Are You Easy Prey for False Teachers?

Modern-day Christian culture is obsessed with experience. The Bible has become a footnote.

Truth, we say, is important, but it must come second to our experience. Modern mystics claim, “We owe the world an encounter!” They’re referring to their ability to help people experience a special anointing of God. One of the newest faith healers on the circuit states, “The cross, to me, isn’t a revelation of my sin, it’s a revelation of my value!” He’d prefer we don’t talk about sin.

God’s Word is being grossly misrepresented and instead of challenging the divorce of truth from experience, the church at large has embraced experience as the preeminent proof of spiritual maturity. He who says, “God told me…”, wins the crowd. Man-centered experience, and man-centered gospels are sweeping across the landscape of evangelicalism. People are loving it and false teachers are too.

It’s an uphill battle, and a marathon fight, but we must never stop contending for the faith by calling today’s world back to the timeless truth of God’s Word.

  • Do you know your Bible?
  • Do you use Scripture accurately and confidently?
  • Do you trust subjective “impressions” over the objective truth of God’s Word?
  • Do you offer sentiments like, “I think” and “I feel” to others or do you point them to God’s truth?
  • Do you find yourself able to discern false teaching because you know the truth of God’s Word?

The way you answer those questions provides you with an accurate gauge of how useful you are in fighting the good fight of faith right now. Simply put, knowing your Bible is one of the highest priorities of the Christian life. How else will you know God’s will for your life? God’s voice isn’t the “whisper” in your head or the wind blowing through your hair – it’s the Bible – and it’s knowledge you need to survive and thrive if you call yourself a Christian.

“To live by impressions is oftentimes to live the life of a fool and even to fall into downright rebellion against the revealed Word of God. Not your impressions, but that which is in this Bible must always guide you. ‘To the Law and to the Testimony.’ If it is not according to this Word, the impression comes not from God — it may proceed from Satan, or from your own distempered brain! Our prayer must be, ‘Order my steps in Your Word.’ Now, that rule of life, the written Word of God, we ought to study and obey.”

– Charles Spurgeon

Some people think that knowing the Bible is about being a super-Christian who can thump everyone over the head with their jaw-dropping knowledge – but that’s just egotism. The Pharisees knew a lot about the Law. A lot of good that did them. Knowing the Bible is about knowing your God and therefore, enabling your life and worship to be rooted in who God is. The what is good to know; the why is equally as important.

In the spirit of knowing why you should take knowing your Bible seriously, here are 3 dangers of not knowing how to use your Bible in these experience-driven times:

  1. You Are Easy Prey for Predators

Have you ever watched one of those animal shows where the hungry lion creeps in the tall grass of the African Savanna while an Impala peacefully grazes? The lion has the perfect strategy in play as it blends into the grass and silently inches closer, and closer. When it seems like the Impala is done for, their head perks up, they somehow hear the lion, and they’re gone before the lion can hit full stride.

What saves the Impala’s life? Those big ears and a lighting quick leap that allows them to cover 30 feet in a single bound! A beautiful design by our Creator to level the playing field a bit – they can hear a pin drop in a hail storm and be from home plate to first base in 3 hops. That gives them a fighting chance against a roaring lion, and that’s the exact picture of what a Christian armed with God’s Word can do. An Impala without big ears is like you without a bible – lion lunch.  15325676887_3e8accd6a4_b

False teachers are banking on biblical illiteracy to exploit you with their greed (2 Peter 2:3), establish abusive power, and do Satan’s bidding. A Christian with a growing knowledge of the Word of God is able to discern when that Word is being twisted. If your mind is rooted in Scripture, it can’t be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). This starts with asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Bible’s truth to your ignorant eyes, finding trusted Bible resources to learn from, plugging into a trusted church to grow with, and following qualified pastors who take their role seriously (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Hebrews 13:17). Biblical literacy will be a challenge you will come to enjoy, and it will save you from the headache of heretics plundering your wallet.

  1. You Can’t Help Anyone Else

What do you call a person who can’t swim but jumps into a pool to save a drowning friend? Fill in the blank: ______________. I bet your word of choice wasn’t “useful” or “helpful.” So it is with the person who isn’t growing in their use of the Bible but is trying to help everyone with their opinions. If Christians do not continually devote themselves to internalizing the wisdom of God’s Word, what useful insight can they offer? They’re aimlessly dependent on wild stabs at “that one verse I think is in the Bible,” self-help books, and the odd nugget of wisdom that their granddaddy told them.

When answers to life’s toughest questions are needed, only the timeless wisdom of God’s Word will do. Divine wisdom is what people need. Biblically illiterate Christians can only attempt to sell desperately needy individuals their own empty palaver.

This has become increasingly problematic in church leadership as well. In a poor effort to make the gospel relevant, we’ve allowed the “cool factor” of a man to dictate his becoming a hired pastor. Pastors can get hired at a church because of how popular they are for things other than pastoring people. Never mind how faithful they’ve been to the Scriptures or how devoted they are to growing in doctrinal depth. It’s about how many followers they have on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Pastors can get hired at a church because they wrote some self-help books or look hip. Pastors can get hired at a church without ever knowing that their qualifications are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. If our leadership is biblically illiterate and unqualified, and evangelicalism at large supports that, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many who follow them are biblically illiterate.

The world doesn’t need any more celebrity Christian leaders who slosh around in the mushy-middle of evangelicalism with a pocket-knife in hand. The world needs men and women of God who can take up the sword of the Spirit and wield faithfully for Christ.

  1. You Are Sinking

Christians who don’t know their Bible are on a sinking ship. That is, either their church, their own life, or both, are sinking. You can try pull a “Jonah” and toss things overboard, bail out water one bucket at time, or pray your heart out, but that ship is going down and only all-out devotion to the sufficiency of the Bible can save it. This is not a new problem for the church.

A mega-church was on the cutting edge of Christianity for decades. They were packing out the seats with tens of thousands, drawing people in from all walks of life, and writing best-selling books on church growth and leadership. There was just one glaring problem they didn’t yet realize. When the congregation was surveyed, it turns out the ship had a hole in the hull.

By the time they caught on, it was too late. The congregation was surveyed on their spiritual growth and the results were sobering to say the least. The church was amazing at getting people in the door, but once in the door, they were spiritually inept – that is, they didn’t have deep roots in Christ let alone have a handle on His Word. The sheep are most often the ones who become causalities of spiritual war when a pastor won’t demand that the people devote themselves to the Word of God, and this was no exception.

After some soul-searching, one of the pastors said,

We should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become self-feeders…We should have taught people how to read their Bibles between services, how to do the spiritual practices…What’s happening to these people [is that] the older they get, the more they’re expecting the church to feed them, when, in fact, the more mature a Christian becomes, a Christian should become more of a self-feeder…We’re going to up the level of responsibility we put on the people themselves so that they can grow even if the church doesn’t meet all their needs.

Now that’s more like it.

The Bible speaks to the kind of earthly wisdom that doesn’t produce lasting spiritual fruit.

  • Isaiah said that the Word of our God endures forever (Isiah 40:8).
  • Isaiah also prophesied, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes…” (Isaiah 5:21).
  • Jeremiah declared that a man shouldn’t boast in his own wisdom but know God (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
  • Paul called the wisdom of this world “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 3:19).
  • Jesus said those who hear His words and don’t do them are building on sinking sand (Matthew 7:26).

It’s not a bad idea to go with Scripture when it comes to pouring the spiritual foundation of wisdom in your life. In fact, it’s the best idea.

Many Christians are at different places when it comes to Bible knowledge, but every Christian is supposed to be enjoying the same process when it comes to Bible knowledge – progression!

And let’s be honest, nobody gets it right every time. There is no one pastor who has mastered the art of interpretive perfection. Still, every Christian is called to continuous growth in handling God’s Word. There are no good excuses for biblical illiteracy.

The Psalmist declared, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). You don’t have to live under the cover of darkness. Pick up your Bible and let the light of God’s Word pour in.

Recommended Resources:

Our forthcoming book, Defining Deception, will challenge today’s mystical-miracle movements who hold objective truth as secondary to “experience.” We hope that people will look to the sufficiency of Christ and His Word over the latest false fads. 

Other specific tools from proven Christian leaders are listed below:

How to Study God’s Word – John MacArthur

Searching the Scriptures – Chuck Swindoll

The Origin of the Bible – FF. Bruce, J.I. Packer, Philip Comfort, Carl F.H. Henry

Women of the Word – Jen Wilkin

13 thoughts on “Are You Easy Prey for False Teachers?

  1. Keep it coming Costi! Reading the Bible & the grace of God is what really got me out of the “New Apostolic Reformation/ Church Inc” charismatic insanity. What they were saying and “doing” was not lining up with anything in any Bible I had ever read. The few verses they tried to use were manipulated to suit their agendas and taken way out of context, but only by reading it in context and checking what they were saying did I become really fully aware. It is so sad to me to see people who use the label “Christian” but haven’t read their Bible all the way through even. I understand new Christians and that it may take them a couple of years, but they need to really get into it if they haven’t yet. Old Christians should take heed as well and not just think they “know” it because they read something 10 years ago in a small group. It has to be read and re-read.

  2. The danger that I see in this posting and potentially in the publication of Defining Deception is that the onus of progression for the Christian and their faith is placed squarely on the individual and becomes a self-work or self-effort rather than rest. If you agree with me that God’s timing is perfect then you would agree that Christian faith, healing, progression, and understanding are in accordance with God’s perfect timing and not man’s flawed time. However, man is results driven – it is in our DNA and a product of our fallen nature that goes back to the time of Babylon where man decided to build a tower to the heavens to proclaim man’s glorious achievements. God in His infinite wisdom knew this was wrong for man and scattered men and confused their language because He knew if they were allowed to rely on themselves in anything they would fall victim to satan and God loves His children too much to allow that. That truth still stands today. When you state that Christians are on a sinking ship I wonder what ship are you referring to? If truly Christians they are then they should head the words of Jesus – Fear not for thou art with me! Even if the ship is sinking the ship was created by man not God whom you are entrusted to. When the Disciples were in the boat and fearing for their lives it was Jesus who calmed the wind and sea and brought Peter out to walk on water until Peter took his eyes of Jesus did he begin to sink but even then when Peter lost his faith Jesus reached out and saved him. This was the man that would deny him 3 times, whom Jesus forgave and instructed him to feed his sheep (preach the word and be the rock upon which the church would be built). We are far better off realizing that we can do nothing without Jesus – nothing than believing that our self efforts will somehow make us better. We can see how self efforts have benefited the Nation of Israel since they boasted at Mount Sinai that all God asked of them they will do. Their will not His (get that – it is very important) Therefore, since they boasted that it would be their will, God gave them the standard of the law to live up to in order to show man that he cannot live up to the holy standard of God without a Savior. Both the Abrahamic covenant and the new covenant (Grace) is an oath taken by God and sworn to be upheld by God not man although man is the benefactor of these covenants. The bible states that a man who makes an oath is a fool. However an oath taken by God for the benefit of all man is word that cannot come back void. Therefore, the Christian cannot and will never be on a sinking ship – that’s akin to saying God will let you drown on His ship and we know that is not true because Jesus did not let Peter drown and I will argue that Peter had very little idea of the truth in His Messiah’s message and Peter walked with Jesus, but at every turn Peter openly contradicted Jesus to the point that he was rebuked many times – yet Jesus did not allow Peter to drown. Our merciful Savior will not allow you to drown either even if your ship has a gaping hole in its hull – fear not for thou art with me.
    What is true Christian growth – its the realization that you can do nothing without Jesus. That is true humility. It is realizing that everything you require was given to you at the cross long before you were born and that the exchange was an over payment for your life here on earth and your eternal life in heaven. Once you accepted the truth and called on the name of Jesus you were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit – it is the Holy Spirit which witnesses to you about Jesus and who will expand your wisdom and knowledge about your savior. While it is good to fellowship in church (the building) with other Christians (the body of Christ, His church) it is equally important to tune in to the Holy Spirit for guidance – be still in your prayers you will hear that inner voice – be wary of those who state that they hear outward voices or angels appearing to them – because the Holy Spirit dwells within the temple that is your body – a body cleansed to purity which allows the Holy Spirit to reside in you and the Holy Spirit speaks gently from within. Another thing to remember is that God sought you out – you did not come to God – you were carried to Him by Jesus. None gets to the father save through me (Jesus) and the parable of the 99 sheep. The lost sheep was carried back to the fold and all of heaven rejoiced. That one sheep only consented to be carried by Jesus. No matter how adamant a pastor is that you must come to Jesus – it was Jesus who searched for you first and once He found you He has promised not to let you go – once saved always saved. You can do nothing to escape from the prison of righteousness any more than you could do to get our of the prison of sin without Jesus taking you out. So, how do I build a relationship with my heavenly Father – how do I know what my path is and what my place is with Him. You open your bible and read His word. Allow God to reveal to you His truth in who you are – not what some man says to you from the pulpit for an hour or two. It is funny to me that we are urged to read other books when the complaint is there is no foundation of Christianity in the first place – that’s a little cart before the horse if you ask me. Open your bible and let the Holy Spirit guide you and interpret for you – trust in your Savior who loves you unconditionally and you will find your purpose and His plan for you there – and if you follow Him you will be less likely to be deceived because you will know who you are – the treasure in the field which God gave up everything (His Son) to secure for Himself – the pure virgin bride of Jesus who will return to earth in all His glory to reign with Him (not subject to although as a good wife we will submit to Him) on Earth as immortals until satan is defeated forever and we live in peace eternal – Amen.

    1. Thank you for your post but I don’t think you are necessarily saying anything different from the context of the article. Both you and the author are promoting that Christians need to read the Word. In so doing, God speaks and guides through His wisdom that saves us from being easy prey. I see no opposing viewpoint between both articles nor “potential danger” in Costi’s article.

    2. Wow, thank you for the truth so plainly written. It’s easy to lose sight that we are simple not good enough even at our best – it is Him and Only Him that saved us. Amen

  3. Hello Condi!! This is an excellent admonition to the saints to know the Word of God – to know what and why they believe what they believe, based solely on the Holy Scriptures!
    I would like permission to post this article on my own web site, The TRUTH Under FIRE (see link below).
    Thank you,
    and may the LORD continue to bless and use you for the glory of God our Father!

    1. Hi James,

      You’re more than welcome to repost. Would you be willing to put some fine print at the bottom that credits original site/author just in case people would like check out more material here?

      Thanks for asking. God bless.


  4. I don’t believe for a second that Bill Johnson or Todd White preach the Word of God. Their teachings are dangerous and deceptive. Whether it is Bill Johnson’s fake “glory clouds” and gold dust falling from the rafters or Todd White’s street-side leg pulling “miracles”, it is all about stirring emotions and playing with the minds of young believers. I attended a church in which Bill Johnson came and spoke in Austin, Tx. He really thinks he is an apostle and his grandiose views about his ministry and himself is disturbing. But just as dangerous is the theology behind the joy robbing Lordship Salvationist such as John Piper and John MacArthur. Their version of the gospel is no better than Johnson’s and is an enemy of the Gospel of Grace. If we are really about keeping the Word of God the Word of God then I believe those who teach this false gospel need to be called out as well.

  5. Hi, Costi. This sentence of yours really spoke to me: “One of the newest faith healers on the circuit states, “The cross, to me, isn’t a revelation of my sin, it’s a revelation of my value!” He’d prefer we don’t talk about sin.” Wow. This is what I’ve learned about the seeker-sensitive and NAR movements–it’s more about us than God/Elohim/YHWH and that grieves His heart. It’s grieving my heart. Every church service and home group and everything feels like more of a performance than actual worship of God to me. I feel like I woke up in The Matrix and see the deception behind everything. Christmas is pagan, too, because it’s not even about Christ historically. Just like the Greeks Hellenized the culture, we have mixture today and it feels lonely yet right to come out of the world and be separate. Since God is holy, we should be holy and it’s not about us and having an encounter with God to make us feel good and witness to others via encounters, it’s about Him and His holiness. If we aren’t exalting Him in the way He says in His Word, we are displeasing to Him. We must know His Word because so much sounds good and looks good and makes us feel good.

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