Dr. Tom Pennington, of Countryside Bible Church, in Southlake, TX, features his expository sermons here. From that collection, a particular 3-part series is showcased at The Berean Library entitled, “Wolves in the Pulpit,” from Matt 7:15-20. Links are part 1, part 2 and part 3. Part three contains a list of 10 ways how to fall prey to false teachers (minute marker 42:55). Many of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” seen below, have authored books, including bestsellers, sold in Christian bookstores. Beware!
This is a very significant topic in the church as sheep are prone to stray and be misled. Dr. Pennington is one such knowledgeable and discerning undershepherd who teaches us from God’s Word how to identify false teachers to beware of so as not to be misled as Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and Jude warned (Titus 1:9).
Ultimately, a false teacher cannot mislead a true sheep. Praise the Lord! The Shepherd will bring His sheep unto Himself. However, sheep can be temporarily misled if they are new believers who do not have knowledge and discernment from God’s Word. This happened to me twice, before and after conversion. The first time I was misled by the Catholic religion. The second time I was misled, it happened after being a fairly new convert in the church. The church growth/seeker-sensitive, prosperity false gospel peddled by false teachers in the church, ”wolves in sheep’s clothing,” led me to a dangerous false pasture where I barely grew as a Christian nor produced much fruit for God. Here’s the scary part. I thought I was growing and serving the Lord in a pleasing way. However, I would learn by God’s grace-filled correction from His Word that it was not as such.
Another “target” that Dr. Pennington highlights that false teachers prey on are the ones “who want to hear they can have a relationship with the Lord and yet live anyway they wish.” As in, false teachers tickling itchy ears for people’s felt-needs and self-centered living, giving license to sin, rather than preaching with an emphasis on Christ and His gospel to repent and live an obedient, holy life, by God’s grace, for the love and glory of God and for the love and interests of others. Another “target,” or easy prey, of false teachers are those who sick and poor.
Dr. Pennington takes us back to Balaam as the earliest example of a false prophet, in Numbers, to the New Testament teachings and warnings concerning false teachers. He points us to three main markers seen in the character and conduct, content and converts of false teachers that will be identified in their fruit.
~Some Highlights from Dr. Pennington’s Series:
Look at Their Fruit
Mt 7:20: ”So then you will know them by their fruits.” Look at the fruit! Look at the total of his character/conduct, content and converts.
1. Examine Their Character and Conduct
False Teachers Will Demonstrate:
1) Motivated by greed (Balaam in Numbers & 2 Pt 2:15; Micah 3:5,11; Matt 23:25; Mark 12:40; Lk 16:14; 1 Tim 6:5; 2 Pt 2:3,14-15; Jude 11);
2) Sensuality and Sexual Sin (Jer 23:14; Rom 16:18; Jude 4, 17; 2 Pt 2:10, 13-14, 18);
2. Examine the Content of the Teaching Against the Scripture (Lk 6:43-45; Dt 13; Acts 17:11; 2 Cor 4:2; 1 Jn 4:6). 1 Jn 4:1-21 Guide: Does it exalt Christ and His gospel? Does it promote true holiness and likeness of Christ? Does it promote God’s Word? Does his teaching promote love for God and others?
3. Examine Their Converts (Lk 6:40; 2 Pt 2:2; Rev 2:20). Do they act in godliness or licentiousness?
Dr. Pennington’s Examples of False Teachers and Their Bad Fruit Doctrine: (go to minute marker 36:18 of Part 3)
1. Pope Francis & the entire Roman Catholic system because it teaches a false works-based gospel;
2. Cults (like Morrmanism and Jehovah’s Witnesses) because they have a false God than the biblical God and a different Jesus and a different gospel;
3. Church of Christ (COC)/Galatian heresy: adding baptismal regeneration to salvation that is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (though many have left this heresy in COC, many remain);
4. Post-modern (Emergent) teachers like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell who undermine cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith;
5. Faith healers and all who preach the prosperity gospel (list is very long, primary ones listed): Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Jan Crouch and her late husband Paul Crouch, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Jesse Duplantis, Robert Tilton, Eddie Long, Todd Bentley, Fred Price, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, etc. Spectrum ranges from the TBN gaudy type to the intelligent, hip and smooth, edgy-type;
6. Beware Parents: Christian colleges where in religion class teachers systematically tear down the faith once delivered to the saints. *My note here: we have seen this first hand with ecumenism at a local Christian school grades K-12.
Judgment of False Teachers: Mt 7:19-20; 2 Pt 2:2-6,9-10; Jude 13-15. Examples of God’s judgment in Scripture: 1) God did not spare the angels of disobedience; 2) The Great Flood; 3) Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.
Why does God allow false teachers? Answer: 1 Cor 11:19. God allows false teachers because He is removing the chaff. Allowed by God to test hearts. True believers stick!
Be a good Berean! (Acts 17:11)
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy! To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time, today and forever! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)
The Berean Library features Shai Linne’s excellent, rich in sound doctrine, rap-expose entitled, “Fal$e Teacher$.” Linne’s work is done specifically in regard to Word-Faith heresy in love for our Triune God, the truth of His Word, His people and those sheep being mislead by ear-tickling false teaching, including the fal$e teacher$ themselves. That they may come to repentance by God’s grace, Word and Spirit. The Bible tells us this is the proper motivation for anyone, including The Berean Library®, who wishes to warn others about “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Mt 22:36-39; Jn 17:17; Jude 3; Eph 4:15; Acts 20:27-31; 2 Pt 3:9; 1 Tim 6:9-10; Mt 7:15; Titus 1: 10-13; 2 Pt 2:1-3).
Since the 1906 Azusa Street Revival of Los Angeles, led by William Seymour, the movement of modern Charismatic Word-Faith/Prosperity fal$e teacher$ has exploded and extends around the globe. A few other popular proponents include Joseph Prince (Singapore), Brian Houston/Hillsong (Australia) and Nicky Gumbel (UK), etc.
There are many other false gospels, counterfeits to the gospel of Christ, to beware of, beloved.
“Use your discernment, let the Bible lead ya!” ~”Fal$e Teacher$,” Shai Linne
I shared with him the concerns I conveyed that morning to her, which he confirmed as accurate. Also, Dr. Scott informed me of David Powlison’s chapter-critique from his book, Seeing with New Eyes. Dr. Scott said, “It is basically all about conditional love. I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine. That is why even pagans love to read it.” It appeals to personal felt-needs, feelings, desires, must-haves, lusts of deceit. It fuels self-centered idolatry, not a servant’s heart.
David Powlison’s Review, Love Speaks Many Languages Fluently, reveals how Chapman’s book teaches a secular model on marriage that is rooted in conditional love ideology. As Dr. Scott referenced, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” says Powlison, is the gist of Chapman’s 5LL. In other words, “I’ll love you if you love me,” or “I’ll meet your needs if you meet mine.” That plays out to the 50%-50% mentality at the end of the day. Or 100%-100% could be deemed correct. After all, that sounds exactly like what the world’s psychologists refer to as a win-win situation, doesn’t it?
However, my beloved sisters, that is a far cry from the biblical model for God’s design for marriage which is all about sacrificial love, exemplified in Christ, selflessly serving and loving ones spouse, unconditionally. ”I’ll scratch your back even if you don’t scratch mine.” ”I’ll love you, even if you don’t love me in return.” ”I am here to serve you.” This looks like 100%-0%. And because of the hope that is promised to believers in Christ, we are in a no-lose situation (no matter our circumstances, married or single).
Remember, in the Old Testament, Hosea and his harlot-wife? In this true story, we read the reflective depiction of the perfectly loving and faithful YWHW to His chosen, ever-wavering-from-covenant Israel. In the New Testament, the perfect model of love and obedience is Christ who came to serve not be served. His sacrificial atonement on the cross, the giving of Himself for His bride is God’s perfect love manifested in the Son.
We must understand it is the act of giving oneself, not ones feelings and/or emotions, that is primary in loving. Our giving and serving will be imperfect. We are, after all, still sinners by nature. But, nonetheless, saved by grace, we must strive after Christ! Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20). God so loved that He gave His one and only Son (Jn 3:16). He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:10). We must seek to obey to love, serve and be merciful in Christian love without the expectation of a return (Lk 6:32-36).
Drawing nearer to this figure of 100%-0%, living life here in marriage, for regenerated sinners is biblical and speaks volumes of love languages while each spouse is being transformed into the image of their Savior, Christ the Lord, in whom all hope resides. By God’s unending grace, repentance for sin and faith in Christ, in obeying His commands in humble servanthood to please Him with all thankfulness, this is where sanctification happens for the married couple through the indwelling Holy Spirit by the Word (Jn 17:17; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Thess 4:2-8; 1 Thess 5:18).
Though Powlison recognizes some practical, helpful application by Chapman toward thoughtfulness, the argument continues that even pagans do that for the give-to-get conquest. And for us, from this former mindset we must flee!
Hence, from Powlison’s Berean review, we can conclude that looking to Chapman and his book for advice, and all its spin off versions for children, teens and singles, is not wise. It will send one in the opposite direction of God’s Word, building a house on sand (Mt 7:26-27). As always, sisters, be alert and avoid any opposing or conflicting theologies toward God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-6). Refuse to receive vain, empty, ear-tickling philosophies which are assuredly found in psychology models and practices (Col 2:8).
If your marriage needs help, may you be encouraged here to seek biblical counseling for you and your husband through the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) or pastors, elders, teachers in like-mindedness honoring the doctrines of the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures for all matters of life, faith and heart/mind/soul/spirit.
1. The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) Conference, San Antonio, TX 2013, Dr. James Allen Fain III.
2. Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically, John MacArthur and The Master’s College Faculty, p. 120. (parenthesis mine)
Featured front and center on this month’s edition of Family Christian Bookstore’s catalogue (2/1-3/14/2013) is Sarah Young and her popular books for women, Jesus Calling and Jesus Today.
Beware as this book promotes the author’s extraordinary claims that Jesus has audibly spoken to her for a period of time. So much so as to generate a year long devotional for publication, etc., etc. As such, Jesus Calling falls squarely in line with the false teachings of gnosticism and its counterparts of contemporary revelations and open canon-type encounters from God. Conversely, deviating from the closed canon, Sola Scriptura.
~Exceprt, “But I can’t get past what she says it is. Underneath all of this is the fact that Young has recorded new revelation from God, spoken audibly to her, on a nearly daily basis, and now I am supposed to have my devotionals from God’s words to her. I just can’t get past that to the content of the actual words Jesus allegedly spoke.”
A Christmas newsletter began going ga-ga over this book in that it “caused them to analyze, reassess and reaffirm their purpose in life” and “to develop a personal mission statement for the years to come.” After reading this positive recommendation for Buford, I was compelled to do some research. Just as we saw a raving promotion for this book in our personal mail, Dr. Gilley doesn’t miss to mention its numerous “great read” recommendations, in all its editions, for the believer in the Christian community.
I absolutely support Chick-fil-A who is publicly proclaiming and standing under the “biblical definition of marriage.” Being Americans, we have the American 1st amendment right. As believers, we have the biblical position to openly back any and all biblical definitions, business owners included. If only the full 67% of traditional marriage advocates in this country would be as bold to make such a company statement as Chick-fil-A has done!
General Mills, Nabisco Oreo, Starbuck’s and Target are among a growing number of businesses and organizations in our country that have made no beef about proudly supporting the perversion of God’s institution of marriage, between one man and one woman, with same-sex partners.
My sisters, the ultimate privilege for any of us as Christians is to stand for the gospel, keeping it front and center! Without the love and grace of the gospel, it’s just another national argument which has no power to save.
Not to be misunderstood. We are providentially blessed by God to have the constitutional freedoms this country was founded on, including and most especially, free expression of the faith without persecution. In the case of moral issues, however, the patriotic cry of being American with the right to free speech just doesn’t go far enough if the gospel is never mentioned. It overshadows. Hiding the eternal weight of the matter, sin, separation from the Holy Creator-God. ”For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). ”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23). We need the gospel!
Conversely, it is a wrong position, based on the authority of the Bible, for pro-gay activists to boycott Chick-fil-A, on August 1st, 2012, projecting such deluded plans based on the company’s publicly professed belief rightly in favor of God-ordained marriage. Additionally, I am in disagreement with anyone’s organized agenda to boycott a company that has gay marriage supporters in leadership, like the National Organization for Marriage does, here and here. All businesses, regardless of personal views on marriage held by their CEO’s, have men and women employed who are working to provide for themselves and/or their families. Some of these families may even be those who share our common salvation.
Now, at this point, some readers may be getting their feathers all ruffled since I am not willing to heist the bank of the gay community. I know it is disturbing and painful to think of this particular sin deception proudly multiplying like chickens in the hen house, right before our very eyes! Our American society is honing in on the days of Noah and the ranks of Sodom and Gomorrah’s corruption. Rolling-in-chicken-feed corporations, famous Hollywood celebrities and our civil law system (once upholding of God’s Commandments) using their positions of influence and leadership to promote this agenda of abomination is deplorable. It is an outright, public expression for support of sexual immorality and blasphemy with fists aimed at God and His authority. I understand the enormous concern this generates. I share it! I just think we are called to a different approach.
Let’s stop with the “hit ‘em where it counts–smack dab in the wallet” American consumer kind of way of handling things. What does that really accomplish? Protesting, punishing with financial threats? What if a company does go under for getting boycotted? And people can barely feed their kids. Do you want that on your head?
Instead of the fruitless and unloving boycott approach, let’s keep the command of the Great Commission of Christ. Let’s share the gospel of amazing love! The good news that is salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, winning others to Christ in the love and attitude of Christ, the way a restored, forgiven sinner should.
”The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.” ~Pro 11:30