5 Types Of Teachings Christians Should Be Aware Of
I love how my English teachers taught in elementary school. Whenever we would review for an upcoming test or final exam, we would go through an extensive review, complete with “cheat codes”.
Much like playing a video game, there were many key words and phrases that my teachers would point out. Not to completely give away whole points on their tests, but to teach two important lessons: (1) When you pay attention in class and know the material well, you’ll likely pass and (2) if you did the readings, the “cheat codes” they gave during the review, would trigger memory devices that would help you choose the correct multiple choice answer on the test.
Not only did my English teachers prepare me well most of the time (thank you public school education), but they also taught me a lifelong lesson long before God saved me. And it was that in order to succeed in different areas of life, one would need to learn to think critically and pay attention to the details. Because often hidden in the details, are the very things we can use to unlock the answer to hidden questions.
Like my grade school teachers, The Holy Spirit through Bible reading and studying, gives us “cheat codes” to help us detect when Satan is masquerading himself as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). And in order to be on guard of his many schemes to try and get us to disengage our critical thinking skills we picked up in grade school, we must seek God’s Word for help in discerning.
We live in an age where many are failing to pay attention to the details. And in that failure to do so, it leads so many women, men and children astray, as they venture off behind teachers that bring confusion and unbiblical rhetoric to the flock of God. Even worse, they add stumbling blocks to The Gospel that we later have to tear down to even get to the point of sharing The Gospel message with others. So, in that vein, join me as we take a look at the details, and examine 5 types of teachings that Christians should be aware of.
(1) DISTORTION OF GOD'S TRIUNE EXPRESSION IN SCRIPTURE
Not only has God revealed Himself to us in three distinct persons: God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit, but He has also expressed Himself to us in this way.
There are many teachers floating in the evangelical sphere that outright deny this reality shown in Scripture or reduce it to a mere set of nerdy theological terms that we can do without. But The Bible both shows us that without the triune Godhead, not only do we not have a Biblical Christianity, but our entire salvation is thwarted if all three persons in the Holy Trinity, aren’t alive and well. For they all took unique parts in accomplishing salvation for us.
Being made in God’s image is poured out onto all of human creation from one single verse in Genesis. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26a) The imprint of The Father, Son and Spirit, is seen on every single human in their myriad of intricately woven and designed features. This is of no mistake or by happenstance of course, but by creative and intentional design, by the triune Godhead Himself.
There are many, many teachings and teachers that will say from the pulpit that God is not triune. They will prey on the hearts and minds of the easily influenced and undiscerning and teach unbiblical things whilst boldly using The Scriptures to do so. They pick apart whole passages of Scripture, to find a verse that compliments their twisted doctrines. So, it is imperative, that we be on guard. And don’t think their presence is confined to the inside of church walls. They gain their traction outside of the church too, as whole cults “witness” about their distorted way of thinking by challenging your doctrinal beliefs with out of context Scripture.
If God is not triune, He is not God. The existence and importance of all three members of the Trinity are connected to truth (Rom. 3:3-4, 15:8; John. 14:6, 15:26, 16:13; Eph. 4:20-21) When The Bible speaks of The Father, The Son or The Spirit, we see there is a clear distinction even in how they speak to one another. When Jesus in John 17 prays the high priestly prayer, in verse 1 He addresses God The Father by calling Him Father. Is He talking to Himself? No. But is He talking to His equal? Yes!
Important Biblical truths about the Trinity that we affirm as Christians:
• There is one and only one true and living God.
• This one God eternally exists in three persons — God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit.
• These three persons are completely equal in attributes, each with the same divine nature.
• While each person is fully and completely God, the persons are not identical.
Source: Crossway ESV Study Bible
• The Christian faith is monotheistic. We worship one God, not three separate gods. This is possible because each member of the Trinity is completely united in essence and equality. They are distinguished in function.
(2) THE ANTINOMIANISM VIEW THAT PROMOTES ALL GRACE, NO LAW
This particular teaching is so dangerous because it sounds reallll good. Teachers of this doctrine will couple their grace-talk with cherry-picked verses out of The Bible, while totally dismissing the consistent message that The Bible teaches on God’s grace not being a license to sin (Rom. 6:1-4)
Antinomianism promotes grace separated from adherence to moral law. This means that the belief is held that grace covers everything so people don’t have to obey. Will it always be blatantly stated that way? Most times not. But, there are some bold ones who will. The key to identifying whether or not this is being taught, is to look closely at what Romans 7 teaches about the Law. When God’s Law is taught as “bad”, ordinarily people will begin to view obeying the commands of God as a terrible or unnecessary thing because #Jesus. But, Jesus came not to abolish the Law, but instead to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17-20)
All of The Law and the Prophets that Jesus came to and did fulfill, was worked out in His complete and perfect keeping of them. The entire OT points to Jesus as does the NT. So, when we’re bogged down with the weight of understanding how we cannot perfectly or fully keep all of God’s laws, we are reminded when we look vertically at Christ’s finished work, and see that He perfectly completed and did all that was necessary so that we could be saved and secured. The key to seeing God’s Law rightly isn’t found in condemning it, as it was and is a guide for living and shows us how sinful we are. It is however, found in understanding that even in our inability to do all that it demanded, Christ was fully able and successful in doing what we could not.
(3) PURPOSE-DRIVEN DOCTRINE THAT ELEVATES PERSONAL PURPOSE OVER THE GOSPEL
Purpose isn’t bad. God created us for His purposes and glory. He created us with plans for us to put our hands to the plows of whatever kind, and to use our work to bring glory to His name. He also did so, with the knowledge of what good work will do when its fuel and motivation is The Gospel message going out into the earth which then in turn brings about disciple-making.
But, the way in which “purpose” has been largely taught and communicated today, has come as a distraction and deterrent from God’s intended plans for those goods works He foreordained for us to do in Ephesians 2:10. Even when movements and organizations quote that Scripture to further solidify their purpose-driven mantras and statements, they often do so apart from the entirety of that verse.
It says to begin, “For we are His workmanship, [a]” which is first an indicator that we belong to God for His work. We are a result of His creative handiwork. God’s work is the ultimate work and it created you and I. This specific section of the verse even links back to Deuteronomy 32:6 in which Moses spoke the words of a song that was heard by Israel. This verse in Deuteronomy reminds the Israelites that it was God who created them and made them and established them. Just like the people of Israel needed constant reminding as they were seeking to be brought into the Promised Land, we need to be reminded too. Our hope is not in the destinations we reach or the things we even do, but in The One who gives us the ability to do them. God wanted Israel to know that The God who had purposed for them to enter into a land flowing with milk and honey, was to be worshipped and revered. Not the land itself, for apart from God, it held no provision or value.
Likewise, when we’re engaging in purpose talks and even sifting through the teachers we listen to that regularly teach these things, we must be careful. Like anything, purpose can easily become an idol and it’ll have us chasing after things to do, versus The One who has already done. The good works we were created in Christ for wasn’t for ourselves but for Him. It is and was and always will be for the purpose of the lost coming into the knowledge of Christ by our Gospel efforts outworked in our faith-based works. God’s glory is on the line and so are souls. As we are hearing these messages of purpose, let us be discerning in what they are ultimately pointing to. Is it for God’s purposes? Or brand building and heightening our personal interests over The Word of God?
(4) THE RELATIONSHIP MINISTRY CAMP THAT SEEKS TO FORMULATE WHOLE DOCTRINES BASED OFF OF PERSONAL TESTIMONY & EXPERIENCE
Let me start off by saying that talking about relationships is not bad. When centered around The Gospel, advice can be given that can help encourage singles and couples in so many areas. I’ve seen this done extremely well and very poorly. The point in which we start swimming in dangerous waters, is when we teach or give our support to instructors who make whole doctrines on how to do relationships, based off of the vacuum of personal testimonies and experiences.
When we talk about The Bible being God-breathed, Holy Spirit inspired, infallible and fully authoritative, we are affirming several things:
• That God knows best and is infinitely wiser, more knowledgeable and perfect than we are.
• Our testimonies, experiences and ideas are subservient to His Word.
• He truly gave us His Word to counter and inform us on all issues and matters of life and godliness.
When we approach relationships or anything else from a worldview of personal happenings instead of from a Biblical worldview, we will lead others according to our limited wisdom instead of God’s infinite wisdom.
God uses His Word by His Spirit to help us to use wisdom when making decisions that can affect and impact our future families, marriages, lives, legacies, all of that. Everything in life isn’t always black and white or has a cookie cutter mold you can find at Walmart. So, instead of God always giving us a “how-to” manual on who or how to date, who to marry or how to prepare oneself to do that, He more times than not, gives us His Word to inform us on who He is and what He expects of us, to then in turn, use wisdom based on knowledge of Himself, historical redemption and what our interests should be, to help us to make those tough decisions.
I find that most times when we’re focused on giving a lot of attention to the “needs” of people when it comes to relationships, the greatest need isn’t more advice, but more discipleship. Good disciples will make good husbands and wives, good parents, good leaders, and good teachers. Our relationships with others will thrive at the hand of excelling in sanctification and leaping over hurdles that are found in growing in Christian disciplines such as prayer, fasting, Bible reading, community, etc.
The Gospel is essential and necessary for all that we need to live, love and thrive for the glory of God in this life. Yes, we can teach and tell others how to become or get what they desire. But, when we elevate The Gospel and true discipleship over those things, they will see that their provision is found in the will of God that isn’t some magic 8 ball, mystified thing that you have to go on a scavenger hunt for. But instead, it is found in the pages of The Bible, by The Spirit’s leading according to the Word He inspired and is worked out in trusting that God’s sovereignty is bigger and better than your works on its best day.
Personal testimony and experience is and can be helpful, but not to the detriment of Scripture. God doesn’t need our testimony or super deep revelations to encourage His people. He looks for us to rightly use His Word, wisdom and our Christian liberty in Christ, to 1 Corinthians 10:31 this life.
(5) THE NEW-AGERS, CHAKRAS, ENERGY & VIBRATIONS MIXED WITH SCRIPTURE, CRYSTAL-LOVING THIRD EYERS
Although not unique to us millennials, I do think this is something that our generation consistently finds themselves caught up in.
I cannot count how many professing Christians I’ve met, that perpetuate or believe that New Age practices have a seat at the table of God. Most times, I’m not even sure if those millennial Christians who use crystals, or send “good vibes” to others, realize the roots of which they are getting these things from.
Anytime we open the Old Testament, we will see a pattern of God regularly condemning the Israelites for profaning His name by engaging in the worship of other gods. Although the nation of Israel were God’s chosen people, He did not let up in making it clearly known to them that He wasn't having divided hearts and affections from those who belonged to Him. He called evil evil and didn’t hesitate to rain down judgement against those who refused to turn from their evil sins and wicked ways.
Not only do we run the risk of being like the Israelites, but we also run the risk of affirming New Age teachings when we mix our faith with other things. Sadly, this stuff creeps up in the church every single day. There’s popular worship songs that refer to God as a “higher power” and teachers that sometimes unknowingly borrow New Age language when admonishing their students to “tap into the power of God.”
When God calls us to Himself, commanding us to come out from the world and be separate from them, He does so for good reasons. One of those being that by affirming covertly or overtly New Age teachings, we are stating that our faith is just another one to add to the others. The New Age movement at large, doesn’t believe there is one path to truth, but many. New Agers don’t have a problem borrowing from Islam, Buddhism, Christianity or any other faith because they all can lead to truth in some way, form or fashion in their eyes.
However, as Believers, we know this to be completely untrue. There is only one way to The Father and Jesus says it’s through Him (John. 14:6). Do we remember the great anger that God kindled against the Israelites when they sinned against Him by crafting the idolatrous golden calf in Exodus? Are we aware of what happened to people when they offered strange worship to God? Do we care that God calls us to worship Him and Him alone?
Beloved, we must be on guard when we see salt crystal lamps on TV and in our favorite stores. We must be vigilantly aware that vibrations are not things that we should be busying ourselves with, but instead be seeking to inform ourselves on what these things actually are believed to be. In evangelizing to others, we must be able to display to them through our set-apartness that Jesus is better. You cannot tie a U-Haul of the world’s idols to your faith and expect God to be okay with it.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of even a fourth of what types of teachings we should be aware of as Christians, they are important nonetheless. Being able to identify these things as being contrary to Scripture will only come from knowing and believing Scripture. Context matters and content matters. Let us seek the truth of God’s Word to develop a worldview that is committed to it. The health of our local churches and families depend on it, our evangelism depends on it and our faith depends on it. The only way we can fully share truth, is if we aren’t partially committed to it. The world is watching and so is God. Are we going to display what it truly means to be a Christian that’s committed to God? Truth isn’t subjective, it’s rooted in Scripture. Let’s live and think like it!