How do I know if I am being taught false doctrine?
Any doctrine that is not exactly according to the Word of God is satanic, meaning that it originated with demon spirits, irrespective as to whom might be preaching such a doctrine.
This is one of Satan’s greatest ploys. He presents some truth, but only to serve as bait that he might project his lie, which will destroy the individual who follows such teaching. Satan counterfeits his lies by making them seem to be right, claiming biblical foundation and, at times, presenting some truth. Error rides into the church on the back of truth.
Here is a list of just a few false doctrines that do not lend themselves to godliness because they are erroneous:
I Timothy 4:1 says, “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.”
- Unconditional eternal security
- Predestination, which teaches that God has already ordained that certain ones to be saved and certain ones to be lost, and that they have nothing to say in the matter
- Denial of the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues
- The modern “greed gospel,” also known as the “prosperity message,” but in reality is no prosperity at all
- Trusting in anything except the finished work of Christ to bring about victory in one’s life, or anything else for that matter as it pertains to the Lord
- Humanistic psychology
- Dependence on the flesh instead of the Holy Spirit; the latter demands faith in the cross of Christ.
- Denial of the rapture or resurrection of the church
- The modern “kingdom now” message, which claims the millennium will be brought in by political means, etc.
- All religion
- Any doctrine that makes allowance for sin in any form
- Sanctification as a work of man instead of a work of the Holy Spirit
- Works righteousness and relative righteousness
- Any doctrine that attempts to go beyond the cross of Christ
- Any doctrine that weakens the foundation of the blood of Christ as the only cleansing for sin
- Any doctrine that attempts to bring about anything except through the power of the Holy Spirit
- Any doctrine that contradicts the substitutionary offering of Christ as the great sacrifice for sin—and as the only sacrifice for sin
- Any doctrine that denies the atonement of Christ in any manner or claims that anything is received from God other than through the vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Evil spirits make these doctrines seem to be very religious and very exciting. For instance, all false doctrine appeals in some way to certain lusts in an individual. It might be pride, money, recognition, standing, or place. Irrespective, it all adds up to self-will, which is the opposite of God’s will. This has always been the case. And Satan is using these same methods now, but with this generation he is adding greater power to his efforts, which means that the seduction is far more lethal, and it will continue to increase.
There is a bewitching power and even a sorcery behind false doctrine. It mesmerizes, attracts, pulls, and even seduces. The reason is obvious—seducing spirits are behind all false doctrine. These spirits appeal to the believer through self-will, ignorance of God’s Word, or both. That’s why believers must pay careful attention to what they hear from preachers. Everything must be evaluated according to the Word of God. If it’s not scriptural, then it must not be entertained.
If a believer doesn’t know his Bible, isn’t fully consecrated to Christ, and is not seeking to be led by the Holy Spirit, then he is going to be pulled into this maw of hell. It has already begun, and it will increase in intensity right up to the rapture of the church. After the rapture takes place, and the true church is gone, this strategy will explode in a fury of evil and wickedness such as the world has never seen before and usher in the Antichrist (Matt. 24:21-22).
We are living in times wherein the children of God—true believers—must push themselves ever closer to Christ and understand that there is not only salvation in the cross, but protection as well. To do the right thing, believers are going to have to buck the tide, so to speak. We are certainly not trying to be a killjoy, but we must state the truth. The majority of the church is going to go toward the seducing spirits—Jesus said so: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:11-12).
Remember, all error begins with a slight deviation from the truth. If it is not ultimately straightened out, then, like leaven, it will ultimately corrupt the whole until there is nothing left but error. It’s a slide downward, which gathers speed as it progresses.
Any believer attending a church that is teaching wrong doctrine will not remain static in his faith. He will gradually deteriorate until there is nothing left but corruption. In other words, he ultimately becomes totally deceived, which means it is next to impossible to break out of such a shell. It can be done in some few cases by the power of the Holy Spirit, but, as Paul insinuates in these verses, not often: “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:3-5).
Paul told Timothy ad all other true preachers and all believers to have no communion or fellowship with such false teachers. Do not recognize them as Bible teachers; do not countenance their views. Timothy was, in no way, to show that he regarded them as inculcating truth or patronize their doctrines. Every man should withdraw from such false teachers that have any claim on Christian character—and withdraw from them with feelings of unutterable pity and loathing.
II Corinthians 11:4 says, “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
Every preacher who preaches and teaches error is preaching and teaching a lie (I John 2:4). To preach and teach a lie makes the one doing such a liar as well. To lie about anything is bad, but to lie about the gospel is something else altogether.
There are many lies circulating in and around the modern church today, but every Christian should know, understand, and believe that there is only one truth—the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).