by Mike Ratliff
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. (1 John 4:1 ESV)
I have been contacted from two separate readers with information about something Dr. James MacDonald is promoting in his Walk in the Word Ministry called The Elephant Room. Here is the invite to the event:
If you’ve heard about the Elephant Room but haven’t made a decision on whether or not to attend, I want to get your ear for just a minute – because this event is for you! As a listener of Walk in the Word, I know you are interested in truth and battling for truth is what the Elephant Room is all about. So think of this as my personal invitation.
Listen to why I am fired up about this event and why I want you to be part of the conversation.
Well, I and most of you, are most certainly interested in truth and battling for truth. He states that the “conversation” at this event will be all about that. He also states that he is “fired up about it” and wants all who received that invitation to not only be part of the conversation, but (not included in my excerpt) was hints to send the invite to others via other media, et cetera. If you clicked on that link for The Elephant Room then you already know who those men are that are going to be part of the conversation and I doubt very seriously if any solid Biblical truth will be at the core of that.
One of my friends responded to this by saying, “It’s all about ya-hewwwwwwww.” Another friend told me that she was unsubscribing from Walk in the Word because of this. I’ve already wasted enough time and posts talking about the likes of Steven Furtick and company. Each of those men are unique in their ministries to be sure, but there is one commonality. They are temporally focused and, therefore, their ministries are geared to be man-centered rather than God-centered. Carefully read John’s admonishment in the passage I placed at the top of this post. Here is that passage in context.
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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6 ESV)
Dr. MacDonald chose that lineup of men because they are “influential” in the visible church. So what? As we have been studying for months my brethren, the visible church must never be confused with the real or invisible church. Just calling oneself a Christian does mean that he or she is one. Here in this very passage John warns us to be very careful about false teachers. Why? There are many out there in the world professing to be of God, but they are not because they are of the world. Notice also that those that are of the world, the world listens to. Think of how popular Rick Warren is even by those who are not professing Christians. What is John’s criterion for being a real or true prophet of God as opposed to these false prophets? Real prophets of God listen to the Apostles teachings, which came directly from Christ. Those who refuse to submit to these truths, insisting on their own interpretation of everything, like Rob Bell and his unbiblical interpretation of Hell, prove that they are not of God because they are not subject to what God’s Word clearly teaches.
Those who insist on their own interpretation, man-focused theology, are of the spirit of error. Those who submit to Sola Scriptura, never changing anything, are God-focused in their theology and are of the Spirit of truth.
Now, think of that upcoming conversation in the Elephant Room. I won’t be listening, but if you do, I am pretty sure that the it won’t stay focused on the Sovereignty of God, the Lordship of Christ and the fact that all in Christ are His slaves by grace if it ever gets there at all. That is quite sad, but unsurprising for, after all, those fellas’ are just doing this to sell more books and get more popular and become more influential in the visible church. Is this wise counsel or something else?
Soli Deo Gloria!