Written of October 28, 2016
I still believe God can and does speak to people by all three ways even now but the danger is adding so much weight to a supernatural experience especially when God's Word contradicts what a so called revelation is.
There are no new revelations of truth that you cannot already find in scripture if indeed the revelation is from God and is true.
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe." (Hebrews 1:1-2)
God cannot contradict Himself, so if a person claims to have had a dream or supernatural revelation it won't contradict how God has alredy spoke through the pages of scripture. Suppose for a moment a woman "hears the voice of God" and she says "God told sacrifice my kids and to kill my children"- Well what does scripture say, "Thou shall not murder" for one, also we see throughout scripture child sacrifice is abhorred by God. The only solitary never occuring incidence was Abraham and Isaac but God never allowed it to go through but just used this as a test and a forshadowing of Himself offering up His only Son for our sins. Or if a person tells you they feel like God told them to divorce their wife because she is not the one they were supposed to be with. Well God never would say that to someone today, God hates divorce.
(Matt 19:4-6) (Malachi 2) (Matt 5:8-9)
(1 Corinthians 7:10-11)
A lot of cults have formed by supposed visions or dreams or angelic visits people claim they had, other cults are based on a misinterpretation built on a solitary verse.
Take for example Mormonism, founded by Joseph Smith. In 1820 he claimed to be visited by 2 people who were manifestations of God and Christ and they told him that he was not supposed to join a church because he was unsure which one to join. 3 years later he was visited by an angel supposedly named "Maroni" and he went on to write "The Book of Mormin" in 1830.
Now the problem is the things he experienced were warned about way back in scripture,
The Apostle Paul wrote, "which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!" (Galatians 1:7-9)
Joseph most likely knew scripture since he was in the woods praying for wisdom to discern which church should attend and was doing so on the basis of "asking for wisdom" as mentioned in James 1
Yet the problem is not that he prayed the wrong prayer as much as believed the wrong spirits.
"Dear friends, 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 can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." (1 John 4:1-3 )
Any spirit, angel, dream or vision that does not point to Christ or contradicts scriptural teaching is not of God or Christ.
Islam is another religion that it's founder Mohammed claimed he was visited by Gabriel, but we know Islam does not acknowlege Jesus as the Christ but just another "good prophet"
Well of course I am not here to bash people in these circles but think as a Christian to not speak from scripture is to deny in a way one's own Christian belief system. Some of the people most prone to being deceived by the "spirits" and the "supernatural deceptions" are not those who laugh and religion but are very religiously and spiritually open.
3.) Charasmatic Cultism
Lets look at the Charasmatic/Pentacostal churches, some are very solid yet others may be in danger of subtle deception as well- a pervasive infatuation with spiritual experiences or things they may refer to as "being slain in the Spirit" or the misuse of tongues.
Well tongues is mentioned in scripture and I have no doubt it still exists, however, to be carried away and practice it unbiblically and flippently when scripture gives instructions as to how it should be done in a church or how it is to be used is to sin against God and grieve the Holy Spirit.
Another dangerous thing people often say is "The Holy Spirit told me" well be careful just to not say stuff you want and stamp God's name on it or forge his signature. Also self promotion in charasmatic cults can be quite prevelant, it always seems to me to be a red flag when someone says they are a "prophet" or an "apostle" not because these giftings do not exist but the titles indeed probably are not in effect, since the original apostles are the 11 disciples and the 1 who was not, namely the Apostle Paul.
The original apostleship cannot be recreated from my biblical standpoint, anymore then any living today no matter how patriotic can claim they are a "Founding Father"
There is a difference between Charasmatic Christianity and Charasmatic Cults. A
Charasmatic Christian is only really someone open to the idea that God still is active with certain spiritual gifts, such as tongues, and healing and the the spiritual gift of miracles, as well as still speaks from time to time by angels, visions and dreams. Yet a charasmatic cult will go way to far and not and not by means of proper biblical interpretation or context.
For example: ever met one of those special people that will try to just lay hands on you and tell you to just have have faith and walk (that is if your in a wheelchair like me). I cannot tell you how many times certain people with squirly ideas have tried the "just have faith and walk" and I insist that I do not need to walk to accomplish the things God has called me to. I try showing them where in scripture it does not guarantee physical healing all of the time, and they become as stubborn as concrete blocks that deflect my argument I rain down. They have no desire to see they may be off so there ears produce an enormous ammount of wax in those moments.
God by all means can heal but does he heal everyone physically? Does the cancer just not leave because someone does not have enough faith? And is every so called messenger of God whether human or not from God? Clearly no, not according to Scripture.
In the OT story in the book of 1 Kings, it paints very good picture of what many modern charasmitic cults act like in practice.
[1 Kings 22:4-23] So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” “Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?” The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” “The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied. So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.” Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.” When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”
First off Ahab basically either hired or appointed prophets he chose, not really wanting to hear what God really had to say, it was only Jehoshaphat who wanted to "seek the counsel of the Lord"
These so called prophets that were false also were not orderly or at least it did not sound like it, when I read this story I imagine a bunch of so called prophets all saying the same thing at once and in their prophesying and the contradicted the word of Macaiah the real prophet.
We see what was really behind this and it was "a deceiving spirit"
The Apostle Paul warned the early church in his letter to Corinth concerning spiritual gifts that there is a proper way to excercise them
[1 Corinthians 14:26-33] What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
Paul is saying that even if someone has a prophetic gifting this is still supposed to be subject to that Christian's self control and not used in a way that would dishonor God. He says "God is not a God of disorder but ofbpeace" and I would say if you come into a church were it seems like a mad house and people are falling all over the place, its doubtful God is in that at all.
Christians are either living to glorify Christ with their actions or dishonoring him when they misappropriate scriptural Christian elements, and a big one these days is speaking in tongues.
Yet the abuse of tongues is nothing new.
Also in many charasmatic spheres people tend to sometimes associate visions and dreams as a sign of spirituality. But we remember even Balaam heard from God but God was not pleased with him, as well as a list of pagan kings, and Pontus Pilates wife. None of these folks were God followers per say. So supernatural experiences alone are not sufficient evidence of being in with God, but rather obedience and faith. Jesus said, "If you love me you will obey my commands"
Some sects of Christianity that are known for being charasmatic from what has reached my ears at least say that "if you do not speak in tongues then your not a real believer" they grossly misinterpret
"And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it." (Mark 16:17-20)
Remember who Jesus is speaking to, the original twelve disciples minus Judas. And many cult like churches in our times have taken this verse to mean what it does not. A pastor of one church lost his life as a result, he was a pastor of a congregation and regularly handled deadly snakes in the name of Christ, but died.
Isn't this testing God, and strangely enough there is an actual verse that says
"We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. (1 Corinthians 10:9)
No where in scripture does it say, "Speaking in tongues is the necessary evidence of salvation" or "put God to the test by handling dangerous creatures.
We see in 1 John it describes the proof of Christianity by terms of "love" and "to obey his commands"
Also the Apostle Paul wrote that not all possess the gift of tongues (SEE 1 Corinthians 12:30)
Church hunting is often like grocery shopping, we excercise caution with what we buy from a food shelf, right? We make sure it is not expired or there is not too many unnecessary unhealthy additives, right? We examine soduim content, caloric value, and make sure it is not loaded with sugar! But we must also beware of spiritual consumption. We must as 1 John says, "Test the spirits to see whether they be from God"
And the Apostle Paul tells us, "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil." (Thessalonians 5:19-22)
We also are called to, "Test yourselves to see whether your in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5)
These commands in here are not there if they are not intended to be used, if anyone who claims to be a Christian has an issue with you evaluating what they say according to the scriptures they claim to represent, then that is a red flag. We must also test impressions, the hunches or voices or promptings that enter our mind and hearts, because these too can lie, whether a feeling of "God impressing this on me" or a "dream in the night" or a vision or even an angel.