Beware the Impact of False Prophets in the Internet Era
By CCD contributor: Zhi Xian , November 07, 2017 09:11 AM
Heresies have existed since the Apostolic Age. In 2 Peter, the author specifically warned about false teachers, earnestly reminding the disciples to hold onto the never-changing truth of Gospel. In chapter 2 verse 1, he said:
"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves."
Paul also wrote letters to brothers in Colossus regarding the overwhelming Gnosticism, criticizing the incorrect teaching and verifying the abundance of Christ.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
The fact that orthodox churches are suffering from heresies is historical and should not be neglected.
I lived in the countryside when I was little, and I remember the most prevailing heresy at the time; "Eastern Lightning." Every brother and sister in our rural church has suffered from what they have done, such as throwing books in the yard and writing fluorescent letters on the walls, so in the evening believers would believe they saw "visions"; they even wrote on stones as a sign of God; playing pre-recorded sounds through the windows of believers' homes...
On one hand, we were very frightened. On the other hand, we fought with our wisdom and courage.
Nevertheless, the church suffered a great loss under such impact. Many rural churches were infected because their leaders were captivated. By the time I became a teenager, a new scheme sprang up within the church, which was surveying new believers. "Eastern Lightning" sneaked into the church under the disguise of seeking God, established good relations with believers with little faith, and lured them into heresy.
As the time goes on and technology advances, the way heresies disseminate also changes.
I was at a believer's home the other day and his mother played "sermons" via the cellphone. The sermon said, "since God created men and women in His image, so He first came as a man and the second time as a woman..." The interpretation of the Bible was wrong and it resembled the teaching of "Eastern lightening," however, the brother enjoyed it.
I must say that this era needs our effort to resist heresy more than ever. Heresies today penetrate into our lives without us realizing it. Back when the internet was less advanced, we had our pastors to help us identify the heresy. But right now we might be clouded by the heresy when listening to sermons at home, reading online articles, or listening to people's testimonies.
People today prefer interesting things over the messages of walking the path of the cross and denying oneself. Bible studies on prophecy, such as Revelation and Daniel are all filled up. Many heresies like to interpret prophecy and Christ's second coming, but inevitably they neglect messages on redemption, rebirth, and the path of the cross.
Heresies prevail today more than ever. There are a few questions concerning the church: How to keep believers from interruption via online heresies? How to build believers on orthodox theology for better discernment? How to guarantee the continual and valuable supply for believers to spare them from searching on their own?
In case of cyber heresy, simply engage in online ministry so we pass on pure Gospel.
More importantly, as individual believers, we need to have firsthand knowledge of the Word of God and study it. Pray to God for His protection. When we have a close relationship with God, we'll know what comes from Him and what doesn't.
Sometimes people are deluded about their feelings. Such as crying at some events and feeling relaxed under certain circumstances. Rely on the Word of God instead of feelings. Our enemies will fake impressions, God's Word is the only standard.
His Word never fails and that is our steady foundation.
"False prophets" existed in the Old Testament and "false disciples" in the Apostolic Age. There will be "false teachers," "false pastors," and "false Christians" as well. In 2 Peter 2:3, it said that
"Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."
God will certainly examine and punish those people. But most importantly, we should be more careful in this era so that we won't be devoured.
-Translated by Grace Hubl
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