A few decades after Christ’s death and resurrection, false teachers started to infiltrate His church, teaching doctrine not of the Bible. Gnosticism flourished in the first 500 years of the church, influencing many people who thought they were Christian. They had listened to and followed, false teaching. Because God is righteous He must judge sin, and therefore these false-god followers died unsaved.
James, the brother of Jesus said this; “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly,” James 3:1. This is because a teacher/ preacher has great influence over people’s lives.
Today there are many false teachers in the church teaching things like the “prosperity” gospel, which basically says that it’s God’s will that all Christians be healthy, wealthy and prosperous! While this sounds attractive to us all it is not what the Bible teaches. Recall righteous Job and his sores. Recall righteous Paul and his poverty. Most of the apostles were martyred for their faith. Christ himself was tortured and murdered for proclaiming truth. Suffering is actually part of faith (Mt 16:33; 1 Pe 3:17)
So what it comes back to is for the church to know our Bible and to know our God. “Is what we hear from preachers and teachers the truth of scripture, or is it comfort food – what our itching ears long to hear?” Preachers and teachers will get it wrong sometimes because we make human mistakes. However, a Spirit-led preacher/teacher should, be a fervent prayer, study the Word, be convicted by the gospel, and have a heart for the lost.
Be on guard against false teachers and follow only Christ.