Just ask Jesus into your hearts….part 3, Test the Spirits

This whole series started because I wanted to say that I am praying for a return to the pure preaching of the word.  I never expected to get into the mega church & celebrity pastors. For those who have sent emails defending Rick Warren – I am not trying to pick on Rick Warren, he is just a name that comes to mind when we think of a well known mega church leader.  I want to clarify that I do not know what Rick Warren believes, i assume he holds to the SBC confessional statements, but all I know of the man is what I have read in his books.  But becuase someone claims to hold to an orthodox confession, does not mean that they are scriptural in their preaching.  For instance, Rev. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral is a member of the Reformed Church in America.  He apparently holds to the 3 forms of unity, yet he undeniably promotes a positive thinking/ new age gospel. So, what I am simply saying is that we are to test the spirits.  In 1 John 4:1 we read:

“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).

In this verse, John tells us that we are not to believe every teacher that comes our way – and this includes Rick Warren, RC Sproul, Robert Schuller, and even bloggers like myself. John tells us that not everyone who claims to have the Spirit is in fact of God. Many false spirits exist in the world, and we have to test the teachings of all who claim to speak the truth of God.  Do not accept things because they sound good.  I like being challenged on points of doctrine, it makes me evaluate whether I am in fact relaying a biblical message or if I am just spouting my own sinful and tainted opinion.

We must always test our teachers’ according to their faithfulness to all the essentials of biblical faith. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, the apostle Paul warns us that Satan often masquerades as an angel of light. Satan is a deceiver and will even hide in the church, influencing teachers subtly to deny or alter the Word of God.  Satan loves Christ-less Christianity and will do anything to take the focus of the church off of the atonement of Jesus – that includes incorporating the belief that simply asking Jesus into your heart will save you.  Satan does not care if you help the needy, or become a great father, or give your tithe, or are in the choir, or on a committee, or preach the fruit of the spirit, or have an accountability partner – what he hates is the blood of Christ.  It is important that in our zeal, we do not neglect the gospel.  It is important for me to note this as well. It is important for all of us as regular laypeople to know the basic tenants of orthodox theology andthat we are disciplined and study the Scriptures so that we can test the spirits and not be blown here and there by every wind of teaching that crosses our paths. It is also important for us as regular laypeople to know theology and study the Scriptures so that we might, as the apostle says:

“ Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…,”

So test the spirits. 🙂

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  1. steve rowley says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Try not to be too discouraged by the feedback you are getting about your blogging. You are a very good writer and you make some very valid points. I use some material from one of those guys in my ministry becuse it teaches the message from Matt:5 in a very gentle way that people who are overwhelmed with life can grasp. We make it clear that it is s little watered down and we fill in the holes that are left ad we go.

    We go the gentle route bacause the people we deal with are often coming from backgrounds of severe abuse and hurt – often at the hands of well meaning Christians who hit them with more than they could handle because their minds needed renewing from sever hurts. We have found that some people respond well to sound biblical teaching faster than others. Some can handle fast application while others just cant. After a decade

  2. steve rowley says:

    Of working on this stuff and trying different approaches. This is only in regards to ministering to specific overwhelmed people. Too much too soon can be more overwhelming. For some, like me in the past – it can be like feeding people sips of water from a fire hose instead of from a slow running water fountain.

    The women at the well needed to hear truth from the Lord in just a small sip to start with at pthe beggining of her journey. At the beggining I believe that it is vital for someyone to walk alongside another believer in a discipling relationship. Words are great as far as teaching sound biblical truth goes … Sermons etc… It is even more powerful when the words we say are backed up as evidence of the truth applied to the lives of us believers.

    No matter which man made denominational leaning we come from, what does the world see? What is the reality?

    Personally, I have a busy life and my God given resource of time is best is best spent being an active part of the community as a believer. I make mistakes and will never have it all fi

    gured out and may … I mean will say/do th

    e wrong things from time to time too. I just found out for me personally that my time is better spent being engaged with my family and my kids and even with people in the world around me than it is slumped over Facebook or a keyboard debating my faith with people I have never met. Been there and done that.

    Of course – I have found that some things are great ad long as they are balanced.

  3. steve rowley says:

    Wow… It’s really hard to type on an Android phone in a waiting room chair with big meaty fingers and an over- active auto correct… LOL!

    Take care my friend and you are a great Christian dad with a huge heart. Your passion is encouraging

    • One Christian Dad says:

      Hi Steve, Thanks for the kind response. I think that we can all agree that what you are doing in your service is a good thing regardless of what material you are using. I pray that God would continue to bless your ministry to these people. I do not take the responses personally – or at least I try not to 🙂 We still need to go for that coffee…

    • One Christian Dad says:

      And I hope that everything is ok with your health!