Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God; Part II

In theology on April 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm

A few days ago I posted a reference to an article by John Piper titled Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God. I wanted to think about it for a few days and write some more.

The basis of Piper’s article is that great signs and wonders have always and will always happen and that God uses them to test us. I thought about what kinds of false signs and wonders we might witness today. At first I thought about, honestly, dinosaurs. Maybe the fossils we have today could be one of these false signs because it does lead the people astray to follow after the god of science. I quickly talked myself out of this because it does not fit with the text. Both the Matt. 24 and Deut.13 passage imply some kind of miracle that is performed by a false prophet, either a prophecy of future events or a miracle performed in front of their eyes.

The only thing I could come up with was healings and fortune tellers. These are definitely miraculous (when they work) and would be very convincing to those who witness them that the person performing them has some kind of supernatural power. But the Bible tells us that true prophets can do the same things. So then the question is, how can we distinguish the false from the true? Thankfully, God never leaves us to fend for ourselves, He gives us a spirit of truth and tells us to test the spirits. Here is our test:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God…They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world – 1 John 4:2-5

This passage tells us that we can know false spirits from true spirits by their doctrine. What they say and what they preach. Their acts may appear loving and compassionate but their teachings will not. Their doctrine will tell of a different Christ than then one we believed in. False doctrine goes right for the cross and tries to skirt around it; preaching a Jesus that did not join in humanity, taking on the flesh and all its temptations, and suffer on our behalf only to be killed as an atoning sacrifice and rise up again to life on the third day.


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