Christian Personalities
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Job 32:9 KJV) Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
One of the greatest traps that Christians have fallen into since the invention of mass media is the belief that if someone is on Television or Radio, then they must have a closer relationship with God and they somehow have much more insight than the average Christian. This is a very subtle trap and can lead to the spiritual destruction of a Christian. Since the advent of mass media, there have been many who have used it for their own gain as well as many who have used it for the furtherance of the Gospel.
Many Christian ministries have started out preaching the true Gospel but as time progressed and the preacher became more famous, there tended to be a falling away from the truth because they feared bringing the stinging Gospel of truth or they might suffer from lack of funds or their notoriety would begin to wane. This happens because most of the media preachers and teachers have no accountability to anyone, so they pretty much teach what they want. As we look at where we are in the present, you would be hard pressed to find a radio or TV ministry which is not compromised in some way. If you look at the medium of television, you will see it dominated by self-serving charismatics who teach only prosperity and good health.
So what are we to do? The answer is obvious, we are to judge those individuals according to the Scriptures. The mindset which pervades many Christians that we are not to judge is extremely unbiblical. In fact, God expects His children to judge every day we are alive. We are to judge relationships, investments, friends, those we might go into business with, those we might think to marry, and many other things. If Christians would rightly judge at the beginning of relationships, there would be a tremendously small amount of heartache. The problem with many Christians is that we run with our emotions instead of the facts. The reason we judge a situation or a person is to ascertain the facts. If people would judge cult teachings before they join, they would save themselves much heartache. All judging must be done according to the Scriptures.
(John 7:24 KJV) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
If we judge according to the appearance we will run into trouble because we are not judging with the facts. The word “appearance” in John 7:24 is the Greek word “opsis” which deals with the eye. It is understood as judging with outward appearances which we do with the eye. It is like a man and woman ready to fornicate because they look at each other with the eye and like what they see but they do not know if either of them have a sexually transmitted disease inside. They are judging according to appearance. Jesus then goes on to say that we are to make righteous judgments and the only righteous standard we have on this earth is our good ole’ King James Bible. When we begin to judge according to the Scriptures, then our judgment will be righteous because it will be sourced in what God is teaching and not man.
Those Christian personalities on radio and TV will tend to be more sensational than the local Pastor simply because they need to keep bringing in donations to stay on the air. Broadcasting time is expensive and they need to stay on the air or else they will fall into obscurity. So let us look at a few principles of properly judging these Christian personalities so we do not wind up supporting heresy.
1) Are they making wild predictions?
We live in a time when so many Christian personalities believe they have some special insights into the Bible that the rest of us do not. The truth of the matter is that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer regardless of where their ministry is. Just because a person is on radio or TV does not mean that the Holy Spirit is going to give them more. Sometimes those who are true believers who are in public ministries may from time to time see things a little deeper than others but this does not mean they hold a superior position to other Christians. If you will notice that the majority of those making wild predictions are those who are on radio or TV and have no accountability to anyone. Some of the wild predictions these self-appointed prophets make are akin to the day the world will end, being able to know with firm accuracy coming world events, that God “WILL” heal you. If many of these preachers believe that God will heal everyone, then why do their churches have cemeteries or why do they wear glasses? Benny Hinn stated on TBN that God was going to destroy all the homosexuals in 1995. Well we know that did not come to pass so he made a wild prediction. Harold Camping of Family Radio has stated that the rapture of the believers will be on May 21, 2011 and the return of Christ will be on October 20, 2011. He also espoused the belief that there will be no eternal damnation but annihilation of the unbelievers on October 20,2011. The Jehovah’s Witnesses will love him for this grasping of one of their pet doctrines. Jesse Duplantis claims he was in heaven for 5 hours. I had a chance to view his video tape where he explained his journey and it was one of the most pathetic explanations I have ever heard. Beware of those who make fanciful claims. Do not support these people or you will be partakers of their evil.
2) Are they preaching a non-biblical message?
One of the hallmarks of modern preaching is the absence of biblical material. Many media preachers are using psychology and feel good techniques to hang on to their support base. Joel Osteen is a good example of this as he preaches a feel good message and if you have ever seen his show, you will see that about 30,000 people are hanging on to every word he speaks. His books have become best sellers which means that many will be deceived into thinking that God will be their benefactor in a happy life instead of Christians seeking to be pure and living for the Lord. The life of a true Christian is one of sacrifice, concern for souls, and growing in the faith. The Christian life is not to be lived in a cloud. Yes, there are times when we will experience these but remember where does the grass grow? It grows in the valley and not on the mountaintop. Beware of any media preacher who just walks and talks without his Bible leaving the podium.
3) Are they using a multitude of translations?
One of the hallmarks of the modern preacher is their usage of a multitude of modern translations. Rick Warren (CFR Member) uses about 15 translations to make his case. Using modern translations to preach from always allows the message to become softened so it will not sting the unbeliever or cause the believer to sit up and examine themselves. This is not a question of King James Onlyism but it is preachers who seek to find translations of their passages to mold the bible to their message rather than the other way around. Beware of the modern preacher who thinks the message of God has been assuaged.
4) Are they selling snake oil for anointing oil?
One of the most longest used cons is the selling of anointing oil which is normally Johnson’s Baby Oil. I still continue to see on TV the false preachers like Peter Popoff and Kerney Thomas and others who continue to sell this snake oil and call it anointing oil. Then they bring on their shills who come out and claim as soon as they received their oil or anointed handkerchief that everything got better. All these religious schemes to raise money are nothing more than the preying on of gullible people. Whenever anyone of these shysters tells you that you are going to be better off if you send for their oil or handkerchiefs, turn the channel because you have run into a marketing man and not a true preacher.
5) Do they claim to have special insights?
How many times have you heard the expression from these media preachers, “God told me when I was praying” or “The Lord came to me when I was studying?” Many times the preacher will claim that God gave them a special insight and of course it always has to do with the hearers sending in more money. God speaks through His Word and not audibly to anyone. Whenever we are studying the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will illuminate certain passages of Scripture and this is how God shows us things from His Word. Beware of the preachers who claim they have special insights from God. The true preacher relies on the Word of God alone as their source for truth.
We live in a day when true Christianity is under satanic attack. The majority of this attack will be from within its boundaries. Many who claim to be Christians will continue to flaunt their belief systems in an attempt to seduce their hearers. There is only one way for the true believer to remain faithful and that is to be a fervent student of Scripture and compare what these people are saying and doing to the Scriptures. When doing these comparisons, we must always be relentless and never give an inch. As soon as you soften your judgment upon these people you open the door for Satan and his many seductive tricks. You must judge and you must set aside the belief that Christians are not to judge. This is a fallacy as consistent judgment helps us to maintain proper perspective. The only ones who reject scrutiny are those with something to hide.