Christian Discernment: A Necessity

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Col 2:8 KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

In the above verse we read the Bible’s warning to us concerning those that would spoil us. The word “spoil” carries with it the meaning of “lead captive or make prey of.” In other words, we are being warned that there are going to be unscrupulous characters who will attempt to draw us away from Christ and to follow the vain philosophies of the world. Normally, we can spot those unbelievers who come to us with the vain philosophies of this present world and we are able to refute them. One of the most dangerous things that the Christian has encountered is the one who comes to them dressed as a Christian and sells a pseudo-gospel to them.

This is where discernment is of absolute value but true discernment will only be available to those who truly know the Bible. A Christian who reads more about the Bible than the Bible will be one with diminished discernment and will be more susceptible to being carried away by a false gospel. One of the most dangerous things a Christian will adopt by reading the works of men is that when a biblical opinion is needed on a certain subject, they will be unable to give one because they will only know the opinions of the author they are reading. Ignorance of the Bible for a Christian is like ignorance of medicine for a doctor. What kind of surgeon would one be if they didn’t know the difference between a scalpel and a tuning fork?

We can deal with those worldly philosophies on the outside, but what about the false teachers on the inside of Christianity which are taking Christians for a ride by introducing false teachings. For example, one of the most blasphemous networks on TV aimed at Christians is the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The acronym has also been applied to the following two descriptions, “The Blasphemy Network” and “The Begging Network.” However you view it, it is one of the most central places for false doctrines and false teachers ever gathered under one roof and placed in front of the camera. People who watch these fraudulent Charismatics will soak in the false teachings of people like Benny Hinn, Ken Copeland, Rod Parsely, and all sorts of women preachers. In fact Mrs. Benny Hinn committed the act of blaspheming the Holy Spirit on TBN when she said that, “people need a holy ghost enema up their rear end.” This statement was met with much applause and approbation by the people on stage and the imbeciles in the audience. This is why TBN is better known as The Blasphemy Network.

Ken Copeland has preached that Adam was God in the flesh. Benny Hinn has preached that Adam was able to fly into outer space by himself simply because he needed to fly to have dominion over the fouls of the air. If this theory is true then did Adam swim to the bottom of the ocean to have dominion over all those sea creatures also? Robert Tilton claims that if you send him a $1000 vow cloaked in the belief that you are vowing to God, then God will give you a new house, new car, big paying job, and much wealth. If a person wants to make a faith vow, which is not unbiblical, then why not make it to missions where the money will be used to reach people for Christ.

I have used these few examples just to show that in the days that we live in there are people within the confines of Christianity which are attempting to make a prey of the naďve sheep. If one knows their Bible, they will know that no way Adam was God in the flesh, because that would mean that God would have sinned by violating His own command not to eat from the tree. Yet, when Ken Copeland made that ungodly statement, he was met with thundering applause. Nothing pleases sinful man more than being told they are God. This is precisely what the New Age movement teaches. Some years back, Shirley MacLaine claimed she was God. Isn’t it suspect to a thinking Christian when a supposed “preacher” teaches the same thing as the satanic New Age movement? Yet, this man is well funded to continue to preach his false doctrines.

It Is not only the charismatic movement which is bringing forth the false doctrines, but there are teachers out there of different denominations who are bringing in damnable heresies. There is Rick Warren’s church growth movement called “Purpose Driven Churches.” The Bible tells us that every true church has the purpose of sending forth the Gospel to its neighbors and in missions. There is no more clearer purpose than that. The church growth movement teaches that entertainment in place of Gospel preaching and innocuous, non-offending preaching is needed to bring in the people. So a church abandons Christ and grows to 30,000, what or where is the accomplishment? This movement is ungodly to the core, yet it has hundreds of churches across this country following its pattern. The church has been made a prey of, simply because the leaders no longer are saved nor do they know their Bible.

Television and Churches are not the only places where Christians are being led captive to false teachings but on the radio also. Harold Camping of Family Stations tells people to leave their church, whether it is a true church or not. He claims that Satan is being worshipped in every church, even the true ones. On March 1, 2002, in my hearing, he said on his Open Forum program, “That Satan is king in the churches.” Not only are they to leave their church but they are to listen to Family Radio which he claims is still bringing the truth. In his book, “What Must I do to be Saved,” he speaks of the faithful teachers still on Family Radio. When one listens to Family Radio, you only hear one teacher, and that is Camping. So very subtlety he is saying that he is the faithful teacher and all ears must be attentive to him. Whenever they play a message by another, it is only of his minions teaching the same lie as Camping does. This man is also well-funded to continue to fill the airwaves with lies and deceit.

We live in a day when Colossians 2:8 is a major warning for our spiritual existence. There are false teachers around every corner which are waiting just to pounce on the naďve sheep.
(Acts 20:29-30 KJV) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. {30} Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Do you see the warning in verse 30? The people who are going to deceive the sheep are going to arise out of the very congregations and ministries that we support. Satan doesn’t need to send anyone into the congregations. All he has to do is convince someone in the congregation that they have discovered something new in the Bible and that this new doctrine is needed by everyone else, hence, the beginning of schism and a new cult is born, if it is not nipped in the bud by astute church leaders.

The church has always been plagued by false teachers down through history but never before at this level. The rule used to be to find a false church now the exception is to find a true church. We are living in the time prophesied in the Bible known as Jacob’s Trouble. False teachers and false gospels are surrounding the church on every side. The true believer is being bombarded by free will gospels, charismatic signs and wonders gospels, blaspheming teachers, Bible replacement ministries, church is dead teachings, revival of Pelagianism, ecumenicalism, psycho-heresy, entertainment gospels, etc. Now more than ever must true Christian thought be tied to the Scriptures. We need to possess the discernment that only a pure study of Scripture will give us. If we neglect the Scriptures, then we too, will become a prey for the false teacher, as so many who name the name of Christ already have. The most terrible part is, that these people do not even realize they have become a prey of the false teacher. Once the false teacher manipulates them, they become the enemy of truth and defenders of the false.
(Isa 5:20 KJV) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Today, are you in the camp of the Saints or the camp of the ain’ts? Your eternal soul depends on it.   (4/2/04)