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Religious Deception

 

We are warned of false prophets and teachers (Matthew 7:15-27; Mark 13:22; Acts 20:28-32; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1).

Many claiming to give prophetic words are not from the Lord.  They will often claim direct revelation from God and insist it must be obeyed without being checked or evaluated.

Newly saved believers, often with liturgical church or no church or biblical background, are easily swayed by these charlatans.  Many times a counterfeit love is the ploy used to hook and deceive the unwary.

Satan specializes in deception and is a very subtle and deadly foe.  Often he appears as a religious angel of light as do his ministers (2 Corinthians 11:14,15).  Author of confusion and father of lies, he can also come as a roaring lion (John 8:44; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Corinthians 13-15).

Supernatural gifts and miracles of healing do not guarantee the genuineness of a work.  A real moving of God in his fashion draws people to the Lord and magnifies Jesus Christ.  The counterfeit will emphasize the human instrument, and will have little if any lasting fruit.  The fruit of the Spirit is the acid test of any ministry.

False leaders often are very sincere, and may themselves be deceived about what they are doing.  They also can manifest supernatural gifts (Matthew 7:22,23).  Satan counterfeits all of the gifts, and even may do this using the name of Jesus (Seldom used is His full New Testament title, Lord Jesus Christ).  Of course the agape love of Jesus cannot be produced, neither will the blood of the Lord Jesus and His resurrection be involved.

False workers emphasize physical sensations, emotional experiences and employ worldly wisdom which is earthly, sensual and devilish (demonic) (James 3:15).  All this de-emphasizes Christ and produces a drift away from Him in search of more thrilling sensual religious experiences.

False love can be spotted because it is limited to a special group and snares participants into bondage.  Within the group it promotes arrogant, critical and condemnatory pride.  This relationship often sinks into a soul and body level and can bring heavy bondage and immorality.

Leaders of such groups claim revelations of knowledge and exclusive authority.  They themselves refuse to submit to any authority for review or correction.  Family structure is weakened by demanding that parental authority over children be replaced by control by the group.

Likewise, wives are urged to submit to the group rather than their own husbands.  If a mate is unsaved or resists joining the group, divorce is encouraged.  It is customary and expected that women leaders usurp authority over husbands or pastors.

Groups such as this often adopt distinctive names, identifying them as the one true representative of Christ on earth.  Proud and boastful, leaders feed their followers on “special revelations”  and “deeper truths.”  Those so snared will increasingly lose their freedom.  Instead of the fellowship they are seeking they come under control spirits.  These will exploit the person, taking them deeper into legalistic bondage.

The cultic organizations are filled by confusion.  Always the core of followers are subjected to pressure by harsh and condemnatory demands.  This atmosphere creates a climate of hopelessness which causes the mind to go passive.  Over and over quick and precipitate action is commanded, with no explanations or time to weigh and consider.  Dependence on the group and leader is aggressively promoted to such an extent that there is real bewilderment among members about what constitutes God’s will.

Frequently employed are faulty situation ethics theories such as “the end justifies the means.”  This can coerce embracing acceptance of immorality and all kinds of unrighteous actions and attitudes.  Outsiders are treated coldly and rejected, even other believers.

Marks of counterfeit groups may include one of more of the following errors:

1.  Presenting another Jesus, another spirit, or another gospel (Galatians 1:6; 2 Timothy 4:3,4; 2 Corinthians 2:4).  Loyalty to Jesus is given lip service but in practice, allegiance to the group is stressed as being the most important trait.

2.  Denial of the virgin birth, the blood, the work of the cross and the existence of sin.

3.  They may go overboard distorting and literalizing Scriptures such as “hate your mother and father” (Luke 14:26).

4.  Some press the doctrine of the return of Christ to an extreme, creating an apathetic laziness (2 Thessalonians 3:10, 11).

5.  Use of isolated Scriptures to build weird doctrines by ignoring the context and the whole of the Bible.

6.  Some are violently anti-Semitic; others are Spiritualists who are masquerading as Christians.

7.  Some overemphasize the Old Testament and neglect the New Testament message of grace, the cross and the blood of Jesus.

The following is an excerpt from “Demonic Deceptions, Booklet #15″ by Pastor Win Worley. Copyright © 1983 by Win Worley, Revised © 1993. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including storage and retrieval system, without securing permission in writing from the publisher, WRW Publications, PO Box 852626, Mesquite, TX 75185.

If you’d like to obtain your own copy of not only this, but other materials authored by Win Worley, please contact WRW Publications at www.wrwpublications.com

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