Updated: May 16, 2019
Following is a prophecy (in part) given at the Elim Bible Institute USA, in 1965 by the late Stanley Frodsham.
"Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through divers lusts, and because of sin abounding. I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently these last days. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing numbers, who shall speak forth the truth and shall gain the favour of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say, "What these men say is true." Then when they have gained the hearts of the people, then and THEN ONLY shall they bring out these wrong doctrines. Therefore, I say that you should not give your hearts to men, nor hold people's persons in admiration. For by these very persons shall Satan enter into My people. WATCH FOR SEDUCERS. Do you think a seducer will brandish a new heresy and flaunt it before the people? He will speak the words of righteousness and truth, and will appear as a minister of light, declaring the Word. The people's hearts shall be won. Then, when the hearts are won, they will bring out their doctrines, and the people shall be deceived. The people shall say, "Did he not speak thus and thus? And did we not examine it from the Word? Therefore he is a minister of righteousness. This that he has now spoken we do not see in the Word, but it must be right, for the other things he spoke were true.” Be not deceived. For the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then shall bring forth his insidious doctrines." (For the full text go here)
It doesn’t take too much to see that significant spiritual deception has infiltrated the Body of Christ these past 15 years in particular. Discernment is certainly an End Time characteristic, but it’s useless and blind if it’s not grounded on Scripture as the only criterion. Scripture Alone (or Sola Scriptura) is the long held view that the Bible is the revealed will of God and all that is necessary for our faith and practice. Remember that Jesus and His Word are inseparable.
Over the past decade I’ve noticed the “line has been crossed” by many ministries. What were once considered to be “good” ministries have gone too far. There seems to be a competing attitude (dare I say “spirit”) among many today. Another gospel has arisen under the guise of “fresh revelation” or “deeper truths”. It will be helpful to list some of these.
Angel Feathers and Gold Dust. These manifestations have been known for quite some years now, and the internet is full of stories of those caught planting bird feathers in the seats, and sprinkling fake gold dust in pew bibles. Of course there are plenty of others who are convinced these manifestations are legitimate. Just because the manifestations seem to be “real” is no proof they are truly of God. Demonic involvement and human trickery go hand in hand with this counterfeit. See this video.
Angels Orbs and Spiritual Portals. Visits to the “third heaven”, talks with Jesus, swimming in the rivers of eternity, discussions with Moses, Daniel, Paul and others. All these are very popular amongst a wide spectrum of teachers and preachers today.
What I’ve noticed however is how those who’ve “been to heaven” and talk regularly with the citizens there, always seem to want to out-do what the previous speaker shared! If someone said they went to heaven last month, the next speaker will share how he or she went three times more recently. And on it goes; such competition, which in itself should be a warning all this is not Godly.
More recently this has all expanded into the manifestations of floating Orbs of light, and Open Heavenly Gateways (or Portals) that lead you directly to the Third Heaven where all sorts of experiences await you. It’s presented as a kind of spiritual wormhole leading you from one realm to another; a shortcut to the eternal realms where you can learn things the average saint back on earth has failed to learn. Elitism has always been a part of spiritual adultery.
Stigmata and Bleeding manifestations. These are the supposedly supernaturally received marks resembling the wounds of Jesus. Once the prerogative of Catholics this has now begun to surface in some Pentecostal circles. Not only is this a blatantly false manifestation, the nail marks are nearly always depicted as being on the palm of the hands, when we know historically that crucifixions were carried out by nailing the victim through the wrists.
Did “God” get this manifestation wrong? See the following video for example.
What is most worrying is how so many Christians seem to have no ability to discern the error in all of this.
New Mystics. More recently there has been a return to some ancient spiritual techniques based on Catholic asceticism and Celtic spiritual exercises. John Crowder is the most notable among this group and is well known for his “tokin’ the ghost” in which he simulates smoking a cannabis joint as if filling up on the Holy Spirit. Such experiences and manifestations like bi-location, levitation, interaction with dead saints, angels, demons and even control over nature are supposedly marks of these new believers who will be able to “spit out fire” and bring the return of the Messiah.
Since the Bible is to be the authority for all Christians, mysticism wrongly shifts authority from God to man's own intuitive interpretation of experience. If your experience is to measure up to the authority of God's word, then it has to be examined and verified by objective Scriptural standards. A current error within evangelicalism and pentecostalism is that often the mystical and the supernatural are used synonymously. They are NOT the same thing!
Grave Sucking. This rather strange but very scarily occultic practice has been on the increase recently. The practice includes lying down (“soaking” or “sucking”) on the grave of a dead revered Christian leader to try and “soak up” an anointing from their bones. Watch these videos.
It can so easily lead to saint worship and necromancy if a person gets caught up in all the hype surrounding this. What it does is to reinforce the belief held in Evangelical churches that Pentecostals and Charismatics are quick to emphasize subjective experience over the authority of Scripture. Not a good thing!
Intense Praying. While true Holy Spirit inspired prayer has always, and will always be a necessity, some have taking it to a whole new level. While “cult” might be a bit of an exaggeration, there is certainly a lot to be cautious of here. Amongst groups like the International House of Prayer (Mike Bickle) the intensity of prayer coupled with fasting and “seeking” more of the Spirit over extended periods, can easily bring about a false sense of spiritual accomplishment. While we should never put off those who want to pray more, the inter-related power of emotionalism, mysticism, and gnosticism is a very dangerous cocktail.
It’s worthwhile remembering that experiences (personal or otherwise) are never a good way to validate if something is true or not. The accusation of gnosticism may seem a bit harsh here, but at the root is the idea of having certain “hidden knowledge” unavailable to others.
This kind of knowledge is fostered in groups like IHOP and supposedly comes through prophecies, dreams and visions that God specifically gives to the certain privileged group of people who are willing to pay the price – and of course who belong to the group. It seems a major draw of IHOP is all about the spiritual experience you’ll have compared to your former days as a believer.
Emerging Church. Again this has been documented fairly widely but I include it here because of its invasive tendency in today’s church culture. Everything from the acceptance of “christian tattooing” and body piercing, to church services that focus on not offending the visitor (so called “seeker services”), through to avoiding using phrases like “sin” and “repentance”. The “emerging church” often caters primarily for the youth culture, and isn’t so interested at all about receiving wisdom from the older saints.
I recently heard a Christian say they were having a guest preacher at their church next week because he was “a wonderful communicator”. What about being a holy preacher of the Word! This movement is more about espousing a doctrine of Christian post-modernism, and in direct contradiction to Scripture they believe that we aren't even suppose to understand what the Bible means anyway! All is relevant to the culture and how to “engage” with it to make the sinner feel welcome and accepted.
Prosperity Gospel. This is by far the widest spread and accepted incursion into the Church today. The theology behind it (sometimes referred to as the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of attraction) is a belief that financial blessing and physical well-being is always the will of God, and that applied faith, positive speech, and right thinking will achieve this. Faith therefore becomes a kind of spiritually self-generated force that leads to happiness, well being and prosperity. According to some in this movement there’s even an angel of prosperity! See video below.
Whole new denominations have been based on this singular approach. Often the Scriptural hermeneutics used by adherents to prove their point are woeful, and lack consistency in application of doctrinal truths. There is a lot of picking the texts to fit the teaching. Their actual doctrine (compared to flinging out rote Bible verses) can be quite difficult to discern because they won’t talk much about in-depth theology.