Video courtesy of THE BEAT by Allen Parr

In the heart of the town, a church stood as a beacon of hope for the community. Its doors were always open, welcoming anyone seeking spiritual guidance and fellowship.

However, unbeknownst to many, a dark undercurrent lurked beneath the surface, threatening to lead the flock astray.

It was a sunny Sunday morning when Zoe, a young woman new to the faith, eagerly made her way to the church.

She had been searching for a place to deepen her understanding of the Word of God and find a sense of belonging. As she entered the sanctuary, an usher greeted her with a warm, friendly smile.

The sermon that day was delivered by the charismatic pastor, whose words seemed to flow like honey, captivating the hearts and minds of the listeners.

Zoe found herself nodding along, mesmerized by the pastor’s charisma and the way he wove intricate stories into his teachings.

Little did Zoe know that beneath the surface, this preacher was a false teacher, who cleverly disguised his twisted interpretations of Scripture with charm and eloquence.

The Apostle Paul cautioned in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (NIV):

20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.”

In this blog post, I discuss 5 kinds of false teachers in the church you should avoid as a Christian.

1. The Hypocrite: When Actions Contradict Teachings

The Hypocrite

In the New Testament we are warned:

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:15-17 (NKJV)

The hypocrite is a false teacher whose lifestyle blatantly contradicts the very teachings they preach.

These individuals may have started with good intentions, but over time, their sins began to erode their anointing.

They live in hypocrisy, indulging in the very vices they condemn from the pulpit. Their actions betray the truth of God’s Word, and their fruit reveals the rot within.

2. The Hireling: Sorcerers Who Do Ministry for Selfish Gain

The Hireling

In John 10:11-13 (NKJV) Jesus said:

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

Jesus contrasts the Good Shepherd with the hireling, who flees when the wolf comes because he cares not for the sheep.

The hireling is a false teacher driven by greed and self-interest, exploiting ministry for personal gain.

These individuals often charge exorbitant fees for prayer, deliverance, healing, or prophecy, treating the gifts of the Spirit as commodities to be bought and sold.

They are spiritual sorcerers, exchanging the power of God for monetary gain, as portrayed in Acts 8:9-24 with the story of Simon the Sorcerer.

3. The Heresy Hunter: Those Who Attack Fellow Believers They Disagree With

The Heresy Hunter

In Ephesians 4:3-4 (NLT), Paul exhorted believers:

3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”

The heresy hunter disregards this admonition and engages in a relentless pursuit of doctrinal policing. These teachers are often insecure and full of spiritual pride.

They mistake disagreements on peripheral doctrines as heresy, mixing the Gospel with side issues.

They are consumed by a desire to be perceived as intellectually superior, constantly seeking to win arguments rather than win souls for Christ.

4. The Heretic: Teachers that Twist the Scripture

The Heretic

A heretic violates the fundamentals of the Christian faith, twisting Scripture to support their erroneous beliefs.

Hebrews 13:9 (NKJV) warns us:

“Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace…”

These false teachers deny the deity of Christ, the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus, and the doctrine of the Trinity.

They distort the truth, leading people astray from the true Gospel message.

5. The Cult Leader: Deceptive and Controlling Teachers

The Cult Leader

In Romans 16:17-20, Paul cautioned against those who “cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine” they have been taught.

The cult leader is a false teacher who, over time, cultivates a cult-like following, demanding absolute loyalty and obedience.

These individuals often claim exclusive knowledge, promoting an “us against them” mentality and portraying any dissent as an attack on the group.

They talk themselves up, boasting of their authority and accomplishments, seeking to control and manipulate their followers.

Key Takeaways

  1. False teachers come in various forms, from the hypocrite whose actions betray their words, to the hireling who exploits ministry for personal gain.
  2. Beware of the heresy hunter, whose spiritual pride drives them to police doctrines excessively, and the heretic, who twists Scripture to support erroneous beliefs.
  3. The cult leader is perhaps the most dangerous, manipulating followers and demanding absolute loyalty, often leading to spiritual harm and division.
  4. Discernment is crucial, rooted in a deep understanding of God’s Word and a willingness to test every teaching against the truth of Scripture.
  5. Avoid false teachers, but approach correction with humility, gentleness, and a heart for restoration, always seeking unity in the essentials of the faith.


The dangers of false teachers cannot be overstated. They come in various forms, from the hypocrite to the cult leader, each with their unique tactics to lead believers astray.

However, by cultivating discernment rooted in God’s Word and a willingness to test every teaching against the truth of Scripture, you can navigate these treacherous waters and remain steadfast in your faith.

Remember, the ultimate goal is not to win arguments but to protect the flock and maintain unity in the essentials of the Gospel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I discern if someone is a false teacher?

A. Evaluate their teachings against the fundamentals of the Christian faith as outlined in Scripture.

Look for contradictions between their words and actions, and be wary of those who demand absolute loyalty or claim exclusive knowledge. Seek counsel from mature believers and trusted leaders in your church community.

Q. What if I unknowingly followed a false teacher in the past?

A. Do not be discouraged. Repent and recommit yourself to the truth of God’s Word.

Seek guidance from trusted sources and surround yourself with a community of believers who can support and encourage you in your spiritual journey.

Q. How should I respond if I encounter a false teacher?

A. Approach the situation with humility, gentleness, and a heart for restoration. If the individual is within your circle of influence, lovingly confront them with Scripture and encourage repentance.

If they persist in their false teachings, you may need to distance yourself and warn others, always seeking to maintain unity in the essentials of the faith.

Q. Aren’t all disagreements on doctrine considered heresy?

A. No, not all doctrinal disagreements constitute heresy. Heresy is a violation of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith, such as the deity of Christ, the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus, or the doctrine of the Trinity.

Disagreements on peripheral doctrines, while important, do not necessarily qualify as heresy.

Q. How can I avoid being led astray by false teachers?

A. Immerse yourself in studying God’s Word. Seek wisdom and discernment through prayer and fellowship with mature believers.

Be cautious of those who claim to have exclusive knowledge or demand absolute loyalty.

Evaluate teachings against the truth of Scripture, and be willing to respectfully challenge anything that contradicts the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *