There Are Many False Teachers in the Church Today

{5:18} Woe to you who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and who draw sin as if with the rope of a cart,
{5:19} and who say: “Let him hurry, and let his work arrive soon, so that we may see it. And let the plan of the Holy One of Israel approach and arrive, so that we may know it.”
{5:20} Woe to you who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light, and light for darkness; who exchange bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
{5:21} Woe to you who are wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own sight!
{5:22} Woe to you who are powerful at drinking wine, who are strong men in contriving inebriation!
{5:23} For you justify an impious man in exchange for bribes, and you carry away the justice of a just man from him.

The above passage explains why the tribulation occurs, and why much of the suffering falls upon Christians and the Christian nations. Many Catholic Christians mock God, implicitly. They disregard any teaching of the Church that they dislike. They judge Scripture and judge unjustly. They put their own reasonings above magisterial teaching. And they speak and act as if God cannot see their sins, as if to say: “Let him hurry, and let his work arrive soon, so that we may see it.” They speak and act as if there are no punishments for sin within the plan of God, as if to say: “let the plan of the Holy One of Israel approach and arrive, so that we may know it.”

Many false teachers have risen up, leading Christians astray, and this is true among Catholics, just as among Protestants. The false teachers who claim to be faithful Catholics often teach heresy and various doctrinal errors along with the claim that all these ideas are Church teaching. Many teach error to their fellow Catholics under the cover of anonymity on the internet. Some teach error under their real names. Many of the false teachers have become very popular, and their heresies are accepted without question because of their popularity. “Woe to you when men will have blessed you. For these same things their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Mt 6:26).

One type of false teaching is particularly harmful: radical re-interpretation. Whenever one of these false teachers dislikes or simply does not understand a magisterial teaching, he distorts the teaching in a severe manner, radically re-interpreting it to fit his own understanding. In some cases, this can reach the extreme of claiming that the Church teaches the opposite of what She really does teach. In some cases, the distortion is enough to constitute heresy and to lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. In effect, these false teachers substitute evil for good, and good for evil. That which is truly bitter, being heresy or grave sin, they call sweet. What is sweet, such as the light yoke of the Lord, they call bitter.

These false teachers have been plaguing the Church for many years now. Some are liberal, some are moderate, some are conservative. They have many different techniques to convince their listeners to believe their false doctrines. But always they present themselves as wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. Their ideas take precedent, within their false teachings, over all the teachings of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium. For whenever Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium contradicts their own ideas, they radically re-interpret whatever is contradictory, so as to be able to claim that they are presenting Church teaching.

They are strong men, contriving inebriations, just as Isaiah prophesied. They are strong by being eloquent and entertaining, but their words are false. They intoxicate their readers with innumerable false claims about faith, morals, and salvation. They accept bribes in the sense that they craft their teachings to please their listeners, not to please God. And their listeners respond by supporting them with money.

And what does God say about these false teachers at the start of the tribulation? He says: “Woe to you!” They will not be spared from any of the sufferings that will befall the world during the tribulation.

{5:24} Because of this, as the tongue of fire devours stubble, and as the heat of a flame burns it completely, so will their root become like glowing embers, and so will their offshoot ascend like dust. For they have cast aside the law of the Lord of hosts, and they have blasphemed the eloquence of the Holy One of Israel.

The tribulation is like tongues of fire devouring stubble (the empty stalks left behind after the grain is harvested). The tribulation will burn up these false teachers, and even their roots will become like embers. For they have cast aside the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, and they have treated the eloquences of Divine Revelation with the extreme contempt. The tribulation is also a punishment on the innumerable Catholic and non-Catholic Christians who have followed false teachers and false teachings in contradiction to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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