WHY GOD PERMITS FALSE PROPHETS
Why does God permit false prophets which work such havoc in Christendom?
This is a very solemn question, and we must restrict ourselves to what the Scriptures say by way of reply. “Thou shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13.3). From these words it is clear that God suffers teachers of error for the same reason as He does the persecutors of His people: to test their love, to try their fidelity, to show that their loyalty to Him is such that they will not give ear unto His enemies. Error has always been more popular than the Truth, for 4 lets down the bars and fosters fleshly indulgence, but for that very reason it is obnoxious to the godly. The one who by grace can say, “I have chosen the way of Truth” will be able to add, “I have stuck unto thy testimonies” (Ps. 119.30,31), none being able to move him therefrom.
“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor. 11.11). Error serves as a flail, separating the chaff from the wheat. Let some plausible and popular preacher come forward with an old error decked out in new clothes and empty professors will at once flock to his standard; but not so with those who are established in the Faith. Thus, by means of the false prophets. God makes it appear who are the ones who hold the Truth in sincerity: they are faithful to Him despite all attempts to turn them away into a ‘broader-minded’ way. The genuine gold endures every test to which it is subjected. Thus, too, are the unregenerate ‘converts’ revealed: the counterfeit gold will not withstand the fire. Those who are attracted by a novelty do not wear, but are soon carried away by some newer innovation.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2.19). Thus, they who turn away from orthodoxy to heterodoxy must not be regarded as real Christians.
The false prophets are also ordained of God for the punishment of those who receive not the love of the Truth. “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2.10-12). Ahab could not endure Elijah and Micaiah, the servants of God, therefore he was allowed to follow the priests of Baal to his destruction.
It is very clear from Matthew 24.5,11, that Israel’s rejection of Christ was followed by the appearing of many false christs in their midst who fatally deceived large numbers of the Jews. It was not until primitive and genuine Christianity was jettisoned that the religious world was plagued with Roman Catholicism. A large proportion of those who are found in the false cults in our day were once members of, or regular attenders at, churches which were more or less sound in the Faith. Beware, my reader, if you despise God’s Truth you will fall into love with Satan’s lies.
A. W. Pink