How to Spot a Counterfeit Step Two: Pay Attention to What is Missing

Magicians work their magic through misdirection. By getting you to focus on what they want you to see, they can remove or alter what you need to see and that misdirection helps them pull off their deception.

Sunday, we talked about counterfeit, or false teachers. In order for us to make sure our walk is the real deal, we need to be sure the doctrine we are listening to is also the real deal. What makes counterfeits so dangerous is that a good counterfeit can easily pass for the real thing. When dealing with false teachers, the mistake we often make is focusing on what they are saying that sounds doctrinally correct. That’s their misdirection. Every false teacher must incorporate some element of truth, or his/her teaching won’t be seen as believable. What we have to pay attention to is what they are not saying.

2 Peter 2:1-3
(1)  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
(2)  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
(3)  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

The great deception of false teachers is that they will use many of the same terms as those who teach the truth. The difference is in how they define their terms. As a general rule, false teachers deny the inspiration of the Bible, man’s sinfulness, the need for the crucifixion, the resurrection and especially the deity of Christ. Why deny the deity of Christ? Because the deity of Christ is central to the body of Christian doctrine. If you can convince someone that Jesus is not God, you have effectively gutted biblical Christianity.

Perhaps the best way to combat a false teacher is to challenge him or her on who they say Jesus Christ is and not to settle for their canned answer. Keep at them until they are forced to come clean with their opinion of who they think Christ is. I say “opinion” because any stance on the doctrine of Christ that is not based on Scripture is just an opinion. Our salvation in Christ is not based on opinion; it’s based on Bible doctrine. A false teacher cannot bring himself to be honest about Who Christ is, because that guts his argument!

What we have to understand when it comes to exposing false teachers is that we do not have to know their doctrine. We have to know our doctrine. I have mentioned this before: every time Paul or John or Peter combat false teachers, they spend very little time going over the details of the false teaching. They always bring their readers back to the truth of God’s doctrine. To expose a counterfeit for what he/she is, find out what they are not saying about Jesus Christ. If they are not saying He is God and the Son of God, it does not matter how good everything else they say sounds. It is still counterfeit if it is not following Christ.

[Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash]

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