The biblical injunction to discern and test the spirits : the case of charismatic church leaders within the area of the Emfuleni municipality
Nhlapo, Bhambatha Timothy
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The injunction to discern and test spirits is the crucial aspect that seems to be ignored by some church leaders these days. Although this has been the litmus test throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament that false prophets and the false teachings could be rejected. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were cautioned by God to distinguish between true and false prophets by the results of the prophecy, to say that if the prophecy comes to pass they will know that the prophet is the true prophet. But if the prophecy does not come to pass, the nation must know that one is a false prophet and they must not listen to that kind of prophet because he is a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). One must think that it is a grievous error for the church to undermine or ignore the injunction to discern and test the spirits. One will think that this is the reason we see unfamiliar practices and teachings that are contrary to the Bible. Some practices are lethal to the congregants. Giving congregants petrol to drink, and feeding them grass, rodents, snakes and lizards to eat, spraying insecticides on their faces in the promise of miracle healing, including prophecies in the promise of prosperity. All these call for serious concern. All of these are not only harmful towards people, but also degrading the message of the Gospel. The book of 1 John 4:3-4 states that we must not believe that all spirits are from God but that we must test the spirits. The intention of this project is to call the charismatic church leaders back to the basics; to caution them not to overlook and ignore the injunction to discern and test the spirits and not to believe that all spirits are from God. But there is also the spirit of the anti-Christ that has come to deceive many (1 John 4:3-4).
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