Guarding Against False Teachings and Defending the Truth
Distinguishing Between True and False Teachings
Our Lord Jesus repeatedly reminded the disciples that in the end times, false christs and false prophets would rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Mt 24:4–5, 24). The apostles also repeatedly warned: “… that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess 2:3). Moreover, the Spirit has expressly said “that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).
In times when heretical teachings prevail, the saints must weigh carefully what is said so that they themselves are not confused. Apostle John encourages us, “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” (1 Jn 4:1). Below are some basic principles we can use to distinguish between truth and heresy.
(1) Is it in accordance with the Bible?
The Bible is the word of God and is the only standard by which to judge right from wrong. Any gospel other than the gospel that was preached by the apostles is heresy (Gal 1:6–9). Men should seek the law and the testimony; if they do not speak according to God’s word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa 8:20).
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. … If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 Jn 9–11)
[To be continued…]