The Teaching of the Apostles
We know that the apostles went into different parts of the world to spread the Gospel.
Peter traveled to Antioch, where he started a community, then went on to Corinth and finally, Rome, where he was martyred. Thomas went to India. Andrew preached and was martyred in Patras, Greece.
John preached in Patmos, Greece. Jude Thaddeus preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya.
These men taught in another time in history and their preaching was to people in a time when the world was very different but that does not mean that their teaching does not apply to current times.
Although times have changed, as Christians, we must still follow these teachings without exception.
We live in a time which many refer to as the New Age; a time when many false prophets are teaching against our Christian faith and writing their own doctrine.
Let us look closely at these teachings so that we may recognize them if they find their way into our own lives.
What Did the Apostles Teach?
2 Peter 2:1
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
1 John 4:1
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.
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught the apostles about false prophets when He said,
“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” (Matthew 24:11)
When they went into different countries to preach, they warned against wolves in sheep’s clothing but this warning often fell upon deaf ears.
Saint Timothy warns us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
We are living in an age many refer to as the “New Age.” There is nothing new about New Age teachings. They have been around for a while but have been fairly unnoticed.
Modern times are much different. Today, many have rejected our Christian beliefs in favor of New Age teachings that fit their personal preferences. Followers of these so-called New Age gurus, purchase their books, attend seminars and contribute to their financial wealth, believing the teachings are harmless to their souls.
What are New Age Teachings?
New Age belief is that Jesus is a reincarnated messenger sent to the planet to teach spiritual enlightenment. This belief places Jesus on an equal level with Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and other so-called ascended masters. Another belief is that man is, in himself, divine and needs to become aware of his divinity.
Of course, the apostles did not know of Buddha or the others but they knew that false prophets lived during their time and they foresaw that more was to come.
Saint Paul teaches us,
“Put on the armour of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”(Ephesians 6:11-12)
In 1 Peter 5:8-9, Saint Peter warns: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Although always practiced in one form or another, today occult practices are probably more common than we realize. Satanism, witchcraft, divination, mediums, fortune-telling, tarot, and Ouija boards are but a few of these. Some are obviously sinful while others may appear harmless but make no mistake. All open our minds to demonic control.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:
2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons.
Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.
It is important to our spiritual well-being that we listen and obey these teachings.
Jesus taught us true obedience when, in His agony, He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)
In 1 Peter 1:14, Saint Peter warned us,
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.”
The apostles knew that being a Christian meant following all of Jesus’ teachings, not choosing those you like, and ignoring the rest.
Sadly, we are living in a “Me” era.
Modern psychologists are teaching that we must live for ourselves, forsaking anything that causes us stress or tension, and many have chosen to do exactly that.
In most cases, people do not realize that this is being disobedient to God because they believe that He doesn’t mind, as long as they are charitable or kind. We must be charitable and kind but these qualities are also found in atheists. You see, obedience to God must come from our love for Him and when we truly love Him, we want to please Him.
The Holy Apostles went out into the world to teach God’s love and they were willing to be martyred because they knew Jesus. They knew His love for them and they wanted us to know that love.
1 John 2:3-6
And hereby we do know that we know him if we keep his commandments. He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.