by Pastor Joseph Kolawole Ola
Good day Blessed GOGOLights!
Since this chapter is all about the false teachers — their condemnation (verses 1-9), their character (verses 10-17), and their claims (verses 18-22), my approach to this chapter will be to share a true story of a contemporary false prophet some of you may know.
PRESENT-DAY FALSE TEACHERS: A CASE STUDY
One of the members of an online community I do life with sent me a message in June. He was semi-confused about a YouTube video from a self-acclaimed “scripture scholar” in the Nigeria media space. The man made the video in response to a social media challenge put forward by Nathaniel Bassey with the aim of making ‘JESUS’ trend. Sure, you already know the YouTuber/Social Media Influencer/Online Church Leader I’m talking about: Ifedayo Olarinde.
Of course, my first immediate response was to let that brother know how shocked I was to find out he even gives any amount of his ear-time to listening to such a personality as that. To be fair, I don’t know Ifedayo (I’m intentionally choosing not to call him by his a.k.a because he is by no means in the league of those I will address by the title in his a.k.a) and I have not listened to him long enough to say much about him, but I have fellowshipped with Jesus long enough to discern a false teacher and a charlatan. It is for the same reason that I couldn’t bring myself to watch up to half of the video because I take the ear-gates of my soul seriously.
In the few minutes I watched of the particular video that I was asked to comment about to bring clarity to Ifedayo’s arguments, there were just too many red flags that indicate the falsehood that cloaks the man’s teaching and ministry. Here are some of them:
1. SEEKING ATTENTION
Within the first 90 seconds of the video, his first act was to celebrate an early commenter on the live video. He said the person gave him 50,000 YouTube subscribers, and thus, had earned an eternally favourable spot in his heart. For me, that was the first tell tale—that this so-called preacher is someone seeking attention. For people like him, it’s all about the numbers. They live for likes, shares, views, retweets, etc. They will say anything that will fuel that egoistic search for relevance and significance — no matter whose reputation is being dragged in the online mud in the process.
2. MIXING TRUTH AND LIES
The classic skill of all false teachers is the ability to mix truth and lies. No false teacher speaks only falsehood. There is always some truth here and there to what they push. In the few minutes of the video broadcast that I saw, Ifedayo did this so well. He is very gifted with bamboozling the unsuspecting or the ungrounded with seeming historical and/or academic facts that are mis-applied or blatantly out of sync.
3. CORRUPTING BIBLICAL CHRISTOLOGY
Another thing that is common to all false teachers is the fact that something about their beliefs and teachings HAS TO undermine something about Christ. In the case of the video that I watched, it was the attempt to get people to stop praying in the name of Jesus because the name is ‘meaningless’ and ‘useless’ except it is expressed in Hebrew.
4. DISMANTLING THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
Again, within the few minutes of the clip that I saw, he made it clear that he believes most English Bible translations are corrupted. The only translation he trusts to some extent is the New Living Translation. Of course, when a Bible Teacher is able to get you to believe that the Bible is full of errors, he has secured his licence to teach you ANYTHING! If you want to question his teachings biblically, part of the rhetoric you will get in his defence is that the Bible you are quoting from is corrupted!
5. FACILITATING CONFUSION
Of course, the reason why I came across the video in the first instance was because a genuine Christian brother was feeling confused about what He had always believed because he listened to 90 minutes of a confusing teaching. Godly truth sets free (John 8:32). Godly truth does not rob you of grace and peace, it multiplies them! (2 Peter 1:2).
6. INSTIGATING DIVISION
In the few minutes of the teaching that I saw, the guy blocked more than one viewer who made a comment he did not like. In other words, he wants a community of people who ONLY likes the things he says, not criticise it. And when they raise an objection in the comment thread, he — to use his very word — ‘raptures’ them (meaning he kicks them out of the livestream and bans them from rejoining). He is often going after notable men of God to instigate viral and divisive social media commentaries on their ministry and teachings. At the end of the day, for Ifedayo, a win can be as simple as sowing a seed of doubt in your heart about what you believe. Don’t let anyone do that to you.
7. QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER
I base this last point, on two things: his unfiltered speech when he disagrees with someone who mades a contrary comment (he literally curses them) and a remark I read from a self-confessed church truant who, in spite of his inconsistency as a Christian, could still see through the deception of Ifedayo. According to that comment, the person said Ifedayo could not keep his first marriage. That comment made me do a bit more digging online. I found out that he has, just this week, married another person in an event here in the UK “despite adultery lawsuit”, one headline says.
Look through those above 7 red-flags and you would have seen 2 Peter 2 playing out before your eyes (especially when you place it in context and in arms with other New Testament passages that spell out the traits and operations of false teachers — e.g. the Book of Jude).
THE ANTIDOTE TO FALSE TEACHING
I’m reminded of a short thought piece I read about how bank staff are trained to detect fake currency. The main tactic is that this discernment comes experientially — it comes from a repeated exposure to correct currency. If you’ve handled true currency again and again for a very long time, your suspicion will be triggered when a fake currency lands in your hand. The same applies here; we guard ourselves from false teaching by a systematic, consistent, and repeated exposure to the truth! Keep soaking it in from trusted sources. (Start from GOGO’s website!) The more you ingest the truth and allow it to take root in you, the more you will be discerning of what and who not to give your ear-time to.