How To Identify TRUE vs FALSE Bible Teaching?
Some people might ask – How do we know what Bible Teaching is True?
Some have even said that surely only God can know this?? But how can this be, God has told us that He has given to us His Word that we might become “wise unto salvation” 2 Timothy 3:15 and that by “Knowing the Only TRUE God and his Son is the hope of Life Eternal” John 17:3
So it is UP to US to figure out what is the TRUE TEACHING of the BIBLE and it is not that hard to do, but it does require OUR / YOUR input to do this. Read this article below to help you get started on this ETERNAL LIFE rewarding journey.
How to Identify False Teaching or Apostasy?
What will we cover?
- What do we mean by the word “apostasy”?
- Why is this important?
- Some examples from the Bible showing God’s view of this subject.
- A warning to US!
- A Great Apostasy foretold by the Bible to Come!
- An important message to us from Christ
Okay so let’s get started…
- What do we mean by term “Apostasy”
- A Greek work ‘apostasia’ signifies: ‘a falling away’
- It only occurs twice in the NT
- The best known of these is found in 2Thessalonians 2:3
- “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day (Christ’s coming) shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasia) first…”
“…a falling away…” from what?
- From the Teaching of the Apostles concerning the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ
- Mark 16:15-16
“And he (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved…”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15
“Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word, or our epistle”
- Why was this so Important?
- Because prior to Paul preaching the Gospel message to them they were;
“…without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12)
- So important was this new knowledge called “truth” or “the faith” that they were told by Paul to believe no other;
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8)
“the faith” used 42 times in the New Testament
- I Corinthians 16:13
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
- 2 Corinthians 13:5
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.”
- Philippians 1:27
“…that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
- Colossians 2:7
“Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught…”
- 1 Timothy 4:1
“Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith…”
- Jude vs3
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
- SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE BIBLE SHOWING GOD’S VIEW OF THIS SUBJECT.
The Bible records some early examples of Apostasy and its consequences for our learning
- Cain and Abel
- The Nation of Israel
- Nadab and Abihu
Cain and Abel
“And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, should thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him…Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him’ (Genesis 4:3-8)
Cain and Abel
Both raised by the same parents
Both taught the Truth by the same parents
- Cain – “a tiller”
“fruit of the ground”
“The LORD had not respect’
“Cain was wrath”
Cain did it his own way
Cain was REJECTED
- Abel – “a shepherd”
“firstling of his flock”
The LORD had respect”
Abel did it God’s way
Abel was ACCEPTED
- Genesis 3:21 a slain lamb was established as the offering for sin
- Hebrews 9:22 “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission”
- Genesis 4:7 “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted (ie. if you don’t sin all is okay) and if thou doest not well (ie. if you sin) sin (Heb. sin offering ie. a lamb) lieth at the door…”
The Nation of Israel
A special people called out of the nations through Abraham and given a great Hope of everlasting life and possession of the land of Israel “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgements: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do” (Exodus 24:3)
- “…if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments…and all these blessings shall come on thee…” (Deut 28:1-2)
- “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments…that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee” (Deut 28:15)
The Nation of Israel punished for failing to follow the word of God
- “…ye children of Israel…the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hos 4:1)
- “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…seeing thou hast forgotten the Law of thy God…” (Hos 4:6)
- “Therefore my people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge…” (Isaiah 5:13)
Nadab and Abihu
During a time of worship they took it upon themselves to do something the LORD had not instructed them to do
- “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died…Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me…” (Leviticus 10:1-3)
From these examples we learn:
- That if we want to be accepted by God, then we must worship Him in the way He has prescribed.
- That even if sincere in our worship we must ensure that we follow God’s word or instructions very carefully.
- That we must have a true knowledge of God’s word if we are to be blessed by Him according to all His promises.
- That to do otherwise will lead us to stray from God’s word and loose our hope of salvation.
- A WARNING TO US!
- “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jere 10:23)
- “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2Tim 4:3-4)
- “For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work…” (2Thess 2:7)
- “…lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2Thess 2:10)
- THE GREAT APOSTASY THE BIBLE SAID WOULD COME.
- Paul predicted that some believers would be led away from the faith by men who would teach lies…
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits (false teachers) and doctrines of devils (teaching of liars); Speaking lies in hypocrisy…” (1Tim 4:1-2)
- Paul also predicted that a religious system, whilst initially holding the truth would, “fall away” and follow after the lies of men who used their followers for personal gain
“Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed…who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God…” (2Thess 2:3)
- Last he predicted that only when Christ returns will this system be fully exposed and destroyed.
“…the Lord Jesus shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2Thess 2:8)
Growth of False Teaching
- Immortality of the soul………………………………………………………………………..124 AD
- Pre-human existence of Christ…………………………………………………………….124 AD
- Sprinkling instead of immersion………………………………………………………….150 AD
- Infant baptism…………………………………………………………………………………….180 AD
- Constantine triumphs the Christian cause and makes apostate Christianity the state religion and forms what has become known as The Roman Catholic Church …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..312 AD
- Jesus a person within the Godhead…………………………………………………….325 AD
- The “Holy Ghost” a person in the Godhead…………………………………………381 AD
- Doctrine of purgatory………………………………………………………………………….431 AD
- Exaltation of Mary “the Mother of God”……………………………………………….431 AD
Consider these facts
- The Churches Teach
There is a mysterious Trinity, “One God yet Three”
Purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for departed souls
The soul is immortal and cannot be destroyed
Sprinkling of infants constitutes baptism
- The Bible Teaches
“To us there is but one God the Father…and one Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor 8:6)
“For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything…their love, hatred, envy is perished” (Ecc. 9;5-6)
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ez 18:4) “All have sinned” (Rom 6:4)
“If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest be baptised” (Acts 8:37)
- The Churches Teach
Heaven is a place of reward and hell is a place of torment
Satan is a supernatural evil being causing men to sin
- The Bible Teaches
“No man hath ascended into heaven: (Jn 3:13) “In death there is no remembrance of Thee” and “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Psa 6:5, Matt 5:5)
“Whatsoever thing from without entereth into a man cannot defile him…from within out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts etc…” (Mk 7:18-22)
Advice given to a Pope by French Cardinals in AD 1550
- “Of all the advice reserved for your Holiness, we have kept the most essential until the last moment. Concerning the reading of the Bible, we must keep our eyes wide open and intervene with all our power. It is necessary to authorise as little as possible the reading of the Gospels, particularly in modern languages and in countries under our jurisdiction. That which is generally read during Mass must suffice, and nobody must be authorised to read any other.
- Your interests will prosper so long as the people are contented with the little which is offered them, but as soon as the public asks for more, your interests are in danger. The Bible is the book which, more than any other, can stir up against us revolt and storms which might well nigh destroy us. Certainly, if somebody studies the Bible seriously, and compares it with what is happening in our churches, he will soon find the contradictions, and will see that our doctrines are far astray from the truth, and are even more often completely opposed to the Bible.
- And if the people come to recognise all these things, they will be constantly defying us, until everything is brought to light: there upon we shall become the object of ridicule and hate. It is vital to keep the Bible away from the attention of the people, but with much caution so as to avoid uproar.’
Debates and Trials during the Reformation AD 1500 – 1800
- Huldrich Zwingli: a Swiss evangelical who in 1523 advocated splitting with Rome and the Catholic church on the grounds that the church was astray from the Word of God. He argued that “the word of God would be his sole arbiter” In reality Zwingli was mostly interested in exalting himself as he staunchly held to Catholic teaching, notably infant baptism.
- Dr.Balthasar Hubmaier: an evangelical preacher, who had formerly been a university vice-rector having graduated as Master, plunged into assiduous study of the Scriptures which led to revolutionary thinking. Based on his studies, Hubmaier insisted that no trace could be found of infant christening in the Scriptures.
- Zwingli:You reject infant baptism that you may set up rebaptism.
- Hubmaier:You have not produced a single passage to prove infant baptism is baptism. You should remember what you once said, that truth is clearly revealed in the word of God. If now infant baptism is a truth, show us the Scripture in which it is found.
- Zwingli:If everyone adopts such views as he pleases, and does not ask the church concerning them, error will increase.
- Hubmaier:We should consult the Scriptures, not the church. The church is built upon the word, not the word upon the church.
- Zwingli:The thief on the cross believed, and on the same day was with Christ in paradise; yet he was not baptised with outward baptism.
- Hubmaier:A man who has the excuse of the thief on the cross will have the favour of God. But when this excuse is lacking the word of Christ holds true that “he that believes and is baptised shall be saved”.
- Zwingli:Matthew 3 says that “all Judaea” went out to John and were baptised. Here one may say that if the whole multitude went out, we should expect that there were children who went out also.
- Hubmaier:Might not one also say that we should expect that Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod went out and were baptised? It matters not what we think or expect. We must be governed by the Scriptures. I appeal to the Scriptures. Let them decide.
How to Identify Apostasy
We need to take note of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ
- Matthew 7:15
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” NIV
We need to follow the words of the Apostle Paul
- Like those who have gone before us, we must make the WORD of GOD our basis of belief and not what the churches teach.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15)
“Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith” (2Cor 13:5)
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” ( Phil 2:12)
An Important Issue in our Day!
- In this age of democracy and “political correctness” with all its pressures on tolerance and accommodation with others, we face the risk of becoming complacent in our understanding and appreciation of the dangers of the influence of the APOSTASY that surrounds us.
- Our eternal well being is at stake…
“And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
- AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM JESUS CHRIST TO HIS FOLLOWS.
“Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book…Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev 22:7, 12)
Truly as the Apostle Paul has said;
- “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9
- So it is up to YOU to ensure you have the TRUE Knowledge of God’s message of HOPE to all those who will search it out. After all surely a little effort on our part is well worth the reward of ETERNAL LIFE in a PERFECT WORLD.