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Discerning False Teaching

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Jesus Calling

False Discernment

What is false discernment? It is thinking you are being Biblically discerning, but you are following a false path to discernment.

False teachers and prophets know that scripture tells us to be discerning. Satan knows that scripture tells us to be discerning. So what do they do? They tell us to be discerning, but in such a way that the tests we are using for discernment are of no value.

One common approach is to say that there is a spirirtual gift of discernment that everyone should have. That means we all should be equally discerning, and you should expect that you'll be able to spot a false teacher. So if alarm bells are not going off in yuor head, everything is okay.

That is nothing more than a false sense of security.

Yes, there is a spiritual gift of discernment, but not everyone has it. My guess is that many people think they have this gift, but few actually do. A key point is that, if discernment is a gift you have, you also know how to test your discernment. That;'s right, you need to test your discern ability.

Another approach false teachers use is to tell people to pray, asking God to reveal whether whatever it is you are being taught is true or false.

There is one really BIG problems with both of these. What is that? They both depend on your thoughts, senses, and feelings. We are fallen, and we can't trust whatever is happening inside of us... whether it is thoughts, feelings, or voices. To be discerning we need to learn to use scripture for discernment, not our own thoughts.

Another thing you'll hear false tachers say is, "I received this message from God. And the voice that spoke to me verified that it is true." In other words, the source of the message is also the source of the verification. If your flesh or demons are speaking to you, then your flesh or demons will"verify" that what was said is true. That's not a valid way of discerning truth from what is false!

False teachers will also tell you to be in God's word, and use God's word to discern true from false. That is a much better approach, but it still can be deceiving. If you've been taught to understand scripture in a false way, then you will not be able to use scripture to discern the false teaching. For example, if you been taught the wrong definitions for words, your understanding of scripture will be wrong and useless for discernment.

Another problem could be that the scripture you are using is not a good translation, and as a result you will not be discening. For example, false teachers love to use The Message (a Bible "translation") because it distorts scripture to their advantage. Generally, you should use one of the following Bible translations:

  • New King James Version (NKJV)
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • King James Version (KJV)
  • Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

How can you discern true from false teaching?

  • First, is being sure of your salvation. Do as scripture says and test yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
  • Be in the word. Be reading a good translation and use good resources to help you correctly understand scripture.
  • Be attending a church that has sound Bible teaching, and attend their Bible studies and classes.
  • Above all, look at who the teaching glorifies. Does it glorify God? If not, it is false teaching.

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