Top Ten False Teachers You'll Find in Evangelical Churches (2024)

False teachers are everywhere — they’re a dime a dozen. The Bible tells us that in the last days, many false prophets will arise and mislead many (Matthew 24:11), and we see this taking place right before our eyes. In fact, you can hardly swing a dead cat without hitting a false teacher. Just turn on TBN, you’ll see endless amounts of them. But another, more nefarious kind of false teacher is the one that lurks in otherwise common Evangelical churches. These are the ones that are more difficult to notice.

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:4

False Teacher #10 – Eugene Peterson

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Eugene Peterson sadly passed away in October 2018. Peterson was famous for his book, The Message, which he referred to as a Bible translation. The Message, however, was not an accurate translation of the Scriptures by any means, it was a complete re-write and in many cases, changing the entire meaning of the text.

Peterson was an advocate of the Emergent Church and was known for building bridges between Emergent practices, such as contemplative prayer and mysticism, with mainstream and biblical Christianity.

Eugene Peterson also came out in support of gay marriage, but then partially retracted his support after LifeWay threatened to remove his materials from inventory, stating,

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That’s not something I would do out of respect to the congregation, the larger church body, and the historic biblical Christian view and teaching on marriage. That said, I would still love such a couple as their pastor. They’d be welcome at my table, along with everybody else.

A pastor is someone who is set up to guard the sheep, and the fact that Peterson believed that he could still be a hom*osexual couple’s pastor reveals that he believes that those living in rebellion to God could still be Christians.

False Teacher #9 – Ann Voskamp

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Ann Voskamp is a very popular author, poet, and blogger among the ladies. She writes in a tedious, melodramatic way that most people would find cumbersome. Yet, with a captivating charisma, she’s attracted a massive following at her blog where she writes about the day-to-day happenings in her life that so many women can identify with.

However, Voskamp has stepped into the realm of Bible teacher and is also the author of many works that, while the theology is bad, are theological in nature. Voskamp portrays God’s love in a dangerous way, confusing his love for an “erotic” type of love. In her book, 100 Gifts, she writes of flying to Paris to “learn how to make love to God,” and also, “I run my hand along the beams over my loft bed,wood hewn by a hand several hundred years ago. I can hear Him. He’s calling for a response; He’s calling for oneness. Communion”

This view of God’s love is antithetical to the biblical view of God’s love, which is agape. Voskamp teaches a relationship with God that is more like a relationship with a lover or a sex partner.

False Teacher #8 – Mark Batterson

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Mark Batterson is the modern father of the practice of prayer circles. In his book, The Circle Maker, Batterson teaches an unbiblical form of prayer that mimics ancient witchcraft more than Christianity.

Based on an old Jewish Legend from the Talmud, Batterson teaches his readers to draw a circle on the ground, step inside the circle, and pray, and that by doing so, you will be able to access untold blessings from God. In his book, he also twists the Scriptures to teach a form of the prosperity gospel, he writes,

Your job is not to crunch numbers and make sure the will of God adds up. After all, the will of God is not a zero-sum game. When God enters the equation, His output always exceeds your input. Your only job is to draw circles in the sand. And if you do the geometry, God will multiply the miracles in your life.

The Circle Maker, Chapter 3

The Scriptures, however, teach that we are to pray according to God’s will (1 John 5:14).

False Teacher #7 – Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth

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Nancy Leigh DeMoss is another circle-maker, like Batterson, who started off well, but began to slide into this heretical teaching over the last few years. DeMoss, like Batterson, mixes this pagan practice of drawing prayer circles with biblical Christianity.

DeMoss is the leader of a popular women’s prayer event called Cry Out. At this event, she regularly turns to the prayer circle and attributes her teaching to an early 20th-century British Evangelist, Rodney (Gipsy) Smith. She writes,

Gipsy Smith was a nineteenth-century revivalist who did something unusual when he came to a new town. He’d stop on the outskirts anddraw a circle in the dirt. Then he wouldstand inside that circleand say, “O God, please send a revival to this town, and let it begininside this circle.”

Would you ask God to revive His people? Would you let the Holy Spiritdraw a circle within your own heart?Then say, “Lord, I long for You to send a revival to my nation, my church, my marriage, and my children. But Lord, would You first start arevival inside this circle?Let it begin in me.”

She’s also a promoter of another well-known Emergent teacher and mystic, Richard Foster, one of the founders of spiritual formation — a movement whose central disciplines revolve around contemplative prayer and other forms of Eastern mysticism.

False Teacher #6 – T.D. Jakes

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This one seems like it should be obvious, but sadly, it isn’t. Up until recently, T.D. Jakes was sold in Southern Baptist LifeWay book stores around the country.

Jakes is a modalist — that is, he believes a damning heresy about the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. The modalist heresy teaches that the Trinity is not one God existing in three distinct persons simultaneously, as the orthodox creeds teach. It teaches that the Trinity takes on different modes (or personalities) at different times. That God either exists as the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit, but never all three simultaneously.

Besides this blatant heresy, Jakes is also a prosperity gospel teacher who essentially teaches that God is like a genie in a bottle and exists to provide us with whatever we desire, so long as we have enough faith.

False Teacher #5 – Sarah Young

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This also seems like another obvious one, but again, sadly, it isn’t. Sarah Young’s books and studies are still widely sold in Christian bookstores, including LifeWay of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In her book, Jesus Calling, Sarah Young portrays herself as a recipient of divine revelation, who, like the Apostles, was tasked with writing down God’s specific words. She claims to have personally heard from God himself, and her book is the written record of this new revelation.

Of course, this is complete heresy. The canon of Scripture is closed and God does not speak directly and specifically in this way today. Further, much of what Young writes in her book is contradictory to what is already written in Scripture and has been edited several times when these contradictions were brought to light.

False Teacher #4 – Priscilla Shirer

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Priscilla Shirer is one of the many darlings of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a regular speaker on the LifeWay Women’s speaking circuit. Shirer, daughter of Pelagian heretic, Tony Evans (below), is an advocate of mystical forms of prayer and contemplation that were born out of the Emergent movement.

Justin Peters wrote an excellent review on Shirer’s movie, War Room, which basically sums up these false teachings as highly emotional and seductive to fallen human nature.

Priscilla Shirer participated in a DVD on the contemplative prayer heresy called Be Still. She addresses her critics on her web page and though at first glance it may sound like she supports a biblical view of prayer, looking deeper into what she is saying, it becomes clear that she doesn’t understand what biblical prayer and meditation are.

In her FAQ she says,

By participating in the Be Still project, we by no means meant to convey our agreement with the theological viewpoints and positions of other participants yet we did believe (and still do) in the over-arching theme of the resource and that is why I agreed to do it.

This is a contradictory statement. The theological viewpoints and positions of the participants are the over-arching theme of the DVD, and she says she supports it.

More on Priscilla Shirer, here.

False Teacher #3 – Tony Evans

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Tony Evans is Priscilla Shirer’s father. Evans’ heresies include (but are not limited to) Pelagianism (the denial of original sin), Inclusivism (you don’t have to be a Christian to be saved), and Limited Theism (the denial of God’s omnipotence).

In an interview with Glenn Plumber at the NRB Convention in 2004, Evans affirms a Pelagian view of Christ’s death and resurrection, stating,

But the thing that the death of Christ did was cover and overrule original sin so that no man is condemned because they are born in Adam, but men are condemned because they consciously reject salvation.

Evans also holds to inclusivism, that is, you don’t have to actually know Christ personally to be saved. In this same interview, Evans says,

If a person believes somebody’s up there that created this… I don’t know who He is but I want to know Him… if that person were to have a heart attack at that moment, God could not condemn him and be just because God says he who seeks shall find, so since God makes that promise, if God doesn’t give him the Gospel or give him a direct revelation then He has to judge him out of another dispensation.

Evans works, like many of these other false teachers, as of the time of this writing, is still sold in LifeWay’s book stores.

False Teacher #2 – Lysa TerKeurst

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Lysa TerkHeurst is a protege of Steven Furtick, the loudmouth prosperity huckster out of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. TerkHeurst, like her spiritual father, Furtick, is a proponent of the prosperity gospel.

In her latest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, she states,

“We will be victorious because Jesus is victorious. Victorious people were never meant to settle for normal.”

She also practices and promotes the contemplative prayer heresy, which teaches that you can receive direct, divine revelation from God if you “tune your frequency in” to his voice. In a PDF she put out titled How To Hear God’s Voice, she writes,

God will never speak to us or tell us to do something that is contrary to His Word. But unless we know Scripture, we will not be able to discern whether what we are hearing is consistent or not with the Word.

False Teacher #1 – Beth Moore

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And last, but not least, we have Beth Moore. Beth Moore is the favorite among the lady preacher speaking circuit ranging from LifeWay and the Southern Baptist Convention to Hillsong. Beth Moore’s most blatant heresy is undoubtedly her claims to have received a direct vision from God — a vision that contradicted the Scriptures entirely. In this vision, God supposedly told her that Roman Catholicism is one of God’s true Christian denominations and that he desires unity among the various denominations, including Catholicism.

In another video, she doubles down on this vision claiming that God told her that he is going to “unite all sectors of Christendom,” and in another, she claims God gave her a vision of a bus stop so that she could give a random lady some money.

Whether it be Beth Moore’s endless accounts of visions from God, or her regular teaming up with heretics like Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer, or just the fact that she has literally no discernment and is politically charged with leftist identity politics while declaring that spending time in the Bible is not the same thing as spending time with God, one thing is for sure — Beth Moore has captivated millions of people around the world and led them astray. Whether she devours them herself or feeds them to her pack mates, she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that, for some reason, still continues to be paraded around in orthodox churches as though she is benign. She is not, she is to be avoided at all costs.

Top Ten False Teachers You'll Find in Evangelical Churches (2024)


What is considered a false gospel? ›

Any version of the gospel that teaches that Jesus came for political and social reform rather than for freeing us from the bondage of sin is a false gospel. He came for those things, but that is not the thing he came for most. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Is it a sin to false teach? ›

God differentiates between those who spread truth versus falsehood. False teaching is sin.

Who are the main teachers of Christianity? ›

The Apostles succeeded Jesus as teachers. 3 Jesus became the object, rather than the subject, of teaching, as the apostles began ''teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ'' (Acts 5:42). Paul, James, Timothy, Aquila, Priscilla—many, if not all, New Testa- ment Christians spent time teaching.

What is a false doctrine? ›

Any thing taught, that is not found in the word of God, is called false doctrine. The apostle John told us what to do concerning those that teach false doctrine; II John 1:10: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.”

Which gospel is more accurate? ›

In the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation the agreement is less, while in the letters it is much greater" Per Aland and Aland, the total consistency achieved in the Gospel of Matthew was 60% (642 verses out of 1,071), the total consistency achieved in the Gospel of Mark was 45% (306 verses out of 678), the total consistency ...

Who do not obey the gospel verse? ›

2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 New International Version (NIV)

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

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