SPOTTING A FALSE TEACHING

 

 

 

 

It is absolutely clear, God has warned us over and over to beware of false teachers, false doctrine & perverted gospels.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,” [2Peter 2:1]

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” [1Timothy 4:1]

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” [Galatians 1:6-8]

This being said, the next question becomes, how do I spot a false teacher, teaching or doctrine? Below are three easy ways to distinguish a false teaching from the truth.

3 SIGNS OF A FALSE TEACHING

ONE: MAKING ASSERTIONS WITHOUT BIBLICAL EVIDENCE. No BOOK, CHAPTER or VERSE. A young man once told me that he knew his denomination to be true because he FELT it was. Another person told me that he knew his denomination was true (different from the other man’s) because he FELT it. Yet another said something similar, they FELT that God had led them to the truth. Each of these folks are in different denominations teaching different things about the same subjects.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1Corinthians 1:10]

TWO: REDEFINING TERMS TO FIT THEIR NARRATIVE. Some false teachings just try to change a single word or the definition of that word. Satan added “not” to the command of God in Genesis 2:16-17. Today, folks are adding “not” to Mark 16:16. In another example, they change the definition of the word “for” in Acts 2:38, from “used as a function word to indicate purpose” to make it mean, “because.”

In another example, the word “baptism” in the original Greek language means, “to immerse.” Change agents have modified the definition to include “sprinkling or pouring.” If you can change the definitions you can change the doctrine, or so you think. Read the following verses and see if “for” means the same thing.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 2:38]

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matthew 26:28]

Is Jesus saying in the second verse, stated BEFORE He shed His blood, that His blood is shed “because” sins have already been remitted? Certainly not! Keep the definitions true and you’ll read the truth.

THREE: THEIR ARGUMENT RELIES ON IGNORING OTHER BIBLE PASSAGES ON THE SAME SUBJECT THAT CONTRADICT THEIR POSITION. While it is true that salvation is by Grace [Eph 2:8-9], and that it’s by faith / belief [Acts 16:31], it IS NOT TRUE that we are saved by “faith alone.”

 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” [James 2:21-24]

 

Recently, a person I had been studying with took some of the questions to their ‘pastor.’ They sought evidence from him for his assertions about ‘faith only’ & ‘once saved always saved.’ They questioned his ‘proof’ with the REST of the scriptures. He then said to this person that it would be better if they left this denomination. WHAT?! A false teaching or teacher may have a ‘proof text’ but it doesn’t stand in light of the whole counsel of God.

A truth teller will use the Bible for his teaching, will use the Biblical definitions of words (defining words by the meaning they had at the time of the writing) and will take the “whole counsel of God.”

The false teacher, will add to God’s word, take away from God’s word, or they will “wrest the scriptures” to find the meaning they want [2Peter 3:16], which are condemned in God’s word.

We here, in the church of Christ, strive to remain pure & true to God’s word. We seek to know God’s will in all matters great & small. We do it for the simple reason that we want to go to heaven. We hope you want that as well.

–Spencer

Ye do Err…

Jesus said this to the Sadducees who had made an error in reasoning. He then explains to them why they were wrong by citing the scriptures which they had failed to understand. We can make some of the same errors in our own reasoning.

Reason is the process of drawing a conclusion based on evidence. For an argument to be legitimate, it must be true and valid, and logical reasoning must be used to back it up. Many critics of the Bible err because their arguments are just wrong about the facts. This is a factual error. Denominational Christianity is practicing a another form of error called the “LOGICAL FALLACY.”

A ‘LOGICAL FALLACY’ is, in general, an error in reasoning. God said through Isaiah, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:” [Is 1:18]. God wants us to use our heads when examining His word. He wants us to examine the evidence, the arguments and the facts about His will.

We face these fallacies every day in our interactions with folks from the denominational world, therefore we need to prepare ourselves so that we may give an answer. [Col 4:6] It’s to that end we will examine the most common Logical Fallacies.

10 COMMON LOGICAL FALLACIES

FAULTY CAUSE: the assumption that when one thing follows another then the first thing caused the second. Claiming water baptism is not essential to salvation by citing Acts 10, when the Holy Spirit fell on the family of Cornelius. This ignores the biblical record where Peter commands them to be water baptized. [Acts 10:47-48 can anyone forbid water…?]

SWEEPING GENERALIZATION: assumes if something is true in one case, it must be true about all cases. Paul argued against this form of generalization in Titus 1:12 when he cited one of their philosophers who had used this fallacy. They say, “The folks in the church of Christ have no faith.” We have faith, just more than a dead lonely faith [James 2:14-26].

HASTY GENERALIZATION: assuming one small bit of information represents the entirety of the subject. People will cite Romans 10:9 as proof of ‘faith only’ salvation. This ignores all of what is said about salvation. [Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 8:36; 22:16; Rom 6:1-4 & more]. If both confession and baptism are linked to salvation, then both are essential. We must also note these other things linked to salvation [Mark 16:16 Belief, Luke 13:3 Repentance, 1John 5:3 continued obedience].

FAULTY ANALOGY: finding one similarity between two things and assuming they must be alike in all ways. Using Acts 10 again, they use the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as proof that the family of Cornelius must have all the qualities given the Apostles. We cannot base religious practices on assumption.

FAULTY SIGN: identifying one thing or event as a predictor of future events. Many claim, since miracles occurred in the Bible then it must prove that every believer will be able to perform miracles. This ignores the facts about how the gifts of the Holy spirit were passed to another [Acts 8:17-18] and it ignores that the Roman Christians had none which is why Paul wanted to visit them [Romans 1:11].

APPEAL TO AUTHORITY: supporting a weak argument by citing famous people or ‘experts’ who hold the same position. This is also an appeal to the majority. Mark 10 & 12 show how the religious leaders cited Moses [improperly] to support their positions. Any appeal other than to God’s word is an appeal to error. “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” Galatians 1:11

SLIPPERY SLOPE: the assumption that when a specific step is taken it will always lead to similar steps resulting in a negative outcome. We have come to condemn sinless activities just because they might lead to sinful activities. This is no way to determine authority. Some will misuse 1Thessalonians 5:22 as justification. Let’s not accuse folks of sinning because of what may or may not happen.

RED HERRING: changing the subject by diverting attention to an emotionally charged situation. They will charge, “You don’t think God would send someone to hell for using an instrument in worship, do you?” This is often an appeal to emotion. Watch for the often subtle and emotionally charged subject change. You will see these most often whenever you cite; Mark 16:16; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Acts 2:38.

APPEAL TO IGNORANCE: the call to disprove a claim, and when the person is unable, citing it as proof their claim is right. “You can’t tell me that I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit’s presence” is used to justify the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Probably one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. In these cases, asking them how this might look in other situations. For example: “I’ve met folks from differing [often competing denominations] who have said the same thing. Each practicing and teaching doctrines contradictory to one another. How could I differentiate between all of you?”

Ultimately, every discussion needs to be turned to reading the scriptures. God’s word is the only sound source for all that we say and all that we do.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17

Unconditional Love?

by Terry Benton

That God’s love is “unconditional” means one thing to one person and a different thing to someone else. The Bible does not use the expression “unconditional love” but does imply it. God “so loved” the world (John 3:16). That would mean that love is what moved Him to give His Son for the sinful world. Paul said that he loved us “while we were yet sinners” (Rom. 5:8). Thus, it was not a situation of God would love us IF….. God loved us when we were at our worst. Thus, in that regard, it was an unconditional love. But, what does that mean? Some seem to think that because God loves us all unconditionally, that therefore He ACCEPTS us unconditionally. Is this what the Bible really teaches?

False Concepts of God’s Love

One clearly false concept is that God only loves us IF we perfectly obey Him. But, that is not the case because the Bible says He loved us at our worst, “while we were yet sinners”(Rom. 5:8). The Prodigal Son’s father loved him unconditionally, but certainly was not pleased with his son’s choices. To love is not to accept any and all behavior. A parent can “so love” a child but not be pleased with the lifestyle of that child. Still, love is what causes the parent to keep hoping for a turn around and return of the lost child. Love longs for a turning point in the thinking of the child, and love is unconditional. But, love does not accept the child in rebellious behavior. The prodigal son’s father never stopped loving his son, but there was broken fellowship and relationship. The father was not glad about the son’s choices and behavior, and did not pretend that relationship remained the same as ever. Perfect obedience was not the reason he loved his son. He loved his son while he was yet a sinner in hope of his son’s coming to himself and returning in humility. Love is that way. God is not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness (Psalm 5:4-6). A person determined to keep practicing sin is certainly not acceptable to the Lord (Prov. 15:8-9). Love means God longs for a sinner who is ruining his life and his potential, longing for the sinner to wake up and turn back to God. God’s love causes Him to also hate what the sinner represents and how that sinner influences others to ruin their lives as well (Rom.1:20ff).

A similar false concept is that “God only loves us BECAUSE we deserve His love”. God’s love is totally unconditional. The character of God is LOVE. Relationship with God is in fact conditional. Love does not equate to relationship and acceptance. As an illustration we might say that George loves everyone. Does everyone love George? And Does George automatically let everyone in his house? Can we not love our enemies without trusting them with our house and our children? Love does not equate with relationship and acceptance.

Things God’s Love Will NOT Do

Love will not automatically accept you “as you are” if that means “as you have been”. Love does not mean I accept my child as a murderer or adulterer or thief. Love means I have “good will” for someone and will help them get right with God. If one is “continuing in sin”, love means that I am sad for them and long for their salvation from sin and ruin.

Love does not automatically forgive you. Forgiveness is conditioned on being “in Christ”(Eph.1:3, 7; Gal. 3:26-27). Love longs for our forgiveness and will provide a just way that it can happen if we want it. There are conditions for coming into Christ where forgiveness is enjoyed.   God’s love longs to forgive, but will not automatically accept you “as you are”, if that means you are going to decide to continue as you are.

Love will not force your love and service to Him. It will not force you to act against your will, but yearns to get you to change your will in His favor. Therefore, love will not, by itself, prevent you from going to torment or hell. God loved even the rich man, but the rich man still went to torment (Luke 16:19f). It was not that God did not love him. It was that the rich man did not love God and therefore did not love his fellow man.

Things God’s Love WILL Do

God’s love will provide a conditional way for you to be saved. (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16). These conditions do not merit salvation on your end. They are things that you MUST do (Acts 2:37-41), and yet they are not works of merit whereby God OWES us anything (Eph. 2:8-9). Belief and baptism in Jesus’ name are not meritorious works, nor are they works of perfect law-keeping. They are both actions of mind, will, and appeal to God for His mercy. God loves us and will forgive us if we believe, repent, and are baptized in Jesus’ name for remission of sins. God’s love provides the remission of sins and the conditions.

These conditions are within your power to do. There is no excuse for not meeting these conditions.

God’s love will try to attract your better possibilities and potential and will provide the greatest incentives for you to repent (Rom. 2:4-8). Heaven and Hell are incentives, but God’s amazing love and fellowship is a primary incentive.

God’s love is so great that He will do what is painful to Himself in order to be merciful and just in an effort to win your love and fellowship. God IS Love. (1 John 3).

How do we define His Love?

We cannot define it as automatic acceptance. It does not mean that none will be lost. What does it mean? It means that there is “good will”, mercy, and compassion already resident within His character. It is there driving Jesus to the cross for your possible salvation. It is your greatest opportunity in life to have reconciliation with God now so that He can bring you home to glory.

Don’t blow your opportunity to experience and enjoy His greatness of Being. There are conditions for being made acceptable (Rom. 5:1f). We see how 3,000 Jews came from lost and condemned to being acceptable, having remission of sins (Acts 2:36-41) all because of the love of God. You have the same opportunity because of His love. What will your response be?

 

 

Terry Benton, “Unconditional Love?,” in Answering Religious Error, April 15, 2015, http://www.answeringreligiouserror.com/salvation/unconditional-love/.

What doth hinder you?

In Acts 8, the Ethiopian Eunich asked, “….what doth hinder me to be baptized?” [Acts 8:36] This is the question that needs to be answered, what hinders you?

As I was reading Mark, this passage caused me to pause, ”That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” [Mr 4:12] It caused me to think about people that are blinded to the truth….

  • No one is so blind….
    • As one who WILL NOT SEE.
  • No one is so Deaf….
    • As one who WILL NOT HEAR.
  • No one is so illiterate….
    • As one who WILL NOT READ. [Eph 3:4]
  • No one is so ignorant….
    • As one who WILL NOT STUDY. [2Ti 2:15]

I once met a man convinced that salvation was by faith only. He actually was passing out material declaring the same. I asked him questions, noting that his material lacked scriptural support for what he was teaching. He said, “That’s odd, there should be some scriptures for this.”

I told him that I agreed, and asked, after much discussion, if he’d like to see the only passage in the entirety of scripture that says, “By faith only” in that sequence. What he said next shocked me, “No, I’m ok.” He then took his Bible, which I had opened to the very passage, closed it and stuck it into his pocket.

It is a sad day when a person claiming to be a child of God closes the Bible on truth. So, what doth hinder you from being baptized?

  • Me? – No, I’ll not stand in your way.
  • The church? – No, your denomination may, but the church of the Bible will never.
  • Law? – No, there’s nothing in the Law of Christ, [Ro 8:2] that will hinder you, it teaches it.
  • God? – No, He’s not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [2Pe 3:9]

So who is it? It’s YOU! Only you stand in the way of salvation. Oh yeah, do you want to know the only time “…by faith only” is used in Scripture?

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [Jas 2:24]