Bad Fruit, Diseased Trees, and the Authority of God’s Word


Author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley often has to deal with disgruntled people who contact her to defend a high-profile false teacher she has warned us about.  Yes, some who profess a belief in Christ actually stand up for wolves in the hen house and will even refuse to listen to the evidence.  Why? Because they’re not Bereans.  Moreover, a certain false teacher has become an idol.  Chew on that, brethren. Some wolves are idols.  So when a messenger like Michelle Lesley comes along and knocks down an idol, some professing Christians will shoot at the messenger.


diseased-tree-and-graveyardI hate having to warn women against false teachers. I really do. I would like nothing better than to write Bible studies all day long, but, like Jude said, sometimes contending for the faith is more urgent at the moment. Today, as it was in the New Testament church, false doctrine is rampant. You can hardly throw a rock out the sanctuary window without hitting a false teacher, particularly female false teachers.

Invariably, when I warn against a specific popular false teacher I get a few responses from disgruntled readers jumping to that teacher’s defense. (I understand where those feelings come from. I’ve had to hear hard, biblical truths about teachers I’ve followed, too. It’s no fun.) I tend to hear the same arguments over and over (which is one reason I wrote this article). But there’s one thing all of these arguments have in common:

They’re not based on rightly handled Scripture.
Sometimes they’re not based on Scripture at all.

As Christians, we are supposed to base everything we believe and teach upon the truth of Scripture. And the women defending these false teachers aren’t doing that. They’re basing their defense of a false teacher on twisted, out of context Scripture and/or their own opinions, feelings, experiences, and preferences.

Twisted Scripture:

Sometimes these ladies will try to appeal to Scripture to defend the false teacher. I applaud them for that. Genuinely. At least they know that we’re supposed to be basing what we say and do on the Bible. That’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, most of these attempts only reveal how poorly they’ve been taught the Bible by the false teachers who have trained them.

“Did you meet privately with this teacher before writing this article?”

“You’re just judging! The Bible says not to judge!”

“You’re creating division in the church!”

Most of the time these women have no idea where those Scriptures are found, or even precisely what they say, much less the context of the verses they’re appealing to. (In order not to misunderstand their intent, I usually have to respond by saying, “Are you referring to Matthew 18:15-20?” or “I’m sorry, could you tell me which verse you’re talking about?”) They don’t know or understand the Scripture they’re alluding to, they’re just repeating what they’ve heard from the false teacher (or her other followers) defending herself and lashing out at those who call her to account.

Nothing More than Feelings:

Perhaps more disturbing are the near-Stepford gushings of some defenders:

“I’ve never heard anything so mean! How could you say such things about this wonderful teacher?”

“I just love her and the way she teaches!”

“You’re just jealous of her success.”

“She’s been such a help and encouragement to me!”

These ladies don’t even attempt to bring the Bible into the discussion, and their loving support for the false teacher is often coupled with vitriolic, completely un-Christlike, devoid of any fruit of the Spirit, attacks on those who dare to question the false teacher. I like this person. I’ve had a positive experience with this person. I have good feelings and opinions about this person. And that – not the Bible – is what I’m basing my decision to follow her upon. How dare you speak against her?

And is it any wonder? When women sit under the teaching of pastors and teachers who skip through the Bible ripping verses out of context and twisting their meanings, who say “the Bible says” followed by their own agenda and imaginings, who point women back to themselves as their own authority, rather than Scripture, by basing their teachings on their own ideas and life experiences instead of the Bible, what do we expect?  Continue reading

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3 Responses to Bad Fruit, Diseased Trees, and the Authority of God’s Word

  1. Manny1962 October 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    I hate to say it, but the situation is forcing those that contend for the faith to get harsh, calling people out will get you flak, but we have Paul as an example, he was not shy when it came to slapping some false teacher down. We’ve been coerced to believe judging, righteous judging, is somehow wrong. Well folks, I think we are past that, I personally believe tougher days will mean a tougher stance, whatever the cost might be. This is not the the time to shrink away, but to be bold, politely and firmly, very firmly calling a spade a spade. Contending for the faith is a battle, it will only end when our Lord takes us from here, till then expect men to wax worse and worse…..the time will come that we might face death for the name of Jesus Christ, I pray that it does not, but in case that it does, The Holy Spirit will guide us. We must defend and contend for the faith. So many have given their lives over the centuries, this time it’s different, not only is the danger from the outside, but this time it’s rampant and from the inside, truly the tares are being separated.

    • Marsha West October 15, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

      Amen, brother! As you said, pot shots are constantly fired, not only from the outside, but from “inside!” This morning I prayed for my brothers and sisters in discernment.

  2. John October 15, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    A problem that arises is that women tend to be swayed by the emotional appeal as well as the appeal to the ‘life situation’. Kind of like hearing a life seminar that sounds Christian but it really isn’t so it appears to answer questions but it is not really grounded in scripture. So when that is rebuke as not Christian the claws come out. It is similar to being in a cult mind control. The exposer has to teach the person why the teaching is false and then it is up to the devotee to listen and acknowledge and something that gets worse before it gets better.