Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I have been planning a series of items of doctrine I was taught and indoctrinated (not meant as pejorative) with that I have changed my mind about. None of the changes were based on a whim or a “feeling” but from study after praying for discernment to see the truth. In every case I began with the Truth of God’s love for his creation as is shown to us through Jesus. No doctrine that is not rooted in the Truth of God’s love (though through a mirror dimly) can be correct. No doctrine applied in condemnation or oppression is valid because it does not come from a spirit of God’s love. Any doctrine applied out of self-interest to gain or maintain power and/or material comfort is not from a love either our neighbor or God. A good picture of how love for others looks (besides the Cross) is I Corinthians 13.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
This will serve as the foundation of each subsequent topic along with a previous post, Love your neighbor. I’m not claiming to be 100% correct. None of us can make that claim. My motivation for studying the doctrines has been part of my deconstruction and rebuilding upon a solid foundation of love rather than fear. It has been helpful in rooting out my bias and prejudices, but also from “unpure” motive of a desire to “win” debate/arguments. My motives aren’t pure and I want to share that because we all have biases and many, most, or all are rooted in the particular culture we grew up in and later chose as adults when choice is an option. For myself, given the career field in which I plan to work, it is imperative that I identify my bias and prejudice because we can’t care for and help someone we don’t believe deserves help. If we don’t believe someone (individual or group) deserves help then we are not loving them and therefore do not love God with our whole being. Without a foundation of love of our neighbor — neighbor or friend — all of our doctrine and works are useless.