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12 Powerful False Doctrines to be Aware of

12 false doctrines to be aware of
False doctrines are as old as the Bible. They are all denial and contradictions of God’s Word. We see this right from the dawn of time.

Doctrine is simply the Latin word for “teaching.”

History is simply what has happened; doctrine is an explanation of why it happened. The world is here. The Bible teaches that God created it. That is true doctrine 100% congruent with BIBLICAL THEOLOGY.

False doctrines are as old as the Bible. They are all denials and contradictions of God’s Word. We see this right in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. God had given his commandments,

but the serpent challenged them, and false doctrines entered the world.

False Doctrines in the Bible

In the Old Testament, false doctrines centered around:

  • Disobeying God’s commandments, and

  • Worshiping false gods/idols.

But already in the days of the apostles, there were false doctrines, even before the New Testament was completed. 2 main ones were:

  • Teaching that the resurrection of the dead had already occurred, and

  • Adding requirements to the Gospel.

From that time on, we find false doctrines in the church.

False Doctrines: 12 Powerful Enemies of Truth, Past, and Present

Unbelievers have used their interpretations of prophecies and other human-centered thought systems to create false religions and what St. Paul calls “other gospels.” We need to study CHRISTIAN HISTORY to help us identify the counterfeit.

The first of these “false gospels” was expressed in these false doctrines: 1. Gnosticism: This idea was really an import from paganism that assumed other gods besides the God of the Bible. The name comes from the Greek word for “knowledge” and taught that in order to really understand the things of God you had to be a member of an intellectual elite so that you could grasp these higher spiritual ideas.

The Bible, of course, teaches the opposite: Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. – Jesus in Luke 18:17 2. Arianism, arose in the 3rd century and taught that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being and not co-eternal with God the Father. It was widespread at one time dividing the church in half but fiercely opposed by ATHANASIUS WHO ARTICULATED THE CREED that explicitly details belief in the Trinity. St. Paul expressed the truth more succinctly describing the Lord Jesus Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:…. all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; -Colossians 1: 15…17…19

3. The Papal system emerged in the 6th century teaching that the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ and His unique and all-powerful representative on earth.

Once again, Paul states the doctrinal truth plainly: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; –1 Timothy 2:5

4. Universalism took root in America in the 19th century, denying the existence of hell and teaching that everyone will be saved. Jesus Himself explains the eternal destinies of those who are His and those who are not: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: … Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: — Matthew 25:33 & 41

5. the “Social Gospel,” putting social action and humanitarianism in the place of Jesus’ work of atonement.

Here St. Peter delivers doctrinal truth: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. – Acts 4:12

6. Higher criticism: This is a scholarly/academic analysis of the Bible based on the assumption that the traditional authors were not indeed those who actually wrote the book.

I believe in the traditional writers, but no matter what human agency God used, the Holy Ghost has inspired every word.

Higher criticism is sometimes called “Historical criticism,” both terms implying that the critic is choosing to re-interpret the Bible according to a standard different from God’s.

The most famous of these critics was JULIUS WELLHAUSEN, who began his career as a minister but lost his faith as he developed his “documentary hypothesis” and withdrew from his duties of teaching Protestant ministers.

But others did not, and their denial of the truth of the Bible and disbelief in the miracles of Jesus led to the next false doctrine:

7. Modernism : HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK was the apostle of this teaching. He denounced as “Fundamentalist” belief in miracles and creation, proposing instead a social gospel and theistic evolution.

Supported by John D. Rockefeller and his millions, Fosdick’s false doctrines spread through the mainline Protestant churches and seminaries where they are established today.

Of course, all of this is in direct conflict with the Bible itself and the faithful believers who accept its truth and authority.

It was Fosdick’s redefinition of Christianity that brought the term “Evangelical Christian” into use to identify those who hold the truth and authority of the Bible.

8. Ecumenism: The idea here is Biblical, as Jesus taught it to his 12 disciples, and this is certainly true of the universal church of Jesus Christ, His body, and His Bride.

But as false doctrines took root, faithful believers left corrupt teachings and gathered together in the unity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and under the authority of the Bible. The result, of course, was the Protestant Reformation. This was done in keeping with the scriptural teaching of St. Paul to separate from unbelievers, and not partner with them in any way, especially in marriage. St. John, the apostle of love, is even more vehement, teaching us not to receive those who hold false doctrine into our homes, lest we be corrupted.

9. Easy believism: Here again, the idea is taken from the Bible, John 3:16, where Jesus says whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. But the error here is not considering “the full counsel” of God. In other words, what else the Bible teaches about salvation: We need to confess our belief to others and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Well-meaning people have developed a short and simple prayer that they teach assures salvation to those who recited it. But Jesus says we must be "born again" to see the kingdom of God, be baptized in water, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Does this mean the “sinner’s prayer” is useless? Not if it is from the heart and is followed by these other steps, but if it is prayed under duress, peer pressure, or group dynamics, it will not bring salvation.

10. HYPER GRACE: Teaches that God has forgiven all our sins past, present and future and that there is no need to confess them or repent. This ignores the first word Jesus preached when he began His ministry. Repent —–

This a theme He re-emphasized when He told those who saw a deadly catastrophe: Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

We are, indeed, saved by grace, but repentance is the evidence we have received grace. Jesus makes it quite clear that repentance is a necessary and ongoing part of believers’ lives. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We need to repent every time we are convicted of sin, often daily.

Also misrepresenting the scriptures is the next most popular of today’s false doctrines.

11. Prosperity Gospel : This is a 20th-century teaching that distorts the Biblical teachings by focusing on two unrelated texts, one where Jesus tells His disciples that anyone who has left all behind to follow Him will receive a hundred times more here as well as eternal life. Many years later one of those disciples prayed for the people in his church that they would "prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers."3 John_1:2

Both do, indeed, talk about prosperity but only as it is the result of our laying down our lives for the Gospel. The idea that riches are to be expected for following Jesus is anathema to His teaching and His life. He tells us we cannot serve God and money and was Himself homeless and without visible means of support.

Clearly, the riches and prosperity Jesus promises are in heaven. Those who seek prosperity here operate against His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.

12. Cessationism: This teaching is that all of the signs Jesus said would follow believers as well as the miracles and “gifts of the Spirit” we see in the New Testament stopped when the apostles died. This is despite the testimony of hundreds of believers in a continuous stream from the apostles to today.

The doctrine itself is the result of the Protestant Reformation and may have been a reaction against many of the superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church. It clearly flies in the face of Jesus’ teaching and promises to believers:

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – Jesus in Mark 16:17-18

Just 10 days after Jesus spoke these words there was a mighty fulfillment at the Day of Pentecost, and the church was born. The Acts of the Apostles faithfully records miracles, healing, prophecies, and tongues.

Far from signaling these gifts would pass away, the Apostle Paul encourages us to seek them. And hundreds of millions of Believers are blessed with and by them today. Jesus has healed me many times, of throat cancer, asthma, eczema and other ailments and baptized me in the Holy Ghost, praise God!

Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy and forbid not to speak with tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:39

How Does the Bible Say We Should Deal with False Doctrine?

We are called to stand up for Jesus and His Truth. As outlined above, the best response to false doctrines is the truth. We need to know and study the SCRIPTURES ON FALSE DOCTRINE

All of those old false doctrines are still around today, dressed in new terminology and often positioned as something new, because the devil doesn’t quit. He wants to cause doubt, discourage and deceive everyone he can, so we must be on guard.

The Bible is still our sword and faith is still our shield. We will need both to deal with these lies and false gospels. When you encounter those teaching such things, St. Paul advises Timothy from such withdraw thyself.” It is good advice, and necessary.

I have had to withdraw from several churches teaching things contrary to the Word of God. Each time it was painful to leave behind the friends I knew and the children I had taught, but it was for their sake as much as my own that I left.

There are eternal issues at stake. Our souls are at risk. We need to pray especially for those we leave behind, for they are lost and on their way to destruction.

This is serious business. Paul was surprised and disturbed when the Galatians turned to “another Gospel.” Why did they do this, and why are we at risk today? Because these doctrines of men are appealing, and we want to be liked. All these false doctrines challenge the truth of the Bible and are responsible for turning many from the narrow way Jesus called us to walk with him on.

What we have is so much better than the doctrines of men. We have the “gold standard” that has been given by Revelation by the Lord Jesus Christ.

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