Jesus tells us that one of the “signs” His coming is near is an increase in false prophets. That is surely true in our day. It was interesting, in 2005, Lifeway published an article on the explosive growth of cults in the United States, saying, “The growth of cults and new religions is exploding across our nation with an estimate today of up to 3,000 cults active in the United States involving nearly 20 million people in America.”
We hear about the “Health and Wealth Gospel” or “Prosperity Theology” and the thousands of preachers saying you give to God in order to get. It really should be called “The Gospel of Greed.” Or, if you really pray hard enough, God will heal your disease. Give money to this or that ministry and you’ll get rich. It’s this false idea that God won’t let you suffer and wants you to be rich. That is heresy. It is false teaching that has permeated the church. It’s taking a certain passage of scripture and building your whole life around it, while ignoring all other kinds of passages that give us the full picture of God’s truth. Other false prophets say that there are no absolute truths; that Christ is just a man; that the Bible is not true and always trustworthy. We shouldn’t be surprised about this. Jesus and God’s Word tells us to expect it.
So, how can you keep from being deceived by a false prophet or leader? The key is in knowing Jesus and His Word. Then ask these questions:
1. Would Jesus say that?
2. Would Jesus do that?
3. Is what this person is saying consistent with Jesus and His Word?
And if you’re a Christian, you have an added bonus: the Holy Spirit that dwells in you teaches you how to understand the Word and gives you a check in your spirit when something doesn’t ring true.
Christians, it’s time to listen.