3 Signs of a Fake Christian Minister You Shouldn't Listen To
The Bible warns us all to be careful and discerning with regards to the teachings that certain people teach us. Not everything that presents itself as Godly is Godly, and not all that profess to be Christian are true. There are many counterfeits around the world now, and we will do well to be careful to whom we listen to.
The apostle Paul, who encountered several fakes during his missionary journeys, warns us to be very careful. He warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15,
"For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works."
John also warns us not to be gullible and naïve, even very accepting of any and every "spiritual" teaching that comes our way. No matter who it is who speaks, we should first check if it is from the Lord Himself:
"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."
Having said all that, I want to help you discern what is true and false, what is of Christ and not of Christ. Here are some things that you should watch out for. These traits, qualities, or characteristics should act as "red flags" that warn us of danger.
1) Denial of the Lord Jesus Christ's deity and human identity
The Bible tells us that Christ Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, both fully God and fully man at the same time. He was born of a virgin woman, and lived a normal human life until He started His ministry to destroy the works of the devil and free us from sin. John tells us that those who deny these things are fakes and should be listened to:
"This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is already in the world." (1 John 1:2-3)
2) They preach "another Jesus"
Paul warns us of ministers who come presenting themselves as of Christ but instead present a different Gospel and a different Saviour. They may mention the name of Jesus Christ, but when you view the Gospel they present as a whole you find it deviating from what the Bible says. He warns us against believing such preachers quickly.
"For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might submit to it readily enough." (2 Corinthians 11:4)
3) Their preaching contradicts their lifestyle
Many preachers today are able to speak with power, but the power is only limited to the pulpit – their lives show no evidence of God's redeeming and restoring power. Simply put, they don't practice what they preach; they don't walk the talk.
Paul warns us to stay away from such people, a people who have the form of Godliness but devoid of its power (see 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
The Lord Jesus Himself says we should be careful of such people. We should watch their "fruits," the very things they do. He said in Matthew 7:15-20,
"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them."