Tim Challies has an excellent list of indicators of a false teacher.
- False teachers are man pleasers.
- False teachers save their harshest criticism for God’s most faithful servants.
- False teachers teach their own wisdom and vision.
- False teachers miss what is of central importance and focus instead on the small details.
- False teachers obscure their false doctrine behind eloquent speech and what appears to be impressive logic.
- False teachers are more concerned with winning others to their opinions than in helping and bettering them.
- False teachers exploit their followers.
Read the full article and explanations of each entry on Tim’s site: 7 Marks of a False Teacher
Bonus Material from Tim Callies:
Lessons Learned about False Teachers
- False Teachers Are Common: we ought to expect them and be on the lookout for them. They are common in every era of church history.
- False Teachers Are Deceptive: They do not announce themselves as false teachers, but proclaim themselves angels of light, people who have access to wisdom others have missed or misplaced.
- False Teachers Are Dangerous: They will affirm so much that is good and true. They will not deny all of the doctrines upon which the Christian faith stands or falls, but only select parts of it
- False Teachers Are Divisive: Because false teachers tend to remain within the church, and because they claim to be honoring the Bible, they confuse true believers and drive wedges between them. Amazingly, it is often those who stand fast against falsehood who get labeled as divisive.
- False Teachers Give People What They Want: Their concern is not for what people truly need, but for what people want. The concern of the Christian is the exact opposite—the gospel does not address what we want, but what we need!
- False Teachers Are Not Innocent: They are not naive people who have taken a wrong turn in their theology, but evil people who are out to destroy others. Their attack on truth is far more brazen than we may like to think.
- False Teachers Cannot Tolerate the Gospel: At some level and in some way, they will always add to or subtract from the pure and sweet gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.