“They’re a sorry bunch–pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers–posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end”
(2 Corinthians 11:13-15 MSG).
False teachers are those who presume to teach in their own authority (as did the scribes), often in the Name of the Lord, when He has not sent them. Though they have knowledge of Biblical truths, they are, at best, in delusion, presuming to turn others to the Kingdom of God when, in fact, they are building the corrupt kingdoms of men. At worst, they are deliberate charlatans, seeking to deceive, steal, kill, and destroy, using Biblical truths to do so.
This list is not meant to be an exhaustive one. What is important is that one learns to discern truth from error.
“Then you shall again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God, and him who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18 MKJV).
No person rightfully takes upon himself the role of a teacher or any other ministry of God without God’s power and authority. In a world full of teachers, preachers, elders, deacons, speakers, writers, evangelists, pastors, prophets, and apostles, rare are the true ministers representing the Lord Jesus Christ. Many are the false, and very few the true, even as in Noah’s day.
Though false teachers lead astray, the Biblical truths they teach can lead to Christ those whom God has called and is choosing. The truth quickens those being given the gift of faith. However, faith manifest in the one who receives the truth does not certify as God’s representative the one who speaks some truth. The child of faith who walks in obedience to Christ will soon enough part ways with those who mix truth with error.
This is God’s commandment:
“Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 MKJV).
And because false teachers haven’t submitted themselves to Christ’s righteousness, they can’t lead others there. A false teacher is one who may speak truth, yet points his hearers in another direction.
An example of this would be that of a “Tijuana taxi,” or any predator of tourists who says, “Yes, I know exactly where such-and-such a place is, and I’ll take you there. On the way, I’ll tell you all you want to know about it. Please, get in.”
Guess what? He gets you there after a half-hour drive, but didn’t tell you it was only a block away from where you began with him. Meanwhile he charges you for the time or mileage.
And though he filled you in on what the place is all about, what he doesn’t, can’t, and won’t tell you is that you need a membership to enter. He drops you off at the gate, and you find out your trip was for naught.
Isn’t that just like the churches and spiritual leaders one encounters in a multiplicity of places and forms? They have truth, and they may even get you into the wedding feast, but never with a wedding garment.
Therefore, while the truth spoken is to be believed (no matter who speaks it or what affiliation the speaker may have), false teachers are not to be followed. Teachers sent of God are to be followed, as with the example given by the apostle Paul, who said by the Spirit, “Become followers of me, even as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). A false teacher leads into the emptiness of self-righteousness and death, but a true teacher leads to the fullness of Christ and life.