Is it wrong to name the false teachers/prophets during the sermons to warn the church?

(Rose Amer) #1

I am an avid reader of the Bible. I study it and try to understand the difficult passages specially the ones that talk about “sacrifice, suffering and rejection for the sake of following Jesus”. I believe Jesus did not promise us that if we follow him we will become millionaire or super human or never get sick but he will provide what we need to live this life. I sometimes feel frustrated when I hear “prosperity, word of faith” preachers teaching false gospel and making false promises and people quoting them in the church. I am doing sermon series on 2 Peter and now I am in chapter 2. I have a conundrum. I want to warn my church about the false teachers for example Joseph Prince, Osteen, Haggee, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, Copeland to name a few.

My question is, is it okay to call them false teachers or non-Christians (I believe they do not know the right Jesus of the Bible, so they are not Christians). Jesus, Paul, Peter used very harsh words for the false teachers who were preaching defective or different gospel, why today it is becoming increasingly difficult to warn people about false teachers?

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The Gospel and Expectations of Suffering/Prosperity
(SeanO) #2

@roze4jesus I think it is our responsibility to warn those under our care of false teaching and to lead them in the truth. In Scripture, we see many warnings about being led away from the truth. I think some of Paul’s denouncements of false teachers are similar to David’s imprecatory Psalms - he is furious that there are people leading others towards destruction. I think it should upset us too.

That said, I think how we approach this issue is important. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. When we denounce false teaching I think it is appropriate to pray for false teachers and to emphasize that we are speaking not out of hatred for the individual spreading the false teaching, but out of sincere love for those in our care.

If there is a group of people in the Church who are being led astray by these teachings, maybe you could have a Q&A time or a special Bible study / sermon series helping people to understand how to discern truth from error. Maybe a series on ‘What is the Gospel really?’ where you spend a few sessions discussing distortions of the Gospel.

I think doing a deep dive on the Gospel - books like ‘The Prodigal God’ by Tim Keller or ‘The Explicit Gospel’ by Matt Chandler - is a great place to start to lay a foundation for a series on how to avoid false Gospels.

I think you want to be patient / gentle with people who maybe are slow to understand and avoid denouncing a false teacher they follow without tilling the soil of their heart properly first. You want them to come to the conclusion this person’s teaching is false with you so that they truly change rather than just hiding the fact they like that teacher in the future because they know it’s not considered acceptable. We desire heart change and not only social conformity. Though I think the culture we are in may determine our approach to addressing false teaching to an extent. The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you serve His Body :slight_smile:

Matthew 24:4-8 - Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Hebrews 3:12-15 - See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

Galatians 1:6-8 - I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

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(Rose Amer) #3

Good answer Sean but what do you do if a person is not willing to do any Bible Study with you and leads other in following the false teacher- specially if that person is in active ministry?I am talking in the context of a small church. (1-50 members).

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(SeanO) #4

@roze4jesus If it is a small Church (or large Church for that matter), I would personally recommend against any direct rebuke from the pulpit. I think we use the pulpit to teach the Word and exalt Jesus. Rebuke from the pulpit amidst division will likely only cause hurt feelings and resentment rather than bring healing or clarity. I personally think an approach similar to what Jesus suggested when someone sins against us is best, though I admit the context there is a bit different.

I think one question you need to consider is: will the other Church leaders support you if you seek to correct this individual? Is there agreement among your Church leadership on this issue?

If there is, then I would recommend discussing with the individual (which I assume you have probably done) and then approaching the individual with a few of the leaders. If they still will not listen, you may need to engage in some form of Church discipline appropriate to your denomination and context.

If your leadership is split, that is a very difficult situation indeed and I think you should seek the council of godly people closer to the situation. Praying that Christ would grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

Matthew 18:15-17 - “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

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(Rose Amer) #5

Thank you Sean for your answer. Yes the leadership is split on this issue 50/50. I am praying for Heavenly wisdom and for Holy Spirit to speak in this situation. It is frustrating.

I am in complete agreement with you about using the pulpit. I never use it in such a way.

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(SeanO) #6

@roze4jesus That is a frustrating situation. I will continue to pray :slight_smile:

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(Keldon Scott) #7

Love: “I think you want to be patient / gentle with people who maybe are slow to understand and avoid denouncing a false teacher they follow without tilling the soil of their heart properly first.”

@SeanO, your sage in these answers is so spirit-led. And, @roze4jesus I am moved by the question you pose, but more so the heart and care you exhibit in how you have received the responses to the question. It is important that we stand on truth but sometimes the manner in which we do so becomes more the critical Christian call.

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(Roslyn Farmer) #9

I was in a small church of like numbers, and experienced a similar situation in which some in that church - including some of the leaders - began following false doctrines. In that case they wanted to become legalistic and follow the Mosaic laws regarding foods, and began following the mystical teachings of rabbis.

The lead pastor didn’t want to oppose them openly from the pulpit, but he also didn’t seem to want to oppose them much at all. I didn’t know whether this was because the pastor wanted to take the kind and long approach to this thinking he could win them over, of if he had decided to tolerate the false doctrines in the name of inclusiveness. So I asked him about this privately, but he didn’t give me a clear answer on this.

I really liked the lead pastor and many of the people in that church. Friends of mine in that church were aware of that issue and strongly believed that the issue could be resolved through prayer and love and perseverance.

But a year went by, and those following the false doctrines were growing in number and influence. During that time the lead pastor could have given sermons in which he gently dealt with legalism, but he didn’t do that.

So I decided to leave that church and denomination. Soon after that, in my new church, I became part of a new, large ministry. I think this was God confirming my decision to leave.

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(Keldon Scott) #11

Perhaps grandly weaved. There are times that we must shake the dust off our shoes and move to the next town. God-bless.

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