Saturday, January 4, 2014

How do you confront a brother or sister who follows a false teacher?

This blog is about prophecy, discernment and encouragement. In the discernment department, I write a lot about false teachers and show from the bible how and why the particular ones mentioned are false. I do the same with false doctrines.

However it is harder to know how to approach a person in your church who is under the sway of some of these teachings. You know that so-and-so is false. They don't. There is no question that the issue shouldn't be raised, because after all, the gifts are to be used for the building up of the saints to the ultimate glory of His name. Jesus wants a pure church. The Spirit works hard to ensure it, so that we can point to Jesus in holiness. But HOW do you approach someone you see involved in a Beth Moore study, or going to a Bethel Redding or IHOP conference, or using a curriculum by Henry Blackaby?

It reminds us that faith cannot be removed or detached from the realm of real life.
~John MacArthur
It's one thing to know about false teachers in the academic sense, but quite another to put the information to edifying use inside a church teaching situation. Both theological knowledge and deeds are important in a Christian. I've had the opportunity to approach some various church leaders and some brethren in various churches regarding different false teachings or teachers. With that in mind here is what I did when approaching a person about a false teacher.

Please understand that this is not a template or a method to be mindlessly copied. I'm just a forgiven sinner, a woman in Georgia working out my salvation with fear and trembling. There may be other ways to bring up the subject in a church or with a person. There are undoubtedly other scriptures to rely on as the basis for the action. Please share your method and your thoughts on scriptures that apply to the issue.

Painting by echo feng, cc license
First of all, if you desire to approach someone about a false teacher or false doctrine in your church, it demonstrates the love you have of Jesus to care for His name so much that you want to protect your sisters from the dangers and poison that false teaching brings! "And many will follow their [false teachers] sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed," (2 Peter 2:2). False teachers bring these heresies in and it always leads to destruction of those who follow- if they don't repent. (Revelation 2:22-23). Therefore, remaining silent about the poison false teaching brings is actually hate. Helping brethren avoid the predators is helping them to abide in Him (1 John 2:27) and is love.

Though it is for the glory of the name of Jesus, it's hard to share even with a wise and trainable sister, one who wants to know and asked to know, about a favored false teacher, only to then see her saddened over the truth. Thankfully, these kind of hard feelings are fleeting and ultimately relationship building and not relationship-destroying.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people become very angry when told that a false teacher isn’t worth pursuing. These people are usually bound up in pride, and they cling to the teacher because they have invested their ego and pride in making the decision to follow them in the first place. It is called “Deception by Investment”, and these people remain angry, but at you, for bringing it to light. They would rather continue investing in the false teacher instead of looking it up like a Berean, so as not to puncture their pride. This kind of anger can be relationship destroying because you become the object of their ire rather than the false teacher who is blaspheming Jesus.

The first step is always prayer. The first pass in the process is always pray for your pastor, teachers, and
By Chris Yarzab, cc license
Sunday School Director (who makes the decisions about which books to buy) or brother or sister you've developed a burden for.

Second, because it is a leader who makes the decisions on what curriculum to bring forward, I usually make an appointment with the leader and sit down in private and discuss my concerns. Even if it is a church member and not a leader who you want to talk with, still, make an appointment, maybe for coffee. Ask to stay after Wednesday night prayer meeting for a few minutes. Go to brunch after church.

I’d let the leader know that in the upcoming meeting you’re going to share concerns about such and such a teacher, so they will know what the meeting will be about- and so they can pray more specifically too. I’ve done this with the Pastor, Sunday School Superintendent, Teacher, and Ladies Ministry Leader. I don’t want to sandbag them or embarrass them publicly so I always ask to meet.

Most importantly and scripturally, meeting in private is also an acknowledgement of their office as leader, Hebrews 13:17 says,

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Pray before the meeting. A lot.

Molly Sabourin
Original was in color

Third, when you meet: if they are a leader worth their salt, they will appreciate your humble approach and also appreciate the opportunity you’ve given them to personally research the issue you’re putting before them, and to pray. Even if you're speaking with a sister, and even if they are confused or angry with the subject of the talk, they will see the lengths you've gone to reach them in love. If you were in error and didn't know it, wouldn't you want someone to come alongside and put their arm around you and take time and speak to you in love? (Mark 12:31).

In my opinion another benefit of doing it this way is that if my interpretation of the verses and the scriptures leading me to a conclusion that a teacher is false is actually  incorrect, the leader can then have an opportunity to instruct me.

This woman’s short essay on how she chose to bring up a Beth Moore teaching to a sister who was about to enter a BM study was really good. I find it instructive and encourage you to read it, too. Loving sisters who love Beth Moore.

Fourth, in the meeting, (if you get a chance to meet in privately or one-on-one), I’d have put together some notes about why you feel so and so is an unprofitable teacher. I use notes when I speak to the leader or person because I’m very shy socially and I refer to notes because I get really tangled up and I forget the points I’d wanted to make. I give it to them when we’re done. This helps because it gives someone a chance to later read over what you’ve said.

I’d keep it short and choose the worst offenses from the teacher's cadre of false indicators. For example, though I've written about Beth Moore's falsity many times, I am especially aggravated at the vision she says she had where Jesus spoke to her like she was a prophet and told her the church was paralyzed by unbelief. To me, it is the clearest example of her falsity. The link for that essay explaining why it is a false vision, with scriptures, is here: "Examining Beth Moore's Statement 'My Bride is Paralyzed by Unbelief'

Here is a good web page from Rev Matt Slick (who runs CARM.org) outlining succinctly Beth Moore's many aberrations, you could pick and choose which ones the Spirit seems to be leading you to. The site has similar summaries for other false teachers, as well.

FMI: Is Beth Moore a false teacher?When you meet, the main idea is not to make an airtight legal case, but to share solid information particular to your heart and the church’s situation, and then to step back and let the Spirit apply these truths to their hearts.

I’d also include some verses which support your right and duty to point these things out, a few are above in the beginning of this post, a few are below. Just in case you get the old chestnut “Judge Not!” verse or “Touch not God’s anointed!”
  • Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
  • 2 Timothy 3:5 Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people
  • Romans 16:17 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.
5. When it comes time for the ladies study to begin, and the leader has dismissed your concerns or hasn't had time to work through it yet, or the Sunday School class is about to start, have your prayerful decision ready. I hope it is that you will choose not to attend. If you’re asked by the other ladies or men why you’re not attending, have a short statement ready in your mind to reply. Not as detailed as you give the leader, but enough to say in a sound bite which conclusively states your opinion.

Something like “I have researched Beth Moore’s doctrine and her teaching methods and have come to the conclusion that since she confesses hearing from Jesus and having visions, she twists scripture from its historical context and allegories it too often, as she did in her Strongholds book with misapplying Galatians 5:1, so it seems she is a false teacher and I decided not to partake of the study. I’d be more than happy to talk about this later with anyone who has concerns with my (and my husband’s?) decision.”

Salem (MA) Public Library, cc photo
Or you might say, "Joel Osteen is a word-faith preacher who refuses to preach the whole counsel of God and since Ephesians 4:14 says to preach the whole counsel of God, Osteen demonstrates a lack of discernment and a rebellion against the Spirit inspired word, so I humbly decline to attend the study." And then your absence from it will be the continuing statement.

Use scripture in all cases, with the leader and with the brethren and in all discussions. It is the power of God to apply truth to hearts. Always use scripture. I can't say it enough, it is of extreme importance. Use scripture. It is not our earnestness or our fervor or our zeal which will win them over. It is not a carefully constructed argument. It is not the power of our intellect which will pierce the spell they are under with a false teacher. It is the Word!

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).

The Spirit will resonate the verses you use in minds and hearts, and if I was a betting woman, at least one of them will seek you out later to say, “I had concerns too, but couldn’t put my finger on them. Can you tell me more?” And by golly you can hand them the same paper you gave the Leader you chose to speak with previously.

6. At all times keep praying. And keep loving the sisters and brothers who are under the teacher's spell, by all means. Some of them might be false converts but some of them will be truly brethren in the faith, standing on the same blood soaked ground you’re standing on.
'Under A Spell" rjg329, cc license

The spell of the false teacher is always powerful. Picture a doctrine-whisperer seducing the brethren.

I was reading up on Beth Moore the other night. I read one woman’s blog where she had written that she had attended a Living Proof conference and really wanted to talk with Moore, because two of her children had died and she knew Moore could share the grief of child-loss, since Moore had given her adopted son back to his mother after raising him for 7 years. This blogger said she approached a counselor at the back of the arena when the conference was over. The following is an excerpt from her narrative. While I understand the woman was in the throes of grief, it is still a startling example of how deeply people get wrapped up in false teachers:

As we were walking and I was crying, I realized that Beth Moore was standing right beside me with her back to me. I looked at the woman leading me out of the room and held up my hand as if to say, "Just one minute." With my other hand, I reached out and literally took a hold of Beth's arm as if it were my only chance to ever be that close to her and feel her love. I couldn't help but think of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe......not implying that Beth has this same power, but simply saying that I truly wanted a blessing from Beth and in touching her hoped that I would receive it.”

These women are truly ensnared! Those who follow false teachers are caught up on something satanic. We can't beat satan but the Spirit of God can. I say satanic because the false teacher always tries to shift your gaze from Jesus to themselves. So many of them have elevated the teacher to a status they certainly don't deserve but if they are so emotionally (or financially) invested, they will balk at the notion that they have misplaced their trust. Just be sensitive.

On the other hand sometimes the Spirit helps by moving a person out off range of the predator. Distance helps clear the vision and they see the false teacher in a new light.

This is the narrative of a pastor's wife who moved from Alabama to Wisconsin to plant a church with her husband. She used to love Beth Moore but found out after the move that her love affair was drying out. Her writing is clear and down to earth funny. "Secret Life of a Pastor’s wife: Breaking Up with Beth Moore"

Josh Mishell, cc license
Even though I am a native Southerner, born and bred in Alabama and having lived in the south all of my life, when I look through my Midwestern lenses, Beth Moore is not relevant. Her homey humor, "beloved," and "bless your heart" sayings don't translate. I would watch the faces of native Wisconsinites as they watched her DVD. They thought she was cheesy and as much of an over-the-top caricature as Jeff Foxworthy. "You girls, know what I'm sayin', right? We wouldn't be caught dead without our face on and our hair did." Hah! Most of the Wisconsin women I know can shovel snow, chop wood, and milk a cow without batting an eye. So many of my students grew up on dairy farms and were out milking cows by 5 am, shared a room with 4 other siblings, and didn't have a car until they graduated from college and bought their own. Concern about curling their hair in Africa would not rank in their list of concerns. And quite frankly, she's very patronizing to women and holds very, very strict gender stereotypes.”

Nick Sherman, cc license
If a teacher doesn't translate it is because they are embedded in the world and using the world's language- the wrong language. God's word always translates because He transcends distance and time.

The upshot is that even if initially your message about a false teacher is not received, the Spirit is always working. He perhaps had prepared the person you're going to speak with by sending other people prior to you. Or subsequent to your talk, His work might continue in physically moving the person from the location of false teacher's sphere...or cause financial hardship to prevent cable subscription so TBN won't come into their house anymore, or to simply illuminate the scriptures when that person is reading the bible, or continue the work in a zillion ways we can't anticipate. Though we get emotionally wrapped up in the conversation, it is not the only thing the Spirit is doing and His work extends far beyond our little participation in it.

"so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

That's why we use the Word and not our opinion in these talks. Our opinion is just a puff of wind, but His word is always working!

7. Not to say that it always works out. Sometimes the person you speak with doesn't see the light but your exhortation might entrench them further into their snare. This, too, is the work of God. His glory is always the highest outcome of everything we do. He is working for the glory of His name. This is where I found Ezekiel 2:3-7 especially helpful-

Flickr marsmet533, cc license
"And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house."

NOT that we're prophets but on His day the person will have no excuse. In Revelation 2:20-22 Jesus is describing a false prophetess and commanding John to tell the church at Thyatira to leave off her and repent, and He gave them time to repent. He is always reaching for His sheep. But not all repent and leave off the false teacher, but His glory is such that they will know they were told. Ultimately, it is not up to us and it is not about us, but about Him and His glory, now and on His Day.

In conclusion, those are my thoughts on how to approach a person involved with a false teacher.
  1. Pray, (Philippians 4:6)
  2. Research with biblical accuracy to the best of your ability, (2 Timothy 2:15)
  3. Respect your leaders, (1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 )
  4. Meet and talk humbly of the issue, (Galatians 6:1)
  5. Share notes, (1 John 2:1)
  6. Be open to correction, (Hebrews 12:11)
  7. Pray some more, (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18)
  8. Separate from the false teacher, doctrine, curriculum, or teaching (Romans 16:17)
  9. Remain reliant on the Spirit no matter the perceived, observed, temporal outcome, (John 14:26)
  10. Pray (Romans 8:26).
Often, I’ve discovered that there are more people in the church who feel the way we do but simply don’t
Yenkassa, cc license
speak up because they don’t know HOW to go about bringing difficult topics up. And for others, the notion of challenging a current popular teacher's doctrine on a biblical basis will be a new thing to them, because many churches or church members never do it at all. They are watching what we do, which is pursuing holiness and building each other up. (Ephesians 4:11-32; Philippians 2:1-18). There are always wider lessons in everything the Spirit in involved in. Just make sure the Spirit IS involved by being gentle, prayerful and biblically accurate.

This is what I came up with after prayer and research. What do you think? What has been your experience?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Is It Right for a Christian to Expose False Prophets and False Teaching ? (by Damon Whitsell)

Speaking out against false teachers

Why we must pursue holiness


23 comments:

  1. This is part 2 of my comment...I completely lost part 1 and will have to redo it.

    At this point I was a bit confounded at his defense for this teaching...that I still see as dangerous.
    I replied: "The only thing I see as being way off in the number two is that the price was paid in hell. Anytime you draw focus away from the cross you are in dangerous territory. Any idea, whether overtly stated or ever so subtle, that makes light of the cross is quite possibly dabbling into doctrines of demons. If we cannot hold teachers to the highest of standards in the doctrines they espouse, then we are in serious trouble. The sheep, like you and me, might mis-speak or misunderstand various things. However, for those teachers/preachers/pastors who speak to thousands, if not millions, to say unbiblical things, (especially when talking about the CORE doctrines of Christ; i.e. Death, burial, resurrection,) from a pulpit or in a mass published book...? Is that not important enough to quibble over? Discernment is one of the most prevalent deficiencies in the church today."

    I suppose that last sentence rubbed him the wrong way, though that was not in anyway my intention. He replied, "Fundementally, I don't disagree with you, but when one bandies about "discernment" it is a red flag to me as I was raised in a denomination that "discerned" many things incorrectly.

    My point is that for the unrighteous, God is an eternally burning fire, i.e., hellfire. If indeed God placed my sin on Jesus, then did he not bear the punishment for my sin, which is hell, or the wrath of God? I believe he did, and that it does not in any way take away from our focus on the cross, and indeed, intensifies that focus when you understand exactly what happened on the cross. Therefore, I still don't think what you're proclaiming as a heresy is indeed a heresy."

    And that was that. I am a sinner saved by grace, ever seeking for truth. God is great!
    April

    ReplyDelete
  2. Part 1 of the previous comment!

    My story is different from your blog, though it has to deal with confronting false teachings. I am sharing this with you as I would appreciate your opinion. I don't want to be guilty of "splitting hairs" or "quibbling" over the minors. I value your input and hope to have a teachable spirit.
    A few days ago I, ever so cordially (or so I thought) posted the following to my FB page:

    "Common teachings from the most popular TV preachers:
    1. Jesus stopped being the Son of God: “He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands, at that point he couldn’t do nothing for himself anymore. He had become sin, he was no longer the Son of God. He was sin.”
    2. Jesus paid for our sins in hell: “He became our sacrifice and died on the cross. He did not stay dead. He was in the grave three days. During that time he entered hell, where you and I deserve to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price there.”

    Truth with a little error?
    All truth?
    Should we even care?" ~ End of post

    At first I received several comments about how we should be discerning and such. Then I was asked for a scripture to validate my concerns over the number 2 item.
    I replied, "You ask a valid question. We always need to search the scriptures for truth. I have seen/read/heard several popular TV preachers proclaim these 2 errors. Jesus did not pay the price of our redemption in hell. He paid the price on the cross. It was finished on the cross when he said, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Also, consider the following verses:
    Col. 1:20, "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."
    Col. 2:14, "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." And my favorite,
    1 Pet. 2:24, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
    He was polite but not satisfied and responded by saying, "I don't think anything you're saying is wrong. However, if the definition of "hell" is a fire - which is the Roman Catholic definition, and IMO not necessarily what the scripture intended to convey - then you'd be correct. However, God is described in the OT as "an eternally burning fire," so to the wicked, maybe that would be hellfire.

    However, if hell is a separation from God, was Jesus separated from the Father because of our sin? It is stated that he was made sin for us (2 Cor 5:21), so that we might become the righteousness of God.

    In the OT, Moses put a serpent, the symbol of sin, on a pole, so that the perishing Israelites could look at it and be saved.

    I think you may be quibbling over points that are divisive on this topic, because if you want to attack real heresy, there is plenty of that without majoring in minors. The early church fathers had nothing to say on this point, and they were better theologians than any of us could ever hope to be (Theodosius I wrote 5 books combatting just one heresy in the early 2nd century, for instance). This was not one that any of them, that I am aware of, calls a heresy."

    [I'm not sure where the part 2 comment started, so some of this may be a repeat or there may be a gap...so sorry if that's the case.]



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi April,

      Oh, I hate it when I lose a long comment and have to retype! Thanks for re-doing it. And thanks for the question.

      The short answer is you're right and the other guy is wrong. You're not quibbling and discernment is not a black art.

      There are fundamentals of the faith that most true Christians agree on. You're right to say it is a marker of a false teacher to say that Jesus stopped being the Son of God. (Joyce Meyer, right? It's OK to name her). That is a heresy because it attacks the very character and nature of God.

      The man who was debating with you showed his colors when he entered a straw man into the argument: hell. Why use a Roman Catholic definition of hell? That was wrong. Hell is not *either* fire *or* separation, an either/or, but "both/and". And your post was not about hell it was about other things. He added a good ole diversionary tactic ("if you want to attack real heresy, there is plenty of that without majoring in minors") which attempts to redefine heresy as not-heresy. He threw in an ad hominem while he was at it (the previous statement is at root an ad hominem attack (you're not doing it right, this isn't "real" and therefore not worthy of discussion.)

      Quoting the early fathers is another tactic, rather than stick to a conversation using scripture.

      Many people don't like declarative statements today. We're supposed to be "tolerant." Saying "She is false" or "This is heresy" are taken to be arrogant and conceited statements. But just the opposite is true. We love Jesus so much that we use the very boundary lines HE drew in the bible to protect His name.

      Mostly what the commenter to your post was saying was simply a lot of restatement of "Hath God said?" Don't worry, you did just right. :)

      LOL, Jesus WAS separated from God - while on the cross. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:45-46, Psalm 22:1. Jesus went into hell to proclaim His victory.

      Anyway, here is a refutation of each point Meyer makes that you presented as heresy. They ARE heresy: take a look
      http://carm.org/joyce-meyer

      Here are two sites that outline the essential doctrines, which we can proclaim confidently- *and* point anyone to with confidence if they say what you're saying is a minor quibble. (LOL! minor quibble!! ha ha ha lolz!) Don't let him make you doubt the concreteness and the truthfulness of your assertion.

      Look, it's simple, anyone saying Jesus, the Son of God, was not the Son of God at any point is a liar and the truth is not in him. After all, Jesus upholds the entire universe with a word. (Col 1:16, and Heb 1:3), If He stopped having that infinite and divine ability by stopping being the Son of God, we all would not even be here to discuss it, we'd blink out of existence in a puff of smoke ;)

      Essential doctrines of Christianity-
      http://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity

      How can we determine what doctrines are essential and what are they?
      http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA146

      Delete
  3. Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have such peace now about how to lovingly handle this situation, regardless of the response. And I really appreciate the supporting verses.

    With much gratitude,

    Jennifer M.

    ReplyDelete
  4. let's see if you will post this. i like john too, but it is what it is.[edited to remove video link]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or it is what it isn’t, anonymous. The above comment refers to a clipped version of a 30-year-old lengthy Q&A John MacArthur did. He made a comment that someone taking the mark of the beast could still be saved.

      During and after the Strange Fire conference, which biblically rejected continuationism and rebuked leaders promoting it, a wall of satanic hostility swept over John MacArthur and Grace To You. As someone said on twitter, 'to find out of someone has an idol, speak ill of their idol and you'll see'. That is what happened to JM and the church at GTY. They spoke ill of an idol and we are seeing the vicious results. This video is one of those results.

      In the aftermath of the conference, a horde of angry people swept thru the interwebs to dig up any ammunition they could on John MacArthur. Silly, isn't it! There isn't much since he is a good preacher of the bible and has lived a life above reproach. So they dug this video up, and shortly after the conference ended bloggers began noticing talking points from many angry continuationists flogging the comment he made. Comments began appearing on blogs, Videos popped up. Talk shows lit up. And so on. As an aside, you'd be surprised at how *easy* it is to detect the liberal/non-Christian talking point on any given subject. They are all almost the same, use same phrases, appear one after another, and they suddenly appear en masse and blanket the various media they intend to disrupt.

      If you read his sermon on the verse he delivered a couple of years later you'll see he preached that if you take the mark, you'll receive the wrath.

      As a lol, for those who are passing this clip around and making comments and writing essays, have you GONE TO HIM and ASKED about this? And who are you to judge anyway! Judge Not!

      (That was sarcasm, leveling the same charges against the anti-MacArthur people that they level against discernment bloggers when exposing a false teacher.).

      I won't comment on the issue itself because Dr MacArthur has commented on it, so I don't need to. He asked Phil Johnson to write a response and here it is. Here is his stance.

      http://www.gty.org/Blog/B131030

      As for discernment purposes, we never take something someone said once, rip it from its context, and flog it as THE talking point. If we did that, there would never be one doctrinally correct pastor or theologian or teacher or Christian anywhere at any time. When we discern, we look at the works over time, the words over time, and the general trajectory of a person's life. Are they becoming more sanctified? Becoming increasingly holy? Showing more maturity in the understanding of the word? If someone claims to be a Christian we give the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes their words and works show us that the period of benefit of the doubt can be short, a la Benny Hinn or Todd Bentley. Sometimes giving benefit of the doubt is a longer period, a la Beth Moore and Billy Graham. However, a false teacher always shows their spots (Jer 13:23) at some point and a true Christian always shows their fruit in Christ. Jesus said you WILL know them by their fruit. (Mt 7:15). Not that you might know them, or it's hard to tell, but eventually the fruit ripens and you will know.

      The benefit of the doubt means we watch to see if he will self-correct, or if another brother will gently restore him from his errors, or if his trajectory is going to be downward.

      We never leap on something someone said once. It's like walking up to a bearded man and ripping his beard off to see if he is real. Pain all around, especially if his beard IS real! That's called Gotcha Christianity (I just made that up) and it is a kind of discernment that has hidden agendas and because of that is at root, dishonest.

      Hope this helps, anonymous.

      Delete
    2. One other thought anonymous,

      I'm comfortable with MacArthur because he is transparent. Lol, the only reason this clip is going around is that he has 45 years' worth of sermons online- talk about transparent! and accountable! they had a lot to pick from and this is all they could come up with?! Ha!. If anything, sifting thru 45 years worth of sermons and writings and showing one off the cuff remark once, that was corrected in a subsequent sermon, and clarified in a subsequent blog, makes me MORE sure than ever that there is nothing errant about MacArthur that is especially worrisome. As a pastor, he is above reproach, has a long history of solidity, and his works in Christ show good fruit.

      You can stand down and like him again. :)

      Delete
  5. I'm not a rap fan but this is worth a listen...or at least read the lyrics
    http://youtu.be/pl4WevY-GPU

    ReplyDelete
  6. The picture you posted (by Chris Yarzab) of the old man praying; I'm betting you didn't notice the book in front of him is not a bible, but has the masonic sign on it's cover!
    Yikes!
    Love, love, LOVE your site.
    God bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for the heads up, anonymous! LOL, maybe he is praying for release from the satanic practices of the Masons... :)

      Delete
  7. Hi Elizabeth, now that I've had the time to thoroughly read this post, it is excellent. Well said.

    In my experience, after prayerfully and gently (2 Tim 2:24-26) bringing the concern to the necessary parties, I've often noticed that I have to step away and say nothing further, but I do continue to pray. I've found that pushing the issue doesn't help. The Holy Spirit will work in the matter - but sometimes it takes time.

    As far as outcomes, I've seen them run the gamut. On one end, I've received heartfelt thanks and grateful appreciation, and on the other end, I've been completely thrown out of a believing friend's life. In the "middle area", I've also been brushed off, ignored, tut-tut'ed, and sneered at. All from believers. Most of the negative reactions, of course, are by those who are ensnared in "deception by investment" as Glenn Chatfield called it (per your link to his blog). And yes, in those cases, that kind of angry reaction definitely can be relationship breaking - it was in my case, a few times.

    -Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment Carolyn. Bless you. The Christian reaction to sharing the discernment results of a particular teacher is often heartbreaking. Therein lies the lesson the Spirit has for me, not only the reliance on Him to have courage to bring it up in the first place, but the courage to withstand the reaction...and the agape blessing from Him to keep loving them.

      The Christian church is so flawed hereon earth. Not just because it includes me, a forgiven sinner, and is made up solely of forgiven sinners at different maturity levels, but also because the bible says satan will sow tares. It makes me long even further for the day when we are ALL of one accord in Christ. In heaven. What a glorious anticipation- we will all love Him so much and purely and not thru a glass darkly!

      Delete
  8. I agree with your post, Elizabeth. I think that the more we know the Lord Jesus Christ, when people bring up false teachers or heresy, we just want to stand for Him and if we are, in a sense persecuted for it, then we should rejoice. And like the first century Christians did, we pray for those who don't like what we have to say.
    Which brings me to one of our shared favorite's on this subject, John MacArthur. I was just listening to 1Peter sermon on "The Fiery Trial". And I know you will love it.
    pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi pam,

      thanks for reading it. You're right, I DID love 'The Fiery Trial'. I listened to it upon your recommendation before and it is just so good. I got done with another one a few minutes go: The Believer's Armor part 1: Satan's Attack on the Spirit-Filled Church (Includes Rev. 2-3). http://www.gty.org/products/audio-series/64/The-Believers-Armor

      Delete
  9. So many John MacArthur sermons and so little time.:) I will check that out. Speaking of Believer's Armour, I"m rereading William Gurnall's book "The Christian in Complete Armour. I think we need all of this for these times, don't you?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks, Elizabeth, for linking to my article about "Deception by Investment."

    It's kind of funny, because when I read this article Sunday and posted it on Facebook, I didn't notice the link. Carolyn, above, commented on my article and said she followed the link you posted!

    Anyway, I want to give credit where credit is due. The term "Deception by Investment" was something I heard at one of the earlier biennial apologetics conferences I attended in St. Louis - and virtually every one since (I've attended since 2002). The teacher who used the term (and Beth Moore was one of his examples) was G. Richard Fisher, now a retired pastor, but who was a pastor in New Jersey for about 40 years if I recall correctly. He writes outstanding articles for the Personal Freedom Outreach quarterly Journal. (www.pfo.org) And he's written four about Beth Moore's books!

    Anyway, I believe Mr. Fisher coined the phrase, and it so perfectly describes the situation!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What fantastic information - such a well written article - much needed within the body today. Praying many will read and heed.

    In Him alone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Excellent article. I have never seen such a lack of discernment and a who cares attitude as today. Many are being duped/deceived and mislead. I see false teachers/cults infiltrating Evangelical organizations, camps, Christian music festivals, home school conventions, missionary organizations, Christian TV/radio, Christian publishers, and so on. Here's one sad example of a Christian school being duped by the CEO of Spirit And Truth Fellowship International, an off-shoot of The Way International, whose founder was no friend of the Christian faith, as is evident from his book "Jesus Christ Is Not God" Here the CEO of STFI
    confuses the administrator of this Christian school by re-wording hte Trinity as if he is in agreement with the school. The administrator accepted his statement, and his children were allowed to enroll in the school. This CEO does not believe in the Trinity, nor the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a very sad example of not knowing your Bible. http://stfonline.org/2013/06/26/a-biblical-unitarian-navigating-through-a-trinitarian-world Many of these off-shoots of The Way International listed here: http://cortright.org/behome.htm also have confused Evangelical Christians. I even see some listed at Evangelical sites. I would encourage believers to read the following excellent articles on "discernment"", "Can You Be Deceived?", and "Questions To Ask When Evaluating Para-Church Christian Ministries And Popular Bible Teachers" http://fredsbibletalk.com/fb018.html http://pfo.org/deceived.htm http://bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=18605 This last article is about a Christian who was swept into a cult. One of the founders of this cult, a Ronald L Dart has his program "Born To Win" airing on many Christian radio stations. Perhaps he is airing in your area.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sadly I can no longer walk with my husband who has been completely indoctrinated by the false teachings of Joseph Prince and many others. He led me away from our baptist church(which is holding on to the Truth) to a church full of false teaching and new age false beliefs, signs and wonders etc until I could sit no more under it and we unfortunately separated and have been for 18 months now. I have returned to my little Baptist church and we are guarding the Treasure(Truth)very vigilant in these times. Please could you keep us in your prayers.I have sent him correctional notes, many by John Mac, but he is refuting the Truth..preferring the erroneous, easy grace of JP...I pray for him every day. He couldn't sit under our pastor as he preaches the full counsel, sin, hell, etc, therefore I can't arrange for a meeting with our men of God...sigh..God bless your work.If my discernment had been sharper I would have been able to pick up on these concerns, the full extent, before I married him % years ago, but unfortunately, I was lacking. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry you're having this issue with your husband and your church.I agree, Joseph Prince preaches cheap and easy grace and the signs and wonders movement is a false one.

      However 1 Cor 7:20 says explicitly

      "To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband"

      1 Cor 7:13- If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

      It's definitely a trial when one spouse believes and the other doesn't, or one spouse is much further along in sanctification than the other. However the Bible says also that you have an opportunity to win your husband,

      1 Peter 3:1- Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,

      He might be sinning by accepting doctrines that are evil to Jesus, but you are sinning also by separating from your husband unbiblically. Sorry if this is harsh...I want the best for you and the best is what the scriptures say. Though I know they are hard to adhere to in many situations, like yours. I'm not unsympathetic. :) :(

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your biblical and loving reply, however there is more to my story than I submitted as I was only making reference to false teaching in the context in general.We have separated twice, the first time as a result of his inability to put boundaries in place with regards predatory women in the church. Yes, you read right! Within the church. And with my added insecurity... During this time of separation, within 8 weeks he committed fornication with a member of the " false teaching" church. I guessed that she found him attractive when we first arrived at the church but trusted them both to behave in a God honouring way.We got back together and he still pushed boundaries with women and I couldn't stay with this man any longer.Being with him was causing me to sin. To feel bitter and resentful.I thought that my walking right would encourage and lead him. It appears not to have been the case.I was sadly wrong.I have biblical grounds for divorce although I know God hates divorce and so do I. I will just have to remain separated.I didn't marry to divorce.His lack of sin-consciousness and discernment generated by these indoctrinating false teachings have had devastating consequences for our marriage.I still love him and pray for him and I hold to the scripture that tells us "anything is possible with God".In the meantime I am safe in the fold of my little baptist church and I thank God daily for that.Thank you for your understanding and counsel.

      Delete
    3. Now I understand, and agree. Oh my dear, I am so, so, so sorry that happened to you. :( :( God Bless.

      Delete
  14. God bless you too...all the more reason for us all to be ever watchful...contend for the Truth, guard the Truth, treasure the Truth...

    ReplyDelete

Reformation resources for you!

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is coming up on October 31st. This is the date when, 500 years ago, Roman Catholic monk and profess...