from david horn's website and a must read:
How to avoid the snare of false teachings?Posted: October 12, 2010 by davidjosephhorn
in Christian living, Church, dangerous preachers/teachers, discernment & warnings, encouragement and advice
The answer is really simple. In fact, it’s so simple that anyone can do it. It does require some time and effort on your part. Sometimes it might require a great deal of reading and researching along side some critical thinking. How can we avoid the snare of false teachings? The answer: study and research everything we are being taught by comparing it to the Word of God.
I truly believe that most false teachings are the result of lazy Christians who only want to be spoon-fed from the pulpit/stage. Some Christians will take the time to read various Christian books to seek the answers to their questions instead of going directly to God’s Word.
Failure to study the Word and going to sources other than the Bible are two primary ways false teachings infiltrate even the most doctrinally sound churches. In order to avoid our churches being hi-jacked by false teachers, we must always go to God’s infallible Word in order to determine if what we are being taught is correct.
Now some will say that I’m advocating creating “heresy” hunting zealots who will only tear the church apart. In fact, I’m advocating just the opposite. I believe that we, the people in the church, should hold the church leadership to the authority of the Scriptures.
When we detect an error, we should follow the Bible’s outline and meet with the pastor/teacher in question.
When we meet with the person in question, we should take the Word of God as our sole authority and explain why we disagree with teaching “X” because it does not line up with teaching “Y” in the Bible.
Defending ourselves from false teachings requires some work on our part. We should not be consumed to the point that we are like the Pharisee and legalist, but we should be mindful of what we are being taught. By doing our homework, we can avoid many of the snares that entangle the church with false teachings/doctrines. It’s easy to get caught up in programs that are marketed as helping Christians grow.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why authors like Beth Moore are promoted as “good” teachers. Just because something sounds good and may contain some very solid advice on social issues (as in the case of Beth Moore’s teachings) does not mean that it’s a reliable source for Biblical teaching.
To sum this up I believe that we should do the following:
•Always study what we are being taught in church to make sure that it lines up with the Bible.
•Don’t be too prideful to admit that we are wrong sometimes when we think we are right.
•Always read the Bible in context. Don’t start and stop by chapter/verse, because sometimes the subject of what we are reading does not follow this pattern.
•Do not be carried away by Christian authors who write books on Christian self-help topics, living, etc. just because they do make some good points. If they are teaching false doctrines and/or ecumenical humanism, avoid them; and do not promote their works.
•Study and read the Bible daily.
A false teacher has to work hard to introduce his/her heresies into the body of Christ. False teachers like Rick Warren spend a great deal of time writing books, speaking, using Twitter and every other resource available to promote their version of Christianity. When we understand the effort that false teachers put forth to spread their poison, we must put forth a greater effort by always directing our people to the Bible as our sole foundation. It’s a battle and one that cannot be taken lightly.
2 Peter 2:1-20 (New International Version)
1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.