The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make
1) Believe that we, or our pastor/denomination/spiritual leader cannot be fooled, 2) Attribute every personal testimony and “sign” as being of or from God, 3) Take Bible verses out of context and 4) believe that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. Not necessarily in that order.
Fraternizing With The Enemy
Few seem to realize that the Christians are commanded to separate themselves from those who teach and practice false doctrine
True and False Unity
Although doctrine has often been allowed to divide people in disgraceful ways, division is not something that can be avoided. You could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. Ignoring important areas in which we differ is simply a papering over of the rot in the walls
Theology and Doctrine
Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains. The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith.
There are numerous reasons so many modern day Christians are deceived into believing doctrines that have no basis in the Bible and even embracing practices directly derived from the occult. However, the primary reason deception is so rampant in the contemporary church is due to one underlying fact - the vast majority of Christians today are either Biblically illiterate or their knowledge is woefully lacking.
Deception Is Rampant In The Contemporary Church Largely Due To
1.) Biblical Illiteracy and 'Bumper Sticker' Theology
2.) The Reluctance To Believe We Could Be Wrong
Along With Trusting Everything The Leadership Says
3.) They Do Not Believe It is Their Place To "Judge"
much less publicly call out a false teacher
4.) Christians Do Not Want To Be Labeled
"Heresy Hunters", Accused of Quenching The Spirit, Found Guilty of 'Touching' the Lord's Anointed.
5.) They Believe They Should be "United"
And Are Commanded to "Love".
6.) Many Believers Seem to Be Addicted to 'Spiritual Highs'
that they think is getting them closer to God.
1.) Biblical Illiteracy and 'Bumper Sticker' Theology
For the most part our entertainment oriented, anti-intellectual and superficial contemporary American culture is geared towards dissuading us from using our minds.Tragically, this trend has carried over into the church
All too many believers today are giving less and less heed to in-depth Biblical study that leads to right doctrine preferring their religion in pre-digested, convenient little packages. All too many church goer's theology is confined to inspirational stories and testimonies, daily devotions of familiar Biblical passages etc. And then, of course, let us not forget 'Bumper Sticker' Theology - neat little catch-phrases such as What would Jesus do? Let go and let God!, Do your best and God will do the rest, Know God, know peace, God has a great plan for your life.
In many cases entertainment has taken the place of solid Biblical study with Christians reveling in the lavish and elaborately staged shows put on by many mega Churches today. It is truly mind boggling that they never once stop to ask themselves what such opulence has to do with a sandal clad man walking the dusty streets of Jerusalem. They coast along enjoying the music and the sound and light show, never maturing in their faith and never digging any deeper than they absolutely have to.
See Welcome to the mile wide and inch deep flashy mega-churches -
Very expensive entertainment, wealthy celebrity pastors with deep pockets and self-serving shallow theology
Other believers are simply swept along on a tide of emotion and 'experiences'. However, don't get me wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with feelings, emotions, or experiences however, contemporary Christianity emphasizes and values how a person feels or what they experience far more than solid Biblical knowledge and understanding.
As said by William Lane Craig, in his book Reasonable Faith
"Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one's faith is objectively true" .
Biblical Illiteracy Is Our Achilles Heel
A shallow understanding of our religion renders us extremely vulnerable to every deviation from Biblical truth. The less Biblically literate a Christian is, the easier it is for him or her to be influenced/brainwashed by the plethora of anti-Biblical beliefs prevalent in the church today. How will you be able to resist and stand firm in the evil day (as Ephesians 6:13) says if you have a gaping hole in your armour?
There is such a thing as having great zeal for God that is not in accordance with knowledge
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. (Romans 10:2 NASB)
It is no wonder that in 2 Timothy 2:15 Christians are exhorted to "Be diligent" to present themselves approved to God as workmen who do not need to be ashamed because they "accurately" handle the word of truth.
Making a Hash of The Salvation Message
I will give one very small but crucially important example. Although salvation is the warp and weft of the Bible - the topic around which the entire book rotates, well meaning Christians who, in answer to the life and death question of what a person must do to be saved, will pull out yet another cliché from their collection and tell them that they have to ask Jesus into their heart. In fact, you will find this phrase liberally sprinkled through the Christian world - found in Christian tracts, preached from pulpits, and taught by evangelists.
However, if you had never read any Christian material, talked to another Christian, or ever attended a Christian service or evangelistic crusade, but had done nothing but read the Bible from cover to cover a few times, you would never have known that you had to ask Jesus into your heart to be saved....
Quite simply because it isn't there.
God directed believers to proclaim the Gospel to others but doing so in a vague, non-Biblical way that not only obscures, but actually alters the message is not exactly what He had in mind. Anyone, be they young or old, can ask Jesus into their hearts without having the faintest idea of what it is they are saved from, that repentance is an absolute requirements for forgiveness, and the fact that salvation actually demands something from them.
How exactly then can this popular phrase be construed as the Gospel?
See Why NOT To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart
And Sin, Repentance and Salvation on THIS page
Also See Theology and Doctrine
The words "theology" and "doctrine" are not only widely misunderstood, but brushed aside by many who do not recognize that they are both are crucial to saving faith. The consequence of false doctrine is nothing short of catastrophic. See Theology and Doctrine
2.) The Reluctance To Believe They Could Be Wrong
Along With Trusting Everything The Leadership Says
The problem is that for many people, the longer they are involved in deceptive teachings and practices the harder it seems to be to walk away. Some may have gotten to the point where they are unable to remove the blinders and only "see" whatever it is they want to "see". Others may be too proud or too stubborn to admit they were duped.
This problem is compounded by the fact that many Christians cannot accept that their Pastor/Spiritual Leader/favorite 'Christian' author may be a false teacher/wolf in sheep's clothing.
See We Cannot Be Deceived
I fail to understand why so many Christians who claim the Bible is their infallible guide fail to take Paul seriously when he said
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31 NASB. Emphasis Added)
Although Paul was very clear that the wolves would arise from among the flock, it seems that all too many believers seem to be very disinclined to apply his words to their world. In some cases, people's judgment are clouded by emotion... They are unwilling to believe that such a "nice man" could possibly be leading others astray. Nor will they accept that so many 'wonderful' ministries are rotten to their core, that slick magazines like Charisma could be peddling deception, and that Christian bookstores sell an enormous amount of material that can be termed anything but Biblical Christianity.
Remember Jude's warning about those who had crept in unnoticed and were
"... hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:12-13 NASB)
If false teachers crept in unnoticed in Jude's day, can ours be exempt?
The Scriptures have already warned us that in later times there would be a departure from the faith because people would pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. They would not endure sound doctrine, but would opt for myths that tickled their ears, and find teachers that would teach according to what they themselves wanted to hear.
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB.
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 NASB)
It is never easy to believe that someone who has risen from your own ranks and whom you may know personally could have fangs. There was a time when I went through considerable disappointment when I discovered that many of the authors whose books I had devoured as a young and immature Christian turned out to have feet of clay.
Blindly believing everything someone says, no matter how much you like them, is the height of folly.
See Shepherds of Wolves
If you do not scour the Scriptures for yourself to see if all said pastor/leader is teaching is Biblical truth (note that a few out of context "proof texts don't count), then how will you know if, tomorrow, your church veers off course and starts teaching false doctrine? We have to be Bereans (Acts 17:11) and test all messages against Scripture and that means 'The Whole Counsel of God' not comparing one isolated very with another isolated verse. See Context is CRUCIAL
Considering the astronomical stakes, are you willing to risk being
"tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming"? (Ephesians 4:14 NASB)
3.) They Do Not Believe It is Their Place To "Judge"
Although this common cliché comes from political correctness rather than Scripture even Christians are beginning to accept that this absurdity is a guiding principle of Christian living and behavior.
The word judgmental can certainly be applied to someone who tends to make self-righteous judgments (particularly moral ones) based on their personal opinions or standards however, this is not the kind of 'judging' spoken of in the Scriptures. In the Bible 'to judge' is used to determine or form an opinion after consideration or deliberation.
As Merriam Websters says, to judge is
to form an opinion through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises. To determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation. To form an estimate or evaluation of
By which definition it means that when a person is told not to judge they are being told that they should not consider and evaluate the evidence.
Discernment or "Judging" Is One Of The Gifts of The Holy Spirit
In speaking of the "diversities of gifts" given by the Holy Spirit, Paul says some are given the gift of miracles, others prophecy, or various kinds of tongues. Yet other are given
Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon defines diakrisis as "judicial estimation". NASEC says it is "the act of judgment" and Thayer's lexicon says it is "distinguishing, discerning, judging". In other words, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the ability to judge or determine between two things as to which is right and which is wrong. This kind of judgment that protects God's people is an absolute necessity.
"Judging" Or Carefully Evaluating Is Critical Because Without It
How can we possibly know who the false Christs and false prophets are who will arise and show great signs and wonders, to mislead if possible, the elect. (Matthew 24:24)
How can we know if someone is deceiving us with empty words (Ephesians 5:6 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3) or trying to delude us with persuasive argument (Colossians 2:4)
How can we "abhor what is evil" and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9) if we cannot tell the difference
How will we know if we are being "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in dec eitful scheming; (Ephesians 4:14 NASB)
It is no wonder that the New Testament directs all Christians to exercise discernment ..
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NASB)
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. (1 Corinthians 14:29 NASB)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 NASB)
Sadly this post modern idea has carried over into the church. Few who quote the 'judge not" statement seem to realize that this is not a stand alone statement that Jesus pulled out of thin air, then went off to try his hand at fishing for his lunch on the Sea of Tiberias, saying no more on the matter (by which they perfectly illustrate the old saying a little knowledge is a dangerous thing). If we allow the Lord to complete His thought AND His sentence we will find that that Jesus wasn't saying (or even implying) that we should never make judgments about anyone at any time. He was condemning a certain type of judging.
4.) Christians Do Not Want To Be Labeled
Or any of the other derogatory terms given Christians who insist on checking everything by the Scriptures. This is a topic in itself and I highly recommend the reader read Judge Not? (Link Above)
Accused of Quenching The Spirit,
Worse, many who may even have some doubts about some movement or practice are cowed by the possibility of "quenching" the Holy Spirit, which comes from the last chapter of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians in which he tells them not to quench the Spirit (V. 19. This instruction has been taken completely out of context by false teachers who use it to dissuade Christians from questioning their shenanigans.
One has to remember that chapter and verse numbers were not in the original writings but added later to facilitate finding a particular passage. So when Paul's instruction not to quench the Spirit is read in context, he was actually telling the Thessalonians to develop Biblical discernment i.e not to suppress the Spirit's ministry by rejecting all prophecy. They were neither to believe everything they heard, nor to throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead they were to test everything carefully and hold on the good. Read it for yourself...
 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit;  do not despise prophetic utterances.  But examine (Gk. dokimazo) everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;  abstain from every form of evil. [1 Thessalonians 5:18-22 NASB)
The Greek word dokimazo means 1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), to recognize as genuine after examination, to deem worthy.
Remember that it was these same people that Paul compared unfavorably to the Bereans who checked everything by the Scriptures.
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. (Acts 17:11-12 NASB)
Found Guilty of Touching the Lord's 'Anointed'.
It would be difficult to find a charismatic/evangelical service/program/tract/book that is not liberally sprinkled with the word 'Anointed', which has arguably become the most overused, overworked, misunderstood, and misinterpreted, term in the Pentecostal and Charismatic arenas.
In fact. the warning not to 'touch the Lord's anointed' is part of the arsenal of numerous Charismatic celebrities today issued as a stern warning directed at anyone who opposes their unscriptural doctrines and practices. Sadly it is heard and heeded by their devotees who become unwilling to risk God's displeasure by 'touching' one of His favored.
However, an examination of what or whom, the Scriptures call "anointed" reveals a very different picture, that again brings up the fact that too many Christians are not aware of what the Bible really teaches, but blindly believe whatever spin their leadership puts on this and many other subjects. See Touch Not Mine Anointed
5.) Christians Believe They Should Be "United" And Are Commanded to "Love".
One concern many Christians have with those who insist on adherence to doctrine is that it tends to divide Christians. And, of course, this is seen as the ultimate sin by a pluralistic society that bends over backward to accommodate every belief, regardless of how illogical, false, or stupid, it may be.
Although doctrine has often been allowed to divide people in disgraceful ways, and we should not segregate ourselves from other Christians over non essential beliefs, division is not something that can be avoided. You could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. Much to the the contrary, what passes for "unity" is all too often nothing but compromise. It is far better to be divided by truth than united in error.
When Christians obey the Bible and separate themselves from heretics they are actually promoting genuine Christian unity. See True and False Unity
Besides which, the Bible commands Christians to separate themselves from those that believe and teach false doctrine. They are to refuse to have fellowship with those who cross over the line. For example, the Bible tells us to
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11 NASB)
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 NASB)
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Ephesians 5:11 NASB)
And there is more - plenty more. See Fraternizing With The Enemy
Commanded to Love
The problem is that love is often confused with sentimentalism and feelings. But Biblical love (that cannot be divorced from truth) looks for the highest good of the other person. This cannot be accomplished by agreeing with false teachings which will ultimately destroy those who believe and follow these teachings.
True love is committed to the truth, and no one can claim to love if they are not concerned about truth.
6.) Finally, Many Christians Seem to Be Addicted to 'Spiritual Highs'
While their counterparts outside the church are focused on raising their level of consciousness and attaining enlightenment and self-actualization through an assortments of spiritual practices, modern Christians are trying to 'find God' or enhance their experience of Jesus by highly questionable means such as contemplative prayer, walking labyrinths etc.
The problem is that many believers seem to have become as addicted to a 'high' as any drug addict. However our 'high' does not come from a needle or something we stick up our noses but from a variety of even more deadly other sources. The more frenzied even maniacal it is the more spiritual we think we are. In fact, we are so hooked that we return again and again to experience more of the "holy spirit". See Slain in The Spirit and Tongues
For the few who are willing to let facts dictate their beliefs
See More Doctrines of Demons Doctrines Directly Derived From The Occult and Mysticism
Remember the verses in Scripture that speak of The "Falling Away" when some will give "heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons"? Well THAT DAY IS ALREADY HERE. Our wholesale adoption of doctrines and practices DIRECTLY derived from the occult (Ex. Dominionism, Slain In The Spirit, Contemplative Prayer, The Word of Faith Movement, Labyrinths, Tongues etc.) has lost us any right to call ourselves Christians.
How Not to Become Spiritually Weird)
 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith. 2008 Crossway Books Edition. Pgs. 20-21