Mondays with The Early Church Fathers: Their Criteria for Identifying False Teachers and False Prophets

Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  There writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 11-13 of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century
Some of the things described in it reflect a time closer to James and Paul (who died in the 60′s) than Ignatius (who died sometime after 110).   Some believe the teachings recorded in this document may have been used by the Apostles themselves.  That is uncertain.  What is certain is that the this represents the teachings of the very early church.

I have posted chapters 11-13 today, dealing with how to recognize a false prophet and a genuine teacher:

11 Welcome the Teacher

11:1 Welcome the teacher when he comes to instruct you in all that has been said.

11:2 But if he turns and trains you in another tradition to the destruction of this teaching, do not listen. If he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

11:3 Act according to the precepts of the gospel concerning all apostles and prophets:

11:4 Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord.

11:5 But he must not remain more than one day, or two, if there’s a need. If he stays three days, he is a false prophet.

11:6 And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread to last him until his next night of lodging. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet.

11:7 In addition, if any prophet speaks in the Spirit, you shall not try or judge him; for every sin will be forgiven, but this sin cannot be forgiven.

11:8 But not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; only he is a prophet who has the ways of the Lord about him. By their ways will the false prophet and the prophet be known.

11:9 Any prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it; if he does, he is indeed a false prophet.

11:10 And any prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet.

11:11 When a prophet, proved true, works for the mystery of the church in the world but does not teach others to do what he himself does, he will not be judged among you, for his judgment is already before God. The ancient prophets acted in this way, also.

11:12 But whoever says in the Spirit, “Give me money,”or something else like this, you must not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for the sake of others who are in need, let no one judge him.

12 Welcome Anyone Coming in the Name of the Lord

12:1 Welcome anyone coming in the name of the Lord. Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, but then, test them and use your discretion.

12:2 If he who comes is a transient, assist him as far as you are able; but he should not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be.

12:3 If he wants to stay with you, and is a craftsman, let him work for his living.

12:4 But if he has no trade, use your judgment in providing for him; for a Christian should not live idle in your midst.

12:5 If he is dissatisfied with this sort of an arrangement, he is a Christ peddler. Watch that you keep away from such people.

13 Every Genuine prophet

13:1 Every genuine prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of support.

13:2 So also, every true teacher is, like a workman, entitled to his support.

13:3 Every first fruit, therefore, of the products of vintage and harvest, of cattle and of sheep, should be given as first fruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.

13:4 But if you have no prophet, give it all to the poor.

13:5 If you bake bread, take the first loaf and give it according to the commandment.

13:6 If you open a new jar of wine or of oil, take the first fruit and give it to the prophets.

13:7 If you acquire money or cloth or any other possession, set aside a portion first, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.
ads like the New Testament.  Chapters one through four discuss the first of two ways:

To read chapters 1-4 follow this link.

To read Chapters 5-6 follow this link.

To read chapters 7-10 follow this link.

For our now world famous On the Border salsa recipe, follow this link: My Authentic “On The Border” Salsa Recipe (Just like the Restaraunt)

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the serious issues that exist within the American Evangelical church. It is a place for like-minded people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on October 24, 2011, in Christianity, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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