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Reason The Bible warns us against trusting our own thoughts. When ungodly people seek to reason out the truth without God, they make serious mistakes and often cause terrible harm to other people (Romans 1:18–25. However, this does not mean that reason is evil; on the contrary, it is a good gift of God to help us discern truth. Like any gift of God, reason can lead us into evil if we use it selfishly, but reason submitted to God can protect us against deception (Romans 12:2). Building the reasoning skills to recognize false ideas takes time and practice. Studying books of logic to learn the difference between sound and unsound arguments can help you separate truth from error; but be sure your goal is to obey the truth, rather than merely to win arguments. Following are some questions that can help you use your reasoning skills to detect false teaching: • Who is promoting this idea? Do they have any reason to lie? Will they make a profit if I believe them (2 Corinthians 2:17)? (Example: Preachers who promise you spiritual rewards if you send them money) • Do the arguments this person is making actually support the conclusion, or are they designed to distract from the real issue? (Example: The claim that because a certain politician has done evil things, it is your Christian duty to support his or her opponent) • Does a Bible teacher focus on Bible passages that seem to support a pet doctrine and ignore or explain away verses that contradict it? If the whole Bible is true, it cannot contradict itself, and any teaching that’s true must harmonize with all of Scripture, not just a cherrypicked verse here and there. (Example: The popular claim that our salvation Building the reasoning skills to recognize false ideas takes time and practice. 24 | Loaves & Fishes • Issue 32


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