On ‘False Teachers’ And Why protestants Should Be More catholic


As my understanding of Christianity has been widening, I recently started to doubt myself. I am not one to necessarily bash different denominations, churches or pastors but sometimes I find myself being the oddball out for not being okay doing that kind of stuff. I can’t even mention some of the authors I read around certain people without them completely shutting me down and criticizing the person I’m referring to. I can’t even mention certain churches, whether local or global, without some people scoffing at it and protesting against it.

Some pastors do entire sermon series protesting specific authors, pastors or churches. They claim that they’re just warning their people about false prophets and false doctrine like the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles did in the Bible. They’re just trying to be good shepherds for their sheep, so whatever is in their way gets torn down. But there have been many times where I have wondered “Was it ever in your way in the first place?”

I have seen Christians warned to not go see a specific movie or read a specific book and what does that church end up doing? Obviously they watch that movie or read that book. Why?“”So I can see for myself” or So I can know how to better warn people about it” or So I can know how to combat against it better.”

In those situations I wonder if the church was better off if nothing was said at all.

Watch this clip of Paul McCartney in the 1960’s discussing the recent exposure of him and his band mates having taken LSD.

If the media would have just let go of the issue then we all probably wouldn’t have found out that the Beatles ever did LSD. And even though the media wanted the youth to stay away from the drug this exposure did not help whatsoever. Instead of warning people of the dangers of LSD they simply held up a specific person to expose them and drive everyone away from them, in attempt to also drive people away from the use of LSD. I already know most of you already see how silly this sounds. And yet so many Christians still try to do the same thing. In attempt to drive people away from false teaching, they hold up that specific false teacher for all to see and expose them as false. They think this will drive people away from these false teachers and also drive people away the false teaching.

Drive people away from false teaching by giving people the false teaching, and providing all the information where they can get more of this false teaching? Seriously?

Unfortunately I started doubting myself as I heard it more and more though. I thought “Maybe they really are just following the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles, warning of false teachers and false doctrine.” One of the biggest things I’ve been seeing more and more lately is that God speaks to many different people in many different ways. Sadly, some people get bent out of shape and think that the way God speaks to them is the only way. So I imagined myself in the early church hearing Paul’s letter to my church and hearing him warn against false teachers. I wondered if I would have gotten irritated and yelled “Paul can’t say that! Maybe God is just speaking to them in a different way!”

And that made me feel stupid.

I started wondering if it was wrong that I cringed every time I heard someone bash supposed ‘false teachers’. Then I had an epiphany and realized the difference between these apostles and these Christians that made cringe-worthy proclamations against other Christians.

While the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles constantly warned against false teachers, they never mentioned names. They never called them out. Many times they say “Some are saying this, but don’t believe it.”

Who is?

Some people.

What are their names?

It doesn’t matter. What matters is the truth.

If you think someone is spreading something false, the only way to combat that is to spread the truth. The writers of the Bible didn’t care about exposing specific people and holding them up as the heresy itself. They were only concerned about the truth. And some of these writers had to have known the names of some of these guys, but their names don’t matter.

As I saw more and more of this I started wondering if this actually has to do with our Protestant problem. For those that may not know a Protestant is simply a Christian whose beliefs and traditions follow the principles founded during the Reformation in the 1500s. And why were they called Protestants? Because they protested against the Roman Catholic Church and completely split off from them.

The problem I’m seeing however is that ever since the Protestants protested against the Catholic Church 500 years ago, we’ve spent the last 500 years protesting against each other. Because of this, there are over 44,000 Protestant denominations today. There’s a new one every Sunday.

Lately some friends and I have started re-thinking our views on the Catholic Church. First off, they’re pretty awesome (had to get that out of the way). Second, the most interesting thing I’ve found is where the word ‘catholic’ actually comes from. It originated from the Greek adjective katholikos, which means “universal” or “general”. And katholikos comes from the Greek phrase katholou, which means “on the whole” or “according to the general”. So originally the term ‘catholic church’ simply meant the whole church or the entire church.

All Christians. The catholic church. The word, ‘catholic’ with a lower case ‘c’ just means everybody.

So I ask this of all my fellow Protestants. Can we please stop protesting against each other and act more catholic? Can we embrace the whole church, despite our differences and stop tearing each other apart? Can we please stop holding each other up as heresy and sin itself and graciously help each other follow Christ in a more healthy way? Can we repent from being so protestant against each other and embrace the entire church in catholic love?