Discerning Truth From Error

With so many varied teachings being promoted by professing Christians, it is easy to get away from true Biblical teaching. The following is a list of helpful guidelines provided by J.B. Nicholson Jr. at the Ontario workers and elders conference held in Markham in May 1995. Any teaching - no matter who is giving it - can be tested with the following nine questions. If the answer is "yes" to any one of these questions you can be sure that the teaching is not sound, balanced doctrine.

  1. Does it demean the person of Christ: His nature, His offices or His work?
  2. Does it elevate man apart from the cross work of Christ and the believer’s standing in Christ?
  3. Does it depend on an obscure verse or a forced interpretation?
  4. Does it contradict the overall tenor of Scripture: God’s person, provision, plan, people?
  5. Does it unduly emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit?
  6. Does it encourage wrong behaviours or elitist attitudes?
  7. Does it confuse Israel, the Kingdom and the Church?
  8. Does it focus our attention on the temporal rather than the eternal? on the material rather than the spiritual?
  9. Is it a thinly disguised version of a contemporary secular trend?

If the teaching passes all of these tests, or if you are unsure if it does, then it is worthwhile to subject it to this final test, to which an answer of "no" is a strong warning to be careful: Is it believed by those whom you know to be walking with the Lord and are Christ-like?