The following contains links to movements, teachers and teachings that, from an orthodox and Biblical perspective, are considered false, unbiblical or heretical
Movements of the Holy Spirit
Pentecostal (First Wave), Charismatic Renewal (Second Wave), Signs & Wonders or Neo-charismatic (Third Wave) movements
New Evangelical Movement
The New Evangelical movement is probably the most difficult to put into this category since many adhere to orthodox and Biblical teaching. However the main issue that has caused many to stray from orthodoxy and the Bible is the doctrine of separation. New Evangelicals refuse to separate from churches and systems that do not teach the gospel. Instead, they seek to form alliances with false systems in an effort to influence these systems to turn towards a Biblical position. The problem with this is two-fold: First, to not separate from false systems is direct disobedience to the Word of God; Second, false teachers and systems influence true believers with false doctrines and ideas enter into and pollute the church.
Christianity astray: Is “New Evangelicalism” really “Pseudo Evangelicalism”?
Neo-Evangelicalism-Characteristics and Positions
The Ecumenical Movement
Information coming soon
Jehovah’s Witnesses teaching
Reasoning with Jehovah's Witnesses
Facts Adventists wont tell you
The Changing World of Mormonism (Jerald and Sandra Tanner). This is a good on-line book exposing the false teaching of this church
The New Age Movement
This section will be developed more in the future. However I want to point out that in this movement there are organizations and movements working for world unity based on religious experiences that find root in Eastern mysticism. It involves psychotherapy, visualization, meditation, boifeedback, positive confession, positive or posibility thinking, hypnosis, holistic medicine, as well as self-improvement and success/motivation techniques. One book to be mentioned as promoting New Age philosophy is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. For more information, see Dave Hunt’s book, The Seduction of Christianity.
The Emerging Church Movement
Information coming soon!
Disclaimer: This section contains links to articles that help in understanding deception in the church today. We do not necessarily endorse everything on the websites where these articles are found.
The True vs. False Teacher Miles J. Stanford
The Cost of Discernment Dr. Robert Morey
Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile? Dr. Harry Ironside
What the Bible says about False Teachers
How to recognize false teachers
False Prophets and Teachers (The Pulpit Commentary: Deuteronomy. (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.)
Exposing error: Is it worthwhile?
Dr. Harry Ironside
Objection is often raised even by some sound in the faith regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry, namely, showing the Satanic origin and, therefore, the unsettling results of the propagation of erroneous systems which Peter, in his second epistle, so definitely refers to as "damnable heresies."
Our Lord prophesied, "Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." Within our own day, how many false prophets have risen; and oh, how many are the deceived! Paul predicted, "I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch." My own observation is that these "grievous wolves," alone and in packs, are not sparing even the most favored flocks. Under shepherds in these "perilous times" will do well to note the apostle's warning: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers." It is as important in these days as in Paul's, in fact, it is increasingly important-to expose the many types of false teaching that, on every hand, abound more and more.
We are called upon to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints," while we hold the truth in love. The faith means the whole body of revealed truth, and to contend for all of God's truth necessitates some negative teaching. The choice is not left with us. Jude said he preferred a different, a pleasanter theme-"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. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3, 4). Paul likewise admonishes us to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11).
This does not imply harsh treatment of those entrapped by error-quite the opposite. If it be objected that exposure to error necessitates unkind reflection upon others who do not see as we do, our answer is: it has always been the duty of every loyal servant of Christ to warn against any teaching that would make Him less precious or cast reflection upon His finished redemptive work and the all-sufficiency of His present service as our great High Priest and Advocate.
Every system of teaching can be judged by what it sets forth as to these fundamental truths of the faith. "What think ye of Christ?" is still the true test of every creed. The Christ of the Bible is certainly not the Christ of any false "-ism." Each of the cults has its hideous caricature of our lovely Lord.
Let us who have been redeemed at the cost of His precious blood be "good soldiers of Jesus Christ." As the battle against the forces of evil waxes ever more hot, we have need for God-given valor.
There is constant temptation to compromise. "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." It is always right to stand firmly for what God has revealed concerning His blessed Son's person and work. The "father of lies" deals in half-truths and specializes in most subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus, our sole and sufficient Savior.
Error is like leaven of which we read, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.
Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls "caught in the snare of the fowler"- how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.
[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago's MoodyMemorialChurch from 1930-1948]
What the Bible says about False Teachers
2 Peter 2:1-3
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
1 Timothy 6:3-12
3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
2 Timothy 4:3-5
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
How to recognize False Teachers
Know the Word of God. One good way to study the Word of God is to first read it in order to outline it and be familiar with the content of each book of the Bible. Too many believers have never read the entire Word of God, are unfamiliar with the Word of God and are thus not able to recognize a false teacher.
Know a teacher’s background. In an information age, it should be easy to discover a person’s doctrinal background. Be suspicious of anyone who is not clear on their doctrinal position. If a person comes from a particular church or group and on that group’s website their is no clear doctrinal position, that should cause red flags. If on a person’s website their is a claim that a particular Bible school or ministry is well known and respected, and yet their is no doctrinal statement, then it is not trustworthy.
Ask the person specific questions about themselves and their teaching. If they answer in general terms, or If you do not get answers, it is a warning that they are hiding something.
Know the person’s position on the doctrine of Christ. Ask questions concerning the Person and Work of Christ. Who is He? What is the position on the bodily return of Christ; the Pre-existence of Christ; the Incarnation of Christ; His Deity, Humanity; the unity of the Person of Christ; the functions of Christ; His earthly life; His sinlessness; the Atonement; the present ministry of Christ and the future work of Christ.
Know the fundamentals of faith. The fundamentals are: The doctrine of the Trinty; The incarnation, virgin birth, subsitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection, ascension into Heaven and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; The new birth through regeneration of the Holy Spirit; The resurrection of the saints to life eternal; The resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death; The fellowship of the saints,who are the body of Christ
Observe the fruit of the teacher’s ministry. You know who true and false teachers are by their fruit.
(The Pulpit Commentary: Deuteronomy. (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.)
Deut 13:1–6—False prophets. In viewing the bearings of this passage on the credentials of revelation, two points should be observed. 1. The case supposed is one in which the prophet contradicts a revelation already received. 2. The prophet does not dispute the evidence of that earlier revelation. On the contrary, he admits it. He stands within the lines of it. He professes to speak under its authority. Yet he asks the people to violate its fundamental laws. This of itself was sufficient to convict him. His pretensions are disposed of by the simple fact that, professing to speak in the Name of God, he gives the people a message contradictory of what he admits God to have previously revealed. No sign and wonder can accredit contradictions. The prophet is inconsistent with himself, and is not to be listened to. Nay, his message had been anticipated, and the thing he bids the people do, expressly forbidden. Notice, then—
I. External miracles do not of themselves accredit a revelation as from God. (Vers.1–3.) This prophet gives a sign or wonder— presumably a predictive word—and it actually comes to pass. The failure of his sign, according to ch. 18:21, 22, would have been a proof of falsity. The converse of this, however, that he speaks God’s word because his sign has not failed, is not immediately to be admitted. There are other tests to be applied. In this case, the prophet’s message is condemned because contradictory of what he himself allows to have been a true revelation. This raises the question of the value of miracles as credentials of revelation. That they have a value is not disputed, but not as mere signs and wonders. This will be best seen by contrasting the sign or wonder given by this prophet with the evidence of the earlier revelation. If we take the Scripture account of the founding of the Mosaic dispensation, it is impossible to question the magnificence and convincingness of the displays of Divine power and holiness therein contained. In founding his dispensations (Mosaic and Christian), God has not only given evidence, but an amount and kind of evidence which put the source of the revelation—admitting the facts to be as stated— beyond all cavil. For here, it is not merely the fact of miracle which is to be regarded, but the number, nature, magnitude, variety, spiritual quality of the supernatural events, in connection with the self-evidencing divineness of the revelation itself. The difficulty as to whether the miracle proves the doctrine, or the doctrine the miracle, or in what proportions the two factors combine, has little place in the actual evidences of revelation. The two cannot be separated, either in thought or in fact. Grant the authenticity of the miracles of the Gospels or of the Pentateuch, and it will not be disputed that they originated with God, not with Beelzebub. To this mass of evidence, overwhelming in its sublimity and convincingness—evidence embracing the wonders of Egypt, the displays of God’s power, love, and grace in the events of the Exodus, the miracles of the desert, the stupendous relevations of Sinai, etc.—the prophet opposes a few stray signs and wonders. Which were the people to believe? Plainly, no sign or wonder would have justified an Israelite in believing a prophet whose teaching contradicted the first principles of his revelation; as no sign or wonder would justify us in believing teachings contradictory of the first principles of ours.
II. The rise of false prophets is to be anticipated. (Ver. 1.) The passage takes it for granted that they will arise. They did arise in Old Testament times, and they will do so again. Their appearance is predicted in connection with “the last days” (Matt. 24:11; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Pet. 2:1). “Signs and wonders” will not be wanting (Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9, 10). False teachers are included under the category of false prophets (Matt. 7:15; 2 Pet. 2:1). They assert as the truth of God principles and doctrines subversive of the revelation God has given. The readiness of people to believe them arises from want of knowledge (Eph. 4:14); from the itch for novelties (2 Tim. 4:3); from a diseased craving for the marvellous—witness the credulity displayed in connection with spiritualism (2 Thess. 2:9–13); above all, from the adaptation of their teachings to the inclinations of depraved hearts (2 Tim. 3:1–8).
III. The rise of false prophets is permitted for the sifting of the Church. (Ver. 3.) God has thus much to do with their appearance that he permits it as a means of proving and sifting the Church. The trial is a searching and real one. The plausibility of their errors may occasion, even to believers, much mental conflict. But out of this conflict they come forth strengthened and purified, with firmer hold upon the truth, and clearer insight into Scripture. Those willing to be deceived are, on the other hand, led by the spirit of delusion. False prophets shake all but “the very elect” (Matt. 24:24). The heresies, schisms, controversies, etc., which have agitated the Church, with the teachings of antichristian philosophy and science outside of it, have always had this effect of sifting, while in the end they have subserved the progress of the truth.
IV. The teaching of false prophets is to be rejected. 1. Their doctrine is to be tried by its conformity with the rule of faith (Isa. 8:20). John bids us “try the spirits,” giving as the reason that “many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). 2. Their doctrine, if found contradictory of Scripture, is to be unhesitatingly rejected. 3. Of old, the prophet whose teachings struck at the foundations of the theocracy was to be put to death (ver. 5). This rule no longer applies. But it is the duty of the Church, in the exercise of her judicial functions, to deprive such a teacher of office and status in her ministry (see also 2 John 10, 11).—J. O.