A Voice in the
May 23, 2005
Re: Discernment Strategies
"Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.... A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Mt12:34, Lk6:45)
"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (mt12:36-37)
In the past we have addressed "Biblical Discernment" dealing with how, in order to be able to discern, among other things, we must know truth. We can't expect to discern error, if we are not acquainted with Truth. On the other hand, for those who know Truth, this is a real-life, step-by-step, ferreting out, 'how to' object lesson.
Many wolves will mantracize certain Scriptures in attempts to legitimize themselves or others of their same ilk. In order to allege that the demons by which they operate are of God, they will mantracize: "Jesus is Lord", quoting: "no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit." (1Co12:3) And they will attempt to allay suspicions of themselves being false prophets by mantracizing, "Jesus has come in the flesh" (1Jn4:1-3)
An example of this:
Recently for several weeks NBC has been airing the series "Revelations" on Wednesday evenings prime time; and during the hour preceding that show, each week, they have also aired some other specials dealing with exorcisms, mafia corruptions involving the Vatican and Freemasonry, alleged 'miracles' as related to people making pilgrimages to statues of "mary", and such things. In other words, for the past several weeks, NBC's Wednesday prime time has been about satanism; seemingly a concerted and purposeful programming scheme.
In the case where the man was allegedly being exorcised (for you who saw it, much of the footage I was recognizing as being from several years ago), after their many HOURS of laboring at it (Don't they understand the Scriptures where Jesus cast out demons "with a word"? Mt8:16 saying "Go!" Mt8:32 ??), the man was allegedly getting 'better and better' (Don't they realize that a demon is either 'in' a person, or is 'not'?), as the man was allegedly -finally- being cured, he was shown muttering, among other things, "Jesus is Lord. Jesus has come in the flesh. Jesus is Lord. Jesus has come in the flesh." But the entire thing was the manipulations of demon-possessed charismatics. How does satan cast out satan? Only if his kingdom is divided and he has an end. (Mt12:25-26, Mk3:24,etc)
Just because somebody claims to believe in God, does not mean they are Christians. "Even the demons believe and shudder" (Ja2:19) as they came to Jesus proclaiming, "Let/Leave us alone...I know who You are; the Holy One of God!" (Mk1:24, Lk4:34) The demons know that "Jesus is Lord", and that He "came in the flesh".
Thus also: just because somebody or organization makes "claims" to knowing the Lord, doesn't make them [C]hristians. Just because they claim to be "missionaries" and are planting churches by the thousands doesn't mean it is God's work.
So, just 'how' do we ferret out the False from what is True?
Please understand... this subscriber is no novice in the things of the Lord! He has been a regular e-mailer about many things related to discernment, and has a good grasp of the problems with the apostasy, and attending a church and seeing all that is wrong in it. And as I looked over the website, it took me a -lot- of sorting around, here and there, to finally come to the final evidences. After I replied with my initial tentative findings, the subscriber was feeling ashamed for having been duped. (Isn't that sometimes how we learn, though?) But the disguise is -VERY- clever. Thus, let me share with you the process that occurred this time. There is much we can learn. Plus, I have concluded a new necessary (helpful) parameter to include in our arsenal in discerning previously unknown ministries when we come upon them, which I will expound upon towards the end.
First off, I did as I ever do when somebody suggests the need to go check out a ministry's website. I open the website with the browser. You might be thinking, "Well, duh!" But you see, when I first see the opening page, within my SPIRIT I will usually know, immediately, that it is either good or bad; sometimes, even as the screen is making its little bleeps and bloops before the whole thing ever appears, before I've actually seen 'anything', the Spirit impresses upon me the spiritual status of what I am about to see. You know... Rom8:16 quoted in the opening. So then, my task becomes one of looking for the 'evidence' of what the Holy Spirit has just laid on my heart. Thus far, the evidence, once discovered in the end, has NEVER disagreed with that initial 'witness' of the Spirit.
When I opened the GFA website, the Spirit indicated it to be 'bad'. But there was nothing that popped out at me visually, nor glared at me from the homepage. So I started clicking from page-to-page, looking for some articles of 'teaching'. I didn't find any. Clicked on the mission statement, and that all sounded good: the concept of reaching thousands of people in Asian countries by setting up Bible schools to train local nationals, to in-turn go out into their own countries (where they already know the language and culture) and plant churches. Thus far, a very Scriptural concept. That's what the Church is SUPPOSED to do.
Clicked on the Statement of Faith: and what there was of it, nothing at all unscriptural; speaking of Jesus' atonement for sin through His death, burial and resurrection, salvation through faith, adherence to the Scriptures. A very simplistic statement that most anybody could agree with. Still, nothing intrinsically 'wrong' there.
Clicked on an area where there were some testimonials. Somebody heard about the "love of Jesus" and immediately accepted Christ. Another, after having many trials in life, giving their life to Jesus, and now wrapped in the arms of Jesus. Nothing intrinsically overtly 'wrong' there; however, very 'shallow' and lacking any terminology of sinners repenting and being "saved" from their sin. More of an easy believerist presentation of accepting Christ. But since they were 'testimonies'... I'm allowing in my mind for the possibility that: perhaps, being 'babies' in Christ, they weren't yet doctrinally well-grounded...(?)
Clicked on information about the organization's founder. A wonderful sounding testimonial of having left a pastorate to start this mission. Having attended a particular Bible school. Googled for that school, and the first inclination of the true colors...the school's logo, an open Bible with a 'spirit' flame hovering over it. But in looking at the school's specifics, it has the name "Baptist" associated with it, and its Statement of Faith is a simplistic one, that any traditional 'Baptist' -could- agree with.
Notice my use of the word "simplistic". No depth or detail anywhere.
But overall, what the website primarily promotes is 'numbers'... how many churches they've planted... how many missionaries they've sent out. And how you, the visitor, can help support these missionaries for only X-$$$ a month.
Nothing intrinsically 'wrong'... AS PUBLISHED. But within my spirit, a huge 'hole' of sooo much 'MISSING'. No indication as to 'what' sort of gospel they are proclaiming; nothing by which a visitor to their website might read and come to a knowledge of the Lord; nothing indicating the message they proclaim; other than a very well-crafted promotional pitch, nothing of any spiritual substance. Nothing seemingly initially overtly wrong, but also the sense that, for all the pages one was clicking through, they didn't really say much of anything, either.
I replied to the subscriber, describing this 'hole' in my gut, and some of the specifics at the website. And then I also e-mailed a person known to be a [C]hristian, who also spends much of his ministry in various Asian countries as a missionary. Asked if he had had any personal contact with the organization.
After sending off those two e-mails, went to close the browser (and tidy up the computer), and saw again the link for that audio/visual presentation on the page that was still open. My eye had been pausing at that link several times as I had been paging back and forth. So, 'now' I clicked it. And that's where all the 'evidential' answers came out.
It featured a particular (native) missionary and his struggles, and his "breakthrough" after "claiming" this particular region for the Lord, after "lifting them up" to the Lord in prayer and fasting. His 'prayer' was of such a nature that he started being persecuted, as his neighbors, in hearing his prayers, through concrete walls (as they depicted in the video), thought he was engaging in witchcraft. They showed where those who allegedly came to the Lord had hands laid on them. The presentation spoke of the "breeze of the (holy?) spirit blowing" across Asia. And as they then went into their fund-raising spiel, spoke of being "partners with the Lord"
Charismania always speaks of trying to "break through" satan's 'strongholds'. They are always "lifting up" things; "naming and claiming" them. They always speak of their spirits like "flowing rivers (or floods)" and "breezes blowing", etc. Which also then supported the one lone comment I had seen elsewhere of the "moving" of God. And what was the nature of this man's 'prayer', if neighbors were -hearing- it through thick walls, and they thought it was "witchcraft"? Was he also 'babbling' in 'tongues'? Perhaps even going into crazy noisy spastic fits and being 'slain'? And where does Scripture say that we are "partners" with the Lord? I thought we are His servants/slaves? (Rom1:1, 2Ti2:24, Jn15:20, etc)
But NOWHERE, that I saw, was anything published mentioning being "spirit-filled", of "tongues", or "gifts" of the spirit, and those usual catch-phrases that usually give away charismania. They made no mention of them in their doctrinal statement. That "baptist" school, with the charismatic 'flame' over the Bible made no mention of these leanings at their website; at least, in the pages I clicked...and I clicked quite a few... Please understand: the Holy Spirit indicated that it was 'bad', so I was looking for the 'proof', to be able to point it out to the subscriber. It just wasn't to be found in their published pages. (unless it was in some pages I didn't click) If it hadn't been for the Spirit's initial prompting, I might have thought it to be an 'OK' organization; albeit 'shallow'....but 'ok'.
But it was...FROM THEIR MOUTHS.
I had caught the little phrase "moving of God" and made a mental note of it. But by itself, it didn't necessarily mean anything in the context where it was; because after all, God -does- "move". The 'flame' over the Bible... well, a lot of Baptists also use the "likeness" (Ex20:4) of the cross in their logos, and some will use doves. And since their label said "Baptist", and their doctrinal statement sounded like anything a Baptist (like I've been acquainted with over the years) could agree with, I made 'allowance' (giving the benefit of the doubt) for that flame, too. Nevertheless, it did not sit right with me; just like the initial prompt of the Spirit when opening a website, that's what the 'flame' did at the school's site.
You see, when a changeling is purposely 'shape-shifting', they can hold any shape; such that they 'look' like whatever it is they are imitating. Never forget that satan's ministers APPEAR as "ministers of righteousness" (2Co11:15) If they didn't, there would be no deception. If they openly published their charismatic roots, they know that they would turn away many. They are just like all the other cults and secret societies. With Mormonism, Catholicism, Freemasonry, and other similar cults, the 'member' never truly understands the inner workings until they have been initiated and traversed years up the chain-of-command, and submitted to oaths. In all three of these, if you speak to a relatively newer member/initiate about the true -demonic- underpinnings of the organizations, they will usually retort that you don't know what you are talking about, that they don't teach/believe those things. That's because they, themselves, have not progressed far enough 'into' the organization to learn these secrets. They only know the 'facade' that is presented to outsiders. These organizations -know- that MOST people, if they knew the truth, would never be associated with them.
If any of you watched it, you will have noted how "Revelations" was essentially a 'catholic' (and demonic) series. And the programs that preceeded it the previous hour were either charismatic, freemasonry, and/or catholic. I found it rather 'telling' that these particular entities were presented in that way, grouped together....and particularly, after our own recent observation of the similarities of catholicism to freemasonry around the time of JP2's death, and the ascendency of Benedict XVI...their Babylon religion of satan and sun worship.
So you see...anybody can be a changeling and carefully 'plan' and 'scheme' to present a Godly-looking website. They can carefully include those points that any True Christian can agree with from the Scriptures. And like the secret societies, they can LEAVE OUT those points that indicate their TRUE IDENTITY.
But SPOKEN words, IMPROMPTU words, are spur-of-the-moment. Things that are said without careful planning, and often, without forethought. They are the words that represent what is -really- on one's mind, and in one's heart. Just like the changeling, they can 'modify' their spoken words only SO-LONG, before their mind loses its concentration, they forget how they are forging the lie, and their TRUE HEART 'slips' out.
The written word can be carefully 'orchestrated' with much planning to present an all-inclusive propaganda. But spoken words belie the person's true heart...in a moment when they aren't thinking deeply, but saying what is -really- on their minds....then it 'slips' out.
After watching the audio/visual file, a few minutes later there was a response to my e-mail from the missionary. He confirmed what I had concluded: saying that they "don't care about doctrinal soundness" and that they are "shot through" with charismania and do not present a clear-cut gospel message; that they cannot be trusted.
Thus...I have concluded a new strategy for myself for the future, when approaching a new previously-unknown entity. Being tied down with 56K dialup, in the past I have tended to not click on multimedia presentations due to slow/erratic data transfer, but when investigating something, have typically looked for their 'published' words. In most cases, in the past, I have usually -quickly- found the needed 'evidence'. But from now on, I am thinking that those multimedia links might just be a most valuable discernment tool. Let them -speak- for themselves!
As we opened...
God's Holy Spirit is the "Helper" the "Spirit of Truth" who "guides" us into "all truth" (Jn16:13) In these days of "corrupting spirits" (1Ti4:1) we need to "distinguish between the spirits" (1Co12:10); thus, we also ferret out the 'evidence' when exhorting and encouraging one another. But also, when we individually are faced with something questionable, we don't necessarily need to search out the "depths of satan" (Rev2:24) because the "evidence of things not seen" has already been given to us by the Holy Spirit, which we understand and accept by "faith". (Heb11:1) And so we act/behave accordingly.
Of course, this lesson is to Believers in Jesus Christ. If you are not a [C]hristian, by definition, you do not have the Holy Spirit of/from God in you (Rom8:9, 1Co6:19), and you will not be possessed of such discernment. This is not something over which you "pray and fast" and go into "worship" and then conjure it up by asking to be "spirit-filled". Those are different spirits (demons). This is only for True Believers, who are -living- a life of prayer "without ceasing" (1Th5:17) in God's continuous presence, not being blocked from God's voice by sin. (Is59:2)