1. Is one who teaches error with sincere motives a false teacher? False prophet?
2. Don’t false teachers/ prophets often claim and believe they are led by the Holy Spirit? How are you to discern?
The above questions from the last two posts led to this related question.
3. If two people profess to be taught by the Spirit and yet hold views on some scriptural passage or teaching/prophecy that contradict each other, how do you discern truth from error?
Here is a summary of what has previously been discussed in the last two posts.
|You can not judge error based on the teacher, the vessel delivering the error, no matter how sincere, good, trustworthy they appear. –2Co 11:13-15
We can not judge words/teaching by the presence of signs & wonders! –Mt 7:21-23
Error can not be judged by someone’s claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, even if in the past they have a reputation of being led by the Holy Spirit, even if an angel appears and backs up their words! . –Gal 1:6-10
A true teacher encourages people to examine/search SCRIPTURE for themselves to see if what is being taught is truth. Judge the words/teaching by SCRIPTURE. –Acts 17:11
So if two people go through this process of examining and searching scripture, praying and being led by the Holy Spirit and still disagree? What are they to do? Some would say quit here and agree to disagree – is this biblical?
Sometimes it may be. Some may even say, this is a waste of time, we need only to focus on the great commission!
2 Corinthians 11:4 NASB … For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
The great commission is important, but if there is a disagreement about a teaching that involves a different Jesus, a different spirit or a different gospel this should be examined carefully. Otherwise which of these is really being preached by a body who has individuals within it holding different views on these?
Amos 3:3 AMPC … Do two walk together except they make an appointment and have agreed?
Consider the following scriptures.
Ephesians 4:12-16 NASB … [Christs’ intention was]for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB … For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Notice that both the above passages have to do with maturity and growing in maturity. They imply that ignoring this process of examining and searching the scriptures to see if what is taught is true, not only leaves one open to deception(being tossed to and fro) but leaves the body open as well.
Notice also from Ephesians 4 this process of of examining and searching the scriptures individually and corporately has to do with “unity of faith”. Unity based on something other than a shared view of truth through the Holy Spirit is not unity at all.
So the next step for these two people who do not agree after this process should be to go to the body. This is important not only for the two individuals involved but also for the developing and maintaining the “unity of faith” in the body.
The heresy spoken of in 2 Peter 2 can turn out for good, if we individually and corporately guard against it by this process of of examining and searching the scriptures individually and corporately through the Holy Spirit. This process not only exposes heresy, it reveals those who are “approved”.
1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (NASB … For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
2 Timothy 2:15 AMPC … Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
1 Timothy 4:16 AMPC … Look well to yourself [to your own personality] and to [your] teaching; persevere in these things [hold to them], for by so doing you will save both yourself and those who hear you.