Both testaments abound with warning and admonitions to aid those who would serve God to recognize those who were false. Outside of tainted ministerial activities, false ministers can be identified by their character. As the apostles warned the Church of false ministers, they identified certain character traits. If believers are to stand against the false, they have to see them before they are given the opportunity to preach and minister in the Church. In this post, we will discuss the character traits of false ministers.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you. (II Peter 2:1a)
False Ministers are fleshly. False ministers will preach, teach, minister, and even prophesy. Their ministries may seem powerful, but their personal lives will be filled with discrepancies. Sin and carnality in their lives will be evident. In addition, they will twist scriptures to justify their error.
False Ministers are liars. False ministers and layman will tell lies consistently. They will lie about hearing from God. They will tell stories for which they have no proof or evidence. Certain stories they tell will vary according to the audience. This is designed to shield others from their true identity and motives.
False Ministers are presumptuous. False ministers are full of pride. They will usurp authority any time they can. They will seek the preeminence in the Church.
False Ministers are self-willed. In simple terms, they will do what they want, when they want. They are not accountable to anyone, even God. When they are questioned, they will try to say that someone is legalistic or is trying to control them; while in fact, they just want to do whatever pleases them.
False Ministers are complainers. False ministers will try to use discernment to criticize true men and women of God. The complaining comes to disrupt the plan of God and unity in the Church. They complain to sow discord and exalt themselves. No one can do anything in the Church better than they can.
False Ministers are resentful of leaders. False ministers despise godly leaders. This is because true leaders will not allow their activities to go unchecked. Also, they do not want to submit to leadership because they are there to lead. False ministers will slander leaders in the Church to gain a personal following.
If any believer exhibits any of these character traits, he or she is walking in the spirit of falsehood. Though believers sometimes demonstrate character flaws, it does not mean they are false ministers or laymen. The above character traits can be found listed in II Peter chapter 2 and in the epistle of Jude. In our next post, we will discuss in particular the ministerial activities of false ministers of Christ.