By A. C. Grider
There is a command in First John 4:1 to “Try the spirits.” We are warned that “many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Several things are involved in this business of trying the spirits. First of all, we must know the scriptures to be able to successfully try the spirits. And usually there is the love for the truth that helps us to know the truth in the first place.
We need to keep in mind that we do not need to know everything in order to try the spirits. We do not even need to know all about the subject at hand to try the spirits. If we know enough to uproot some of the foundation of a given position we can know that the whole thing is wrong.
Brother N.B. Hardeman said once, “It is ill-becoming and for the want of common sense for one to say, the Bible says thus and so but the Greek says . . . .” So when one comes with a theory which seems to dispute the common English, and he relies on the Greek to sustain himself, you can just know that his is a false notion. When one comes with a complicated hodge-podge of “component- parts” and “total situations,” you can be sure that he is fostering a false position.
For instance, I do not know all about premillennialism. But I do know enough about it to know that it is a false theory. I know that my Lord said that all that are in the graves will come out at the same hour (John 5:28-29). Any theory that separates the resurrection of the dead by a thousand years or any other period is a false theory.
I do not know all about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I, know enough to know they constitute a false system. Their theory is that the earth will not be burned up but that only the systems here will be destroyed and the earth preserved for certain people. But Peter said “The earth also and the works therein shall be burned- up.” So, they teach a false doctrine.
I do not know all about the liberal positions. But I know enough to know that they constitute a false group. They contend that the benevolent work of the church is not limited. But they must know that it is. When I tell them I will send my salary for the next year to any home they want to name if they will show me a scripture that binds the church to help anyone except saints, and they cannot do it, they must know they are teaching a false doctrine.
I do not know everything about Catholicism. But I know enough to know that my Lord said, “Call no man your father on earth.” And they keep on not only calling a man “Father” but calling him “Holy Father.” They just have to be a false group.
So, do not let the fact that you do not know everything keep you from trying the spirits. Do not follow them off into some kind of wild goose chase into things you cannot answer. Hold them to what you do know and keep that before the people and they will do you like they do me they will avoid you and will have nothing to do with a discussion where they will have to defend their position.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 25, p. 401
June 19, 1980