This past week I read two posts about two different pastors, famous pastors if it’s even right to put those two words together. I don’t know if these articles are true are not. When I read stuff like this I try to take it lightly. There are always two sides to a story and in media there’s usually an ulterior motive. But at the same time I usually suspect that some of it has to be true or else someone literally just sat at their desk and made up lies.
Anyway, the point is that when I read these posts tension moved throughout my body like it does fairly often now that I’m a part of the online world. It’s when I read something “Christian”, but the words just don’t set right with me. The word untruth and sometimes even false teacher prance across my mind.
I don’t just have these thoughts with scandals of big, famous pastors, either. Even more commonly the thoughts come when I read a post by fellow bloggers. It seems innocent enough for a blogger to share her view of hot-topics in our culture and how they intersect with her relationship to God. However, some of the bloggers aren’t “just bloggers”. They’re writers and authors and even their own brand with huge platforms. When I read their words and the thought “false teacher” passes through my mind it accompanies the tension and almost fear.
For months I’ve had the thought to write a post like this one, and I haven’t because I don’t want to be “one of those bloggers”. You know, the blogger who calls names and points fingers and gets controversy started. To me it distracts from my purpose, and it’s just not necessary.
However, I am writing about this whole idea of false teachers now because when I recently read these two articles about the pastors I asked myself, “Who can we trust anymore?” It seems like everywhere you turn a blogger, writer, author, teacher, pastor is suddenly under fire for either being irresponsible with the Gospel or not a good steward of their platform. Or, which is even more frightening, they are not under fire. Instead, other Christian bloggers are quoting them, retweeting their words, and seemingly supporting their stances.
I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. To sum it up it’s about spiritual warfare in our lives. She mentions that in Matthew 24:11 Jesus is speaking of the end times and He says, “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” That tension that rises up in me when I read the words of a highly influential Christian person or hear about another scandal? I know it is the Holy Spirit nudging me and telling me to find out more because with all of my heart I believe that the end times are nearer than they’ve ever been and the enemy’s time is closing in. I know this is true from warfare I’ve experienced in my personal life recently, and I know this is true from what I observe around me.
What do we do with false teachers?
I’ll be honest. I love, love, love the city. I’m a city girl through and through. I grew up outside of Atlanta, and I will tell you any day that I feel safer downtown than in the middle of a cornfield. However, recently I’ve just wanted to run and hide in some corn. I want pack up my husband and baby and move far away from everyone and everything so that we can be safe from the false teaching and lies Satan is spewing everywhere. But not only is that not possible, it’s not healthy, and it’s not what God calls us to do.
Instead I’ve come up with a few ways to respond to false teachers.
- Remember that not every “Christian” writer, blogger, author is necessarily a teacher of the Bible. Now I know that this is a fine line because any Believer (including myself) who uses the Bible or Jesus or God to make a point will be held accountable one day for those words written or spoken. However, just because it’s written or said doesn’t mean it’s meant to teach us. I have to tell myself, “This person is not a Bible teacher. Her words are not meant to teach me.”
- I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. We live in the most interesting times I think in history. Our culture is transforming and changing by leaps and bounds. In some ways these changes are positive. In other ways they remind us that the end is in fact near. With all the talking heads coming at us, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus. Whatever He says, that is truth. Regardless of whether we think it fits in with our society or culture. It does fit in because the Word of God is alive and active and never changes.
- Studying the Bible is imperative in order to know truth. How else am I going to know what’s false if I don’t know what’s true? I have to read and study the Bible. God’s Word is the Sword of the Spirit. It’s what we use to do battle. Without it we’re helpless.
I want to gently urge you to pray diligently for discernment and wisdom to identify false teachers when you read blogs or really anything online.
What’s your take on false teachers online?