture mandates us to call them out. The fact that false doctrine is running rampant in the church is an indictment against the church for NOT calling it out.
It is your responsibility and my responsibility to contend for the faith like it says in Jude.
People will say it’s unloving. I’ve not only heard them say this but I’ve seen them write it in response to others who do call them out on social media.
If we really thing it’s unloving to call out false teachers in the church, we don’t know what love is.
Do you know what ravenous wolves (and that’s Jesus’ description, not mine), do you know what ravenous wolves do? They devour the flock … specifically weak Christians.
If we do not call them out, they are preying on and destroying our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is why people leave the church. This is why people associate hypocrites with the church and they walk away from God.
Paul also told Timothy that in the last days there would be an increase in false teachers because people will hate the truth (2 Tim 4:3-4). Notice that it doesn’t say they won’t know the truth .. it says they will hate the truth.
Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 1:3-4, “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.”
Again, we are not to be complacent and passive when it comes to false teachers.
We are to contend .. to battle, to fight for the faith. This is a spiritual battle that we are in and we must be willing to stand against false teachers in the church.
And this is where some will say, “But Shanda, we aren’t supposed to judge. Jesus said that.”
That is not what Jesus meant by “Don’t judge.”
He instructed us to judge the fruits of the wolves in sheep’s clothing and Paul said in Ephesians that we are not to participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but to expose them.
We aren’t getting out of this guys. It is our job, our assignment if you will, to expose false teachings.
Those who allow false teaching are just as guilty as those who preach it. I know that sounds harsh, but we’re in the bottom of the 9th and the game is winding down. We don’t have time to play nice with the Word of God.
And if you ever wonder if it’s mean to call out someone preaching false doctrine, as yourself if it’s mean to the one who hears it and is led astray by it. Is that loving? Is it loving and nice and kind to allow a weaker Christian who is not yet mature enough to discern a sincere preacher of the gospel to be led astray?
How about allowing someone to be hurt by a false teacher and have them associate that believer with God and walk away from Him? Is that loving?
I say NO. I say that is not loving.
Like I said before, I dated a pastor who was a deceiver in the church for four years. I was 21 years old, but raised in church. I knew something was wrong, but there were no visible signs that he was a wolf in the church.
He was very manipulate and I had discernment from the Holy Spirit that gave me that pit in my stomach feeling that told me to run and don’t look back … but I ignored it.
And I spiraled into depression and I allowed him to manipulate me into thinking that I was making all the wrong decisions and that I needed him to tell me who God was and what God’s word meant. I depended on him for everything related to biblical theology and understanding and he had me right where he wanted me.
But, after a while the truth came out.
He started to preach messages that were stolen for AW Tozer (who is legit), and other preachers on TV. People started to notice, but they kept quiet about it. No one wanted to talk about him and time went on.
All the while, he lied to the entire congregation, spread terrible rumors about my dad that I will not even mention on this podcast because they were lies, and he was married and had children of his own and I never knew it.
He led a double life and manipulated us all .. but the sad fact is that he did it before. He went to other churches and told them things that “God wanted them to know” that only he knew (gnosticism, beware of gnosticism from anyone who tells you they have special knowledge).
And once I realized who he was, I was reminded of the night God told me to run and I knew then that it was my fault for not listening to God who knew he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
It took me a while not to be skeptical of all church leaders for a while after that. If they cried while they prayed, I wondered if their tears were real because my trust for church leaders was fragile after that.
As a result, I take very serious the word of God and those who handle it. That is why I pray that I always rightly divide the word and live by it because if I don’t, I’m no better!
So NO … it is not mean or unloving to call out false teachers. It is unloving if we don’t and God will hold us accountable.
So, the last point today is what do you need to know so you aren’t deceived by a false teacher?
I want to read you what Jude said in verse 4, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ.”
The most telling words in this verse are the words, “crept in unnoticed.” No one in the church was aware that false teachers were coming in. To creep in means they were cautious. They came in in such a way as not to be noticed, but really, it didn’t matter because not one was paying attention.
Are you paying attention to those who teach you the Word of God? Are you paying attention to those coming into your church, your phone, your social media?
Because it is our job to know the word of God. We live in America where the word is readily available. We have received much of the Truth and we need to know it, stand on it and herald it.
And I know some of you are intimidated. I’ve received so many messages about where to start reading the Bible and how to read it in order to know it and understand it. If you missed last week’s episode with Chelsey on “Women in the word” check that out, but I am going to lay out some more refined tips for you here.
If you are just starting to read the word, start with the gospels and start with the book of John. Read that through and go to Matthew, Mark and Luke.
I suggest reading those 4 books through a few times before moving on to Acts.
When you read, if you come to a verse you don’t understand or even a word you don’t understand, look up the word in a dictionary. It will help.
Also, go to Biblehub.com or download the Bible hub app and enter the verse. Once you do that, go up to the top and hit comm for the commentary on that verse and you will see commentaries by Matthew Henry, etc, etc.
I also do studies on the Bible themselves and I use Life Change bible series for those. I do not do an entire study in a day because it takes a long time, so pace it for your own needs.
Also, I have a FB group where I’m reading the Bible with the ladies there. I will post questions and you can ask your own and comment on the passage assigned. Look up Her Faith Inspires to find the group.
To close this out, I want to remind you that part of being a good steward is stewarding the word of God well. There are some in other countries who would love to have the word of God at their disposal like we do.
We are living in a day and age where we need to know the truth so that we aren’t deceived. We need to speak it to our children and write it on our refrigerators.
If you don’t know the truth, you will be deceived. It’s as cut and dry as that. It really is.
Some of you may be wondering, “But what if I don’t know the Bible well enough? How can I know if it’s false teaching?
That’s a great question.
First, it will be in the word of God. Go to duck, duck go and search the topic or verses on that topic and see if they are interpreting the verse correctly.
Second, if you have the Spirit of God living in you, you have discernment. If something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. So take it to the Lord and again, search it in scripture. The man I dated said all the right things but because he kept his lifestyle a secret and lived out of town, he hid it well. I only had the Holy Spirit and discernment (which I ignored) to go on.
Third, read the word every day and you will grow in your knowledge and walk with God. I promise you will. Reading God’s word is a spiritual discipline that you must develop .. just like any other discipline. I go to the gym every morning and get up even if I’m tired. That’s because I have developed a discipline to workout. Spiritual disciplines happen the same way.
You can do it!
And if you want to know the Truth and not be deceived, you will do it. I believe in you and the God who has called you to get into His word.
If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer them. Until then, I’ll catch you on the next one!