by Jeannette Haley
How do you determine if someone is a genuine Christian? Can you safely assume they have a personal relationship with Christ because they claim to be a Christian or because they attend a church? What about good works and kind deeds? Is someone a Christian because they have high moral standards? Perhaps you consider someone a Christian because they are super religious and/or “spiritual”!
None of the above are accurate indicators of true Christianity. True Christianity is inward, not outward. In other words, a genuine Christian has a vital, personal relationship with the Living God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Outward acts of righteousness and kindness should occur as a natural result of the indwelling Christ.
We live in the days foretold by Timothy. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”2 Tim. 3:1, 5, 7.
Believers need to heed the warnings in these portions of scripture, recognizing that these times are perilous to our souls. We need to remember that those with a form of godliness but who likewise deny the true Christ are fake. We need to stir ourselves up to not be one who is ever gaining head knowledge but never able to apprehend that true knowledge which is activated by faith in the Word and work of God. We must never forget that Satan is a master counterfeiter. He counterfeits true godliness and holiness with fake “spirituality” and “religiosity.” He counterfeits sound biblical doctrine with “doctrines of demons” that sound good (appeals to the flesh) and “tickles the ears.” We know that Satan also twists scripture as he did when he tempted Christ in the wilderness.
The enemy of our souls also knows how to counterfeit the fruit of the Spirit. It takes discernment and wisdom from God to be able to identify such. Satan counterfeits true anointed praise and worship by substituting extremes such as haunting chants, mystical mind-altering music or, on the other end of the spectrum, loud, repetitious pounding music that excites the senses and stirs the carnal nature of man.
Jesus warned of counterfeit, false prophets and Christs (anointed ones) that would be prevalent in the last days. We know that the Antichrist will present a false Messiah, a false peace and a false religion.
When one stops to contemplate the counterfeit works of Satan, it can be deduced that this work takes place among men on earth in this present world. Satan cannot work his deception before the throne of God although he accuses the brethren day and night; (see Rev. 11:10), nor does he have any reason to counterfeit God’s work in the depths of hell. There his victims are regrettably beyond hope of change or escape. They have no more opportunity to repent and get real with God; no more opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness or salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We need to recognize the fact that Satan is a master counterfeiter of God’s dealings with men, which includes the fruit and gifts of the Spirit. Satan understands the makeup of human beings, body, soul and spirit; he knows how to imitate, to a point, the Divine Nature. Satan desires, above all else, to be worshipped. His counterfeit workings are to lure unsuspecting and undiscerning people away from that which is true into everlasting perdition. What is his success rate among Christians? Unfortunately, very high.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we are being ushered into a one-world religion through the current worldwide ecumenical movement. This is being foisted upon the church under the guise of “unity”. You can be assured that the head of this end-times church will not be the real Jesus Christ, but Satan. After all, as it is, Satan is the head of every religion except biblical Christianity. And by biblical Christianity I mean “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” See Jude 3.
All believers who have by faith believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ are one with each other by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who sheds the love of God abroad on our hearts. Any other so-called contrived unity, which is nothing more than outward conformity at the expense of truth, is a counterfeit unity.
Today, as never before, the world is filled with counterfeit Christianity and counterfeit Christians. How do we know this to be true? The answer is apparent when one considers all of the false gospels being promoted.
First, there are many counterfeit gospels being preached such as the following: the happy-clappy gospel; the positive confession, health and wealth gospel; the power gospel, complete with lying signs and wonders; the kingdom gospel; the easy-believism gospel; the legalistic gospel and the tolerant, politically correct gospel. You can find them all on television, the radio, popular Christian books, publications and magazines and over the Internet, not to mention in countless churches around the world.
The folks who insist God must surely want them to be happy above all else settle in churches that offer “fun”. They want to laugh at jokes and funny stories when they attend services. They want to sing light fun songs and enjoy a happy social life within the church. They want to go home feeling good. Never mind that the awesome presence of Almighty God was missing. They feel happy, so why worry? After all, they have faith in fun.
The positive confession, health and wealth gospel is one of the largest movements in the world. This counterfeit gospel promises the best the world has to offer. Adherents to this false gospel ignore scriptural admonitions and warnings concerning covetousness, lust and riches. Teachings concerning tribulation, suffering and trials are rejected. They never bother to investigate the mind-science and occult roots of their favorite delusion, nor do they give thought to the eternal consequences. They have faith in their faith.
Power has always been one of Satan’s most effective lures to hook gullible people. Young people especially are easily duped by the promise of power. Churches who offer a power platform fill to overflowing. People are hungry for something new, something supernatural. Never mind that it may be unscriptural, bizarre, frightening, questionable or even ridiculous. Just so long as something, anything supernatural occurs. This quest for power can totally open the door for demonic spirits to come in and wreck havoc. These people have faith in feelings.
Of course the Kingdom gospel runs parallel with the power gospel and sometimes the two overlap forming one camp. The Kingdom gospel appeals to man’s pride, arrogance and self-importance. Eventually people in this movement become fanatic, militant and unteachable. After all, they aim to take the nations for Christ and rule and reign through their [false] “apostles” and [false] “prophets”. They also pride themselves in their warrior status of bringing swift judgment upon the rest of us who refuse to bow to their counterfeit Christianity. These folks have faith in false prophets and prophecies.
Multitudes of people the world over are in the “easy believism” camp. These careless people hop-scotch through life in full assurance that they are “saved” because once upon a time they said a “sinner’s prayer” and “received” Christ. Shunning accountability, responsibility and submission to the Lordship of Christ, they denounce any sound scriptural challenge to their deluded spirituality as being “another gospel”. Insisting that the clear commandments of Christ and teachings of the entire New Testament are “works,” these people are capable of bashing anyone who dares question their Christianity. These are the people who trust their eternal souls to faith in their doctrine rather than a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I call faith in faulty doctrine.
Today there is also a major move within Christendom towards legalism. When you encounter people from this camp, they can appear to be looking down their nose at you because, after all, they are worshipping on the Sabbath; reading Torah; abstaining from certain foods; keeping Jewish Feasts and trying to keep the Law. Now while we agree that Christians do need to study the Old Testament and the shadows and types of Christ to gain a richer and fuller understanding of the Savior and what He and the early Apostles taught, nevertheless, we who are Gentiles are just that—Gentiles. We are grafted into the Vine. We are not required to become Jewish in order to acquire, earn or keep our salvation. While each of us is free to worship God the way we sense He is leading us, most folks we have met that are returning to legalism are self-righteous, legalistic, judgmental and unloving. These people have faith in formalities.
Finally, there are those groups and churches that are “tolerant” and “politically correct.” This is so they do not offend anyone or cause any “waves”. This type of church wants above all else, numbers, popularity, (money) and a good reputation as a “nice” church. You will never hear controversial or challenging messages in this type of church, but rather, only that which is smooth, middle-of-the-road preaching. You will find a broad spectrum of people in this type of gathering because just about anything is acceptable. These folks have faith in fake Christianity.
Satan doesn’t care how religious you may be; he could care less how sincere you might be. He thinks it’s swell (and silly) if you chase after feathers, gold dust and other lying signs and wonders, just so long as you don’t crave truth in your heart. Satan loves the show when people manifest demons in so-called revivals by screaming, barking, quacking, crawling and writhing in public. He especially likes it when these ungodly demonic manifestations are blamed on the Holy Spirit. All he is concerned about is that you remain spiritually deaf, dumb and blind.
Before we can discern and expose Satan’s many counterfeits, however, we must have a thorough understanding of what is real—what is truth! The only way to become a wise and discerning Christian is to daily read and meditate upon God’s Word, spend time with Him in prayer and ask Him for wisdom, truth, love and discernment. It takes a personal commitment to study the Bible to gain knowledge of God, of His ways and His will. It takes more than just mental curiosity. It takes integrity in the heart.
The problem is multitudes of people who call themselves Christians have become either bored with their dead, dry churches or, in the other extreme, have refused to “land” from their emotional highs. Both camps have never been properly discipled or they would be grounded, mature, lovers and followers and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that many of these people are truly seeking more of God and genuine revival. The problem is, however, they readily accept substitutes and counterfeits because they do not know the reality of God, do not know the truth of His Word and do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They have never been instructed how to feed themselves from God’s Word or known genuine Christian leaders.
It is also true that many of these “seekers” are actually in rebellion against the truth and desire extra-biblical “spiritual” experiences. This is a dangerous place to be because a person is open to demonic oppression and influence. It has been our experience that people who insist on “spiritual junk food” as a steady diet are resisting the disciplined life Christ has called us to. They refuse to pick up their cross and follow Jesus. More often than not there are things in their lives that they refuse to relinquish to the Lordship of Christ—a refusal to come clean of selfishness, sin and/or rebellion.
Playing religious games is dangerous; refusing to earnestly and humbly seek the Lord and His ways and will for our lives is suicidal. Chasing ear-tickling, carnal, emotional satanic counterfeits will eventually leave us spiritually bankrupt and disillusioned.
May God grant us a heart that follows hard after Him, a heart that loves the truth and rejoices in righteousness.
Thank you, every one that have stood by this ministry through the years with your friendship, prayers, love and support. God bless you richly!