How should we treat false teachers? S. Lewis Johnson answers

Short answer:

Love them by --

--Rebuking them sharply
--Muzzling them
--Saying "To hell with you and your money"

This is biblical. Listen to this 13 minute exposition by the wonderful S. Lewis Johnson.


  1. Thank you for the good listen. I was struck by the part about sound doctrine defined as "healthy" doctrine so we are "sick" without it.

  2. It makes you wonder how many born again believers actually compromise with their unbelieving spouse and attend a church teaching something less than Biblical doctrine. The believing spouse is deceived into thinking that false doctrine is better than no doctrine. They believe that attending some church is better than not going to church at all. Their take is “at least they (the unbelieving spouse) is going to church somewhere”.

    And I'm not speaking of Churches who have different theological positions on minor issues. Majoring on the minors is not the issue here. It is, however, a different matter when the doctrine compromises or denies the Biblically based teachings connected to and concerning our salvation.

    It is one thing to be "wrong" but quite another to consider that as a reasonable "compromise". A non-believing spouse attending a church because "the spouse will at least go there" is unbelievably naïve and in fact heretical. Indeed it could very well be an indication that "the believing spouse" is not a true born again believer or is so immature as a Christian they truly don't understand the consequences for either their spouse, their children or themselves.

    Exposing an unbeliever to more "unbelief" is not the same as multiplying an odd and an even number resulting in a positive number as the outcome. It simply does not work that way when we are dealing with absolute truth vs the almost truth. God's word does not promote or even come close to compromising the truth yet so many emergent and liberal churches teach the religion of "relativism" we hardly even recognize the difference anymore.

    Truth has become no more than "opinion". I have my truth, you have your truth and they have their truth. The belief that God, and His sovereignty, are the source of absolute truth has been totally swallowed up in the relativistic view that is often called political correctness and ultimately expresses itself in pragmatism.

    But since those unbiblical concepts are so much in line with what we think as a result of our fallen condition and what is accepted in our society as "fair" and reasonable, we either totally deny the truth of Scripture or modify what it says to suit what WE want to believe and what is acceptable in OUR eyes.

    And from this come many of our beliefs that the "almost rights" are close enough and are acceptable by God! Obedience becomes subjective and compromise becomes the definition of love and acceptance. An attitude straight from Hell but is one designed to make us comfortable instead of convicted!

  3. So the question of, “How should we treat false teachers?” becomes more than just an academic exercise because the influence they have is so broad. Yet there is no real difference in the consequences for those who either refuse to believe their negative influence or to those who think it is of no significance!

    I think that for born again believers to attend a church teaching major false doctrine which is in conflict with Scripture is not only against God’s admonition to “not be unequally yoked with unbelievers”, it is willful disobedience. And if there is one word that says more about the true saving relationship we have with Christ Jesus, it is the word “obedience”. Obedience to our Lord and Savior is the truest manifestation of a saving faith. And I cannot even begin to understand why a born again believer would ever subject themselves OR much less their unbelieving spouse to the heresy being taught by false teachers.

    I am not unaware that finding a Bible teaching Church has become quite difficult. And I know there are born again believers attending those unbiblical churches in hopes of changing them from within. But I think that is not something that most believers should attempt. Rather I see it as a mission field that only very few Christians are able to confront.

    And I’m also aware that sometimes it is now IMPOSSIBLE to find a church near where you live that is a truly Bible teaching Church with a born again pastor. And if that’s the case then rather than “compromising” you should consider “planting” a Church with a pastor who is faithful to Scripture. God will honor that but will never honor any “compromise” for any reason whatsoever unless it is part of a missionary effort. And even then, that should only be attempted by a very mature Christian with the support of other born again believers. And it should never include exposing an unbelieving spouse or children who are under your guidance!

    1. How much false is false and deserving of admonishment and without real repentance abandonment of that organization.
      There is not one 501(c)3 organization that incorporated itself that has not put "something" other than the Holy One of Israel the Word, into a position of authority.
      Any act or intention that exalts itself against the revealed will of God is as clear a violation as was Eve eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge anyways.
      If that was enough to bring the whole world under the penalty of sin, why do we simply stand by as others take unauthorized liberty with the Word of God.

      We need to be seeing the clear teaching of Christ right here in Matthew 16

      22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

      23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

      That would to most seem very offensive these days wouldn't it?
      How about what is EXPRESSLY named as offense to the Lord?

      Jeremiah 10:10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

      2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

      3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

      4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

      5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

      I can think of no greater influence in the modern world ( guess what it is) and that has been allowed to infiltrate "christianity".

  4. “How should we treat false teachers...”

    “...many deceivers are entered into the world.....Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (II John 7-11 KJV).

    Here we see John warning that many deceivers and false teachers were perverting God's Word and attempting to persuade the Christians to accept their views.

    John goes on to say, those who reject the original revelation of Christ and the apostles do not have God. Although they may claim to know God (I John 2:4), they are deceived if they do not abide in the teaching of Christ; those who forsake Christ's doctrine forsake Christ. All theology that does not hold to the truth and righteousness revealed in the N.T. is not Christian theology and must be rejected.

    The believer's love for and loyalty to Christ and the Word of God must lead him to reject and count as an enemy of the gospel of Christ any professed believer who is not fully committed to the doctrine of Christ and the apostles. All who distort and oppose the N.T. Faith must not be received into the fellowship of believers. God warns the true believer to watch lest he himself accept false teaching (v. 8). He must be aware that “many deceivers are entered into the world” (v. 7).

    The believer must consider all supposed Christian teachers who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ as teachers who do not have God (v. 9) and who are accursed of God (Gal. 1:9).

    God commands the believer not to give encouragement or financial support to, or to remain under, the ministry of such teachers. To do so is to join them in opposing God and His Word and to come under the same condemnation as the compromising teachers (v. 11).

    These authoritative words of John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are an offense to many in the church today. They feel John's admonition lacks a loving attitude or a spirit of unity. However, John's instruction will seem wrong only to those who have little concern for the glory of Christ, the authority of God's Word, and people whose eternal souls are destroyed by casting aside God's truth.



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