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Re-Post: Why can some women spot a false teacher and avoid them, but others follow them instead?

This was first published in January 2017. It’s been updated in minor ways and some resources added. Enjoy!

Q. A reader emailed and asked how can she understand that Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer and other false teachers like them go dramatically outside of Scripture, while other women don’t?

A. The Holy Spirit is giving discernment. Discernment is a skill. We as believers pray, study, read, and work the scriptures through your mental capacities and reactions. Like any skill, it grows muscular through use. Other women who don’t use it, are weak. They are the ones who get captured, laden down by many sins. The Bible says “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,” (2 Timothy 3:6.)

It is a process. If you do not read scripture and study it and allow it to divide marrow from bone (Hebrew 4:12), then we have these ladies who are laden down, confused. They are unable to endure sound doctrine because the sin in them prevents clear thinking. The longer it goes, the worse it gets. Then they seek a false teacher to suit their passions so the sin in them won’t collide so harshly with the sound doctrine of the Bible.

Last, they begin heaping these teachers up. (2 Timothy 4:3). There is a flavor of a false teacher for every flavor of sin. Beth Moore offers psychology and self esteem, also emotionalism. Joyce Meyer offers health-wealth. Christine Caine offers social justice. IF:Gathering women offer a faux-discipleship/fellowship.

Some women (and men) have been given the gift of Discerning of Spirits (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). They are the ones whom the Holy Spirit has installed in a local congregation for the purpose of edifying others, building up the body through their extra dose of the gift, if you will. They are the encouragers, gentle path-correcters, alarm ringers.

Discernment begins with prayer, study, and repentant worship. The exercise of the discernment muscle comes in when you check the scriptures to see if the things you are taught are so, as Paul noted that the Bereans did. (Acts 17:11). Hebrews 5:14 says that we train ourselves in discernment to go from milk to meat. It is by ‘constant use’ of the skill that it is honed, the verse says.

The more you listen, check, pray, and read from the Bible, the more you are exercising that muscle, and it will get strong. The discerning ones who diligently strive to retain clear vision can spot and resist these false teacher. The Word has divided false from true, not man’s wisdom.

This is my take on it. Other thoughts and verses welcome. As always, check the Bible and test what is written her and anywhere. 🙂

Further Reading:

Expository Listening: A Practical Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”––James 1:22 In many people’s mind, if they don’t get anything out of the sermon, it’s the preacher’s fault. But that’s only half true. The Bible teaches that listeners must partner with the preacher so that the Word of God accomplishes its intended purpose of transforming their life. Expository Listening is your handbook on biblical listening. It is designed to equip you not only to understand what true, biblical preaching sounds like, but also how to receive it, and ultimately, what to do about it. You need to know how to look for the Word of God, to love the Word of God, and to live the Word of God. In this way, God and His Word will be honored and glorified through your life

John MacArthur: A Plea for Discernment, sermon series

Tim Challies: The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment (a book)


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.