by Mike Ratliff
If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:17-18 ESV)
While I was on vacation a week ago I was contacted by a friend who is a fellow Christian blogger. She was asking for prayer and help. Someone was attacking her because of her stance that her physical problems are of God and for His glory in her sanctification. These people were saying to her that if she was really in the will of God then she would not be suffering. I did visit her site while on my trip, but I didn’t have a lot of time to read very many of the comments, but I could tell that a battle had taken place there. I prayed for her and left an encouraging comment on one of her posts.
A few days later I started receiving emails from a person I had never heard of wanting to involve me in a discussion about my friend where he was continually attacking her character and salvation. He used intimidation tactics and used absolutely no biblical references to support his attacks. After about five of these emails, I replied with a question. I asked him why he was sending me this ‘garbage.’ The answer I got back was, “why do you think it’s garbage?”
This began several back and forth emails where I absolutely refused to get involved in his vendetta against my friend. I had to show a great deal of restraint here because the temptation was to pull out the big guns and go for it, but I refrained. I simply told the man that I considered it shameful what he was doing. He showed no mercy. I did visit the man’s website at this point to get an idea of who I was dealing with. Here is the link. However, before you get too deep into it I would like for you to look at some ways that we can detect a false prophet in this age. After reading these I suggest that you go to that site and with all discernment read what is there.
The most typical indicator of a false prophet or teacher is that their ways and message are not biblical. I find it amazing how many ‘Christians’ are sucked into the clutches of false teachers and prophets. Why do they? They do not know their Bibles so they don’t recognize the counterfeit. Along with this, when they do ‘attack’ genuine Bible teachers or ministers, they do not use the Bible or, if they do, they twist what it says. We are told to test the spirits.
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)
How do we know if a teacher or preacher really is from God? Their message will be biblical. It will line up with the Bible.
Another indicator is whether their message and ministry exalts God or themselves. The genuine minister of God doesn’t advertise or blow the trumpet about their ministries. They don’t need to. I heard R.C. Sproul say the other day that when he first began his ministry, after much prayer, he committed himself to doing nothing more than expounding the Word of God and leaving the results up to God. He refused to use the world’s tactics and ways in order to expand his ministry. The false teacher or preacher or minister doesn’t operate like this. Why? They have not the Holy Spirit. They are worldly. They may proclaim that they know Jesus, but they are full of evil. So, they exalt self and end up using the world’s ways of self-promotion.
Another indicator is their behavior. Do they act Christian or are they just a parody of one? This also includes their manner of debate. The motivation of a genuine minister of the Gospel is to glorify God and and be used by God to bring others to repentance. Using the world’s way of debate is not acceptable behavior here because its motive is not either of those, but is only to win the debate using whatever means. This would include personal attacks (ad homium) and the Straw Man Fallacy. It would include using fallacious sources written from men full of hate as if they were the truth. In their personal lives, genuine ministers will be marked by a growing Christlikeness while the false teacher, not being a Christian, will be marked by a parody of it.
Another indicator is the Holy Spirit’s witness within all genuine Christians. Does He warn you about a teaching or person? If so then we need to investigate, to test the spirits. For instance, the fellow with whom I was contending teaches as ‘truth’ things that are unbiblical. They are from the philosophies of men. They decry the use of the Law in the presentation of the Gospel. His contention is that men like Kirk Cameron are false prophets because they use scare tactics when they share the Gospel. He contends that this doesn’t work. I had to stop there and ask God for help. Then it came to me, what was troubling me was that the Holy Spirit was showing me clearly that this person was part of the Compromised Church and was defending it’s man-oriented non-gospel while attacking the genuine Gospel.
Another indicator is that false teachers and preachers will lead their followers to worship other gods. The Compromised Church worships another Jesus, not the Biblical Jesus. They have created their god in their own image. These people are trying to subvert the true faith and turn genuine worshippers of God away from Him. When the gospel is presented as the social gospel or health, wealth and prosperity, or is robbed of all of its supernatural power then those doing this have proved themselves to be false teachers and preachers. If you know of other indicators please leave a comment.
Now, I would like to share the email I received today from this person. I pray that God will give you discernment as you ‘read’ this.
Paul Cohen to me
Mike, you ask me to tell you what is wrong with what you said to Lisa. You are deaf, because I have already answered that question. How, then, will it help to repeat it? But if you really want to see my answer again, read my last letter, which I have included in this email.
How is it you reserve the right to strengthen the hand of the wicked when her words had specific and evil application and then go on to speak presumptuously in ignorance of that application? You would have joined the crowd to shout, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” not knowing it was the Christ they were condemning. That is exactly what you have done here.
You are not involved in my “little vendetta” because there is no vendetta, and you have not proven there is. But you are involved and one among many in the snake pit we have uncovered. You speak as the serpent and accuser of the brethren, without knowledge, discernment, fact or truth.
It is not what I think of myself, which is nothing, but what God says about me that matters. To Him, I am perfect, because He has formed me in His Son to be as He is in this world. What do you know of these things from your deluded, self-reformation project, which, work as hard as you will, has not managed to put away your unrighteous anger issue, has it?
Calvin also had that problem, persecuting Servetus and Castellion to death because he could not manage his anger. God warned Calvin’s father (and yours) about it, but Cain would not listen. He retained his poison, as have you, which is why you react as you do to the Lord’s brethren. We are here today to de-fang you and to send your works to Hell.
Listen to your own words:
“The vast majority of evangelical Christians exist in an extremely shallow spiritual condition. The Church worship they experience is man-focused. The sermons they hear from the pulpit are specifically designed to offend no one. There is little if any mention of sin, the need for repentance or Biblical discipleship.”
You falsely accuse and then blame those that shine the light on your false and treacherous ways of the same thing. You are thrice the sinner of those you criticize above, you vile hypocrite. And we are not the children of snakes, Satan, so go in your great wrath to the dwellers of earth as God commands of you in what remains of your short time. You will accomplish His will as a vessel of dishonor, and we will give Him honor and glory as He has assigned for us.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ Who justifies all His children.
My brethren, These words sting. They hurt. These are fiery darts and you know who throws those. I pray you noticed how he twisted things to make what was evil good and what was good evil. Also, did you notice the threats and the tactic of attempting to generate fear?
I received this from another Paul today:
A man may preach like an apostle, pray like an
angel—and yet may have the heart of a devil!
Many have gone to hell, laden with spiritual gifts. No
doubt Judas had great gifts, for he was a preacher of
the gospel. What a grand profession Judas had! He
followed Christ, left all for Christ, he preached the
gospel of Christ, he cast out devils in the name of
Christ, he ate and drank at the table of Christ—and
yet Judas was but a hypocrite!
The Scriptures speak of some who have “a form of
godliness, yet deny the power thereof.” That is, they
do not live in the practice of those graces, which they
pretend to profess. He who pretends to godliness by
a specious profession—and yet does not practice
godliness by a holy life, he has a mere form of
godliness—but denies the power.
Grotius compares such to the ostrich, which has
great wings—but yet does not fly. Just so—many
have the wings of a fair profession—but yet do not
use them to mount upward in spiritual affections,
and a heavenly life.
As many go to heaven with the fear of hell in their hearts—
so many go to hell with the name of Christ in their mouths!
What are we to do here? How are we to respond to these sorts of attacks? Should we crawl into our shells and stop reaching out with the truth? The enemy is a liar and will use ANY tactics that are available to him in order to silence those who are attacking his ‘empire.’ No, we must never stop proclaiming the truth. Paul the Apostle said:
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:1-10 ESV)
Let us draw together in prayer and refuse to be discouraged by these sorts of attacks. To God be the glory.
Soli Deo Gloria!