By Karen E. Connell
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves …unless indeed you are disqualified as reprobates. (2 Cor 13:5)
*All Scripture is from the KJV or NKJV unless otherwise specified—all numbers are from the Strong’s Concordance.
It has taken me many years of seeking the Lord and a whole lot of time spent in studying God’s word—to unravel many unbiblical beliefs that I have embraced since becoming a sincere follower of Jesus Christ in 1970. These false beliefs have come from embracing false doctrines of men and demons, being propagated by popular modern-day denominations and other well-known Christian movements. I have finally learned to rely—as much as I know how to—upon the Holy Spirit to show me WHY—according to God’s word—a doctrine, an assumption and any “Christian” perspective or practice IS or IS NOT Scriptural. The Lord is still straightening out my theology in many of these areas—especially my eschatological (end-times) theology.
As you may or may not have heard me shared before, in 1983 I answered the call to become a fully dedicated servant of God, and was willing to serve in whatever type of ministry God had ordained for me. Quite naturally, I thought it would be necessary to go to a Bible school so I could become prepared for my ministry service. In my case however, God made it quite clear to me that what I needed to know for the ministry that He had calledme to—He would be teaching me Himself. Every time I would think about going to this or that Bible College… I would be reminded of these verses that the Lord gave me when I first sought Him about going to Bible School:
(1 John 2:20, 27)
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things… But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; for that same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
As a young Christian, I leaned heavily upon others to teach me what I thought I should know about Christianity and the Bible. This in itself is not a problem, but it was a problem for me, because many of my teachers did not correctly teach the foundational truths of Christianity according to the faith that was established by the twelve founding apostles and prophets—who were guided, in laying the foundational doctrines of Christianity, which they received from Jesus Christ their head cornerstone. When I asked the Lord why He allowed me to be subjected to so many false teachings and teachers throughout my Christian life—which I ultimately embraced for a time and were so destructive, He simply answered me by saying:
“…you do not have because you do not ask (me) … (when) You do ask and do not receive, (it’s) because you ask amiss, so that you may consume it upon your own lusts. (Parenthesis for clarity)
I can only say that my seeking and asking God amiss opened the door for many delusions that allowed much destruction into my life. However, God used these “destructions” to cause me to become honest and teachable. As I sincerely sought the Lord—He revealed to me from the above verse—that I hadn’t ASKED HIM about what I was being taught—mainly because what I had been taught from others, I was simply ASSUMMING was Biblical and—I was also COSUMMING these false teachings upon my own lusts (personal desires and agendas). Thus, when I did ask the Lord questions about certain things I was being taught—I didn’t receive revelation from the word that came from Him—because I wasn’t asking Him the right questions.
My questions were coming from a self-gratifying perspective—which means my questions were coming out of something that was amiss within me and in my understanding of what I assumed to be the truth. However, my false assumptions were apart from the true faith, because I wasn’t hearing God teach me His truth as personal revelation from His Word—thus, I couldn’t discern if what I was assuming to be true—really was the truth. This was the working of pride in my life. Anytime we assume or presume that something is true without “hearing” personal revelation (rhema) from God’s Word… it may be because pride causes us to think we know the truth apart from hearing Him—because of relying upon our or others human wisdom and understanding.
The word amiss as used in the above verse in (James 4:3) is the Greek word (NT:2560) kakos (kak-oce’); which refers to being affected by something harmful, diseased or wrong. When we embrace wrong teaching, because we fail to ask God if what we are embracing is the truth… we run the risk of becoming infected with a devastating disease called deception. As with all harmful diseases, deception—if not cured by correction, will ultimately result in harmful consequences to us and to others.
All false teaching is leaven and the deception it breeds ultimately spreads like a cancer. If we are not willing to allow God to correct our sin (error) and to remove it… we run the risk of defending our wrong beliefs through pride issues. The Apostle Paul addressed this, when sin had entered a local church that prided themselves on their “spirituality.” Thus, because of pride the people were ignoring and not dealing with sin issues…
(1 Cor 5:6-7)
Your glorying (spiritual pride) is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven (error or sin) leavens (puffs up i.e., with pride) the whole lump? …Therefore, purge out the old leaven that you may be a new (regenerated) lump, (so that) you truly are unleavened. (Parenthesis contain literal alternate meanings to the underlined words for clarity).
In my case the Lord made it plain to me—I had taken pleasure in what was not right because I had (prideful) ulterior motives for accepting certain false teachings, which the Lord ultimately revealed these motives to me, when I humbled myself and finally became teachable.
Just as I did, many Christians remain ignorant by ignoring the truth from God’s Word when it is presented to them. Or they choose to remain ignorant by unquestioningly accepting whatever their favorite teacher, denomination or preacher teaches them. Those in this place may, as I did—genuinely love and admire those who teach what is unscriptural—simply because it appeals in some way to their fallen carnal human nature.
False teachers follow doctrines of men and demons, simply because they have failed to question God regarding whether all doctrine, they receive is truly Biblical—and also because it appeals to them for some (known or unknown) reason.
I want to emphasize again how crucial it is to realize that every wrong belief (known or unknown) ultimately produces unintended harmful consequences to ourselves and others. This is because lying and seducing spirits feed upon and are empowered by the errors we hold—leading us further and further into error and delusion. I learned from my own painful experience—when we embrace doctrinal error—because it appeals to our carnal flesh—we are truly headed for big trouble!
(2 Peter 2:18-19)
For when they (false teachers) speak great swelling (prideful) words of vanity, they allure (i.e.,draw people into delusion) through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness (a strong desire for what pleases their carnal human nature), those that were clean escaped from them who live in error… While promising liberty, they (false teachers) themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom (this can also be translated as: for by what) a man is overcome, by the same is he brought in bondage. (Parenthesis contain literal alternate meanings to the underlined words for further clarity).
This text gives us a grave warning. It is telling us by whatever a person is overcome—which is the Greek word NT:2274 hettao (hayt-tah’-o), and refers to being made worse or being made inferior—thus, whatever it is that makes us worse or inferior will bring us into bondage to sin. In other words, if we are overcome by doctrinal error—this will be responsible for worsening or giving us an inferior spiritual life and ultimately put us in bondage (to serving Satan).
Thus, we can see the importance of asking God the right questions so the Holy Spirit is allowed to reveal and confirm that the doctrines we embrace are truly sound Biblically. I have no doubt that many of those who are unknowingly teaching error and especially erroneous endtime eschatology—are very sincere people who sincerely love God—but they are also sincerely deceived and serving Satan!
When we are (knowingly or unknowingly) believing or practicing something that is erroneous, God will correct us—because we are His children and He loves us. He will see to it that we are given the opportunity to receive the truth so these areas of error can be “corrected.”
When you with rebukes correct man because of iniquity, you make his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. ALT
This verse states that God uses rebukes(OT 8433) to correct us. This is the Hebrew word towkechah (to-kay-khaw’) which means: the use of words to instruct and prove something to be false or incorrect. The Lord has always used His Word (the Scriptures) to prove to me any false belief or practice that I had unknowingly embraced. On the other hand, when I wasn’t paying attention, He got my attention with painful judgments!
The above text goes on to say He will correct us this way because iniquity (sinful carnal urges) are a problem in our lives. If we are truly His children—His love for us demands that we be corrected, so we are not destroyed by deception. Also, our love for God demands that we receive His correction. To be corrected (OT 3256) literally means: He will see to it that we receive right teaching and instruction. According to the above verse this is needed because of iniquity (OT 5753). The Hebrew word for “iniquity”—refers to our human inclination to accept what is wrong—and according to the CWSD: it can also refer to: doing something right but in a wrong or twisted way. For instance, I did a lot of right things, such as praying, quoting the Word, fasting and many other “right things”—but I was doing them in a wrong way— (or for the wrong motive, which fear is usually the motivation). Thus, the right things I was doing were ultimately nothing more than an exercise in futility, for if fear is the motivation, we do not trust God, we trust instead in our “good works.”
This verse goes on to state that God’s correction consumes our “beauty” (OT 2530)—because (what we admire) it is like a “MOTH.” The word BEAUTY is the Hebrew word chamad (khaw-mad’)—CWSD: says this refers to: finding pleasure in something that leads astray—like a moth (this literally refers to being: fragile and easily destroyed). The Dictionary defines the word “fragile” as something that is “lacking substance” (i.e., truth-reality). In other words, the “right things” I was doing were being done in a wrong way—because of false teaching I had embraced, thus, there was no real “substance” for what I was doing because substance only comes by faith—which comes by (hearing) the truth from God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for (lit: fully expected), the evidence of things not seen.
The word substance (NT 5287) in the above verse is the Greek word hupostasis (hoop-os’-tas-is) which means: the foundation for reality (truth) and confidence (faith). When the teachings of man are not based upon or go beyond the bounds of the foundation that was laid by the founding apostles and prophets—and what they taught and put forth in their writings—our faith or what we embrace as “Christian doctrine” will not be based upon truth or reality. In other words, our faith and works of faith will lack true substance.
This is surely the case with all false doctrines and practices. The verse in (Ps 39:11) ends by saying, “surely every man’s “chamad” or beauty (desires that lead astray) is VANITY.” This is a very important word because God is telling us that when we find pleasure in something that is “lacking substance” (not based upon truth-reality) it is nothing more than destructive “VANITY” (Strong’s 1892). The CWSD: defines “VANITY” as: idolatrous or meaninglessness religious customs that are associated with delusions; and it also denotes vain talk or actions that are meaningless or empty. (i.e., again, religious customs or works that are nothing more than exercises in futility are vanity). So, you can make all the prayer declarations you want, pray and intercede all you want, but it is nothing more than VANITY, if what we are declaring or asking is not the result of hearing from God. We desperately need “sound doctrine” in order to have “sound Christian practices” … if we are to avoid what (Ps 39:11) is talking about.
Because false teachers invaded the Church right from its conception, the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church to examine themselves so they could be sure they were “in the (TRUE) faith.” In these end times especially—we would do well to also heed this admonition. This examination involves not only HOW we are living our life morally, but it also involves examining WHAT we believe and WHY we believe it when it comes to “THE FAITH.”
(2 Cor 13:5)
Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Don’t be without knowing for your own selves, that Jesus Christ (the way—truth—life) is in you, otherwise you will be reprobates. ALT (A more literal translation)
The word reprobates in the Greek text (NT 96), and according to the Complete Word Studies Dictionary (CWSD)—refers to those who are: undiscerning and end up being disapproved of and rejected. Thus, we should closely examine any doctrines that we deem to be Christian, because our salvation (or deliverance) from evil or from what is “amiss” from the world that has invaded the church—depends on our ability to discern. The topics of doctrine and teaching then, are all about truth or error; or at least they should be. The founding apostles were very adamant that we only follow those doctrines that they had received from their cornerstone—Jesus Christ.
(2 John 1:10)
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.
The fight for the true faith among the founding apostles and prophets involved on going spiritual warfare, exposing all heresy that greatly shaped the early Church. As mentioned, Satan tried from the time of its very inception to destroy the church by sending forth his false teachers and seducing spirits with deceptive, and very destructive doctrines. The Church would not exist today if the founding apostles and prophets, as leaders, had not actively engaged in spiritual warfare to fight against Satan’s heresies.
(1 Tim 6:12, 14)
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life… keep this commandment without spot, un-rebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As an example of the importance for having correct doctrine: Let’s say a person is taught and believes they are saved by faith only—and that their actions have no effect upon their salvation. Thus, if they habitually commit “sins” (i.e., sins leading to death) (1 John 5:16), this erroneous belief will cause them to become reprobate, and put their immediate salvation at risk.
Professing Christians often object to the need to question “doctrine” or a person’s salvation, claiming that a belief in Jesus is all they need (however, the devil believes, but he is definitely not saved)! But the very foundations of the understanding of God’s nature, of man’s sin and his need for salvation, and of Christ’s sacrificial death and His resurrection on our behalf are all known through correct Biblical doctrine. Throughout church history and into the present day there are Christians and pseudo-Christians who have propagated errors in these foundational truths — because they have rejected true Christian doctrine, which is infallible doctrine.
Certain things must be embraced as “infallible”—meaning there is no chance of or room for error—such as the gospel message of salvation and the doctrines received from the founding apostles and prophets regarding the deity of Christ. Therefore, we should always choose to believe truth rather than doubt it or ignore it—because the slightest error (leaven) if not corrected—will lead us away from the true foundation of genuine Christianity. Many have had their faith shipwrecked because they have ended up building their Christian faith upon another mans’ foundation and not that of the true foundation of the Apostles and Prophets and their Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus made it very clear, that He would see to it that His true Church would be built by Him—for He claimed to be the source for TRUTH and for ETERNAL LIFE. Thus, true Christian doctrine (teaching) must be 100% truth—with no error allowed! As the Bible teaches, it only takes a “little leaven” (error) to spoil the whole lump. We are told that the foundation for the church—that Jesus said He would build, was built upon the founding (12) Apostles and His true prophets who had Jesus Christ as their head cornerstone.
(Matt 16:18) I will build my church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(Eph 2:19-20) …the household of God (true Christians) … are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
Because of all of the heretical and false teaching that has invaded Christianity—since it’s conception by the twelve founding Apostles and the true prophets of Jesus Christ—it is difficult many times as a Christian to know who and what to believe. For this reason I found it was important to search out for myself, the true tenants of the Christian faith and establish why they are true—because I found it is too easy to fall prey to deception based on unbiblical opinions and philosophies of people. Heresy thrives when people are undiscerning—which is because of having a shallow understanding of God’s word or because they are shallow in their devotion and relationship to God and His truth. Unless we are devoted to receiving our understanding of the truth from God’s revealed word… we are candidates for deception.
In my ongoing search to discern true Christian doctrine and practices I have found it very helpful to follow certain guidelines. Here are some sound and essential ways I use to insure that my Christian beliefs are true Christian beliefs…
1. I Study the Scriptures as much as possible in the original languages in which they were written—and I also sincerely believe the Bible (in the original languages and not modern “translations) to be the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God. In this way the Bible becomes the final authority for ALL of my Christian doctrine.
2. I Study the writings of the Early Church Fathers known as “partristics” (i.e. especially those those whom the twelve apostles ordained and mentored the first 100 years of Christianity [i.e. Polycarp; Ignatius; Clement of Rome ect.]), by doing this, it revealed how many unbiblical beliefs and practices came into being after the death of the apostles—which were not taught by Jesus Christ or the founding twelve Apostles. I have found how just “one” false premise by an early church leader (often referred to as our early church “fathers”) took on a life of its own as other church leaders continued on with that premise and added to it—only to have it accepted or rejected by different segments of Christianity—causing the need for schisms and divisions in the body of Christ. I find there is always a unified remnant that God uses who will reject doctrinal error.
3. I Study church history—this reveals how both God and Satan have been at work in the same field, containing tares from the apostate church and also in the true wheat from the true remnant church.
4. I am continually asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any hidden false assumptions coming from any heretical teachings, Philosophy, or science that I have been embraced, which can skew my perception of the truth.
5. My emphasis is on thoroughly understanding what the founding Apostles and prophets taught and wrote in their epistles especially concerning the doctrines of Jesus, the Trinity, salvation, and the virtues of Christian character and living.
6. Most importantly—I am always be open to revising my views!
The difference between falling into error versus embracing heresy is that a heretic is not willing to change their views when the truth is brought to them. A person may unknowingly embrace or teach error because they are simply mistaken about what they believe. If this person is open to revising their views, they are not a heretic. However, a heretic is one who is not willing to change their views when confronted with the truth, and a person in this place will continue to lead people away from the truth.
(Titus 3:10-11) As for a man who is heretical …after admonishing him a first and second time, reject him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him… Be well aware that such a person is perverted and corrupted; he goes on sinning even though he is convicted of guilt and is self-condemned. AMP
In the parable of the “wheat” and “tares” both began their existence as “seeds” planted in a persons’ field (life). The wheat seeds can represent true doctrine that was sowed (imparted to or received) by the person.
(Matt 13:24) “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed (received) good seed in his field;
The “tare” or darnel seeds represent erroneous doctrines that are sown (received) from the enemy when they fall asleep on their job as watchman and do not closely examine what is being received as doctrine.
(Matt 13:25) …but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed (imparted) tares among the wheat and went his way.
Tares are actually darnel, a seed that is a strong soporific poison and hardly identifiable from the wheat seed, because immature wheat and darnel look alike. It isn’t until the seeds produce a crop that it becomes evident which is the wheat and which is the tare. Satan’s toxic seeds of heresy always produce a crop of deadly deception and destruction.
As mentioned, seeds of heresy have been sown among the body of Christ since the Church came into being in the days of the founding apostles and prophets. It is important to understand these early heresies because seeds from these various “winds of doctrine” are still blowing through various segments of the body of Christ today and by knowing the origins and content of these false teachings it makes them easier to detect when they find their way into our Christian theology.
As most Bible students know, there were in the early church those known as “judaizers”—who taught that, in order for a Christian to truly be right with God, he must conform to certain Mosaic Laws. Circumcision, especially, was promoted as necessary for salvation. Many were teaching that Gentiles had to become Jewish proselytes first, and then they could come to Christ. The doctrine of the Judaizers was a mixture of grace (through Christ) and works (through the keeping of Jewish Laws and traditions). This false doctrine was dealt with in (Acts 15) and strongly condemned in the book of Galatians. Modern day judaizers, such as proponents of the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM) are notorious for taking verses out of context and adding extra-biblical interpretations (Midrash) to God’s word.
There are many groups today with beliefs and practices very similar to the Judaizers of the New Testament. However, the teachings of the Hebrew Roots Movement are virtually identical to those of the Judaizers whom Paul rebuked in his letter to the Galatians. A primary focus of the Hebrew Roots Movement is to put followers of Christ back under the bondage of the Old Testament Law, through the keeping of Sabbaths and feasts.
(Col 2:16-17) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a feast day or a new moon or Sabbaths…These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Again, they add to the word of God to force a different meaning on this text. They also insist that Christ died to remove the sacrificial system, but not the laws and customs. Thus, from that flawed conclusion they conclude that a truly spiritual Christian will observe the Mosaic Laws of diet requirements and Sabbath observance. Other claims include the need to understand the many Jewish traditions and Talmudic teachings which come disguised as wise and mysterious spiritual revelations.
Thus, those wanting to become more enlightened seek to sit under the ministry of a Hebraic Roots teacher who will tell him or her everything they need to know. Those motivated by such things only become puffed up by a religious seducing spirit and its deceptive and heretical teachings.
Montanism, known by its adherents as the “New Prophecy” movement, was an early Christian movement of the late 2nd century, later referred to by the name of its founder, Montanus, who as a new convert began prophesying in a village in Mysia named Ardabauar, around 135 AD. Before his conversion to Christianity, Montanus was a priest of Apollo. He believed he was a prophet of God and that the Holy Spirit spoke through him. Church history records that through his unquenchable desire for leadership, the adversary was given the opportunity to work through him. This is why Paul, one of the founding apostles, gave us the following warning about new converts being given a leadership position:
(1 Tim 3:6)
(A church leader) must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. NIV
Many times I have seen new converts being placed in leadership positions as teachers or elders because they were so “gifted” or “talented” in some way. When we place new or immature Christians in leadership positions—without allowing them to be mentored and to develop “fruitful” Christian character—we are making that person an easy target for Satan. Far too many have come to evaluate a Christian by how “gifted” (spiritually or naturally) they are—rather than by how fruitful they are. We are to know a Christian by their fruits not their gifts.
“You shall know them by their fruit.” .
It is also important to add that people like Montanus, who come out of pagan cults, have been taught and trained to operate in the spiritual realm, and have had a taste of being “empowered” by supernatural forces. This in itself establishes pride issues (such as the need to be recognized or admired) to be established in their lives. This is why cleansing through washing by the Word of God, following repentance is essential. Anyone who has sat under false teaching will need to be cleansed and delivered from demonic mindsets and influences upon their life. It has taken me years to rid myself of errors I unknowingly embraced—while I sat under many defiled ministries. A good example of this is found in the account of Simon the Sorcerer, who after converting to Christianity—still lusted after supernatural power, to the point he was willing to pay money for it! Also, I have no doubt he would have been willing to receive money from others who wanted him to impart this power to others.
But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great… Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done… And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money… But Peter said to him, Repent… For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
It is also stated that when Montanus, prophesied he was not in control of himself, (he came under the influence of sorcery) and would go into a frenzied state of ecstasy (as did the false prophets of Apollo), where he would rave and began to babble and utter and do strange things (i.e. supposedly under the power of the Holy Spirit). He would do his prophesying in a manner that was disorderly and contrary to the apostolic practices of the Church—as handed down by the tradition of the founding apostles. When anyone acts “weird” or is out of control, no matter how accurately they may “prophesy”… the Holy Spirit is not the one influencing that person. God’s Holy Spirit is definitely not the author of “weirdness” (disorder) and “confusion”:
(1 Cor 14:23, 32-33)
Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting and hear everyone talking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. NLT
…And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets… For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. NKJV
When “demonic supernatural manifestations” occur they are always operating through a spirit of divination also called sorcery. The spirit behind sorcery is the “python” spirit. Many today label the manifestations of Python as those of an ancient Hindu spirit known as “Kundalini” which is manifesting in all its glory in the present day “Pentecostal, Charismatic and NAR Movements.” It is however, the same demonic spirit that manifested in the ministry of the Apostle Paul, while he ministered in the city of Philippi in Macedonia.
In (Act 16:16-18) we are told about a “damsel who was possessed with the spirit of “divination.” When this spirit manifested through the girl, it “grieved” Paul and he discerned it was an evil spirit at work in her. That young girl was associated with the pagan worship of Apollo. She was known as a Pythoness – in Greek paganism this means she was a priestess of Apollo who transmitted demonic oracles known as the “Pythia”(supernatural prophetic utterances). This girl had been hired by the Philippians to prophesy for money to those coming to the market. She evidently was a good “money maker” for them. She met Paul several days on his way to the place of prayer, and used to cry out and prophesy on each occasion in a state of ecstasy—as was the tradition of these false prophets:
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by soothsaying. 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 did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Please notice that what she said was totally accurate—so it wasn’t what she said—but how she delivered it, that let Paul know she was delivering her prophecy through the power of “Python.” For me it was most interesting to see that the word “divination” is the Greek word (NT 4436) Puthon (poo’-thone); meaning: Python, which is the Greek surname given to Apollo, the god of divination in Greek mythology. Although Montanism came to be labeled heresy by leaders who were discerning, because of its association with divination—the movement was accepted by the undiscerning because it also held to the basic tenets of Christian doctrine that was embraced by the Christian Church at large. In other words, it “looked” like a wheat seed, but was really a tare seed. This is where many Christians become confused and when we are confused on an issue we are unable to discern.
Confusion or mixture hinders discernment when a dangerous infiltration of “another spirit” is at work in a “professing” Christians’ life or ministry. As seen in the account given in (Acts 16)—false ministers can prophesy very accurately while claiming to embrace the basic doctrines of Christianity, just as Simon the sorcerer did. Just because someone preaches or teaches the basic truths of Christian doctrine, does not mean they are not filled with or led by another spirit.
This again, is a good example of the wheat and tare principle of truth and error abiding together. The undiscerning who embraced Montanism—called it the “New Prophetic Movement.” The false prophetic movement that we see today has grown out of the “seeds” of Montanism. This movement according to early church history writers, was also known for exhibiting spontaneous actions without constraint because of claims of being under the influence of the “Holy Spirit.” In other words, when the “Holy Spirit” moved upon them—they had no control over their words or actions. This too is an earmark of the Charismatic Kundalini (sorcery) spiritual influence. In case you have not seen how those under this spirit are taken over by the sorcery. For more on Kundalini, PLEASE view the video documentary, by going to this page link found on this website at:
The most dangerous and heretical element of this movement was Montanus claimed that his revelations and those of his followers were directly from the Holy Spirit (and should not be questioned) and could also supersede the authority of Jesus, Paul or anyone else! The seeds from this heresy are very detectable in the modern NAR apostolic-prophetic movement today, in which they say, If a leader or those who are “spiritual” claim to have gotten a “revelation” from the Holy Spirit (especially when it is accompanied by the bizarre supernatural uncontrollable manifestations of the the Kundalini spirit)—we are not to question whether or not it is from the Holy Spirit. Should we do so, we will be shunned for sure! Those under this heresy also believed that their “new prophecies” also supersede and fulfill the teachings and prophecies proclaimed by the twelve Apostles.
It is quite evident then, that an earmark of this heresy is “pride in ones’ prophetic revelations”—that causes them to overstep the bounds of God’s Word by refusing to have what they say or teach judged by other believers.
(1 Cor 14:29)
Let two or three prophets speak (what has been revealed to them), and let the others judge.
This movement also included an emphasis on asceticism. This type of rigorous self-denial demanded that females were forbidden to wear ornaments, and virgins were required to wear veils or head coverings. Other practices included prohibitions against remarriage following divorce (for any reason) including the death of a spouse. None of these practices however, are founded upon correct Bible teaching. They also emphasized keeping strict fasts and other religious works.
Montanus himself provided salaries for those who preached his doctrines, which the orthodox leaders in the Church at large did not permit. Two common earmarks of a cult can be detected by these Montanism practices. First is the controlling unbiblical demands placed upon females and—the second is money being used as enticement to propagate false teaching and practices. Seeds from this false movement are still being sown—as many parallels can be drawn between Montanism and modern-day movements such as Pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, and the New Apostolic Reformation (the false NAR Apostolic-Prophetic movement). I find it interesting that Montanus’ followers claimed they received the prophetic gift (i.e. as an impartation) from other prophets. New revelations and impartations are also key elements of the current NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) movement. The impartations of gifts from the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament (Romans 1:11), but there is always the danger of receiving an impartation of false spirits and manifestations from those operating in the supernatural under the power of demonic spirits.
These seeds of heresy have produced the same claims that C. Peter Wagner and many other well-known adherents of the current NAR movement make. Followers of the Mantanus’ New Prophecy Movement called themselves spiritales, meaning “spiritual people” and compared themselves to their opponents whom they termed psychici (“carnal people”). It is not hard to see the “spiritual pride” that becomes part of those under this heresy.
The response to Montanus’ New Prophecy movement split the Christian communities, and the more orthodox clergy—those who followed the teachings of the founding apostles and the Scriptures—mostly fought to suppress it, because they could discern that evil spirits possessed these Phrygian prophets.
Church history tells us that both Maximillia and Priscilla, Montanus’ two female colleagues, also claimed prophetic inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is stated that these women were the targets of failed demonic deliverances—which made them prime candidates for sorcery. Also, the churches of Asia Minor pronounced their prophecies as profane and excommunicated any New Prophecy adherents. The popularity of these women even exceeded Montanus’ own. “The Three” spoke about their ecstatic visions and urged their followers to fast and to pray, so that they might share in these new revelations.
|THE CONSEQUENCES of BAD SEEDS AREN’T ALWAYS IMMEDIATE … |
BUT THEY WILL PRODUCE BAD FRUIT!
The seeds of Montanism are being widely sown very rapidly today. It is such a deceptive “form of godliness”—because for the most part it is hiding behind a mask of orthodox Christianity—in other words it is appearing to follow the foundational doctrines of the original apostles, but in reality the worst elements of the original Montanism heresy have been expanded upon, creating new depths of error through some very popular “movements” and ministries.
Again, may we always remember that error compounds itself unless it is checked and denounced because of being convinced by the plain teaching of the Scriptures.
My prophetic watchman ministry compels me to look deep into the history, theology, and eschatology (endtime views) of a ministry. In the 60’s and 70’s during my association with the Pentecostal movement and the beginnings of the Charismatic Movement, I had, with great exuberance soaked up aspects of the theology and eschatology of these movements because before then, I hardly even knew there was such a thing as the Holy Spirit.
Since then I have studied church history and all related subjects extensively, and am now better prepared to understand the doctrine behind these movements and others they have produced. The thing I am on guard the most about is the theology and eschatology behind any new move of God. In any doctrinal camp a hefty portion of their theology revolves around, and comes from, their eschatology. So a major portion of their theology will only be as sound, or as erroneous as their eschatology.
Sad to say, many Christians make it a rule to never study any eschatology but the one they believe; and even if they do, they read only the perspective from scholars of their school of eschatology who write their biased opinions concerning other eschatological views. It turns out that many who profess to be Bible scholars, often have not honestly and methodically studied any eschatology other than the one he/she was required to study while in a seminary that holds to their specific view, thus, no alternatives are honestly investigated. Or if other views are investigated, often there is a twisting or eliminating of the Scriptures that contradict their personal eschatology.
We are running out of time, before many end time events will explode upon the world’s stage, catching many professing Christians by surprise, who are not prepared to face them. Now is the time to seek God as never before and ask Him to reveal what we need to know about the end times in which we now live. Revelation from God is given in His time, to us, to help us prepare for what we are about to face, so we are not caught unaware and are prepared to fight the good fight of faith and remain unspotted and without deception’s blemishes!
There are many false teachings and teachers of eschatology that are leading God’s people astray causing them to be unprepared and blinded to what lies ahead. May we remember what the Scriptures tell us of those who are false teachers:
2 Peter 2:12-15
12 But these (i.e., false teachers), like natural brute beasts are made to be caught and destroyed, speaking evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,
13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,
14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.
15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. NKJV
Our God is a revealer of truth to all who really want to know the truth. Faith in the truth comes by hearing God speak it to our hearts as we study the Scriptures, because “faith comes by hearing and hearing from the (spoken “rhema”) word of God” (Rom 10:17).
As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. WEB
 Robeck, Cecil M, Jr (2010), “Montanism and Present Day ‘Prophets’”, Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 32: 413
 For more information on the spirit of sorcery see (chapter 6) in my book ANATOMY FOR DECEPTION If Possible Even the Very Elect Will be Deceived! This book as well as all of my books can be read or ordered free of charge on line at: http://www.extendedlifectm.org/uploads/1/5/2/5/15250278/