What are some of the characteristics by which we can identify the false teachings in the Church?
Generally speaking, false teaching is teaching that contradicts the Word of God.
The most striking specific characteristic of false teaching is anything that denies the deity of Christ (c.f. Matthew 10:33; Mark 8:38; II Timothy 2:12; II Peter 2:1; I John 2:22-23).
Other characteristics of false teaching would include non-Trinitarian doctrines of God, denying the full humanity and deity of Christ, and salvation that is earned by merit through works.
Certainly, as anticipated by Paul in Romans 14, there are going to be peripheral doctrines that Christians disagree on but one camp is not "false" because when it comes to certain ideas (e.g., the consumption of alcohol) the Bible is not explicit to say, "do it" or "don't do it."
I am not a Jew, therefore I classify myself as a Gentile.
One way I identify false teachings in the non-Jewish Church is by reading the epistles of Paul. Therefore, we can start to identify the characteristics of false teachings of the Gentile church by reading the first chapter of the book of Romans.
Perhaps you can start with your children, Okeye - if you have any - and work your way up. Look for innocence, purity, sweetness...a sense of identification and oneness. Look for 'we' and 'ours' and not 'me' and mine.'
A tree is known by its branches. We cannot put a candle on a hill and not see light. Be wary of those who promise what seems too good to be true. The greatest Light is your own conscience, be true to this.
You will undoubtedly meet the false teachings, but be so busy working out your own salvation, that you will learn to miss the faults and be tolerant of them, within reason, when you see them.
Avoid loud and aggressive people, those who complain and never seem to be cheerful within themselves. Look for the child's smile. Avoid too much promises.
The spiritual life is actually quite simple and yet very difficult to live. If the teaching do not fit this paradox, then leave it alone. Strive...struggle..look for examples of Love, service, faith and compassion. Watch for empathy.
You will stumble. Be happy when it occurs. Pick yourself up and carry on. Never look back, nor focus on others but the Divine. Higher blessings.
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