People can get saved under a false preacher or ministry. People can also be healed even though the preacher is a fraud. People can even receive a genuine prophetic word from a genuine false prophet, but why? Because God’s word will never return void. Isaiah 55:11 states, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
However, just because someone comes to Christ under a false teacher, or healed by a false servant, or hear from God by a false prophet, that does NOT place a stamp of approval upon that individual, they are what they are – false. Too many times I’ve heard sound preachers condone, defend and approve ministries which are false, and they do so with a condemning tone toward anyone who dares touch their “anointed” vessel. This doesn’t show their intelligence, it simply shows their spiritual ignorance.
Jesus proved this in the word itself of many who would stand before him, declaring their righteousness by gifts, works and knowledge, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:23)
It doesn’t matter if someone has an altar call at the end of their sermon, or they mention the cross, or even tell sinners to repent, if their doctrine is wrong, if their ENTIRE message is wrong, then what you have is a perfect example of what we have been warned about to flee from – deceivers, deceiving and being deceived. We live in a day like no other right now within the modern church world, much less the real world around us, and it’s important now more than ever to KNOW who labors among you! This is why I don’t jump at the latest preacher who pops up on Christian television. Nor am I overtaken by someone who has a massive following, whose charismatic, who can say a fast word and it seems to be true, or someone who can sway a crowd. Listen, Christians are some of the most gullible people on earth, especially Western Christians. They’ve bought into the Hollywood version of American Christianity which is about entertainment, style and glamor. Never about Christ.
Did you know that there is a set criteria to get on the two biggest Christian television networks such as TBN and Daystar? When a preacher submits his or her demo tape to either of these networks, they are judged NOT by content or the message as much as they are judged by how the person looks physically, or how they would look on camera. This means that if a preacher is overweight, or is not very good looking, or does not dress in a more fashionable and appealing way, they are less likely to be selected for a test run. Again, it’s about style and less about substance.
We must test ALL things, because if the message is not the cross, if it’s not about crucifying the flesh DAILY, or turning away from sin, then something is wrong, and I don’t care how many millions of fans and followers that man or ministry has, they are false – period. But again, that’s American culture impacting the modern church, because today we judge how successful a ministry is by numbers, not by anointing. If a ministry has world appeal, then it must be successful. But once again, Jesus himself tells us that it’s not about numbers, style or fleshly appeal, but it’s about him.
There is a counterfeit Christianity growing across America and the rest of the world, and Jesus himself warned us it was coming, and it’s all part of the spirit of antichrist. The word tells us that this deception would appeal to many – even the very elect. And if the elect can be swayed, then what does that say of the heart of the modern believer? Again, we must always test the message and ministry to see if it’s truly of God. The problem however is that many have fallen into the trap of political (religious) correction where it’s now wrong, or somehow unchristian to ask questions about any preacher or ministry, or be labeled a troublemaker. Nothing will get a questioning believer shown the door, or a fast rebuke by many who follow a particular ministry than to question the message these people preach. But that’s what we are called to do! It’s not judging, it’s simply calling into question doctrine. And for the record, doctrine does matter!
So the next time you know someone who goes to hear the latest popular preacher, or travels to the latest conference and they say the cross is being preached, or repentance is told the sinner, remind them this, that a broken clock is right twice a day, and Mormons preach Jesus too, but that doesn’t make them right, it just means they know how to use the name of Jesus, and use it well – to deceive.
My thoughts from China.