Dear friends, 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 (1 John 4:1).

It Is Written

Test the spirits to see whether they are from God. It will be critical in these perilous times as we stand for Christ for us to better understand the Bible, and to then be able to use God’s Word in our lives and witness. This is also a subject you are going to see me cover with increased emphasis because Satan has such a firm grip on this nation–and on more and more of the Church as well–through his postmodern philosophy of relativism and the skepticism it inevitably produces. All of which is really just the same old trick that the Devil used on Eve in Genesis 3:1 where he asked her, “Did God Really Say?”

You need to know that this quite faulty line of thinking is very deeply rooted in most people within the Emergent Church movement and perhaps even more-so its pastors and leaders. Oddly enough one of the foundational reasons that this movement exists, is their supposed superior “enlightenment” that the Christian is really unable to actually know for sure what given texts of the Bible in fact say. In other words, we are told that because no one is omniscient, then it logically follows (so they say) that we have to allow for various interpretations as no one can say conclusively what key verses of Holy Scripture really mean.

This is the very idea that Rob Bell, a prominent and popular pastor in the Emergent Church puts this forth in his book Velvet Elvis. Bell begins undermining our confidence in arriving at what a given text in the Bible means when he tells us something that is partially true: “Everybody’s interpretation is essentially his or her own opinion” (053). He then discusses “an intense meeting” where leaders within his church “were discussing several passages in the Bible.” Finally one of them said that after studying them out thoroughly she had “decided to get back to the Bible and just take it for what it said” (ibid).

The Skeptical Smokescreen

Here is where Bell jumps track as a pastor when he says:

Now please understand that this way of thinking is prevalent in a lot of Christian churches,… But this view of the Bible is warped and toxic, to say the least. The assumption is that there is a way to read the Bible that is agenda-and perspective-free. As if all these other people have their opinion and biases, but some are able to just read it for what it says (053,054)

Since the focus of this work is the testing of the spirits I use this as an example of how we test a pastor-teacher. This is an immensely important issue affecting our young today because they are not equipped to deal with this type of argument, nor it seems are many adults today for that matter. For you see, Bell is revealing a postmodern skepticism here by saying that the historic orthodox Evangelical Protestant position regarding proper hermeneutics and exegesis “is warped and toxic.” First of all, in an attempt to make his point he must first misstate our position by saying that those of us who say that God spoke to us in propositional Truth which we are then capable of understanding assume “there is a way to read the Bible that is agenda-and perspective-free.”

This is not what the Church has taught at all. The true Body of Christ has always taught exactly what the Bible itself says – The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). And further we most certainly can know what God has revealed to us, and we can come to full understanding of what our Lord tells us in the Bible about Himself for two very important reasons–among many others. First, Christ Jesus Himself told us that God the Holy Spirit has an important job to do for the true Christian. Our Lord said – “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His Own” (John 16:13).

The Mind Of Christ

Then as any good instructor the Master Teacher anticipates the logical question that follows His teaching: “Who is He going to speak for; where will He get this ‘Truth’?” So Jesus says in the next verse – “taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” We see here that this Truth is going to come from Jesus, but there’s more because we see that the entire Trinity is involved as our Lord then says – “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (v.15). Which leads us nicely into the other reason that the true Christian will be able to know with assurance what God has said in the Bible – we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

So now the postmodern who wishes to deny that the Christian can understand what Holy Scripture says has a problem that not even N.T. Wright can solve for them. An eyewitness reports Jesus telling the born again Christian that the Holy Spirit of Truth will guide you into all God’s Truth, and then God further informs us that we have the mind of Christ. And then a little later on in John’s Gospel Jesus asks the Father to sanctify His true followers “through Thy Truth,” and then says to Him – “Thy Word Is Truth” (John 17:17). Can you see now why all cultic-like groups have to lower someone’s trust in Holy Scripture before they can begin to indoctrinate them? If you read the Bible for what it says, you will see there is no need for skeptical postmodern spirits like Rob Bell to come along and teach us his own biased view of the Bible.

We need to recognize the following logical flaw of postmodern skepticism. For them to tell us no one can really know the truth contained in the Bible is itself an absolute statement about truth that they wish us to believe is true. However, this statement itself is based on their own presupposition and biases that someone can’t know for certain what is true. But for them to be able to prove this circular and self-defeating statement they would themselves have to be omniscient (all-knowing) in order to know if it is in fact true that no one can know truth for sure. Until that were to happen what they have told you is nothing more than their own agenda and perspective against knowing truth. Ultimately since they don’t think anything can be known to be true exactly, then we would have no way of knowing if their statement itself is true.

So based on the Truth of what I just showed you in God’s Word, as we test the spirit here, Rob Bell fails the test. For the LORD God Almighty Himself in human flesh says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s a whole lot wiser to turn your back on Bell and just take Jesus at His Word.

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