“It’s fake.” Whether the forgery is artwork or false teaching, the loss is costly and real.
Have you heard an Antiques Roadshow appraiser deliver this devastating news to someone who believes he or she owns a veritable treasure? “It’s fake.” Discovering that a priceless possession is really a worthless counterfeit must be heartbreaking.
Appraisers aren’t experts on what’s bogus, but scholars of what’s genuine.
Spotting Counterfeit Christianity
Like appraisers, treasury investigators and bank employees learn to spot counterfeit bills by knowing the genuine article so well that they can easily spot a counterfeit.
Recently, my husband and I discovered a new series of lectures titled, The Triumph Of Christianity Over Rome. The professor was knowledgeable and engaging and we enjoyed the first sessions. He claimed personal experience with evangelical Christianity, yet clearly states that he approaches this course from a historical perspective, not as an exercise in right vs. wrong.
Half-way through the third lecture, my inner sonar pinged. Something didn’t feel right.
Listen When The Holy Spirit Checks Your Spirit
I did some quick research on the professor. Sadly, after earning two theological doctorates, the instructor abandoned his lifelong relationship with Jesus for the muddled spiritual position of “agnostic atheist.”
Agnostics neither believe nor disbelieve that God exists. Atheists firmly believe that He doesn’t. Why not a Christian Agnostic or Atheist Christian? That would make as much sense.
Could I learn from a course taught by a knowledgeable unbeliever?
Learning From Highly Qualified False Teachers
Maybe I could learn something, but how could I believe what even a highly-qualified unbeliever teaches without verifying everything by independent research? That’s inefficient at best and dangerous at worst. One wonders why so many folks pay more attention to what’s fake than what’s real.
Like Antiques Roadshow appraisers, I’d rather study the genuine article than an endless parade of counterfeits. The more I know God’s word, the easier it becomes to recognize a lie pretending to be the truth.
God’s Word on False Teaching
Much of the New Testament warns about false teaching in the future, but also about deception already present in the first century.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”—Matthew 7:15
Peddling forged art, fake currency, or false doctrine is wolfish. No one is immune from Satan’s slithery attempts to deceive. At time goes by, the attacks against believers get more nuanced and dangerous.
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”—Mathew 24:2
Voices Warning Against False Teachers
- Jesus warns us.
- Paul warns us.
- Peter warns us.
- John warns us.
- So does Jude.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” — 1 John 4:1
Fight Against False Prophets
What’s your plan to fight back?
The best defense is a solid offense. Know the voice and character of God so well that you can smell a counterfeit coming long before you see it. Satan imitates everything God does, trying to pass off valueless forgeries as pearls of great eternal price.
Spend more time in God’s word. There is no higher authority on who God is, what He promises and commands, and how to be in right relationship with Him than God himself.
The King is coming.
Be greatly encouraged through intimate, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.