The Spirit of Truth and Error, Part 1

The apostle John, in the first of his three epistles, makes a strong statement, “This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” Using the entirety of the Scriptures as a guide, let us first consider some criteria necessary in identifying a message or messenger who speaks and lives the truth:

  1. Do the message and/or the messenger exalt the person and work of Jesus Christ as manifested in the Word of God? The tendency of our times is to elevate anything else, such as experience, prosperity, or even the Holy Spirit (the specific ministry of the Spirit is to point to Christ).
  2. Do the message and/or the messenger oppose an affinity with the world and the culture? The truth will prod and provoke us to spiritual maturity and practical holiness. It will combat indulgence and cultivate sobriety.
  3. Do the message and/or the messenger drive people deeper into the Scriptures? There should be a desire for scriptural saturation with resulting obedience. Twisting, reconstructing, and reducing the message is prohibited. Beware of extra-biblical revelations, ecstatic experiences, and subjective guidance.
  4. Do the message and/or the messenger acknowledge the authority of coherent and clear doctrine? Sound theology is vital.
  5. Do the message and/or the messenger produce a love for God and others? Is intelligent and intimate adoration and praise accompanied by a sincere and sacrificial love for humanity, especially the people of God?

In the next post we will follow up with how to discern what is erroneous and evil.