I just read a devotion that can be like a good smack upside the head:
It stated that religion is dangerous and would rather debate an issue than do something about it. They said we shouldn't get you sidetracked into a religious debate or get all hung up on theological questions. That the difference between religion and the love of God is that religion argues while love acts.
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And yes I see good points to both but I also know that each of us must walk our own path.
NO!!! This is not correct. We do not seek to walk in our own path. We seek to walk with the Lord in HIS path guided by Holy Spirit and the Word of God, empowered by Holy Spirit to obey the Word of God. In the Book of Judges we see that everyone did what was right in their own eyes and that is viewed as a failure not something to aspire to be like. While it is true that we each have a personal journey with Christ it is also true that the journey is on the narrow road, not wide road.
Since we're to be discerning, I don't have this fear of falling into any cult because when I hear something I always pray and seek out truth in the Word.
You speak for yourself in this discussion regularly, but my concern is especially the masses of seekers and new believers who are not yet able to discern truth from error. They are prone to being misled by fine sounding false teachings. There are cults full of well meaning people who were looking for something and find the wrong thing.
Some beliefs I hold have become more solid though I cannot claim I am correct but that these are beliefs I hold based on my own study and time with God.
There is a great difference between what you have stated and what a false teacher states. You admit that your views on some things are your opinion based on what you have read and learned. False teachers are prone to teach these things, whether in alignment with God’s Word or not, as fact and that unless you agree with them you are in error.
to others the message was Christians can be possessed and it didn't fit their belief system.
Because it does not align with God’s Word and is at the center of the article, not just an additive.
Read my reply to Eric please and that might help explain.
I'm not going to argue with you Seek, I love you very much.
It depends on what they teach about the subjects you have mentioned. So a generic label does not give clarity. One example ... if one says you are not saved unless you are baptized by water their teaching is false and because they have taken the good news and changed it to require a work of the flesh they can be labeled as a false teacher. The message of salvation they are teaching in this hypothetical example requires something and what they are saying to you, me and all of the church is that unless you are baptized you are going to hell. In their teaching baptism is a barrier to salvation. There are numerous groups that believe not only in the necessity of water baptism, but that their group must do perform the baptism or you are not saved ... they are false teachers bordering on (and in some cases are actually) being a cult.
A false teacher is a person who does not simply make a mistake here and there, but is one who takes the core message and changes it or adds to it. They do this on numerous topics. Another example is if one teaches that Jesus is just a man I already know that many of their other teachings are in error because of how this first belief will affect the rest. At the same time we see a teaching that does not align with Scripture (and Scripture is not open to personal interpretation no matter what anyone thinks ... there is only one true interpretation of any Scripture, there can be various applications, but that is different from interpretation) we may have to back track how they see this in light of core doctrine and not attempt to see it as an isolated teaching, for at some point all that we believe ties together in harmony or is out of alignment with God's Word.
Thus, when you see numerous breaks from the Word of God and one professes to be a teacher we can rightly label them a false teacher.
Hersey being introduced into the church is age old. The Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed were drafted to refute the heresy that was attempting to influence the church ... not much has changed. I am currently preaching using the Apostles Creed as my guide with the understanding the Apostles Creed itself is not Scripture, but it does encapsulate doctrine that is taught in Scripture. We need the fundamentals to be correct, an d this means examine and reexamine, or the whole house is in jeopardy. Getting those fundamentals right will help refute the errors and exaggerations found by many who call themselves teachers today.
The reply I posted actually had nothing to do with who the writer was. I was going on with you earlier although I don't put much clout into him. But, since you said something about it, I might as well share my thoughts. I'm not sure how I feel about taking the good of a pastor/teacher/evangelist & leaving the bad, not that you asked my feelings. I do believe this can be dangerous especially for the more immature follower.
Let's take an evangelist who is a leader of a mega-church, has several published books that may have even been on the top seller's list, appears to be accepted in the Christian world because of their prosperity, etc. Then you have an underdeveloped nation that looks to us for leadership. They take their words as gospel - the good & the bad. You don't even have to have those in other nations. Christians that are immature here take everything they say as correct. This is how I feel about them. What does light & darkness have to do with each other? Why take in some dark with some light? I guess I just don't see it this way.