Are denominationalists deliberately lying?


by Shawn Brasseaux

One of the first questions that enters the mind of someone new to dispensational Bible study is, “Have denominationalists intentionally misled me?” Well, what about it? “For what saith the Scriptures?”


The prime example of someone in the Bible inadvertently teaching bad doctrine is Apollos. We find him at the close of Acts chapter 18: “[24] And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. [25] This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. [26] And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. [27] And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: [28] For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”

Concentrate on verse 24 first. Apollos was “eloquent”—an articulate, persuasive, powerful speaker. He was also “mighty in the scriptures.” In other words, he was experienced in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Verse 25 describes him as “fervent in spirit” (passionate, zealous). “He spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord.” Apollos was hardworking, dedicated to the ministry, “boldly” speaking in the synagogue of Ephesus (verse 26). However, there was one major flaw: he was operating “knowing only the baptism of John” (verse 25). Unfortunately, Apollos was preaching a message that was over 20 years old—and had since been superseded with additional Divine revelation! John the Baptist’s ministry had already run its course, Christ Jesus had already conducted His earthly ministry and died and resurrected, the Holy Spirit had already come in Acts chapter 2, and Saul of Tarsus had already been saved and commissioned as the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 9. Apollos needed to update his understanding! Watch how this played out.

Back at the beginning of chapter 18—prior to Apollos visiting Ephesus—the Apostle Paul had met a Jewish man (Aquila) and his wife (Priscilla). Read verses 1-3: “[1] After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; [2] And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: ) and came unto them. [3] And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. [4] And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”

Aquila and Priscilla learned grace doctrine from Paul. Now, fast-forward to our first Bible passage. Upon hearing Apollos’ poor understanding of God’s dealings with man, Aquila and Priscilla teach him what Paul had shared with them earlier! “[26] And he [Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. [27] And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: [28] For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”

Having drastically improved his doctrine, Apollos takes that new spiritual insight out to the masses! Be sure to reread verses 27 and 28. In fact, after Paul visited and converted Corinth from paganism in chapter 18, Apollos entered Corinth and further instructed those saints in chapter 19 (verse 1). Thus, Apollos’ ministry appears several times in the Book of 1 Corinthians. As late as Titus 3:13, many years after Acts ended, Apollos is still a vital ministry coworker of Paul. See, Apollos simply needed to be taught a proper view of the Bible. Once saints informed him of sound Bible doctrine, he gladly passed it on to others. Apollos was not deliberate in his doctrinal errors.

This author can testify to the fact there are some sincere church leaders and members who desire to teach others the Holy Bible as best they can. While they do not “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), they are not consciously deceiving others with their false teaching. Like Apollos, they simply must be taught dispensational truths, and then they will joyfully communicate those verses to others. How does this author know such people exist even now? Long ago, he and his family were in the same position! He had trusted Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour, but spent the first 12 years of his Christian life confused, unable to understand and enjoy the Bible. Legalism—religious rules and regulations to be observed to merit God’s favor—dominated his thinking. In his ignorance, early in his ministry, he faithfully spread his denominational doctrine. However, when two faithful brothers in Christ introduced him to dispensational Bible study, he searched the Scriptures for himself and trusted them dispensationally. Even since, he has been growing in the Word of God’s Grace and teaching others that same doctrine. He simply needed to be taught: he was not intentionally misleading anyone. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.


Let us look now at people in Scripture who consciously deceive in the name of religion. The nation Israel had apostate religious leaders. They knew the truth but rebelled against it. See Matthew 28:11-15: “[11] Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. [12] And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, [13] Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. [14] And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. [15] So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

Having learned of the guards what happened at Jesus’ tomb—the angel appearing, the stone being rolled back, the Lord Jesus’ body absent—the chief priests and elders of Israel conspired and offered those guards an enormous monetary bribe. The soldiers who had been stationed to protect the tomb from robbers were now urged to claim Jesus’ followers indeed had stolen the body! Just in case Pontius Pilate the Governor of Judaea threatened to take the lives of the irresponsible soldiers, Israel’s religious leaders promised to come to their defense with the same lie. According to them, Jesus’ “resurrection” was nothing more than a body-snatching, a corpse relocation! Even when they discovered the truth, Israel’s unbelieving leaders wanted nothing to do with it.

During his last decade-plus of grace ministry among denominationalists, this author has met equally dishonest people. They simply refuse to hear the Scriptures taught dispensationally. Outright rejecting right division, they continue in their denominational doctrine as if they had never heard the truth. For example, one of his former denominational pastors told him, “Do not tell my people they are not under the tithe. They do not give enough as it is!” In fact, frankly, this author has met teachers and preachers who already knew dispensational truth and had outright rejected it. To wit, before he even told them about sound Bible doctrine, they were already aware of it and had refused it previously. Such individuals are particularly spiritually dangerous.


It bears mentioning—and stressing—we should never look for ways to excuse false teaching and errant spiritual behavior. In order to defend favorite preachers and pet theological systems, some will attempt to lessen the severity of the situation. “Dr. So-and-So is not intentionally lying to anyone,” for example. While that may be true (only God ultimately knows!), that condition in no way diminishes the fact he or she is still lying. Almighty God does not allow for any falsehoods. Lies do not automatically become truth simply because the people telling the lies are sincere.

Let it also be clearly understood we do not endeavor to determine who is deliberately lying and who is inadvertently deceiving. All we need to realize is whether or not they are lying. We take their doctrine (teachings) and compare it to the Word of God rightly divided, especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. This is how we acquire the discernment to differentiate between truth and error in this the Dispensation of Grace. Please note these Scriptural admonitions, and how “sincerity” or “knowledge” or “kindness” are not licenses to continue sitting under false teachers and peddling their errors! We are to “avoid” them, “withdraw from” them, and “turn away from” them.

Romans 16:17-18: “[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

1 Timothy 6:3-5: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

2 Timothy 3:1-5: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Finally, 1 Corinthians 14:37-38: “[37] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [38] But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.(Verse 38 presupposes people who do not want to hear and acknowledge the Apostle Paul’s special ministry. Once they take that position, Scripture commands us to leave them alone in their spiritual darkness!)


Are denominational people deliberately misleading? Unfortunately, they sometimes are. However, others are unintentionally spreading lies, and simply have not been taught dispensational truth. They are merely repeating what they have heard others say. As Berean Bible students, we should make every effort to reach out to aid people in understanding and enjoying the Word of God rightly divided.

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:9-11). Yet, if they refuse to hear the second time around, leave them in their ignorance and move on to those who are interested!

Also see:
» “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant?”
» Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?

» Should we hate the denominationalists who misled us?
» Are we immune to heresy and apostasy?

» If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?
» “I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?”