Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:1-3)
The Spirit of AntiChrist has long been seducing the Church, through false Pastors and teachers, Pseudo Apostles and Prophets, who have substituted the true Christ, and replaced him with an image of Christ who is not really the Messiah of God.
This is what “antiChrist” means. Not so much “against Christ” but rather “instead of Christ” , or a substitute Christ. The antiChrist wants to spiritualize Christ, and in some way to deny by teaching and ritual, that Christ “has come and remains in the flesh”.
What happens to people who go from worshipping the true Christ of God, as revealed in the scriptures , and by the apostles, to worshipping another “christ”, subtly presented to the churches by deceivers?
For example what has happened to the disciples of Rodney Howard Browne, who presented Christ as a “Holy Ghost Bartender” and induced the congregations to “get drunk in the Spirit of God? What happens to a worshipper of the host of the Eucharist? Or what happens to the sensual Pentecostal followers of Bill Johnson, who have been led to believe that the Christ is a “manifest presence” which descends on a congregation imparting artifacts such as gold dust, jewels and feathers?
These are the very antichrists the apostle John is warning about here? One cannot worship Christ falsely and remain all right, there is of necessity very serious implications to being seduced by the Sprit of AntiChrist.
The true worship of Jesus Christ, who is the eternal Word of the Father and eternal life, results in at least three blessings to the worshipper. Those who worship Jesus in spirit and in truth bear the fruit of True Righteousness, True Love and True Truth! Eternal life causes one to want to really be Righteous, and it is the cause of Holy Love for God and others, and furthermore eternal life causes us to abide in Truth, which is spiritual reality as revealed by Jesus Christ the Son of God.
This who are seduced into worshipping a substitute Christ , a spiritualized Christ, bear the useless fruit of a spiritualized righteousness, and a spiritualized love, and they are left truing to maintain a very spiritualized ‘truth’ which isn’t really truth after all.
What is “spiritualized righteousness”?
Spiritualized Righteousness is a false concept that says, ‘…it doesn’t matter what you do in actuality, in your body, it makes no spiritual difference, as long as you “know who you are spiritually” in Christ”. In other words , it teaches that sin doesn’t and cannot harm your relationship with God at all, as long as you hold to the “revelation Knowledge of the gnostic teaching”.
Of course this is a serious lie, but it is very appealing. It is because of “Spiritual righteousness” , that a deceiver and antiChrist such as Todd Bentley could literally leave his feeble wife and children and take off with his secretary, in adultery and continue to minister “miracles” in the name of Jesus! What kind of righteousness is this? And perhaps more importantly, what concept of righteousness do the thousands who will continue to allow Bentley to ‘minister’ to them hold to?
A ‘spiritualized christ’ can only give you a “spiritualized righteousness”, and not real, saving Righteousness with God.
To this false teaching John speaks authoritatively,
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (I John 3:7-10)
It seems like a ‘no brainer” an obvious statement, to say that sin is of the Devil and that the one who is truly Righteous, does what is right! But the same gnosticism which distorts the person of Christ, distorts the fruit of Christ. True Righteousness makes you go to war with sin and causes us to hate it, (as Jesus hates it). False righteousness says the body is unimportant, what counts is your spiritual and metaphysical life. Nothing you do in the body affects that.
Another modern example of this is the very dangerous teaching of Joseph Prince;
‘But Pastor Prince, how can I differentiate between the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin and the accuser hurling condemnation at me?’…The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you [a believer] of your sins…I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won’t find any! The body of Christ is living in defeat because many believers don’t understand that the Holy Spirit is actually in them to convict them of their righteousness in Christ. Even when you fail…”
Prince,Joseph “Destined to Reign” Chapter 11, pages 134-135
Real Righteousness, which is given as a gift to sinners through the Gospel of Jesus (2 Cor 5:21) is concrete. It manifests in real life, Christians who believe and worship Jesus hate sin and evil and resist it when it manifests. It acknowledges the concrete reality of sin and applies the concrete rarity of the cross of Jesus and the empty tomb.
Fake righteousness is an ethereal concept which has nothing to do with the real world. To Prince, a Christian is never to be convicted of sin again, (regardless of his actual physical concrete experience) , as long as he holds to the “revelation knowledge” of “righteousness”, i.e. spiritualized righteousness.
The same goes for Love. The real Christ will impart a real ,concrete love for God and for man into the hearts of those who worship Him, who came in the flesh. It is a love manifest in deed and in truth, it is the Love which we heard of from the beginning, and it is revealed in the incarnation ( I John 4:9-10) and in the crucifixion of Christ ( I John 3:16)and in our adoption as Sons,(I John 3:1). . This Love is real, it expresses itself particularly in love for the brethren.
The gnostics love everyone in the world! Their love is so overpowering, they claim to be “lovesick for God”. Like the Roman Catholic, medeival mystics which they admire, their “love” for God is semi erotic as I illustrate in this passage from my own book,Beware the New Prophets Revised,
But some of the modern “worship lyricists” are going there, unfortunately, due to this misguided emphasis. John Mark Mac- millan, in the song “How He Loves” touches on this in the lyrics:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss, And the heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain this regrets,
When I think about, the way He loves us,
Why I Wouldn’t Send Any Kids to IHOP 73
Oh how He loves us . . . 9
Perhaps more obvious would be the mass wedding, at the Kan- sas City Convention Center, as reported by CBN reporter Wendy Griffith, on January 6, 2002.
Some 20,000 mostly young people packed the Kansas City Convention Center on New Year’s Eve for a wedding ceremony unlike any other . . . as each person who came embarked on a marriage covenant with the Bridegroom of Heaven . . . From noon until midnight they danced and sang, fasted and prayed, and got ready to get married to Jesus.
“There’s going to be a wedding and God is raising up friends of the Bridegroom to prepare the church, there’s going to be a wedding!”
One by one, thousands of men and women, young and old, made their vows and walked under the prayer shawl symbolizing their commitment to Jesus . . .
Here is an excerpt from a booklet produced by IHOP which was at one time considered required reading—
He [God] has given Himself to both the exhilarations and the woundings of a lovesick heart. When He gazes upon me, He sees through the eyes of love and desire. He comes before me and says, “I am a Man in love. I am a God that burns with desire, and I have set My affections on you. I am an all-consuming fire of love, and you are the inheritance that My Father has promised me. Will you receive My love?”10
Here, again from the same book, are the lyrics to a song.
O Gaze Eternal,
How penetrating are Your Fires
Beware the New Prophets
Rushing through my darkest places With the burning streams of Desire Leaving me naked, purged and bare . . . Yet embraced . . .
You take hold of my weakest places And kiss them with Your mercy Lifting up my low grounds
With your mighty love so holy . . .11
This pseudo spiritual erotic sensuality is rapidly infecting un- wary evangelical and Pentecostal churches, leading people astray from the true worship and awe of God, into an experienced based form of ecstasy that is more akin to the pagan religions that Chris- tianity once defeated. I predict that with this idolatry will come much immorality and even worse forms of darkness.
It should be obvious that this is neither the true righteousness, given as a gift to the worshipper of Jesus, nor is this the real Love of God, which is imparted to us that we be as Christ himself. How could they be? A Pseudo christ, disincarnate and spiritualized, can only impart to his gnostic worshippers a fake and spiritualized, ethereal love and righteousness.