Posted in false teachers, theology

Disciples of false teachers, their anger, and what we can learn from this opportunity

By Elizabeth Prata
holiness godliness

The fiercer the reaction, the deeper the hold satan has on his false teacher and her followers. We’ve seen the rabid ferocity of those who follow Beth Moore. When their idol is touched, her people come from out of the woodwork to pile on to the person attempting to bring light to Moore’s followers.

The same recently happened with Rachel Held Evans. My obituary contained mention of the fact that RHE had lived the life an an apostate, causing vitriol to pour from the lips of her many followers.

It’s important not to simply shae our heads adn go tut-tut, and walk away. I like to process an event and try to find a positive meaning from it. So that is what this essay is. Perhaps others may find it helpful.

These are a few of the names I was directly called:

good only for compost
hellspawn (my personal favorite, lol)

I asked the angry people tweeting me to cut and paste the allegedly objectionable portions of my essay, with an earnest promise that I’d take a look at it. Not one, not one person, acceded to my request. Very few even shared a Bible verse, to my recollection. I was called to be tolerant, but by the lengthy list above, you can see that their call for loving tolerance was simply a double standard, as they were anything but.

Anahn E. Moo® @anahnemoo made the following observation:

Every post, tweet, and article I’ve read by born-again Christians who are discussing the very likely state of RHE’s soul have been loving, gentle, mournful, and prayerful.
Every response by her worshipers have been vile and hateful, often laced with profanity and blasphemy.

This was a typical tweet from a #RHE devotee. There were literally hundreds on Saturday. Mainly they went like this, if I can summarize the general vein:

“RHE taught love & grace and tolerance, you horrid, poisonous hellspawn who speaks lies! I pray that you, judgmental, nasty Pharisee that you are, will find the grace that we all have, thanks to Rachel our prophet’s teaching”. This is a compilation of actual tweets.

Some of these people I chose to engage with, and I had success with one or two. One I blocked immediately, (the curse word lady). Two or three others I engaged with a bit then muted. The rest I shared the Gospel, attempted to be gracious, and let the hateful words slide off my back while offering either verses or pleasantries. One lady I did get a huge kick out of, her comment stood out. See below.


With so many tweeting and commenting, how did I know which to mute, block, or engage? That is a discussion I’ll enter into below. For now, I believe I can make an axiom out of this: the deeper the false teacher is in satan, the more vitriolic her followers’ response will be to anyone claiming she is false. Alternately, the longer satan has had a ‘spy’ in his clutches, having infiltrated a body of believers, the harder satan hangs on to her. (cf Revelation 2:20). His job is to use the false teacher to make slaves and draw away the unwary from Christ.

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— (Galatians 2:4).

These spies infiltrate the body and then promote false teachings, to which the fleshly gravitate. They accumulate these teachers for themselves, heaping them up because these false teachers suit their lusts.

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).

Neither the false teacher nor their followers will want to let go. The false teacher is enjoying popularity and money, the fleshly followers enjoy having their desires indulged.

Their ferocity is always at-the-ready:

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6).

Their ferociousness is always bubbling just below the surface. Upon the slightest touch, it spews immediately and with a savagery that astounds the more polite and civil members of society. This is as true in real life as it is online, I’ve experienced both.

The ‘dogs’ verse evokes a mental image of stray, skinny, mangy, hungry dogs roaming in packs, but when you try to pet them, they turn snarling with foaming lips and tear you limb from limb.

We know that the world’s systems are under satan’s thumb. (2 Corinthians 4:4). Entertainment, politics, media, secular organizations all serve satan’s agenda, not Christ’s. We have seen where Christian movie makers and actors are blacklisted or whose reputations are destroyed, simply for either speaking as ambassadors of Jesus or for making movies that reflect His precepts.

We’ve seen in politics, especially in the realms of pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality, people that flood the public square with satan’s agenda and how they pile on on to those who oppose it. Even death threats and physical violence has been done against people exercising their right to freely speak their conservative beliefs in the public arenas.

We’ve seen the media taken over by the liberal journalists, who go to any lengths to preserve and present satan’s reality and publish even lies through their print or broadcast mediums.

In my past experience as a journalist I’ve experienced how the liberal media works when I opposed the lies. They decide on a target. In one case they had decided on three targets for a certain smear campaign, but decided three was too unwieldy so then they focused their attention on one person alone, funneling all their hostility onto him. Next, they decide what to say against their selected target, and lies work just as well or even better than the truth. Finally, they tag-team the target with their talking points. They do not alter it and they do not vary their talking points, knowing that if a lie is repeated enough times, it will stick. They do this with a savagery and a brutality that is relentless and breathtaking.

Events such as these are instructive, I find. Even more so is when the Christian stands against satan’s lies when opposing a false teacher. How is it instructive? The false teacher’s followers are masquerading as penitent, polite, grace filled people, therefore they are hard to spot. But when their idol is touched, that thin veneer is stripped away quickly. This is helpful. With little effort we can quickly see who the mission field is. False converts are hard to spot normally, but when they come out in full force, well, there they are.

False teachers are a problem and have been since the beginning. Their followers are often like marauding hordes intent on destruction (of character, reputation of the body itself). In fact, in John 16:2 (NAS) we read,

They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.”

They think they are doing right, protecting their false teacher so fiercely.

By the number of verses in the New Testament dealing with the fact that false teachers will exist, and that their many followers will cling to lies, we know we must be on guard and act as salt and light to their dying hearts.

Now it is the job of the Christian to determine which disciples of false teachers to engage with and which to turn away from. The Bible suggests various approaches.

For example, Jude 1:22-23 says to engage,

have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; and to still others, show mercy tempered with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

James says to engage,

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, (James 5:19).

Titus 3:10 says to warn a divisive man once then twice, (but then then have no more to do with him, because foolish controversies edify no one.)

In other cases we are not to engage with a follower of a false teacher or a false teacher herself. We are told to simply mark and avoid, (Romans 16:17), told to close the door to the false teacher, not even allowing him or her into our homes. (2 John 1:10).

Other times we are also told not to associate:

Take note of anyone who does not obey the instructions we have given in this letter. Do not associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. (2 Thessalonians 3:14).

By the number of verses that exhort the believer to do certain things or not to do certain things when encountering a false teacher and/or her converts, it’s obvious that care and prayer must be involved. Is this a case where I must engage? Or simply mark and avoid? Is this a case where I have mercy on those who doubt, or is it a case where the doubt is so entrenched that I must close the door to them?

The level of their anger will be a first indication of how far to go in engaging them. The list of angry words above is put in a level of order from (IMO) mild to hot. (AKA wanderers from the truth) it’s obvious that care and prayer must be involved.

Remember, the hate directed toward you is not directed toward you particularly, it’s directed toward Jesus. It is not a situation to decry, but it is in fact an opportunity. Wayward believers have just revealed themselves. What to do? Not all, but some are the mission field. The level of their anger will be a first indication of how far to go in engaging them. The list of angry words above is put in a level of order from (IMO) mild to hot.

We can engage with scripture, share the Gospel, or simply behave in ways the world does not expect (salt & light, grace & truth).

Other times we mark and avoid. Praying to the Holy Spirit will guide you as to what to do, when. Remember, His ministry is to point to Jesus and the Spirit is even more concerned than you are for Jesus’ name, your edification and growth, and the false believer’s soul (whether it demonstrates God’s justice in perdition or in His grace in heaven).

Be well and wise, soldier, and march onward.


This is a heartfelt PS. I wrote this essay because I process things by writing. I’m autistic. I’m not introspective. I find it easier to write it out of me and then see what is on the page.

I also wanted to make this an opportunity for encouraging anyone with some verses and facts, and a perspective that’s hopefully positive. I’m not writing this because I think said everything perfectly, I didn’t. There were a few cases where I regret my comment. I don’t write this because feel I have it all figured out. I don’t. Even though I’ve been through this before, the ferocity still surprised me. It left me unsettled.

I am writing this to encourage, help, or at least offer a coda to it all. For those who emailed, commented, or tweeted encouragement, thank you. I appreciate each and every one of you.


Further reading:

False prophets and their methods, by Adrian Rogers

Wretched: Christians must get over their fear of pointing out false teachers

Why do false teachers have so many followers?

Posted in discernment, theology

A clock that is 5 minutes off is still wrong

By Elizabeth Prata

Pastor Adrian Rogers has gone on to glory, but I enjoy his sermons and the clips that are still broadcast on the radio or Youtube. His large body of work remains with us even if his soul is now with Jesus.

I was driving home from church on Sunday and the Christian radio station I was listening to broadcast this short clip from his ministry Love Worth Finding. Dr. Rogers began it by saying Satan is the cleverest liar. It turns out the clip was from a longer sermon called “The Great Deceiver”.

It’s not that often these days that a preacher forthrightly discusses the evil qualities of our adversary. I turned up the volume to listen.

I can’t find the audio to that clip but here is a transcription I found in a book about Dr Rogers. I’ll post it and then below flesh it out from my memory of it as I heard it in the car.

Two things we learn about Satan from the Lord Jesus Christ. 1. He is a murderer. 2. He is a liar. Never forget this about the devil. His motive is murder. His method is the lie. And he is the father of all liars. And he is the best liar. He is the master liar. And because he is the master liar he tells the cleverest lies. And the cleverest lies sound the most like the truth. And every good lie has just a little truth in it. We had a clock that wouldn’t even run that was right twice a day. And any lie has some truth in it.

But I want to say, dear friend, that a clock that is five minutes wrong is more dangerous than a clock that is five hours wrong. You see a clock that is five hours wrong, and you say, “Ha, that’s wrong, what time is it? Somebody tell me.” But a clock five minutes wrong could have caused you to miss your plane. And so the devil wants you to believe the wrong thing. And there are seducing spirits with doctrines of devils. And the devil is not primarily a pusher of dope, though he is; he is primarily a pusher of lies.

He is making an excellent point here. A false teacher who is waaaaay off base and on the fringes of orthodoxy, will be seen for who he is much more easily. You look at a clock that has stopped and you know that is the wrong time, except for one minute, twice a day.

But a clever false teacher will be a clock that is only 5 minutes off. He will blend lots of orthodoxy with the false. He will twist in subtle ways the verses he is preaching. This is a more dangerous path to follow because whether you are 2 hours off or 5 minutes off, you will still miss your plane. You will miss that important appointment. Follow a five-minutes-off clock long enough and your course will soon be off by a wider margin than you realize.

One rebuttal I usually hear when I point to this or that false teacher is, “But they follow/mention/preach Jesus!” This Gospel Coalition article titled “7 Traits of False Teachers” reminds us that,

It’s rare for someone in church to openly deny Jesus. Movement away from the centrality of Christ is subtle. The false teacher will speak about how other people can help change your life, but if you listen carefully to what he is saying, you will see that Jesus Christ is not essential to his message.

In this essay, John MacArthur sticks close to the Bible when explaining the marks of a false teacher by his life and his doctrine.

Invariably, if I write about a false teacher’s lifestyle, a rebuttal will include that it’s none of my business how they live. However in this article by Wyatt Graham, we learn that False Teachers Out Themselves by Their Way of Lifetoo.

False teachers by definition teach false doctrine. Usually, we imagine that this means that false teachers deny certain concepts like the Trinity, the Incarnation, or the Second Coming. Yet second Peter challenges the idea that false doctrine only means denying true ideas. In Peter’s second letter, false teachers primarily are called such because of how they live. For Peter, false doctrine can mean denying true concepts or denying our Master by our behaviour.

Here is a helpful article titled “10 Invalid Arguments in Defense of False Teachers

The Bible is precise The Gospel is precise. God is precise. The Word is so precise it can divide bone from marrow (Hebrews 4:12). A clock that is five minutes off is still wrong.

I teach in an elementary school. When I gather my second graders for our small group reading instruction, I rely on the clock to finish the session so I can go pick up my third graders for their small group instruction. I have to release each group to within a minute of the scheduled time because they are on to the next session and they need to arrive punctually so the next teacher has a full period of teaching. The 3rd graders leave me and go to their classes to pack up their books and then disperse for the bus. The buses need to roll within a minute of their schedule so that car riders can get going and release all the children in the gym one by one into the waiting cars. This needs to be completed by 3:10. And the car riders can’t get started until the buses roll, and the buses can’t roll until all the kids are aboard, and the kids can’t get aboard until they pack up and line up, and they can’t pack up until I release them from our group. And so on. It’s an interlocked and cascading schedule of events that relies on precision in order to work.

If I am 5 minutes late letting the kids go from group, the entire school schedule will be put off. The other day I re-adjusted my clock because it was 2 minutes slow.

Why do we care about precision during our commuting/working day, but not about the Gospel? Or a favored Bible teacher’s teaching?

We must.


Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

An exhortation about false teaching from Jeremiah

It says in 2 Timothy 3:13, evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse. The study note for that verse explains that “all the dangerous movements of the false teachers (cf. vv. 1-9) will become increasingly more successful until Christ comes. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:11).”

This is a sobering thought.

Very sobering.

False teachers are a scourge and a plague. They are worse than locusts who sweep across the field and leave only broken and inedible crumbs in their wake. False teachers destroy souls. False prophets bring Jesus into disrepute and they steal His glory. Lest we believe that those who follow these false teachers and prophets are helpless victims, they are not. Followers of these locusts love to have it so. They actually heap up the false teachers to themselves. (2 Timothy 4:3).

False teachers have been around since even before the world was formed and satan was spreading his evil merchandise in heaven to his companion hosts. (Ezekiel 28:16). Jeremiah wrote in around 600BC about the evil, unholy trio of false priests, false prophets, and followers of both:

An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land:
the prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
my people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes?
(Jeremiah 5:30-31)

The word in Hebrew for appalling is “a horror.” False teaching, false teachers, false prophets, and false converts who love them are a horror, from a word meaning ruin, desolation.

False teachers is a serious issue, people. We tend to want to lessen their impact by rationalizing. We want to decrease their evilness by calling them merely innocuous bones to spit out whilst we ingest otherwise good food. But is this how God sees them? No. He calls them and their followers a horror, a ruin, and a desolation.

False teachers and false prophets have been in existence since almost the beginning. False converts have also been with us, also. (Cain, anyone?). The 2 Timothy 3:13 verse reminds us that things will only get worse. The diffusion of evil will eventually blanket the world, and during its inexorable diffusion, its intensity will deepen.

The breach between light and darkness, so far from being healed, shall be widened [Henry Alford]

What this means for us is that we are at risk. We are more at risk than our parents or our grandparents, because as the verse says, things will get worse and worse. If we are at risk, then our children are more at risk. How are we at risk? Those who become false teachers want to deliberately ensnare you and me. They want to sell their merchandise because they are greedy. (2 Peter 2:3, 1 Timothy 6:5). If we for some reason are unstable or naive, we will be seduced. (2 Peter 2:14, Romans 16:18). The New Testament is rife with constant warnings. We can’t be content, ignorant, or relaxed about this.

Because we are all sinners, we can fall prey to these false teachers at any time. The antidote is not to be naive, but be wise. For we are not unaware of satan and his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). We must not be unstable, but cling to the solid Rock. Do this by constant repentance, persisting in the good works we’re commanded to do, and by prayer and study of His word. Envelop yourself with the blanket of His word.

I speak of this issue frequently. That’s for several reasons-

1. No matter where you read in the Bible, there is always either an issue of or a warning about false teaching. If it is a big deal to God, it is a big deal to me.

2. I am a woman, and women are even more at risk for falling into false teaching and following false converts. (1 Peter 3:7, 2 Timothy 3:6, 2 Corinthians 11:3).

3. Because as satan floods the church with false converts who in turn pile up false teachers, it will be harder and harder to detect the genuine. We are an army of forgiven soldiers whose job it is to love Jesus with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, with no room for false teaching and no quarter for false prophets. Don’t give sway to it.

4. Because the purer we are individually and as a body, the more we can glorify Jesus. Our chief end in life is to do this. Don’t waver in being steadfast against false teaching and false teachers. They are not misguided, innocuous, harmless, or temporarily errant. They are evil. They are a horror. They are a ruin. This means being being willing to call Beth Moore an evil, abhorrent horror. To say that Sarah Young, Paula White, and others are full of deceit. Can you? Will you?

False teaching is a never-ending battle. We return to Jeremiah, writing in around 600BC, 2,500 years ago-

For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
They set a trap;
they catch men.
Like a cage full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
therefore they have become great and rich;
(Jeremiah 5:26-27).

God asked in Jeremiah 5:31, ‘What will you do when the end comes?’ It is always the main question. Our lives are a vapor, this era is but a moment. To the Lord, it has been but two days since Jeremiah wrote, not over two thousand years. (2 Peter 3:8). The end will come, for us all. I pray I am still standing form on His truth. I pray you are too.


Further Reading

The Cripplegate: Four characteristics of a false convert

Paul Washer’s site I’ll be Honest: A List of False Religious Hopes that Will Send Many to Hell