Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Jesus Christ in Matthew 7.15)
savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. (Paul the Apostle in Acts 20.29)
"Maybe you're an answer to prayer!" I exclaimed. "We've been asking God to send us professional men to help meet the needs of our church community. But we've really desired that they be committed to the Lord."
The man across the table from me smiled pleasantly and said, "Perhaps I am an answer. I just moved to this area. I'm a doctor and I believe that God would have me fulfill my service to Him and you in this way."
"That's great!" responded Joe, one of our pastors. "You can start with my wife. She's been having some physical problems."
A few moments later we prayed and asked the Lord to bless the work of this new member of the church in our area.
As we walked toward the office door I said, "We'll put the word out that a Christian doctor is in the area and you'll be swamped!"
"Good!" he replied. "But since we are brothers and are going to be working together, just call me Doctor Phil. I came to this area because the Spirit told me. The Spirit of God has always led me where He wanted me to be."
As we watched Dr. Phil walk away I turned to Joe and said, "Isn't it great how God answers prayer?" Joe nodded is assent, as we reflected on the fact that it had been just over a month since our church had been praying for a doctor that could serve the needs of our growing church community.
At that time it really did seem to be an answer.
Several weeks later two young women approached me after one of our Sunday night church meetings. "That was really a good teaching you brought tonight," one of them said with enthusiasm. "We had heard great things were happening here and the message and music confirmed it.!"
"We've just come from Boston to work with Dr. Phil. Our goal is to see the Spirit bring real unity to all people. Don't you agree?"
A little warning bell went off inside me as she continued. "We have a couple of brothers who will be joining us in a few days and they would like to help in any way they can. Perhaps they could take some of your old cans and scrap away to the recycling plant. In this way we could perform a service for you and also make some money from the scraps to promote the gospel. Don't you agree?"
I didn't know if I did or not. For the time being, however, I dismissed my doubts by saying that I would think and pray about it and let them know.
A few days later as I was walking through my office area, Jacqueline, who worked with me, called out to me. "Scott, is it all right if this man takes our old cans away? He says he's a friend of Dr. Phil.
Before I could respond, a tall neatly dressed young man stepped forward smiling. "Hi. My name is Samuel. I just want to tell you that the warmth of the unity of the spirit in this place is wonderful. The aura of light is all about us when we are together as one the way our Lord wants us to be."
That little warning went off inside me again. Something was wrong. "That may be true," I replied, "but I'm not sure what it has to do with our garbage. We'll get back to you about it shortly. In the meantime would you excuse me?"
As I turned to leave, Jacqueline came up behind me and said quietly, There's something scary about him I can't put my finger on. Is that just my imagination?"
"I don't think so," I replied.
Within a few moments I asked the immediate working staff to join me in front of our fire place in our coffee shop. I explained briefly the events that had transpired over the last few weeks since the time of our initial meeting with Dr. Phil. "Well, that's it," I concluded. "What do you think?"
Peter, the coordinator of our media work said, "Jim and I were just praying together about these people Scott. We have been sensing something every time they come around. I can't nail it down, but something is off. I hope it just isn't my gift of suspicion," he said with a nervous laugh.
"Could I add something?" said Jacqueline.
"The other day I talked with one of the girls here in the church who said she had a confrontation with these folks, we're talking about. As it turned out, they said quite a few things that were inconsistent with scripture. Apparently they derive their teachings from a man named Moon. Have you ever heard anything about him?"
Reverend Sun Myung Moon, I had read, is a self proclaimed prophet who claims to have seen a vision of Jesus while praying on a Korean mountainside in 1936. He said that Jesus had talked with him and revealed to him God's "coded message" to mankind. Moon later published the movement's own scripture, called Divine Principle. Moon launched a new faith - The Unification Church also known as One World Crusade. Although it soon came under attack by Korean Christians for containing false doctrines, the movement continued to grow to a figure purported to be anywhere between 500,000 to 3 million worldwide.
Reverend Moon's theology, which makes wide use of the Christian Bible, is only nominally Christian. To it he has added occultism, Taoism, pop sociology and even electrical engineering. Also, he proclaims that "God has started His new dispensation and the era of the Christian Church is over."
In private meetings, according to one article published in Time magazine, Reverend Moon claimed to be "greater than Jesus himself," and said, "We have only one way, and that is through the Unification Church." To his church Moon has been quoted as saying, "I am your brain," and "the whole world is in my hand and I will conquer and subjugate the world."
"Wow! That's some pretty incredible stuff," exclaimed some of the people seated in front of me when I had finished summarizing what I had read.
"It sure is," I replied. "I believe we need to learn from this experience. Jesus Himself said that false christs and false prophets would come trying to mislead people- and not just the people who don't know Jesus, but those who do know Him. (See Matthew 24.23-24.) That's exactly what these Moon people do. They are wolves in our midst, attempting to deceive us. That's what a deceiver is-someone who mingles the truth of God's Word with false doctrines or notions and so handles it deceitfully. Paul the Apostle warned that just as the serpent deceived Eve in the garden of Eden by his craftiness (2 Corinthians 11.3), he would do so again in the last times by means of deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4.1) Satan hasn't changed, he's still what Jesus said he was...The father of lies. (John 8.44)
"How are we going to stop these people from misleading any more sheep?" asked Jim.
"We're going to pray, and then we're going to confront them," I answered.
A few hours later, once again I was seated in my office with Dr. Phil, along with him was one of the girls who wanted to recycle our cans. Accompanying me was Ted, another of our pastors. After prayer asking God's Spirit to lead us into all truth, Ted and I reiterated the events that had led to this meeting. We then asked Phil if he was a disciple of Reverend Moon.
"Yes. I am," he replied.
"Well, in that case we would like to ask you some questions, Phil. From what we have heard of Reverend Moon and from what we understand in the Bible, we believe you are being deceived. Do you believe that Reverend Moon is a true prophet of God?"
"Yes, I do."
"According to what I understand about your teachings Doctor," I went on, "do you believe that Jesus Christ was only a man and not divine? That the Holy Spirit is a feminine spirit who works with Jesus. That the crucifixion was imposed by man and was intended neither by God or Jesus-and as a result was an incomplete work? And as a result man still needs to be redeemed?
"Also, isn't it correct that these are some of the thoughts and doctrines of Reverend Moon which are written in his book, Divine Principles, which he claims is inspired by God? Do you believe these things Doctor Phil, even though they contradict the Bible?"
"Yes, I do," he replied, "because I believe we have a new revelation that brings new light to the Bible."
"I'd like to ask you one more question, Dr. Phil," I continued. "Could this new revelation also include the possibility-just the possibility mind you-that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah?"
"Yes. I believe he is. I believe he is greater than Christ and will accomplish what Christ failed to accomplish."
For quite some time afterward Ted and I talked with Dr. Phil and the girl attempting to show them through the scriptures where we believed they were being deceived. They rejected our attempt and refused to renounce any of their beliefs. We then informed them that as shepherds of the sheep we had a responsibility for the flock in our area and that we would have to regard them as wolves among the flock. We would also warn other pastor-shepherds of their presence in our area.
We called various pastors in our locality and discovered the Moon people had been attempting to infiltrate their flocks as well. The Holy Spirit had been warning these leaders as well of the deception in their midst.
One dramatic footnote sealed all of these events.
It was Sunday morning and we had gathered together as a church body for our service. The worship, which was usually explosive, was somehow not getting off the ground. "Lord Jesus," I prayed quietly, "what is happening?"
The answer came to me almost immediately. I then felt that stirring inside my spirit and the knowledge that the Lord wanted me to address the people. I stood up and faced the few hundred people in front of me.
I realize that for you some of you listening just now, that some of the things I am about to say may be the basic truths of the Bible, particularly the New Testament but I feel compelled to state it. It's always good to be reminded of that which we believe as Christians.
God the Father brought forth His only begotten Son, supernaturally, through a virgin named Mary. Jesus Christ is that only Son. There is no other. He walked before the heavenly Father on this earth, in obedience. He did the Father's will, even to the point of sacrificing His life. This too was in the will of the Father. Jesus Christ was sent so that the world though Him might be redeemed from it's sin. Jesus shed His blood on the cross of Calvary and in that blood alone, is the atonement for the sin of mankind. Only through the blood of the Son, will the Father look upon men and women and forgive them for the sin that all men are guilty of. Any individual that rejects the Son is also rejecting the Father. There is one mediator between God and man and that man is Christ Jesus our Lord. The choice is ours to choose either for Jesus Christ or against Him. There is no in between. So choose today who you are going to serve.
The room was filled with an awesome hush as these words spoken from the Bible hung in the air. A moment later a lone voice began to wail out, "Oh God, you're not a God of wrath. You are all loving ..." The man had jumped into the middle of the room and had now fallen on his knees as his tormented voice continued on, "You want us all to be one in your love. And it's not just one Son, you have many sons."
"That's demonic." I said. "Sir, please be quiet. That is not the Lord."
He continued on.
So did I. "I command you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, be quiet!"
I continued. "We who are the pastors of this flock believe that it is the mind of the Lord that all those here who are disciples of Reverend Sun Myung Moon are to leave this meeting." I glanced over at our other pastors as they nodded their assent and I continued on. "Light and darkness can have no fellowship one with another. If you would like to talk with our leaders afterward we will be available to you."
"That's not love!" one of the Moon people cried out.
"Love without obedience has no content," I responded. "Jesus Himself said, If we love Him we should obey His commands. This is not a suggestion sir. We are being obedient to the Lord Jesus. We are asking you to be obedient to us by leaving. Please do so now."
From various parts of the building approximately ten people rose and walked out.
As they went it was as if a cloud were lifting. Just as the last of the Moon people walked out the door, one of our other pastors stood up and said, "I believe the Lord has something to say to us through a prophetic word the Lord is asking me to declare. I am asking you to judge it." He then went on to speak under the unction of the Holy Spirit with a word from the Lord:
It is written, says the Lord, that I am the door of the sheep and if any man comes in by Me, he may go in and out and find pasture.
I say to this church as it gathers here this day in My name, this is My pasture, you are My flock and you may go in and out and graze joyfully because the shepherds, delegated and ordained by Me, watch over the flock. I would have you know today that I have expelled wolves from your midst. I would have you be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I am the Chief Shepherd of the sheep and I am the door and I am saying to this flock, graze joyfully!
We didn't have to ask the people if they thought that word was from the Lord, the place erupted with a spontaneous shout!
Graze joyfully. Did we ever! The Lord was watching over His flock with a Godly jealousy. We all felt loved and protected.
We didn't hear much from the Moon people again, but a few weeks later I saw a picture of Reverend Moon in a magazine. Following behind him was Dr. Phil.
We prayed for them.
As for us, we're following the Son.
Scott Ross welcomes your feedback.
Read more of Scott's commentaries.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.