Across the Christian faith today, there is an ever increasing wave of false and erroneous teaching being pushed upon people. Sometimes, false teaching is obvious. We can see this in the religious cults of today. Cults are truly masters of math. Here is what I mean. A cult will multiply the ways in which a person can be saved, thus denying the teaching of Christ in John 14:6. A cult will divide the loyalty of its followers between God and the earthly founder of that faith. A cult will add to God’s Word claiming the writings of the founder are equal to, supplementary, or complimentary to the Bible. A cult will also subtract from the deity of Christ, claiming that Jesus Christ was only a prophet, a teacher, or just a good man, but not God incarnate.
Sometimes false teaching is not so obvious. What does false teaching look like? It is false to teach that if a person gives a monetary gift to a ministry, they can expect a larger monetary blessing from God, and when that blessing doesn’t come, the individual’s faith was not strong enough. It is false to teach that the keeping of a list of rules, either man-made or church-made, will bring a person into a closer relationship with God. Why should all of this matter? Teaching that does not place Christ first in all things and exalt the One True God of the Bible, keeps people from experiencing true freedom in Christ, thus keeping them bound in rules, regulations, and ritual.
During Christ’s earthly ministry, He come into contact with false teaching that was leading people away from God, rather that bringing them closer. It was not His practice to just merely go around stating that certain teaching was false. Often, Jesus confronted the false teachers and called them on their message. Jesus would tells these teachers, who were often the religious leaders of the day, the negative effects their teaching was having on the people. And as only He could, pronounce judgment upon them. It is not enough for us to just say that something is false. It is not enough to just talk about how false teaching can harm others. There may come a time when we as Christians must confront false teaching. We are to confront the false with the true. We are to confront the wrong with the right of the Bible. The souls of people are at stake and we have a responsibility to them. I believe John MacArthur said it best,
‘Jesus knew something evangelicals today often forget: Truth doesn’t defeat error by waging a public relations campaign. The struggle between truth and error is spiritual warfare, and truth has no way to defeat falsehood except by exposing and refuting lies and false teaching. That calls for candor and clarity, boldness and precision – and sometimes more severity than congeniality.” John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore