THESE DAYS when I see a man of God preaching, teaching or performing miracles, signs and wonders in a church, on a television or at any other platform, I am eager to find out the source of the spirit by which he is speaking in or by.
Please do not get me wrong because a person can speak either by the spirit of Satan or by the Spirit of God. The English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible says, 'Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says…' (1 Cor. 12: 3).
The King James Version (KJV) renders it, 'Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth…'
If one man speaks by the Spirit of God, there is the likelihood that another may speak by the spirit of Satan. All people who claim to be servants of God but refuse to abide in the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ may be described as false prophets, preachers and teachers.
'Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son'. (1 John 9, ESV).
A few months ago, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) issued a communiquÃ© calling for the formation of self-regulatory bodies to check the activities of independent pastors and churches in the country.
The communiquÃ© signed by Apostle Dr Opoku Onyina and Samuel Antwi, the Council's Chairman and General Secretary Respectively noted that some charlatans were denting the Christian practice with the exploitative church programmes, a situation which is seen to be making Ghanaians dissatisfied and disappointed with Christianity and religion.
Sincerely, some charlatans are denting the Christian church. False prophets and teachers are corrupting some adherents of the Christian Faith. They have formed cliques and mastered the art of public speaking, and are exploiting unsuspecting Christians in many churches.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the church and Author of the New Covenant, forewarned His church regarding the cunning strategies and antics of false prophets. Even before He was born, false prophets had existed opposing and distracting the work of God.
One of God's major Prophets, Jeremiah, encountered the false prophets, Hananiah, Shemaiah (Jer. 28, 29: 24- 32), Elijah encountered the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), the apostle Paul encountered Bar- Jesus, a Jewish false prophet and Elymas (Acts 13: 6- 12), the apostles, Peter and John, both faced it off with false prophets and teachers in their churches.
False preachers are agents of the devil. They share traits and mission of Satan - propagate lies. The Lord Jesus Christ described Satan as 'a murderer from the very beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.
Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lie'. (John 8: 44).
So Christ Jesus warned the church to be on the alert and watch out forthese impostors. 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves'. (Matt. 7:15).
He never said these enemies of the Cross whose god is their stomachs would not come to disturb the church. He said they come pretending to be true men of God but in most cases their teachings, prophecies, attitudes, character and behaviour will expose them. How can wheat mix with rice?
The other day, I had a shock of my life during a church programme in a friend's church after the head pastor told his church members to believe and gleefully do whatever the visiting minister would tell them.
Yes, biblically, Jehoshaphat, head pastor of the Church of Judah, told his church members to 'believe in the LORD and they will be established; believe his prophets, and they will succeed,' (2 Chron. 20: 20). But wait a minute. What kind of prophet was Jehoshaphat referring to? Obviously, he was referring to a true prophet whose prophecies came to pass.
The apostle John warns us not just to believe every spirit (everyone who claims to be man of God). He seriously urged his church members to test all men of God to see if they were genuine. In fact, apostle John's warning was necessary for his church members to distinguish between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world,' (1 John 4: 1). During John's time, some of the false prophets disputed that the Lord Jesus came in the flesh.
Similarly, in most churches today, pastors preach about Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Hezekiah, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha and Sampson without preaching about Jesus- His person, deity, office, grace, miracles and principles.
They simply refuse to preach and teach about the redemptive and restorative work of Christ on the Cross. Today's enemies of Christ preach, quoting scriptures mostly from the Old Testament but make a few references to the Gospels and the epistles which are essential for building Christians.
They lead believers to pray against fellow human beings who are perceived to be their enemies wishing that they (their enemies) die or suffer when the Bible states clearly that Christians are not wrestling against flesh and blood (human beings) but against spirit beings.
By the way, is praying against perceived enemies (fathers, mothers, siblings, in-laws and other neighbours) suspected to possess evil spirits not in contravention with the sound doctrine of the Lord?
'But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…' (Matt. 5: 44). 'Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them…if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,' (Rom. 12: 14, 20- 21).
Can you also imagine that an Accra based Apostle traded the grace of God when he ministered in a Kumasi church recently?
During the prophetic ministration, the apostle asked a sick man to pay money for healing. Is this not doctrinal nonsense?
Did the Lord Jesus, the great King of the church ever heal anybody for money? What about his apostles? It therefore tells you that these smooth eloquent speakers who preach for money have fallen into the Ballam's error awaiting destruction if they do not repent.
Jesus commanded the disciples thus, 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleans lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay' (Matt. 10: 8). The blessings of God are not for sale. Christ has redeemed the church (Christians) from the curse of the law (Gal. 3: 13, Deut. 28: 15- 68). He purchased us with His own blood.
Today's false prophets and teachers like to shout and jump here and there when ministering which signal to the spiritually weak Christians that they (false ministers) are anointed.
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi
E-mail: [email protected]