Some Christians can easily come up with a list of dangerous pastors, speakers, or books…but there are others who are not able to tell the difference as easily. Aaron Armstrong, blogger and speaker, has written a blog piece titled How do we protect ourselves against false teaching? on his website, Blogging Theologically. He relays,
“As a new Christian—and worse, a new Christian developing doctrinal convictions—I tended to wield my lofty opinions (some of which were even right) as a mighty hammer with which to smash my perceived foes. So I would do stupid things like blurt out, “Why would you read that—don’t you know it’s heretical nonsense?” And let me tell you, that does not win friends or influence people.”
Armstrong expresses that sometimes our “mighty theological hammer of justice” does not always have the effect we intend. Instead we should be asking, why are so many Christians prey to these false teachers? How can we address the real problem? Armstrong says the root of the problem is biblical illiteracy among many Christians today. If Christians don’t know that what they’re hearing is wrong, they won’t question it. So how do we protect ourselves from false teaching and encourage others to do the same? Armstrong writes,
“I’ve really come to appreciate the simple truth that the best way to protect ourselves against false teaching (and protect others from it as well) is not always with lofty arguments, but with the consistent study of Scripture.”
I once heard a pastor ask his congregation, what’s the best way to spot counterfeits—do you study as many counterfeits as you can or do you study the real thing? The answer is the real thing…there will always be counterfeits, and new ones will pop up every day. But while counterfeits may change, Scripture stays the same.
The solution is to know what Scriptures says and compare everything else against it. If you’re not sure ask yourself, “What do the Scriptures say?” Then seek it out. God gifted us with his Spirit for a reason; He's ready and willing to help us with our understanding. Armstrong explains,
“When we read a book, even by a generally trustworthy source, we need to ask this. When we listen to our pastors’ sermons, we ought to do likewise. When we read blogs and tweets and other such things, we must always ask this question. When we do this, when we are committed to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, seeking to understand the Scriptures to the best of our ability, and when we hold all teaching—even good teaching—up to its light, there is no place for false teaching to hide.”
To read Aaron Armstrong's full article please visit BloggingTheologically.com.
In 3 Ways to Handle False Teaching and False Teachers Crosswalk.com Contributor Matthew Harmon states, “… every believer is responsible for being so familiar with the true gospel that false teaching is immediately obvious. The gospel is the only way that we can be made pure, because it points us to the only one who is truly pure-Jesus Christ.”
For Christians it is important to spend time in the Word each day because the more we know Scripture the easier it will be to spot false truths. Not only will we be able to spot false teaching, but our relationship with God will be so much richer. We have nothing to lose when it comes to spending time in God's Word!
7 Sure-Fire Ways to Recognize False Teachers
Publication date: February 8, 2016
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.