Abstain From the Appearance of Evil is a myth because that is not a translation of the Greek New Testament or of the Vulgate.
Both of those texts agree with the following:
1 Thessalonians 5:19. You must habitually not ever quench the Spirit, 20. you must continually not ever despise prophecy, 21. but you must constantly prove all things; you must incessantly hold fast the good, 22. you must faithfully keep yourselves away from every form of evil.
Keeping away from every form of evil is very different from abstaining from the appearance of evil.
Abstaining from the appearance of evil has two meanings:
- Not to do anything that might even appear to be evil, even if it is innocent and permitted.
- The other is you can do something evil as long as it does not appear to be evil.
Keeping away from every form of evil means to be above reproach in whatever you do or say.
(excerpted from the One New Man Bible Companion)
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_ Said far better in the link above than I stated it, additionally, he has credible scholarly evidence.
The key to this is that 1 Thess. 5:22 does not sy to “avoid the appearance of evil”, but to avoid every sort of evil, or as Hogg & Vine state “avoid every form of evil”. Appearance is a mis-translation of the Greek.
That scripture is about paying attention to the legitimate prophecies and discarding the prophecies that are not from God.
It does not have anything at all to do with abstaining from doing evil or trying not to appear to do evil or anything of the sort. It is in the context of the prophetic word being received from the Spirit: don’t quench > don’t despise > Prove (valid or not) > hold to good > discard the bad (all about prophecies).