Biblical Grounds for tossing out the “F” word – part 2

In my previous post, I took a quick stroll through the pseudes/pseudo word group in the New Testament and looked at the term “false” in its various usages and manifestations.  Now I recognize that seems like I’m on a mission to make myself the most fringe Bible-egghead out there, but I honestly and sincerely do those sorts of things unto a serious and necessary end.

Egghead(I’m fighting the urge to toss out a few dozen egg puns right now…)

So, in an eggshell, the idea of the last post was that a “false prophet” isn’t so much a technical category as it is, quite simply, a prophet who falsely claims to be a prophet.  This then begs the question: if every prophet who wrongly claims the title us a false prophet, aren’t there tens of thousands of false prophets out there?  Aren’t there then also millions of false teachers?  What about a guy who thinks he’s a prophet and is simply mistaken due to ignorance?  Isn’t there room for an innocent misunderstanding with a guy who’s simply untrained about prophets, teachers, apostles, etc.?

Well, that’s where we need to take a comprehensive look at the concept of false prophets in the Bible.  That should help us hammer through these secondary questions.  Let’s rock!

Fett Accordion

Let’s start and do this somewhat orderly:

1. What is a “teacher” in the New Testament?

Napoleon

a.  The Greek term for “teacher” is didaskalos, which appears 58x in the NT and 2/3 of those occurrences are in the gospel where the disciples refer to Jesus as “Master” (didaskalos).

i. The idea is that a didaskalos was an expert (or master) of a subject, and he had disciples: the ones who followed and did the listening were the “disciples” and the one who lead and did the teaching was the “Master” (an example of this can be seen in Rom. 2:20)

ii. Even in passages like Matthew 12:38 or Luke 10:25, the Pharisees and the experts in the law called Jesus “didaskalos” because they all recognized that he was exceedingly knowledgeable in the scriptures.  This doesn’t mean that they were his disciples, but rather that they only acknowledged his expertise in matters related to the Old Testament (i.e. the law).

b.  7 out of 10 times outside the gospels, the term “didaskalos” is spoken of as a specific office of the church that was a gift of God to the church (1 Cor. 12:28;-29; Eph. 4:11).  Paul was appointed by Christ to that office (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).  Understanding the nature of a didaskalos in the church comes into play (to some extent) when figuring out what a counterfeit didaskalos would be.

2. What then is a false teacher?

Datapoleon

a. The Greek term for “false teacher” is pseudodidaskalos, which comes from combining “pseudo” (false/counterfeit) and “didaskalos” (master/teacher).

b. The concept of a false teacher is paralleled in the NT with OT false prophets (2 Pet. 2:1), Peter describes them with the following words:

 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. – 2 Pet. 2:1-3

It’s again worth noting that this is the only place in the New Testament where the word appears, so the concept of “false prophet” is essentially synonymous with the idea of a “false teacher”.

c. Therefore, we can generally conclude that just as “false prophets” were counterfeit prophets, “false teachers” were counterfeit teachers (most likely in the sense of the office of teacher, which was the main usage in the church at the time Peter wrote 2 Peter). Interestingly, Paul speaks of the counterfeit apostles in Corinth saying:

 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. – 2 Cor. 11:13-15

Satan has counterfeit servants modeled after of God’s authentic servants.  One example of this is in 2 Thess. 2:2 where the Thessalonians were warned about possible counterfeit epistles that were (falsely) attributed to the apostles but taught doctrines contrary to their own.  Many such letters survive even 2,000 years later, and there were certainly several letters that have been lost and forgotten over the millennia.

3. What do false prophets appear to be?

353441-sheep-collar

 a. They appear to speak for God or teach in his name (Jer. 14:14-15, 23:16, 25-26; Matt. 7:15, 22; 2 Cor. 11:12-15)

b. They appear to be people from your own religious circles (Deut. 13:6-8; Acts 20:29-30; 1 Tim. 3: 6-7, 6: 9-10; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 2:19; Jude 4)

c. They appear to be actually convincing (Rom. 16:18; Col 2:4, 8; 2 Tim 4:3), even to the point of being verified by miraculous signs and wonders (Deut. 13:1-3; Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9-10).

d. They appear to believe that they’re authentic/divinely appointed (Jer. 28:15-16; Ez. 13:6; Matt. 7:22)

 4. So how can someone see them for what they are?  You P.R.O.D. them:

3d-glasses-001

 a. Test their Prophecy:

i. Their prophecies do not come to pass (Deut. 18:21-22; 1 Ki. 22:11-12, 24-25; Jer. 14:14-16; 28:7-9)

b. Test their Reception:

i. They are widely welcomed by the unregenerate world/those who despise the word of the Lord (Jer. 23:17; Ez. 12:21-25; Luke 6:26; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 2:2; 1 John 4:4-5)

ii. They’re numerous (1 Ki. 18:18-19, 22:6-12; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 7)

iii. Their reception is often built on false credentials (2 Cor 11:18-23; 2 Thess. 2:1-3; Rev 2:24)

c. Test their Orthodoxy:

i. They don’t follow in the doctrine of the prophets and apostles (Is. 8:19-20; Jer. 28:8-9; Rom. 16:17; 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6-8; 1 Tim. 1:3, 6:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; 1 John 2:22-24, 4:2-6; 2 John 7-10)

ii. They oppose those who legitimately speak for God (Jer. 2:30; 20:1-2, 26:7-11; Ez. 13:22; Acts 13:8-10; 2 Tim 3:8; 1 John 4:6)

iii. They see the scripture as a list of rules that, when kept, equates to righteousness (Is. 28:9-10; Col. 2:16-23)

iv. They soft-pedal sin and make excuses for wickedness (Jer. 2:8; Ez. 12:26-28, 22:26-28; Mic. 2:11)

v. They combine the elements of paganism with Christianity (Ez. 13:20-23)

d. Test their Deeds:

i. They use their position to get money (1 Tim. 6:5, 9-10; Tit. 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:3, 15).

ii. They use their position to get sex (Jer. 23:11, 14; 2 Pet. 2:10, 13-14; Jude 8).

iii. They use their position to get followers (Ez. 13:18; Acts 20:30)

iv. They are smooth talkers who prey on the naive and weak (Jer. 5:28; Rom. 16:18; 2 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:14)

v. They slander spiritual forces (2 Pet. 2:10-12)

vi. They are rebellious to authority (2 Pet. 2:10; Jude 8)

vii. They violate justice (Jer. 5:28, 23:14; Ez. 13:19)

viii. They stimulate quarrels, division and trouble (Rom 16:17; 1 Tim1:4, 6:4-5; Jude 19)

ix. They don’t walk in obedience to God (1 John 2:3-6, 3:4-10, 5:1-2)

5. Are they really that dangerous?

wolf in Sheep's clothing

a. They actually teach error (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 2:26)

b. They actually turn people away from God  (Jer. 23:26-27, 32; Matt. 24:11; 2 Cor. 11:3; 2 John 8)

c. They actually have dreams/visions, but the dreams/visions are lying visions from their imaginations (Jer. 14:14, 23:16, 26; Ez. 13:2-7, 17; 2 Pet 2:3), from Satan (Jer. 2:8, 1 Tim 4:1) or stolen from each other (Jer. 23:30)

d. They don’t speak words from God (Jer. 23:32; Lam. 2:14; Ez. 12:24; Jude 8)

e. They preach a counterfeit gospel (Gal. 1:6-7)

f. They destroy lives & families (Ez. 22:25; Matt. 7:15; Titus 1:11)

g. They have seared consciences (1 Tim 1:18-19, 4:1-2; Titus 1:16)

h. They are not believers (Matt. 7:22-23; 2 Pet. 2:19)

i. If someone follows them, thinking that they’re the real deal, it would have been worse for them to have never heard the gospel  (2 Peter. 2:20-21)

j. They may be sent by God as a test (Deut. 13:3) but when they increase in number, they indicate a sign of judgment (1 Ki. 22:19-23; Jer. 5:20-31, 14:14-16; Ez. 13:10; 2 Thess. 2:9-12)

k.  They will receive the most severe punishment on the day of judgment (Luke 12:47; James 3:1); God has the worst spot in Hell reserved especially for them (2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 13)

6. So what should we do?

a. The elders of the church have divine directives:

Processing 2

i. The Old Testament model was to get kill them (Deut. 13:5, 18:20; 1 Ki. 18:40) and when the leaders of Israel didn’t, God himself did (Jer. 14:15, 28:15-17).  This suggests how dangerous they are.

ii. The elders of the church are commanded to silence (literally “muzzle”) them (1 Tim. 3:3-4, Titus 1:11)

iii. The elders of the church are also commanded to kindly, patiently and gently correct them, praying for their repentance (2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 2:24-25).

iv. The elders of the church are finally commanded to not associate with them (2 Thess 3:14; Titus 3:10-11)

b. The people in the church have divine directives:

run-jack-sparrow-run1

i. Do not listen to them (Deut. 13:3; Matt. 24:25-26)

ii. Treat them as unbelievers (Gal. 1:8-9)

iii. Avoid them (Rom. 16:17-19)

iv. Do not associate with them (2 John 10-11)

So, from that survey of the biblical data, I notice a few things:

A.   There is a difference between a mistaken teacher and a false teacher; the difference is a combination of error and unrighteous conduct.  A person with a regenerate heart will often have practice that exceeds their doctrine (meaning they’ll often do what’s right and not necessarily be able to biblically articulate why), but a false teacher always has doctrine that far exceeds their practice (meaning that they’ll know all the right answers but won’t actually live them out).  The latter discrepancy is far more telling.

B.  The error in practice comes from error in doctrine, but both errors are sometimes more difficult to spot, mostly because false teachers/prophets actually look like authentic sheep and they arise from within our churches. When we think of false teachers, we often think of people like Joseph Smith or Tony Robbins, but guys like that are not a real threat to anyone with basic discernment and biblical knowledge.  Far more difficult to spot would be if guys like like Chuck Smith or Duffy Robbins were false teachers (and I’m not saying they were/are one way or another).  Well known guys like that with multi-decade careers in Christendom are often not even on anyone’s “false teacher” radar.  Matt. 7:22-23 suggests that even the people at the absolute top of the spiritual totem pole are not above suspicion.

C.  People who are well dressed, well skilled, well educated or well mannered aren’t necessarily men of God.  Godliness isn’t just acting a certain way and spouting right beliefs (if I had a dime for every time churches I’ve been a part of bought the “nice guy equals godly man” lie...).  It’s important to remember that a false teacher can easily steal a doctrinal statement from someone and spout “right answers” all day long, or copy “righteous” behaviour that they’ve learned by simply watching Christians for a few years.  Still, an unregenerate heart will consistently betray a false prophet/teacher by pronounced doctrinal inconsistency or a lack of meaningfully deep understandings of professed beliefs, as well as a severe disconnect between doctrine and practice (especially in private – see point “A”).  In other words, neither right answers nor right living can be convincingly faked forever.

D.  Treating false teachers as unbelievers means praying for them and evangelizing them, though one needs to be super-careful in dealing with them.  They’re essentially agents of spiritual cancer, so one must be extremely careful to neither listen to their doctrinal pigswill nor treat them as church members in good standing.  One needs to treat them as if they’re persons under church discipline (lovingly and patiently call them to turn from their error without sinning against them with your tongue) as well as remember that the means to break them from their spiritual bondage is praying for them, not arguing with them.  It’s always a natural desire to attempt to “straighten them out”, but their problem is spiritual, not rational; they’re where they are because of God and he’s the only one who can bring them back.  This also doesn’t mean you need to avoid them like an infectious disease (it’s all right to be polite and kind to heretics), but rather like someone who has an infectious disease.  Keep your distance and take necessary spiritual precautions (i.e. don’t be alone with them, ever).

There’s definitely a whole lot more there, but that’s some of what jumped out at me.

So what  jumps out at you from all that data?

Speaking of data, that’s a lot of data.

You-Can-Never-Have-Too-Much-Data

One last thing I almost forgot: When can you pull out the “false teacher” moniker on someone?

I’d say that caution is certainly the word of the day (as is “graciousness”) and I’d want to state clearly that error or illegitimate prophecy does not automatically make someone a false prophet/teacher.  Intransigence and unrepentance in error/sin is what marks a false teacher, and sexual/financial scandal seals the deal fairly easily.  In other words, if someone has an error or sin revealed and then, instead of repenting, they mobilize their resources and power at minimizing that sin/covering it up.  That’s the mark of someone who is more concerned with money or power than righteousness.  Even big leaders get themselves into trouble by sinning in word or deed.  Big frauds try to downplay it anyway they can (hide it, minimize it, lie about it, blame someone else, etc.) and then either cry “Christians are all hypocrites” when they finally get revealed as the wolves that they are, or offer some sort of token repentance and then just keep on doing the same old same old.

That describes Ted Haggard.

That describes Paula White.

That describes Benny Hinn.

That describes pretty much everyone attacked by name at the Strange Fire conference (just thought I had to overtly point that out).

That’s bad news for all the guys on the Charismatic “fringe” (which *actually* means “mainstream”).

Here’s some good news though: now we’re prepped for the review of the seventh chapter of Authentic Fire.  The reason for this short two-part post will become clear once that review is up in a few days.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “praising the Lord that this false teacher was redeemed” Unger

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38 thoughts on “Biblical Grounds for tossing out the “F” word – part 2

  1. Great work as usual. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate the time and effort you put into addressing significant issues in depth. Keep up the good work knowing that at least one guy on the Internet appreciates and benefits from what you’re doing!

  2. Thank you Lyndon for your diligent study on this subject. Your posts are a great blessing. I look forward to them with the same anticipation as the GTY blog. It is my continuous prayer the LORD will greatly bless you and use you for His glory.

  3. Always look, as 1 John Chapter 4 says, where Jesus is in their presentation, life and practice. He must have top billing alone. If He is put on a level with anyone else, be it OT prophet, leader, or NT leader or Apostle, be warned. If Jesus is not lifted up to His Proper Place, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and we are servants, bond slaves, and have no rights, no authority, only servanthood to the Church and other believers, be warned. If there is no love in his heart, no compassion, no concern for the brethren, then be warned.These are warning from Scripture about false prophets.

  4. Wow this is a very well done post…I like the outline format and helpful in making this spark a practical response among leaders and members of the church.

  5. False teachers are false because they teach what is false. They are false because they do not belong to Christ and do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. They are deceived and deceive others. Admittedly, there are those who believe and teach what is false and God the Holy Spirit leads them into the truth where they repent and then hold fast to the truth in belief and conduct. But while they are believing and teaching what is false they are false teachers and must be assessed as such since even though we can’t see their hearts, we can judge their fruit and then determine what kind of tree they are. As Jesus said a bad tree does not bear good fruit and a good tree does not bear fruit. If anyone claims to be a brother and teaches false doctrine then according to the Word of God we can know that they are false teachers. There are many false teachers that are accepted within the church today because there is a fuzzy distinction that is used that somehow gives latitude to certain persons and doesn’t hold them accountable for the false doctrine that they have taught. As a matter of fact, there are many who embrace what these false teachers purvey and spread it abroad, or if they don’t spread it abroad they approvingly quote these false teachers winking at the error these false teachers held to. God, in His Word clearly condemns favoritism, and Paul demonstrated the commitment that we must have for the truth when he confronted Peter about his hypocrisy before the Galatian believers by his behavior and fear of the legalists. We must follow his example and obey God’s Word and avoid and expose all false teachers, we are not allowed to have pets. One such person is John Calvin who taught works salvation through the baptism of infants and also murdered a man, Michael Servetus, in the most heinous manner, who disagreed with what Calvin taught. Calvin was also a fan of Augustine who believed and taught all manner of heresy, much of which has been incorporated into the Catholic church. Another individual who is embraced by many evangelicals is C. S. Lewis who believed and taught so much heresy: universalism, the Bible is not the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, baptismal regeneration, purgatory, ecumenism, theistic evolution, the first few chapters of Genesis was myth, Jesus Christ did not take the punishment for our sins, auricular confession, the mass, etc. He also was accustomed to smoking and drinking practicing harm to his body. This is something we are commanded against. The point is, there are false teachers throughout the church and they aren’t necessarily all of the charismatic movement, they are endemic and we need to be alert and aware being faithful to Jesus Christ and His Word and avoiding any and all who contradict what He has taught us in the Bible. God bless you:)
    http://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/the-grid/

    • So Calvin and CS Lewis were false teachers since Calvin taught salvation by works and was a murderer, but CS Lewis was a liberal semi-Catholic eccumenist and not enough of a tee-totaller to suit you.

      See how easily I said that in one sentence?

      Now false teachers aren’t false teachers simply because they teach what is false. If that was the case, every Christian would be a false teacher until they have perfect doctrine.

      I certainly agree that there are false teachers outside the Charismatic movement.

      • Yes, because what they taught and believed did not agree with the simple message of the Bible about Jesus Christ and His work done on our behalf. If someone believes in purgatory then they are saying the work of Jesus Christ is insufficient to make us holy before God directly contradicting the Scriptures.

        For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14

        If someone teaches that Buddhists can belong to Christ without their knowing it because they agree with some of the things that God teaches in His Word then that person is denying the exclusivity of the Scriptures and saying that salvation is by works and is open to all.

        Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12

        You said in your post that we look at the doctrine and the life, both of these men denied the gospel by their doctrine and their behavior. Both of these men made vital errors by getting their doctrine from men rather than the Scriptures.

        Since we are given the Word of God and have the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ we can go to the Bible to learn everything we need to know about Jesus Christ and His love for us that moved Him, by the grace and plan of our Father, to die on the cross for our sins. He then arose from the dead being God the Son of God so that death could not hold Him, and has secured our justification for us and is seated at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us. If we truly belong to Christ we have the Holy Spirit, believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible, inspired Word sufficient for our life and doctrine, and are moved to live for God’s glory and not for the flesh. He leads us to trust in and rely upon the Bible for our spiritual food, and not the word of man.

        I believe the major reason these two men are not considered to be false teachers is because they have generated a lot of money by their works and doctrine.
        They have both generated pernicious false doctrine throughout the church and have led many astray, bad fruit which comes from bad trees. God bless you:)

        • People who say wrong things can sometimes simply be wrong; they’re not always false teachers.

          The behaviour that I was talking about in the post was the behaviour specifically indicated by scripture (i.e. using their position to get money, sex, followers, corrupt justice, and cover up their sins in those areas). If you cannot point to those specific behaviours in the lives of Calvin or Lewis, it’s quite possible that they were simply horribly wrong on several things.

          If you’re wrong about various biblical issues and doctrines, or if you twist the scripture, does that make you a false teacher?

          I’d dare suggest that the reason those two men weren’t considered false teachers was because they weren’t obvious false teachers. Calvin and Lewis didn’t gain much, if any, money from their theological writings during their own lifetimes.

        • Publishing houses, authors, and other concerns are making multiple millions from their books and doctrines. This can make it very difficult for those who should to stand up against their false doctrine. Then it becomes a financial consideration rather than being true to the gospel

          For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10

          We have to ask ourselves is there content to our faith, or is it “I believe in Jesus” without consideration of who we are believing in and what we believe about Him. Why do we have the NT which gives us the historical record regarding our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the early church along with explaining Who He is and what He has done if we aren’t concerned with the content of our faith? Getting the gospel wrong is clearly damnable heresy as explained by Paul to the Galatians.

          I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:6-12

          We know and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, we come to know and believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because of the supernatural work that God has done in our hearts through His Word by His Holy Spirit. If those who claim to belong to Christ pervert the gospel of Christ, although it is clearly taught in the Scriptures to those who have ears to hear, then they are showing that they do not belong to Christ. If those who claim to know Christ prefer the opinions, musings and doctrines of men to the crystal clear teaching of the Scriptures then they are bearing witness that they do not belong to Christ.

          And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abide not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. John 8:29-37

          Those who have the word of man established in their hearts rather than the Word of God are enemies of Christ. These two men had the word of men abiding in their hearts and minds. They, as all sinners are, were wrong about the truth about Jesus Christ and His gospel. They both claimed to be spokesmen for the Christian faith, and yet they spread abroad a perverted gospel that cannot save. It is interesting to note that others will be called out on the very same false doctrines that these two spread abroad, but then these two men, Calvin and Lewis will be given a pass. Again, it is because their works and doctrines bring in millions of dollars. This isn’t the work of Christ. God bless you:)

  6. Lyndon, thank you for writing this! Very well done. You said it very succinctly saying, “people who say wrong things can sometimes simply be wrong; they’re not always false teachers”

    I have encountered people using the term “heresy” for things I simply see could just be “wrong” (or difference of opinion).

    Again I’ll use the “neutral” example : pre-trib, post-trib etc…I know the position I hold to but I wouldn’t call someone with a differing view as heretical..

    I’m not even sure I can substitute like this (and if I’m off base, please feel free to say so)

    But thanks again!

    Also I see Pastor is now attached to your name, are congratulations in order? 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words Abby!

      It’s true though: we often make a beeline for “false teacher” when “errant fellow” might be more appropriate.

      Your example is definitely fair. Someone teaching a variant view of a theological point (like the timing of the rapture) likely isn’t a false teacher…

      …although there’s a post in the making there as well. Exactly how far can a person push a theological hobby horse before crossing the line?

      My general rule of thumb is that when something eclipses or replaces or modifies the gospel, that “error” becomes a problem.

      Any my “pastor” thing? That’s WordPress connecting to my e-mail and then Google blocking my account access. I tried the stupid 2-step verification and now my G-mail is locked and somehow Google took over my WordPress profile.

      Not pastoring yet. Just angry at Google.

  7. Pingback: Authentic Fire Review – Part 7 – Review of Chapter 7 | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

  8. Yes, exactly this! I am always wondering about the “theological line” (and there seem to be So. Many. Lines.)..and like you said, it always stops at the Gospel.

    I, for one, will eagerly love to read that “post in the making”!

    Ok, I found myself laughing reading about the Hostile Google Takeover..not at your misfortune, but because I have had that happen to me and after many a’frustrating fist shaking at my computer I finally conceded and gave up ha!

  9. Pingback: A Little Authentic Fire Announcement | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

  10. I noticed in your list of names you listed three “charismatics”.
    What about CJ Mahaney who stands accused sheltering child abusers.
    And what of the Pacific Northwest’s plagarizer-in-chief Mark D who admitted to it and gave us a token repentance?
    And Doug Philips?
    Shouldn’t they be part of your pantheon of offenders?

    • Well, here’s two thoughts for you:

      1. A list of three people clearly isn’t meant to be comprehensive.

      2. None of those fellows was “attacked by name at the Strange Fire conference”, but the three folks I named were.

  11. Nice try Lyndon.
    So now you won’t deal with others who might fit your paradigm of “false”?
    In this article and the one before, it seemed to me that you had moved on from the strange fire conference and were speaking in general terms about false teachers and prophets.
    Are these people only under discussion because they were “named?”
    Of course the three I listed weren’t “named” or “attacked”. They’re not “charismatics”.
    Sadly, the impact of their “teaching” and behaviors has and will cause as many, if not more people (especially vulnerable children) to be harmed.
    Bring in the millstone!

    • Nice try nothing.

      In this article (and the previous), I was primarily dealing with an exegetical error that Michael Brown made in chapter seven of “Authentic Fire”, which came after these 2 posts (which I explicitly mentioned in the first post). I wrote this in the midst of my review of Authentic Fire; between chapters six and seven.

      Those three were examples (Haggard, White and Hinn) were used because they were named (as far as I can remember).

      One of the reasons that I wrote this is exactly what you’re displaying now: a recklessness with tossing out “false teacher” on people. I mean, you said:

      “Sadly, the impact of their “teaching” and behaviors has and will cause as many, if not more people (especially vulnerable children) to be harmed.”

      What damnable heresies does any of those three teach?
      Where do they fail the P.R.O.D. test?
      Can you back up your charges or do we just take your word for it and grab the tar and feathers?

      CJ covered up others’ sins, but that one fact alone might NOT be enough to consign him to the realm of “false teacher”.

      Mark Driscoll might be immature and a fool/liar, but but those facts might NOT be enough to consign him to the realm of “false teacher”.

      Doug Philips might be a man ruled by various carnal lusts, but that one fact alone might NOT be enough to consign him to the realm of “false teacher”.

      As far as I know, the three folks that you named have repented (though I haven’t followed any of their respective stories).

      On the other hand, Ted Haggard, Paula White and Benny Hinn are obvious false teachers since none of those three preach the gospel; they’re all prosperity preachers (or were). Beyond that, all three were involved in sexual sin that they never repented of (and White and Hinn defended themselves as being as pure as the driven snow). I’d dare say that places them in separate leagues. If you have a whole bunch of information that you’d like to share, feel free.

      Finally, in case you haven’t noticed, I still haven’t placed the label “false teacher” on Michael Brown, and I’m easily more familiar with him than most anyone else in the Strange Fire crowd. I don’t delight in labeling anyone a false teacher.

  12. Do I sense some hostility?
    You write: “…a recklessness with tossing out “false teacher” on people…”
    I made no such accusation. I didn’t call for tar and feathers.
    Thanks for not labeling Dr. Brown.
    I asked questions based on your two paragraphs starting with “One last thing I almost forgot: When can you pull out the “false teacher” moniker on someone?”

    You continue with
    “I’d say that caution is certainly the word of the day (as is “graciousness”) and I’d want to state clearly that error or illegitimate prophecy does not automatically make someone a false prophet/teacher. Intransigence and unrepentance in error/sin is what marks a false teacher, and sexual/financial scandal seals the deal fairly easily. In other words, if someone has an error or sin revealed and then, instead of repenting, they mobilize their resources and power at minimizing that sin/covering it up. That’s the mark of someone who is more concerned with money or power than righteousness. Even big leaders get themselves into trouble by sinning in word or deed. Big frauds try to downplay it anyway they can (hide it, minimize it, lie about it, blame someone else, etc.) and then either cry “Christians are all hypocrites” when they finally get revealed as the wolves that they are, or offer some sort of token repentance and then just keep on doing the same old same old.”
    I used your quote “…Intransigence and unrepentance in error/sin is what marks a false teacher, and sexual/financial scandal seals the deal fairly easily.” as my starting point in asking whether these three fit your criteria of “false teacher”>
    Using your words, if one is in error/sin and is intransigent and unrepentant and sexual/financial scandal is involved that seals the deal of false teacher fairly easily.
    It seems quite clear to anyone familiar with these three men, that they exhibit and have exhibited most of of the characteristics you enumerated – intransigence, unrepentance (some apologies ring hollow because they only came after they were caught) as well as clear financial and/or sexual scandal in all three cases.
    To answer your question, I do believe all three meet some of the criteria in the D test.

    Does Mark not meet criteria D vii and D i by using donations to buy a position on the NYT best seller list and profit personally? See dr. Warren Throckmorton here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/03/05/how-mars-hill-church-might-have-helped-put-mark-driscoll-on-the-nyt-best-seller-list/ and here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/03/06/the-signed-contract-that-helped-get-mark-driscolls-real-marriage-on-the-new-york-times-best-seller-list/
    Does Philips not meet D i and D ii, D iv, D vii and d ix criteria?
    Doesn’t covering up someone else’s sin, especially against children (as in CJ’s case), move one into the realm of false teacher. Does CJ not meet your criteria D i, D vii and D ix.?
    I was using your criteria to ask if these three didn’t meet your criteria?
    No accusations. Just questions.

    • The force is weak with you.

      You sense annoyance in someone who’s being chastised for not labeling the people a random commenter thinks should’ve been labelled.

      If you want me to reboot this interaction and be more civil, let’s do that.

      I’ll simply answer questions:

      Does Mark Driscoll meet D vii and D i?

      Well, I’d say a clear “no” to D vii. The verses there are talking about something far more serious than plagiarism/stealing money from donors. “Possibly” to D i, though he is also writing books to make money. He didn’t get into ministry for the riches, he doesn’t live an ostentatious lifestyle that I’m aware of (as far as I know, he drives an regular car and lives in a regular house). He might be in it for the money, but I don’t see strong evidence of that. He most likely sinned with the money the church provided him and equally likely is biblically unqualified for ministry anymore (though that’s a judgment I lack the facts to make).

      Does Phillips not meet D i and D ii, D iv, D vii and d ix criteria?

      I don’t see how Phillips was using his position to get money, and I don’t have a clue whether D iv was broken. D vii clearly wasn’t violated (as far as I know), but D ii might have been and D ix most likely was. It’s worth remembering that King David also was a prophet who stole a man’s wife and killed the man but was never labelled a false prophet. In other words, the Bible sees some rather complex nuance with some of these categories. Should Phillips be gone? Well, he was never a pastor/elder/anything in a church. Of all the guys who should’ve stepped down, he was the one who I was somewhat surprised to see step down as he was simply the president of a business and I placed him in the same biblical office as any contemporary Christian music singer…which means Phillips had absolutely no biblical office in the first place. Maybe things were far different at his church, but I was essentially allergic to all the craziness coming out of the Vision forum in the first place. I’m still more worried about the whole Botkin family than Doug Phillips; the first time I ever heard of Doug Phillips was when he announced his resignation.

      Does CJ not meet your criteria D i, D vii and D ix.?

      I cannot see how CJ violated D i, and I’m unfamiliar enough with the details of what actually happened with CJ to say whether or not he violated D vii (which sounds quite likely) and D ix (which also sounds likely).

      The problem is, again, that I’m unaware of any of those three actually teaching serious error or claiming to be prophets (no wait…Mark Driscoll does claim to be a prophet, but I think that’s more because he simply doesn’t actually understand what a prophet is. His problem always seems to be ignorance, not intransigence). They might be Christians who simply embraced certain sins or they might have had any other number of serious faults that do not include being false teachers. I don’t have sufficient knowledge of any of their respective situations to cast a serious judgment.

      I don’t think of any of them as serious theologians and I don’t follow any of them for that reason, but I also don’t know enough to judge them as false teachers. With the Benny Hinn crowd, I can judge the serious error that they toss out everywhere and see the evidence of their crazy pursuit of private planes and Porsches. It seems that Benny Hinn or Paula White or Steve Munsey are obviously in a far different category than CJ Mahaney or Mark Driscoll.

      I wouldn’t want any of them pastoring my church, but I wouldn’t label all of them as false teachers.

      You’re free to label them however you want, but I’d urge you to look up the scriptures and read the surrounding passages to make sure you know what exactly the criteria looks like in practice.

  13. Lyndon, why do you need a reboot to be more civil?
    Shouldn’t that be a fruit of …?
    Your choice of words is fascinating, – chastise, random commenter, label, reckless
    Seems kind of aggressive passive.
    Either that or an attempt to belittle and put words into my comments that I neither used nor implied.
    I merely asked questions about what I perceived as a narrow and clearly anticharismatic attack.
    I don’t carry a torch for those three or others from that crazy side of of our family you have manhandled in the past.
    And yes I believe they are a part of our family. They have been influential in leading many to Christ.
    Are they only sowing tares or do they also sow wheat?
    You’re a good writer with a sometime clever turn of phrase.
    I enjoy reading your perspective and your choice of images (reminds me of the pyro blog) even when I believe you are wrong.
    I am concerned that you have joined the pantheon of preachers, pastors, and writers who write about their actions and failings because they are an easy target for those who hold a certain evangelical perspective.
    Just recently the lead pastor of the largest church in Abbotsford went after Joel Osteen in a Saturday service.
    Why? Arguably an easy target. Would he have done that in person. Of course not. And Osteen wasn’t there to defend himself. Osteen seems to display much more godly character – as you will never hear him going after someone else’s servant.
    I was deeply saddened for several reasons. Attacks (and I use the word to accurately describe the sequence of words) imply that the speaker has a better handle on the truth than his target and a better handle on the truth than his parishioners, listeners, readers – a form of pride, arrogance and phariseeism I find disconcerting to say the least.
    He needs to warn “his people” about the teachings of this man?
    Won’t the Holy Spirit protect His sheep who hear His voice? And if they can’t hear His voice and aren’t His sheep doesn’t the warning fall on deaf ears. Dead people can’t hear and understand.
    And what role do we have in criticizing the other servants of our master? And if, for some reason they are not our Master’s servants, (only the judgement day will tell) why waste our time?
    And please don’t use Jesus’ example of calling out the Scribes and Pharisees as justification.
    To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, “I know Jesus and and …”
    Consider this a gentle chiding and not a chastisement from a reckless, random commenter.

    • Gentle chiding?

      Sure.

      So how do I respond and tell you that you’re horribly wrong and in actual spiritual peril without saying “you’re horribly wrong and in actual spiritual peril”?

      I’m glad that you like my writing and pictures and sad that you think I’m manhandling fellow believers.

      How about you give me some sort of biblical case for anything that you’ve said; let’s go to the scriptures. I’ll interact with that. I’m not interested in playing “piety olympics with Karli” anymore.

      If you have a problem with cessationism, set it out and we can talk about that.

      If you have a problem with something else, like me pointing out the various and sundry damnable heresies peddled by various high-profile prosperity preachers, set out whatever biblical concern you have and we’ll drill that out.

      If you have a problem with Jeff Bucknam, I’d just like to point something obvious out:

      You said:

      “Just recently the lead pastor of the largest church in Abbotsford went after Joel Osteen in a Saturday service. Why? Arguably an easy target. Would he have done that in person. Of course not. And Osteen wasn’t there to defend himself. Osteen seems to display much more godly character – as you will never hear him going after someone else’s servant. I was deeply saddened for several reasons. Attacks (and I use the word to accurately describe the sequence of words) imply that the speaker has a better handle on the truth than his target and a better handle on the truth than his parishioners, listeners, readers – a form of pride, arrogance and phariseeism I find disconcerting to say the least.”

      So you’re telling me that you have a better handle on the truth than Jeff Bucknam so that from your clear and enlightened perspective you can judge Jeff’s error? You’re also suggesting that you know more about the spiritual state and needs of a church of 3,000+ than the senior pastor and his elders?

      I believe that would be some rather epic pride, arrogance and pharisaism. I find that rather ironic.

  14. Mr bob and weave again
    What’s with the snark – “piety olympics with karli” “clear and enlightened perspective”
    I find that when people resort to ridicule, sarcasm or invective that indicates they have trouble being reasonable and arguing about the facts/issues and have moved into the darkness of the ad hominem.
    Should I easily lower myself to your level and call you a John McArthur wannabe or a John McArthur fan-boy?
    “…horribly wrong and in actual spiritual peril?” Wow. How prophetic! Is that the Holy Spirit telling you to say that?
    Lyndon, you don’t engage in the actual issues or respond to all my comments.
    My way of discussion is to ascertain what I can agree about or give as a presupposition and then move on from there. Both presuppositionalism and evidentialism.
    “How about you give me some sort of a biblical case for anything that you’ve said” is another jab that indicates you’re moving into the realm of intellectual dishonesty.
    I used your quotes and Bible passages to ask if MD, CJ and DP fit into those categories? Again you admitted little knowledge about CJ and DP but seemed dismissive about my questions.
    Not addressing the questions I raise about attacking someone else’s servant, the role of the HS in revealing truth and then jumping on an unfortunate turn of phrase and calling me prideful, arrogant and pharisaic was neither civil nor gracious.
    It smacks of bullying.
    “So you’re telling me that you have a better handle on the truth than Jeff Bucknam so that from your clear and enlightened perspective you can judge Jeff’s error? You’re also suggesting that you know more about the spiritual state and needs of a church of 3,000+ than the senior pastor and his elders?”
    Didn’t say that or imply that. Why use the inflammatory word judge?
    Is Jeff above error? Am I not to be as a Berean? Isn’t that what you claim to do? Kettle meet pot.
    I questioned his words and his tactics. A role afforded to me as a believer. And a role you have taken upon yourself with a vengeance when lambasting false teachers and their damnable heresies.
    Another quote “ You’re also suggesting that you know more about the spiritual state and needs of a church of 3,000+ than the senior pastor and his elders?”
    Not suggesting anything of the sort.
    Totally irrelevant to the discussion.
    However, since when does a senior pastor and elders have a corner on the spiritual state and needs of a church of 3000+ “ or even 200+. Using your argument Joel Osteen and his elders have a better understanding about the spiritual state and needs of HIS church of 43,000 than Jeff or you or I. Or Bob Coy at Calvary Chapel in Ft Lauderdale with a church of 18,000 or TD Jakes with 16,000? Or Jack Schaap at First Baptist in Hammond with 13,000 or Perry Noble’s church of 7500?
    The error I pointed out was Jeff’s method and words of attacking another man’s servant. In the same way I have no right to discipline your children, unless you give me permission.
    Do I really need a Bible passage for that?
    This seems to be your modas operandi:
    continuationist charismatics (damnable heresy) + moral failing (money/sex) = false teacher
    calvinist theology (no errors to see here, move on) + sin/moral failing (money/sex) = hands off
    calvinist theology (no errors to see here, move on)+ sin in practice/language = hands off
    You make a claim that you will discuss various issues but when I raise questions you are very selective in what you will answer.
    What began as a series of questions and what I thought would become a serious exchange of ideas has deteriorated into a singular lack of charity and deliberate mischaracterization, distortion and evasion of my questions and comments.
    Please don’t begin the descent into the depths of those despicable discernment blogs.
    I believe I will fade back into the woodwork. I will think thrice before I engage in “dialogue” and once again become a random commenter. (you may begin gloating now)
    Once again I will paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen in his classic exchange with Vice President Dan Quayle – “I know Jesus and you are no…”

    • Karli, I wanted to toss this comment in here (in case people read this in the archives) as it seems you were quite right about Doug Phillips and I’m man enough to admit it.

      I just posted this on Facebook:

      Wow…within minutes of posting my first Hall of Shame entrance, I was informed of the current status of Doug Phillips and Lourdes Torres, the nanny that he sexually abused for years. I was referred to the WND archive of the whole lawsuit and meltdown. I won’t link the article because it includes a whole lot of utterly disgusting detail, but it’s called “Christian Giant sued for using nanny as sex object” if you demand evidence for what I’m about to say:

      Doug Phillips appears to have been a sexual predator, a severely depraved pedophile and a rapist since at least 1999.

      If you’ve been a part of Vision Forum, or bought their teaching material, or watched their movies, or bought into any part of Doug Phillips’ whole movement over the last 10+ years, you might want to re-evaluate anything you learned there seeing that over that entire time, Doug Philllips has never been anything but an obvious false teacher, and most likely demon possessed.

      I’d strongly recommend getting rid of your Vision Forum stuff if you have any, and talking to someone if you’re not sure what cunningly twisted ideas you might have absorbed from Doug Phillips.

      Just an update and special thanks to those who alerted me to this all.

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