Discerning the difference between a Christian and a false Christian

In the bible – there are two types of people: believers and unbelievers. Jesus in Matthew 24 calls believers ‘sheep’ and unbelievers ‘goats’, sending the ‘sheep’ to heaven and the ‘goats’ to hell.


There are roughly three types of “Christians” in Christianity.


1. Christians who are followers of Jesus Christ:
They express their love by growing in His Word.


2. Christians who are followers of Jesus Christ but are temporarily deceived:
These Christians have been hoodwinked by false Christian movements and have been deceived into elevating men and their teachings above Christ and His teachings. They know something is wrong and are trying to put their finger on it while they are being tossed by every wave and wind of doctrine. They do hear God’s voice and attempt to discern the true from the false, eventually to be led out of a false church into a good church – generally at great cost.


3. “Christians” who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ but are not:
However, inwardly they express hatred towards Jesus by twisting His person, His name and His Word. This person is no Christian at all. Their “fruit” is on display when they attack Christ and His Church and elevate their pagan leaders and their teachings above Jesus Christ and His Word.

This article will hopefully help you identify the difference between these types of Christians.


Answer: According to God’s Word, Christians are those who have the ability to label people false Christians.

If Jesus and His disciples gave Christianity the ability to discern who is and isn’t a Christian – then we should do so accordingly, but respectfully, lovingly and sensitively.

To claim someone is not a Christian is a very serious and provocative thing to do. However, if all the signs of unbelief and paganism are there, we are not loving at all if we do not call them out for who they are, and call them to repent.


If we don’t deal with false converts (often made by false prophets/teachers), Paul says “the way of truth will be blasphemed.”
If we cannot clearly represent God and His Word because false Christians are making up their own deities and slapping “Jesus” on them, the world has every excuse to blaspheme God.

False Christians need to be weeded out of the church if they refuse to repent of their paganism and sins. The best way to do this is to use the Matthew 18 approach and other biblical models as best as possible.

To give you an example why this labeling needs to occur is based on various experiences we’ve seen. Here’s an example:

A woman was highly offended that she was not considered to be a Christian by a church. When we asked her why,
she claimed she loved Jesus and didn’t understand why they had issues with her believing that Jesus was born only
a man (and not from a virgin), and never rose from the dead. Nevertheless, she claimed she felt she had a deep relationship with Jesus.

That church lovingly let her know she was not a Christian because she denied the fundamentals of the Christian faith. But is it biblical for us to call out false Christians? Well if we look at Jesus and His disciples, they did. Does that mean we should?

The Apostle Paul writes,

“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

And when we look at Paul and the Apostles, they did not shy away from claiming who were in and out of the faith. They encourage us to discriminate in this fashion and encourage us as believers to not have fellowship or associate with false Christians. Even the writer of Hebrews appears to think that we have the ability to discern such important issues in Hebrews 4-6.

NOTE: This does not mean we are playing God, we should NEVER play God.
However, He has given us all the signs to help us discern who is of Him and who is not of Him in His Word.
In fact, God expects us to deal with those who are not of Him.


To answer that question, Jesus talks about two types of disciples:


False disciples:

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness,
the love of most will grow cold…


True disciples:

… but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:10-13

This means we can identify true and false Christians through a number of different means.



A disciple of Jesus Christ loves Jesus by keeping His Word. Jesus says:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. […] Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him. […] If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14: 15, 21, 23


A false disciple will often oppose the teachings of Jesus Christ, twisting and perverting His teaching to make up their own deity, one that suits their spiritual desires. Christ and His disciples did NOT tolerate such idolatry and perversion.

“God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'” 1 Corinthians 5:13


Jesus made it clear who were of God and who weren’t. Those who claimed to be believers, Jesus exposed that they were unregenerate by pointing out their language and their comprehension/understanding.


“Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” John 8:43-45

However Christians are instructed and live in Christ

“… will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:13



A false worshiper will:

follow “false prophets … [and] will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
And in their greed they will exploit [them] with false words.” 2 Peter 1:3

A false Christian, will “follow their sensuality.” Goats care about themselves.


A true worshiper will:

“… will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-4

Jesus claims that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that His sheep hear his voice. Sheep care about ‘The Truth’.


Interestingly, the bible exposes how Christian and a false Christian reflect those whom they follow.


A Christian who is someone who has been raised,

“… in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,
attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”


And it appears Paul suggests the opposite are like,

“… infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching
and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:13-14



A Christian leader is instructed to:

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this,
for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16

Likewise, Christian leaders want Christians to be,

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.” 1 Peter 5:8


On the contrary, false leaders are:

“… like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed,
blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction,
suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing.” 1 Timothy 4:16

We see their followers act similarly, following after their leaders’ sensuality. Sober-mindedness is not an option.
In fact, they discourage it. They literally are like the pagans Paul talks about in Romans 1,

“… suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.” Romans 1:18

Sadly, there are many people who claim to be Christians who are not, and that number seems to be growing by the day. It’s LOVING to point these “Christians” back to God’s Word and challenge their beliefs. Christ crucified for our sins is what saves souls from Hell, not a “Jesus” made in the imaginations of men who tell people to have their “best lives now.”

Categories: Resources

3 replies

  1. Church watcher

    what do you think of this?

    How Hillsong and Brian Houston are Destroying Christianity
    Posted on July 5, 2016 by Jeff Maples

    “The professing church is filled with charlatans. Men and women who care about fame, fortune, and popularity. This pervasive evil has crept its way into even the most solid of churches, leading people astray, into the darkness of a counterfeit Christianity–one that has a form of godliness, but denies its power. If you want to see true Christianity destroyed, reject Christ’s warnings against fraudulent, lawless men. One such degenerate man is co-founder and CEO of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston.

    Houston has single-handedly destroyed Christianity in Australia. He has been relentlessly pushing the idea through his new TBN sponsored television network, The Hillsong Channel, as well as through his books, that he is an extraordinary, God-ordained, faith-filled leader. He really wants you to believe this. So much so, that he’s willing to go to any extreme to silence and destroy anyone who disagrees with him. This is evidenced in how he has handled the investigation by the Royal Commission into his father’s crimes. He has repeatedly lied to them, and they have rejected his testimony. He lied to the media, sidelined his father’s victims and support persons, and maligned the media and critics to stop monitoring him, while he promoted his father as a righteous man in his book. He will publicly lie and twist the truth to deny any accusation made against his self-contained multi-billion dollar religion-industrial complex.

    He publicly lied about knowing that two homosexual members of his church, one of which was leading a choir, had plans to get married. He lied about knowing that his wife and his associate pastors planned on having a nearly naked man dance and perform on stage in front of thousands of women at a women’s conference. And he twists and distorts the truth to defend an indefensible, sleazy rendition of a classic Christian song, in order to save face for his company.

    But his lies and cover-ups are simply a symptomatic response to the darkness of this rat pack. Perhaps the most dubious of sins perpetrated by Hillsong are its hostile takeovers of smaller, biblical churches in Australia, and around the world. Churches are left with a dilemma: to either conform to Hillsong’s model or Hillsong will plant a church in your area, and take away your members. This is the official objective of Hillsong, as stated in their “vision statement,” and this is exactly what has happened in Australia. As one church member in Australia said, “almost every small town has a seeker friendly church that shuts the other biblical churches down purely because the parents want better facilities and the youth cannot handle a full sermon on doctrine.”

    And this is absolutely the truth. Youth today have been conditioned to “experience” church, rather than accept the biblical model of church, which is, primarily, to equip the saints to make disciples. While biblically-modeled worship is and should be an integral part of a church service, Hillsong has transformed the traditional worship service into a mind-numbing session of entertainment that contains little, if any, expository preaching, Gospel proclamation, or biblical truth. As the English evangelist, Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord the less entertainment you need.” Hillsong and churches that follow their model have become breeding grounds for false converts, and make their congregations completely dependent on the “high” they get through the experiential worship services, while departing from the truth.

    For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. – 2 Tim 4:3-4

    Over the last several decades, this pulpit criminal has demanded churches and the secular world regard him as a legitimate Christian minister and his movement as a valid “Christian” movement. Take a look at this video to see him talking himself up as one of God’s greatest church-builders, all while raping the Word of God and teaching Word of Faith heresy.

    Video Player

    Yet, again, this worm has been anything but faith-filled, courageous or law-abiding. Sadly, many Christians do not realise how worm-like and cowardly Brian Houston actually is. He makes a game of blocking and ignoring people who genuinely care about contending for the true faith, and standing for doctrinal truth. If you question him, he bullies you (especially if you are female). Here, you can listen to a “sermon” of him essentially teaching his congregation that they must “die to their opinions,” and submit themselves to the authority of their church leaders.

    However, when important Christian issues are presented to him, he has no answer, so he just lies, contorts, or changes the subject. He literally stands for nothing except his own image. He has no faith and he has no guts. To back up this strong claim, I’d like to point you to this interview with Hope 103.2 radio. In this interview, Clare Chate acknowledges to Brian Houston that he is “aiming to lead a church that influences the culture but is also culturally relevant and sensitive.”

    He confirms this. She continues,

    And in Australia, we are now dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage, which is looking like it might be inevitable. How do you address issues like that as a leader in a church? And how should Christians deal with that?

    So what did Brian Houston say? Did he say the church will stand for the truth? Did he say that he is working with ministers to make the Christian voice heard and why these issues are not good for the church and the rest of society? No, his response was,

    Well I think it’s very vexing and very challenging. The moment you get asked the question on ah- secular media in particular- ah- “What do you think about homosexuality?” or “What do you think about gay marriage?,” you’re going to lose people. You’re either going to lose people on the one side or you are going to lose your constituency on the other side. And if you say nothing, you lose everybody. And so it’s one of those questions where there’s no great answer…”

    Brian showed no concern for the Christian faith or biblical truth. Mr. Houston did not even bother to bring up the Scriptures to equip leaders or Christians to combat the invasion of the secular agenda in the Church. Essentially, he said we will lose the popularity contest (because all Brian cares about is remaining popular) and “there’s no great answer,” on the issue of homosexuality. How’s that for a faith-filled, courageous leader?

    But what do you expect from a church that is not centered around Jesus Christ or his Word, but around the “vision of the senior pastor?” Their model is a church that’s so big, that the senior pastor is protected from any criticism. He can surround himself with only those who affirm him, while shielding himself from any who question him. There is no accountability. The desire is a top-down structure that makes all under the senior pastor subservient to the “vision.”

    So much for Brian Houston and Hillsong “influencing” society with the truth of God’s word, yet they are influencing churches, ruthlessly taking them over and converting Christians to their ungodly model under their religious regime.

    If Christians in and around the world actually cares about truth, it’s time to expel the lawless and wicked Brian Houston from Christianity and demand that Hillsong shut down its onslaught against biblical Christianity.”

    [Contributed by Jeff Maples]

  2. Good evening from over here in China. It was a good read Jeff, and I appreciated your time and effort you put in to preparing this vital information. The way false Christianity seems to be heading is…not a wonder to behold, and sometimes I get caught up in being overwhelmed by it all. Then I take a moment and I know the God of Abraham, Issaac, and Jacob is still on the Throne, and he has everything under control.I look up for my Redemption draweth nigh. And when he takes me by the hand, and he leads through the Promised land, what a day glorious day that will be. One word of advice Jeff, if I may. Hold fast to the King James Bible. Wherever you may be, whatever time it may be, Remember to read your Bible, and Pray every day, and you will grow, grow, grow. 🙂 Take care! David Bentley Guilin, in Southern China.

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