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    Quotables: From Behind the Veil

    January 10, 2012 by Brandy Vencel
    From Behind the Veil
    by Peter Leithart

    False prophets and lying spirits are known not only by what they confess, but by their audience and by their influences. We must certainly ask what teachers are saying and teaching, but John also teaches us to ask who is listening to them. And to whom are they listening. Whose shema do they profess? {p. 130}

    It is not simply that we ought to exercise discernment out of love for one another. It’s also the case that we cannot exercise proper discernment well without love. We might think that we see clearly even if we do not love, but John doesn’t agree. The late Richard Neuhaus is fond of quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s claim that anyone who brings a message of prophetic condemnation must first love those to whom he prophesies. Without love, we cannot test the spirits rightly…Hateful people become stupid. {p. 132}

    False prophets thrive on times of calamity. When the world seems to be falling apart, people flail around for someone who seems to know what is happening…During times of crisis and uncertainty, prophecy is big business. {p. 133}

    Satan is given an opportunity to turn you into an ally if you don’t deal with your anger, confess sin, forgive, and extend forgiveness. If you fail here, Satan has an opportunity to infect your marriage, your relations with your co-workers, your relationship with others at church. {p. 135}

    It goes against the cultural grain, but John says that we have to judge. Don’t jump on every religious bandwagon that comes along. Don’t believe every spirit, or everyone who claims to be a prophet. Pause. Stop. take the time to test the spirit. Ask whether the prophecies have come true. Ask whether the prophet or new movement is confessing Jesus in the flesh and all that this implies. Ask to whom they are listening, and who is listening to them. As John Stott says on this passage, unbelief is a mark of spiritual maturity. {p. 138} 

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