Grace to you!
Must the faithful be bothered about false teachings and false prophets? A priest was asked this question during a seminar on evangelization.
During an interactive session before this question, some people had expressed concerns about why the Church is often strict in making sure preachers maintain the sound doctrine of the faith. One said this makes impedes creativity. Another suggested it limits the voice of evangelization in places where the orthodox Catholic theology isn't welcome.
This reflection would answer these questions if not directly, indirectly. The goal is to inspire us to grow in faith, the true knowledge, and the love of God. Let me tell a story that may help show the negative implications of false teachings.
There was a good boy regarded as a role model for many in his school. He started to hang out with teens that were rude and rough. They began to feed his sense of imagination with a lot of things.
Sooner than one could imagine, his attitudes began to change. Surreptitiously, but substantially. It was not long before he was suspended from school because of grave bad behavior. This was a boy who, a year earlier, was the best-behaved in his class.
Why the sudden change? Probably, bad influence, no thanks to bad ideas. Bad ideas, if welcomed, could corrupt the best of minds.
Another example. You know about cancerous cells, don't you? They grow and spread to other parts of the body, destroying vital organs. Once a cancerous cell springs, it takes a miracle to stop it. Even with the greatest laser technology and chemotherapy, the chances of nipping it at the bud are very slim.
Heresy or false teaching is a bad idea, a bad influence. It’s also like a cancerous cell. Allow it to find its way in any faith-community; gradually, it spreads, snowballs, and spirals, destroying the faith-life of many in that community.
Have you ever wondered why the Church set the Canon of Scripture (that is, the list of accepted inspired books of the Bible—Canon is Greek for list)? It was decided and concluded in the Councils of Hippo (AD 393) and Carthage (AD 397 and AD 419). Many historians, scripture scholars, and theologians strongly believe that the primary reason was to prevent false teachings.
Before then, many people were teaching their own so-called inspired messages, claiming they were speaking the mind of Christ. These false teachings misled many people. The Church wanted to preserve the faith, hence the Canon of Scriptures.
One of the most challenging jobs of the Bishops is to preserve the faith of God's flock by making sure that false teachings are rooted out. Isn't it why, for instance, we have Imprimatur signed on books to be used in the Church? Imprimatur, in simple terms, is a sign of the Bishop's endorsement, not that the Bishop necessarily agrees with every idea in the book. Ideally speaking, this is to guarantee that false teaching is avoided.
I pray to God to give us the grace of sound doctrine and not to be deceived by false teachings. Amen. "Beware of false prophets" (Mt 7:13).
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday, Week 12: 2 Kings 22:8-13, 23:1-3; Matthew 7:15-20]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.