1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”
I work with people that have roots all over the world, from India, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Guatemala, and the Philippines, the perspective of culture is very broad.
With cultures comes various views of spiritualism. I was talking with a lady who grew up in India, having been influenced by the polytheistic culture of her land, she views spirituality in light of how she was influenced, particularly Hinduism.
Hinduism is considered by many to be the world’s oldest religion—I would beg to differ.
Just because the Bible has text dating only 3500 years ago, doesn’t diminish the fact that the principles in the Bible predate it’s written form. The God of Creation who has existed before time, inspired and compiled His Word through those who faithfully served Him. For those who walked with God in early history, they knew the principles of His laws through oral tradition and they were demonstrated by how they lived.
Romans 5:12-14 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned. For sin was in the world before the law was given; but sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who did not sin in the way that Adam transgressed. He is a pattern of the One to come.”
Sin implies a breaking of God’s laws. The laws of God are demonstrated through a revelation of God’s character. I’ve illustrated this point before but it bears repeating; the very same descriptions the Bible uses for God are the same descriptions used for God’s law.
A few examples would be:
(God)Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
(Law)Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”
Luke 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
Romans 7:12 “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”
1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Romans 13:10 “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
The list goes on and on, the character of God is demonstrated by His law and this law was an expectation that was placed on Adam until today, it has never changed, it has never become obsolete, it will remain steadfast forever.
The entire Bible is a demonstration of man’s attempts to either honor God’s law in how they live or recover from offending God’s law through Jesus Christ’s fulfillment of the law. For those who choose to offend God’s laws without remorse, Hell is the eternal consequence.
The religion of God’s law has been in place before man was ever formed.
The angels are subject to this law as well as mankind. When Lucifer chose to rise up against God’s authority, he sinned and was cast out of God’s presence and lost his position.
There is no form of man made religion that predates God’s order, the Bible is simply the written explanation of all that mankind has known since the beginning.
The world has millions of ways to be “spiritual”, from modern day witchcraft practiced by Wiccans, to ancient cultural practices that use shamans and witch doctors—the methods used to conjure up healing or connect with spirits dates back thousands of years.
The term spiritualism actually has a specific connotation. Spiritualism is a religious movement based on the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and have the ability and the necessary means to communicate with the living. The afterlife, or the “spirit world”, is seen by spiritualists, not as a static place, but as one in which spirits continue to evolve.
For many people, the idea of being spiritual demonstrates a generic term attributed to anyone who practices a belief in the supernatural. If you pray, it doesn’t matter who you pray to, your practicing some form of “spiritual” practice.
Biblically, being spiritual is to be connected with the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
For those who practice any generic form of spiritual practice, they only satisfy the need to feel like they are connected to something bigger than themselves. Sadly, any spiritual practice not associated with Christ is a demonic practice.
1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,”
When people practice divination, tarot cards, ouija boards, or any connection with the spiritual world that is meant to gain direction, they most likely connect with demons. The practices themselves were established by inspiration from demonic spirits and form worship of demons that are the enemy of mankind. When witch doctors claim healing, the draw from the deceptive world of Satan. When seers dupe people into thinking they can see the future, they either deceive their constituents or the demonic influences give an illusion of seeing into the future.
There is a very real spiritual war happening around us that people try to tap into and this can influence their lives quite dramatically.
1 Corinthians 10:20 “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.”
The most common and destructive deception today is practiced by those who claim christianity but institute deceptive practices.
One of the most common denominations deceiving the church today is the Bethel church movement. Samuel Fang, writing for Crit-large explains the move toward heresy at Bethel:
Bethel Church is a juggernaut of a megachurch located in Redding, California, known for its catchy chart-topping worship songs (such as “Reckless Love” and “Raise a Hallelujah”) that are played in many churches and on many Christian radio stations worldwide. Bethel, led by its charismatic, fifth-generation pastor, Bill Johnson, is also known for its wildly unorthodox behaviors and practices, such as emphasizing “power encounters” (prophecies, healings, and ‘feeling God’s presence’), appearances of “glory clouds”(supposed angel feathers or gold dust floating in the air from the air ducts), practicing “laughing in the spirit” (drunken like laughter attributed to the Holy Spirit), and being “moved by the spirit,” (erratic motions, jumping around in circles and falling to the ground) a display that resembles a scene out of a horror film.
Bethel’s theology is very appealing to the masses as it twists the Word of God and shifts the attention that should be on God, to self. This is explicitly seen in Bill Johnson’s haphazard treatment of Scripture. In his book, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Johnson says,
“For many years I misunderstood the biblical concept of desire. Psalm 37:4 tells us: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’ Like many pastors, I foolishly taught that if you delighted yourself in the Lord, He would change your desires by telling you what to desire. But that’s not at all what this means. That verse literally means that God wants to be impacted by what you think and dream. God is after your desires. The word desire is made up of the prefix ‘de’ meaning ‘of,’ and sire meaning ‘father.’ Desire is, by nature, of the Father.”
2 Peter 2:1 “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.”
There are so many more aspects of the Bethel movement that has taken biblical truth and twisted it to reflect their practices, the deceptive title of “Christian church” shows that it takes more than a title to be true.
Spiritualism has many forms and titles, if your unsure of what truth looks like, you could be easily deceived.
Looking out for falsity can be held against certain principles:
- False teachers are men pleasers.
- False teachers bring reproach against Christ’s people.
- False teachers are driven by their own heads and hearts.
- False teachers pass over the law and gospel.
- False teachers use clever language and appearances to disguise.
- False teachers try to win others by winning debates.
- False teachers gain from their followers.
There is so much more that can be said regarding the corrupt practices of worldly spiritualism, the best way to recognize them is to know the Truth of God’s Word. The Lord gives discernment as you walk with Him.
Whether it’s a generic spiritual practice or a false religion, the myriad of deceptions can be addressed by sticking to the gospel. Jesus is the only One who proved His divinity and the gospel makes it very clear what we must do in regards to our sin—-repent and believe.
We must be wise and if we find ourselves having been deceived, making a quick clean break is imperative. The world needs to know God’s Truth, it’s more than a spiritual practice that embodies life itself, it is Jesus and He is the only One that can bring clarity into a world gone astray.