By Rick Becker 31 March 2021
We live in an age where the gospel is hardly recognizable in the visible church. The proliferation of false teachers and false doctrines have produced hordes of false converts, and sadly, thousands of ignorant believers who are deceived in certain areas. In this post, we’ll examine a few of the false assumptions held by many in the visible church. The false teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation, Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospel have contributed to these false assumptions.
1. The assumption that God exists to change your circumstances, make you happy, and give you your best life now.
This assumption is widespread due to the fact that the good news of the gospel – Christ crucified for our sins ( 1 Cor 15:1-5) has been replaced with “good news” that God is a divine appeaser, dishing out dream destinies to his worthy children.
As a result, many are not convicted of sin, but rather convinced by some ear tickling charlatan that Jesus is a path to success and a pain free existence on earth. This “Jesus” isn’t a saviour, but a life coach, a divine business partner, a romantic heavenly being, a source of power, a means to heal a disease, a path to prosperity.
False teachings like dominion theology and the health and wealth gospel have created the impression that the ultimate Christian life is one devoid of suffering. There’s a formula to ensure all forms of suffering are removed – tithing will solve your financial problems, rebuking the elements will prevent natural disasters, binding the strongman will shift the atmosphere over cities, infiltrating worldly systems will bring global transformation, social justice will make the world a better place for all, positive declarations and the power of your words will change circumstances, sickness can be rebuked…and so the list goes on. The result is that to a large degree, an individuals circumstances become a spiritual barometer to test their obedience, faith, and general spiritual condition.
These false teachings have appeased a generation of narcissists who view God as a tool to pursue their happiness and goals. Instead of pilgrims and aliens in this world, they live as settlers, determined to experience their best life now. Another factor contributing to the impression that the Christian life is comfortable, is the society and class people find themselves in. The average middle class individual in a developed country assumes that their environment and lifestyle are the very least God guarantees believers. But there are no “normal” or minimal standards guaranteed for the believer. This selfish view completely ignores brothers and sisters in Christ scattered throughout the nations, struggling to get by, persecuted for their faith, uncertain of where their next meal will come from.
Search the gospels and epistles and try and find earthly guarantees of comfort, you won’t. Real apostles made no demands on God, or expected to have any form of material security in this world: “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8.
And at times, even these basic needs escaped them: “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless” 1 Corinthians 4:11.
After feeding the five thousand, the people wanted to make Jesus king as they recognized that he was the prophet Israel had been waiting for, the messiah, the one that would restore their kingdom. But we read – “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” John 6:15.
In similar fashion, many assume that Jesus will change their circumstances. In the case above it was the state of their nation, and the general welfare of the population. But Jesus’ mission was spiritual not political. The next day the crowd found Jesus, and his answer to a question they asked is revealing: “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” John 6:25-26.
The crowds weren’t interested in the messiah who would be pierced for their transgressions or crushed for their iniquities, they wanted a messiah who would free them from the tyranny of Rome and fill their bellies. In other words, a messiah who would meet their needs and make them happy. And so it is today, the crowds want a Jesus that will fill their bellies and solve their nations political crisis. They want a therapeutic gospel.
Sociologist Christian Smith listed five core religious beliefs held by youth in the USA. These beliefs are the fulfilment of 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
The five core beliefs are:
• A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
• God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
• The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
• God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
• Good people go to heaven when they die.
Smith described these beliefs as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
A therapeutic gospel has become a means to an end – the end being creature comforts and happiness. This is why false teachers and false churches are flourishing – they offer the world what the world is looking for. Their gospel is not a stumbling block to the natural man, it’s a stepping stone to fulfilling one’s desires.
False teachers thrive because they tell people what they want to hear. To meet the desires of a generation in love with self, false teachers offer a therapeutic gospel that tickles the ears of those looking for an excuse for their sin, and and some form of divine intervention that will propel them to success and make them happy. Sinners are not sinners, but victims. Self is elevated instead of crucified.
A plain reading of the gospels will dismiss all the lies propagated by false teachers who promise heaven on earth. Jesus did make promises to those who followed him, but they’re a far cry from what parades as truth in the visible church.
Jesus promised conflict within families (Matthew 10:34-38) persecution (John 15:18-20) tribulation in this world (John 16:33) and taught self denial not self-actualization (Matthew 16:24-26)
Suffering, is part of the Christian life: “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,” Philippians 1:29.
Contemporary false apostles and prophets create the impression that an “abundant life” (in their eyes this means wealth, health, power, influence) is a sign that they are obedient to God, have sufficient faith, are highly anointed and favoured by God. But consider the glaring contrast Paul presents between himself, and the suave false apostles of Corinth:
“But whatever anyone else dares to boast of – I am speaking as a fool – I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one -I am talking like a madman – with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:21-30.
It’s not about our will, our comfort, our desires, our happiness.
Jesus said: “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39.
Paul understood this: “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20: 22-24.
So does that mean the Christian ought to be a miserable soul full of doom and gloom?
No, happiness is fleeting and dependent on circumstances, Jesus promised something better – joy:
• “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
• “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-3
Happiness fades, joy should not – “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Ultimately, God desire is to conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) This means we will experience various forms of suffering, suffering with a purpose:
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5.
2. The assumption that you will need tools outside of scripture for self discovery, wholeness and an authentic relationship with God and people.
A few of these include Alcoholics Anonymous, inner healing and deliverance ministries such as Sozo ministry, or personality tests such as the Enneagram.
What’s wrong with Alcoholics Anonymous you may ask?
This – “We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of the Spirit is BROAD, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.”
And this – “In A.A.’s twelve step program, anything and everything—from spirits to inner divinity—can be worshiped as “god.” One of A.A.’s Big Book teachings is that God can only be found within ourselves. A.A.’s belief system by no means requires dealing with sin – or the Savior.”
Strange as it may seem to some, Inner healing and deliverance ministries are dangerous methodologies. They deny the power of the gospel, the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and employ psychological, new age, and occultic techniques. While they promise freedom and wholeness, they have the opposite effect, and lead people into greater deception. Believers cannot be cursed, have no need to break generational curses, and cannot bind Satan.
Sozo is a psychospiritual deliverance and inner healing tool promoted by Bethel church. Sozo uses six tools – Father Ladder • Four Doors •Presenting Jesus •The Wall •Trigger Mechanisms (Advanced Tool) •Divine Editing (Advanced Tool). Obviously, you won’t find any of them in scripture.
For information on Sozo – Victims of Bill Johnson’s SOZO Ministry speak out (includes various links on Sozo.)
Another excellent article on inner healing which explains that “The Bible Teaches the Cleansing of the Conscience, Not Healing of Memories.”
Personality type tests have become popular in recent decades. Tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) claim to identify various personality types, but the identity of believers is found in Christ and the fruits of the Spirit are not dependent on personality types. The Enneagram personality test is popular in visible church. Heretic Richard Rohr has been influential in the spread of the Enneagram, a test that finds its roots in the occult. The following excerpt is a description of Richard Rohr and The Enneagram Secret – a book by Marcia Montenegro:
“In Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret, we explore the spiritual infection of those who have embraced Richard Rohr and the Enneagram he has delivered into the church through his disciples. The claims for the Enneagram are simple. Supposedly it is an ancient tool used by some of the Early Church Fathers. It is claimed to be the “face of God” and each Enneagram number is an individual spiritual path to deeper spiritual understanding and fuller self-awareness. But what if this seemingly harmless tool is in fact one of the largest deceptions perpetrated upon the Christian church in recent history?”
Make no mistake, Richard Rohr is NOT a believer, “He denies original sin, the atonement, the exclusivity of Christianity, and he has an unorthodox understanding of heaven and hell, and the literal second coming of Christ. Rohr’s views stand in stark contrast to the historic Christian view of the gospel.”
Anyone caught up in these methodologies has opened a door to deception. When we examine the beliefs of they founders of AA or the Enneagram for example, we find that what they believed contradicts scripture. Their god is not the God of scripture. Sin does not come into their equation, and so any solution or analysis of personality ignores the biggest problem of all – sin and separation from God. They focus on self esteem, self love and ignore self denial. The knowledge we need to find wholeness is found in scripture: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Finally, a passage of scripture that dispels the need to find healing, deliverance, or gain wisdom in the methodologies listed above:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:3-9.
3. The assumption that the world will love you.
If any contemporary false movement has propagated this lie, it’s the New Apostolic Reformation.
The belief that Christians will shape culture, and gradually transform this world into some kind of Christian utopia is the very antithesis of what Jesus said – “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36.
In the NAR, one aspect of “bringing heaven to earth” involves believers finding innovative solutions to the worlds problems because they “have the mind of Christ.” Supposedly this will garner respect and admiration from the world. The early church missed this heavenly mandate to impress their generation by failing to come up with innovative solutions by designing superior aqueducts, streamlined chariots, or more effective fishing nets. A believer with a Nobel Prize winning invention will still offend the world when the truth is proclaimed.
Believers should expect persecution, not praise from the world: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:18-20.
Contrary to contemporary smooth talking false apostles who exude self confidence and live like celebrities, true apostles were the scourge of society: “We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.” 1 Corinthians 4:13.
And actually pointed to their hardships and sufferings as signs that they were servants of God.
(2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33)
Anyone with a basic knowledge of current events in the world, should know that the days of being able to blend comfortably in with worldly systems and secular environments are coming to an end. Under the guise of “inclusivism,” reason and science are abandoned in order to legitimize disorders and pursue “pleasures” that God calls sin. Good will be called evil, and evil called good. Who could have imagined that by using an accurate gender pronoun you can end up in prison? Wokeness, Intersectionality, Social justice, Feminism, Critical Race Theory, and who knows what new theory will come into vogue down the line, have already captivated many in the visible church. It’s inevitable that believers are going to become the pariahs of society – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9.
The only way the world will admire the church, is when the church looks like the world. This is why Progressive Christianity will no doubt become increasingly popular in the visible church. The article 5 Signs Your Church Might be Heading Towards Progressive Christianity identifies certain comments you may hear in Progressive circles. It’s not difficult to see why the world would be attracted to Progressive “churches.” No doubt we’ve all heard a few of the comments listed in the article:
• God wouldn’t punish sinners—He is love….
• Sure, the Bible is authoritative—but we’ve misunderstood it for the first 2,000 years of church history…
• It’s not our job to talk to anyone about sin—it’s our job to just love them….
• The Bible “contains” the word of God…
• I just can’t believe Jesus would send good people to hell….
• God didn’t actually require a sacrifice for our sins—the first Christians picked up on the pagan practice of animal sacrifice and told the Jesus story in similar terms….
• We don’t really need to preach the gospel—we just need to show love by bringing justice to the oppressed and provision to the needy…
If you are friends with this world, you’re an enemy of God: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4-5.
4. The assumption that you need to learn how to hear God’s voice.
How to hear the voice of God is a topic that most believers will encounter at some stage. For those who are caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation or certain Charismatic churches, hearing the voice of God will become a lifelong exercise. It’s a case of God depositing whispers in your mind with the hope that you will get the message. The irony is that the well known teachers who peddle their books and courses on the subject, clearly have not heard the voice of God. How do I know this? Well, because of their unbiblical teachings, tall stories, and inaccurate words from God. God gave us his infallible word, he didn’t place the burden on his followers to decipher the voices in their minds in order to receive information. If we need to “hear the voice of God,” we must conclude that what he has already said in his word is insufficient. Furthermore, if we need to master hearing his voice, then God is taking a risk by placing his children in a high risk zone, a zone where many are caught up in mysticism and various forms of deception. The scriptures contain sufficient information, not only for salvation, but for a complete life in Christ: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
Typically, folk are taught to practice hearing from God during their “quiet time.” This involves listening, or even writing down the thoughts in your mind (a form of channeling), and then try and determine which voice is yours, and which voice is God’s. It’s a hit and miss affair, often with disastrous consequences when people obey the “voice” they heard supposing that it was God speaking to them.
But what about the still small voice?
A popular proof text for hearing the voice of God is found in 1 Kings 19. Elijah has fled from Jezebel, and is in a cave on Mt Horeb. God asked Elijah what he was doing there, and then instructed Elijah to stand on the mount. The elements of nature raged, but God was not in them. It’s at this point that Elijah hears something. We’ll read verse 12 from the King James Version:
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
The Hebrew word translated as “voice” in the King James is קוֹל (qol) which means sound or voice. This is why some translations differ from the KJV: “the sound of a low whisper” (ESV) “a sound of a gentle blowing” (NASB)
We note that Elijah heard something – an external sound or voice. He did not have an inner impression or have to dissect the voices in his mind to determine what God was saying. Elijah heard something audible, and reacted accordingly: “And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:13
Whenever God spoke to Elijah, the message was audible and clear (see verses 9 & 11) unlike the idea that we need to “practice hearing the voice of God” – “practice” because we have to decide which voice in our mind is from God.
The transition from “what is God saying” to “what has God said” is not only liberating, it’s acknowledging an omnipotent God who can number the hairs on your head and is quite capable of ordering your steps. You wont find a passage of scripture detailing God’s struggle to get his voice heard. You will find many describing people’s disobedience to what God has spoken. Don’t be dismayed, God has not left us with a mere book to get by, that’s a false assumption in itself, imagining that the word of God is comparable to a novel or history book. It’s not – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
So what do we do in certain situations where we’ve been taught to “hear the voice of God.” Instead of trying to unscramble the voices in our head or look for someone to give us a “prophetic word,” we go the the infallible prophetic word of God, and follow his instructions:
• We pray – “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.
• We ask God for wisdom – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.
• We trust in the providence of God – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (See also James 4:13-15)
• We study and obey the scriptures. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
• We trust the Holy Spirit to guide us – every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. He reminds us of scripture, illuminates the scriptures to us, and at times will prompt us.
5. The assumption that you need some sort of encounter with God.
The outlandish lies being told from NAR stages and on platforms like the Sid Roth show have deceived many gullible and biblically ignorant individuals into believing that supernatural encounters are part and parcel of the normal Christian experience. An “encounter” (encounter is a common NAR buzzword) with God is a must on your spiritual CV if you want any sort of recognition or acceptance in New Apostolic Reformation circles. What it means is that you have had some sort of experience in this experience driven movement. It could mean you have a mind image, heat sensation, vision, angelic visitation, goosebumps, or the really impressive experience of visiting the throne room of God in heaven. These are all subjective claims, impossible to test – apart from the false doctrine spewed by those who boast of their encounters. In other words, anyone can claim to have had an encounter with God.
It’s a subtle start, but many are being conditioned to “feel” the presence of God in the average Charismatic type church service. No doubt, you will have heard the phrase “God’s presence is in this place” or something similar. This is usually during “worship” and you may wonder why you’re not feeling or sensing anything, unlike the enraptured folk around you who seem to be “touched by God.” This phrase, a deliberate suggestion, is employed to create the right atmosphere and expectation. It’s a great tool to bypass the mind, create the impression that God is pleased with what’s taking place, and that the message that follows is equally pleasing in his sight. While there may be times that we become acutely aware of God, or the Holy Spirit is working in us in a way that our emotions are responding, we are not instructed to seek experiences or assume that God is at work simply because we are feeling or reacting in a certain manner.
6. The assumption that you should be walking in the supernatural.
You could read the entire bible within a week. You would read many accounts of miracles, signs and wonders, and might think that they are normative. Anyone coming to that conclusion has failed to realize that:
• The scriptures span a period of approximately 4000 years.
• There were centuries that went by during this time, without any miracles.
• The number of people who performed miracles could fit in a small church building.
• The major reason for signs and wonders in the New Testament has been fulfilled – to authenticate the message and ministry of the apostles (2 Cor 12:12) and the ministry and identity of the messiah (John 10:36-39)
This assumption is fueled by the false teaching that Jesus came to model a supernatural lifestyle. This teaching places the emphasis on Christ’s humanity, to the extent that it completely ignores his divinity. The belief is that we are able to emulate the works of Christ because Jesus performed his miracles as a “man in right relationship with God.” In other words it places Christ on the same level as any other biblical figure that God used to perform miracles. It’s a denial of Jesus as the God-Man, it’s a heresy known as Kenoticism…. it’s a “different Jesus.”
But what about John 14:12: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
It’s a false assumption that these “greater works” are miracles. Who could surpass the miracle of walking on water, feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fish, raising a four day old corpse from the grave, and raising yourself from the grave in union with God the father and the Holy Spirit? Clearly the “greater works” is not referring to the miraculous. So what does the verse mean? It means that the church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, would spread the gospel throughout the earth until Christ returns. The impact of the filling of the Holy Spirit was immediate – three thousand were saved on the day of Pentecost. Even by today’s standards, that’s a big number. The bible says they were saved, these were not people who had been hyped up and prayed a quick sinners prayer, they were genuinely born again without any special effects, fancy sound systems, or an ear tickling message.
One of the motivating factors of the “supernatural lifestyle” philosophy, is the belief that the unconverted need to experience some kind of sign or miracle in order to believe. “We owe the world and encounter with God” is not a verse in the bible, but the imagination of NAR “apostles” and “prophets.” What the world needs is an encounter with the gospel, with the words of true prophets and apostles recorded in scripture. The rich man made the same mistake as those who teach a supernatural lifestyle is necessary for successful evangelism by assuming that a supernatural encounter would save his family. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus the beggar back to earth to warn his brothers, Abraham’s reply should serve as a warning to NARites: “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:29-31.
This is our task, proclaim the message, not perform miracles:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16.
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” 1 Cor 1:22-23.
7. The assumption that you are saved.
This is the most dangerous assumption, because an eternal destination – heaven or hell, is at stake. It behoves us to take this assumption seriously, and make sure we have not been deceived: “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11:4.
The city of Corinth was steeped in immorality and idolatry – picture of contemporary society. In similar fashion, the church in Corinth is a picture of sections of the contemporary church – abuse of the gifts, immoral behaviour, disunity, various factions, and false apostles. It was to this church, that Paul wrote the following: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5.
It comes as no surprise that the scripture’s description of those who had this false assumption that they were saved, is strikingly similar to those caught up in the NAR and Charismania: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23.
Like Bethel church and other NAR false churches, these workers of lawlessness boasted in their supernatural works. Many, not few, but many who claim to have had some encounter with God, walk in the supernatural, and exercise the gifts, are “workers of lawlessness.” They will have a form of godliness, seem radical and passionate for God, some will be eloquent speakers with large and popular ministries. They will speak of revival, boast of their supernatural experiences and exploits, tell stories about the salvations and miracles in their midst. But one dreadful day, when it’s too late to repent they will hear these words: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
A factor that has led to this false assumption is a “different gospel,” – as we have seen it’s a therapeutic gospel. A false gospel that “calls out the gold in sinners” instead of proclaiming repentance. A false gospel that has made the “good news” about earthly comforts and benefits . A false gospel that offers superpowers and the ability to perform miracles.
When the crowds gathered on the day of Pentecost as the disciples were speaking in various languages, Peter took the opportunity to preach: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:36-38.
That right there, is the good news, the only benefit sinners should be seeking – the forgiveness of sin. Peter didn’t offer an amazing dream destiny to the hearers, he proclaimed the gospel. The result being the conviction of sin, which Jesus promised is a work of the Holy Spirit: “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8.
False converts are distraught because of their circumstances, not their condition: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3.
They have been lured to “come to Christ” with the belief that he will
• solve their financial crisis.
• heal their disease.
• restore their marriage.
• help them achieve their dreams.
That’s not to say God is not involved in these areas, but that’s not why people should repent. We repent because of conviction of sin, because we are alienated from God, under his wrath, and deserve eternal punishment.
Have your eyes been opened to the lies of “prophets” and “apostles” who promise a breakthrough that never materializes, a healing that never occurs, a better city, nation, and world despite the obvious increase in wickedness?
Have you fallen for the lies that say if you just do this course, or receive that impartation, or experience some manifestation your life will change?
Examine yourself, are you a believer but caught up in various false teachings? Do you assume you’re a believer because of experiences you’ve had or because of your “supernatural” works?
Do you believe God is indebted to you, that he will make your dreams come true and that you deserve a comfortable life on earth?
Do you believe that tithing will make you rich?
Do you believe all suffering is due to generational curses, demons, disobedience, lack of faith?
Did you repent in order to experience a better life now?
Do you believe that you deserve heaven, or have in any way contributed to your salvation?
Do you believe you were inherently good before salvation, and sinless since your salvation?
Are you trusting in tools outside of scripture for self discovery, wholeness and an authentic relationship with God and people?
Are you friends with this world, do you believe your mission is to be a cultural architect and transform this world?
Do you believe in a world wide revival that will create a Christian utopia on earth?
Have you been taught to listen to a still small voice that brings new revelation and contradicts scripture?
Are you seeking out “prophets,” or trusting in those amazing prophetic words over your life that promise you success in this world or a powerful ministry?
Are you desperate to experience the supernatural, are you pursuing “presence” or chasing after a manifestation or encounter with God?
Are you practising words of knowledge and prophetic words on your mission to eventually perform greater miracles than Christ?
Do you believe your “supernatural lifestyle” is evidence of your salvation?
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14