IT would appear there is simply no end to the rising tide of false biblical teachers even across the world. Most continue to be fingered in the most ungodly of activities.
What with the recent slapping with a 22 year jail term of a popular Zimbabwean prophet who sexually abused women in his church a fortnight ago?
The supposed man of cloth was lured and exposed on a live radio show resulting in his arrest and subsequent incarceration.
Elsewhere in Scotland, without so much being obsessed with names, we have heard of so-called prophets being found wanting with the opposite sex.
Zimbabwe, in recent history, has about three cases of rape involving clerics that has seen them doing time in prison.
The question comes time and again: but how do we identify false biblical teachers. They all clutch on to bibles.
They command huge followings and preach convincingly only to hear that they have raped women.
Are there pointers to indicate? Can an honest objective Christian observer discern what false prophets and false pastors do?
By the way, the Bible makes no secret of the emergence of false prophets in Matthew 24.
It must be understood that a counterfeit is the opposite of an original; fake or false prophets try and mimic those who truly serve God.
Here are 5 key pointers that can possibly help one make a distinction in view of the ever increasing number of prophets, pastors and apostles with their ludicrous lifestyles.
- Ridiculous claims
This is certainly an indicator of a false teacher; they make ridiculous claims to the point of being preposterous.
Haven’t we heard of these men claiming that they have made trips to heaven or hell? They tell congregants that they have been to heaven and saw God, had meetings with angels and have been sent to warn people of impending destruction.
This is hopelessly false and a scare tactic meant to cow people into agreeing with every word of the false teacher.
Perhaps no one takes the cup as the Zimbabwean prophet who claimed recently that he had had lunch with God at his home.
There have also been perturbing reports of one prophet who claimed to have taken photos while in heaven.
The ridiculous claims by these charlatans have seen a rise in newspaper articles and radio and TV programmes questioning whether we are not dealing with people who should be in mental homes.
What defeats logic, however, is the following commanded by these men. It is well placed to ask whether or not these people put their congregants under some kind of spell.
How else, for instance, can adults be told to drink diesel in the hope of not falling sick? The great Apostle Paul never claimed to have visited heaven.
Even John the Baptist put across as the greatest of all men born of women never made claims made by these preachers yet they insist on the incredulous assertions.
- ‘Monetised’ sermons
This probably ranks as the easiest way to identify the false teacher: he preaches money in the bulk of his sermons.
His gospel or message has a central theme of money. There is more of the word money in the sermons.
In the Bible, amongst Jesus disciples, the one who had obsession with money was Judas Iscariot. The profound message taught by false teachers is that they represent God and therefore by donating or giving to them one gives to God.
They teach that blessings will flow to anyone who ‘seeds’ money to their personal ventures disguised as ministries.
They are concerned with their own prosperity. In the end, it’s all about money, fame, and prestige and an increased bank account.
They are in it for the money and the personal material benefits that they can gain as they endeavor to feed their selfish desires.
Resultantly, there has been an increase in cases of people demanding back their dues from these type of prophets.
The truth is that they do not represent God but themselves. Anyone pouring money to them will only have himself to blame.
Nothing will materialize as many others have discovered.
It even beats logic how a supposed servant of God would publicise their miracle prowess in the local tabloids or electronic media. The glory should belong to God if it were truly from God. The Bible says by their fruits you shall know them. True indeed, genuine prophets of God do not have the slightest intention to bring themselves to the attention of the world. If anything, Jesus Christ himself was on record warning people that they should not tell people of any miracle he performed.
In stark contrast, the false teacher is desperate for attention and will fake miracles just to entice the gullible.
The false biblical teacher seeks to put credit to their own power without necessarily exalting God. Pride is one indicator of a false teacher.
God ordained teachers exude humility and exalt Christ.
Surely, no true prophet, apostle or pastor from God would allow people to kneel down before him as we see the false teachers do.
They lack respect for God and their irreverence is almost shocking. The false teacher will regard himself as a ‘father’ to his congregants.
Today it has becoming common for followers of modern day prophets to identify themselves as ‘sons or daughters of the prophet.’
This indicates the highest level of disregard of the ultimate authority of God. Only God wields certain privileges.
All his creation is under him alone and no one else. Any preacher who regards himself a ‘father’ of his followers is a false prophet.
- Cult-like personality
I deliberately made this the last point as to make it stick for indeed this is the hallmark of the false teacher.
His name is exalted by his followers as if he were God. Even his church is normally associated with their name.
It is often the case that most of such churches’ official names are overshadowed by the name of the church leader.
Such inclinations do not place God in his rightful place but exalt mortals. Cultism, whether open or hidden, reveals a deceptive teacher out to mislead the people.
If one is in church where every regalia of the church has the face of the church leader then indeed they are dealing with a false prophet.
Jeremiah 23″The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes.
They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord!