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. 🙂