How to spot the fakes and false teachers.
The other day while in our men’s small group, we discussed recognizing false teachers or people giving ungodly advice. There was talk about what to look for when identifying false teachers and teaching. A few men mentioned particular personality traits, characteristics, and the focus of their teaching.
After much discussion, one of the men stated that the best way to identify a false teacher and their teaching was to compare them to “the real thing.” He then used the Secret Service’s method of currency counterfeit detection as an example. Contrary to what most people believe, the training involved in counterfeit money identification focuses more on studying the authentic specimen.
In his book Reckless Faith, John MacArthur says, “Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then when they see the bogus money they recognize it.”
“By understanding how to identify genuine U.S. Currency, we can more easily detect counterfeit bills,” says Special Agent James Ingram. To better understand the “real deal,” agents extensively study the anti-counterfeit security measures implemented by the U.S. government. For example, there are seven main security features on every bill. These features are: physical size & weight, a -D security ribbon, color-shifting ink, a portrait watermark, a security thread, raised printing, and micro-printing.
One of the most challenging counterfeits to identify are “supercounterfeits,” or fake bills. These fake bills are so good they require even more specialized training to identify them accurately. These experts undergo extensive training involving at least 17 online courses, hands-on work, and rigorous testing. As a result, they develop an incredible “eye” and “sense” for identifying the fakes.
We, too, should take the same approach to spot false teachers and heretical teachings. For this reason, the Bible is the only perfect specimen and guide against counterfeit teachers and teaching. By thoroughly studying the Scriptures, we will be ready to spot the fakes when they come.
Answer and Journal the Following
First pray for insight and understanding of God’s word. Then and most importantly, how to apply it.
1 John 4:1-3
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
Contemplate and meditate on or memorize the passage. What is God saying to you?
How will you apply this to your life ?
How will you share what you learned with others?