Today I stumbled across a video that I believe may have been foisted upon some of you in the name of "discernment." It is a hideous and demonic video full of cynicism, mockery and vitriol against signs, wonders, and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.. and yet supposedly "Christian." There is nothing Christlike about it. It is full of misstatements, false theology, and a demonic sarcasm. The reason I believe it was circulated among some in our church is because its outrageous arguments were used almost word for word in discussions with me by a number of people who expressed concerns about our church, some even leaving our church on false premises. It specifically condemns Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Lou Engle and The Call, the International House of Prayer and other fine ministries. I may not agree with any of these ministries 100%, but they FINE ministries, used genuinely by the Holy Spirit.
As your pastor, I must warn you. These cynical and bitterly sarcastic "discernment" videos and web sites that are out on youtube and elsewhere are DANGEROUS. I mentioned the dangers of the internet several times in my sermons. These videos and internet sites come from cessationists, people who believe the gifts of the Spirit ceased and are no longer for today, in other words, actually UNbelieving. Unbelief is a most dengerous sin.
"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God..."
We who are Pentecostal should have NOTHING to do with cessationist teachings against the modern day work of the Holy Spirit. What Assembly of God and Pentecostal church attenders are doing, taking these videos as gospel makes no sense. I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing on this video as godly men and young passionate God seekers were mocked, ridiculed and accused of trickery. The word "devil" means "slanderer" and "accuser." These false critics reveal who motivates them by their hatefulness.
2 Tim 2:24-25
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition..."
The spirit of these "discernment" ministries is anything but "gentle" and in "humility."
"Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?"
Matt 12:24-25, 31-32
"Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, 'This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.' But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them:...'every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.'"
I fear for the souls of such who are quick to attribute the genuine works of the Holy Spirit to the devil. Could it be they are actually committing the most serious of sins, what Jesus calls "the blasphemy against the Spirit?" We need to be ready for the onslaught of demonic attacks and criticism that may be increasingly leveled against us as the movement of the Holy Spirit continues to increase in power and intensity. Will we make mistakes some times? Yes. Will there be occasional manure in the "trough?" (Proverbs 14:4). Yes, there always is in true revival. But we must "not be unbelieving, but believing" as the people of God (John 20:27).
At the same time, all this does not preclude TRUE discernment. There ARE false teachers and false prophets who do indeed deceive the elect. I am concerned that some of our people occasionally place themselves under the ministry of those who would take advantage of them. As I was praying about how to be careful not to hurt the faith of genuine God-seekers, yet encourage them in true discernment, I felt the Lord give me two bell-weathers. If you are in a crusade meeting and more than 15 minutes are taken to take the offering, I believe you should begin to think about walking out of that meeting. This is not a hard and fast rule, but if that 15 minutes turns into 20, then 25... There really is no need for 80 minutes of offerings! (Yes, I was in a meeting like that!) Secondly, if the minister begins to speak curses on his or her critics, this is a sign of a witchcraft type of spirit. I was in a meeting locally where the speaker began to talk about how his critics ended up dying in accidents or getting cancer, etc...This is the very definition of witchcraft: manipulation and fear-mongering. Not much different from the "discernment" ministries that are out there. Please have a TRUE spirit of discernment, open to the various workings of the Holy Spirit, yet solidly grounded in the "word of his grace."