Today more than ever there is a great need for biblical discernment and discrimination in a world with ever changing views and philosophies that are gaining a foothold and told as truth. Many believers remain biblically illiterate and spiritually gullible to any passing thought or theory. They naively accept any teaching as truth, rather than test to see if it lines up biblically. “Conversations with God” is a series of books written by Neale Donald Walsch, in which Walsch asks questions and “God” answers. Walsch’s “Conversations with God”, first published in 1995, quickly landed on the New York Times Best-Sellers List and stayed there for 137 weeks. Walsch tells in an interview with Larry King that the book was conceptualized when he wrote an angry letter to God asking questions about his life at a low period in his life. It was then when he heard a voice over his right shoulder say: “Do you really want an answer to all these questions or are you just venting?” He turned around he saw no one there, but felt answers to his questions were filling his mind and decided to write them down. The dialogue he heard became the foundation for his series of books.
The Scholastic Book Club has picked up the series targeted for teens and children which are being sold to schools for children. The titles sound harmless enough, but nothing could be further from the truth. The glossy colorful covers which draw a person’s curiosity by the thought of a true experience with God. This book certainly makes and truth of the famous statement, “Don’t judge a book by its cover or title.”
Every good parent teaches his children to discriminate, to discern from what is right or wrong or evil. I think we can all recall conversations with our parents about the danger of accepting rides or candy from strangers, but how many Christian parents teach their children how to discern spiritual matters. There are many people in the world who will take advantage of the naiveté of our children. If Satan has the opportunity to get a foothold in our children, he will rob them of their spiritual riches.
In the series, Walsch answers various questions asked by kids by using the “voice of God”. Walsch’s “answers” are not Bible-based and go against the infallible word of God. Homosexual issues rise in the book and the “voice of God” proposes that genetics are the cause of the problems, and rather to “celebrate” their differences. Another pressing subject that our society is dealing with is that of premarital sex, and living with one another before marriage. As the biblical convictions are eroding with each generation, the worldly viewpoint takes center stage in the schools, on tv and glorified in movies. We often underestimate the power of a witness proclaiming the sinfulness of living with one another before marriage, which could change a persons mind, but that viewpoint has almost disappeared in our society such as a leaf on a windy day. A question is proposed in the teens guide about living in sin over living with a girlfriend or boyfriend when Walsch’s response is “Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong.”
God’s forgiveness of sin also surfaces in the book, where his reply is “I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive… There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone, do not judge people. People have chosen to judge one another and this is wrong, because the rule is “‘judge not lest ye be judged.”
In this day and age we are seeing a massive amount of doctrines come forth from New Age religions which conveniently combine biblical verses and new age together to form a seeker friendly message. Not only are “Conversations with God” series of books false doctrine of the devil, but in some instances quote (in error) the Word of God.
The Christian who abides in Christ and walks in the Spirit loves truth and hates error. The bible gives us a formula to test what is FROM YHWH and what is doctrines of The Devil.
In 1 John 4:1-6 we are told how to TEST “the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
I would encourage anyone to review the series by Coy Wylie which examines the command to test the spirits for an essential basis for judgement.
In John, he speaks to believers and warns us not to “believe every spirit” but “test” them as to “whether they are of God.” Why? Because there are “many false prophets” who have “gone out into the world.”
We are told that as Christians we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, but John also makes important mention that there are other “spirits” loose in the world and that we must “approve or examine.” or put to test their purity. Wylie says behind every prophet is a spirit, and the big question is ” is this the Spirit of God or an evil spirit that has mislead this teacher” Wylie says “I’ve been in some churches where they would “amen” almost anything.”
It was not only John who warned us of False Doctrines………
Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”
Paul wrote in 1 Thess. 5:20-22, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
Jesus warned in Mt.7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…”
Peter also warned us in 2 Pet.2:1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”
The FORMULA for Testing the Spirits
The formula is simple and revealing!
1. Observe whether the person or group proclaims Jesus Christ as God (I Corinthians 12:3). If they are off about Jesus, they are wrong about God. Paul states in 1 Cor.12:3, “No one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
One great example of this is Oprah Winfrey who has rigorously promoted A.W. Tozers book who WAS a American Christian Pastor as Wikipedia proclaims but his SERIES of Books talk about Jesus, but not ABOUT the Jesus of the Bible. On her tv show, Oprah denies that Jesus is God, and that all paths lead to God. The talk can FOOL you to believe what they are saying COULD be truth, but it is far from it, and toxic!
2. Observe what a person or organization does. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus explains that false prophets are known by their fruit – by their conduct and actions.
“Fruit of the Spirit” sums up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. Galatians 5:22-23, these attributes are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. The fruit of the Spirit is one ninefold “fruit” that characterizes all who truly walk in the Holy Spirit.
3. By listening to the doctrine of the person or organization. (I John 4:1-3). Does their confession line up with the truth of God’s Word?
Do the teachings about Jesus line up with the bible? A great example of this is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, or The Church of Latter Days Saints which talk about Jesus, but their doctrine is extremely destructive and so far OFF from the scriptures.
Today more than ever, we need to test doctrines and see if they line up with the word of God. We also need to physically take a stand and guard our eyes and ears from the messages that can get planted into our spirits on television, in the movies, on the Internet, music and books that are available to us and our children who don’t know better.