One of the greatest challenges of the Apostles of the early Church was to oust the false doctrines or teachings that perpetrated the Church, turning away many believers from the truth about Christ. The Church today faces much of the same threat from false teachings and believers must safeguard themselves from falling prey to these sham philosophies presented in fancy facades.
….The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Jeremiah 14:14 (ESV)
Before venturing out to identify false teaching, it is imperative for Christian believers to know the content of their belief, their salvation in Christ, which is the only way to eternal life. It is impossible for the unsaved or those unfamiliar with the truth of the Gospel to unveil false teachings. A daily Bible study routine keeps believers grounded in the Word of God which is the best defense against any wrong doctrines.
These simple clues when kept in mind will be of great help for believers to identify heresies and stay away from them.
1.Test every message heard in the light of the Scriptures. The Berean Christians did just this and believers today would do well to follow their example (Acts 17:11).
2.Any teaching that disregards the Trinity or puts down or belittles any one or more persons in the Trinity is false.
3.When there is an overemphasis on extraordinary experiences or miracles, believers must beware of what is being taught. While it is true that the God of the Bible is able to work miracles, such uncommon experiences are not a norm to trusting in Him.
4.Doctrines that add to Scripture cannot be true. The Bible is complete in itself and it is impossible for any additions to be made to the truth of God’s word.
5.Teachings which place immense importance to only part of Bible texts without getting into the context of the passage need to be scrutinized. One of the main weapons for false teachers is to pull Bible passages out of context and so here again the believer must go back to the Word of God to ascertain the credibility of what is taught.
6.Just as it is impossible to add anything to Scripture, it is equally improbable to leave out any passage, book or portion of the Bible as irrelevant. Any doctrines that show disregard to any part of the Bible cannot be true.
Every Church is infested with ‘sheep in wolves’ clothing’ who try to deceive God’s people. However, God’s Holy Spirit is greater than any of these workers of evil and is able to warn and snatch away His precious ones from the snares of heresies.