Teaching False Doctrines

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Why does the New Testament speak so strongly against teaching false doctrines?
You know, one of the most surprising New Testament books is the book of Galatians. And I say it's surprising because this is Paul's first letter — at least I believe it's Paul's first letter — and I think about how he starts. He starts without a greeting. And every Greek letter is supposed to have a greeting — "Hey, how are you doing?" He skips that and he goes right to the punch, "I am astonished at you Galatians that you are so quickly turning to another gospel — which is no gospel at all." And then Paul goes on to say, "If anyone listens to a gospel other than the one we preached, even if it's an angel, even if it's someone like Gabriel, anathema esto!" — let there be an anathema, an excommunication, on such a person. What Paul is saying in his very first letter is that truth matters. And the reason he writes Galatians is because there are well-meaning people following up on his ministry who are saying, "Well, you know, if you really want to be right, if you want to be on the inside, you Gentiles, you need to be circumcised, and we can help you with that." And Paul says, "Stop! That's false teaching." And you say, isn't Paul overreacting? Not at all, because Paul sees the very gospel as being imperiled by their insistence of bringing about a fuller gospel through the rite of circumcision. So, for Paul, the security of the gospel is so important and it plays out not just into notions but in practices like circumcision. As we continue to walk through the New Testament chronologically, we see that false teaching is a recurring theme again and again. It occurs in Hebrews, in Jude and Revelation. Here's why this is such an important topic, it is because people on the outside you can deal with. You say they're not like us, the people who persecute us. Okay, we'll huddle together, we'll proclaim Christ faithfully. We're not going to buckle on that. But we know how to deal with that. What is much more problematic is the wolves in sheep's clothing because then they can sow confusion; there's an element of trust there that they can build on. And if the gospel can be deconstructed by simple moves — and maybe people who are well-meaning , again, not vicious people — then this is something that has to be stopped right away. Paul saw that. The apostles saw that. Jesus saw that. And Jesus makes the final appeal. He says at the end of the day by their fruits you will know them. When it comes to false prophets, you will have them. They'll be part of the tribulation, and so it's not going to be easy. But look at the character of their life. Whatever they say, before you take that on board, contextualize it in who they are. The Bible makes a big deal out of false teaching because it's such a dangerous element and continues to be such a dangerous element in the church today.