The media is saturated with Charismatic preachers and teachers performing wacky signs and wonders ranging from the creepy, to the silly.
From self proclaimed prophet Bill Johnson's "glory cloud," to Jesse Duplantis's "conversations" with God, experiencing the supernatural seems to be, and from the mouths of these preachers, should be the "norm" for every Christian.
But rarely, if ever, will you hear these teachers expound Scripture. I'm not saying they don't use Scripture in their "sermons." They do. But they use Scripture to validate their "supernatural experiences" not for "teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work," 2Timothy 3:16-17.
What these teachers are actually doing is leading their people away from God, and not to Him.
They are causing their people to rely upon personal experience rather than what God has already said in His inspired, inerrant Word.
Scores of Christians are regularly tuning in to these hucksters and being deceived by their false visions, prophesies, and "supernatural experiences." They think they're being taught the Word of God, when in actuality they're being led astray.
So what are some things we can do to keep us from falling prey to these false prophets?
1.Read the Bible, and I mean large portions of it daily.
I can't stress this enough. You can't read a chapter a day and think that's enough to be discerning. The average reader can read 5-7 chapters in 30 min.
Just doing this alone will greatly reduce the chances of falling prey to these teachers.
2.Read through entire books of the Bible.
Don't just flip open the Bible and start reading. Start in a book and read it all of the way through.
3.Find Pastors and teachers who expound the Scriptures.
Here are a few to get you started.
4.Read Church History.
Why read Church History? Because there is "nothing new under the sun," Ecc. 2:9. Tim Challies puts it this way:
In many ways the history of the church is a history of action and reaction. Much of Christian theology has been developed and strengthened in reaction to error and heresy. When we visit the past we can see how error has arisen in the church and we can see which errors have already arisen and have been decided by a consensus of the church. This can be valuable as we face the inevitable error in our own day. Many Christians engage anew in battles over doctrine for which they could receive a great deal of guidance from great theologians of days past. By studying what has happened, we can avoid future errors and even the patterns that precede error.
Everyone is a theologian. The question is are you a good theologian or a bad one? Studying theology can give us a sound biblical foundation and protect us from error. Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology is a good place to start.
6.Test the teacher.
If the Bereans were commended for testing what the apostle Paul was saying by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) then we have every right to test what our teachers are saying by the Scriptures.
One of the most sobering passages in Scripture not only applies to the False Teachers, but to those led astray by them as well:
2 Peter 2:1-3 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. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."