Monthly Archives: January 2016
I am off to an important project these days and so you won’t be receiving new posts in this time. However I will be back in a few weeks to encourage you in the Word of God.
Christ be with you!
Certain preachers do more harm than good. They seek to gain more church attenders to their church by offering illegal things. And by this I mean preaching a gospel which is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I remember an instance of a certain friend of mine who had turned Pentecostal (a Christian denomination). He claimed that his original denomination was not doing the right things. His mother had got cancer and for her healing they attended Pentecostal worship services. He didn’t specify which subunit of the Pentecostal church he would visit, however he did say that his mother got healed of her cancer. Praise God for that. Now when his original denomination came to know of this, they didn’t care if there was healing for the mother who was slowing dying. Their question to my friend was why did he not come to them. He told me that he was prepared to face the worst from them; excommunication.
So he told his preacher in plain words that he and his family attended the preachers church but never got their desire healing so they attended the Pentecostal church. The preacher was very angry on hearing this. He told this man, that go to so and so religion (it was a non-Christian religion) but never to the Pentecostal church again. My friend told the preacher on what basis is he telling him to not be a Christian. But the preacher kept repeating the same thing. So my friend was wise enough to realize that his pastor in fact was telling him to give up the Christian faith altogether and even worship false gods. Obviously, this made my friends decision to continue with the Pentecostal church even more stronger. Soon enough his entire family switched over officially to the Pentecostal church.
When he narrated this incident to me, I was very angry with the blasphemous preacher. I told my friend that though there are different reasons why healing might not happen in a certain church or denomination, the preacher had no business telling him to change over to a non-Christian religion. I later asked him a series of questions to understand if he understood that he has to follow the Bible, pray to Christ and believe in God. He was able to answer my questions to my satisfaction. So I think the current church he goes over to is fine enough.
It’s said that if the Devil controls the preacher/pastor of the local church then he can potentially control the entire local church too. I only partially agree with this because each individual of the local church has been given free will by God to decide to act right or to sin. However, there’s a way preacher could spoil his church especially if the people have more respect for their preacher than they have for the Lord. This is also applicable, if the people are either ignorant of the principles of the Bible or are too lazy to act on the words of the Gospel.
The experience may vary from local church to local church and from denomination to denomination but still a Christian must be alert that one must not be awestruck by any flamboyant preacher they meet. Just because a preacher dresses up in all white all the time does not mean the congregation too must wear only white all the time. There’s no Bible verse that says that Christians are to only wear white garments.
Let me share my own experience at church too when I was very young. There was a preacher who at least in my opinion dressed up unlike a true preacher. He wore clothes, footwear and spectacles which were way too expensive. Maybe others didn’t bother about it but I was concerned. However, there was one thing we all agreed upon; his treatment of females. His sermons were crafted in favour of women. So must women were in favour of him. Obviously the males didn’t like him that much. However, what even got some women angry was that he’d take certain of the girls into his room alone for like an hour or two. The girls when confronted by the congregation would refuse to tell what would happen. This raised suspicions of fornication among the church members. Yet people didn’t act as yet.
Now the preacher went to transgress upon the Gospel. In fact I myself was there when he preached a heresy. He said “You must learn to satisfy your emotions immediately. If you are in need of love and affection go to another human person, don’t wait for God because God cannot come down in form of a human person and eat and drink with you”. Immediately some of the people hearing him publicly denounced his teaching as blasphemous and he tried to defend his teaching in vain. However every time he went to preach at church he kept teaching the same thing. The outrage (yes it’s Biblical to get outraged at blasphemy) at the local church reached dangerous proportions for the preacher. So he was sent to another area where there was a church. Even there he continued preaching his stupid heresy even there.
The people of my local church were not done with him. They contacted the other local church to enquire about him and as suspected they found the preacher kept at his evil deeds. So he was kicked out of even that local church. No other church wanted him. Eventually he was taken to the top ranking church official and this preacher repeated his foolish doctrine even them. So they sacked him out of the denomination since he was intentionally unrepentant despite multiple warnings.
My local church was under criticism from Christians of the neighbouring areas who seem to love the “Do not judge” Bible verse over zealously instead of understanding the context. However, we asked the criticizers a practical question, ‘Since the accusation is about blasphemy and if indeed the preachers words are blasphemous, do you give your consent to his words and by this are you willing to face God’s judgement if the preacher actually taught wickedness?’ Nobody said ‘Yes’ to this question. This preacher had a celebrity following in the neighbouring areas, so the people from there tried to defend him until we told them word for word what he actually spoke. Plus some of us even mentioned the Bible verses which refute his heresy. Then the supporters of him stopped defending and left us in peace.
Though the context my article is about being on guard against celebrity preachers who try to twist the word of God, I feel its better to also give you the Bible verses which refute my local ex-preachers heresies(yes I don’t consider him my preacher anymore), just in case someone in your state/region preaches the same lies. In fact, if used right these also will help to be alert not to fall prey to celebrity preachers who invent their own lies or weird habit to follow instead of preaching the Gospel. Here are the Bible verses:
- Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- [Jesus said:] Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
It does not matter if one’s an expert in hiding their intentions and emotions before men, women and children, the Lord God knows the human heart really well. A person may even deceive millions but he cannot deceive God. Even Satan cannot trick the Lord. So remember Christ and be honest, faithful and true to him even when you all by yourself!
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15: 3)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)
The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:13-19)
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. (1 Peter 3:12)
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. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.(Hebrews 4:12-13)
A few years ago, I had been contacted by a representative of a local church and this was about a case that sounds extremely odd. There was a woman who would attend their church and perhaps still attends it. She would exhibit Stigmata while the church services would go on. This caused the church goers to be in wonder of her and the church leadership was suspecting demons at work. Because in certain types of demon possession, the affected individual also exhibits Stigmata. The people were getting too interested in her instead of praying to the Lord. So I was asked for a strategy to deal with her, since they didn’t want to directly cast her out of the prayer services, since part of the congregation believed her to be genuine. Eventually following my advice this was tackled cleanly and effectively.
Let me now give you a few definitions of what Stigmata stands for:
- Stigmata: bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy. (As per Merriam-Webster dictionary online)
Now the church representative was very concerned that the Stigmata ie the bleeding wounds on the woman’s hands were of the devil. I told him not to get too presumptuous about that but let me give him my advice on it. So I decided to ask him a few questions and by this analyze the situation. So for your convenience let’s call the church representative as George. Here’s how our chat went on:
Myself: Where do the wounds show up on her?
George: On the palms, both of them.
Myself: Not anywhere else?
George: Only the palms.
Myself: Strange, because these even happen on the feet, sometimes on the forehead and even on the chest.
George: I’ve not faced this before so I’m not sure what you are talking about.
Myself: No problem. Let me ask another question?
Myself: Does she belong to your denomination?
George: No, she’s from so and so denomination.
Myself: Do you suspect this stigmata that shows up in her might be a ploy to poach your existing church members in her denominational church?
George: (A bit startled) Nothing yet. She didn’t tell anyone to join her church.
Myself: Are you sure?
George: But she does attend other churches too?
Myself: Then why does she attend your church. Are you not aware that certain denominations proclaim other denominations as heretics?
George: I’m not sure but she is regular with us.
Myself: What’s the attitude of others in church towards her?
George: They are awestruck by her and are eager to see her every church service.
Myself: (Concerned) Does this mean she attracts others to Christ?
George: Can you be more specific?
Myself. Yes. By her getting the mysterious blood marks on her palms, do people at your church feel like praying more to the Lord? Do they feel like reading the Bible even more? Do they feel like fasting? Do they pray for more miracles to happen in your church?
George: (Stumped) I’ll have to check on this. This will need me to research on what’s going on.
Myself: Can I suggest a thing?
Myself: Don’t put her on a position of prominence in church. Make sure that people at the time of praise and worship are focused on Christ. You are to keep track of what messages she gives the others in your church and check if it is consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
George: We always focus on Jesus Christ at the church services but I will make sure people continue to focus on the Lord and not her.
Myself: That’s fine enough. I also want to ensure that somebody preaches the Gospel to her.
George: We preach the Gospel at church. I’ll make sure some woman also reaches out to her in this regard.
Myself: I also suggest that you keep track of your people. I mean you don’t want a situation that her stigmata causes people to switch over to her denomination?
George: No. We preach the true Gospel, why should people leave us?
Myself: That’s not my point. I’m not blaming your church. I’m only asking you to make sure your church is not carried away into impulsiveness.
George: What about demons? Don’t you suspect her stigmata could be a demonic manifestation?
Myself: I’d say its demonic if she abhors the name of Jesus that she ends up getting fits (epilepsy) all of a sudden on hearing the name of the Lord. Or she reacts violently and screams a lot.
George: Ok, thanks. I will keep track of the things you’ve said.
Myself: No problem. I will pray for her and your church services to not be affected negatively.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5: 19-24)
Now it took the church representative a few weeks to get back to me as to what happened. He told me he tried the stuff I told him. They made sure someone preached to the woman who got the Stigmata. The church services were done with the wholesome preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Plus the worship was purely focused on the Lord. George said the woman didn’t have any specific revelation nor prophecy to give to the church nor did she cause any people to join the other churches she would go to. Most importantly, the woman no longer manifested the Stigmata on her palms. She instead prayed and read the Bible and leads an upright life to George’s best knowledge. The people were not attracted to her but instead focused on the Lord God.
The point here is not just Stigmata, it might have been levitation in mid-air or even holding poisonous snakes without getting harmed, what should be our reaction?
- It definitely does not mean that we consider such people as worthy of more respect than Christ.
- It does not mean that we throw away our knowledge of the Gospel in exchange for untested visions or revelations accompanying the “miraculous” person in question.
- It does mean that we continue to worship the Lord God without deviating from principles of the Bible.
- It does mean that we do not worship false gods on the insistence of any person who can even perform supernatural feats.
- It does mean that we document such cases, including the mental state of the person having Stigmata etc to be able to clearly analyze the situation instead of being clueless.
- It does mean that if we don’t know how to deal with such cases we are humble enough to ask some other Christians who are aware of such situations.
- Above all pray and read the Bible and do research by yourself too.
Verses for reflection:
- Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is already in the world. (1 John 4: 1-3)
- But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
- “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
- How is it then, brothers? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him remain silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. If anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first keep silent. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)
May the Lord God protect Christians and other minorities who are suffering in Iraq and Syria. Where world government fails let Christians and Jews succeed against the impious murderers of innocent children and their families. I pray that God hears the blood of the innocent like he heard of the blood of Abel against the vile Cain. May the Lord work out justice against those terrorists who blaspheme Jesus the Savior of the world. Amen.
This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it by day and by night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall act wisely. (Joshua 1:8)
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.(Psalm 63:6)
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.(Psalm 145:5)
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Love not evil O God’s people pure,
Stand firm in truth and endure.
Love not immorality at all,
Be vigilant enough not to fall.
Love not wickedness nor sin,
Resist temptation and win.
Love not the vanities of life,
Be away from foolish strife.
Love not gossip soft nor loud,
Remove things that make proud.
Love not blasphemies profane,
Be truthful, sober and sane.
Love not worldly things,
Push back all evil wings.
Love not laziness nor slack,
Be always for Christ, never backtrack.
1 Corinthians 13:6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.