2. "Don't Have a Religious Spirit" This is a vague concept that can allow deceit to stay in place. Want to refute someone who demands doctrinal integrity? Accuse them of having a religious spirit. It's much easier than searching the scriptures and seeking the truth. After all, "God doesn't care about our doctrine, He cares about our heart." That sounds really good but it's not in the Bible. Doctrine IS important! Doctrine tells us who God really is, and who we really are.
3. "Don't Touch God's Anointed!" When false teachers can't defend their beliefs in the clear teachings of the Bible, they use this phrase as a catch all. It's taken COMPLETELY out of context from the Old Testament. Cult leaders always use threats; it's the lowest form of leadership.
4. "Get ready for a new and different thing-it won't be like the old things!" "This is probably gonna make you uncomfortable!" "Don't put God in a box-as soon as you think you've got Him figured out He will do something unexpected!" This can be a way of spiritualizing false teaching, demonizing discernment, and getting people off their guard. The Bible makes it very clear that we are too hold fast to correct (and "old") doctrine. But in the effort to gain followers, a false teacher can always tickle the ears of those who get excited about being part of "something new;" after all, most people don't want to be part of something old. Instead of new versus old, we should be teaching what is true versus what is false. Is it really true that God is always changing His methods and His ways so He can keep surprising us? Well, there will always be some mystery involved in our understanding of exactly who God is (on this side of heaven), but God isn't like a magician or a leprechaun who constantly throws us for a loop to keep us guessing; the Bible describes Him as wanting to be known and understood. Also, being uncomfortable about a teaching doesn't indicate anything for sure, it's just a feeling that is being caused by something; it might be something good or it might be something bad.
5. "We only teach the Bible!" This is, perhaps, the easiest way to teach a false doctrine. For most Christians, they will shut off all discernment once they hear that sentence as a prelude to false doctrine. Plus, a false teacher can just throw in some Bible verses wherever he wants-whether they apply or not-and continue to promote all kinds of weird teaching. If a pastor actually explains that we "should never proof-text!" he's often made it easier for himself to continue proof-texting; the key is to keep his congregation comfortable and trusting. By the way, proof-texting is when a passage of Scripture is taken out of it's original context to make whatever point the pastor wants to make. Frankly, many of the popular Bibles verses people throw around today are taken out of context (see the "WWUTT" videos for examples). Too often, the congregation learns it from their pastor!
6. "But he's really famous (he/she has written books, has a huge church, has a TV show, etc.), he must know what he's talking about." This exposes the painfully common belief that "CONSENSUS EQUALS TRUTH." Few people would ever admit to this ridiculous belief, but their behavior (and thinking) says otherwise. Christians say that they believe the Bible, but what they really believe is whatever their "guy" (local pastor, TV preacher, popular author, etc.) says about the Bible. On top of that, many Christians don't even believe what their local pastor teaches because he is constantly being over-ridden by the surrounding culture. So we have millions of Christians watching 10, 20 or even 30 hours of television per week, yet they just don't have time to read and study the Bible. But when the latest Christian guru comes along with a new method of "hearing from God" they drop everything to "learn the secret;" all the while they've neglected God's Word-the actual words from God. The situation should be seen as utterly absurd, yet since almost everyone behaves and believes this way, it has been normalized. As a result, false teachers have free reign and an almost limitless customer base to promote heresy and to enrich themselves.
To be continued...