Techniques for Detecting False Teachers

I have a theory. There’s this universal hole, see, and socks and pacifiers fall down it and disappear. Car keys and cell phones don’t quite fit. You think they are gone forever but out of desperation and prayer you usually find them.

Actually, cell phones would fit if you couldn’t call them to discover their whereabouts.

If you could discover this hole (it’s invisible), you could slide down it and you’d find enough pacifiers and socks to last for the rest of eternity. You’d have Chinese pacifiers, Russian pacifiers and Luxembourgish pacifiers. Between our three kids, I think we’ve lost enough American pacifiers to fill up half the cavernous room by ourselves.

Actually, you couldn’t use the socks. They’re all for the left foot.

When our oldest son was a baby, he was addicted to pacifiers but watch out–not just any pacifier, because he had a brand he liked. One night we realized to our chagrin that we couldn’t find his binky. I don’t know how we got him to sleep but we knew the hour of judgment would gong. So, we devised a plan. We took the nipple of a baby bottle and tried to shape it and style it like a pacifier.

Just maybe …

So, the little guy wakes up in the night, sets up his usual howl and we come running with our counterfeit pacifier. He takes it, stuffs it into his mouth, chews on it a bit, then removes it and looks at it. It wasn’t his brand so he threw it away.

You can’t fool an expert.

What’s Your Brand?

Christians need to learn to distinguish what their “brand” is. We’re constantly bombarded with Christian messages on internet, television, radio, and in magazines. A lot of what we see is good. I’m sure not 100% in agreement with everything, but if a fellow loves the Lord Jesus with his whole heart, I can still get along with him, even if I can’t agree with him on every point.

But, there are some jaybirds out there who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They don’t preach Christ’s ‘brand’ and if we follow them we’ll end up as their slaves.

Sometimes it’s really hard to tell the difference between the Lord’s brand and counterfeits. There are some hints though:

–off-brands care more about getting rich than they do serving the Lord and they try to trap us by our greed;

–counterfeits exalt a man or men more than they do the Lord Jesus;
–counterfeits pander to our lusts;
–counterfeits make us the star instead of the Lord because they want to fool us and profit from us;
–and counterfeits try to separate us from other brothers in Christ. They sow division and often try to appear as if they are the most spiritual of all. They scratch behind our ears with their flattery and promises, but their goal is money and glory.

We’re on guard watching for all these tricks and characteristics, but even more than that we’ve got Someone helping us to tell the difference between the real and the false. There’s this voice in the center of who we are which warns us–the voice of the Spirit.

“I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” (1 Jn. 2:26, 27, NIV)

So, what do you do when you find yourself sucking on a counterfeit pacifier? Thirty nine years ago, my one-year old son had a great idea. He threw it as far away as he could. That’s a pretty good example for us to follow. Get away quick.

Hmmm …

The very act of seeking out the shortcut and the quick win might very well be the reason you don’t have enough successful long stories to share. Seth Godin

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