“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 KJV).
While it is one thing to respond to a belief that is clearly unbiblical, it may be more difficult to address someone who has wandered into an area of false doctrine. While two people of good conscience may respectfully disagree on a non-essential element of the Christian faith, we should remember that it is possible for anyone (even a God-ordained leader) to fall into error if they fail to test their beliefs against God’s Word.
Perhaps the best example of this unfortunate reality is found in the conduct of Nadab and Abihu, two men who were commissioned by God to serve as part of the spiritual leadership for the nation of Israel (Exodus 28:1). They were also among a group of men who personally saw God and even enjoyed a meal in His presence (see Exodus 24:9-11).
Yet despite these things, Nadab and Abihu chose to pursue a course of action that was clearly contrary to God’s direction. That decision cost them their lives (Leviticus 10:1-5). Their example reminds us that no one is immune to falling into spiritual error. Therefore, we should not neglect our responsibility to “…examine all things; hold fast to what is good” (NET).
Its also important to remember that a person, group, or organization that redefines Jesus as someone other than the Person described within the Scriptures is not teaching the truth about Christ. You see, the “Jesus” promoted by some religious groups may not be the same Jesus who appears within the Bible. For instance, they may identify Jesus as a created being or someone who attained the so-called “christ consciousness” or a person who can simply help others find success in life. This explains why it is important to remember the counsel of 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Finally, we may increase our susceptibility to deception if we choose to accept a spiritual teaching or phenomena without first verifying its Biblical legitimacy. The New Testament book of 1 John expands on this idea when it tells us…
“Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is” (1 John 4:1 TLB).
In light of these things, we would do well to follow the example of the people in the first-century town of Berea and their response to Paul the Apostle’s teaching: “…They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 GW).