But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. - 2Peter 2:1 (NLT)
I like all who enter into discernment ministries understand that this calling is not for everyone. Many prefer to not make waves, sing Kumbaya, and hold hands until Jesus comes - and I get that. Believe me I do. I sometimes miss the days before the little dog pulled the curtain back and I saw the wizard for who he really was. It was nice believing everyone was in this for Jesus until you were faced with the cold harsh reality that all are not. The more you truly read your bible the more you are faced with the reality of false teaching because it is one of the primary subjects from the beginning until the end. In the Garden it was "surely God did not tell you", and in Revelation we were faced with churches that believed and taught falsely. It sure seemed a very important subject to God, so it left me wondering why so many ignore it or even worse, come against those trying to speak the truth. Now I can take the slings and arrows, for I know they are misspent. I can take the accusations of negativity and dividing the body even though the bible teaches us in Romans that it is doctrine contrary to what the disciples taught that is dividing the body.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. - Romans 16:17-18 (ESV)
It is the deceived hearts of the naïve that keep me up at night. When Jesus looked over multitudes, He wept for they were like sheep without a shepherd. Such is churchianity today. Plenty of people in church buildings with just enough scripture reference knowledge to appear dangerous but in the end, they are so easily deceived and then defend their deceptions. Let me start this biblical review with the foundation found in the key verse. Here we see Peter distinguishing between Israel, the Old Testament and the new paradigm they were setting up after the resurrection of Christ. In the Old Testament, there were false prophets. This is because prophecy was the primary way that God spoke to His people. Sure, there was the occasional burning bush or audible word of God, but they were very infrequent, which is why the Old Testament saw so many prophets of God and so many false prophets bringing a word that God never said. Just as there were false prophets in those days there will be false teachers now. Why the distinction? Because the word was being formed. Peter would eventually refer to the letters of Paul as scripture! For our benefit today, it is best to understand that false teaching and false prophecy are essentially the same biblical concept. Both are stating God said something that He never said. With that established, let us turn to an Old Testament example of the criticism we see today leveled at discernment ministries:
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is it you, you troubler of Israel?" And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table."' - 1Kings 18:17-19 (ESV)
Ahab was one of the most wicked kings Israel ever had. Much like the apostate church today, Ahab led the people of God into idolatry, worshipping the Baal's of his day. Elijah was the true prophet of God in his day. He was the one insisting on what God said, not the idolatry of Ahab. I love this verse from 1Kings because Ahab, upon seeing Elijah, declared - "is that you oh troubler of Israel?" I would encourage those who do the Lord's work in discernment to rest in this accusation. We are always accused of being the troubler of the church. We must remember as Elijah did that this is merely projection. The true troubler is the one who leads the sheep falsely. Who teaches them to abandon the commandments of the Lord. Who teaches them to follow the Baals of today. Prosperity, word faith, false signs and lying wonders are all Baals of today. Politics, politicians, carnality are all Baals of today. Elijah then decides to put an end to the false accusations - gather 850 false prophets and I will take them on! That is the proper odds even today beloved. For everyone properly discerning ministry we may be up against 850 false teachers between the Internet, local churches and of course the popular TV ministries. Now, we should know the story. Elijah has two offering sites set up. One for them and one for him. He lets the false prophets go first and challenges them to call on their God to consume the offering. After they fail, Elijah calls on the one true God who consumes the altar, offering and Elijah slaughtered the false prophets there at Mount Carmel. For the purposes of this discussion, here are the verses when the false prophets tried to call on their false God:
And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. - 1Kings 18: 26-29 (ESV)
I recently had someone refer to the efforts of discernment as "sitting in the seat of mockers." This poor reference is to Psalm One, which is actually reinforcing the importance of God's word ironically enough. The concern shown for those who are actively deceiving is staggering. It also ignores scripture, such as this story from 1Kings. Did Elijah privately rebuke the false prophets? No! Did he try to speak kindly to them? No! The word above clearly states that he MOCKED them! God does not care about the delicate sensibilities of those trying to maul His sheep. Can you picture the scene? There were 850 people crying out to their false God in unison. Elijah suggested that their false god might be asleep, away on a journey or perhaps relieving Himself in the toilet! Beloved, God did not instruct us to play with wolves, pet them, or be concerned about their feelings. It is the sheep that we should be concerned about. While on this subject, stop referring to the wolves as brothers or sisters in Christ - they are not! Active defenders of the so-called Asbury revival include Todd Bentley, Greg Locke, Dr. Michael Brown, Steven Strang, Rick Warren, Francis Chand and Mike Bickle to name a few. How can any professing Christian be comfortable in that company? These 850 false prophets were slain by Elijah! False prophets of old were stoned to death! Even false teachers in the New Testament were handed over to Satan! Another lesson here is to stop embracing emotionalism and trying to pass it off as a move of the spirit! God does not require us to cut ourselves until blood is gushing out. Neither does He require us to roll around on the ground, spasm involuntarily, run into imaginary rivers, or soak in some carnal "presence" we have convinced ourselves is God. Oh, and stop being concerned that the wolves are being named: