Church of Christ
Mission USA
False Teachers: Like Father Like Son
(Why Would A Good Shepherd Invite A Grievous Wolf To Come In Among The Flock?) 
by Perry Sexton
 
      Since the dawn of time, mankind has been plagued with false teachers.  The first one is the father of them all (Gen. 3:1ff).  John wrote of him in this fashion: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:9).  The offspring of Satan has been at deception ever since.  Jesus spoke of the devil’s children: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44 cp. Acts 13:10).  The false teachers have always exhibited certain attitudes, characteristics and motives that are certainly identifiable.  From cover to cover of the Holy Bible these false teachers, deceivers, are seen and exposed.  They must continue to be exposed for the welfare of the family of God, and so we are commanded to do so (1 John 4:1; Eph. 5:11; Rom. 16:17, etc.). 

      We have many warnings concerning false teachers throughout the Bible.  These warnings are a result of our Father’s love and great concern for our wellbeing.  We would do well to have our Father’s love and warn all others.  Looking at the warnings we learn much of the false teacher’s characteristics.  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15).  Like their father, they are great deceivers.  Jesus further cautioned “of the leaven” of the deceivers (Matt. 16:6).  Leaven has the power to “puff up” and “works subtly to lighten or modify something.”  As with me, I am sure this reminded you of 1
Corinthians 5. The leaven of tolerance for this great evil of fornication was working in the members (v.6) and some were “puffed up” (v.2 cp. Rom. 1:32).  The influence the fornicator had is obvious.  One does not have to be a public pulpit preacher in order to be guilty of teaching error.  First, one is able to deceive himself and secondly, by actions, influence others to do evil.  This is a very serious matter as Jesus said: “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:1,2).  Misery
loves company, but in this case the more company by our invite, the more misery!  

      We are warned that the false teacher will “wrest” or twist the Word of God “unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).  Peter forewarns further: “seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (v.17).  Brethren, please do not allow brethren to change the Word of God before your very eyes no matter how many degrees he has after his name.  It may mean only more degrees (Fahrenheit) for them and us in the next world (cp. Matt.  15:14)!  Academic degrees does not equate to honesty or even accuracy.  Jesus reminds us: “The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).  And if they have no qualms about changing God’s Word (and most
false teachers do not), do you think they would have any about changing our words?  Many of these people are nothing more than deceiving, lying dogs, vicious wolves as God says (Phil. 3:2; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Matt. 7:15; 1 Peter 5:8, etc.).  They will lie to you and about you: carrying on the family tradition (John 8:44; Eph. 4:14).  Neither will they answer many questions (Mark 11:29-33). 

      Following are seven simple questions that I recently asked a false teacher (known to me as a false teacher because of the many errors in his book).  After he answered the email with my questions and in my next email to him I inserted my answers to the same questions as you will see.  I do not believe that any who receives this bulletin will have trouble answering any of these questions,
but notice carefully his answers and the evasions thereof.  Why would a preacher do that?  Your comments on these are welcome and would be appreciated.  Note my questions, my inserted answers and the false teacher’s answers following his identifier “ME.”

{1.} Do you believe it is alright to use mechanical instruments of music in worship to God?  {Perry's ans.: No.}  ME: I don't believe worship is something we are "in" but rather something we offer to God.  Romans 12:1 speaks to this.  Your very rhetoric betrays you,
brother. 
{2.} Do you believe all of life is worship? {Perry's ans.: No.}  ME: I believe that whatever we do in word or deed must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Don't you believe that, too? 
{3.} Do you believe there are Christians in the denominations? {Perry's ans.: No.}  ME: The Pharisees tried their best to entrap
Jesus in such questions as this.  I draw my church leader's attention to this as well.  Are you letting your elders see this exchange?  Doubtful.  You aren't seeking truth and brotherly fellowship.  You are trying to mark me as a false teacher.  How arrogant. 
{4.} Do you fellowship any denomination?  {Perry's ans.: No.}  ME: You may not even understand what the word fellowship means. 
From this question I think not.  I fellowship God's elect. 
{5.} Do you believe fornication is the one and only exception for ending a scriptural marriage? {Perry's ans.: Yes.}  ME:
LOLOLOL - How very sad and telling. 
{6.} Do you believe the church of Christ is the only body of saved people? {Perry's ans.: Yes.}  ME: I believe that only
those who are "in Christ" are among the elect.  Don't you also believe that? 
{7.} Do you believe salvation is 100% of grace? {Perry's ans.: No.}  ME: I believe salvation is by grace through faith and not of works.  Do you also agree with that?  Smile.  Entrapment attempts noted and posted (emp. added, ps).  You didn't even offer questions on faith,
repentance, confession and baptism.  Should I conclude from that that you are a false teacher?  I teach alien sinners all of that and
more. 

      I responded to him in part concerning my answers to the same questions “I suppose my answers "entrap" me! There is a reason you would not answer so plainly!”  I further stated “There is not one thing wrong with good honest questions and honest seekers of truth
have no problem with such questions. Only those seeking to promote error do.” 

      The false teachers are certainly “wise in [their] own conceits” (Rom. 12:16).  This false teacher’s answers or evasions thereof (above) are very revealing (where he stands is obvious by his answers), but I must admit that he did better than the recent exchanges with other false teachers on marriage, divorce and remarriage.  Many false teachers are very bold when they see an area in which they can be bold. 
It reminds me of Hananiah of old: “Then Hananiah the [false] prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it.”  Pretty bold move wouldn’t you say?  And such things are quite impressive to those to whom Paul refers in 2 Timothy 3:6, etc.  The result of Hananiah’s lies: “thou makest this people to trust in a lie” (v.15) and Hanaiah would die because of it (v.16).  What about the people?  “Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron” (v.13).  The end result of following false teachers and believing lies is never good (2 Pet. 2:17-22). 

      What should our attitude be of false teachers and what shall we do with them?  The knowledge that family members, friends and many others will be lost because of false teachers should go a long way in answering these questions, but God has spoken: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8 cp. 9).  God counts such a one accursed!  Should not we have the same mind as our Father?  We are to mark and withdraw from such people by God’s orders (Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:6)! 

      It is simply amazing that with such godly instructions that some of our watchers of our souls invite the wolves in among the flock of God!  Yet such is done time and time again.  Whether it is for a one time speaking engagement, Gospel Meeting or permanent position, it must never be done (ibid, cp. Gal. 2:4,5).  Elders of the church have a very awesome responsibility to the church and will answer to God (Heb. 13:17).  The above false teacher has been with a congregation for twenty some years.  By a few exchanges with one of the elders there it is very clear that the “leaven” has been working greatly!  The elder justifies the book by saying the “book he has written which is strictly his opinion. Did he force it in any way on you, or has he attempted in any way to bind its contents on you?”  So, if one preaches his opinion (error) and does not bind it or force it he is alright.  It is obvious he has preached his errors there and at least the elders have swallowed a lot of it.  I am very concerned!

      Let us learn from a rebuke from God to the watchers of old: “All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. 10His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 11Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter” (Isa. 56:9-11).  “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed” (Isa. 9:15,16 cp. Matt. 15:14).

      We should appreciate and honor good godly elders of the church knowing that they help watch for our souls (Heb. 13:17), but we must never follow anyone blindly (again Matt. 15:14).  We must be aware that as not all preachers are true to the Word, so it is with some elders of the church.  We must be as the Bereans of old and search the Scriptures to be certain that the teachings and activities are in harmony with God’s Word (Acts 17:11); “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:17). 

       False teachers do not state their positions clearly,  at least not in the beginning.  They work very subtly (Acts 13:10) and prey on the weak and the susceptible (2 Tim. 3:6; those in adulterous marriages seeking justification and churches more interested in numbers than
truth, etc.).  Bill Clayton wrote: “It would appear one of liberalism’s major identifying features is the liberalists reluctance to clearly state either verbally or in writing—particularly so in writing—their position,….” [The Current Digression II; Second Annual Shenandoah Lectures, 1987, page 287]  Through the years I have found most that I have dealt with will not write down their position: it seems to me that they know it is false.  Note again the false teacher’s answers to my questions (above).  Why would he not state his position clearly? 

       Many times the false teacher will try to shift the issue.  They falsely accuse you of saying and believing things which you do
not.  As an example, those who do not believe in baptism for the remission of sins have falsely charged that we believe baptism is the Savior or the power of salvation is in the water.  It matters not how many times you deny these things and try to correct it, they continue with the false charges.  And like some who believe in the very literal, personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit have accused, “You do not
believe in the indwelling.”  This is not true at all, but it is futile to deny the false charges.  It is as Jesus said: “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word” (John 8:43).  Why do the false teachers do such as this?  I think it is clear: They
cannot or will not deal with the real issue

        It is very good for congregations to have prospective preachers to fill out a questionnaire before hiring him.  It would be better to do so before even “trying him out.”  But even that is not good enough because most, if not all, false teachers do lie!  A recent incident illustrates this very well: A brother told me of contacting a prospective preacher by phone and questioning him about his stand on an issue.  The preacher assured him that he did not approve and did not go along with those activities.  It so happened that the enquiring brother knew another member of the church in the preacher’s area and asked him to pay a visit to the congregation where the preacher worked at that time.  Upon doing so he discovered that the preacher indeed was involved in those unscriptural activities!  The preacher just flat out lied to this brother: just like his “father” (John 8:44) before him was a liar.  No doubt, had he not been discovered and if he had been hired by the congregation, the false teacher would have very subtly tried to bring in his unscriptural activities.  Upon giving the name of this preacher it rang a bell with me.  Less than a year before, I had corresponded with this same preacher and had experienced his same dishonesty in our correspondence; many of the same things I write about in this article.  Now to be sure, he teaches a lot of truth, but it only takes a little poison to kill (cp. Gen. 3:1-7, etc.).  Oh for an honest false teacher for then they should not be a false teacher, but come out of their errors when they are faced with the truth.

      Brethren, let us give very serious heed to the many warnings which our loving heavenly Father gave concerning the false teachers and the dangers of error lest we ourselves be carried away by their “good words and fair speeches” (Rom 16:18).  And let us not be timid about sounding forth the warnings of false teachers and error in love for truth and souls (Acts 20:28-31).  God has much more to say
about false teachers.  ♥