By The Love of God
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1
The position of the Scripture is one that faces two extremes: The Spirit is essential, and experience is vital; however, truth and definition and doctrine and dogma are equally vital and essential. And our whole position is one that proclaims that experience that is not based solidly upon truth and doctrine is dangerous.
There is the necessity for testing and trying the spirits. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” Now some people object root and branch to this process of testing. There are many reasons for that, of course. In the case of some people it is nothing but slackness, indolence, and laziness—a desire for ease.
But there are those who feel that this whole process of testing and trying the spirits is unscriptural. According to such people, the moment you begin to discuss and consider and define, you cease to be a spiritual person. But my reply to this is that we must test and try the spirits because Scripture commands and exhorts us to do so, and for me that is enough. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits.”
Not only that, but Scripture tells us why we ought to do so: “because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Alas, there are false prophets; there are evil spirits; there is a devil who is so clever and subtle that he can transform himself into an angel of light. If we were confronted with the Holy Spirit only, there would be no need to test the spirits, but the very name “Holy Spirit” suggests other spirits, devilish spirits—and there are such powers.
A Thought to Ponder
We must test and try the spirits because Scripture commands and exhorts us to do so.
From The Love of God, pp. 18-20.