Summary: Most believers are ill-equipped to deal with members of false groups, not because they don’t know enough about CULTS, but because they don’t know their OWN BELIEFS well enough.

Characteristics Of False Churches & Teachers

(2 Tim. 2:14-18)

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Jesus Himself tells us in John 8:31-32:

31 "... If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NAS

In John 15:7, He also tells us:

7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. NAS

Let’s take a moment to quietly confess our sins to God, so that we are in fellowship with Him and led by the Holy Spirit when we study God’s word. 1 John 1:9 promises us, that if we name our known sins to God, He always forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, even from the unknown sins we forgot or didn’t even realize we committed. Let’s pray.

Thank you, Father, for always restoring your children when we admit our sins to you. May your Holy Spirit teach us your word as we study it now. We ask these things in Jesus Name. Amen.


I was recently reading an article on the Internet which warns about the false teachings of a certain well-publicized group of so-called "Biblical scholars". At one point, the writer of the article makes the following points:

1) "some Christians may feel that it is a ’waste of time’ for believers to criticize or analyze the dangers" of such a group of false teachers;

2) such an attitude "is contrary to Scripture";

3) "believers are to test all things by the Scriptures."

I agree with the writer on his third point, but not his first two. I happen to be one of those Christians mentioned in his first statement. I firmly believe it is, quote, a "waste of time" to familiarize myself with the doctrines of all the false religions, groups, or teachers that exist. If you apply his logic generally, that’s what a Christian believer would have to do. That’s clearly impossible, and just the thought of trying gives me a headache. I also don’t agree with the writer’s second point, that such an attitude is "contrary to Scripture," and I’ll explain why by discussing the writer’s third point.

"Believers are to test all things by the Scriptures." I could not agree more with the writer on this third point. It is because I agree with him on this point, that I think he’s wrong on his first two statements. If believers are going to "test all things" against God’s word, "the Scriptures," then they need to know the Bible, not the warped theology of those who attack it or who blaspheme Jesus Christ. The Bible does not tell us to study the false teachings of unbelievers, but rather to study God’s word.

1. Jesus tells believers to "abide in His word", to dwell continually in it. I believe in this so firmly and think it is so important, that I named my own Internet ministry "Abiding In The Word".

John 8:31-33

31 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NAS

2. The apostle Paul instructs Timothy that the Scriptures adequately equip a believer. God’s word is sufficient to protect us.

2 Tim 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. NAS

3. The Old Testament gives us an example to follow in the prophet Ezra’s attitude toward the Scriptures.

Ezra 7:10

10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. NAS

4. Paul also tells Timothy that believers are not to get involved in false words and discussions.

2 Tim 2:14-18

14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless, and leads to the ruin of the hearers.

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some. NAS

The above verses tell us that believers should not get involved in false doctrines, and tell us why:

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