There have been plenty of articles written in depth about false teachers, however, this is more of a personal exhortation to any Christian who happens to read this– young or old. What I want to address is one of the major warning signs that I have seen in people who have slipped away from Christian orthodoxy and into falsehood regarding their teaching:
When I first hear of the word “avoidance,” I think back onto a time when there were people that I actively sought to avoid in my life (mostly in middle school, haha!). But, that’s not what I am getting at here. Something I have noticed when I look back on those who have fallen away from Christian orthodoxy is their avoidance of the truth. Or, more specifically, their avoidance of addressing the truth regarding serious matters that are laid out in Scripture. One needs to pay attention to how they address these issues, such as homosexuality/LGBTQ+ issues, biblical complementarianism as defined in the Bible versus worldly egalitarianism. There are other issues, however these are some of the more outstanding ones that have been run-amuck within various Christian circles on social media and other platforms.
There is one well-known Christian speaker, author, and teacher who has, let’s say, made quite a division amongst many evangelicals. When posed with an open letter asking about her stance on homosexuality, Beth Moore responded with silence. When further questioned why a passage addressing homosexuality was removed from the Kindle ebook version of a book originally published in 2003, she responded by saying that she’s “overspoken” regarding the issue (her word, see HERE, HERE, and HERE).
Now Beth Moore has had an incredible impact on the lives of countless women, and men, all across the nation (and probably the world), however, we must be very wary when someone begins to shift away from things that are plainly and simply condemned in Scripture. I am not going to, nor will I ever deny the impact that she has had, however, I must caution that the future impact of Beth Moore, and others who are making that subtle slide away from Christian orthodoxy, may not be entirely biblical.
God’s word gives us this warning from 2 Peter 2:1-3:
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
Now, I am not saying all false teachers are “denying the Master who bought them,” however, we must understand that God and His Word are all or nothing. Once we start picking and choosing what we want to believe from Scripture, we are no longer worshipping the God of the Bible, but an idol of our own creation. And it’s a subtle slip, one that I feel is rarely made consciously.
As we move forward, however, we must make sure that we are like the Bereans from Acts 17, who, when confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Paul and Silas, “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, emphasis mine).
So, as you listen, watch, or read various pastors, preachers, and teachers of the Word, myself included, and something sounds off, even a little, take it to the Scriptures, the Word of God, with an open heart and a prayerful attitude, and be prepared to hear God speak.