ALL FALSE RELIGIONS DENY ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
When Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthian church, he was aware that the forces of darkness were already sending out deceiving demon spirits to promote false doctrine.
Paul tells the young Corinthian church, “But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted you may well put up with it!” (2 Cor 11:3,4).
In this passage Paul was rebuking the Corinthian church for tolerating false teachers who were promoting error. These false teachers, motivated by the spirit of the antichrist, were preaching:
- Another “christ” – not the Christ born into our world and revealed in Scripture;
- Another “spirit” – not the Holy Spirit, Who is the third Person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit is fully God) Who dwells within those who surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.
- Another “gospel” – not the Gospel preached by Jesus and the apostles and revealed in the Scriptures.
False religions of today are still preaching the same kind of error.
The teachings of the world’s largest false religions, various pseudo-Christian cults, and a wide variety of lesser-known religions, vary greatly in their doctrines and practices. Yet, all of them share in common the denial or distortion of foundational Christian doctrines.
It is of utmost importance that you, as a church leader, study this section and become very familiar with the basic Christian doctrines presented here. Your study and knowledge of these key doctrines will provide a solid foundation for both your faith and your ministry to others. This study will enhance your ability to discern false religions and the cults that attempt to masquerade as genuine Christianity. Knowing the truth will keep you from the bondage of error (John 8:32).
The Bible exhorts, “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2: 15). Church leaders and other believers should become “diligent workers” who study the Word of God daily and thoroughly. When they are very familiar with the real truth, false teaching or error will be immediately recognizable.
To illustrate this concept: A bank clerk needs to know how to discern whether money is genuine or “counterfeit”. He is trained to do this by spending hours and hours handling genuine money. Then when a counterfeit bill is slipped in, the bank clerk can readily spot that it is not right. The more familiar he is with the “real thing”, the harder it is to be fooled by a fake. In a similar but much more important way, being familiar with the genuine truth of the Bible will help you more readily spot heresy and error that contradict the Bible.
Regarding sound doctrine, take special note of Paul’s exhortations to Timothy: “Till I come, give attention to reading [the Scriptures], to exhortation, to doctrine” and “take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (1 Tim 4:13,16)