The problem with tolerating false teachers is…

A friend and I were talking about the younger church generation. A kind of “Kids these days” conversation, lol.  She said, “They’ve been swimming in Beth Moore stuff for so long they don’t know if they are even in troubled water.” She and I, and others I’ve spoken with, notice the younger generation of 16-25 year olds simply do not have a solid theological grounding. They do not approach Bible study credibly. They infuse it with feelings, mysticism, romanticism, and subjective experience. They think this is the norm.

This is wrong.

And it is our fault.

This problem is what I dub the ‘Symbolic Jezebel problem’. It’s a generation thing. You see, in Revelation 2 metaphorical Jezebel who was a false prophetess of Thyatira. She was tolerated (one would assume, by the elders of the local church) for so long, unfortunately another generation of spiritual daughters had sprung up under her influence with her false teaching as a model. The ones coming up didn’t know any better, because they had false prophetess ‘Jezebel’ as their example. They must have figured this is the right way to practice the faith, because after all, the elders were not saying anything. It was tolerated. The issues were her false teaching, her false prophesying and the fact that she was teaching in a position of authority in the church. There’s a lot wrong right there. Jesus said to this church-

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23and I will strike her children dead. (Revelation 2:20-23).

The other day I was talking with a 25-year-old. He was frustrated his peers could not see the truth that certain teachers are false or they could not understand why they approaches to study and communing with God were false (liver shivers, manifestations, circle praying, contemplative prayer…etc). I’d replied that his generation was the first one to have grown up completely under the false emergent, purpose driven, emotional, romantic, mystical model. An entire generation has been exposed to false teachings of one sort or another that have been tolerated by elders.

Beth Moore has been teaching locally since 1984 and went public with incorporating Living Proof Ministries in 1994. She’s nearly 60 now, Christine Caine is turning 50 next month. Lysa TerKeurst is 47. “Experiencing God” the terrible mystical curriculum that took the SBC by storm was published in 1976 and grew to monstrously popular proportions in the 1980s. All this is 25-30 years ago and we are reaping the terrible penalty for it now with our soft youth who are growing up as the the next generation of leaders. The problem is seen in this 2015 headline from Christianity Today, which unwittingly puts its finger dead center on the problem-

What Happens When We See Women Teach the Bible; A figure like Beth Moore shows evangelical women what’s possible.

No. It’s about what happens when we see not what’s possible, but what’s tolerated.

These young kids coming up who are 16 or 20 or 25 have been exposed to these things from their birth, even in homes that are solid (because it creeps in anyway). These teachers have been at it for a long time. Forty years is the length of a generation.

We tolerate a Moore, we accept a Experiencing God, we teach subjective methods of Bible study, and incrementally it all adds up. Inch by inch and then foot by foot and then mile by mile, we are on a downward slide that accelerates from a snowball to a tsunami. The generation of kids who use this stuff become the next generation of leaders, and promote it all over again to a new generation coming up. That is what is happening now.

What can you do about it? The Apostles of the first century church and their leader successors spent a great deal of time stamping out error, falsity and heresy where it sprang up. They didn’t let it go, They didn’t tolerate it, except in the case of the Thyatiran church, where Jesus personally dictated a letter telling them they were in danger of being smited by His hand! Jesus takes error seriously, the Apostles took error seriously and we should too. Error kills. (Galatians 5:9, John 10:10).

What should we do?

Repent of your personal sin so that your heart and mind can stay clear.

Don’t overlook the small errors that pop up when they occur in your sphere. Satan’s tentacles will gradually creep in (2 Timothy 3:6). Notice them and address them. Would you ignore a spark on a haystack just because it’s small and pretty? No the spark has the power to ignite a conflagration and destroy the entire thing. What happens in your garden if you let a few weeds go, and you don’t pull them up? Pick your battles (because you’re not a lone ranger, others in your church have the gift of discernment and exhortation, too 😉 and speak up. I know it’s tiring. I know it’s a message that is increasingly unwanted. But do it.

Also, stay in the Word. Keep reading and delving into who Jesus is and His character and nature. It is the way we stay sharp and grounded and on the Rock.

I do not have a new message here. I always say to repent, pray, and stay in the word. That’s because this is what Jess says to do. The messages in the Bible are true and right, and if we follow them, and continue to do our duty by Him, we will be all right.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22).

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Further Reading

The Gigantic Problem Beneath the Really Big Problem

Six Ways the World will Pressure you to Conform

Does ‘Judge Not’ Mean we Should not Rebuke Error?

2 thoughts on “The problem with tolerating false teachers is…

  1. Thank you for your work here Elizabeth! I attend an SBC church because my husband likes the preaching ,which is sound. The womens Bible studies are Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer etc so I have not participated. I am gathering info to meet with our pastor to discuss our concerns about the Bible study and music coming out of NAR( Bethel Redding )and Hillsong we are using. He recently preached on false teachers calling out several by name. He has been at this church 1 year, we are less the that. Do you have any advice you would give me?
    I follow you on FB.

    In Christ, Donna Erwin

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    • Thanks for asking, I feel your dilemma. I’d suggest:

      1. Pray. I’m sure you’re doing that already. Ask the Lord to smooth your path and prepare the hearts of those who will be in the meeting. Ask for wisdom to be offered in truth and gentleness.
      2. Keep your info short. LOT of info confuses and defeats your purpose. For example, Beth Moore has a lot of issues; mysticism, usurping, false visions, insufficiency of scripture, poor handling of scripture, etc. Choose the most important to you (or your pastor) and present clearly with scriptures attached. Keep things grounded in scripture. That makes it the Lord’s issue and not the personal opinion of you or your pastor.
      3. Have something positive to suggest after dealing with the issues of the false teachers. Offering something in Shirer’s or Moore’s place will go a long way to helping your pastor and in showing your own diligence and importance of the issue. It will also help defray the charge that you’re just a Negative Nellie 😉 Of course if you offer a substitute curriculum, you and your husband will have vetted it scripturally first.
      I hope these ideas help!

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