False Prophets According to Holy Writ
From the May 1954 issue of The Orthodox Lutheran (Concordia Lutheran)
A false prophet, according to Holy Writ is
1. one who rejects the Word of God altogether and denies the truths of Christianity and therefore is, from the outset, outside of the Christian Church, and yet makes every attempt to discredit its eternal truths:
Matt. 23:11.24. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. … For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Jer. 8:8.9. How do ye say, We are wise, and the Law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made He it; the pen of the scribe is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; Lo, they have rejected the Word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them?
Jer. 10:21. For the pastors have become brutish, and have not sought the Lord; therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
2. a teacher within external Christendom who willfully and maliciously falsifies and denies any doctrine of Holy Writ, whether fundamental or non-fundamental:
Lam. 2:14. Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee.
Jer. 23:25 ff.: I have heard what the prophets said that prophesy lies in My name. . . . Behold, I am against the prophets that steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues and say, He saith. Cp. Jer. 5:31; 14:14; 27:10.
1 John 4:1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Tim. 4:3.4. After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Matt. 7:15. Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
3. a teacher of the Church, who in spite of the objective truth of Holy Writ and of the orthodox confessions, which offer the definite possibility of knowing the full truth, nevertheless chooses falsehoods and lies and adheres to them:
Matt. 15:14. They be blind leaders of the blind. Cp. Rom. 2:19.
4. a teacher of the Church who has inadvertently embraced error and then refuses to be corrected and to accept the truth:
I Tim. 6:3.4. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing.
2 Tim. 2:17.18. And their word will eat as doth a canker, of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred….
5. any member of a Christian congregation, even of the laity who accepts a false doctrine, adheres to it, and then presumes to be a teacher of the Church, with all his false ideas:
2 Tim. 3:8. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the truth.
Acts 20:30. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
P. E. K.