Occasionally I receive email, blog comments, or Facebook messages asking questions about various topics and issues within the faith. Here is a question I received recently about false teachers and the people who follow them.
Q. Are they truly deceived and cannot bear to hear any disagreement about the theology of their beloved [false] teacher?
A. The scriptures say that in the latter days (now) “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” 2 Timothy 4:3.
Note the action here. The false teachers are not accumulating followers. It’s the believers who go out and heap up false teachers for themselves! These false teachers like Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore would not exist if they had no followers (because there would be no money- the Bible’s explanation for the reason false teachers go into the false teaching business). The people who heap up these false teachers cannot endure sound teaching. It’s that simple. There is some sin in them that clings to what the false teacher is offering that will not allow them to endure the full truth.
When the false teacher’s aberrant theology is pointed out to the follower, the follower shrinks back in anger and defensiveness, the need to protect their pet false teacher rising hard and fast in their darkened heart. We will go to great lengths to protect our sin.
This good quote from Tom Ascol is the antidote for falling into the sin of heaping up a false teacher:
Mature Christians are those whose lives are marked by such stability that they are not easily led astray by teachings and practices that are contrary to the Word of God. On the contrary, mature believers are “growing up in every way” into Christ. —Tom Ascol in Tabletalk Magazine
The way to avoid being tossed by every wind of doctrine and landing in partnership with a false teacher in the sin-dance is to stay grounded in the Word. Read it, study it, and meditate on it.
Charles Spurgeon had some things to say about the false teachers-
He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart. . . . substituting for honest manliness a mass of the tremulous jelly of mutual flattery.
Oh, if some of you were like your fathers you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing. You would have hurled out of your pulpits the men who are enemies to the fundamental doctrines of your churches, and yet are crafty enough to become your pastors and undermine the faith of a fickle and superficial generation. I cannot endure false doctrine, however neatly it may be put before me. Would you have me eat poisoned meat because the dish is of the choicest ware? It makes me indignant when I hear another gospel put before the people with enticing words, by men who would fain make merchandise of souls; and I marvel at those who have soft words for such deceivers.
~Charles Spurgeon, sermon “Under Constraint,” 1878.