False teachers abound in the church today. From “Prosperity Doctrine,” to the denial of Christ’s Deity, you do not have to search long or hard for these glaring errors. So how should we handle false teacher? Does Scripture give us any indication as to how we should proceed? The answer is an overwhelming YES! In fact, false teachers were a major problem in the New Testament as well and there is plenty of instruction on what we should do.
First, we need to establish what false teaching is and what it is not. A simple definition is anything that goes against the teaching of Scripture. But, like most things, it is rarely that simple.
For us to declare that something is against Scripture we must first be sure that our own position is in agreement with Scripture. After all, no false teacher “disagrees” with Scripture either. In fact, false teachers, in most cases, genuinely believe that they are carrying out the Scriptures faithfully, but they are not. This should give us great pause when we are looking at false teachers and their teachings.
But if we are sure that our teaching is on solid ground, and we are sure that we have identified a false teacher, what are we supposed to do? Paul makes clear in his letter to Titus the answer to this important question.
Paul, while giving instruction on the qualifications of an elder, states that he must hold firmly to the truth and sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). Paul then adds that we are to rebuke any who oppose it. In other words, we are not to be passive and let false teachers keep proclaiming their lies, we are to refute them and preach against their teachings and error.