Jeremiah was a voice for repentance and judgment 2500 years ago in Jerusalem. But Jeremiah was not a singular voice. Jerusalem was filled with a cacophony of voices. False prophets proclaimed over and over again that Judah would avoid judgment. They proclaimed, “Peace,” when God promised violence. They erred because they did not hear the voice of the Lord.
And the Lord said to me: “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
We are not all that different from Jeremiah’s day. False prophets build platforms and proclaim their own ideas. In the cacophony of voices and noise around us, how do we as followers of Jesus discern truth and avoid false doctrine?
Christian, it is your responsibility to know the Word of God. Jeremiah preached truth because he preached what God said. False prophets are those who proclaim what is not true according to Scripture. Discerning the difference is our responsibility.
The Secret Service carries a responsibility to investigate counterfeit currency. They don’t learn to identify counterfeit money by studying what is fake. They learn to identify the counterfeit by studying what is authentic. As followers of Jesus, we need to study and know the authentic and true (God’s Word) so we will be able to discern what is false.
Here are some ways that you can develop your knowledge of the Bible as authentic and true. I will link to resources at the bottom of the post.
- Read and study the Bible daily. The single greatest thing you can do for your spiritual life is read the Bible.
- Memorize and apply the Bible regularly. Knowing the Bible is good, but living the Bible is the goal.
- Listen to biblical preaching weekly. Make sure you are attending, watching, listening at your local church and/or listening to solid biblical preaching on the radio or podcasts as often as you are able.
- Avoid false teaching. If you become aware of a teacher or preacher who is unbiblical, avoid it.
- Read commentaries and books that develop your biblical understanding. Strengthening our faith through learning will help us better understand and apply our Christian faith.
If you are concerned about family or friends who are listening to false teachers, pray for them. Don’t just yell at them or condemn them. Pray that God will give you an open door to have a fruitful conversation about their church or listening habits.
Sometimes our theological concerns with family and friends is not between false and true, but rather about areas of theological interpretation. Dr. Albert Mohler offers an insightful illustration for discerning theological differences in his Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity.
If you doubt there is false teaching out there, then let me commend to you the documentary, American Gospel: Christ Alone. The documentary reflects on the false doctrine that permeates the prosperity gospel movement. You can also find it on a number of streaming platforms.
Finally, here are some preaching and teaching resources and recommendations for solid biblical preaching and teaching that will strengthen your faith. These are some of my favorites.
Truth for Life, Allistair Begg
Gospel in Life, Timothy Keller
The Briefing, Albert Mohler
You can search and subscribe for any of these wherever podcasts are found. At Wilkesboro Baptist Church, we are making our Sunday sermons available in podcast format as well. Soon you will be able to download lessons in theology from our podcast channel as well. Be sure to search and subscribe “Wilkesboro Baptist Church” on the Apple Podcast App, Spotify, and wherever podcasts are found.
One thought on “Christian, Discern between True and False Teaching”
The Holy Scriptures are a record of human beings just like us, who encountered the very Living God! Wise, therefore to give ear to their witness. Those who heeded the Truth were showered with unimaginable spiritual blessings, and those who turned their backs on the Truth perished into utter darkness. Indeed, I have learned in my own journey with Christ that there are many false witnesses and false prophests, and the most dangerous are those who claim to speak for our Lord in the Church herself!. The test of the Truth is that the Truth will make demands of you…Truth will require sacrifice, the Truth will require you to make difficult choices, and most often Truth won’t make you popular. Look a the great Hebrew prophets. None of them had an easy life. Yet, they were empowered by the Spirit of God. Jesus himself was abandoned by all of his friends on the night of his arrest, but God was with him – and them on Pentecost. You will find that the Scritures, first reveal the Truth about yourself: “Indeed, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edge sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow, it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” But as St. Paul says, faithfulness to the Truth is the path to the peace that passess all human understanding.. I am grateful for my Sunday School teachers at the First Christian Church in Hammond Louisiana five and six decades ago, and especially my seminary professor Brevard Childs.