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As Christians, we are commanded against following teachers blindly but are told rather to "test everything; hold on to the good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Apostle Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:1-3 ...
First of all, I am sorry if I have had to ask before I discuss this topic, but let me kindly do so anyway; why did the author of this question have to use the word; judge and not may be; scrutinize? As if to "judge" sounds too absolute. I could be corrected if I am wrong. I believe it is okay to "judge" the teachings of our leaders, but with which intentions? If we do with the intention to correct, to stand with, to avoid conflict, it is okay. On the other hand though, if it is with the intention to discredit, to shame, to cause conflict and division, then it is wrong. No leader is outside God's will for him/her to be so (Romans 13:1-4). However, the fact that we are all only mortal men makes us vulnerable to so many things. As powerful a leader he was, Moses needed the counsel of his father in law; Jethro (Exodus 8:13-23). For that fact, our leadership should be subject to scrutiny. But more importantly, if you intend to be a genuine leader, then you must be open to the led and allow them to see through you. Such will help you to be accountable. Jesus was/is open to us and He told us everything that would follow. He never wanted us to follow Him blindly. Unquestionable leadership is one of the major sources of cultism. I am a Christian, meaning living after Christ. If you teach and I realize you are not teaching according to Jesus and the scripture, what would be the reason to look to you as a leader? So the type of leadership you are in will dictate how you teach. If you are a Christian leader and I realize you teach as though you are a political one, I will have to ask why. But it should not with the intention to discredit you. Perhaps there is need to interrelate the two and an explanation would make me understand better. As long as we are mortal men, none of us can escape the natural law, more so without Jesus. Jesus Himself, an undisputed deity, the fact that He had put on human flesh, He equally was subjected to the law of nature. He only overcame it by prayer and character. If Jesus went through the same, how about us? You are my pastor, but you also my brother. If I realize you are going wrong somewhere, despite the fact that you are my leader, I will have to prop in. I care about you much as you do about me. So, if I am to "judge" your teachings, I will not only do so for myself, but for you as well. A good leader must be one who is ready to be led. If one of your members was to "judge" your teachings, it would also be in your best interests. It makes you realize that your members are good students who will not take on anything. It keeps you safe in terms of teaching what you are supposed to. Thus the saying goes; "the people you lead, they lead you in return". We must allow to lead together, and we must allow to be led together. Only God is absolute in all He does, all the rest, we are vulnerable. That is why we have seen and heard of Christian leaders who have raped, stolen, misbehaved etc. However though, all should be done in the spirit of making up and not breaking up. If we are to "judge" the teachings of our leaders, we should do so with the intention to correct. By doing so, we must only be expressing our identity with them, except when they do not take our counsel and transform accordingly. The challenge is when we judge with the intention to discredit and finally break up when we could have had the opportunity to mend up. We must be there for each other. If the teaching is misleading to the student, so it is to the teacher. If one of the two (the student and the teacher) spots a discrepancy in the teaching, let him/her help to bring back to order. As Christians, everything we do, must point to Jesus, the author and finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). So should be our leaders. We should only follow our leaders as they follow Christ, at least for our Christian Faith.
Yes. We (as followers of Christ) are to both judge and discern the teachings of our appointed leaders. As is pointed out above, there is much on this subject throughout the Bible regarding this subject. And let's not forget 2Tim.2:15. We are to study for ourselves, the word of God, discerning [ rightly deviding for ourselves] the word of truth. Absolute truth that can only be taught infallibily by the Holy Spirit. Judge the teachings of our leaders, and even our leaders themselves, as to discern their motives if their be any hidden thing. But in a spirit of love, and quietly, or privately; as not to cause an atmosphere of dissention. To build up and edify each other, not to tear down or destroy one another. Causing factions or rebellions. Following the leading of the Holy Spirit, as to wether stay, or go from under such a leader, if I fact he's found to be a false teacher. Not abruptly mind you, I say. But having overwhelming tangible evidence of false teaching.
Yes, we should judge and discern everything that we are taught by our leaders and other teachers for Truth. 1. God gave us His Word, the Bible, as a text book for our lives and to know His mind through His Son, Jesus Christ. 2. God made us in His image to relate to Him and know right from wrong. 3. God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us as believers. 4. God teaches that there are half truths and many lies in the World. As the father of lies is our adversary. 5. We also know that there are many false teachers, teaching many other paths to Heaven, other than the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ. 6. We also know that the path to Heaven is a narrow path to Heaven and the alternative, which is more attractive to this world's ways is a broad, bright lighted road that leads to destruction. Any way you look at teachings, the Truth is that what you have to keep in mind is that Jesus Christ is the only way to Eternal Life and any other teachings that don't go through Christ are not the Truth.
The answer is yes, but for the right reasons. Two reasons come to mind on why Christians need to do that: 1. To tell false prophets from those from God. Jesus commands us to be on guard in Matthew 7:15-18 (15Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit). And the apostle John repeats that in his letter: 1 John 4:1-3 (1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world). How do we know which leader is from God if we don’t critically examine what they teach us using the Bible as a reference? 2. So that we can correct them if they are wrong because even our leaders can be wrong. Our leaders are only human and therefore not perfect either as we are told in the letter to the Romans 3:22-23 (...There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…) The last part of verse 22 says, ‘there’s no difference’, even leaders are fallible! The apostle Paul tells us that even Peter, the rock on which Jesus Himself said He would build His church, was not perfect in Galatians 2:11 (When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong). To understand the context, one might wish to read up to verse 14. Paul also urges us to test what our teachers teach us against the scripture: Acts 17:11 (Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true). If Peter, who spent time with Christ, could be wrong, what more about our leaders at this time when Satan knows that he’s running out of time? We are therefore supposed to be like the Bereans!
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