June 28, 2019

Believe Not Every Spirit - Bruce Atchison

Whenever I hear Christians claiming that God spoke to them, I get nervous. The cultic house church I once belonged to took 1 John 4:1 light years out of its context by claiming we can hear from departed saints. That's NOT what the verse means.

First John 4:1 (BBE) reads, "My loved ones, do not put your faith in every spirit, but put them to the test, to see if they are from God: because a great number of false prophets have gone out into the world."

We see in subsequent verses that John had living people in mind when he spoke of those false prophets. It's those demons who are speaking into the mental ears of lying preachers who are responsible for the spread of false doctrines. The men and women involved are mere extension speakers for demons.

The only reliable message from the Lord is the Bible. As Hebrews 1:1 and 2 (BBE) state, "In times past the word of God came to our fathers through the prophets, in different parts and in different ways; But now, at the end of these days, it has come to us through his Son, to whom he has given all things for a heritage, and through whom he made the order of the generations;"

It's obvious that the author of Hebrews is referencing the established doctrines preached by the prophets and Christ. The letters from the apostles are also "god breathed" because they NEVER contradict what the Holy Spirit has taught.

I don't doubt that we can hear from God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said in John 16:12 and 13 (BBE), "I have still much to say to you, but you are not strong enough for it now. However, when he, the Spirit of true knowledge, has come, he will be your guide into all true knowledge: for his words will not come from himself, but whatever has come to his hearing, that he will say: and he will make clear to you the things to come."

And as the Bible says in 1 John 4:6 (BBE), "We are of God: he who has the knowledge of God gives ear to us; he who is not of God does not give ear to us. By this we may see which is the true spirit, and which is the spirit of error."

So we see that aural communication and the Word of God are what we must use to test the spirits. Scripture prohibits speaking with the dead. It also warns that Satan can make himself seem to be an angel of light to those tricked by him. This is why we MUST stick with the Bible and test all aural speech against what it says.


  1. Thank you for your words of wisdom Bruce!

  2. God does speak to us through his word and knowledge of the Bible can keep us in touch with what God is saying to us. You have some excellent Bible references to remind us to discern the spirit behind what people are saying.

    In respect of God’s word, I also get a strong message from Hebrews 4:12 NIV: "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Another verse that guides me is Psalm 119:105 NIV, which simply says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject of using God’s word as a basis for testing the spirits that try to influence us.


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