By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
In a previous post, I dealt with the fact that many false Christians have something in common: they get their doctrines (teachings) from sources outside the Bible, which is the Word of God. I do not mean they read books and etc. that explain the Bible. Such writings can be very helpful. I mean they think God is revealing truths not found in the Bible. This is a great mistake. Every theological teaching God wants us to know is found in the Bible. We do not need new doctrines. We need to learn the old ones given to us in the Bible. Here is a link to my previous post: https://biblicalsubjects.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/something-most-false-christians-have-in-common/.
What Are False Christians? In this post, I will present eight doctrines (teachings) that are commonly believed by false Christians. But before doing so, we need to consider a question: What are false Christians? They are those who claim to be true Christians, but who, knowingly or unknowingly, are false Christians.
What Makes Someone A False Christian? First, someone who is what we call a nominal Christian is a false one. A nominal Christian is someone who is a Christian in name but not in heart. They attend church services and know Christian teaching, but it means little or nothing to them. They might even secretly not believe what the Bible teaches. They often are the kind of person who “goes along to get along” with their Christian parents, spouse, and friends. They know what they do and don’t believe, but keep their unbelief to themselves and give others the impression they are Christians. Second, a person can be a false Christian while thinking they are a true one. They aren’t attempting to fool anyone. They simply have been led to believe false teachings, but think those teachings are the truth. This is true of countless persons who grow up under the leadership of parents who are members of cults that claim to be Christian. It is to be expected that these persons will think they are true Christians when, in fact, they are false ones. It is a real struggle for them to face the fact that, though they have been sincere in their beliefs, they have been wrong.
What are some beliefs common to many false Christians? It is very interesting that most false Christians have similar beliefs. Consider some of them: 1) They believe the Bible is the Word of God. It is a good thing to believe this. But one can believe it and be a false Christian. In fact, many of what we call “Christian cults” rightly believe the Bible is the Word of God. And this fact makes outsiders assume they must, therefore, be Christians. “Don’t true Christians believe in the Bible?,” someone might ask. We answer, “They do. But so do many false Christians.” Therefore, this is not a sure sign that someone is a Christian or that some group is Christian. One must not only believe the Bible is the Word of God. One must also believe what it teaches. False Christians do not do so. 2) False Christians commonly believe that there is only one person in the Godhead: God the Father. We call such persons “Unitarians.” these persons oppose the Biblical doctrine of three persons in the Godhead: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. In spite of abundant evidence in the Bible that God is triune, they insist that this is a false doctrine. Their denial of this doctrine is an example of the fact that one can believe the Bible is God’s Word but deny what the Bible teaches. 3) Many false Christians believe Jesus Christ was/is a real human being, a good man, a great man, an unusual man, but only a man. Therefore, they deny that he was/is both God and man. They deny the Biblical teaching of his eternal deity. And they do so in spite of abundant Biblical evidence that contradicts them. 4) Many false Christians believe the Holy Spirit is only God’s power or force. In spite of the Biblical evidence, they do not believe the Holy Spirit is a person and they do not believe that he is God the Holy Spirit. 5) Many false Christians believe that our salvation is dependent to some degree on our being worthy of it. To them, salvation is like a paycheck: you have to work for it. Therefore, they tell us we must not only believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord to be saved. We must also keep God’s commands to qualify for it. Christians should keep God’s commands. They should live right. But they do not do so in order to merit salvation. The Bible gives abundant evidence that salvation is a free gift, and anyone who claims to be a Christian but says we must obey God to qualify for it is a false Christian. 6) Many false Christians believe human beings do not have souls that remain conscious after death. Rather, they believe death ends their existence, at least until the resurrection of the body. Their belief is sometimes called “soul sleep,” by which is meant that they believe the soul and body “sleep” together in the grave. 7) Related to number 6 is the fact that many false Christians do not believe in eternal, conscious punishment of the wicked in a place we often call “hell.” Many of them think that God just completely annihilates the wicked when they are judged. But, as has been said about other doctrines of false Christians, the Biblical evidence contradicts their beliefs. 8) Many false Christians believe they alone are true followers of the Bible’s teachings. This can be true of an individual, and it can be true of groups of them who share the same beliefs. The end result of their belief about themselves is their unwillingness and inability to have Christian fellowship with anyone outside their group. They might have groups that meet in many places around the world, but even so their so-called Christian fellowship is restricted to those who share the same opinions on Biblical subjects. While it is true that only true Christians can have Christian fellowship with one another, it is a great mistake to think that only members of one’s own group are Christians. The fact is, true Christians can disagree on many points that do not fit into the category of fundamental or core Biblical doctrines, and still have genuine Christian fellowship with one another.
Some links to helpful studies in Biblical doctrines fundamental to the Christian faith. Because false Christians are confused about major doctrines of the Christian faith, I decided to provide some links to studies about these doctrines I hope you will read them with open minds.