Ask An Evangelical: How do we know who the false prophets are today?

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By Scott McIntyre

Jesus said in Matthew 24:4-5 “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many shall come claiming to represent Me, saying that I [Jesus] am the Christ, yet shall deceive many.” 

How do we know who the false prophets are today? I see a lot of big name preachers such as Franklin Graham on the news for example and they seen awfully enamored with Mr. Trump despite his past (yes repentance is real!) but also his current ongoing behaviour. And it makes me wonder if they are purposely or blindly leading people astray. Thoughts?

To spot a false prophet, I think we need a resource we can trust and be regularly reviewing it.  I also think it’s possible that any of us could lead another astray.  That’s not the ‘false prophet’ I think this chapter in the Bible is speaking to but more on that in a moment.

I’ve long been leery of giving strangers driving directions out of fear I would steer them the wrong way out of my ignorance or inability to accurately describe the correct path to take.  Others could deliberately misdirect someone as a form of retaliation or just because they think it would be ‘funny’ to send a person packing toward the wrong destination.  Though I can’t speak to Franklin Graham’s motives, the human behavioral track record doesn’t argue against people “purposely or blindly leading” others astray.

I voted to elect Donald Trump and now, one of my strongest desires, is to see Republicans in Congress initiate impeachment proceedings, if they are warranted.  Will that happen?  Probably not and that’s perhaps due to another aspect of human behavior…we look out for ourselves. 

If I was a congressman and knew with a fair degree of certainty that my constituents wouldn’t reelect me if I sided with the opposing party to oust their president, would I vote ‘No’ on impeachment?  I hope the answer would be based on my evaluation of the investigation and not my concern for reelection, but since I’ve never been in that situation, I can’t know my response for sure.  However, I’m fairly confident some in Congress, regardless of which side of the aisle they occupy, would do just that, which might not be in the ultimate best interests of who they’re sworn to serve.

So is there a resource we can trust to steer us in the correct direction when it comes to spotting false prophets?  I think the answer is a resounding ‘YES’.  As an Evangelical, I’ve come to lean heavily on the Bible as my go to source for sound information.  I’m of the opinion that God, working through the spiritual realm, provided regular men with the details and directions He wanted passed on to humanity and they wrote those things down for us as God’s Word.  If that’s true, and we have an accurate record of His guidance and understand it correctly, we should be in pretty good shape.

One of my favorite sections in the Bible is found in the Book of Acts.  A group of citizens in Berea are identified, as of “more noble character” than people living in Thessalonica.  And what did they do to earn this badge of honor?  Two things…first they were eager to hear the preaching of a man and, second, they double checked all they were told against the early Scriptures they held.  Most amazingly, to me, is that the preacher they weren’t accepting without checking his teaching first, was the apostle Paul; probably the man who wrote more of the New Testament than any other.

So turning to the Bible for one more look at today’s question, we learn elsewhere in the 24th chapter of Matthew, that people who claim to be Christ or prophets will perform great signs and miracles.  We’re also told to steer clear of these fakes and that when the real Jesus comes, there will be no mistaking His identity.  While what the false are doing will be amazing, Christ’s appearance will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind.

About Scott McIntyre

Scott McIntyre is glad his parents didn’t name him Vladimir or he’d be listed last on this page. While a long time California resident, he was the Oakland Spirituality Examiner for Examiner.com from 2011-12 and about the same time began blogging on several topics. The first, teaching Christians how to lovingly share their spiritual beliefs, emphasized skills that can benefit all forms of one-to-one interaction. He also writes on marriage, travel, downsizing, humor, and the motive behind people’s words and actions. After retiring in 2016, Scott embarked on some major ‘R & R’; Relocating and Rebranding. Following in his sister’s footsteps from the early 80’s, and later in the decade, his parent’s, Scott left the Golden State to become a Washingtonian in a small town just west of Spokane County.

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