Recognizing True and False Teachers

Last night, March 20, at Eastside Baptist I gave some biblical guidelines related to the duty of the church to make proper judgment on recognizing true and false teachers/preachers.

The content of the message was difficult because it included naming Saeed Abedini as currently not displaying or producing fruit of a true teacher according to the instructions we have in Scripture to determine and discern.

Background Scriptures: Matthew 7:15-19, 1 Timothy 6:6, 2 Timothy 3, Galatians 5, 1 Thessolonians 5:21-22, 1 John 4, 2 Peter 3:18, 2 Peter 2:1-17, Proverbs 16:18, Matthew 18:15-20

Background information:

  • I’ve been asked by some in my church if we will attempt to invite Saeed to speak in our church now that he has been released. I need to give a clear answer as to why the answer is currently “no.”
  • I have made multiple attempts to communicate with Saeed Abedini in private to get clarification on his ordination and current church affiliation. (knowing these things would help in discerning the way he is publicly mishandling Scripture. He has not responded to any private communication. He is not required and I don’t demand it of him, I just simply want to be courteous.
  • I posted a letter to my church over a month ago cautioning them to exercise caution as interviews were beginning to show up in the media disclosing the fractured relationship between Saeed and Naghmeh. Before Saeed’s release it was reported that there was a history of abuse on Saeed’s behalf in the family, and public records confirm this.
  • It was reported that Saeed spent large moments of his time in prison on a smart phone watching movies, a misrepresentation of what was actually going on and what was being told to the church at large. (this is not to suggest that his suffering was not real and undeserved.)
  • In the limited public discourse I have had with Saeed online he gives misleading answers and clearly practicing poor hermeneutics in relationship to the Bible and the application of it. He’s lying if he doesn’t correct this and his behavior is unfitting for a pastor.

Christian, it’s time that you stop letting the fear of being called judgmental keep you from obeying God in relationship to people who present themselves as spiritual leaders. Here is a starting place to make careful consideration of what we hear and see. (I cover them in greater detail in the video/audio)

  • Recognizing true and false teachers
    • The Bible Rules
    • Context is King
    • Use of Scripture
    • Bearing Fruit
    • Purpose
    • Judge Them by Their Words and Actions
    • Humility vs. Arrogance
    • Authority
  • Public Discourse:
    • Benefit of the Doubt
    • Be Considerate
    • Consideration
    • Careful Statement
    • Prepare Your Heart
    • Aim for Clarification, Reconciliation, Give Room for Restoration
    • When to Move On
    • Prayer for Yourself and the Others
    • Watch Yourself (pride is a monster)


As a pastor, it is good to be reminded that those who listen to me or read my thoughts are right to press me for clarification if I’ve done a poor job of communicating. And right to press even harder if there is clear doctrinal problem with my position or actions in life.

Ultimately: I give caution to the church I am responsible to and for to exercise care to your observing of what you hear and see of Saeed Abedini. By admission or omission he is not willing to submit to the authority of a local church. He is in an un-reconciled relationship with his wife while representing the Lord and His church to churches that advocated for him.

  • Exercise biblical judgment on the fruit of his words and actions.
  • Do not engage in lengthy debates online that lead to confusion and feed anger and pride.
  • False teachers need to be identified for the sake of the false teacher and those who defend them, but at some point we simply move on.
  • I would caution any church in the area to give intentional examination of Saeed’s current words and actions as reason not to give him opportunity to have spiritual influence on your congregation.
  • I call upon Christian universities and agencies to stop giving Saeed a platform to speak until he gives clarity of his ordination, church affiliation and status of his marriage.
  • I continue to pray for Saeed.
  • Refuse to let this end of our laboring in prayer keep us from praying for suffering saints around the world in their plight for the sake of the Gospel. Do it a thousand times again. Without hesitation!



  • Patty Cummings

    March 24, 2016 at 8:00 PM Reply

    Pastor Paul, I know you have the gift of discernment, because I saw it in action when you were in Boise. This is all so sad. I don’t know if this is a comment you will reply to, but do you feel that all of this should have come out in the media like it did?

    • Paul

      March 24, 2016 at 8:07 PM Reply

      It is so sad. It is hard to know how or when any of this should have come out. Public or private, it is even more sad that Saeed does not answer questions and does not appear willing to get the right kind of counseling. And then even more sad that Christian media outlets don’t appear willing to ask hard questions.

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