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Discerning Truth: Identifying False Christians

Acts 20:29

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

In the pursuit of a genuine and vibrant faith, it is crucial to discern the signs of false Christians and heretics who may distort or misrepresent the teachings of Christ. As followers of Jesus, we are called to uphold the truth and guard against falsehoods that can undermine the integrity of the Gospel message. Let us look at key indicators that can help us identify false Christians and heretics, allowing us to navigate the spiritual landscape with wisdom and discernment.

Distorted Doctrine

False Christians and heretics often propagate teachings that deviate from the core principles of the Christian faith. They may distort the nature of God, the person of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture, or essential doctrines such as salvation by grace through faith. It is crucial to be rooted in Scripture and possess a sound understanding of biblical truth to recognize when teachings are added or subtracted and deviate from God's Word (Galatians 1:8-9).

Lack of Fruit

True faith is evidenced by the fruit it produces in a person's life. False Christians and heretics may display a lack of genuine transformation and a consistent pattern of ungodly behaviour. They may exhibit a self-centred focus, a lack of love for others, or a disregard for biblical values and moral standards. Jesus taught that a tree is known by its fruit, and the absence of godly fruit is a warning sign of falsehood (Matthew 7:18).


False Christians have a tendency to lift themselves up rather than Jesus, we need to be wary of cult-like patterns of leadership and potentially brainwashed followers. Examples of this would include self-appointed titles, exaggerated displays of piety, falsely speaking on behalf of God, claiming to have special hidden knowledge of God, or exploiting believers for political or material gain.

Denial of Jesus' Lordship

False Christians & heretics often downplay or outright deny the lordship of Jesus Christ. They may diminish His divinity, His redemptive work on the cross, or His role as the lone Savior of humanity. Adherents of other religions may try to undermine the Christian faith, so any teaching that seeks to diminish Jesus is contrary to biblical truth and must be approached with caution (Jude 1:4).

Division and Dissension

False Christians and heretics often sow seeds of division and dissension within the body of Christ. They may promote sectarianism and worldly views, or propagate divisive ideologies that undermine unity & love among believers. Arguing about the law & genealogies is a biblical example (Titus 3:9). The apostle Paul warned against divisive spirits, emphasizing the importance of unity in the faith.


As followers of Jesus, it is our responsibility to discern truth from falsehood, guarding our hearts and minds against deceptive teachings and influences. By anchoring ourselves in the Word of God, cultivating a vibrant relationship with Christ, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can navigate the complexities of our faith journey with His discernment. Let us remain vigilant and as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16), holding fast to the truth, and extending grace and love to those who are caught in deception, always praying for their restoration and redemption.