[Blogger's note: As you read down the blog page newer blogs appear at the top and so on. I
submitted these latest two blogs so they will be read in the right order if you
read down the page. In other words, the blog titled “October 21?” ought to be
read first. These two have been written together, but “Test The Spirits” should
be read second.]
What does it mean in 1 John 4: 1-6 to test the spirits? These are dangerous times theologically. This is so evident as we witness the debacle Harold Camping (but also so many others) has caused. While sounding so knowledgeable or performing signs and wonders or being attractive in other ways, many teachers have left sound teaching and are teaching the doctrine of demons (1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;). Any teacher promotes either true doctrine supported by the Word of God or false doctrine which is initiated by demons. There is no middle ground. We are told to test the teachers by testing their teachings which demonstrate the true spirit within them. Unfortunately, false teachers are not always forthcoming with what they believe. Some slip false ideas in the middle of otherwise non objectionable content. John gives us some things to look for by as we examine the doctrines of those who would teach us.
I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are
of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
The first test we see from this passage is a question. “What is being said about Jesus Christ?” Does this teacher teach that Jesus is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity? If a teacher is wrong or unclear on who Jesus is, he will be wrong or unclear on virtually everything else that is important. The doctrine of who Jesus is, lies at the heart of the Gospel. Only the Jesus of the Bible, God the
Son, could die for our sins, any other Jesus falls short. Any teaching that claims Jesus is a god (with the emphasis that we can be gods too), or a man on a higher spiritual plane, or an angel is teaching a lie. Camping’s teaching on this are, at best, unclear. He seems to be teaching that Jesus is God the Son but then makes statement that seem to indicate Jesus is a mode of God. In Revelation 7, according to Camping the archangel Michael is Jesus. So, is Jesus the Son of God, a mode of God or an angel? Camping is unclear. At best, he muddies the waters. At worst, he denies that Jesus is God, the Son. This ought to have been a clear warning bell to any who would follow his teachings.
The second test to give any teacher is what do they say about the Word of God? 1 John 4:6 clearly
warns against those who differ from the teachings of the apostles. Those who add to the Bible are false teachers. While adding openly by proclaiming new revelation or covertly by maintaining that they have the exclusive ability to explain it, they add to Scripture undermining its authority. Camping has done just that. While stating he only looks to the Bible to prove his statements he spiritualizes a lot of text that is meant to be taken literally, leaning heavily on allegory and supports his views through his system of biblical numerology to promote his views. While it is evident that numbers in the Bible often have special significance, to base one’s theology on a system that nowhere is supported in Scripture puts one on very shaky ground, and then to continue to lean on this extrabiblical support of his views in spite of the the fact that his system caused him to repeatledly make false predictions (7+ different times for the comimng of Christ), is a travesty. Warning bell number two.
The third test of a false teacher is "what do they say about the Gospel? The Spirit of Truth, speaks the Truth and that is the Truth of the Gospel. False teachers are those who deny that we can come to Christ by faith alone in what he did for us at the cross. Some add works to the Gospel. Some say he saves by grace, but we must keep it. Some confuse the issue telling us that Jesus did not purchase our pardon at Calvary, but in hell where he suffered at the hand of the devil. Camping teaches that Jesus paid for our sins in some mystical way before Creation and that Calvary was just a demonstration of what He did in eternity past. In addition, he denies that just anyone who calls on the name of the Lord is saved, but states we are saved only if God so chooses. His tract entitled, “I
Hope I Will Be Saved” urges that any one desiring to be saved to “beg, beseech and to plead” and if God plans to save you he will do it in His time. A person, according to Camping, waits on the Lord carefully and prayerfully, reading the Bible. The fact that this tract has been pulled from Family Radio’s website demonstrates further how Camping limits the Gospel by denying that anyone can now be saved since God has judged the world on May 21. Camping has thus destroyed the message of the Gospel that states thatwhosover, shall call, shall be saved.” In addition, Camping now closes
the Gospel’s invitation despite God’s clear indication that any time we have before He comes is because He is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance (2Peter3:9). Warning bell number three.
The events of recent days shows us what happens when we do not test the spirits. This blog is not an attempt to attack anyone, however Camping has repeatedly attacked the Church, the Bride of Christ. He has also done much damage to the Gospel message. The message of the Cross must remain clear. Those who claim to preach the Truth must stand the scrutiny of that Truth. I do not doubt that Camping is a sincere man, but his teachings do not hold up to the test of Scripture. We are to watch out for false teachers no matter what form they take. We need to continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.