How To Effectively Identify False Doctrines

Updated: Oct 14

Written by Evi Idoghor, Creator of Letstalknationblog.com


It has been said that Christians shouldn’t listen to secular music or watch certain movies, which can taint their perception of what living for God truly looks like—fair enough because you don’t want to watch or listen to things that will lead you to sin and you want to honor God, right?

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Now, secularism and its derivatives aren’t the only things Christ-followers should be weary of. What else should be a cause for concern? You might ask: it is easier to decipher between right and wrong or good and bad. It’s either you are for Christ or you are not; Christian or non-Christian.


The challenge doesn’t lie within figuring out if someone believes in God, but rather it lies in being able to differentiate between true and false doctrine.


What is False Doctrine?

A False Doctrine according to gotquestions.org "is any idea that adds to, takes away from, contradicts, or nullifies the doctrine given in God’s Word." That is why it is important for Christians to guard their hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23). No matter who you are, even if you have been in ministry for donkey years, if you don’t analyze what comes into your heart, you will soon join the bandwagon of those who have strayed from the faith.

“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.”
—Galatians 5:7

The Bible states in 1 John 4:1—“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (NKJV)

Lately, I have heard a lot of strange or false doctrines, or even what the Bible refers to as the doctrines of demons, and I have become so weary because many Christians believe such tales, hook, line, and sinker.


People no longer study scriptures for themselves, rather they allow others to spoon-feed them with whatever they deem fit. And those who have given themselves over to extensively studying the scriptures, are beginning to question its authenticity, stating, perhaps, some things have been misconstrued in the process of translating and/or transliterating God’s infallible word.


Others argue that those who translated the Bible did so for selfish reasons, and that is why we have loads of scripture which perpetuates patriarchy; putting women on the back burner, as if to say God doesn’t care about the women folk He wonderfully so created. There is a danger that lies in this type of reasoning amongst Christians because the moment you begin to believe that some things have been mistranslated, misquoted, and therefore do not hold as much value as what the Originator, God, would have given it, that is when you begin to stray from the creator Himself. (See Galatians 5:7 above)


One thing a Christian has to understand about God is the enormous value that He places on His word. Jesus addressing a group of people in Matthew 24:35 said—“heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” The book of Revelations even goes ahead to warn those who want to take away from or add to God’s word. The scripture as it is, is perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. God is not in heaven cooking up fresh words, terminologies, or revelations to reveal to His saints, which are not already in scripture or lack consistency with it; that would make Him a liar.


Related Post: Does God Speak to Us?


Instead, it is the work of the enemy, as Galatians 5:7 makes the point that such persuasions do not come from God. We have to be careful that we don’t begin to chase after false doctrines as Christians.


Luke 11:35 says—“therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.” There are people who are running this Christian race with so much passion and enthusiasm and God has called them. But do you want to know the sad part about their race? Is that it is happening in the other direction. They think that they are doing so much for God, and for the most part, they are well-intentioned, but they are going in the opposite direction. There is a passage of scripture that says that there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is destruction. You have to be extremely cautious.


My biggest fear when I see people share about things that are not even consistent with scripture, sometimes influential people, is their ability to lead the masses astray. The Bible refers to such people and their audience as the “blind leading the blind.”

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How to spot false doctrines

As a Christ-follower, you have to study God’s word for yourself; when you listen to messages or are a part of a community of believers, measure whatever you get from them against scripture and ask yourself this question: does scripture corroborate the message this person is sharing? If it does, accept it. If it doesn’t, reject it. If you give heed and keep giving heed to things people claim are from God, and don’t line up with scripture, before you know it, you would have strayed so far away from the faith.

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily, to find out whether these things were so.”
—Acts 17:11

The above scripture refers to the Jews in Berea, who did not just take Paul and Silas words for it, but measured up what they said against scripture to confirm if they matched. I can just imagine that if we heard about the miracle of Paul and Silas prison break, and they came to minister to us, we wouldn’t even confirm what they are saying with scripture, because we would be so taken by what God did for them, and perhaps even begin to view them as an anomaly. Whereas for the Jews in Berea, the story about their escape from prison wasn’t enough to convince them if scripture didn’t back it up. That is how you should be.


Leave out the social media doctrine. I know we are all drawn to these international churches that release impeccable sounds through their ministries, I get it. But if their doctrine isn’t lining up with God’s word, or they have a skewed interpretation of the Bible, by all means, reject it.


Is God’s word lost in translation?


Not even one jot of God’s word has been lost in translation (Although there are false translations out there, do your research). This is because God is all-knowing. He knew before time that the scripture was going to be interpreted in various languages. He gave us those languages. Even if the transcribers and/or translators decided to leave out some things and include others as they deemed fit, if they thought they were doing that by their own will power, then they thought wrong.


How can the Creator of the Universe, both things seen and unseen, be so handicapped, that He cannot direct His creation to do His bidding, as it pertains to His word that He holds with so much esteem? Think about it! If He could harden the heart of Pharaoh to prove a point, He can oversee His project to ensure that nothing is lacking, missing, or broken.


If you are a believer and feel like some things are not just right with the Bible, then you have to question the Bible in its entirety, because if one thing is misplaced, then the entire book is false. And we have to question Christ who is the Word of God (John 1).


"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm." 1 Timothy 1:3-7

3 Examples of False doctrines


Although there are a plethora of false doctrines swirling around the world, here are three I discovered recently:


1) There is no hell: This is untrue because Jesus addressing a group of people in Matthew 10:28 is found saying—“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

2) The Holy Spirit is female: This strange doctrine is also false because there is no passage, thought, conversation, or quote throughout the Holy Scriptures which supports this claim. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 (NKJV) Except Jesus was beside Himself, referring to the Holy Spirit as “He” then I cannot support this claim with scripture. God is neither male nor female, God is Spirit. (John 4:24)

3) You can lead a sinful life and still spend eternity with God (without repentance): If this were the case, Christ wouldn’t have had to die for the sins of humanity. The Bible says that the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53).

In fact at the garden of Gethsemane, He pleaded with God to let the cup pass over Him because He knew it was no walk in the park. But because of the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross and paid a high price. Christ went through all of that, so we wouldn’t be enslaved any longer to the things which once held us bound. Because of sin and disobedience, the Bible says that the wrath of God is coming upon the world. Yes, God is love and is full of mercy, but if we keep tripping intentionally, and live our lives as though He doesn’t exist, it just might cost us our eternity with Him.


Conclusion


All of this is just to say that we shouldn’t entertain messages any longer that do not line up with the word of God. Study God’s word, and also pray for discernment. Just because you heard a voice, or you have a strong conviction or even believe in something, doesn’t make it right. Be careful not to open up yourselves to false doctrines.


PS: I understand that there are many translations of the Bible and misleading ones at that. Please be careful to do your research to know the appropriate ones to use. I am also not exempt from what I have written. I ask that you measure it against God’s word, and if it doesn’t match, by all means, reject it.


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About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, content creator, and a graduate of chemical engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform in 2018 to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations with one goal in mind—to redefine status quo.


Having spent a great part of her formative years in the US where she lived for about 11 years and got to explore what the beautiful country offers by traveling around its coasts, most of her writings have been influenced by her time spent in America. In addition to that, she has worked and partnered with writing agencies and individuals to bring their stories to life.

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