Standing Against False Teaching

The church has always had false teachers. In fact, Jesus stood alone in opposition to hypocritical Pharisees and proud Sadducees. Paul warned the elders in Ephesus of wolves in their midst. John’s writings often confronted a heresy. Peter and Jude faced the same difficulties.

False teaching has infiltrated the American Church and is even making inroads into conservative Bible preaching churches. Paul’s words in Romans 16:17-27 are for us today.

Paul urges the Romans church three times in the book: to offer themselves as living sacrifices, to pray for his plans to Spain, and to examine themselves for certain behavior. They were to examine themselves for dissensions and hindrances.

Divisive people are difficult to identify because they’re masters of stealth. Social media has become a great place for these folks to camp out.

Are you a divider or a unifier?

Another area we need to look out for is hindrances. These types of folks set theological traps that bait unthinking Christians. This kind of teaching sounds good yet it’s contrary to the truth taught by Jesus and His disciples.

We need to examine ourselves to see where we are. We are living in extraordinary days. The amount of fake news seems to have hit warp drive over the past weeks. We’re seeing the hastening of the death of cultural Christianity and we’re about to see who the real Christ followers are.

Having identified the signs of an intruder in the Church, he now exposes their true nature. Such people do not serve Christ because they are slaves to their own “appetites.”  The payoff may be money, power, prestige, etc. and to conceal their true intentions, they project an admirable image.

Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus contain specific advice on how a pastor should deal with destructive people and false teachers. He emphasizes a proactive approach to protecting the church.

In the case of Romans, Paul is not addressing the leaders of the church, but the congregation at large. The primary responsibility of any congregation is obedience to the truths of Scripture. Additionally, the congregation is to be “innocent in what is evil.”

Wisdom and vigilance are all we need. That’s when we as members can simply refuse to be divided or misled.

Because the church in Rome has always been strong in this area, Paul assures his readers that God will soon defeat Satan and His means will be the feet of His faithful followers. The Church has always been in a battle with the enemy so don’t be surprised to discover Satan attacking by using a divisive person. What matters is how we respond when it happens.

Here are 4 questions you need to be ready to ask.
  • Does what I am saying agree with Scripture?
  • Does what I am hearing honor my Lord and Savior?
  • Does what I am hearing help me look more like Jesus?
  • Does what I am hearing cause me to think more highly of other believers?

We need to be ready, but, more often, churches are subtly taken apart from within by those who divide and spread false teaching, one person at a time.


1. Observation
Like a shepherd who constantly scans the flock for predators, we must remain alert, watching for schisms, looking for deceivers, and listening for error.  With the rise of social media, the plethora of information barraging us daily, we must be careful what we are ingesting.

2. Confrontation
Confrontation has become an unpleasant term in our world, perhaps because its rarely done well.  Confrontation is nothing more than bringing the truth of a situation out of the shadows and into the light to discuss openly.  This can be done tactfully by avoiding accusations, choosing to ask the responsible person some honest questions instead.

3. Separation
Sometimes divisive people and false teachers retreat for a time, and then go back to their destructive behavior later.  There are those who openly defy authority.  On some occasions, its best to separate.  That may mean removing yourself from their life, or a church removing them from fellowship.
Pastor Chris Williams
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