Sometimes it’s easy to spot a fraud, and sometimes it takes a lot of thought and research. People like Jim Wallis and Brian McLaren are pretty easy to call out for their false and misleading teachings and interpretations of scripture. But not every issue we face is that simple. The “Signs and Wonders” movement is an issue that we need to approach cautiously, holding it up to the Word of God to see what His Word has to say about it.
In the New Testament Jesus and Paul warn us that there would be great deception of counterfeit signs and wonders that would lead many astray. Instead of revival in the final days, Jesus said there would be a great falling away. And the Apostles warned that many would fall subject to foolish teachings that tickle the ears of men—a teaching that would lead people astray from the gospel. So how do we discern this signs and wonders movement, determining if it is real or phony? Well first, of course, we search the scriptures as the Bereans did, checking to see if these things are taught in the scriptures. Second, we look at the fruits of these works. Did Paul or the other apostles profit monetarily from the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit within the early church? No. But many proponents of today’s movements are sure profiting these days, as evidenced by the mansions they live in and the private jets some of them own. In Acts 19, we are told that God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, with their illness healed and evil spirits leaving them. But there is no mention of Paul profiting from these garments. Today Mike Murdock, an extreme Word of Faith preacher says if you send him $129 he will send you a cloth that you can pray over and watch God provide you health and wealth, answering all your prayers. Some others say that if you sew your first 10% into their ministry, God will bless you back ten fold. Does God still perform miracles these days through healings and blessings? Absolutely. Is God capable of producing incredible signs and wonders anytime he chooses? Unquestionably. But how do we discern between a great work of God’s Spirit and the counterfeit of greedy humans or the enemy? It begins by knowing God’s character and nature as revealed in His Word. And as studies show, we are rapidly becoming biblically illiterate as Christians in America. The combination of questionable signs, wonders or healings and biblical illiteracy is a recipe for disaster. But thankfully it is not too late for us as Christians to submerge ourselves in His Word—the only place we will ever find absolute truth.