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How To Recognize False Teachers In The Church & Why Skepticism Is Your Friend

girl sitting in church

This blog post is a bit different than what I usually write but I’m concerned about some things. 

Sometimes being in a bubble is a good thing.

You see, somehow someway, I am totally out of the loop with popular Christian thought leaders, books, and new crazes. I’ll hear other Christians talk about what this pastor said or this book says and I’m clueless.

Who is that? I’ll wonder.

I know so few of them and they rarely raise much interest from me. I usually just stay in my lane and nod politely and rarely think about the newest hottest Christian cultural phenomenon.

I wish I could say this is all due to discernment on my part.

But that’s not entirely true.

Part of the reason is that I have a bit of hipster in me. I have a slight disdain for that which is popular. When everyone is fawning all over the latest and the greatest Christian thing, I’m usually like “Nah, I’m good”.

So It’s definitely not entirely a spiritual thing that I’ve shunned so many popular Christian fads and teachings.  I wish I could just say that it was all discernment but I’d be lying (some of it is though).

But I must say that it’s served me well.

Why?

Because unfortunately, far too many popular Christian leaders are false teachers. (Nadia Bolz-WeberRichard Rohr)

Too many popular Christian books and fads are unscriptural and New Agey (The Circle Maker).

Too many popular Christian teachings are unbiblical (prosperity gospel).

And of course, these false teachings affect both of the niches that I write about (health and business) so my healthy dose of skepticism really serves me well.

This is, not a post of me looking down on anyone. This is not me saying “thank God that I’m not like the undiscerning Christians over there”.

I’m just saying being a little skeptical of anything popular as far as Christianity is concerned will probably serve you well too.

If a Christian idea, book, teaching, is that that popular, there might be something fishy going on here, you know what I’m saying?

If a Christian idea, book, teaching, is that that popular, there might be something fishy going on here, you know what I'm saying? Click To Tweet

Or maybe if a teacher has to twist scripture to fit their point of view, their point of view may just be that. Their point of view and not a revelation from God.

For instance, how about this gem of a quote from author and ordained minister Nadia Bolz-Weber:

“I had never stopped believing in God, not really. But I did have to go hang out with His aunt for awhile. She is called the goddess. My first experience with Wicca . . .” from her book Pastrix

“The goddess we spoke of never felt to me like a substitute for God but simply another aspect of the divine, like God’s aunt or something. When I tell other Christians of my time with the goddess I think they expect me to characterize it as a period in my life when I was misguided and that now thankfully I have come back to both Jesus and my senses. But it’s not like that. I can’t imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. I can’t image that God doesn’t reveal Godself in countless ways outside of the simple system of Christianity. And in a way I need a god who is bigger and more nimble and more mysterious than what I could understand or contrive.” from her book Pastrix

Umm, wait what? God has an aunt now?? Explain? 

I’m pretty sure if God had an aunt, that would have come up in the scriptures at some point.

I'm pretty sure if God had an aunt, that would have come up in the scriptures at some point. Click To Tweet

Plus, you can only have an aunt if you have a mother so…?

And if God had a mother, pretty sure that would have come up as well.

How to recognize a false teacher

1 John 4:1-6 tells us to test the spirits so we can know the difference between the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 also warns that people will turn from the truth and look for teachers that tell them only what they want to hear.

Let’s not be in that group, my friends.

Let’s not be in the group that only wants to hear what we want to hear. That’s not Christianity.

How can we know if something is true?

Start with the Word. Always start with the Word.

Not a book that’s popular in Christian circles. Start with the Word of God.

When you read the word you’ll see that some of the ridiculous ideas and teachings that are circulating now in Christian circles are nowhere to be found in the Bible.

That’s another way to know.

Go back to the basics. Read the Word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to interpret it for you. Not a man or woman who has thoughts and ideas that bare no resemblance to anything that God or Jesus ever said.

To My Fellow Christians, I Say With All Sincerity…

There will be so many bandwagons in Christian culture that have nothing to do with Christ. Please don’t jump on them. If you don’t trust your ability to discern what’s from God and what’s not then try a healthy dose of skepticism.

There will be so many bandwagons in Christian culture that have nothing to do with Christ. Please don't jump on them. If you don't trust your ability to discern what's from God and what's not then try a healthy dose of… Click To Tweet

If it’s too popular, it’s probably not from God.

Not in every case but many times, unfortunately, that is the case.

If you’re interested in learning more about blogging for business and impact then please download my free Christian business blogging roadmap. Just enter your email below.

Nicky Johnson

Angela Johnson is the owner and creator of Christian Blogging Academy (CBA) & Healthy As You Can (HAYC). She is also a veteran blogger and author with degrees in Business & IT. She started this blog to support other Christians who are bloggers, writers, and entrepreneurs (or those who aspire to be)!

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