- Religion and Philosophy
TRUE or FALSE: Christianity
How do we recognize a deceived Christian?
Many today profess to be “Christians”. How can all these people be Christians when there are some very marked and serious differences in their foundational beliefs? What are the differences? In this hub we will look at the signs of TRUE Christians and DECEIVED Christians.
The Word says, “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. By this 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 Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world." (1 John 4:1-3). This passage is not just speaking of heavenly spirits, but the spirit influencing the false prophets out in the world.
The spirit of antichrist mimics Christ. Rev 22:16 states, "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
Compare this truth with the counterfeit found in Isa 14:12 "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!” Is this speaking of Jesus falling from heaven? No; it's speaking of Lucifer, the Antichrist!
So what about fallen angels? Check this out: Gal 1:8 "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!"
Why is it so hard to discern which prophet is true and which is false? Because the Bible says that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 7:14). This “light” is the very same meaning as used when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
Mat 24:24 states, "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect."
Rev 13:6 states, "And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven." Do you remember that Jesus was accused of "blasphemy" because of "claiming to be God"? This is what the spirit of antichrist does!
The antichrist is prophesied to be able to deceive the whole world (except for true Christians) in Rev 13:8 "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."
John 8:44 states about Satan that "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." I don't know if you've ever known a good liar, or even an excellent one. The best ones can deceive even the best people, especially good people who are trusting. So, how about the father of lies?!
Satan Quotes the Word of God!
But how can a false prophet even speak God’s holy words, you ask? Well, let’s first look at the Devil tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He used God’s very own words to tempt them. In Genesis 3:1, the “serpent” said to Eve, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from ANY TREE of the garden?” Eve, speaking back the exact word of God says, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of THE TREE which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.” The serpent then tells her, “You surely shall not die!” (LIE).
Look at Jesus’ experience with the Devil when He was tempted by the him in the desert for 40 days. In Luke 4:9-11, verse 10 quotes Satan as saying, “for it is written, ‘HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU, and ‘ON THEIR HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”. Indeed, Satan was quoting the prophecy written in the Old Testament in Psalm 91:11 accurately! His motive, though, was to tempt Jesus to throw himself down off the pinnacle of the temple on which he stood!
Jesus answered him in verse 12 with scripture: “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST’”. We see this answer in Psalm 91:12. Did you notice that Satan only quoted verse 11 and neglected verse 12? This is common with Christian cults who also do the same!!
Here's just one actual example of a cult follower that wrote to me, and my answer to him:
"You need to start believing these verses of Scripture and not what you THINK it's suppose to mean! It says the inhabitants of the WORLD. When? When Thy judgments are in the earth. Now who does that include? The whole earth, all the inhabitants of the whole world, to me that is everybody. You say, ‘no it’s not.’ Well to me it is, I’m sorry you are going to have to show me a verse that says, when His judgments are in the earth, NOT all the inhabitants of the whole world will learn righteousness. Do you have a Scripture that says that? ‘No.’
Here is my response: You are quoting Isaiah 26:9 and you asked me to show you a verse that says, when His judgments are in the earth, NOT all the inhabitants of the whole world will learn righteousness. I do have that verse! Read the VERY NEXT VERSE, verse 10, and I quote the Word, "Though the wicked is shown favor (the Jews are God's favored), He does NOT learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD."
Because of Satan, false prophets distort the Word of God. The Bible warns us of such things to come: 2 Peter 2:16-17 in regard to all the letters written by the Apostle Paul, "in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
Signs of Christian Cults
So what is the definition of “Cult”:
French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate — more at wheel
1: formal religious veneration : worship 2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual ; also : its body of adherents 3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious ; also : its body of adherents 4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults> 5 a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book) ; especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion.
What are the signs of a Christian cult?
Not ALL cults have ALL these signs; this is a collaboration of some of things I myself have concluded upon exposure to these false prophets:
- THIS IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH: They deny the divinity of Christ and exalt man's divinity.
- They distort the scriptures, leading to their destruction. The antichrist is said to "go to destruction" (Rev 17:11)
- They prey on innocent minds (those who are not learned in the scriptures).
- They have ONE leader that founded their doctrine; some even say an angel appeared to their leader to give him the "right interpretation" of the Bible. One I know of is re-writing the Bible into the Concordant Literal Translation (CLT)...still a work-in-progress.
- This ONE leader’s interpretation of scripture is typically published in a book, books, magazines/study guides, or even a website of their one "teacher". The less one actually picks up the Bible, the more dangerous it is.
- Their leader's prophecies do not come true; therefore, the prophecy is changed. God "changes His mind" several times.
- They are focused on works and/or rituals in order to "earn their way" into God's favor, or pay Him back for saving them.
- They consider the 144,000 elect of their particular doctrine or church.
- They don’t associate with those outside of their church’s beliefs and practices.
- Their church demands money from them.
What do TRUE Christians Believe?
What does the Bible say about each of these things? There are many scriptures addressing each one, but I will, for the sake of summary, choose but a couple each. Rather than type out every reference here, I would exhort you to grab a BIBLE and READ them first-hand!!
- The Divinity of Christ: read my hub Let Me Tell You WHO GOD IS! / Exalt man's divinity: Genesis 3:5
- They distort the scriptures: 2 Peter 3:16-17
- They prey on innocent minds: Hosea 4:6
- They have ONE leader that founded their doctrine: Proverbs 11:14; Galatians 1:8
- One leader’s interpretation published in a book, books, magazines/study guides, or a particular website of that "teacher": 2 Peter 1:20 and Revelation 22:18-19
- Their leader's prophecies do not come true or are changed: Jeremiah 14:14-18; Ezekiel 13:1-8
- They are focused on works or rituals: Mark 7:1-30, Ephesians 2:9
- They consider the 144,000 are of their church: read my hub on The Elect of God
- They don’t associate with those outside of their church: Luke 19:1-10
- Their church demands money from them: read my hub Tithing, Giving and Alms
The WAY to the TRUTH
When cults accuse true Christianity of being a "cult" or "sect", let's read what Paul has to say about that: Acts 24:13-15 "Nor can they prove to you the charges of which they now accuse me. But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers..."
Let me leave you with these scriptures in closing:
Eph 4:14: “…we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.”
John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Amen.