Paul Wilson (9 July 2013)
"A Religious Spirit or Simply A Disagreement Amongst the Brethren??"

While I agree there are religious spirits out there in churches I think we must be careful not to label a brother or sister who legitimately disagrees with us as having religious spirit. The following was posted about the manifestation of a religious spirit and I have shown how a member of the brethren could legitimately fit each or be perceived to fit each.
<<<What are the kinds of manifestations of religious spirits that you can see?>>>

<<<1. Religious spirits like to hear about sins, errors, and mistakes of anointed ministers.>>>
True but to ignore the errors is wrong as well. it allows ministers to bring Godís word into disrepute. Also who is anointed?? Some may consider a particular preacher anointed and touched by Godís and others consider him a heretic. you must check what they say against the word if that minister is disagreeing with the word on issues even if he is in agreement with the word elsewhere you must not give him a pass on those issues where he is wrong you must correct him.

<<<2. They rejoice over mistakes of their brothers and ministers in Christ.>>>
True but be careful not to confuse pleasure at being vindicated about a minister with rejoicing over their mistakes.

<<<3. Like to email out everyone on their list about a minister's mistakes.>>>
If little mistakes yes that is not a Christian spirit however if these are major errors than people have the duty to inform all they know about this error when this is a major preacher or someone who is seeking out the limelight.

<<<4. They look for mistakes in brother's and minister's lives.>>>
It would depend on motivation. If they examine the preachers live to see that he is not a hypocrite then I would not be upset with them for they want to ensure Godís word is not tarnished by a bad representative of Christ. If they look at the persons life to find something to complain about the yes that is not the spirit of Christ as he said ďlet he who is without sin cast the first stoneĒ since all have sinned all have something in their lives that would be sinful but does not compromise their testimony.

<<<5. Like to misjudge prophetic words or teachings then instead of emailing the person they go to great lengths to email everyone on their list.>>>
I would put a caveat on this of A) If it is a big name preacher not your minister down the street or someone you can email and talk to then you may have no choice but to email people you know and talk about this possible wrong prophetic word with them. B) Keep in mind that when you are giving words on a public forum it is not the same and a private gathering in which you can limit who is there, you are speaking to any and all and are opening yourself to public scrutiny. You have made statements to the public in public so if you are challenged on it publicly you canít complain. it would be the same as if you went to a town square and started teaching your word there people wouldnít be required to wait till later and talk to you privately about it they have reasonable expectation of being able to discuss it with you right there on the square in front of everyone. and C) sometime people have gone privately to someone about a issue only to have that person publicly rebuke them. you can not expect people to email you privately when you answer them publicly.

<<<7. Hearing something new, refuse to seek out the Word of God to understand truth.>>>
Since it is new it might be something that goes against what has been accepted teaching for some time so they may not be religious but not understanding this new revelation. Also they may use scripture to support them but just because that disagrees with this new thing that doesnít mean the are not seeking truth. If they truly donít seek out the truth in the bible then they would not have the spirit of God with them.

<<<8. Like to email ministers their thinking about the sermon to add their thinking or correct the minister.>>>
It depend on the emails. Sometimes this can be a good thing because it can spark discussion and get one further in the word. However if a person is not correct in their use of scripture then they make just be looking for a argument. Also remember that there are many pastors who are wrong on things, look how many are pastors but deny Godís existence, and need to be corrected.

<<<9. Do not seek understanding.>>>
This can be a rather subjective manifestation since for some if a person doesnít see it your way after a email or two you may feel they donít want to understand when it could be you simply havenít provided proof required to change their mind. Conversations are NOT a email or two long they can be many emails, or posts on a board, long and take sometime. Just because they donít agree with you immediately doesnít mean they donít seek understanding. But yes spirits not of God will not want to understand.

<<<10. Do not like to seek knowledge.>>>
Again this can be subjective since if they arenít accepting your revelation or your version of thing you might believe they donít seek knowledge. Just because they disagree donít mean they donít seek knowledge or donít want to learn. Remember as well logic and scripture are not always the same. Something may sound logical but that doesnít make it scriptural.

<<<11. When hearing something that is anointed becomes angry inside for no reason at all. They become angry with the anointed servant of God. Then they try to call it discernment.>>>
Again it would depend on who is anointed. Sometime we tend to consider those who agree with us as anointed and those who donít and unanoited. Anger can be tough to tell over the internet sometimes people perceive you as anger when you are approaching them calmly and respectfully. I would also be very careful about discernment. It can be quite easy to label those who disagree with you for whatever reason as having false discernment. Not agreeing with you or with another servant of God is NOT itself an indication of a religious spirit. Yes a spirit not of God would become angry for no reason we must separate NO reason from what what we consider NO GOOD reason. You may not agree with their reason you may think it is a stupid reason BUT that is not the same as NO reason.

<<<12. In hearing things that are new to them they will try to give their word even though they don't even understand what they are saying.>>>
Be sure it is THEY who donít understand what they are saying and not YOU you donít understand what they are saying. Again with something new if it is against what they have held dear for so long it may take a bit more time but are simply defending their faith. however if they can not support their word with scripture and you can then it is likely they do not have a spirit of God.

<<<13. Like to dispute, quarrel and generate strife with those speaking and teaching things that are new to them.>>>
I would distinguish between those who wish to discuss a matter and those who wish top quarrel. Some wish to discuss that which is new to them using scripture and want to be shown how you cam to believe this new thing and the scriptural support for it. The fact that ďI said itĒ may not be enough for them and if they are to teach others saying ďso and so said itĒ wont help them. If they are using the Word of God to support them and you canít refute them with the word of God then it may be that they have a legitimate point and simply wish to discuss it. While those with a spirit not of God will quarrel and argue those with the spirit of God will discuss and ask questions to learn the truth. Donít confuse the latter with the former simply because the teaching is something you support and can imagine any legitimate discussion of it.

<<<14. Lie about the motives of a minister in order to attack his/her teachings.>>>
Again we must investigate what is said to know if it is a lie. Yes those who donít have the spirit of God will lie but just because what is said doesnít agree with what we believe about a preacher donít automatically make it a lie. When a claim is made we must search into it and seek out the truth whatever that truth may be even if it disappoints us. We may personally like the preacher but if what is said is correct we must accept that and not have blind loyalty to any man, or woman, but affirm our loyalty lie with Christ alone.

<<<15. Like to control apostles, and prophets.>>>
Again you have to be careful here as in these days there are many self appointed apostles and self appointed prophets yet they know not God. This I think is the hardest thing in todays church because we often give self appointed prophets a 2nd, 3rd, 50th, 100th chance when they are wrong. We say that ďsatan corrupted the prophecy so that the person heard it wrongĒ. Or ď it was filtered through imperfect flesh and that caused it to be remembered wrongĒ. Or ďwe prayed it awayĒ although there was no indication by God it was a subjective prophecy that could be annulled by prayer. Keep in mind God NEVER had that problem with the Prophets of Old. So either God is slipping up on the job after all these years or the person wasnít a prophet. I believe the latter is true and the former is impossible. A prophet is to be 100% right 100% of the time. A prophecy is to be 100% right if it is from God as he would not mix truth and lies and has never had his prophecies mixed with lies. I feel many in todayís church would not have been allowed in the early church without repentance of their errors.Many would have found themselves shunned and out of fellowship until they admitted their error and asked forgiveness.