1 You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. (Exodus 23:1–2, NKJV)
Israel was strictly charged not to 1) Spread falsehoods, 2) Support unrighteous witnesses, 3) Join others in committing evil, and 4) Affirm what is false and influence others to pervert justice. Honest people continue to earnestly avoid speaking and promoting falsehoods against others. So, shouldn’t we be just as concerned with not advancing falsehoods about God? Yet, untold millions of otherwise honest people see no problem with accepting and spreading false teachings as if they belong to God. By affirming doctrinal error as truth, they influence many others to twist the truth. False teaching in the name of God is a sin of injustice against God. We are sure this does not go unnoticed by the Almighty (Matt. 7:21-23). Before you assign a doctrine and a practice to “the will of God” you must be sure His word supports it (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Examine the Scriptures to see if what you or others are saying about God and His will is true (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1, 6). Accept no counterfeit gospels. They are false reports that bring souls under divine condemnation (Gal. 1:6-10).
For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17, NKJV)
Religious hucksters who peddle the word of God hinder and harm the spread of God’s truth. The “prosperity gospel” that enriches its preachers while giving false hope to those captured by its promise of material wealth comes to mind. Then there are those who offer miracles and plead for your money so they can continue their curing crusade – all “in the name of Jesus.” (We speak as foolish people!) The apostles of Christ did not play on the covetous desires of their hearers, nor do we. They did not make merchandise of the word of God. Those who do so today deceive many, and help harden hearts against the truth. The apostles’ doctrine is about saving lost souls from sin, not lining the pockets of the peddlers of error (Acts 2:41-42). Paul said, “I do not seek yours, but you” (2 Cor. 12:14). He sought their salvation, not their material goods. Gospel preachers seek souls for Christ; False teachers seek souls for themselves. Beware those who handle the word of God deceitfully and adulterate the purity of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:2). How will you know the genuine gospel from the counterfeit, and the false teacher from the truth teacher? By their fruits you will know them (Matt. 7:15-20). Do they agree with the apostles of Christ? If not, they are not of God (read 1 Jno. 4:1, 6).