Forwarded by: <EPC@...> "Anatomy of Deception" -by Art Katz. God has triggered something in my heart to raise the questions of authenticity before the Body of Christ. Are we willing for authenticity's sake and for truth's sake not to grasp at the first straw that floats our way, and which seems to present the possibility of solving our problems? Are we willing to refrain from simulating something out of our own humanity that has the appearance of love, but is not? I want that which comes down from above, however long I have got to bear the terrible agony and reputation of 'lovelessness.' I do not want a saccharine counterfeit. Authentic things do not come cheap. They never have. It is we, as believers, who have been inducted into the spirit of glib, unctuous and facile kinds of doings. Do we recognize that there is a cross for us to bear, and it is to this suffering that we are called, and that the resolution of the issue will not be far from us if we seek the things that are authentic and true? Do we have the discernment to distinguish the authentic from the counterfeit? Are we so habituated to success, and so desirous of seeing some visible effect of power that we are not too discriminating so long as we 'get it,' somehow? We want the excitement; we want the titillation; we want the appearance of power; we want to succeed, because the possibility of failure is a form of death we are not willing to bear, thus avoiding the Cross. We ought rather to ask ourselves what is success as God defines it? Nazi Germany put great emphasis on demonstrations of a very impressive kind, such as their meetings at Nuremburg with marches and torchlight ceremonies, almost like pagan practices, that filled the void in German life with emotion and intensity. It was an answer to a need for fulfillment, excitement and engagement. If we do not have a valid apostolic reality in our spiritual life, that void will be filled by other contenders who are only awaiting their opportunity. If we move into the realm of what is false, synthetic, humanly contrived and not the operation of the Spirit, we can move very easily from the charismatic to the demonic. We cannot tell the difference between the hunger for God and the hunger for experience. If we have a real hunger for God, we do not have to go to places where 'signs and wonders' abound. Last Days' deceptions are related to an inadequate view of God by which we interpret the 'blessing' or seeming power as being the evidence of God as we know Him, but the true knowledge of God would have made no room for that kind of understanding, or even the desire for these phenomena in the form in which they have been manifested. There are some people who see God as some kind of a lackey or errand boy, who provides the convenience of meetings for this kind of entertainment and so-called 'blessing'... The thing that we need is to be transformed into His image, not to project our image onto Him. He is not a convenience for us. He is God. He is the Creator. He is the Almighty. I think those words have lost their cogency. Maybe we have said them too often. They have become a catechism or an invocation of a mechanical kind. Unless we know Him in the place that is too deep for words, then we do not really know Him. Until there is a gasp and a splutter, until we find ourselves prostrate and stretched out as dead, do we really know Him? When the Last Days' deceptions come, of which we have been warned, will they not come with 'good' things? Can we tell the difference between the true and the false, especially when we want so much to be blessed and to have an experience and be relieved of our hang-ups and depressions? How discriminating are we about the source from which the 'blessing' comes? How do we tell whether something is of God, or a contrary spirit who is able to lift the depression that he may well have inflicted in the first place? Here is the key: our authentic knowledge of God, not as we thought Him to be, but as He, in fact, is. Deception is a deception when it contains elements that are dubious and suspicious, and at the same time there seems to be apparent blessing. Who has the acumen and the discernment to see through it except a people of priestly stature whose discernment has been increased by the exercise of it? And who can discern between good and evil, between the profane and the holy? If blessings, so called, can succeed in bringing the Church to viewing benefit as the criterion by which something is judged to be of God, we may well have been brought to the very ground of deception itself. There is something more important than benefits, something more important than being released from depression; it is the holiness of God, it is His name, it is His honor, it is He Himself. Receiving benefit of a dubious kind is too high a price to pay if it is going to throw any shadow upon His great Name. It is remarkable that, though we are explicitly warned about end-time lying signs and wonders (2 Thess 2:9; Matt 24:24), we somehow imagine that it is future, and mindlessly trust ourselves in our greed for experiences, empowerments, or releases, to dubious personalities who have caught the public fancy in incredible overnight popularity. I profoundly respect God' s use of the weak and the foolish thing, but I cannot, for that reason, endorse what is garish, cheap and coarse as being that weak and foolish thing of which Paul speaks. "Holiness unto the Lord" is still the standard of God's House, even when it is unspectacular and unassuming in the eyes of the world, and even in our own eyes. Waiting is a priestly function, and we need to wait to see if our spirits are hospitable to what is being mediated from church platforms. Is it compatible with our already existing knowledge of God? If it is not compatible, they can stand on their heads, run all over the platform, and every other kind of madness. We are not to mindlessly give ourselves to it at all. Our integrity in God needs to be guarded, and we should not allow ourselves to be influenced, taken up and affected by the current trends, or else we will never have anything significant to give. What has come to us in our relationship with God, our personal history of the knowledge of God, has come through obedience and the reproaches that accompany obedience, and the sufferings that come with following the Lord. It did not come cheap. That knowledge is precious and dear. We need to make it the index of all other knowledge, and if present phenomena are not compatible with what we already know, and have tested, as being the knowledge of God as God, then we need to hold at arm's length that which purports to be from God, even if it is a 'blessing' to others. I have found safety in aligning new phenomena with what already is my knowledge of the holiness of God through my forty-year walk. I am jealous over that inward deposit, that residue of the knowledge of God that is beyond words; it cannot be articulated, but I know it to be there, and it is in the innermost place of my being. Everything has to be tested against that. If present phenomena are not consonant with what I already know to be the holiness of God, then I am alerted, and cannot indiscriminately receive what others seem to be applauding. This has been a life-saving provision for me, and it ought to be so for all believers. It was not too long ago, in a church where I was speaking, that in a moment of time the thought came to me that one does not have to be a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness, or subscribe to some cult to be deceived. One can subscribe to correct Christian orthodoxy and be as effectually = deceived in the correctness of that credal statement as if they were embracing false doctrine. And in fact, that kind of deception is the most devious and most powerful of all, because you think you are correct. It is a critical hour for the Church. Deception is rampant. My Jewish people are perishing. Where is that witness that moves them to jealousy? The Jews are everywhere about us, totally unimpressed and untouched with our best Charismatic demonstration. The Church needs to come into a place that is holy, holy, holy, where they know God as He is, and not just as they think Him to be. Only out of that place are we then able to make Him known.