The signs of a flesh-pleaser or sensualist are these:
1. When a man in his desire to please his appetite, does not do it with a view to a higher end, that is to say to the preparing himself for the service of God; but does it only for the delight itself. (Of course no one does every action conciously with a view to the service of God. Nevertheless, the general manner or habit of a life spent in the service of God is absent for the flesh-pleaser.)
2. When he looks more eagerly and industriously after the prosperity of his body than of his soul.
3. When he will not refrain from his pleasures, when God forbids them, or when they hurt his soul, or when the necessities of his soul call him away from them. But he must have his delight whatever it costs him, and is so set upon it, that he cannot deny it to himself.
4. When the pleasures of his flesh exceed his delights in God, and his holy word and ways, and the expectations of endless pleasure. And this not only in the passion, but in the estimation, choice, and action. When he had rather be at a play, or feast, or other entertainment, or getting good bargains or profits in the world, than to live in the life of faith and love, which would be a holy and heavenly way of living.
5. When men set their minds to scheme and study to make provision for the pleasures of the flesh; and this is first and sweetest in their thoughts.
6. When they had rather talk, or hear, or read of fleshly pleasures, than of spiritual and heavenly delights.
7. When they love the company of merry sensualists, better than the communion of saints, in which they may be exercised in the praises of their Maker.
8. When they consider that the best place to live and work is where they have the pleasure of the flesh. They would rather be where they have things easy, and lack nothing for the body, rather than where they have far better help and provision for the soul, though the flesh be pinched for it.
9. When he will be more eager to spend money to please his flesh than to please God.
10. When he will believe or like no doctrine but "easy-believism," and hate mortification as too strict "legalism." By these, and similar signs, sensuality may easily be known; indeed, by the main bent of the life.
| 2007/12/11 15:03||Profile|
| Re: False Prophets - False Teachers|
I found this article, and it was very interesting and good
The Distinguishing Marks of False Teachers by Thomas Brooks
'But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.' 2Peter2:1-3
Satan labors with all his strength by false teachers, which are his messengers and ambassadors, to deceive, delude and forever destroy the precious souls of men. The prophet Jeremiah declared, 'And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.' (Jeremiah 23;13). And through the prophet Micah, the Lord himself complained 'Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err,' (Micah 3.5a). They seduce them and carry them out of the right way into by-paths and blind thickets of error, blasphemy and wickedness, where they are lost forever. Jesus Himself warned, 'Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves' (Matthew 7:15) These scoundrels lick and suck blood of souls, 'Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers,' (Phil. 3:2) These evil men kiss and kill; they cry, 'Peace, Peace' until souls fall into everlasting flames (see Proverbs 7) Now the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan is to display them in their true colors, so that being known poor souls may shun them, and flee from them as hell itself. Now you may know a false teacher by the following distinguishing marks.
1. The first distinguishing mark is that they are men-pleasers. They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart. Isaiah thus described the longing of God's rebellious people. 'Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:' (lsaiah 30:10). And again the Lord complained through Jeremiah in these words; 'A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so and what will ye do in the end thereof?' (Jer 5.30,31) These men handle the holy things rather with wit and entertainment than with godly fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-destroyers. They are like evil surgeons, that skin over the wound, but never heal it. Flattery destroyed Ahab and Herod, Nero and Alexander. False teachers are hell's great enrichers. It is not bitter, but flattering words which do all the mischief, said Valerian, the Roman emperor. Such smooth teachers are sweet soul-poisoners (Jeremiah 23:16,17)
2. The second distinguishing mark of false teachers is that they are notable for casting dirt, scorn and reproach upon the person, names, and credits of Christ's most faithful ambassadors. Thus Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron that they took too much upon themselves, seeing all the congregation was holy (Numbers 16:3). 'You take', they said, 'too much state, too much power, too much honor, too much holiness on you; for what are you more than others, that you take so much upon you?' And likewise Ahab's false priests fell, upon good Micaiah, paying him with fits and fists instead of a reasonable reply (see I Kings 22 10-26). Yes, even Paul, that great apostle of the Gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers: 'For his letters,' they say, 'are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.' (2 Corinthians 10:10). They rather despise him than admire him; they look upon him as a dunce rather than a doctor. And indeed the same harsh treatment had our Lord Jesus from the scribes and Pharisees, who labored as if their life depended on it, to construct their own esteem upon the ruins of His reputation. And never did the devil have a more prosperous business in this way than he does in these days ( Matthew 27:63). Oh, the dirt, the filth, the scorn that is thrown upon those of whom the world is not worthy! I suppose false teachers fail to consider that saying of Augustine 'He that willingly takes my good name unwillingly adds to my reward'
3. The third distinguishing mark of false teachers is that they spew out the devices and visions of their own heads and hearts. The Lord said to me. 'Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name I sent them not, neither have commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.' (Jeremiah 14:14). 'Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.' (Jeremiah 23:16). Are there not multitudes in this nation whose visions are but golden delusions, lying vanities, brainsick fantasies? These are presently Satan's great benefactors, but one day divine justice will hang them up in hell as the greatest malefactors, unless the physician of souls graciously delivers them.
4. The fourth distinguishing mark of false teachers is that they easily pass over the great and weighty things both out of the law and the gospel, and dwell mostly upon these things that are of the least importance and concern to the souls of men. Thus Paul warned Timothy: 'Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling. Desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.' (I Timothy 1:5-7). And our Lord rebuked the Pharisees: 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees. hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye have done, and not to leave the other undone.' (Matthew 23:23). False teachers are meticulous in the lesser things of the law, and quite negligent in the greatest! Once more the Apostle Paul spoke strong words to Timothy when he said: 'If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself' (I Timothy 6:3-5). If such false teachers are not genuine hypocrites, I know nothing (Romans 2:21.22). The earth groans to bear such wicked men, and hell is fitted for them.
5. The fifth distinguishing mark of false teachers is that they cleverly disguise their dangerous principles and soul-deceiving notions with very attractive speeches and golden expressions. Many in these days are bewitched and deceived by the magnificent words, lofty strains- and stately terms of deceivers, such as illumination, revelation, and deification. As harlots paint their faces and adorn and perfume their beds, the better to allure and deceive simple souls, so false teachers will put a great deal of paint and garnish upon their most dangerous principles and blasphemies, in order that they may better deceive and delude poor ignorant souls. They know that sugared poison goes down sweetly: they wrap up their pernicious, soul-killing pills in gold. In the days of Hadrian the emperor, there was a man Ben-Cosbi who gathered a multitude of Jews together, and called himself Bencocuba, the son of a star, applying the promise of Numbers 24:17 to himself, but he proved to be Bar~chosaba, the son of a lie. And so will all false teachers, for all their lofty expressions will prove at last to be the sons of lies.
6. The sixth distinguishing mark of false teachers is that they strive more earnestly to win men over to their opinions, than to improve their behavior. The Lord Jesus again spoke with soberness when He said 'Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves' (Matthew 23:15). They busy themselves, most about men's heads. Their work is not to better men's hearts and mend their lives; and in this they are much like their father the devil, who will spare no pains to gain converts.
7. The seventh distinguishing mark of false teachers is that they exploit their followers through covetousness. The Apostle Peter, nearing his own death (see 2 Peter 1:12-15), warned his followers: 'But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall he evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.' (2 Peter 2:1-3). They eye your goods more than your good; and care more for serving themselves, than the saving of your souls. So long as they have your possessions, they care not that Satan possess your souls (Revelation 18:11-13). In order that they may better pick your pocket, they will hold forth such principles as are very indulgent to the flesh. False teachers are the great worshippers of the golden calf, as the Lord declares: 'For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness, and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely' (Jer.6: 13). Crates threw his money into the sea, resolving to drown it, lest it should drown him. But false teachers care not who they drown, so long as they may have their money.
Now by these seven distinguishing marks you may know false teachers, shun them and so deliver your souls out of their dangerous snares. And that you may, my prayers shall meet yours at the throne of grace.
| 2007/12/11 15:15||Profile|
Ultimately false teaching is best recognized when you are intimately acquainted with the truth. Think of the proverbial movie script in which two seemingly identical persons switch places for an extended period of time. When people get suspicious they come to notice that the person is missing the tell-tale birthmark (or some other exclusive feature) that the real person bore. (Sorry for the cheesy example...)
The point: they were so intimately acquainted with the truth, down to little details like unsees birthmarks, that they could distinguish the true from the false.
Likewise the best way to avoid deception is to love and explore truth to it's depths. Do not spend your time studying about deception or fearing deceivers - rather delight yourself in the truth of God's word.
The best way to distinguish a true from a counterfeit bill is to know the distinguishing marks of a true bill. It is not in knowing the blemishes that may or may not mar the appearance of a fake - but it is in knowing the characteristics that ONLY a true bill carries.
My advice - love truth! Devour the scriptures and bask in the presence of the Holy Spirit that he may teach you what they mean. Do not go on doctrinal witch hunts, because you will burn MANY innocent brothers and sisters. You will also create grave error in your crusade against error. More truths get stomped on during doctrinal crusades than at any other time.
Just my thoughts,
| 2007/12/11 15:53||Profile|
Hia Brother Jeff. I agreed a lot with your first post.
I'd like to just give my opinion touching the last paragraph you wrote.
There are certain "Discernment/Apologetic" Sites that are called to do what they do and I thank them for the sweat and persecution they put up with for their work. There are movements in the Church now, that I would have never known about to protect others from, if it weren't for their hard work. Like this more recent "contemplative prayer/spirituality" and that some false teachers/prophets are using a Dominionist's way to merge with the one world gov/religion. Thank God for the Internet or else I wouldn't have known, who was doing what, nor able to explain it for others to avoid.
When I first got saved I got radical - still am - but what I mean is - I went the full-blown Jesus Freak way. But thanks to these Discernment Groups, I didn't get spiritually deceived in my desire to go as far as a human being/body could go in desiring His Presence.
Folks like Paul, Peter, Jude, John and then Evan Roberts, Jesse Penn-Lewis, even Watchman Nee and Chip Brogden helped me considerably.
I grew up feeling as though, I never could do enough or do anything right - so coming to the Lord that way - I needed folks to help me see when and where to draw the line with "sacrificing all" even unto death, etc..
There are folks out there that are sincere and bereans, yet there are demons smarter than us, that know where to aim their attacks, even in well meaning folks.
I don't need to go on "witch hunts" - the witches come to us and I thank GOD for those I mentioned above for showing me where the limits are in things like "demonology - fasting - feeling conviction vs. condemnation" etc..
The good guys are there "to perfect the Saints" as is written and even protect them - but never to replace personal responsibility, as you've well said.
Thank you Brother.
| 2007/12/11 16:36|
I certainly didn't mean to discount the great job that many godly discernment ministries do. I do occasionally take issue with some of what I read for I have known some things to be posted that are either downright lies or that have been truly and publicly repented of by the accused parties.
My reason in saying what I said was because I truly think that is the best way to avoid deception. Surround yourself with tried and true biblical teachers, voraciously study the scriptures for yourself as a berean, fall madly in love with Jesus, and find your greatest pleasure in His presence. Certainly though, we must be as wise as serpents while maintaining our "dove-like" innocence. Sometimes that's a hard balancing act. Sometimes I have found (in my own life) when I get to wrapped up in identifying deception, I may have been as wise as a serpent, but I lost my dovelike innocence.
does that make any sense?
| 2007/12/11 20:39||Profile|
Hi Jeff. Nice to meet you.
Thank you for not throwing out these Ministries.
I'm sort of chuckling here at them. I got thrown headwise into that ministry shortly after I got saved. My intent was to be a missionary and take care of the sick, because I was so shy, I'd wait to enter a Church until just as they were starting and sat in the back and tried to get out quick afterwards. :-(
The furthest thing from my mind was Apologetics and "heresy hunting" - but it entered my first real Church almost 30 years ago and there it started and it's always been that way ever since. I've tried to escape it, but if that's what you're stuck with - He has big fish prepared for when we decide to take off. I'm in one now. I was about to go to South America in 2002 for missionary work, instead He disabled me and stuck me in front of a computer. Drats of all drats. I stayed depressed for a long time about it and still get depressed sometimes though. Anyhow - having been in that ministry, when I came on-line, He didn't have me starting my own website - Thank The Lord !!! - but had me unintentionally finding so-called Discernment Ministries that were teaching junk or using "Discernment" articles about others to hide their real agenda behind.
Well, in the process, I met the real McCoys. Bless Jesus!
I know there are some I wouldn't recommend neither, so I understand where you're coming from.
Some use exposing others to hide their own guilt, one way or another - so I think I know what you're trying to say. Some folks are just called to that Ministry so that the rest of us don't have to 'wonder' about so many things or find out the hard way, by being hurt by some of these churches or by the teachings out there.
I don't have to "work at it" anymore, because these others who are physically stronger and younger than I am, are doing it all for us now. Bless the LORD and God bless them. The good ones out there never 'asked' for that ministry - it was forced on them.
Love in Christ.
| 2007/12/11 21:19|
And WOOPS! I should have headed the last post with: "Dear SISTER"! I'm sorry! :)
| 2007/12/11 23:04||Profile|
My fault Jeff. I should have signed it for you.
Thanks again for your posts.
And Thanks to hmmhmm for these threads. Amen!
| 2007/12/11 23:33|
| Re: False Prophets - False Teachers|
I thought i post this excerpt from a book by Art Katz, I think it is a good read for all of us
"As we come to the end of the age, we must be particularly wary of the phenomena of lying signs, wonders and miracles. If there is a void in our lives, if our present church life is dull, and we are not receiving in our relationship with the saints the kinds of things that should constitute the true and apostolic life of believers that makes for our maturity, engaging our spirits and minds and the totality of our being, we will have an itch to fill that void with running to the venues where such impressive demonstrations of power are being displayed; we will be drawn to individuals who seem to have it, and to ministries that demonstrate it. We will be open receptors for this because of the condition of our inadequate conventional Christian life. One of the preventives, therefore, is the work of God in our churches, so that we do not have to find compensation outside of them.
To maintain and guard our spirits, to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord cannot be performed in an environment of a Sunday service and a mid-week Bible study. True church is not a Sunday supplement. We are coming to the end of the age! God has great purposes to consummate through the Church, but only that remnant of the Church that knows Him and will do great exploits out of that knowledge, and that knowledge only. Paul understood this when he said, that I might know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings! There is a knowledge of God in His sufferings that is so exquisite, and it is not to be obtained from any other source. What is our present attitude to the sufferings of Christ? Have we been inducted into the mind-set of the world with its pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain, protecting our life, our privacy, and guarding ourselves lest there be any injury or pain? No wonder that much of the Church is hardly more than a conglomerate of individualities living their privatistic lifestyles. Where is the Church of the apostolic kind where those who believed were together?
And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33).
We are going to have to break down the brick walls we have built, and the sanctity of our separate and privatistic lives, contrary to the ethos, character and genius of true church. True church is a suffering before it is a glory, just by what we are in ourselves, together, in the intensity of that life, and until we will go that way, we will not move anybody to jealousy, certainly not Jews.
When we see a phenomenon touted as revival, in which the word of God is conspicuously absent, or denigrated as not being the source of Gods greatest blessing, our alarm bells should start ringing. When those who are at the forefront of any revival phenomenon begin to deprecate their own preaching, saying that what they are now seeing far eclipses any result that they saw from their preaching, then we have already embraced a deception. If the avenues by which the blessing comes are not the word of God, or our response to Gods word, which has always been the operative principle of God, but rather, it comes through the hearing of the testimony of others, or seeing men decompose before ones eyes in drunken stupor, sagging and collapsing on the platform, accompanied by shrieks of delight and the inducement to join in, then we have already crossed an invisible line of truth. It may be an avenue of receiving alleviation from dullness and boredom from church programs, but we have already succumbed to deception.
Even if what we have been observing in recent years is not the lying signs and wonders about which we have been warned as characteristic of the Last Days, when those lying signs and wonders do come, how will they be substantially different in form and appearance from the signs and wonders we presently see? And how will we exercise then the discernment that we are incapable of exercising now? When the lying signs and wonders come, will we recognize them? There will be signs, wonders, miracles, demonstrations of power and much benefit! But they will be lying signs and wonders, and if we are concerned only with the benefit of them, and not all that much with their source, will we be able to discern the one from the other?
There is a gift of discernment, but there is also an exercise of discernment that is corporate, that is somehow the reflection of the stature, quality and maturity of the corporate people of God. Are we able to discern not only the things that are evil, but the things that are good? The things that are good are most likely to trap us. It is good to go here; it is good to do this, and it is good to take care of that need. But it is good that will be our undoing because evil is so much more blatant and evident. The good thing is the most difficult to discern unless our discernment has been strengthened by the exercise thereof. Is good good enough? Unless we have a priestly jealousy for that which is perfect, good will be our downfall.
There will be demonstrable miracles, an evidence of power with a result, but does that power mean the result is from God? Or is it a work of the flesh, or of the enemy? If men need only to employ the name of Jesus to perform many wonders in His name, what do we know about the source of these wonders? It may even be that those men are sincere, that they mean well, and that they think they are doing service to God. One safeguard to keep us from an emptiness and shallowness that makes us responsive to the appearance of power is to be so solidly in relationship with Christ and with Gods people in an earnest and authentic way that the void is filled. That saves us from being easily convinced by lying signs and wonders.
Are we in a fellowship that is a fellowship indeed, rather than a mere aggregate of individuals meeting casually on Sunday for an hour or two? Are the people leaving in the same condition in which they came? I am talking about the real thing to which God has called us, moving from glory to glory and beholding in each others faces the glory of God, going again from house to house breaking bread, and at the same time hearing and sharing the kinds of things that in fact make up our life, and experiencing the redemptive work of God working through each other. If our Christian life is a boredom and a drag, and we are looking for excitement and demonstrations of seeming power, we need, really, to look at what the structure and the whole make-up of our Christian life is.
We are urged to exhort one another daily while it is yet today, because next Sunday is too late. How many of us are in a relationship with saints of God daily? How many of us are willing to give up the privacy that we so enjoy, and the time before the television set to make room for that kind of relationship? I am not talking about merely dropping in, putting your feet up on the coffee table and making small talk; that is not a synonym for fellowship. Do we love the other brother enough to say, My spirit is disturbed. I heard your singing at the service and I heard your testimony, but there is something about it that does not ring true. It lacked the real joy of the Lord. I sense that you are drifting into a kind of performer mentality and spirit. If I am wrong, forgive me, but love compels me to express the sense of alarm and caution in my heart.
Is there something in our lives, something wrong, that is beginning already to show itself, especially in the place where we think ourselves spiritual? And do we prefer privacy to daily exhortation? Do we prefer coming together for a Sunday wing-ding and feeling good, then going back again into the same pattern of privacy and seclusion? If so, we are guaranteed that the world will have its opportunity to invade, compromise and ultimately destroy us? The church in which the people are not in authentic relationship with one another daily is not church. True church relationship is costly, both in terms of pride and humiliation, as well as in terms of privacy and time. Are we willing to make time for it? Is it of that great a value to us, that the name of God not be blasphemed in the earth, for we are His witness people?
The full sanctification we so desperately need in order to live an authentically Christian life comes not by a wand magically passed over us, but in the interaction of the saints. It comes with the grit, the strains and the tensions that are only to be found in true church, where the saints are going on with determination from glory to glory. Sanctification belongs to those who love the truth, and who recognize that there is only one agency by which that truth can be formalized and demonstrated in the earth, namely, a Church that is called to be the ground and the pillar of truth. But if the Church becomes a flaky phenomenon, if it is soft, indulgent and corrupt, if it loves its flesh and its luxury, if it is willing to cut corners, then what hope shall we have for its effectiveness in the world?
When sitting in meetings, I have often been astonished when the appeals for healing come. Almost everyone comes out of their seats. I have never seen such a sick Church everywhere, and I think that we will continue to be sick, both physically and spiritually, so long as we live egocentric lives. For example, what is the first question you raise when you leave the building Sunday morning? Is it, What did you think of the speaker? Did you like him? Did you like the worship? Did you like the sermon? Is your like the center of your being? If we have shifted from carnal centrality to spiritual centrality, we are still the center. No wonder we are sick; no wonder we need continually to be healed. Until we make God, His glory, His honor, His name and His eternal purposes the center, we will continue to be sick. We have a false center, and it is in ourselves.
To think in terms of our own benefit and to have our central focus on what we receive is, in itself, the breeding ground of deception. The saving grace from God is to have another center outside of ourselves and other than ourselves, namely, the eternal purposes of God, which redound to His glory. Our sickness is a preoccupation with ourselves, even our spiritual selves, which makes us candidates for deception, and the only corrective is to replace our self-centeredness with that which God intends, a jealousy for His glory. Our mistake is to think that our concern with spiritual things is not as much a form of egocentrism as a concern with carnal things. Let the spiritual benefits come, not because they are our principal focus, but let them come out of a life of obedience and discipline that seeks first and foremost the things that pertain to God. Out of that may come the benefits that accrue, but we are not to be seeking them as the things in themselves. That would still make our focus egocentric, and therefore, by very definition, the posture of deception itself.
To seek God is painful to the flesh. We are lazy and indolent; we cannot find the time; there are too many distractions, even of a valid kind. Another safety for the Church is the seeking of God in the closet and in the holy place. The first results of that seeking will be dullness, deadness and nothing; our prayers will not go up beyond the ceiling. It is a testing, and we need to persevere beyond that point until finally we come into a place of grace where God Himself is giving us divine assistance, and we are not looking for an experience, and we are not looking for the benefit of receiving the fire of God, or revelation for preaching. No, we are seeking Him because He is God, and He is the thing in Himself, and not for any benefit that accrues to us. Any seeking of God that seeks benefit is by that definition no longer a seeking of God. Seeking God must be without any concern or consideration for ourselves. We seek Him because He is God, and God deserves our prostration before Him; He alone is God. Only in that place can we begin to sense the awe of God, the fear of God and the holiness of God. These are some of the criteria that will save us from the things that are false.
The bar is open. Come on in now and drink! Have your fill! There is no limit!! The vulgarity of that invitation (which I have witnessed) is flagrantly contrary to the holiness of God and so patently a contradiction of God. How can we even respond to invitations of that kind unless we are mindless and so bent on experience? When we see people slain in the spirit or in a stupor of drunkenness, we mindlessly want it too, though, if we had even the most rudimentary sense of God, we would be turning and running in the opposite direction. When the Lord reveals what all of this is about, those of us who have opened ourselves up for this kind of thing will be astonished that we had been so easily deluded. Out of the depth of the repentance and the acknowledgment of our sin there will come a seeking of God and a true knowledge of God that will enable us to endure in the Last Days stresses and trials. Who is a greater candidate for deception than those who think that they cannot be deceived?
The enemys whole purpose in deception is either to destroy or to divert. Deception that springs from wanting to do for God and to be used by God is the most subtle, the most powerful and the most difficult to recognize. Are we in a fellowship predicated on a mans vision for a work? Is it a situation where he can be corrected, or is he surrounded by affirming people whom he calls intercessors? And how much are they working toward the success of that ministry for the benefit that might accrue to them? In other words, the whole basis by which those people are related to one another and to him is a soulish vision, rather than the vision of the Lord and His over-arching and eternal purposes. Can you predicate a fellowship and a ministry of intercession on the basis of this one thing? Where is the safeguard?
Why is the fellowship dull and the services predictable? What is lacking in our normative Christianity that makes us susceptible to this kind of alternative? My own answer would be that we have forsaken, or never known at all, the apostolic and prophetic configuration of the faith centering in the Cross. We do not know the sacrifice, the suffering, the embracing of the eternal purposes of God, not the least of which is the mystery of Israel in the Last Days that requires a Church of an ultimate kind. For the lack of that kind of format and orientation enlivening the entire faith and the issues of the faith, we condemn ourselves to finding an alternative to the blandness in our lives, the end thereof being spiritual death."
[url=http://www.benisrael.org/writings/online_books/anatomy_of_deception/taod_contents.html]The Whole Book ~ Anatomy of Deception by Art Katz[/url]
| 2007/12/13 2:31||Profile|
| Re: False Prophets - False Teachers|
No time to read all this thread now but just to say that I gradually realised over these last several years that I was actually seeing the formation of [i][b]cults[/b][/i] from out of the true Christian Church.
I also realised that some well established cults, such as the JW's may also have begun within the Church, even as serious attempts to follow the teaching of the Bible as they understood it.
Even ordinary denominational movements began like that - often because the "Establishment" had become pretty dead spiritually and "new wineskins" were needed for the "new wine". Or even that they were forced or pressurised out of a denomination by the authorities (the early Methodists and Baptists for example, or the Salvation Army that found traditional churches unwilling to accept their "disreputable" converts.
That they became denominations rather than cults (by retaining basic Biblical truth and teachings) is probably due to the calibre and faithfulness of the founders and original members of the movement.
so it sounds as if the character of the founder/leadership is the key to the development of a cult...
What can cause a leader (who may once have been a true man of God) to go astray and become a false teacher/prophet? I can think of a few things, others will probably be able to add to it:
Come to think on, the RC Church is probably the greatest cult in the world by these criteria...
1. Desire for personal glory and recognition. Result: a ministry or church or movement based on an individual rather than on the Word
2. Love of money. Result: A ministry that is rooted in greed and materialism
3. Desire for power and influence over others. Results:
a) Some form of "heavy shepherding", where the leader is the "head honcho", not God, and his word is law, and his writings or particular interpretation of Scripture is placed above the Word of God.
b)an attempt to control God and use His Power for oneself. Often leading to tapping to occultic powers rather than the power of the true Holy Spirit.
4. Loose moral attitude. Result:all kinds of sexual immorality, lying and deception etc. Often the cult leader justifies this by twisting Scripture, or merely by prophesying that "God" told him it was OK. Polygamy for example was endorsed, or even commanded, by both Mohammed's and Joseph Smith's "God"
5. [***EDIT, added point]Anb "inferiority complex" in the founder of the cult. Result: Seeking after power and influence, and/or some kind of esoteric knowledge that no -one else has, in order to feel superior instead of inferior***]
6. Unwillingness to repent and humble oneself before the true God
Of course these things are interlinked, and one may arise from another.
Love in Him who alone is the Way the Truth and the Life
| 2007/12/13 5:42|