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Pointers along the way #561

Check out new teachings
- Jacob Ninan

What can we do when we hear a new teaching? It may sound right, it may be coming from a famous preacher, many people may have accepted it, or there are examples of the teaching working in practice. We may think that since God has given us an anointing that helps us know the truth (1Jn.2:27), we would know immediately when we hear something whether it has a ring of truth. This is generally true, but we may still make a mistake because our knowledge is not full. Well known preachers may also be wrong, because the Devil slips in wrong teachings into the minds of even godly people, just as he injects thoughts of temptation, in a moment of self confidence or carelessness. If many people have accepted it, that does not prove it is right, because it is very common where large numbers are following wrong teachings. We would think that if a doctrine works in practice it should be right because that would be judging it by its fruit (Mt.7:15,16). What has happened may have other explanations, or it is even possible that Satan does false miracles to propagate false teachings.

Then how can we be sure that any new teaching is right? Check with the word of God. God will never tell us anything now, through prophets or our own heart that does not fit in with what He has already told us in His word.

But the problem is more complicated by the fact that the people who preach false doctrines are also quoting from Scripture to prove their point. We know that we cannot accept something just because someone uses Bible verses. When Satan quoted the Bible to Jesus, He knew how to quote back other verses from the Bible to counter the wrong way in which Satan had quoted other verses. It is not enough to see that 'it is written', we also need to know 'it is also written'.

One of the things we can do is to check out for ourselves to see what all the Bible says about the subject of the new teaching, using concordances, digital searches, etc. But not everyone can do this properly unless they are very knowledgeable about the entire teaching of the Bible.

One thing I do is to go to the internet and see what different people have to say about the teaching, keeping in mind that everything on the internet is not reliable--anybody can write things there. But one thing that has helped me is to read what the supporters of the new doctrine as well as the opponents of the doctrine have to say about it. Since both these groups usually quote different parts of the Bible, we get to see a larger coverage of the subject from different angles than what we could have done by ourselves in a short time.

It is possible to be enamoured by a new teaching when we hear it first. But it is when we listen to the opponents that we are able to see things which we had not seen before. Pr.18:17 says, "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him." So, let us learn not to allow ourselves to jump to conclusions with limited knowledge.


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