3 Dangers of False Doctrine

Milton Quintanilla

Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
Published Feb 22, 2023
3 Dangers of False Doctrine

False doctrine is a serious matter because it is a dangerous matter. It must be addressed for what it is so that Christians would stand against it. Here are three dangers of false doctrine, followed by an exhortation to return to the Scriptures. 

Throughout biblical times to today, false doctrine has always been a problem. In my opinion, false doctrine is more dangerous than persecution because it is an attack from within rather than without. It is a poison within the body of Christ, affecting many who genuinely love God and scratching itching ears who want teachings that don't have much to do with the Word of God. If anything, new believers are most at risk of becoming deceiving by false doctrine since they have no grounding in the Scriptures.

Ministers who prefer to preach a water-down message instead of the Bible are more concerned about pleasing man rather than glorifying God. As a result, God will hold them to account and judgment. False doctrine is a serious matter because it is a dangerous matter. It must be addressed for what it is so that Christians would stand against it. Here are three dangers of false doctrine, followed by an exhortation to return to the Scriptures. 

1. False Doctrine Is Deceptive

Consider the Scripture in 2 Cor. 11:14 (English Standard Version), 

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds,” the text reads.

The verse begins by noting that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” which suggests how deceptive our enemy is. Elsewhere in Scripture. he is described as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and as the one “who deceives the world” (Rev. 12:9). Back in the garden of Eden, he deceived Eve by telling her if she ate the fruit of the tree, then she “would not die” and that she “would be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5). That, of course, was a lie, since God warned that eating from the fruit of the tree would result in death (Gen. 2:17). We also see Satan and attempting his deceitful schemes on our Lord Jesus Christ in the temptation in the desert (Matt. 4). 

Now how does this tie to false doctrine? Well, if you think about it, false doctrine is deceptive because false doctrine is primarily Satanic. It is meant to distort the truth with lies, thus deceiving its hearers, who end up believing those lies as truth. Church, that is a dangerous thing, because once one becomes accustomed to false doctrine, then it becomes difficult to break out of it. Now we know that is not impossible since all things are all possible with God, Amen? But in many cases, challenging or expressing concern of false doctrine can be shunned by those who embrace it, including friends, family, and preachers.

2. False Doctrine Is Divisive

In our second point, we recognize that false doctrine is divisive. Just as false doctrine distorts the truth, it divides it as well. It can even split a church from within. For instance, a pastor can fall into criticism for bringing in false doctrine and shunning those church members who speak out against it. On the other hand, church members can criticize the pastor for speaking out against sin and stressing repentance in favor of a lighter message. 

There is also the division between true and false doctrine. On the one hand, you have biblically centered, Christ-exalting truth, while you have unbiblical, me-centered messages on the other. Not only that, you have the influence of a sinful world that is a temptation to some professing Christians. The battle for the truth is real, and it is divisive.

For the church, false doctrine divides the sheep from the goats. In other words, false doctrine can divide true born-again Christians from those who are Christian in name only. Now I want to clarify that there are true Christians who are deceived by false doctrine but will ultimately come to realize the truth because of their continued growth in their relationship to God and His Word. Nevertheless, false doctrine is divisive because of the schism it has caused within the body of Christ.

3. False Doctrine Is Destructive

Finally, the third point in this post is that false doctrine is destructive. Why do I say this? Because false doctrine ends in destruction, such as the judgment of God. False believers are at risk of facing God’s judgment because they are not truly born again and remain unrepentant. They may profess, Lord! Lord! Only to hear the sobering words, “Depart from me you workers of lawlessness, I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23). Meanwhile, false teachers will face greater judgment by God (James 3:1) for their deceiving the body of Christ with false doctrine. Overall, this is a sober warning that Christians must take heed because judgment first begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

The church is the bride of Christ, and she is precious to Him. So He will not tolerate when there are wolves preying upon His sheep. He will not stand when there are false prophets deceiving His elect. Thanks be to God for His grace but woe to those who fail to repent unto His imminent return ! For Christ is coming back, and He is coming to judge the world. For all the talk on how God is all love, and no wrath will be very surprised on the day of Christ's return. And for false teachers and false converts, we must pray for their repentance before it is too late. For there will be no excuses on judgment day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we see why false doctrine is so dangerous. It is deceptive, for it leads one away from the truth. It is divisive because it causes a rift in the church. And it is destructive for Christ will judge all false teachers and false converts in addition to unbelievers. While this is not an easy message to share, it is necessary because false doctrine is everywhere. It’s bad enough we live in a fallen world, where corruption and depravity abound, but how much worse it is when we have so many churches that have been compromised. 

To stand against the winds of false doctrine means to be grounded in biblical truth. It is the responsibility for every professing Christian to supplement the Word of God in their lives so that the Word of God would encompass their lives. During His high priestly prayer, Christ tells God the Father, “sanctify them in truth, for Your Word is truth.” (John 17:17). That was His prayer to God for His disciples, and the same applies for us as we are also disciples of Christ. Friends, that is a prayer that God answers for His people, for we are supposed to be sanctified in His truth, that is in His Word. The scriptures are essential in renewing our minds, equipping us to fight sin, walking in obedience, and growing in the knowledge of God. 

Getting back to the Bible is crucial in this day and age, especially against pushing back against false doctrine. Christians who grow in the Word also grow in discernment as they will be able to distinguish that which is biblical and that which is unbiblical. Pastors who devote their time in studying the Scriptures will be able to divide it rightly (2 Tim. 3:15). Additionally, they must be able to mark and avoid false teachers (Rom. 16:17) and expose the works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). Preachers must also be wary as to whom they associate with, such as false teachers, or invite into their church lest they partake “in his wicked works”(2 John 11). As the Scriptures say, a little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9). Therefore, we must embrace biblical truth so that we would stand firm in the truth against false doctrine. We need that now more than ever.

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Milton QuintanillaMilton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.