While difficult challenges have arisen from outside the church, the most dangerous have always been from within. Inside the church there are many false teachers that misconstrued the Bible to create teachings that fit their agenda. When this happens, what God really wanted for the world gets manipulated. People get led astray from Jesus Christ, and instead are unknowingly following down a dark path.
Every sector of Christianity is subject to having this happen, because Satan’s attack on the church is relentless and unforgiving. The visible church today is undoubtedly full of false gospels, and evangelicals are no different. Many of these churches have shared beliefs to their congregations that aren't based on biblical fact.
Here are some false teachings you may have learned while attending an evangelical church.
"The Bible must be followed above all else."
According to EvangelicalBeliefs.com, the Bible is the "final authority in all matters of doctrine and faith — above all human authority." Evangelical Christians believe in the Bible as God's inspired word to humankind, and think the original text is perfect given it was written from God. We have to note, though, that the Bible is only one part of the history of Christianity. There is so much more we as Christians can learn from. Furthermore, at the end of the day the Bible isn't Jesus Christ. Jesus is who we pour our hearts out to, ask for forgiveness from, and dedicate our lives to. Evangelicals can, at times, elevate the Bible so high on a pedestal they forget that Jesus is actually the ultimate one they look up to. Nothing is higher than Him. We should always put our faith in Jesus, and not just a book.
"God rewards those that donate to the church."
Thirty-seven percent of American evangelicals agreed that God will always reward true faith with material blessings, with a further 23 percent of non-evangelicals agreeing with this "prosperity gospel." This has been something that many mega-churches will preach, and will use it to prey on the most vulnerable. Poorer Americans, those with incomes under $25,000, were more likely to believe in this idea. While the New Testament promises heaven for those who believe in Jesus, it does not promise riches in this life. Rather, Saint Paul, the author of most of the letters in the New Testament, himself faced penury, prison, and even death for the gospel he preached. Despite having a living and profound faith, he wasn't given grand amount of riches.
"There isn't a Holy Spirit."
For many evangelicals, they find the Holy Spirit to be an optional belief. Due to their dedication to the Bible, they don't feel they need the idea of the Holy Spirit. By ignoring the idea of the Holy Spirit, evangelicals are stripping themselves of the opportunity to learn what Jesus Christ taught about the Holy Spirit in addition to how the church operated under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as told in the book of Acts. Furthermore, there is a lot of confusion in general about what the Holy Spirit classifies as. The majority of Americans said that the Holy Spirit is not a person but a force, while a quarter described the Spirit as a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. Choosing to ignore this part of Christianity, rather than explaining it to congregations, causes more harm than good.
"Christ tells us to vote a certain way."
The idea that one must vote Republican or Democrat to be a true Christian is one of the most rampant issues going on in Churches today, and many evangelical churches push this type of agenda. Christians have a sacred duty to vote, and when we vote, to vote our convictions, our beliefs and our values. The Apostle Paul instructs us in Romans 13 that God ordained government to punish those who do evil and to reward those who do that which is right. However, this does not translate to the idea that all Christians must vote for one political party or they are going against Jesus Christ.
"Christians must always be nice."
While scripture does teach us to be kind and compassionate towards others, it does not teach us to do so at the expense of truth. This is where the gospel is compromised and becomes a false gospel. We don’t want to offend people. We’re afraid of spoiling a friendship or disturbing a close relationship by speaking the truth. It’s okay to talk about the positive things in Christianity, but we don’t want to upset anyone by telling them they’re a sinner. The church is afraid that if we tell people they’re sinners, and they need to repent, that they won’t come back. We can't be afraid to do the work of Chris - sharing His Word - because we are afraid of upsetting the world.
The evangelical church has incorporated some teachings that are directly against what the Bible actually tells us. These pieces of misinformation can spring up anywhere, but as Christians we must be diligent in researching what Jesus really says. By doing so, we will be more connected with Christ and have a belief system that is rooted in strong, biblical truth.