Question: How can you tell if a preacher on television is really teaching the truth? Is he teaching what the Bible contains or only the traditions of his particular church’s denomination?
Answer: This is an excellent question and one that most people have wondered about. The Bible warns that those who teach their own opinions or what’s most popular among people, rather than God’s biblical Word, will always be among us, especially in the latter days of the world (Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24). It’s vitally important that you read the Bible daily so you can compare what you hear from others to the Bible’s scriptures. You can view a television ministry’s website to read their beliefs; if they’re not posted, email the organization and ask these important questions:
- Is the Bible your only source for God’s truth?
It should be. No other books represent the truth of God except for the Bible. Jesus directed His apostle John to write that anyone changes His message and teaches any other way to reach God, he will suffer greatly! John included this in Revelation when he shared Jesus’ teachings about the future of mankind and this world. It is certainly applicable to all of Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. Jesus quoted the scriptures and urged His hearers to put their trust in God’s Word.
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written here; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22: 18-19
- Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, co-eternal with God? Do you worship Jesus?
The answer should be yes! God directed the apostle John to write that false teachers would join churches, intending to spread their own wrong, human ideas about God.
Whoever does not live in the doctrine of Christ does not have God, for whoever abides in the doctrine of Jesus Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house or count him as a friend. II John 9-10
- Do you know that salvation from God is through faith alone, that there is nothing a person can do to earn his own way into heaven?
Sometimes churches ask more of people for inclusion in their membership than God does! There are no acts of service that people must perform to enter the kingdom of heaven except to acknowledge that Jesus has saved them from punishment by God for their sins. Jesus criticized the temple leaders, the Pharisees, for adding rules and regulations to the Jews that God didn’t require.
Being right with God is not earned by obeying His law…righteousness is through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe. For all people have sinned and have fallen short of receiving God’s glory… and they are made right with God through His free gift of His favor, by the substitutionary death of Jesus and His blood on the cross. Romans 3:22-26, Ephesians 2:8-9
- Do you encourage others to live a life that is pleasing to God, following His examples from the Bible for a holy life?
The scriptures show the manner in which Jesus and His followers lived and what God expected of men, women, and children in leading lives pleasing to God. All humans sin, even after becoming believers, but God’s Holy Spirit reveals the sin and keeps after you until you turn away from wrong behaviors and allow Him to guide you to righteousness living. Watching the actions of people who say they are believers or Bible teachers is the way Jesus says you should discern whether they’re really broadcasting God’s message:
Beware of false prophets who pretend to be believers… You will know them by their fruits…a good tree bears good fruit… Matthew 7:15-20
Most importantly, Jesus Christ is truly the key element in the Christian faith. No other person, belief, or message is the way to connecting with God for eternity:
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12