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How is the Church to Treat Wolves? A Biblical Approach to False Teachings

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Apostasy, Blog, heresy, Opinion, Religion, Social-Issues, The Church, Theology | 0 comments

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In the present ecclesiastical landscape, the danger of encountering false teachers who infiltrate our churches and disseminate their deceptive doctrines is a growing concern. These wolves in sheep’s clothing insinuate themselves within the congregation, sowing confusion and division, and lead countless souls astray with their facile interpretations of Scripture. Arguably the most troubling example of this is the emergence of race baiters promulgating racial division under the guise of a so-called “woke church” movement, a term that in itself is wrapped in contentious connotations. These wolves exploit the pain of actual historical and systemic injustices to advance their destructive agenda, driving a wedge between members of the body of Christ.

In addition to those who foster racial discord, other false teachers surreptitiously introduce destructive heresies, such as the prosperity gospel, which distorts the true message of Christianity by promising material wealth and success in exchange for faith. This false doctrine appeals to the carnal desires of the human heart, leading many to pursue worldly riches rather than the ineffable treasures of God’s kingdom.

The Bible, our unsurpassable authority, provides clear guidance on how we must confront false teachers. We must remain ever watchful, as the enemy’s tactics are often laced with a synesthetic blend of truth and falsehood, making their deception all the more beguiling.

Throughout the ages, false teachers have attempted to lead the faithful astray; yet, the Church must remain resolute in defending the truth, wielding the sword of the Spirit against every distortion of the Gospel. It is our responsibility to continue this noble tradition, standing firm against deception and ensuring that the purity of the Gospel message is preserved for future generations. By heeding the wisdom of the Scriptures, we can expose the darkness masquerading as light, and in doing so, safeguard the Church from the pernicious influences of those who seek to divide and conquer, as we remain united in our pursuit of the eternal and unchanging truth of God’s Word.

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Scripture delineates the characteristics of false teachers as those who twist the truth, preach a different gospel, and lead others away from the faith (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3). Driven by selfish ambition, pride, and a lust for power and wealth, their teachings are ungoverned by the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Peter 2:3). We are called to be vigilant and discerning, testing the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1).

In the face of such spiritual dangers, the Bible instructs us to be bold, direct, and unwavering in our response. For instance, in Titus 1:9-13, Paul advises Titus to hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Rebuking and correcting false teachers is not only necessary but an essential duty of church leaders, who are responsible for protecting the flock from dangerous doctrines and standing firm in the truth.

The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:11, exhorts the faithful to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. We are called not only to separate ourselves from false teachers but to actively expose their errors and refute their teachings. This requires diligence in studying the Word, discernment, and a willingness to confront deception head-on.

In Acts 20:28-31, Paul warns the Ephesian elders to be on guard for themselves and for all the flock, and speaks of savage wolves who will come in among them, not sparing the flock. This admonition underscores the necessity of publicly warning the congregation about false teachers and their destructive doctrines. It is not a task reserved only for church leaders; all followers of Christ have a responsibility to safeguard the body of Christ.

The ineffable wisdom of the Scriptures also instructs us to reject and avoid those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that we have been taught (Romans 16:17-18). We are not to entertain or tolerate false teachers in our midst. Instead, we are to reject their teachings and avoid any association with them, lest we become corrupted by their deceitful ways.

In extreme cases where a false teacher remains obstinate, refusing to repent and ceaselessly sowing discord, Scripture unequivocally calls for their expulsion from the Church. Jesus Himself provides this instruction in Matthew 18:15-17, outlining a process that culminates in treating the unrepentant as a Gentile and a tax collector, effectively distancing them from the community of faith. It is crucial to recognize that false teachers are not merely fellow Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, or innocent people in error simply needing guidance. On the contrary, they are intent on devouring the sheep, driven by malicious motives that threaten the unity and sanctity of the Church.

By heeding the biblical guidance, we can stand firm against false teachers and protect the Church from the furtive dangers they present. The defenestration of such from our congregations is an act of spiritual preservation, safeguarding the Church’s integrity and the souls of its members. We must remain vigilant, discerning, and uncompromising in our defense of the Gospel, as we confront the sinister forces that seek to undermine the truth.

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