Learn to Discern

by | Jan 31, 2003 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

You were probably as horrified as I was when you heard that Carlton Pearson, a prominent leader among charismatics, has embraced universalism–the belief that Buddhists, Hindus and just about anyone else can get to heaven without repentance and a profession of faith in Jesus. Those who heard Carlton explain his “new revelation” labeled it a heresy, and rightly so. As a result, his church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, lost many of its members.


It’s sad enough that a brother has left the faith and that a once-vibrant church could be wiped off the map by false doctrine. But what really disturbs me is that I see potential for more Carlton Pearson scenarios. I’ve identified five unhealthy trends in our churches that are sure breeding grounds for heresy:


1. Egotism. We’ve become so comfortable with the one-man show that we forget where pride leads. Does your pastor, bishop or apostle think it is a sign of his superior spirituality when he arrives at the church 40 minutes late in a limousine? Is he so full of himself that he does multimedia presentations in church about the mansion he built with your offerings? If so, you will regret
following him when his latest revelation proves him to be a spiritual fraud.


2. Authoritarianism. If you assumed that the Shepherding Movement died in the late 1980s, think again. Unhealthy views of spiritual authority are rampant in charismatic churches today, and if these teachings go unchallenged then another wave of Christians will be abused. Please note: True shepherds do not control, manipulate, threaten or dominate people. If your pastor uses fear or gestapo tactics to motivate his members, your church is headed for disaster. You should leave.


3. Elitism. Is it taught from the pulpit that your church or denomination is better than other groups? Do leaders imply that they have a special “inside track” with God? Do they suggest that you should not associate with outsiders? If so, you should challenge this prideful spirit and then find a healthy church. Groups that do not embrace the entire body of Christ can fall into deception and become cults.


4. Legalism. Rigid religious people persecuted Jesus and the early apostles, and the same spirit is still at work today. If your church teaches that salvation is based on your following a dress code or conforming to some outward religious practice, then modern Pharisees are running the place–and their doctrines produce joyless, loveless faith.


5. Mysticism. We charismatics are challenging the church at large to embrace the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, and that’s a good thing. But let’s not forget that the gift of discernment is just as necessary as visions and miracles.


Weird, immature prophets are busy today splitting churches and distracting God’s people from kingdom priorities. These flakes shouldn’t have a platform. If your church is being controlled by a superspiritual know-it-all (whose character doesn’t match his “prophetic anointing”), then be on your guard.


This is an exciting day of revival, but we can’t be careless watchmen when the devil is plotting to deceive us. If we deal with the unhealthy spiritual environments that breed deception, then maybe Carlton Pearson’s crisis won’t have to be repeated.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...

RECENT ARTICLES

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises...
Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFbfS03JkKY&t=1s Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest