|World Trade Center on 9/11|
The ISIS militants are a dangerous group, beheading with impunity and terrorizing populations all throughout the Middle East.
Sociopaths/serial killers are among the most dangerous people on the planet, also. We shudder at the very thought that we might be captured and tortured all for the corrupt whims of a conscience-less, evil mastermind.
Throughout history, the names of Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, bin Laden, Jack the Ripper, Al Capone, Charles Manson remain shudder-worthy because their crimes of evil were so shocking.
But none of those are the most dangerous people on the planet. It seems crazy to even think that there is a more dangerous class of person more devastating than a war-starter, dictator Hitler. That there is a more sinister evil among a community than serial killer Ted Bundy. There truly is is a more dangerous person in the world.
Who could it be? Who is worse than the man known for burning millions of people alive in a gas oven? Worse than the serial killer's evil at the end of a sharp knife? Worse than a terrorist whose very name indicates their putrid heart filled with terror and crime? Who??
Ellen G. White.
Aimee Semple McPherson.
False teachers within Christianity. No dictator, serial killer or terrorist can hold a candle to the evil that false teachers do. Why?
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28).
All a dictator can do is oppress you or kill your body. Jesus is life giver and eternal Judge, and it is He who determines where your immortal soul and resurrected body will go when your short life on earth is over. Fear THAT. What false teachers do is nudge you, compel you, jostle you down the eternally broad road to hell. They appear as pleasant sheep but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. They're soul killers, and that is eternally worse than anything any dictator or terrorist can do.
Some of the harshest language in the New Testament is reserved for false teachers. The damage they do to your soul is likened to gangrene, a stealthy and putrid killer of the body. Except, what false teachers bring is death to the soul. False teachers are a serious problem.
Was Jesus polite to false teachers? No. See video- 2 min.
How can we spot false teachers? The bible mentions them frequently (as false prophets, wolves, sons of hell, spies, hypocrites etc) The bible condemns them frequently. So let's take a look.
First as mentioned above, they come in disguise. They look like sheep but they are actually preying on you as a vicious wolf. (Mt 7:15). They won't look like a false teacher and they won't sound like a false teacher. Galatians 2:4 reminds us that false teachers come in as spies, stealthily. (2 Peter 2:1).
False teachers substitute the call of God with their own made-up call, whether it is to self- esteem, or pride, or earthly gain, false teachers always shift your gaze from Christ as the central point of life. They can speak well, mesmerizingly sometimes. If we take the most extreme example of a false prophet, the antichrist, he appears at first to give everything to everyone what they want, and insinuates himself into a solid position of influence by smooth speech and flattery. (Daniel 11:32). False teachers are good at what they do.
Another way false teachers shift your gaze from the Holy One is to substitute empty rituals for the simplicity of the grace of Jesus. Walk a labyrinth. Meditate contemplatively. Pray in a circle. Fast in this way and this often. Light a candle, confess to a priest, speak the rosary. John MacArthur said in his sermon "How to Evangelize Religious People", that the more a religion has symbols, (and by extension, rituals) the more false it is.
And this is how it is, my friend, with false religion. They love the symbols. When we were in Moscow a few months ago, slipped into a Greek Orthodox church--literally repulsed by extravagant symbolism. You stand in one spot and this parade goes on of people with all these elaborate dressings and head dresses and waving censors, and icons all over everywhere. It literally blasts your senses; it's so garish, bizarre, and people walking in endless circles and mumbling incomprehensible drivel and waving things in the air--and these poor, sad souls trying somehow to connect with the external. But religion that has nothing inside proliferates the symbolic. Look at the Roman Catholic Church, just full of it...full of it. False religion loves symbols.
False teachers bring false rituals along with the eventual religious symbolism as their doctrines mature.
The nursery for false religion is false teachers infiltrating the real religion, Christianity. If it comes to your church, stop it before it gets to that point.
Third, their teachings spread like gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:17). Gangrene develops when the blood supply to an affected part is cut off. Gangrene is caused by interruption of blood supply to an area which causes tissue death. Left unchecked, gangrene kills all the living tissue it touches. In Galatians 5:9 Paul wrote of false teachers again, saying, "a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." In both the yeast and the gangrene examples we understand that the negative influence of false teachers and their doctrines will leave no part of the body untouched if not dealt with swiftly.
Next, think about this- if faith brings joy, then its opposite, doctrines of demons, bring confusion, fear, discouragement. (Galatians 1:7, Acts 15:24). Pastor Justin Peters often shares during his discernment conferences how discouraging it was to follow the false faith healers. He did so as a youth, hoping for a healing from his Cerebral Palsy. Others who follow Joyce Meyer and her ilk eventually become despondent when their abundant life doesn't show up, or those who follow Joel Osteen find that no matter how hard they try, nothing they've declared has come true and every day is not a Friday. Then they either redouble their efforts at trying pointlessly to find peace through false teachings or they become angry and leave the faith, blaspheming it. (2 Peter 2:2).
In Matthew 23:15 Jesus remarked to the false teachers of the law that they made sons of hell twice as bad as they were. The next generation of disciples learning at the feet of the false teachers are always worse than the generation before. (also, Revelation 2:21-23).
One extremely telling indicator of a false teacher is that they diminish the offense of the cross. Their message will increasingly speak of anything else except that. Oh, they'll mention Jesus, they'll fling around some bible verses (out of context and incorrectly) but they cannot bear to dwell on the cross. (Galatians 5:11, Galatians 3:1). The cross is an offense to a false teacher, because false teachers are not saved.
There are other ways to detect the false ones who creep in among us, but suffice to say, they are there. They are dangerous, extremely so. False Christian teachers are the most dangerous people on the planet.
Let's compare Hitler to Pope Francis. Or Muammar Gaddafi to Benny Hinn. It is an unutterable tragedy what Hitler did, its reverberations are still like an open wound on the world's conscience and heart. He killed 6 million Jews, and others too, including the mentally retarded, gypsies, and homosexuals. Yet Pope Francis is enslaving 1.2 Billion people. And that's just the Catholics right now, not even mentioning all the previous generations of people unfortunately deluded by empty ritual and false teaching. Billions upon billions have gone to hell under the false teaching of the Catholic church.
Or how about Benny Hinn and his charismatic gospel of healing and wealth. It is sweeping Africa and India right now, not to mention America. There are over 500 million people in the world at this moment who self-identify as Charismatic.
There was an independently produced documentary about middle school students in Tennessee who appealed to the world to send in 6 million paper clips to their classroom. They were doing a project on the Holocaust, and one student asked, 'How much is 6 million? I can't picture it.' So the paper clip project began. They eventually gathered over 6 million clips. The stark reality of seeing with their own eyes the representation of that many people lost to the gas chambers was shocking and brought the reality of all those lost souls to the fore.
But what if you gathered 500 million clips representing the Charismatics under the influence of that false 'Christian' doctrine? And then gathered 1.2 billion clips representing the Catholics? And 3 billion more, the estimates of how many lives and souls of people in the world right now are influenced by Joyce Meyer's doctrines of demons. Plus Joel Osteen, whose message reaches 28 million people a month. This number doesn't even count his books, podcasts, and conferences. Add to that total the 30 million copies of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life, a book that was named several years ago as one of the top 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Add some more, the 215 million people in over 185 countries who have heard Billy Graham's messages, and those who 'came forward' only to be assigned to a Catholic counselor, or a rabbi.
All the teachers I listed above claim themselves to be part of Christianity. You see the magnitude of the problem.
False teachers are the most dangerous people on the planet. The spirit of antichrist is alive and well and working its way as leaven through the bread. But there is manna from heaven, bread from heaven that is gloriously more potent than any piddling false teacher. Jesus Christ and His truth.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26).
The safeguard against false teachers is the Word. All truth is there, all joy, all faith, all hope and all peace. Read His word and pray to have it applied to your mind and heart. The Spirit will teach you and in so doing you will be able to withstand the detect the false doctrines when they appear. Wear your spiritual armor.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:14-18).
Wearing your armor even the most dangerous person on the planet cannot harm you. There is One who is more dangerous than any and He is your defender and your avenger:
and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:13-16).
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)
Little Foxes Eventually Grow Up
The Pathology of False Teachers