How to recognize and identify a false preacher?
It is very important to discern a true preacher, whom is from God, from a false preacher. A false lawyer may bring you to jail and a false doctor may bring you in graveyard. But the worst of all is a false preacher – because it may bring you to hell. The danger in listening and following a false preacher is critical. Hence we must always test every preacher, every words and every spirit that they bring.
1 John 4:1 (NKJV)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
To preach something is to proclaim, make known or deliver something. A preacher is different from a teacher since a preacher delivers the Words of God while a teacher goes beyond proclaiming the Words of God (e.g., explaining, interpreting, showing and instructing). Another difference of the two is that a preacher will tell you while a teacher will school you.
Now, since a preacher is a deliverer of the Gospel or of the Words of God, we can distinguish a true preacher from a false preacher by simply testing the words which they proclaim. Just like a righteous lawyer, we can tell that he is telling us the correct decrees if he can refer and conform it correctly to the existing sections of the law. We can also tell that a preacher is one who is from God if he preaches the words of God, which we can conform rightfully to the Holy Scriptures. Thus, we need to learn the words and the tone of the Bible – or at least we need to always bring with us a Bible so that we can always refer to it what a preacher is saying. If a preacher is telling us messages which are not found in the Bible or which are not biblical, then that preacher is a false preacher. This is because a true preacher whom is sent by God speaks the words of God.
John 3:34 (NKJV)
For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
Moreover, we must also be careful of flowery and persuasive speeches from preachers, for they may be speaking in their own lies. A true preacher will come to us not with eloquent speeches that come from their own wisdom, but with pure Words, Spirit and Power from God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NKJV)
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Finally, a true preacher is not afraid of light, for they don’t hide lies. They do not run away from good debates, for their adversaries cannot defeat them in their words or spirit. They have truth, light and wisdom from God that cannot be resisted.
Luke 21:14-15 (NKJV)
Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
Etymology of Preach: Middle English prechen, from Anglo-French precher, from Late Latin praedicare, from Latin, to proclaim, make known, from prae- pre- + dicare to proclaim