My Gutsy Friend and the Evangelist

elmer-gantry-le-charlatanThis 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.

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About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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11 Responses to My Gutsy Friend and the Evangelist

  1. Joan says:

    “If we try to destroy the phony we may hurt the real” — this is true, too. There’s a balance. Some people online these days are making a “ministry” of discrediting everyone they consider a false teacher — but some of those they label “false teachers” are people who have caught the vision of a truly surrendered walk with Christ, and God is using them to change lives.

    • Great to hear from you Joan.It’s a fine line – to be watchful and use the discernment God gives us, without becoming judgmental. When we go down that road, the further we go, the darker it gets.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a thought – I think that most mature Christians, are usually able to discern the truth and throw out the lies, but what about new Christians who could so easily fall for untruth? Do we not have a responsibility towards them? It would distract me more to know that new Christians were being deceived, than to expose someone falsely representing scriptural Christianity. This does not need to be done in a dishonouring way, but did Paul not correct those who were preaching error, by speaking the truth? (i.e. Acts 21:25)

    • You brought up a good point. Paul did correct false teachers. Interestingly, my experience has been that new Christians are not so easily deceived as some “mature” ones, who sometimes seem to be searching for something new and exciting, whereas the new believer is already experiencing the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to them. It’s a big subject . . . it would be interesting to have a broader discussion. Thanks for your input.

      • Dawn says:

        That is also an interesting point. As a matter of fact, some non-Christians are more perceptive to error than many Christians, exactly for the reason you mentioned about being so busy seeking out something new and exciting (not realizing that the simple gospel message is already exciting).
        Dawn
        I will try entering my name again. It wouldn’t let me enter it last time 🙂

      • I feel sometimes that people want to make the Christian life complicated. Returning to the cross, to the simplicity of faith in Jesus Christ is something I have to do on a regular basis.

      • Joan says:

        I agree, Rose. The enemy is getting more and more sophisticated, too — truth mixed with lies. The lies often have to do with making life easier for us — if we do certain things, we’re told God will dump answers on us. Desperate people get drawn in, but so do other Christians, because the lies are usually based on scripture taken out of context or misinterpreted. It can be a minefield out there.

        Thanks for this post.

  3. Excellent Word of Wisdom. I trust those that read will listen to His Still Small Voice

  4. Miriam laari-Alton says:

    How true. God is better able to deal with imposters than we are. Confronting them would distract us from our walk with God. Thanks for the reminder to keep our eyes on Him.
    Miriam

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