Monday, January 26, 2015

The Pathology of False Teachers

Are there secondary issues, less important doctrines in Scripture? What makes a false teacher, false? This quote demonstrates what I have so urgently been trying to proclaim: God is precise and He demands we be also. "A little" leaven is TOO MUCH leaven; it permeates the loaf to render it unholy. So why do so many Christians sit in judgement of God's Word, lower whatever doctrines they deem "less important" and then embrace teachers who rebel against biblical doctrine as if they are faithful, true teachers of Scripture?


And so, Paul is saying, "Look, if anyone teaches differently, that's the mark...that's how you know them."  It is, first of all then, what they affirm.  You have to listen to what they say.  Is it different than what you know Scripture says?

Are they saying something different?  The word is heteros didaskalia, a heterodox teaching rather than an orthodox teaching.  That means a heresy, a false teaching, something that is different than the Scripture teaches.  They don't get their teaching out of the Word of God, they have something different than the Bible, some vision, some revelation, some psychological insight, some self‑generated, self‑spawned doctrine, some interpretation that is contrary to Scripture.  Anything different than the sound true teaching of the Word of God revealed marks a false teacher.  It could be a teaching that denies that God is the only true God.  It could be a teaching that denies that God is a spirit and turns God into an idol or a man.  It could be a teaching that denies that God is a trinity or that denies some of the attributes or any of the attributes of God.  It could be a teaching that denies that God is almighty, that God is sovereign, that God is the creator, that God has revealed Himself in history.  It can be a teaching that denies His person, His attributes or His works.  And any such thing marks out one who has a virus that is deadly.

It could be error about Christ, error about His lineage, error about His virgin birth.  Someone who teaches contrary to the sinless perfection of Christ, contrary to His substitutionary atoning death on the cross, contrary to His resurrection, contrary to His miraculous life and works, His perfect teaching, His Second Coming, His high priestly ministry of intercession, His eternal reign, any of that.  Anyone who teaches differently than that.  It could be a denial of the authenticity of Scripture, the inspiration of Scripture, the authority of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture.  It could be a denial of the work and ministry and person of the Holy Spirit as revealed on the pages of holy Scripture.

Any deviation from what the Bible teaches marks out the virus of false teaching that can a deadly way infect people.  Any area of truth twisted, perverted or superseding Scripture is cause for us to take note.

~John MacArthur on "The Pathology of False Teachers"

I would add that what some false teachers OMIT is also heresy.  Additionally, claiming right doctrine in area, but then contradicting it or sliding in an exception (via "ignorance" for example) is also false teaching.

As Robert Morey so astutely said,

The main problem is that many religious leaders today say one thing and teach another. If you ask Gregory Boyd or the other “Open View of God” heretics if they believe in the “omniscience” of God, they will say, “Yes.” Dumb Christians are satisfied at this point and go their merry way deceived and hoodwinked. But if you force them to define the term “omniscience,” they end up denying that God knows all things! They claim that God does not and cannot know the future.

Just because someone says, “I believe in sola scriptura,” does not mean he really believes in it. If he elsewhere says that the Bible is not the final authority in faith and practice, he has denied in substance what he supposedly affirmed as a slogan. Heretics have always done this. What they affirm with the right hand is what they deny with the left hand. It does not matter what doctrine is at stake.

In the early 1980s, those who denied the inerrancy of Scripture did not begin by openly denying it. They redefined
it until the term “inerrancy” meant errors!

Those who deny the bodily resurrection of Christ often pretend to believe in it by tricky words and double talk.
Believe me; I have heard some slick theologians in my day!

Apostasy in Scripture is of two kinds: doctrinal and moral.

A heretic can be a good person who is very moral. Yet, he can also be an anti-Christ. The monk Pelagius was according to all a good man, morally speaking. Thus when I point out some teacher as a heretic, evanjellyfish usually respond, “But he is sooo nice! He is a good man. How dare you attack him!”

They assume that heretics are always mean and vile. A nice heretic who says that right phrases and theological clich├ęs cannot be a heretic in their mind.The problem with heretics who are “nice” is that we tend to let them get away with the most outrageous teaching because they seem to be so nice.

End quote.

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