Bible Insights

The Warning Signs of a Preacher Gone Bad

How to Identify a False Teacher

Peter writes to caution the early church about false teachers, leaders who misguide, doing more harm to the church of Jesus than good. We need to watch out for them.

Here are some of the characteristics of a preacher gone bad.

False Teachers

  • Scoff at what they don’t understand
  • Act instinctively (like unreasoning animals)
  • Indulge in evil pleasures
  • Are a disgrace to the church
  • Commit adultery with their eyes
  • Lure others into their own insatiable desire for sin
  • Are greedy, cursed, useless
  • Brag or boast about themselves
  • Have twisted sexual desires
  • Promise freedom, while being enslaved to sin and corruption

I’ve known preachers like this. I’ve heard their sermons.

Whenever I hear a preacher mock what he doesn’t understand, my ears perk up. I am on high alert. Is he a false teacher? Then I look for other common characteristics:

Does his close mindedness disgrace Jesus and his church?

Is he greedy? That is, are his pleas for money insatiable?

Does he promote himself and his ministry?

Does he promise his followers freedom and then enslave them in rules?

False teachers are not someone we disagree with. Differences in opinion are fine. False teachers have identifiable traits, and I fear our church today has many more false teachers than we realize.

Watch out for them. Don’t follow them. Leave their influence at the first indication of these signs.

We’ve been warned.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Peter 1-3, and today’s post is on 2 Peter 2:12-19.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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