How to spot a false teacher

Posted: March 11, 2015 in thought to ponder
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It is easy to follow people nowadays. One click of a button in Facebook, or Twitter, we instantly follow the posts or tweets of people. The Apostle Paul said “Follow my example as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) In another translation, he says “imitate me as I imitate Christ”. So that explains why we follow certain individuals, in hope that we imitate them as they imitate Christ through their posts, their lives, their tweets. The question then, is this…

How do we know we’re following the right one? Here are some verses to help us spot a false teacher.

#1 A true teacher does not teach false doctrine.

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut. 13:1-3)

A true teacher (or prophet) does not lead you in serving other gods. Even if they performed miracles before our eyes, even if they say something and it came to pass, even if they speak so well, a true teacher leads people to God, not to himself, or his causes. So if someone who claims to be a Christian, and has a good testimony about what God is doing, yet leads people away from God (or draws people to himself), then that person isn’t a true teacher (or prophet).

#2 A true teacher speaks the truth.

And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deut. 18:21-22)

When someone says, “God spoke to me” or tells something about what he claims that God is instructing, and it didn’t come to pass, that person is a liar. We should be careful in making predictions (hey…who do you think will win in Pacquiao – Mayweather matchup?) We have to be careful to speak only the truth. What does Scriptures say? God’s word is our authority for life and for doctrine. We can always gauge a teacher by what he says.

#3 A true teacher must know Jesus Christ.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, (1 John 4:1-2)

For someone to claim that he heard from God, or has a message from above, the next question is…is he a believer of Jesus Christ? We can test the person by his relationship with Jesus. Is his Jesus the same as the Jesus we worship? A teacher may claim to teach the same things, we can test the spirits.

Hopefully, this helps us weed out who we are following. May this be of value to you as it was to me. Continue to meditate on God’s word. For us to know what is false, we need to study what is true.

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