One of the unpleasant things about being a Christian is the experience of being perpetually bombarded by conflicting “Christian” voices trying to convince us of what God would have us think and do. All these instructors will claim to be Christ’s “sheep”, but Jesus warned that some of them will in fact be harmful and deceptive “wolves” (Matthew 17:5). Making the distinction between what is biblically sound and what is not won’t be as simple as we might imagine. Paul warned the Colossians that a lot of the errors proffered in the name of Christ are packaged in persuasive and “plausible arguments” (Colossians 2:4). We can always count on the fact that false teaching has plenty of truth mixed in. That’s what makes it so insidious. Peter described it as “twisting” the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). “Knowing this beforehand,” Peter went on to write, “take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people” (2 Peter 2:17). Learning how to be discerning, without being incredulous or hypercritical, is an essential Christian virtue. And one that will be all the more important as people increasingly “accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” and “turn away from listening to the truth” in these last days (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
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