The points on which those who commented appeared to agree were...
We can recognize false prophets...
1. By their actions - by lives that are NOT full of grace, love, purity, self-control, kindness, gentleness, concern for the poor, etc, who instead, engage in slander and gossip and are greedy and who sexually act out (with greed being a primary cause for their preaching false teachings; that is, they preach false doctrine knowingly in order to get money).
2. by their being deliberate in their false doctrine, not speaking of those who are merely mistaken in sincerity, but blatantly lying.
3. By denying Jesus was sent of God, is the Son of God, divine.
4. By teachings that deny Jesus' teachings.
5. By teachings that deny Jesus' literal humanity.
6. By the weight of impact of their false teaching - if they are driving people from Christianity, for instance, or are teaching doctrine that would result in damnation (ie, teaching we are NOT saved by grace through faith in Jesus, or adding human rules to the "hoops" one has to jump through in order to be saved).
7. They "quarrel about words" and "promote controversial speculations" and "have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction..." There seems to be something pretty specifically in mind when this repeated warning about quarrels, I just can't see that it's clear exactly what. Does anyone have more insight into this aspect?
8. By being intimately aware of the situation/people under consideration. In the instances in the Bible, it always seems as if the writer is speaking of some situation/person wherein the writer is well familiar with the people and the situation. This, as opposed to commenting on some random blogger/writer/speaker where you've heard a few excerpts of their writing/teaching.
9. By being an actual teacher in some venue, as opposed to some guy just espousing opinions (this one is rather vaguely defined, but perhaps worth consideration).
These are the things that it seemed most of the folk who were participating seemed to mostly agree upon.
Of those who I've met online who most use the term "false teacher," we had the least amount of support for their tendency to use the term. As we can see from those who DID offer opinions who tend to disagree with me and mine, they are offering opinions of the term not supported in the biblical text.
For the most part, those who disagree with my general gist here continue to hold to the "it's obvious" criteria for such disagreements. That is, they allow that on some topics there ARE some dudes we just disagree with and that it's okay on those topics, it's not as if they're false teachers simply because they disagree with me.
But then, the reasoning goes, on other topics, it's NOT okay to disagree with their take on a particular theme or passage because "it's obvious," and anyone who disagrees with this "obvious" teaching must be a false teacher. This is without regard to intent (ie, someone who is honestly mistaken) or, apparently for some, they think IF they teach differently than what I think on this topic, then they MUST be lying and intentionally misleading because, well, it's obvious.
Further, for these folk, by THEIR loose and whimsical definition/usage of the term "false teacher," nearly everyone becomes a false teacher. In other words, if I truly think Mr X is mistaken on a topic, AND it turns out that Mr X WAS mistaken on that topic, then he WAS a false teacher, regardless of intent. There is no grace here for human fallibility, it seems to me.
Anyone who is a teacher who mistakenly holds a wrong position on certain topics (loosely and undefined topics, vague as to the point of meaninglessness) IS a false teacher and will be held to a higher level of accountability.
According to some.
I think the biblical witness is pretty clear that intent is important.
Several of these folk who frequently use the charge "false teacher" consider themselves Christian Apologetics teachers - they aim to make a rational, biblical case for Christianity and their specific tenets they associate with Christianity. So, I would hope that these fellas could see that, with the paucity of evidence for their position (which appears to be quite loose and subjective, depending upon the whim of the "apologist" to decide who is and isn't a "false teacher") that I can see no valid reason to grant them this looser, broader, unbiblical description of "false teacher" that they appear to vaguely support.