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What is False Teaching?

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False teaching is the opposite of God's truth and started in Genesis 3:4-5 when the devil told Eve "You will not certainly die,..." Eve, through her own desire, saw that the fruit was "pleasing to the eyes" and ate it. This is what I call intentionally cutting the truth in half to favor someone's point of view. So you can clearly see that false teaching is NOT always a false statement. It could be a true but misleading statement just like the devil deliberately ignored the fact that the consequences will include an immediate separation from God and the physical "death" was not going to be immediate. A false teacher is someone who preach, teach or support false teachings through their own words or actions (Galatians 1:8-9)False teachers have a lot to be exposed so they will fight back with meaningless talks when you present them with bible truth. Gospel preachers have a lot of exposing to do with the bible and it should not be a competition.

Abraham Inetianbor
There are two kinds of false teachers described in the Bible (2 Peter 2 and Matthew 7). The difference is that one is mostly focused on relaying false or untruthful messages to people while the other mostly trample on truthful messages with their lifestyle. I will also explain how easy our job is to spot false teaching compared to the days of the early Churches. The bible description of false teaching is simply the misuse of the truth. Any message that is used to contradict the scriptures for personal gain or human recognition is also false teaching. If my opinion on a topic contradicts the bible truth, then my opinion is wrong - plain and simple. Anyone with a phone or keyboard these days can preach or teach anything they choose; and anyone who refuses to do their own due diligence will fall for anything (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The two types or category of false teachers described in the bible are: 

1. The kind of "false teachers" that we often talk about and they teach false doctrinesSome even go as far as to denying the existence of God (2 Peter 2:1-2; 1 John 4:1-6). These kind of false teachers have no interest in knowing or preaching the truth about any doctrinal issue as long as their personal satisfaction and needs are met. Their focus is on falsehood to those who would listen and cheer them on. Some of them are often referred to as "feel good" or "prosperity" preachers whose only concern is their pocket. They will tell you anything you want to hear to satisfy your ears as long as you are willing to fill their pocket and celebrate them.

2. These are the "hypocritical" false teachers that Jesus talked about but we often ignore. They don't believe they are obligated to practice what they preachWhat they preach or teach may not always be false but it is often made meaningless with their lifestyle - Matthew 7:1-23. We don't talk much about these kinds of false teachers because most of them are usually in leadership positions among us. A hypocritical lifestyle is different from someone who commits sin. The big difference is the continuation to make a lifestyle out of it and the blatant unwillingness to sincerely admit wrong doings while vehemently condemning similar or less alarming actions by someone else. This is what Jesus was focused on when He addressed the Pharisees in Matthew 7. You can't go outside, light up a cigarette every hour of the day and then turn around to tell the guy smoking next to you that "smoking cigarette is bad." The great message is seen as a joke by the receiver and trampled upon as if it is a joke or has no value. In the same way, you don't toss expensive pearls to dogs or pigs because they don't see the value in it; they trample and play with it as described in (verse 6). Having selected hypocritical actions doesn't mean you are living a hypocritical lifestyle (Galatians 2:11-13). Peter had a mishap but I'm sure we'll see him in heaven because of grace. There's a difference between sin and sinful lifestyle.

Now let's talk about the application of the first one among today's Christians. Is second Peter 2:1 still applicable in today's society? YES, YES, YES but in a completely different way. When Peter made that statement in second Peter 2, the Bible was not yet complete as we have it today and Christians were facing a completely different set of circumstances. The apostles were still receiving direct inspired messages from God and they were writing to the different congregations on what to look out for especially among them. Peter's concern was mostly about those who were pretending to be receiving the same direct message from God. Some were lying about receiving the laying on of hands from the apostles just to gain credibility.

Now that we have the complete truth in our possession (2 Peter 1:3), we can be like the Bereans in Acts 17; or should I say be like "half" the Bereans because we have less work than they did. Our job or ability to spot false teaching is actually EASIER than the days of the early Christians. They had to review the messages from the prophets of old. Match it with the teachings from early apostles like Peter, then compare it with the new apostles like Paul to make sure it is in line and true. Not to mention, the teachers and preachers who received the laying on of hands like Timothy. Add all these to the other teachings coming from various false apostles and false teachers claiming to be directly from God. Imagine the stress that comes with such devotion and super dedication to get it right. I'm getting a migraine just thinking about it. All we have to do today is go to ONE source - the bible and we still find ways to complain.

Abraham Inetianbor
The Lord's church is not immune to false teachers and as a result, congregational leaders have unintentionally created a road block for many capable teachers in the name of protecting the flock. Some have taken second Peter 2:1 out of context to the point that even when you disagree with them on a matter of opinion, you are automatically labelled a "false teacher" especially if you are not one of those with the "robe" of intellects in our society. In this age of technology, the best way to protect the flock is to focus on teaching them the truth and use the bible to correct those who spread false teachings (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15). Actively looking for people to label as "wolves" is not going to get the job done and it's like chasing the wind. Feed the flock with the true spiritual meal and they would have almost no room for garbage. "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." - Acts 17:11.

Know the Lord your God and His truth because the battle is real. It's for your own good and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Abraham Inetianbor

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