If what I am recording here gets wide circulation, thousands of sincere Christians are going to call in question a spiritual experience they have had, some perhaps for years. The repercussions could be immense.
Another thing is certain to happen: This book will be read by some about to be captivated by the pseudo-charismatic. In such cases what being reported here will serve as a much needed brake.
I wish to make it clear that I am totally in favor of all that the Holy Spirit of Almighty God has done and wishes to do. But I am unalterably opposed to what Satan has done or wishes do.
Moreover, in the Word of God there are serious warnings to those who cause others to doubt. And there is a very fine line between the sowing doubt and the spiritual discernment which we seek above all else in this present writing.
Some will feel a great uneasiness when they read these remarks. I passed this manuscript around enough to find that out. But don't be too quick to blame the book. If what I am saying is biblical, then the uncertainty may be no more than the obvious result of biblical truth coming against deception. The solution is not to throw the book aside; the solution is to try the spirits, to clarify the case, and to face deception if necessary.
But now - how to face deception.
First, the possibility of deception must be recognized as a pervasive current through all of Scripture from the subtlety of the Deceiver in the garden to the witnessing of the False Prophet in Revelation; the patterns are regular and the warnings consistent.
Every man must face the fact that on occasion he has been deceived. To ignore that possibility is nigh inexplicable gullibility.
Frequently in charismatic deception, a dangerous thought pattern will emerge which rationalizes thus: "This must be of God because. . ." Most times the reason given will be based upon feelings or experience at the expense of what is biblical.
Sometimes, many times, an appeal is made to providential circumstances and miraculous events to prove that the Holy Spirit is at work. Though the devil has a hard time getting away with twisting the scriptures, we fall for his false "providences" nearly every time. When Jonah, the rebellious prophet, was running away from God, he found a boat at the right time and the right place ready to receive him. He might have said, "Jehovah is with me. I must not be running away from God at all. Look at how this has all worked out." All too often "providential" circumstances are part of the deception.
In my view there is only one thing worse than being deceived. And that is to be deceived and never know it.
Deception in the area of spiritual gifts, especially speaking in tongues, is very difficult to face. "Is this gift, which I have always considered to be a mark of spirituality and a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, no more than a master deception? If I have been deceived here, where else have I been deceived?"
The latter question is possibly more difficult to face than the first, but they are both very uncomfortable queries, though necessary all the same.
A first reaction to all of this may be anger. Who is this man who writes this way? What right does he have to question speaking in tongues? If I question my tongues, I will be doubting God.
The right, even obligation, to question spiritual manifestations is a biblical one: "Prove all things," "Believe not every spirit." These exhortations are given in a context relating to utterance gifts and spirit-speaking.
Protesting the views expounded here may be an unhealthy sign. The deception you preserve may be your own. After all, the Holy Spirit has absolutely nothing to fear from biblical tests and standards. He is the one who inspired the Scriptures.
Some will protest that anyone with a true gift of discerning of spirits will be able to tell which spiritual manifestations are true and which are false. That is partially true, but not the whole truth. Not everyone is going to have discerning of spirits. And the danger is that a subjective experience ("God has revealed to me that this tongue is genuine") could take the place of the various biblical tests. It is a dangerous path, vulnerable to deception on a second level to cover for the first.
Also, when false tongues, for example, have been confronted and dislodged, the enemy does not give up. The person who has been liberated from false manifestations but is still not completely free from occult subjection will face an unprecedented satanic campaign designed to regain the lost ground. The only resource in such cases is to take an adamant, verbal, audible stand against the devil and in favor of Almighty God.
Terminology is important. Use the full title of the Lord Jesus Christ, because there are many antichrists in the world. At one of our conventions a sister who was in the process of being delivered was taken by a spirit which said repeatedly, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." Unfortunately the "Jesus" was not the Lord Jesus Christ. The spirit was dislodged in His name.
It may ultimately be necessary to seek out a non-charismatic or "third view" deliverance ministry. Around the world there is a growing corps of God's servants who will vouch for much of the contents of this book biblically and on the basis of their own experiences. They have also learned how to help the deceived escape from the psuedo-charismatic. A wise pastor or a trusted friend may be the one God will use to help you.
The following testimony will be of immense help to any who have been deceived. I know the circumstances personally, and the experience was indeed a lesson learned at a great cost. Though the deception was not on the point of tongues, it could be classified as a charismatic deception. Please read carefully the remainder of this chapter as another person shares.
The Dark Hole of Deception
(by one who has been there)
Deception! What an ugly word! Yet the Scriptures make it very clear that Satan will sharpen this particular aspect of his working in the time immediately preceding Christ's return. Deception will be his chief weapon, and it will be ".. . . . planned to beguile men at every stage of life; (1) deception of the unregenerate who are already deceived by sin; (2) deception suited to the carnal Christian; (3) and deception fitted to the spiritual believer, who has passed out of the preceding stages into a realm where he will be open to meet more subtle wiles." 1
Earlier recognition and acceptance of the last part of that statement could have saved this writer much turmoil of mind and spirit. This article is an effort to emphasize the fact that Satan has special forces out to deceive those who wholly want to live for God and who have experienced the filling of the Spirit and endeavor to walk daily in His power and love.
Some will no doubt question how such a one could possibly be deceived. Let it suffice to say unequivocally that it is possible for an earnest believer to find himself in this position. But let it be said, too, that no matter what damage Satan can inflict, God is over all, glorious, victorious, and there is always hope.
The very word deception indicates that an untruth is made to be credible, and it begins when the devil can so construe the facts in a person's mind as to cause him to believe the lie. The chief areas of his attack are in doctrine, spiritual experience, and moral conduct. Never does Satan make his lies so outrageous as to be incredible. They will be made-to-order for each indiviual temperament and personality.
Once the first lie is accepted, further evidences, truths, circumstances, and quotations are all readily available to deepen the deception. All this is looked upon to be sincere and pure, and therein lies the subtlety of deception.
Let me repeat, my purpose here is twofold: to emphasize that it is possible to be deceived at any level of spiritual maturity and to give some helpful suggestions to those who may find themselves in deception.
Thank God, He is faithful and merciful and if a person is sensitive to His dealings, God will bring across his path people, circumstances, and even an increasing sense of restraint in one's own spirit which will hopefully put at least a question mark in the mind and lead to the following actions:
1. Admitting the possibility of being deceived. One can be sure that Satan will fight "tooth and nail" to hinder even this step because it truly is the beginning of his downfall. His lies will be many and varied: "You are committing the sin of unbelief by questioning God." "You must keep on believing, for all things are possible." "You are grieving the Holy Spirit and opposing God's will for your life." "You are committing the unpardonable sin."
At this point one should remember that Satan is not only the arch-deceiver but the father of lies and that the scripture exhorts us to "prove all things" and to "try the spirits." Honest "doubting" is always acceptable to God. As the possibility of deception is contemplated, God will shed His light on the situation until the refuge of lies will be gone and one admits the deception.
2. Voicing the admission: "I have been deceived." One of the greatest stumbling blocks to this step is just plain old "self" - pride. The person will want to maintain the position that has been assumed, and Satan may even be able to get the believer to side with him in defense of the deception.
Actually to admit to being deceived is a most devastating experience. The whole basis of spiritual experience suddenly lies shattered. Satan will be sure to have it questioned thus, "Well, if that is a deception, then what is true?" It is best during this time not to make any judgments on past experiences. Undoubtedly there has been true, God-given spiritual experience mixed with the false, but at this point one should hold in abeyance all judgments.
Thoughts that are absolutely repulsive will come to the mind: "God failed you. He said you could believe His Word and now He has let you down. How can you love a God like that?" Satan will also tell you that never again will your discernment be reliable, that you cannot trust your own judgment on anything, that any stability of character you may have possessed is now completely gone, and that someday you may even end up in a mental institution.
3. Exercising the will. Some point of reference must be established, and for the Christian it is God's Word.
The emphasis here is on the will. The mind will be in utter confusion and the emotions weak and seemingly lifeless. Several declarations of the will should be made: "I believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. It is absolute truth and I will believe whatever it says." In answer to the devil's persistent lies say (out loud if possible), "Jesus Christ never fails, God is faithful, and what He says He will do. God is love and His mercy endures forever." Such affirmations will strengthen faith and give courage.
Private devotions and worship will likely be almost nonexistent, but the following declaration should be made: "Almighty God, whatever your will is, I want it. Satan, whatever your will is, I refuse and repudiate it."
4. Launching an all-out war for God, against Satan. One can affirm his position by immediately determining to fight the enemy. The person should determine that he wants to get to the basis of whatever caused the problem and made him susceptible to the very first lie. Total honesty with oneself and with God will be necessary no matter how painful the process may become. God promises to forgive our sins if we will confess them. They must be identified. The Holy Spirit will bring light to the mind regarding this, and terms will come that exactly describe the problem. This process should be recognized as the mercy and love of God showing the way to freedom and should be accepted with deep gratitude.
The more precisely the sins are named the greater the deliverance will be. The basic sins of believing the lie of the devil as well as failure to judge all things according to Scripture should be confessed. The believer should also take back any ground that he knowingly or unknowingly gave to the enemy and by an act of his will give it to God.
The following commitment should be made with each individual problem as it is brought to the surface by the light of God's Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit: "Almighty God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by His blood, I now refuse, renounce, and repudiate this spirit of ____________ and I cast it into the abyss. Holy Spirit of God, I ask you to occupy that area of my life."
It may be that a person has wrongfully put himself knowingly or unknowingly under the subjection of some human being. This can be dealt with by confessing ". . . . my unlawful subjection to (name of individual). I place myself under subjection only to Almighty God" (and for women, to their own husbands).
Through the process of time the spirit of the believer will gradually become freer to praise, pray, and worship. One should be careful not to let the devil rob him of all past blessings but should seek to ground his experience and practice firmly on the written Word of God and to meet the devil's accusations with "Thus saith the Lord." The Psalms will be of great encouragement as one will readily identify with the heart-cry of David expressed in so many of them.
5. Purposing to live totally for God and others. The tendency will be to withdraw from Christian fellowship because "I don't trust myself anymore." I thank God that in my own experience during those dark days I was forced by circumstances to be with people and to carry on the normal routine of life. In God's great love and mercy He will turn even such a bitter experience for the good if we allow Him to do so.
True, the hole of deception is dark and deep, but not hopeless. Praise God, there is deliverance. Just reach up and touch Him. He is there!