I prefer not using names when speaking of others in a derogatory fashion. I’m not saying it is wrong if another writer chooses to do so. For that matter, the Apostle Paul cut right to the chase. For example:
“For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” (2 Timothy 4:10 ESV)
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.” (2 Timothy 4:14-15 ESV)
I’m just saying, so far, I have chosen not to mention names. However, we do need to be aware of false prophets. They are very plentiful and very deceptive.
I will admit that I used to get rather annoyed when others would omit the names of those we need to avoid, but later realized that I can spot them without being told their names. “How so?” you say. I’m going to tell you … later, but first let’s go here.
All too often Christians may assume that false prophets will have a scowl on their face and angry demonic words dripping from their lips that will be easy to spot. They will say things that only the Biblically stupid would miss. Well … this is often true, but it is also true that many Christians are Biblically stupid. So where does that leave us? Sure, there are those false prophets who are obvious, even to the casual Christ proclaiming Christian, but are they always so obvious?
There are two types of false prophets; i.e. (1) the “in your face nut case,” and (2) the “sly and wily sweet talker.” The “in your face nut case” is easy to spot, because they will make proclamations that only a lunatic on another planet would buy into. However, the “sly and wily sweet talker” is like a vacuum cleaner, sucking in the weak particles lying around.
“6They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:6-7 NLT)
Paul says of these false prophets that,
“These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses…” (2 Timothy 3:8 NLT)
These false prophets today would speak only of love and never judgment. Some would be so syrupy sweet you could almost taste the Maple flavoring. They would say we are all God’s children and should love one another. By the way, we are all God’s creation, but not all are God’s children. They would join up with the Lord’s enemies and “worship” in unison, compromising most all Biblical truth. They would speak the politically correct language of “many paths to God.” They would often be the intelligentsia of higher religious dribble, denying: the need for repentance, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, that Jesus is God, one way to God (Jesus), the need for Bible study, the need to study prophecy (even though it comprises one third of the Bible), and that’s just a start.
Basically, these false prophets would say exactly what the world wants to hear, not what God says is truth.
“They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly…” (2 Timothy 3:5 NLT)
“…They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.” (2 Timothy 3:8 NLT)
So what is the best way to spot false prophets? How can we protect ourselves from these seemingly nice people who are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing? Some of you are not going to like the answer because it involves work, but here goes.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the original. How is that accomplished?
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
If you are a student (disciple) of the Word and know the Scriptures, you will be able to spot a phony (false prophet), assuming you know the Author of the Word course. Otherwise, you take the likely chance of being sucked in to their lying schemes. You will buy their books and attend their conferences. You will listen with rapt attention when they are on television or radio. You will practice their misguided philosophies. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you will lose your own soul. If you are a child of God, you will be so confused you won’t know which end is up. Know the original, and you will recognize the counterfeit.