September 27

Written by Bill Grandi on September 27th, 2022

One of the hardest things as a pastor is to be honest with oneself. I have a specific honesty in mind as I write that. The honesty I’m thinking of is spurred on by the Scripture from I John 4: 1-3:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now it is already in the world.”  (NASB2020)

That phrase “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” stands out to me. That phrase must stop at my front door, THEN it goes to other doors. It is common for pastors, etc to point fingers at another teacher, call them “False”, and never once look at their own heart or teaching.

As I discern myself, and as I check out (test) others, what criteria do I use to “test the spirits?” I think there are two qualities/characteristics I can look for:

  1. A teacher’s character. Character can’t be tested by measuring eloquence or giftedness. There are those who are talented speakers but have a questionable character. There are also those who have a stellar character but are not very good speakers. It is better to choose the latter and hope he gets better at speaking, than the former. {A great example of that is Billy Graham and Charles Templeton. Google it and check it out}.
  2. Content of the teacher’s instruction. This is where real discernment is needed. Is he teaching truth? Not man’s truth but God’s truth. Not everyone who names the name of Christ is a true teacher of God.

There has always been false teachers. They seem to proliferate these days, I think, in large part thanks to media. But because they are “successful;” marry a rock musician; have a private jet or two; have crusades all over the world; claim healing; and live in mansions, does not make them true teachers of God’s truth.

Be discerning. Be alert. Be wise. Don’t be afraid to follow the clear teachings of the Scripture and stand against falsehood.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Thanks for reminding us to be more discerning in our evaluations of those who claim to know the Word.
    Blessings, Bill!

  2. gail says:

    It is always hard to decide what reading outside of the bible is still good teaching and goes along with the bible. Like you said there are many false teachers who are great speakers or writers who do not have the Lord’s words in mind as they write or speak. I am always grateful when you suggest a book to read, that goes along with sound bible teaching. Discernment is always needed, no matter what type of media you are listening too, or what type of reading you are doing. Discernment also needs to be present in our own lives when we speak or engage in any activity. No matter what it is, we should ask the question, does this align with the bible.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      First, thanks for taking my book suggestions to heart Gail. I do try to be discerning when it comes to that. On your comment, You hit the nail on the head about asking ourselves if what I say or do aligns with the bible.

  3. Ryan S. says:

    I had commented yesterday, but apparently did not hit submit…

    I’ll try to summarize…

    Of the two above, as you indicated, the second is where the real discernment comes. I would rather listen to a stuttering street preacher preaching the truth than a well dressed, well groomed, and well-educated, silver-tongued suit that tickles the ear with half-truths and feel-good self-help messages that use the Bible as way to merely gain an audience.

    |——————|***/ \

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Well said Ryan. I am with you wholeheartedly. as for the “picture” I’m sorry it didn’t come out better. It was hilarious.