How Safe is Your Church From False Teachers?

wolfImage courtesy of Evgeni Dinev /

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”  2 Peter 2:1 (NASB).

A recurring theme in the Bible is the warning against false teachers, but does your church watch for those who will come into the church and teach ideas that go against the truth of the gospel?  There are several steps churches can take to combat this threat.

Recognize that false teachers are out there.

The first, best thing that a church can do is to be aware that there is a threat.  If a church doesn’t believe this, they will overlook the false teacher, not knowing him or her until the damage is already done. 

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  Matthew 7:15 (NASB).

The false teacher comes in looking like everyone else, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Sometimes that costume seems pretty authentic if you don’t look close enough.  So what do you do to catch the wolf before he or she gets very far?

Be careful of who is allowed to teach.

Someone told me recently that at their church, all you have to do to lead a Sunday School class is be a member of the church.  I admit, I don’t know what process is involved for becoming a member, but for many churches, all you have to do to be a member is walk down the aisle at the appropriate time.  Do the elders take time to discuss the lifestyle and beliefs of the people they are accepting into the flock?  How much do you know about the beliefs of those teaching under the authority of your church?  This includes all of the paid teaching staff, Sunday School teachers for all age groups, and life group leaders.  Anyone who is teaching the people of your church should be examined in some form or fashion.

Make sure your church knows the Bible.

The best defense is, as usual, a good offense.

“The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.  Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”  Acts 17:10-11 (NASB). 

The Bereans did not not take anything for granted.  Instead, when they heard a teaching they were not familiar with, they went to the scripture and studied to be sure if what they were hearing was true or not.  If your church is solidly educated in the scripture, a false teacher will have a harder time gaining traction.

Have a plan for dealing with false teachers.

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB).

Know ahead of time how you will deal with false teachers in your church.  It is important that you are careful about how you deal with false teachers.  Take the person aside and kindly speak with them.  Talk with them about the issue at hand; have them explain their beliefs and then explain why you disagree.  It is possible that a frank discussion may be all that is necessary for correction.  But if they continue to spread these false teachings, you should bring the person before the elders of the church for another discussion about their beliefs, and, if need be, a decision to remove them from their teaching responsibilities. 

If you are not in a position of leadership and you find yourself attending a church that is spreading false teachings, you may want to find an opportunity to speak to the leadership about the issues you have with the teaching of the church.  Otherwise, you should leave the church and find a church that is teaching the truth of the gospel.

Have you ever found yourself in a position of having to deal with a false teacher?   What did you or your church do about it?

Posted in , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

One Response to How Safe is Your Church From False Teachers?

  1. Interesting topic, Kirra, and very well done.

    Thanks for linking this up with the TALU!


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by