This week I talked with one of my gutsiest friends. We reminisced about the time a “world-class evangelist” came to town. She went to the meeting because her father was very ill and she wanted prayer for him.
At the meeting, people weren’t allowed to simply ask for prayer, no-no, they had to be chosen by a team of workers who drifted through the crowd choosing people willy-nilly to go to the front of the auditorium for prayer. Supposedly, the team had “the mind of God” and chose the people who would “receive their miracle that night.”
After the chosen had been prayed over, Gutsy Friend approached the evangelist – this was against the rules – and asked him to pray for her father. “No,” he said. “If you weren’t called up, there’s no miracle for you.” That didn’t sit well with Gutsy Friend. She followed him around the auditorium as he prepared to leave, asking him why he couldn’t simply pray for her Dad. She knew by then that he was an imposter and his ministry was a sham, but she kept on. He lost his cool and had her “removed.”
Where is this man today? Preaching on television. Should we be upset that imposters exist in the Christian world? No, because they’ve always existed. In the first century church, some preached Christ’s message for money alone. Some did it to gain a following and power. Whatever their reasons, these Elmer Gantrys still thrive.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” I John 4:1
Was Gutsy Friend disappointed by this Phony Christ-follower? No, just enlightened. She didn’t call the newspaper or in any way try to destroy him. The real and the phony will exist together, though not in harmony, until the end of time. If we try to destroy the phony we may hurt the real.
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matt. 13:30
Are you bothered by the presence of imposters who prey on the faithful? Sometimes confrontation is needed but, in the end, we must leave them with God, keep focused on Jesus and be faithful to Him.