Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Identifying False Teachers Claiming to be Christians

Spotting False Teachers and Dealing With Them
Barbara Henderson

There they were knocking on my door – two little old ladies looking kind and sweet.  I spotted them right off as silly misguided women out proselytizing for Satan.  These two were quite cunning as they opened the conversation asking about flowers growing in the yard.  Having strong southern influence in my background I knew it was my duty to offer to dig them up a Trilium specimum.  The dirt our yard is a gardener’s paradise – so I knew I could do it.  However I knew if I let them talk they would get around to their true purpose in their visit.  These two were actually even more tricky – they said they were looking for hearing impaired people so they could preach the gospel in sign language.  That’s good – when the truth of Jesus Christ is preached.  Unfortunately these two women had an utterly false version of Christianity on their minds. 

I absolutely never invite people like that into my home because they are being watched over and assisted by the god they worship.  IT is not the triune God of the Bible.  My grandad’s approach was to tell them politely to leave and if that didn’t work his next plan was to turn to water hose on and let them have it.  I am not kidding.  He hoped they wouldn’t leave until he hosed them down – because he really enjoyed watching them scream and holler while he let them have it.  I have never had to resort to that but I definitely like to have a nice water hose by the front door just in case.  I suppose if a water hose is not possible for you that keeping a super soaker squirt gun by the front door would be a good alternative. You can even get a battery powered super soaker with a reach of over 30 feet – and no comment on how I know about those.  Let me just say that I am not going to let myself get drenched without putting up a good fight.  Anyway – back to the subject   …..

I always tell them quickly that I am a fundamentalist and that if they are ready to convert I can tell them how.  IF that doesn’t get rid of them I move on to quoting scripture like ‘heaven and earth shall pass away and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat – nevertheless we according to his promise look for a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness’.  I taught my kids those verses when they were little – and they even ran off a few of these women with those verses all by themselves.  I told them never to use the water hose tactic unless it was a dire emergency.  Anyway – the elder of these two women was the spokesperson.  She said she loved that verse but it was obviously not meant literally – but figuratively.  I said of course it is literal – why wouldn’t it be?  And she simply said goodby  - thank you for the trillium and left.  I didn’t get a chance for my final word when dealing with these people which is simply – ‘let me say a quick prayer  before you go’  and the pray is this – Dear Jesus – please help your truth to be known to everyone here and to all the world’ – or something like that.

You may be wondering why I even talked to them in the first place.  The answer is fairly simple.  It gave me a chance to speak the truth.  The truth of God is very powerful – it converts and makes wise the simple.  Also – the second member of the team is probably an apprentice – so they may be more open to the truth.   I never go out hunting for cult preachers.  I never initiate conversation with them, but if one turns up at my door I do have a plan of what I will do and what I will say.

People tend to lump all groups labeling themselves Christian into the realm of true Christians and expect us to all try to get along. Our job is not to either get along or not get along.  Our job as Christians is to speak the truth.  Our job is not to fellowship with people who are preaching gross error.  Of the two who ladies who visited us I would say the elder is extremely good at what she does.  As I already mentioned she observed our yard as being a well cared for yard with rare forest flowers growing all over the place.  She assumed the flowers were a good opening point for a conversation.  What she didn’t know is that the previous home owner planted every single flower and our fondest hope is that we don’t kill everything the first summer!  She was tricky though.  Next she mentioned wanting to take the gospel to the hearing impaired – which would have gotten her a response from many people who actually knew someone who actually communicated through American sign language.  We all need to be careful that we never direct anyone to give the gospel message to someone unless we are know exactly what gospel message they plan to take!  No true Christian wants to be a party to sending false gospels to lost people. 

I want to encourage each of you to have a game plan when you are approached by those who proselytize for Satan.   It would include that they are not welcome into your home – it is going to be a yard conversation.  They will not be allowed to preach their false-gospel.  You will speak the truth of God.  You will invite them to leave.  I have never had anyone offer to convert or come back to ask me any questions.  I usually only see people like this a couple of times a year at most – so my experience is not that great.

The initial approach of these two ladies was a lie – because they acted like they stopped because they liked a flower growing in the yard.  They also didn’t carry the usual literature in their hands, so to the un-churched they would have given the impression of two little old ladies out admiring local flowers.  I sort of wish I had my trillium back but since there are at least 1000 of them growing in the yard it isn’t really a big deal.  These two had the best tactics I have seen so far from that particular cult of approaching people as though they were interested in one thing – while something else entirely was on their minds.  That is an obvious tactic of the devil – but it is harder to spot the more camouflage that covers it.  

Cults are often referred to as different than ‘mainline’ Christianity.  This title cedes to them an automatic credibility that they do not actually have.  It is sort of like saying – while we may not be mainline Christians – we are still Christians.  No they aren’t.  This is where the fundamentals of the faith become very important.  Remember the fundamental – the pre-existience and deity of Jesus Christ?  They don’t pass.

Another cult – Jesus is not the only begotten son of God – and this cult actually believes Jesus and Satan are brothers. They don’t loudly or proudly proclaim this belief – but that is definitely their belief.  If you turn from this false religion you are shunned and risk losing your family, friends, social connections, and possibly even your job. You can write this cult off entirely simply by strictly adhering to another fundamental of the faith is that the Bible is without error. Their book ‘corrects’ God many times.

Another so called world religion has a book full of corrections to the Bible – and disrespects  Jesus Christ.  Their god is so obviously different from the God of the Bible it is utterly stupid or intentionally deceptive to say they are the same god.

So – in the case of these cults – there is no place for dialog that looks for commonalities between the faiths because these are not faiths in God Almighty.

Cults are not separated from Christianity by little errors.  They have major obvious flaws in theology and doctrine that cannot be made compatible with the straight forward teachings of the Bible.  These differences should make it immediately obvious that they are not actually Christian.  Remember – inerrancy of scripture – preexistence and deity of Christ, bodily death burial and resurrection, to name a few.  However – their approach to Christianity is to set little differences as the main obstacle to fellowship.  What they actually want is the endorsement of fundamental Christianity – they do not want to find commonalities because there are none.

One of the biggest errors cults teach – is ‘we believe in Jesus’ – but their version of Jesus is clearly nothing even close the Jesus Christ revealed to us in the Bible.  When you hear a so-called religion – Christian or otherwise – claiming they believe in Jesus Christ – ask them to define Jesus Christ.  If they tell you something like Jesus is a one-eyed prophet waiting for permission from Mohammad to ride an old donkey into the world and proclaim that Mohammad was correct all the time – you have a very large ‘clue’ that they are not talking about the same Jesus who promised to come again!

Unfortunately – like all liars – cults do not approach with the truth.  They approach with ‘look what we have in common!’  and ‘look what we can do for you’.   Just like the two ladies who came to my door asking for a trillium and primrose plant - cults approach with deception.  They want you to think the subject is one thing when it is actually something else entirely.  They are not always easily spotted, but their true agenda cannot be concealed for long. 

Remember – if they step outside the fundamentals of the faith or the five solas – send them down the road as fast as their legs can carry them.  If they seem willing to hear something of the truth of Jesus Christ – then have something to say.  If they are unwilling to listen – don’t waste your time being polite or listening to them.  You know they are lying whether wittingly or unwittingly – so you have no obligation to listen!  Furthermore – you don’t want the evil that travels with them to linger long around you. Do keep in mind that ultimately those who refuse to water down the truth of Jesus Christ will not be well received by those who reject Him.  An example of this is Cain.  1 John 3:11-13 gives us this sad story. 
11. ‘For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12.  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
13. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.’

In refusing to accept ‘forced tolerance’ of teachings that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Bible, you will not gain worldly popularity.  The reason is clearly given in verse 12. ‘Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.’

It is most likely correct that Cain and Able had discussions regarding the path to God many times before Cain actually killed his brother.  In the end instead of admitting his error and turning from it Cain chose to murder the one whose very existence reminded him of his own error.  Killing Able didn’t stop Cain’s conviction of his own wrong path.  Cain’s conscience wouldn’t shut up. 

You may be thinking – well those verses also told us to love one another.  The best way to love one another is to tell the unedited truth according to Jesus Christ.  If we truly love others as Christ loved us – we will tell them truth according to Jesus.  It is neither loving or kind to avoid the truth.

Keep in mind that if you are a Christian faithfully clinging to the fundamentals of the faith then you personally are a target for cult leaders. The more influence you personally have the more of a target you become.  If a false teacher can form some sort of relationship with you personally – then they have an inroad to Christians less informed regarding doctrine and theology that is faithful to the Bible itself.  You see this with some preachers of mega churches or television personalities.  They don’t want to offend anyone, so they refuse to condemn theology that is incorrect according to the authority of the Bible.  This is not confined to mega churches and well known personalities.  I know of a small so-called main line Christian church that actually fellowshipped on Sunday with a very liberal large area church that had a large fellowship hall and lots of programs for the youth of that church!  The small church actually bussed their kids over to the other church for activities they were unable to provide in their church facility.  Now let me think about this – kids were given a nice place to play on Sunday instead of a simple sermon on the truth of Jesus Christ.  How do you think that worked out in terms of actual conversions for their youth? Like they couldn’t come up with enough accidental errors in their own church – they had to bus the kids over to a church that was one centimeter away from outright apostasy!    It is horrifying isn’t it?

As a committed Christian you want to be as well prepared as possible for what the world has to throw at you.  In the area of false teachers it is imperative that you:
Know what the Bible teaches regarding the fundamentals or simple basics of the faith.
Have a definite game plan regarding what to do when approached by false teachers.
Refuse to look for commonalities between truth and lies in the name of getting along.
Make encounters with these people as brief as possible.
Remember the power of the truth of God’s word.  You don’t have to have anything smart or witty to say.  Just speak the truth.  If you were lost and going to hell you would want someone to tell you the truth.  That is obedience to the golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. 

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