Throughout the last twenty centuries, supernatural and spectacular miracles have been used by God to not only authenticate the Word of faith the servant of God is preaching, but also draw millions to services where they hear and believe the gospel, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
But try and imagine a guy, let’s call him Brother I. M. Anointed, who seems to be used by God in powerful ways. His words are smooth as silk, and people are greatly blessed by God’s presence when the man ministers. He gets a reputation as someone God anoints with signs and wonders. Someone who always has a “word of the Lord” for a congregation, and maybe everyone in the church.
People are funny, church people even more so. When the “gifts are flowing”, so does the excitement AND the money.
It’s much easier to book meetings when you can draw a crowd.
But what if the meeting takes place, the songs are sung, the shouting begins, and God doesn’t anoint as in previous services?
Sometimes the preacher gets used to the “flow”, that special feeling of being used by God, as well as the words of affirmation from those who have been helped. And if the feeling isn’t always present the preacher can “press in” more and more until the people receive the word they’re looking for.
Even if he has to rely on the flesh (Galatians 5:20) to do so.
Here’s where witchcraft can enter in undetected.
The preacher, Brother or Sister Anointed, can “hear” something from a familiar spirit (a false spirit), even information about someone in the congregation whom they’ve never met, and give a “word”. There is no life attached, but because the info is spectacular it’s swallowed up as coming from God.
Over and over it happens until the fake has overtaken the genuine.
Some have become addicted to what they call the anointing, but it could be something from a source other than God.
Don’t misunderstand me; there is a genuine work of the Spirit. God DOES anoint men and women with the Holy Spirit and power. Miracles DO happen, even in the twenty first century.
But God isn’t a genie, or a dealer at a blackjack table. As Paul wrote, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11 NKJV)
The Spirit distributes as He wills (WHEN He wills).
There is no magic formula or incantation that automatically opens the windows of heaven. There’s no song, shout, liturgy, or offertory that can push the “anointing button”. Loud or soft music, dim or bright lights, do not move Heaven.
Here are some more areas in the Church where witchcraft can be found.
5. Reliance upon gimmicks/mood setting.
Somewhat like our first example, but I’m thinking more in the area of an actual worship service.
Lights up, lights off. Music loud, music soft. A specific order of service.
And let’s not forget the altar call.
Are these things bad? No. But why do we do these things? Is it because it’s the best way to move people through the maze of faith? Because it makes sense? Because we’re trying to appeal to their emotions and intellect?
Am I saying that whoever gives an altar call is involved in witchcraft? No!
But have you ever heard these phrases?
“I’m going to count to three, and when I reach three I want you to step out and walk the aisle.” Then, the preacher takes five minutes between numbers doing everything but toss a rope over the person’s head to get them to the altar.
“If you were to die tonight…”
“I’ll tarry just a minute longer…” Meanwhile the worship team plays something that draws on a person’s emotions.
Can people be talked into the kingdom of God? Does an emotional experience equate with the new birth?
Manipulation is not the anointing of God.
There ARE moments when the Spirit says to sing a certain song, say a specific word, or prolong an altar call. Yes!
But this is what I’m trying to get us all to see: we’re either gonna be led by the Spirit of God, or we’re gonna develop our own fleshly way of doing kingdom business.
6. False prophecies (out of the flesh).
Balaam, Numbers 22-24, had a business of blessing and cursing. He was known as a man who could conjure up a supernatural blessing or curse upon someone; for a price. People, especially leaders, from all over the known world had Balaam’s cell number in their phone.
But he was NOT a man of God.
If you read those chapters in Numbers, you’ll notice he tried everything he could in order to curse God’s people, Israel.
Why? He was after the money.
It’s true, Balaam gave an appearance of having connections with the Most High God, but the true picture is found in Balaam’s character. He wanted Balam’s paycheck!
God had to override the message the evil spirits were giving Balaam.
How can I use such an example, claiming there are people in the church acting like Balaam?
Because the Word of God says so.
“They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2 Peter 2:15 NKJV).
Also see Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14.
Again, not every supernatural manifestation is false; or true. If there are false prophets, there must be true prophets. If there is a real thing, there’s also a counterfeit.
It’s happening in the Church, and many believe everything spectacular is of God.
7. Extra-biblical/non-biblical experiences.
I’ll not say much about this point, other than God’s Word is our pattern for living. Be careful, though, in judging someone’s experience. There were a number of times in both the Old and New Testaments when God had His servants do some wild things. Or, maybe it wasn’t anything THEY did, but God used some different situations to perform His works.
Examples? How about dividing the Red Sea, the Jordan River, Joshua fighting Amalek, the Walls of Jericho, the sun standing still, the floating axe head, etc.?
Jesus spit on the ground, made mud, and dabbed it on a blind man’s eyes. Peter walked down the street and people got healed as his shadow passed over them. Paul had a handkerchief ministry in Acts 19.
But here’s the thing we must understand. None of those experiences were designed to become “the formula”, or a “pattern”.
Jesus is the pattern. He’s the One Who will lead and instruct us as we walk with Him. He won’t lead us into foolishness and/or error.
By the way, if you haven’t read the other four posts in this series, I encourage you to do so.
Also, please comment below, or ask any question you’d like pertaining to this subject.
To be continued…