How to Discern if a Doctrine is True
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
I am going to begin by saying that the greatest gift that Satan ever gave mankind was the discernment of good and evil. Many of us know that he tempted Eve to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil and convinced Adam that it was Elohim’s will to eat from it. I am going to be controversial and say, she was probably right. However, our concept of good and evil are perhaps not the same way our Creator sees it. I mean, He created it for a reason in the first place. This ability to discern righteousness from unrighteousness is necessary for us to become one with Him. It is a mark of a god, and we are the only creatures on earth who have this ability.
The word “true” is defined by the Webster’s Dictionary as “faithful, loyal, rightful, lawful, in accordance with fact, conforming to standard, accurately fitted, real or genuine, and is without variation from type.” One thing I need you to understand before we go into this teaching, and if you take away nothing else, I hope you take this away, truth is constant, it never lies and never deviates. It is unchanging as the Creator is unchanging because He is truth. Something is true if it is true one hundred percent of the time, there are no exceptions. I need you to remember this, if something is true, it is true one hundred percent of the time, there are no exceptions. So if someone were to say, “A is this way, but…” – It is a lie. Water is ice, but only at 0 degrees Celsius or less, is a lie. Water is not ice, ice is frozen water, but water is not ice. That statement is false. A true statement would be that “water is H2O and it can be in a liquid state or a solid state (as ice)” H2O is always water whether it is in a liquid state or in a frozen state as ice. That is true. However, we cannot say that water is ice, because for that statement to be true water must be ice one hundred percent of the time.
Now, how does this apply to our spirituality? I mentioned earlier that the greatest gift that Satan ever gave to us was the gift of the discernment of good and evil. I chose the word discernment and not knowledge because “knowledge” is defined “information about something” whereas “discernment” is “the application of knowledge in the judgment of truth – what a thing is, its type” (Oxford Dictionary). So, it is using information in order to make a choice. It is information being acted upon.
The Scriptures tell us to judge every prophet who come into our midst to determine if they were sent by Elohim (God) or by the Father of Lies. Deuteronomy 13 goes in depth on how we can know the difference between the true prophet and the false prophet and how we should treat each. I am not saying however, to go out and kill all the false prophets, I am however saying that we should judge their message and decide whether or not we should accept it. Briefly, a false prophet will contradict what Elohim said, that is, the Scriptures. The Scriptures do not contradict each other, because the Word of Elohim is truth; and truth is true one hundred percent of the time. There are absolutely no exceptions. When the Scriptures do seem to contradict each other, there is usually a pre-formed false belief that is in play.
The Scriptures encourage us to rightly divide (using discernment) the Scriptures. We are to judging every text, every statement of our beliefs, against the litmus test of truth. In other words, we are to use our gift of discerning good from evil – righteousness from unrighteousness. We should not enter anything into our belief system before testing it to be true, that is, to ensure that what we believe is actually based on facts and not on speculation, or tradition. We should ask ourselves if whatever we are hearing or reading, no matter the authority or the source (whether the pastor or even the Bible), is true one hundred percent of the time or is there an exception somewhere? If there is an exception, no matter how logical, it is a lie. I challenge anyone to disprove me on this. Even the dictionary says that truth never deviates. That is because it cannot. With this background, let us look at some core statement of beliefs that are popular and charismatic in mainstream Christianity: That the Law is nailed to the cross, and about grace and faith. The authority that I want to use today is Paul, since he was the apostle for the Gentiles and is the main authority for doctrines that apply to the post-modern Church.
First, I would like to point out that I am an advocate for using logics in our interpretation of the Scriptures. However, I would like us to limit our logics to one statement, if something is true, it is true one hundred percent of the time. It never deviates, it never changes, it never changes from the beginning of time to the end of this world, it will never change regardless of whether it is winter, summer or spring, and there are no exceptions.
In our life we really only have two options; good or evil. In everything we do or say is either for good or for evil. A doctrine is either good or evil, righteous and from Elohim or unrighteous and from Satan. There is no middle ground or grey area. No doctrine should be limited to opinion or depend on it. All interpretation belongs to Elohim (Genesis 40:8), and no prophecy of the Scriptures is of private interpretation. For 2 Peter 1:20 says, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private ]interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (NKJV).
Paul is often held on a pedestal for evangelicals. He has been quoted to confirm the belief that the Law was nailed to the cross and that we no longer have to obey the Law of the Old Testament, the Torah (meaning “teaching” in Hebrew). Therefore, when we hear a pastor say that the Sabbath is Sunday, most of us will test this statement to something that we’ve already learned from Church, that the Law was nailed to the Cross, so it must be true. The problem with this method of discernment, however, is the fact that this statement is not always true. Outside of the Church walls, there are groups that believe that the Sabbath is Saturday. Who is correct?
Let us test these two statements. First, let us test the latter statement that the “Sabbath is Saturday” with our litmus test that anything that is true, is true one hundred percent of the time and that there are no exceptions. The Romans knew that the Hebrews were idle and ceased from work on Saturn’s day, our Saturday. The Jews today observe Sabbath on Saturday. The word “Sabbath” has been recognized in other languages, such as “sabado” in Spanish, from the Hebrew root “Shabbat” meaning “rest”, and is our Saturday. The Scriptures state that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, a Saturday (Exodus 20:4). The Roman Catholic Church confesses that the Sabbath is Saturday but that the Church changed it to Sunday on her own authority (Ayer, 1913). The Sabbath seems to be Saturday no matter the source, Biblical or secular.
Now let us test the other statement that the Sabbath is Sunday. Where is the authority on this? So, the Roman Catholics say it, but they also explain that they changed it from Saturday to Sunday. The majority of Christian churches and groups say it, but based on the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
“Sunday was another work day in the Roman Empire. On March 7, 321, however, Roman Emperor Constantine I issued a civil decree making Sunday a day of rest from labour, stating: All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable day of the sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for planting the grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish” (Ayer).
Some groups will even claim that they celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday in celebration the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Where is their authority? Again they rely on tradition. They claim that the early church did it and there are even examples in the Bible where the early church did meet on the first day of the week. The Scriptures they would usually quote are Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2 and John 20:19.
Let us examine these Scriptures by first putting them into context, because when we attempt to interpret what the scriptures are actually saying, context is everything. It is fair to assume that the early church was chiefly comprised of Jews. Paul himself was a Jew and Pharisee (Acts 23:6). The Jews had annual Feast days that were also called “Sabbaths” that were separate from the weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 19:30 and 23:3). Before we get to the events of Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2 and John 20:19, Paul had said that he wished to make it back to Jerusalem in order to observe the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 18:19-21 and 20:6). According to Leviticus 23:16-22, Pentecost is celebrated on Sunday, the first day of the week and is also called a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:21). It is also a day for all the men of Israel to gather and make offerings (Deuteronomy 16:16, Exodus 23:1-18). The Jews where on the outside celebrating the Feast of Pentecost as well (Acts 2:5), therefore, the early church was observing a Jewish rite at the same time the “Jews were observing their holy day. Later the text mentions that the Jews were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit would be poured out on these so called Christians and not on themselves (Acts 2:7, 12-13). With this background in mind and revisiting the Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2 and John 20:19 texts, do these references really confirm that Sunday is the Sabbath, or that Pentecost fell on a Sunday that year? Is this really a strong argument for Sunday being the Sabbath every week, not just on Pentecost?
Outside of these examples, every Pastor or Bible student will tell you that the commandment to keep Sunday instead of Saturday as the Sabbath is not found anywhere in the Scriptures. Nowhere. The Bible says the Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week. Therefore, the statement that the weekly Sabbath is Saturday is true one hundred percent of the time; and Sunday is the Sabbath is true only for traditional Christians and sun-god worshiping pagans, but it is not true for Jews, the Romans, the early church or the Bible. Additionally, the statement that Sunday is the Sabbath conflicts with what Elohim says in the Scriptures. Going back to Deuteronomy 13, it says that if a prophet contradicts Elohim, he is not sent by Elohim and he is a liar and should be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Peter warned about how easily Paul’s writing can be misinterpreted, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16, KJV, emphasis mine). This is crucial and it is strange that we have this warning in the Scriptures, because in the traditional Christian Churches there is a tremendous emphasis and reliance on the writings of Paul, as an apostle for the Gentiles. Therefore, for this teaching I will demonstrate that Paul never taught or practiced that the Law was nailed to the Cross or that we are only saved by grace so we do not need to do works (obey the law).
Look carefully at the following texts relating to what Paul taught about observing the Law (Torah):
Acts 24:14, “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers (Jews), believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets” (KJV, emphasis mine). Paul observed the Law of his fathers. This Law is what the Hebrews called the “Torah”, our first five books of the Old Testament. The Prophets that he mentioned he learns from are those books of the Old Testament that is usually named after someone, such as Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Habakkuk, Samuel, Isaiah and Ezekiel. The writings are those books such as Psalms and Proverbs that hold wisdom, and historical writings such as Kings, Judges, Esther, and Job.
Acts 25:8, “while he answered for himself, ‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all’” (NKJV, emphasis mine). Paul have not broken the laws of the Jews, neither the ceremonial laws nor the temple laws nor even the laws of the land.
Acts 18:21, “but (Paul) took leave of them, saying, ‘I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.’ And he sailed from Ephesus” (NKJV, emphasis mine). Paul kept the Feast of Pentecost according to Leviticus 23.
Romans 7:25, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (NKJV, emphasis mine). With his mind he is serving the Law of Elohim (the law of love), but with his flesh serve the law of the flesh (the law of death).
Romans 2:12, “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law”. We will be judged by the law of God. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25, NKJV, emphasis mine).
Now, did Paul teach that justification is by faith only and we are saved by grace only? Granted, it true that we are only saved by grace for we cannot earn our salvation (Ephesians 2:8, Galatians 2:16). Does that mean that we do not have to do works (keep the Law)? The word “works” here is not simply an act of charity or compassion as the Roman Catholics teach. It is obedience to the Law, the Torah. Paul taught that no flesh can be justified without the Law, because “by the Law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). This confirms, 1 John 3:4 that states, “Sin is the transgression of the Law”. Therefore we cannot know what sin is without knowing the Law. Yet most of us Christians do not know the 613 commands of the Torah. Most of us do not even know the Ten Commandments.
What is Paul saying here? Is he saying that we cannot be justified at all because we do not keep the Law properly? No, absolutely not. He is saying that by the Law we know that we are sinners. It is because we know that Law that we know we cannot be justified. He said the “deeds of the Law”, not whether we are doing the Law or not, but what the Law is doing. It is telling us that we are sinners. He continues by saying that, “is the Law sin…for I would not have known sin if not for the Law. For I shall not know what is covetousness unless the law says that Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7). Without the Law, we cannot know what sin is. Therefore, we cannot simply brush it off by saying that the Law is just for the Jews and that it is not for modern Israel. Then how are we going to have a standard by which to judge sin, how are we going to avoid sinning, how are we going to produce fruits if we never learned the ways of the Kingdom (2 Timothy 3:16), or how to love properly? You cannot. You must have some sort of litmus test when evaluating if something is real or not, truth or fiction.
In discerning good from evil, we are making a judgment as to what is good and what is evil. However, one cannot judge things in a vacuum. One must have some standard to judge something by. In this case, the law of God is our standard for discerning good from evil. Since all good things come from God and is aligned with His will for us, and all bad things is outside of God and His will for us. In the next teaching we will discuss the purpose of the Law and if it was, indeed, nailed to the cross.
I hope that you have been blessed by this teaching, and I hope that you will investigate all that is written above and match it to what the scriptures reveal and not according to our world worldview. For “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV), but test these words by “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV).
Agnes, M. (1998). Webster's New World Compact Desk Dictionary and Style Guide. USA: Macmillan.
Ayer, J.C. (1913). A Source Book for Ancient Church History. 22.214.171.124g. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 284-5.
Simpson, J. A., Weiner, E. S. C., & Oxford University Press. (1989). The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
The Holy Bible.