If I am wanting to learn more about Islam, how do I know which scholars to follow? In Orthodox Christianity, we have the traditions of the Church that we follow, but I get the sense in Islam there is no such structure. How do you know the scholar you are following is faithful to Mohammed's teachings and not just putting his own personal spin on it for either personal or ideological gains?
Ok, sorry for taking a day or two but your question wasn't as simple as it originally seemed. You have to appreciate that I cannot speak without knowledge regarding either the Qur'an, Ahadith and Sunnah or really any scholar.
You seem like you know quite a bit about Islam already by the way you structured your question.
Firstly, we don't really follow scholars, we follow Allah (SWT)
and Allah (SWT)
guides us. The scholars teach, and depending on how learned they are, will give an indication of how respected they are in the four main schools (Hanbali, Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi) obviously some very wise scholars who evidence their every statement with a strong hadith, Qur'an guidance and maybe even Sunnah will be on solid ground and grow in their knowledge and blessing. It is all about how closely scholars stay embedded within this structure handed down, memorised and unchanged, to every Muslim.
This is not dissimilar to your church fathers some agreeing with each other on issues and some not, but their main fundamental beliefs are the same. Also, the way that Muslims memorise all of the Qur'an as was the practice before it was ever written. A little like your church Tradition orally passed down through the church fathers.
There are, of course, some scholars who become misguided on some issues and some who have an agenda that is far from Islamic and therefore might use the Qur'an, Sunnah and Ahadith as backing for their own desires. This also happens in Christianity but these people in both religions, are far from followed by the majority of core people.
I hope this has answered your question and I hope I haven't said anything wrong.
May Allah forgive me if I did as Allah (SWT)