By Elizabeth Prata
This first appeared on The End Time in July 2011.
We are told that in the last days, deceivers will come. They will carry false doctrines, false teachings, and they will want to follow their own lusts instead of sound doctrine. This web page has a list of all the verses in the bible that speak to false doctrine. This web page lists all the warnings about false prophets (which are teachers, too).
In some cases, it is easy to tell who is false. Todd Bentley down in Lakeland FL was easy to spot as false for Christians – but he still deceived a great many.
Even as babes in the faith, still on milk, the Word is so transparent and so sure that relying on it brings clarity as to whether a teacher is teaching falsely. (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Cor 3:2).
But because we ARE flesh, it gets tangled in everything. We can’t separate the flesh from who we are but continual submission and obedience regenerates us and we grow in His Christlikeness. Excising the flesh where it has fallen prey to sin or where lies are embedded within is sometimes a violently difficult process. This includes recognizing of a favorite teacher is false and going away from him or her.
Sometimes someone will come up to you and say “So and so may be a false teacher bringing false doctrines.” You get angry, because you like that teacher. The first reaction will always be fleshly. Translation: emotional. People’s reactions will range from peeved to furious. When my friend and I were talking about false teachers and she asked me about Joyce Meyer, I said I believed Mrs. Meyer teaches a different gospel and therefore is false. She agreed. She wasn’t angry because she had already come to the same conclusion I had and therefore no anger flared up. But when I said I had concerns about Beth Moore, she got ticked because she had not come to that conclusion. Challenging Beth Moore as a teacher was also challenging my friend as a student. That anger arises because of something called “deception by investment”.
Deception by investment as defined by Glenn Chatfield is here, “When one learns their favorite teacher is a false teacher, they continue with the deception because they’ve invested so much of their life in them. They’d rather continue in deception than admit they were deceived.” And the term is used again, here at his blog The Watchman’s Bagpipes.
When we invest time, energy, even money in a teacher or a ministry and then some bubbling reservations or charges are raised, our fleshly response is to dismiss them out of hand. But that’s exactly when the lie firms its grip. It is simply pride that won’t let go. This is why, I suspect, when many of you ladies report that you brought a concern about a female teacher to your Ladies Leader, she became angry. This happens a lot. Pride won’t allow some Ministry Leaders to accept that they have made a grave error and publicly humble themselves in apology and explanation. Rather than listen to the concerns, they are so invested in their false teacher that they continue in the deception and get angry at you.
Look at the situation as a morning glory. It’s so pretty! But its delicacy is deceptive. It actually has a hard grip and won’t let go.
I had a morning glory on the left side of my door for about a year. Boy, that thing grew fast! It soon wound around the wrought iron plant stand and up over the awning. The flowers looked so pretty in the morning when they bloomed! But then my landlord said that he had to excavate that area and was going to pave it over. I had to get rid of the wrought iron stand and the flowers.
I’d never dealt with morning glory flowers before. I was amazed at how firmly they were wound in! I thought I could just pull them down but no way. I thought I could just use a knife to cut them away but nope, that didn’t work either. I had to use scissors and personally excise each strand. It took hours. Each vine was stronger than it looked.
A year later, on the right side of my door, I spotted some more morning glories! Look at the bottom of the photo below. I really can’t tell where the root is, or which stalk is the main one. Just suddenly one day there was a clump.
In the photo below, we can see how tightly wound the vine is to the thing which it claims, in this case, an old cable wire.
Left unattended, there will be shoots sprouting off to go in other directions to claim other things to cling to.
This how false teaching is. It emerges from whence you least expect. You’re surprised by it. Its root or origin is often difficult to determine. If left unattended, it winds among your flesh tighter and tighter. It gets harder and harder to excise.
Here is my practical advice when hearing a charge of false teaching, either about yourself, or about another favored teachers you’ve invested in: be ready for the flesh to rebel. It will flare up like a match.
But if you wait, what happens to a match? It burns out quickly. Let the emotions about the charge of false teaching leveled on your favorite teacher dissipate. If you don’t allow them to lead you, they will dissipate. Then begin the work the Holy Spirit wants to guide you into. He will either confirm or deny the charge, but allowing yourself to let the anger drive you means you are allowing the morning glory vine a tighter grip.
Be careful out there, brethren. Don’t let the morning glory vine choke off truth through its fleshly grip but instead, let His pure glory lead you into truth. Even if you have to cut off your hand to do it.