The danger with false teachers is that they will sound like Christians and yet they are false. What are some of their characteristics to look out for?
How Do I Identify A False Teacher?
False teachers will promote new doctrines, multiply requirements for salvation and promote new sources of authority.
“False teachers will usually promote new doctrines. While the scriptures have told us what to believe concerning God, or Christ, or our salvation, we will always have people who in the name of fresh revelation will promote teachings that add to scripture or describe things that are not actually taught in the word of God.”
Topics & Timestamps
0:26 – How do we identify a false teacher?
0:44 – False teachers are not obvious
1:03 – False teachers promote new doctrines
1:26 – Apostle Paul warns about false teachers in Galatians
3:00 – Apostle Paul warns the Corinthian believers
3:24 – False teachers promote new scriptures
3:44 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints and the book of Mormon
4:26 – Seventh Day Adventists and writings of Ellen G White
4:55 – William Marrion Branham
5:09 – Desteo Bisaka the leader of Faith of Unity
Top Quotes: How Do I Identify A False Teacher?
“When you meet people who tell you that the Bible is not enough, it’s a clear indication that such are false teachers. Not only must you identify them, but you must shun them.”
“False teachers will promote new doctrines, multiply requirements for salvation and promote new sources of authority.”
“The Apostle Paul warns that if anyone should teach a different gospel- let that man be accursed.”
Other Content On This Topic
Greetings to you from the Africa Centre For Apologetics Research. My name is Rodgers Atwebembeire. I work for this ministry that researches and monitors new religious movements on the African continent.
A Question Often Asked
And as someone who works in this area of research on cults, I get asked a number of questions. But one of the major ones is always, how do we identify a false teacher? If someone claims to be a prophet, or an apostle, how do we know whether God has sent him or not? And we began to look at this important subject by especially noting two characteristics; That false teachers are always not obvious. They work by stealth, they secretly come in. We notice that false teachers often blend with other Christians. They look almost like but actually are not.
False Teachers Promote New Doctrines
Now we want to continue by looking at other characteristics. One of them being that false teachers will usually promote new doctrines. While the scriptures have told us what to believe concerning God, or Christ, or our salvation, we will always have people who in the name of fresh revelation will promote teachings that add to scripture or describe things that are not actually taught in the word of God.
In Galatians the Apostle Paul in chapter one writes to the Galatian brothers. And frankly he is very concerned and astonished. And he’s saying, “I am surprised, I am astonished that you brothers who began well and are now moving away into another gospel which is really no gospel at all. for indeed there is one.” He warns them about the danger of a different gospel that they have received and reminds them that a curse awaits all those who distort the true gospel of God.
In fact, he says, “If an angel or even we- meaning the Apostles, should come to you and preach a gospel other than the one we already proclaimed to you let him be accursed. Be it an angel, or an apostle, or any teacher that claims to be from God.” If he should teach something that is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, the Apostle Paul says such a man, or such an angel should be accursed. That’s how serious that the New Testament takes the danger of false teachers and their false teachings. That they usually add new doctrines on top of what the Bible has already taught. These may be doctrines about our salvation- how we get saved- by adding certain rules and regulations. These may be doctrines about how we are to live our lives as believers. But the Apostle Paul warns if anyone should teach a different one let that man be accursed. But also from 2 Corinthians 11, we saw the Apostle Paul express concern for the Corinthian believers who are buying into teachings of another Jesus, a different gospel, and a different spirit. And the Apostle Paul warns them that unless they exercise biblical discernment, they are about to be led astray just as Eve was deceived by the serpent.
False Teachers Promote ‘New Scriptures’
But also secondly, we note that false teachers don’t just preach or promote new doctrines, but they also promote new Scriptures. Especially other alternative inspired books.
Examples of ‘New Scriptures’
Let me give you a couple examples:
- Most of you may have met missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. Whenever these young men knock on your door, they will always have a King James version of the Bible and another book that is known as the book of Mormon. Now the subtitle on the cover page of that book says, ‘Another testament of Jesus Christ.’ While true Bible believing Christians believe that the Bible is sufficient for faith and practice, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints will have you believe that in addition to the Bible which is not very well trusted, there is the book of Mormon that should be believed as the authoritative word of God.
- Come to Seventh Day Adventism- they will offer you the writings of their prophetess and founder Ellen G White whose writings continue to be regarded as a continuing authoritative source of revelation. When Adventists hear the teaching of Ellen G White, they see her teachings at the level of inspired Scripture which certainly is a promotion of new Scriptures above and beyond what the bible teaches.
- What about William Marrion Branham? The teachings of Prophet William Mariron Branham were equally regarded by the followers as scripture, or taken, or treated at the level of the Bible.
- Most of you who are Ugandans-you probably also have heard of Desteo Bisaka the leader of Faith of Unity. Now deceased by the way. Who has his own book called The Book of God of the Age of Oneness that has replaced the Bible. Because Bisaka thought that the bible is divisive and has contradicting teachings and therefore he replaced them with his own book The Book of God of the Age of Oneness.
When you meet people who tell you that the Bible is not enough, people who claim that God has spoken in any other way, above, beyond and sometimes against what is already revealed in Scripture, that is a clear indication that such are false teachers and not only must you identify them, but you must shun them.
False teachers will promote new doctrines, will multiply requirements for salvation for instance. By adding things that are not taught in scripture. But secondly, they will promote new or sources of authority, or promote new Scriptures by adding books, or magazines or other sources of inspiration. Beware of false teachers.