Test the Spirits

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 27, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” ~2 Peter 3:8

The apostle John cannot be any clearer when he tells us to “test the spirits.” In my studies of the epistles of the New Testament, no single topic is addressed more than discerning between true and false doctrines. Do we know what we are listening to? In the Old Testament, the standard for a true and false prophet was whether what was said turned out to be true. It was practiced that if a single prophecy was made while claiming to be coming from God failed to happen, not only was every prophecy stricken from the list, but the prophet was stoned. In the New Testament, we have another test, a test executed well by the Bereans: check out what is said with Scripture.

My library is fast growing and each of the books which deal with Christianity (fiction or non-fiction) fall into one of four categories. The first category are books where I can tell the author has truly met God in the area he/she is writing about from experience, and where the author is speaking the truth where God has revealed it. I am not by any means suggesting these books are on the same level of Scripture, nor am I suggesting they are inerrant, but you can sense the Spirit of God dwells within the author in the good books. In the second category of books I have read from the get-go, I sensed a very wicked spirit hiding within the pages and the best I could do is just stomach through it. The only reason I finished these types of books is so I have first-hand knowledge of what is being said so I know how to refute it. I question how any Bible-believer who knows even a fraction of sound doctrine can read from this second category without disgust in some form. A third category is much like the second and is extremely dangerous. They are books where I REALLY wanted to agree with what was said but I could not because I sensed something was dreadfully wrong with the message. These are the more carefully disguised false teachings. And the fourth category of books I have read really had nothing wrong or offensive with them, but they lacked anything real. It was like eating sugarized-air. It wasn’t poison and it tasted sweet, but gave no real nutritional value. You can go through your local Christian bookstore and find books that belong to all four categories, and sadly very few of them will belong in the first one. A good number fit the fourth. My question is this: do we have the discernment to know which is which?

Now, when I talk about false teachings, I am not talking about perfection. Nobody on this planet outside of Jesus Christ has ever had 100% correct doctrine. I am not talking about those who may miss the boat on some things but everything in their focus is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I am not talking about Christian leaders who have fallen from grace or got caught in sin, such as those I talked about last week. Those teachers need to repent (if they have not) and be restored (if they have). I am talking about those who take the philosophies of this age, the ideas and concepts from the godless, secular world, or outright demonic ideas, and mix them with the truth. The most successful lies are not the ones that are 100% false, but those that are 95-98% true. I would suggest many false teachers are not spreading these false teachings intentionally, however, we still must mark and identify them.

Proverbs 22:3 tells us that if we are aware of our surroundings, we will not be in peril. We can avoid evil. The simple man, however, only sees straight ahead of him, is only able to see appearances, and is not aware of where the enemy can spring traps. Proverbs 2:10-22 talks about how if we have wisdom and discernment, we can be kept from a number of evils. Discernment and wisdom are virtually impossible to find these days, and those who have it are called bigots, liars, hate-groups, and any other name in the book the politically correct people can throw at you. We need to seek wisdom and discernment in every area of our life, because for every teacher who has found the truth by seeking the Lord, there are at least ten false teachers who seek to promote anything but the truth… even among those who claim with adamancy their faith in Christ.

The easiest way to tell truth from a lie is to study the truth. That is how bank tellers are trained. They must spend hours touching, studying, feeling, and smelling a real dollar bill so when a fake comes by they can tell in an instant. I can relate, because when I worked as a cashier at a grocery store, I found a $20 mixed with the cash that simply did not feel right. I used my marker to test it and sure enough, it was fake. I knew how the real felt, and just by touch I could spot the fake.

However, we must not be ignorant of the wiles of the enemy. Sun-Tzu was not off the path when he said, “Know your enemy and know yourself, and in 100 battles you will never be in peril.” Do we know ourselves and do we know our enemy? One of the most critical tactics the enemy uses to not just get information to us but to get misinformation to us is through spies, namely the false teacher. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John frequently spoke about the dangers of false teachers. Jesus said to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Many do not understand what this means. Jesus is not talking about the Wiccan witch, the Buddhist priest, the Muslim imam, or the jungle witch doctor. He is talking about the priests WITHIN the body of Christ, those who are in and among us, but are not of us. Ezekiel 22:25 warns about the false prophets in Israel’s midst, conspiring against God and the people for their own gain. These false prophets that Jesus is warning about are in and among us.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to cover three major false teachings that are strong within the Christian community and the tactics used to get these errors into the church. The teachings are the Prosperity Gospel, the Emergent Church/Progressive Christianity, and Old Earth Creation. Now, I am not going to specify names of the promoters of these teachings in these posts, however, I have listened to the teachings and read the books and articles from some of the teachers of these false teachings. So anything I write, unless otherwise cited, is going to be an analysis from first-hand knowledge of what they say. As I go through these major false teachings, if you would like to have specific citations, I will be glad to give them upon request. But for the sake of the message not being lost by an emotional attachment to a specific teacher, I will withhold the names. However, if you hear what I will share and have heard the concept being taught by someone, I will gladly address that in the comments either on this link or on the Facebook pages where this will be posted.

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