About Prophetic Ministry
Prophetic ministry has great potential for blessing and building up Gods people. But unchallenged and untested, it has the same potential to destroy even sincere believers. Let me illustrate what I mean by pointing out 5 warning signs observable in prophetic ministry-gone-awry among Anabaptist enthusiasts of the 16th c. Reformation. Many of these sincere people met a tragic end as a result of untested prophetic activity.
Dr. Hyatt concludes the article by saying:
This sad account highlights the need to test the spirits and to judge the prophetic according to Scripture. These sincere believers suffered much grief, and even death, because they neglected this Biblical admonition. May we learn from their example and not repeat their mistakes.
Looking at todays prophetic scenario, its clear we have learned nothing from the examples of the historic past and we continue to repeat the mistakes that have been made by not effectively judging prophets and the prophetic according to scripture. Because of lack of ability to learn from our own mistakes, and instead, to continue to repeat them, many sincere believers in Jesus Christ continue to suffer much grief, and even death because they neglect the biblical admonition to judge the prophetic according to scripture.
Every generation of believers continues to repeat the failures of our historic past because they continue to repeat the same scriptural errors. Over and over again. There is no heresy today that has not been dealt with in the past by Godly persons who have guided us back to what the Bible really says. These false teachings, doctrines and practices have been dealt with scripturally and laid to rest and then we promptly forget about them. Barely have they faded from memory, and then they are promptly resurrected once more, only to bring spiritual ruin to many before they are once again dealt with by Godly persons who bring us back to the truth of biblical scripture.
How long, how long, saints, before Godly persons are heard by those who continue to want to live a lie, instead of reading, studying and practicing the truth of the Bible?
Think about thisif we did not have the Bible then we would not have cults, would we? We would not have false teachers, false prophets and false apostles because without the Bible we would not have true and legitimate teachings, doctrines and practices for others to teach false stuff about, would we? If we did not have a legitimate Bible, then we would not have corrupted teachings and practices.
However, since we do have a legitimate Bible, then counterfeits of it can be made, cant they? Counterfeits which manifest as false teachers, false prophets and false apostles.
Since there are false teachers, false prophets and false apostles who pervert and corrupt the facts of the Bible, then there must also be true and legitimate teachers, prophets and apostles. Right?
How do we know this to be true? Only by comparing teachings and practices to what the Bible says about those teachings and practices. Without a Bible in existence there would be no standard against which we can compare the various teachings and practices which are prevalent in our society.
But since we all have, or can buy, Bibles for ourselves, then we are exceedingly stupid if we dont do the absolute best that we can to attempt to understand what it really says, right? So, dont be stupid! Are you doing your absolute best to attempt to understand what the Bible really says in the original autographs? Do you understand that the Bible simply cannot contradict what it says in one place in another different place? And if something doesnt sound right, then we have to attempt to reconcile what the Bible says by digging out what it says in the original language?
Dont you know that nobody can fool you, nobody can deceive you, unless you let them do it. And they cant fool you, and they cant deceive you unless you dont know the facts about something. If you dont know the facts about something, then people can fool you and deceive you. Which goes right back to not being stupid, huh?
I cant make it any plainer than that. We are all ignorant about a lot of different things because we have never had an opportunity to be exposed to them. But since you can get your hands on a Bible, and on study aids to check out what it really says, then you cant claim ignorance, can you? So where does that leave you? Is that plain enough?
A cult is a religious perversion. It is a belief and practice in the world of religion which calls for devotion to a religious view or leader centered in false doctrine. It is an organized heresy. A cult may take many forms, but it is basically
a religious movement which distorts or warps orthodox faith to the point where truth becomes perverted into a lie. A cult is impossible to define except against the absolute standard of the teaching of Holy Scripture. When contrasted to biblical truth, a cult is seen to have distinguishing marks by which it can be labeled as being fatally sub-Christian. (Page 14)
Other comments by Dr. Breese in his book:
Nevertheless, the almost universal base of each cult religion is the purported revelation that one person received. These persons claimed divine authority for a private, unauthenticated religious event. They claim to have seen a vision of a woman on a mountain, heard a voice in a prayer tower, or been visited by an angel who came with golden tablets and giant spectacles. The unsubstantiated and largely preposterous stories are endless.
What is the proper response to the claim of an individual to a new, divine discovery? His claim should be subjected to the biblical rules of evidence, as we will explain shortly. The discovery may have been an hallucination, an outright lie, or even the result of indigestion or a sleepless night. We cannot know. We are without corroborative evidence.
How different is the truth of Christianity! It is not dependent upon claims by private individuals to special discoveries. The fundamental characteristic of the faith of Christ is that it is based on historical fact. (Page 72)
No Christian is required to believe that Jesus Christ has appeared to anyone since the day of the completion of Holy Scripture. God rests His case on the Bible. This Book should be plainly preached by those who stand in pulpits. It should be clearly taught by those who would expound truth. It should be carefully read by all who would discover the nature of reality. Then there will be no need for special discoveries on the part of anyone. The greatest discovery an individual can make is to experience the joy of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which comes by faith in His person and His work as revealed in Holy Scripture. (Page 75)
A Yes answer to any of the twelve questions suggests that you are either in a cult, or an organization which utilizes cultic methodology, techniques or influences.
Your best course of action is to get out of, and away from, that organization and the people in it. Spend your time reading and studying the Bible from different translations and utilizing concordances and dictionaries and commentaries 200 years old or older. When you find a Bible passage that seems to say that one believer has authority over another believer, check out what the text says in the original language. After that allow only the Holy Spirit of God to teach you what you have read and studied.
When you have thoroughly filled yourself up with what the Bible really says, you will have absolutely no difficulty in identifying the many and diverse foolish, scripturally ignorant and outright lies being currently taught and practiced.
Following is a biblical rationale as to why a Yes answer to any of the twelve questions indicates a cult or cultic methodology, techniques or influences. Most of the scriptures quoted are taken from Dr. Breeses book Know the Marks of Cults, as also are some of his expressed thoughts in the book. I highly recomend that you buy, read and study the book by Dr. Breese.
1. Do you feel that contempory prophecies, revelations, visions and/or other experiences by individuals or groups speak to humankind with the same authority as the written Bible?
The first mark of a cult is:
1. Extra-Biblical Revelation
The Bible is inspired, infallible and inerrant in the original autographs, and it is Creator Gods one and only revelation of Himself to humankind, His creation.
There is a very clear warning in the last book of the Bible:
The Holy Scripture, the Bible, is the revealed will of God, the all-sufficient rule for faith and practice, and for maintaining spiritual and general unity within the corporate body of believers who profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
2. Do you feel that organizational membership, association with certain others, your good deeds, marital status, high personal moral values, karma or an ultimate favorable judgment by God Himself are a necessary part of your salvation?
This is the second mark of a cult:
2. A False Basis of Salvation
The Bible is clear that eternal salvation comes from faith in the salvific work of Jesus Christ which imputes righteousness to the true believer.
3. Do you feel that you are not doing enough for God, not giving enough of your time, talent and finances to God, are not at your church as much as you can when its open, that you dont pray and/or worship enough. Do you struggle with staying under a Godly covering and obeying your leaders even when you, and others, sometimes question their wisdom?
This is the third mark of a cult:
3. Uncertain Hope
The Bible assures us that, as a practicing disciple of Jesus Christ, we have eternal salvation.
If you are a Christian, you should understand that salvation is a process from which you may disengage yourself at any point, if you are bound and determined to do so. There is no such thing as eternal security of the believer. However, to what extent and effort and depths you would have to apply to your lifestyle to disengage yourself from the salvation process, I dont think that any human really knows. So just continue to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, i.e., a learner, follower, supporter and imitator of Him and youll be OK. Sure, you will fail daily, maybe even hourly, but your heart attitutde towards God is what He sees.
4. Do you rely upon your bishop, pastor and/or elders for your religious leadership and to pray for your needs and intercede for you because of their special gifts and/or anointings?
This is the fourth mark of a cult:
4. Presumptuous Messianic Leadership
The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ is our One and Only spiritual shepherd. Those whom God endows with the doma ascension gift of shepherd are, in reality, only undershepherds.
Jesus is also the author and finisher of our faith, our great high priest, the only mediator between God and men and head over all things to the church, which is His body:
Those who seek their own glory are untrue and unrighteous and they are not greater than the Lord Jesus Christ, they are not to accept or give titles to themselves. To be truly great among you, they are to be your servants:
We are to serve one another in love in true liberty remembering that Jesus Christ is all, and in all. When our social interactions within the body of Christ become filled with envy, strife and divisions, the Bible tells us we are carnal. We have been bought with a pricethe price of the shed blood of Jesus and we are not to be servants of men.
5. Have you accepted the teaching of the Christian army called Joels Army and the new super apostles and prophets that are coming that will make the book of Acts seem insignificant compared to their great spiritual accomplishments? In the glorification of the manchild company?
This is the fifth mark of a cult:
5. Doctrinal Ambiguity
Why do you continue to follow those who are accursed, who have clearly departed from the faith which was once delivered unto the saints and who obviously continue to deceive you and others as to what the Bible clearly says?
But today, we have endless vain and repetitious and non-sensical semantical diatribes of which the final result is:
Paul said it very simply:
All the semantical verbiage which obscures the simple message of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is worse than dung.
6. Do you keep yourself well-informed about the new things of God, that are presented in current prophecy, visions and other revelatory ways?
This is the sixth mark of a cult:
6. The Claim of Special Discoveries
We humans love to learn secrets and inside information which puts us in a special class of privileged persons, dont we? And what does the Bible say these things are: Damnable heresies!
Whose report do you believe? Peter and the other writers of the New Testament or those who bring in secret and destructive damnable heresies?
7. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is not really fully God?
This is the seventh mark of a cult:
7. Defective Christology
Any point of view which declares that Jesus Christ is less than true deity and true humanity contradicts the Bible. That includes those ideas that Jesus was not born of a virgin birth, is the ideal Truth, was resurrected only bodily, is a created individual, is the first-born among the spirit children of Elohim, a master product of evolution, was simply one of a great line of teachers such as Buddha, Confucius, etc., that the universe is all in the mind and since the true physical doesnt exist, then deity could not become true humanity as did Christ, that Jesus was simply an automaton of the Father and not a real person in Himself. Denial of the existence of the Trinity is another ploy by those who dont understand the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ.
8. Are you and maybe the people you fellowship with focused upon prophecy, or visions and dreams, or demonology, holiness, or the end-times or other great Bible subjects?
This is the eighth mark of a cult:
8. Segmented Biblical Attention
Focusing upon only one, or limited biblical topics, results in a cultic mindset. Only by daily study of the whole word of God will the Christian mature into all that God wants them to be.
9. Are you being taught the necessity of membership in the local church, tithing, having a covering, attendance at church meetings and obeying those who have the rule over you?
This is the ninth mark of a cult:
9. Enslaving Organizational Structure
The Bible is clear that we are recipients of, and are to enjoy the love of the Father, the abundant life in Jesus Christ and the liberty we have in the Holy Spirit.
10. Have you been taught that failure to pay your tithes to your local church will bring Gods curses upon you? Are you encouraged to give money to those who prophesy over you, or pray for healing or deliverance for you?
This is the tenth mark of a cult:
10. Financial Exploitation
Self-appointed leaders, under the guise of a multitude of false biblical titles, provide for themselves huge palatial homes, expensive estates, large holdings in financial enterprises, private jets, fleets of cars, tailored clothes, plastic surgery, ad nauseam. All of these worldly possessions are paid by your tithes and offerings and other gifts.
11. Is your local fellowship the only one teaching and preaching the true gospel of the kingdom of God, and that believers in other denominations are a false religion?
This is the eleventh mark of a cult:
11. Denunciation of Others
12. Have you been taught the social, political and/or environmental responsibilities or imperatives of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
This is the twelfth mark of a cult:
Religious syncretism is simply an attempt to include and incorporate ungodly concepts into Christianity.