That’s right. No matter how loving, kind, experienced, nice, giving, serving, educated, trained, respected, gentle or even stern, tough or easy going, well versed, authoritative or even meek, wonderful, reputable, renowned, worldly famous or simply local and unknown, friendly, warm, diligent, hard working, or anything at all your pastor is or is not, DO NOT believe your pastor UNLESS. Unless what?
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If your pastor is not preaching and teaching the plain, unadulterated, genuine, Word of God, the Bible, DO NOT believe your pastor. Along with countless warnings in the New Testament about false teaching and false prophets, about false gods and deception, deceiving spirits and wolves in sheep’s clothing, the Old Testament is in its own right incredibly, and powerfully, chock full of false prophets, false gods, and infinitely strong warnings from the Lord against both acting in any of these roles AND against believing any of these false teachings.
A friend of mine recently, in defense of an internationally renowned Christian author, told me that her work is plenty full of Bible verses. Does this mean that you should believe a pastor or anyone else in Christian ministry because he or she is using verses from God’s Word? Absolutely not. In fact, Satan’s first appearance in the Bible when he spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden should be proof enough. He twisted what God had told Adam just enough for Eve to be deceived. Did what Satan said sound like what God had spoken? Absolutely. Was it what God in fact had spoken? Absolutely not.
As further proof that using Bible verses does NOT guarantee that someone in ministry is teaching God’s Word, take as an example what happened to Jesus Christ Himself when the devil drove him into the wilderness. The devil took Bible verses and twisted them around. Not only can God’s Word be perverted and used to deceive simply by altering as few as a word or two, God’s Word can also be used to deceive by being taken out of context and by being misappropriated in its use.
The Bible not only warns countless times against both teaching falsely AND believing false teachers, but God commands us numerous times in His Word to FEAR GOD and NOT to fear man. How does this relate to NOT believing your pastor unless he is teaching the Truth of God’s Word? If you love and respect your pastor and you come to discover that he is NOT teaching God’s pure Word, then you may have difficulty walking away from the pastor and church, and even in confronting the leadership about the false teaching if God leads you to do so. To FEAR GOD instead of fearing man means that your love and reverence, your honor and obedience, need to be offered up to the Lord as your absolute number one priority even if that means hurting someone’s feelings, upsetting someone, and even denying your own flesh and its desires when it comes to your pastor and the church you attend.
We are living in times in which false teaching seems to be at an all time high, and in which as the Bible addresses countless people have “itchy ears” whereby they would rather hear what they want to hear than to hear God’s Truth. God’s number one great commandment to have NO other gods before Him, and His second great commandment to not make idols and molten images, make it abundantly clear that God will NOT tolerate it when we place anything or anyone before Him no matter how much that teaching, that thing, or that person may bring us temporal pleasure. So no matter how much your pastor is quoting Bible verses and no matter how often you have watched him stand behind the pulpit with his Bible wide open, how are you supposed to truly know if he is teaching the Truth of God’s Word? Make it a daily commitment and a top priority in your life to study God’s Word so that when one of Satan’s wolves does come along dressed in remarkably beautiful, soft, sweet, and woolly sheep’s clothing that you are able to spot the wolf and tell the difference between God’s Truth and Satan’s lies.
And if, and when, you do discover you have run across false teaching, whether it be out of your pastor’s mouth, from a Christian sister or brother, in a Christian movie, or from anyone or anywhere at all, turn away from the lies and take your heart and your life before the Lord God almighty, asking forgiveness for any lies you have believed and making a wholehearted commitment to let no other gods ever come before Him. He is Lord!
You shall have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:3 NASB
O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. Isaiah 3:12 KJV
For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. Jeremiah 10:21 KJV
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1 ESV
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 2 Timothy 4:3 ESV
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 ESV
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15 NASB