By Brannon S. Howse
One of the best Scripture passages we can examine to understand the dangers of the spiritual enterprises with the false religions—the Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, the Church of Rome, the cults, and even New Age Mormon Glenn Beck and his “evangelical” participants—is Acts 16:16-18:
"Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour."
Notice that the girl was possessed by demons, and Paul knew she was. His response shows that he did not want the endorsement of the demons even if they were speaking truth by stating, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” Why? Because Paul knew Satan will proclaim truth in order to attract a crowd and gain credibility, but then he will undermine the Gspel.
I believe this is exactly what Glenn Beck and many false teachers do with their religious talk that appeals to undiscerning Christians. As a self-professed Mormon, Beck mixes truth with error—precisely Satan’s strategy for infiltrating the Church with a religious Trojan horse. John MacArthur explains how this works:
[quote] Even praise of the gospel can be deceitful and misleading. When Paul and Silas began to minister in Philippi, Luke reports that “a certain slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortunetelling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, ‘These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation’” (Acts 16:16-17). What the girl said not only was true but seemed to be favorable to the gospel and to those who were proclaiming it. [end quote]
But the purpose and motivation of what she said was exactly the opposite. The demons who controlled her meant to attract the people and, gaining their trust, then ridicule and undercut God’s Word and the work of His ministers. In that case Paul could not judge by what was said, because the girl’s words were true. He knew she was a demonic instrument only because the Holy Spirit revealed the false spirit that controlled her.
Matthew Henry’s Biblical Commentary on Acts 16:16-24 similarly explains:
[quote] Satan, though the father of lies, will declare the most important truths, when he can thereby serve his purposes. But much mischief is done to the real servants of Christ, by unholy and false preachers of the gospel, who are confounded with them by careless observers. Those who do good by drawing men from sin, may expect to be reviled as troublers of the city. [end quote]
When we point out the dangers of such spiritual enterprises and the demonic nature of such endeavors, it certainly will not be received well by many within the religious establishment. Make no mistake: there are only two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. These two camps cannot merge, and when a merger is attempted, you can be sure it is not of God.
When religious leaders are called out for giving a platform to those serving Satan and preaching another Jesus and a different gospel, they often turn on those who speak biblical truth, and they bring persecution on those who try to guard the Church from error as we are commanded to do in Acts 20:28-31. Paul and Silas were persecuted and taken off to jail because they were preaching the Gospel and exposing the plan of Satan to co-opt God’s truth. MacArthur tells about Satan’s operational strategy:
[quote] Satan was quick to react, first attempting to infiltrate the young fellowship with a demon-possessed medium. When Paul’s miraculous power thwarted that attempt, Satan tried to destroy the church through persecution. Those are always his two avenues of attack: infiltration—attacking the church from within; and persecution, attacking it from without. [end quote]
The Church is in great need of Christians who will warn the Church of false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, and “evangelical celebrities” who compromise scriptural truth. Many even wage war on God’s Word. MacArthur speaks to this issue when he writes:
"I believe God still empowers some of His people to unmask false prophets and carnal hypocrites. He gives them insight to expose imitations and deceptions that most Christians would take as genuine."
Copyright 2015 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.