How to Spot False Gods
Why are there so many false religions, and how do I know which ones are real? I hear a lot of singers, movies and writers talking about ancient gods or mythology stories. For example, Rain Man is the nickname for Amun-Re, or Re, who was Horus Re, or Horus the Egyptian Sun God. I saw that Amun means “let it be”. And “contentment” or “forgiven sins.” Just say his name and Amun will forgive your sins and help the poor.
Superhero stories are everywhere. They seem like “god creatures,” battling evil and saving the innocent. I think people want someone beyond themselves to save them from the darkness. How do you know which God is real?
I know I’m not the only one. And as Christians we need to fight against the constant battle of Satan trying to disprove our Faith…
I will always love and worship Christ. But I bring the path that I went down on attempting discovery because I am not the only one or only Christian that is walking down this path. I will always be a Christian. But do you have any thoughts and wisdom for the countless loss souls who are being sucked away through this path of misleading truths?
Sorry for not giving my real email and name. I’m reaching out here because I’m a bit afraid of what my preacher will say to these questions. I will look back again later though.
Thank you so much.
Dear “Always Christian,”
I am fascinated by your question. I am sorry that you are afraid to ask your pastor. However, I’m glad you feel free to share with me. My opinion is that pastors need to be secure enough in their own faith that they can allow people to express their searching times away from Christ as well as the deep inner questions they harbor about the validity of Christianity. Your questions are quite applicable to today and I agree that many are asking the same questions or others like it.
As I consider how to approach your letter, I think it best to deal with the general principles for identifying false religions, false teachers and false prophets. We live in an age of religious confusion—just like the Roman empire of Christ’s time. Virtually any world view is available in today’s pluralistic market place of ideas. Our generation is in ideological and societal agony—grasping for anything that promises to offer the ecstasy of a cosmic relationship—or peace and stability in a wavering world.
Let me share a simple Bible check list of how to spot a false prophet or religion.
THE BIBLE REPEATEDLY WARNS US TO BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS.
As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives He said to His disciples: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:3-5, 24).
Paul’s last words to the Ephesian elders included a somber warning about inevitable false teachers: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you and not spare the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away the disciples after them. So be on the alert” (Acts 20:29-31).
There has always been a large market for false prophets. They were loose in the first century and every century since.
HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING?
1. They Teach The “Broad Way” Without Any “Narrow Way.”
Jesus taught, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many are there who find it. But narrow is the way and confining is the gate that leads to life, and few there be who find it” (Matthew 7:15-20).
According to the false religions of today you can believe anything you want and behave however you like. False teachers say nothing that might offend or turn people away. You never have to change your actions or behavior. God can be anything you want him to be.
Today’s religions offer a christ without a cross or physical resurrection, a gospel without repentance or forgiveness, to an audience of potential equals without sin or shame who are in no peril of perdition.”
2. They Minimize The Sinfulness Of Sin.
Peter wrote, “Many follow their shameless ways and bring the truth into disrepute … By appealing to the lustful desires of the human nature, they entice people .They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of depravity” (2 Peter 2:2, 18-19).
3. They Ignore Repentance.
Jesus declared, “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3-
Repentance means “change your mind.” The primary meaning here is, change your mind about Jesus. He is not a teacher whose teachings we can accept or reject at will. He is Lord and Savior of the world. A secondary meaning refers to the fact that no one can come to a perfect God without repenting of their own person sin by receiving Christ’s forgiveness as He died in our place on the cross.
4. They Look To Things Other Than The Bible For Ultimate Authority.
“If anyone adds to the words of this book, God will add to him the plagues of this book. And if any one takes words away from this book, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life” (Revelation 22:18-19).
For example, when someone says to you, “Your Bible is fine, but it’s not sufficient. You need the “Book of Mormon” or the “Pearl of Great Price” or the “Koran” or “Science and Health: The Key to the Scripture,” in order to find true meaning you are listening to a full-fledged “wolf” who is chomping at the bit for your soul!
5. Their Truth Hinges On Unverifiable Claims Of Special Discoveries And Revelations.
Paul warns of this in Galatians 1:8-9: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.”
Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy the founder of Christian Science wrote: “God has given to me the keys to understanding the Bible.” You need my book to understand the Bible.”
According to the Bible, Joseph Smith’s angel from heaven is a fraud. The Mormons have invented from a special “angelic” revelation an entire Central American civilization which Christ supposedly visited sometime after His resurrection in Jerusalem.
In contrast, the Bible commits itself to literally hundreds of dates, places, peoples, cities, lakes, streams, mountains and historical events. It is no wonder Paul declared in Acts 26:25-26: “This thing was not done in a corner.”
6. They Have A Flawed View Of Christ.
In Hebrews 1:1-3 the writer to the Hebrews stated: “In these last days He has spoken to us by His son.… “The son is the exact radiance of the God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”
Mormons declare that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Jesus was the Son of Adam and Mary. Christian Science teaches that Jesus was a mere man who demonstrated the divine idea. It doesn’t matter whether Christ ever existed, and his blood doesn’t cleanse from sin. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God. He is Michael the Archangel. The New Age movement teaches that “We are all Christ.”
7. Their character is more self-centered than God-centered.
“They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion” (Jude 11).
The “way of Balaam” is using Christ for personal gain. Korah’s Rebellion demonstrates a rejection to authority. It is the idea that we are accountable to no one.
Look for spiritual leaders whose deepest motives and life patterns are to honor, glorify, and magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. Seek out those who desire to grow in humility, holiness, and obedience. Those who are oriented toward acquiring money, prestige, recognition, popularity, power, sexual looseness, and selfishness do not belong to Jesus Christ.
A.W. Tozer wrote: “Listen to the person who listens to God.”
8. They Imply Other Ways To God Than The Substitutionary Death Of Jesus Christ On The Cross.
The “Way of Cain” mentioned in Jude12 above refers to offering any other sacrificial offering to God than the shed blood of Christ: “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock” (Genesis 4:3-8). Abel’s offering was accepted; Cain’s was not. The shedding of blood in Old Testament times was a foreshadowing of Christ’s work on the cross.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). When someone declares that there are twelve to fourteen steps which must be done to reach the third heaven, then you know he or she is teaching a “works” system that is not from God.
9. They Diminish The Fact Of Final Judgment And Eternal Destiny.
“It is appointed unto men once to die and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
The idea of reincarnation is foreign to the Bible. According to the Bible, no one returns to earth after death in an attempt to live a better life in order gain an even better life and standing before God, others and self.
Well, “Always Christian,” I hope you find some guidance and help from my answer. I am glad that your spiritual journey returned you to Christ and for your desire to follow and remain true to Him at any cost. May God bless you richly.