But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
(2 Peter 2:1)
In the Bible, there is no greater crime than being a false prophet. It’s bad to tell a lie, and it’s worse to teach a lie; but it is evil to teach a lie about God. Don’t let false teachers take you by surprise; when you look for the devil, never fail to look in the pulpit. We must learn how to spot a counterfeit teacher.
Scripture tells us that false teachers are among us and warns us of the dangers of their doctrine.
We can identify counterfeits by their message. There are five tests we should run in our minds as we listen to a preacher:
1 Source Test: What is the basis of his teaching?
2 Savior Test: Does he believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah?
3 Subject Test: Is the primary source of his teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ?
4 Salvation Test: Does he teach salvation by grace, or does he try to mix works or baptism or anything else into salvation?
5 Sanctification Test: Does he teach, and endeavor to live, a holy life?
• Which of the five tests for identifying a counterfeit by his message stood out to you?
• How might you work to remember these measures and actively use them when listening to a new teacher?