Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. - Genesis 3:1-5
From the very day when Even first encountered Satan his appeal has been the same. "Hath God said?" "Ye shall not surely die."
Ever since, Satan's ongoing attack has always been against the plain and simple statements of God's Word, the Bible. As he did with Eve, he continues to appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).
1. The simple doctrine of Biblical inspiration is rejected or altered. 2 Tim. 3:16
2. Additional “inspired books” are placed alongside the Bible. Alternately, some, (like Adventists), claim that their writings represent “infallible interpretation” of the Bible. They are adding to God’s Word. Rev. 22:18, 19
3. False teachers often claim a special calling. Leaders often include claims of “apostolic commissioning” or similar direct commands from God to start new groups. Without exception, all such groups claim this authority in order to preach another gospel. Galatians 1:8-9.
4. False religionist groups commonly claim special knowledge. False teachers often claim they have the truth that has been suppressed by apostate Christianity. (It is important for false teachers to “set themselves apart” from other religions.) 1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Peter 1:20
5. False movements always embrace a false basis of salvation. Human works always supplement or replace the work of Christ among false teachers. Gal 1:6-9, Heb. 2:3,4
6. False teachers always revise the doctrine of redemption. The Blood atonement is either rejected, nullified, or applied to Adam’s sin only. Heb. 9:14
7. False religions deny or weaken the biblical doctrine of sin. Sin is denied, viewed as weakness, lack of education, etc. The doctrine of sin is always weakened by one means or another. Rom. 3:23, 6:23
8. Most false religions share a misunderstanding of retribution. False teachers generally reject hell, eternal punishment, and the conscious state of the dead. Luke. 16:23,24
9. False teachers commonly misunderstand the resurrection of Christ. It is either denied completely or physical resurrection is denied. John. 20:24-29
10. A majority of false groups reject the Triunity of God. This includes the doctrines of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Heb 1:8, Acts. 5:4, Mat. 28:19,20. Keep in mind that the non Trinitarian Jesus-Only groups thrive right inside Christian circles!
11. Allegorical Bible interpretation will most always be used to deny literal truth. Sometimes false teachers do this while claiming they are literal interpreters of the Bible. For example, many groups (such as LDS) say they are spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ took God’s Word literally and affirmed that not a single word would pass away. Mat. 5:18, John 10:35, Luke. 21:32
12. All false teachers are hopelessly inconsistent. False systems must contain a mixture of doctrines that contradict each other. Isa. 8:20. Once truth is abandoned in any area there must be fragmentation of one’s belief system. It is part of the process of truth decay.
13. False groups never offer assurance of one’s salvation. False systems manipulate persons by keeping them in fear of eternal loss. John. 3:36, 1 John 5:11-13.
14. Messianic leadership is popular among false religionists. Many false teachers have their own messiahs or “divinely chosen” leaders. Luke. 21:8 Virtually all false groups began with charismatic, driven leaders. They are man centered rather than Bible centered. Remove the leader (or the dead leader’s teachings) and the group disappears.
15. Organizational loyalty is commonly demanded. Many falsely claim to be Christ’s church on earth. Enslavement to a person or organization is often demanded. Col. 2:20-23
16. Love and acceptance are given conditionally. Acceptance is based upon performance and quickly withdrawn upon departure from group. 1 John 2:19
17. Financial participation is usually required. It is often required as part of “salvation process” or placed as a necessary means on the path to enlightenment. Rom. 4:6-8
18. Groups are often elevated through denouncing others. They often see all others as apostate. False teachers commonly blacklist those who don’t agree, and forbid group contact with any challengers. Tit 1:12
19. False religions commonly redefine generally accepted Christian terms. False leaders do this in order to hide the true nature of their teaching. This has been especially true since Vatican II. 1 Tim 6:3, Rom. 16:17-18, 2 Tim. 2:14
20. Most false systems have links to ancient heresies. Heresies such as Gnosticism and Jewish legalism are commonly observed in cults, and it is not uncommon to encounter racism in general and antisemitism in particular (Remember, a large percentage assume they are the inheritors of Israel’s promises in one way or another.) 1 Tim. 6:20, 2 Tim. 3:13
Are we prepared to protect your family, loved ones and brothers and sisters in Christ from false teachers?