Theology Gals | Episode 16 | False Teachers & Christian Discernment

On this episode of Theology Gals Coleen and Ashley discuss what Scripture says about how we should respond to false teachers, those teaching things contrary to foundational doctrines of the Christian faith.

New Intro includes:  Michael Horton Why is is important to know what you believe?, Matt Chandler The Bible is not about us, Daniel Hyde Once Lost, Now Found: How Reformed Theology Assures Us, Rod Rosenbladt The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church,  Michael Horton What is the Gospel? James Montgomery Boice A Call From Confessing Evangelicals For A Modern Reformation and  The Evangelical Church Today….Still

Episode Resources:

Distinguishing gossip and slander from discernment

Gossip

Bible Dictionary

Gossip- The Hebrew word translated “gossip” in the Old Testament is defined as “one who reveals secrets, one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.” A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it.

Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in two ways. What is being shared and why it’s being shared.

Webster’s dictionary

gossip- casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

Slander

Bible dictionary -properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship in secular Greek means “backbiter ,” i.e. an accuser, calumniator (slanderer). 1228 (diábolos) is literally someone who “casts through,” i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy)

Webster’s dictionary – the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

Verses on Gossip and Slander

Proverbs 20:12&13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babble. Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.

Proverbs 10:18 He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool Proverbs 16:28
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends

Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered

Discussing the teachings of false teachers is not the same thing as gossip or slander.

False Teachers and False Doctrine

Does calling out false teachers and doctrine cause division?

Paul makes it clear that it’s the ones teaching false doctrine who cause division.

Romans 16:17&18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive

We’re called to be discerning

Discernment definition
1. the ability to judge well. 2. (in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.

Bible Dictionary- It may simply mean “observe” ,expressing close and distinct acquaintance with or a critical knowledge of things

Philippians 1:9&10 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, sand so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

The Bereans are praised for their discernment

Acts 17:11 received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Called to judge those within the church

1 Corinthians 5:12&13 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Warnings & exhortations about false teachers 

Romans 16:17–18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 

1 Timothy 1:3-7 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

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

Jeremiah 20:16 Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD.

2 Corinthians 1:41 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Exhortation from Paul in Philippians 3:17-19 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction,their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things

Examples in Scripture of calling out false teachers and doctrine

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

Here Paul is warning Timothy

1 Timothy 1:18-20  This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

2 Timothy 2:15-18 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,3 a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some

Galatians 2:11-14 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.1 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

We’re also called to have Wisdom & Grace

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person

Proverbs 15:1-2 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly

James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless

Titus 2:7-8 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you

Other things discussed on this episode:

Tone Deaf Ref  by Carl Trueman

Heresy

“Heresy is a false teaching about the essential doctrines of our faith – the ones we must adhere to, regarding who God is, who Jesus is, salvation by grace, and Jesus’ resurrection.”  from What is Heresy?  by Amy Spreeman

CARM (Christian Apologetics & Resource Ministry) says about heresy, “Heresy is a belief or idea that is in contradiction to orthodoxy. In the context of Christianity, heresy is that which deviates from standard biblical teaching.” from Heresy by Matt Slick

Discernment resources:

http://bereanresearch.org/

https://michellelesleybooks.com/

http://www.piratechristian.com/fightingforthefaith/

Episode Music from Castle Pines

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