False Prophets & False Teachers & Their Poisonous Effect

Matthew 24:11,24,25; 2 Peter 2:1
       And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many…There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.
       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.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Errors and heresies, in whatever degree they prevail, have a poisonous effect upon those who admit them.

FRANCES BEVAN (1827-1909): It is very sad when Satan thus divides God’s people by bringing in errors and misunderstandings of God’s truth; but in such cases it is wrong to “agree to differ,” as people often say. Those who are speaking according to God’s mind are right in showing the errors of those who differ from it, however painful it may be to do so.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The whole climate of opinion today is utterly opposed to this―We must never be negative―So we must never criticize, still less must we denounce anything…The fact is, of course, that in our misunderstanding of the New Testament and its teaching we are exalting a kind of niceness and politeness, which are not to be found there, not even in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Look, for instance, at what He says in Matthew 7:15-27; He says that there are false teachers whom He can compare only to “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” No severer castigation than that can be imagined. He is referring to men who themselves are deniers of the truth, but who give the impression that they are preaching it.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): When truth and error are in presence of each other, the right side is not the middle.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Do not say of any error, “It is a mere matter of opinion.” No man indulges an error of judgment, without sooner or later tolerating an error in practise.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners, I Corinthians 15:33. You will never stand in the faith unless you are careful about your relationships, your ‘communications.’ I agree with those commentators who say that this is a reference not only one’s behaviour but also to one’s thinking and reading. Evil communications corrupt good manners…You have got to be careful, you have got to avoid false teaching, you have to avoid error and wrong practice.

C. H. SPURGEON: The path of error is always downward.

JOHN NEWTON: The progress of error, like that of sin, is from small beginnings to awful and unthought-of consequences.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): The faster a man rides if he be in a wrong road, the farther he goes out of his way…He that turns his ear from the truth, takes the ready course to be given over to believe fables, 2 Timothy 4:4.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The New Testament talks about people being carried away with “a strong delusion,” and “people believing a lie,” II Thessalonians 2:11. The false prophets are referred to as “dogs,” and teaching “damnable heresies,” whose ways are pernicious. It refers to false teaching as a canker.* But all that is abominated today, and is regarded as a complete denial of “the spirit of love and fellowship,” indeed of the spirit of Christ. Note the way in which false teaching is denounced in the New Testament, and the language which is used with regard to false teachers.

WILLIAM GURNALL: The Scripture represents erroneous persons as “dogs,” “wolves,” “deceitful workers,” “ministers of Satan,” “deceivers,” “liars,” and “evil men.” Error is false of itself, fathers falsehood upon God, is the “doctrine of devils,” and the “work of the flesh,” excluding men from the kingdom of God. It mars the purity, order, union and fellowship of the church―leads men to blaspheme God, murder souls, and bring forth abominable practices, Matthew 7:15; Philippians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Revelation 2; 2:22,23 and 4:3; 2 John 9,10. The suffering of gross error to be taught in the church must therefore be very sinful.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Look also at the language used by Jude.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): This epistle [of Jude] is, and will be, of standing, lasting, and special use in and to the church as long as Christianity―that is, as time, shall last. The general scope of it is much the same with that of the second chapter of the second epistle of Peter…It should not seem strange to us that false teachers set themselves up in the church: it was so in the apostles’ times.

JOHN NEWTON: The New Testament teaches us to expect that such persons, under the name of ministers, will be found in the visible Church of Christ.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We do not like this kind of teaching against false prophets today. We are living in days when people say that, as long as a man claims to be a Christian at all, we should regard him as a brother and go on together. But the reply is that our Lord said, “Beware of false prophets,” Matthew 7:17.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): This is a business of the greatest concern; men will be careful to whom they commit their children…but how much more careful should we be, and yet the most are the least of all careful, unto whom they commit the teaching and guiding of their souls. There are several sorts of shepherds in the world: There are idol shepherds, Zechariah 11:17; there are foolish shepherds, Zechariah 11:15; there are shepherds that feed themselves, and not the flock, Ezekiel 34:2; there are hard-hearted and pitiless shepherds, Zechariah 11:3,5; there are shepherds that, instead of healing, smite, push, and wound the diseased, Ezekiel 34:4,21; there are shepherds who “cause their flock to go astray,” Jeremiah 50:6; and there are shepherds that feed their flock; these are the shepherds to whom thou shouldst commit thy soul for teaching and for guidance.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): The true sheep of Christ know the voice of Christ’s true shepherds, and strangers they will not hear.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The plain fact is, all that is wanted by many today is merely a soothing position for their conscience, which will enable them to go on comfortably in a course of self-pleasing, which will permit them to continue their worldly ways without the fear of eternal punishment.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The false prophet is always a very comforting preacher―they offer an easy salvation, and an easy type of life always.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): So long as a large proportion of the professors of Christianity receive not the love of the truth, error will be certain to meet with a welcome reception.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): We write plainly, because we feel the need of great plainness of speech.

WILLIAM C. BURNS (1815-1868): To love, embrace, and keep close to the truth, is the only defence against error of every kind.
*Editor’s Note: According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, the Greek word translated in 2 Timothy 2:17, which is used to describe the effect of false teaching as a “canker,” means an ulcer. The King James Version, in a margin note, translates it as gangrene.


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