False Evidence of Spirit Baptism
Robert Wurtz II
“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4 NKJV)
“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20 NKJV)
Other than gross carnality, the Corinthians had a reputation, in the words of Paul, for suffering fools gladly. (2 Cor. 11:19) They would put up with someone preaching a “different” Jesus and a “different gospel” and do so literally with pleasure. They seemed to enjoy being abused and taken advantage of. They had no respect for a minister like Paul who refused to receive money from them or lord it over them. It may seem shameful and absurd to us, but Paul had to spend a chapter demonstrating his “qualifications” (for lack of a better word) for the authenticity of his ministry, because pretenders were working at destroying his influence. More than pretenders, these people were agents of Satan who had “transformed” themselves into someone the people would accept as “spiritual.” There is always a genuine and a counterfeit; we have to know the difference. The Corinthian criteria for authenticity in ministry was wildly off and they were paying a heavy price for it.
Sandwiched in the middle of 2 Cor. 11:4 is this little statement that I wish to focus on, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received. This comes to us as a shock–insomuch that some commentators try to shift the remark to a rhetorical statement. But that does not make sense given the fact that it’s set in the middle of “another Jesus” and “another gospel.” Indeed, many apologists will laud the notion of another gospel or another Jesus, but they just can’t bring themselves to believe that a person could actually receive another spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we have to face reality.
A Modern “2 Corinthians 11” Experience
In modern times when fools are gladly received, and ears yearn to be tickled, there is a “Jesus” who is preached that exists to meet all our needs. He waits on our beckoning call and wants to bless us abundantly, make us healthy, exalt us in popularity, and give us the dream life. If you don’t believe so just listen to all the “prophetic words” that come to people about how he wants to bless us and make us great. Never mind the fact that we live in one of the darkest moral cultures in human history, this “Jesus” and “spirit” says all is well- peace, peace (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). He serves us, we don’t serve him. We worship him so he will give us more stuff and be inclined to give us what we ask for in our prayers. We strike up the band and we can feel him come in the room. In fact, we control him, he doesn’t control us. We switch on the electric instruments and he comes a running.
The way we receive him is by hearing the good news that he died for our sins and we don’t have to go to hell now. In fact, he wants heaven on earth for us. We can repeat a five second prayer and he will come in to us and give us salvation and blessing. No matter how bad we are, we can start where we are and try “Jesus” out for a trial period. If he doesn’t bless us and straighten our life out, so we are told, we can change our mind (such is sometimes the sales pitch). It gets even better, we go to heaven when we die and receive a mansion and all kinds of rewards and stuff. We are queens and not widows and we will see no sorrow. (Revelation 18:7)
We now come to the “receive the spirit” part. After hearing this “wonderful message” about how God wants to bless us, make our life better, and take us to heaven when we die its time to receive this spirit. But before we move on we need to ask some questions. Does this “wonderful message” sound even remotely like a biblical Gospel message? Does God really exist to bless man and make him happy (in this life and the one to come)? Was God created for our pleasure? (Rev. 4:11) Does this message sound like John the Baptist or Paul? (Luke 3:7; Acts 17:30-31) What happened to repentance and fruits worthy of repentance–a message Paul preached everywhere he went? (Acts 26:19-21) What about conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment to come? (John 16:8) What about taking up our cross? (Luke 14:26ff)
So they have the “another Jesus” and the “another Gospel” now they need to receive “another spirit.” This spirit even comes with counterfeit manifestations! However, since we don’t have genuine repentance and faith to prepare the person for the real Holy Spirit, there needs to be a substitute, “weirdness.” That’s right, instead of repenting, the folks just weird-out, however long it takes, until they “receive” something and utter a few unintelligible words. This phenomena, perhaps the easiest of all for Satan to counterfeit, is trusted with absolute certainty. Then the minister or helper will declare, “you got it! You got the Holy Ghost!” Now the person is enabled to speak in tongues, prophesy and discern spirits! (at least they have been duped into thinking they can). The report says __ number of people were “saved” and __ number of people “received the Holy Spirit.” But what Jesus, Gospel, and Spirit were received? We need to ask this difficult question in an age of rife falsehood and compromise.
No Change and No Fruit
What happens? The people walk out the doors of the church and act as crazy and carnal as ever. Nevertheless, because of some weird manifestations and acts of emotionalism, they believe they are both saved and spiritual. Never mind the fact that love, joy, peace, gentleness, etc. are as absent as ever and there is no real desire to truly conform to the image of Christ. The same old “publican” type of love prevails (love who you want to and despise the rest). They may even believe they can hear from God. After all, they apparently did “receive a different spirit which you have not received” in the words of Paul.
“For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.” (2 Corinthians 11:19–20 NKJV)
The Corinthians gladly received ministers whom Paul referred to as “fools.” No doubt there were people who actually believed that this type of thing was the right path or as we sometimes call “the old paths.” It is not. The old paths is the faith that was once delivered to the Saints that we are supposed to be contending for–not some weird rendition of it that came along in the 20th century. Repentance and holiness are almost shunned topics in many Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. Again, there are genuine and conterfeits so we have to ask, “How could anything a minister says be legit if they ignore half the Gospel message?” If half the Gospel is missing from their message there is likely to also be a different spirit to receive.
When a person truly repents, believes and receives the Holy Spirit they become children of God and behave like it. They don’t spiritually animate when the band is playing and then default into a carnal mind in public. They are always salt and light. They are to always be walking in the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is normative. What did Jesus say? You will know them by manifestations? Quite the contrary. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20 NKJV) Any lesser thing is a fraud and counterfeit at best and demonic at worst.