Recently Marc Bredencamp, popular prophet in South Africa, was exposed as a criminal, violent woman beater, drinker, drug addict, gambler and sex pervert.
So it’s not a case of “falling into sin”, but rather living a life of filth.
But take a look at his Facebook page, and you’ll find nothing that does not seem Godly. His words are not even shallow, and he includes scripture. Looking at it, you would never think he could be so far off base, and yet his lifestyle would indicate that here is man who is not even saved, but preaching and prophesying from the pulpit.
So what do we look for on Facebook when we want to find out whether someone is a true or false prophet?
Well, according to the Bible, we need to look at their fruits.
But on their pages, false prophets, just like Marc Bredencamp, can fake the fruits for a while, but only for a while. The biggest red flag of the false prophet is self interest, although they are often deceived themselves.
To identify them on Facebook, we need to check out four main aspects:
#1: The fruits of their lives
We should pay attention to the manner of living a teacher shows. Do they show righteousness, humility and faithfulness in the way they live?
Now, sometimes those fruits are easily evident, and sometimes they’re a little more tricky to pick up, and on the internet, it is not easy to find out how they are living personally because they present a facade, and any negative press can simply be banished by PR agencies.
But a good tell-tale sign is to look for genuine humility. All false prophets cannot fake real humility (although they can pretend humility).
What does genuine humility look like?
- It does not feel a right to be treated better than Jesus was treated.
- Truth is spoken in love, but without compromise (to the false Christians, it sometimes appears as arrogance, but it is confidence and authority).
- It does not strut around a stage.
- It is not proud, nor does it seek praise.
- It is not self-centred.
- It has a servant heart, and is not puffed up with self-importance.
The best way to learn who humility looks like is by analysing the behaviour of Jesus. He was confident and strong, but gentle and uncompromising. His focus was never on Himself, but on others, and His Father.
#2: Content of their teachings
We should pay attention to the content of their teaching. Is it true fruit from God’s Word, or is it man-centered, appealing to ears that want to be tickled?
Do their teachings produce repentance and sorrow over sin, or Godly encouragement from the Bible, or are they empty philosophies which motivate in the moment, but produce no spiritual growth?
Do they teach Biblical truths, or sermons dredged up from their own opinions and worldly wisdom, with a few words included to make it sound Christian?
The content of their prophecies and teaching are earthly. They make your mind focus on earthly things such as marriage, money, fame, fortress….. Jeremiah 23:16 says they fill people with worthless hopes.
Do they use certain buzzwords? The following list of common buzzwords used by false teachers and prophets is provided by Discerning the World:
- Changed circumstances.
- Unexpected blessings in all the dimensions of your life as a reward for your faithful attendance of their houses (their churches and/or ministries).
- Surprising circumstantial changes in your life.
- The strengthening of your faith to the degree that you will see many great miracles (which, of course, the false prophets allegedly perform and are going to perform).
- The rising up to a new dimension or level’.
- A hunger throughout the world for the presence, glory and knowledge of the Lord.
- Special visitations of the Lord to the church.
- A double portion of God’s presence.
- Divine gifts which you ask and desire.
- The working out of things for you which you never expected.
- The granting of new strength, new courage and new boldness.
- The acceleration of the signs of the times.
- The protection of the flock in these perilous and dangerous times. The storm (holocaust) shall not come to you again.
- The preservation of God’s holy people in the Holy Land (Israel). There shall be peace, prosperity and protection in the Holy Land.
- Angelic forces are sent out to bring about God’s perfect will for the nations.
- The church will be protected and will prosper under God’s divine protection.
- God will not allow his Bride to suffer any longer.
- God will fill the church with glory, with faith, with holiness, with purity and cover her with his glory and she shall prosper.
#3: The results of their teachings
On social media specifically, you can get a really good idea as to the fruits of their teachings, because their followers are a reflection of who they are as a person and a teacher.
His or her followers are the fruits that are being produced.
For example, if their teachings are shallow, they will produce shallow congregation members.
Examine their followers
Check the lifestyles of their members or followers, and you’ll find them living lives which are filthy, and full of sin. Check out what their followers are posting and you’ll see a trend.
You may find them posting about how wonderful Jesus is, because they love Jesus, but they love the Jesus they’ve conjured up in their own imaginations.
If the prophet or teacher revolves around prosperity, their followers will be the “I receive it” type. You will spot those who ask for prayer for material goods and prosperity, and all those who follow the person because they believe they can break out of poverty by following the Jesus in their imaginations, because they listen to the prophet, but they do not read the word of God for themselves.
In the congregation members you will see the seeds of his teachings.
I am going to use Dr John MacArthur as an example…
Dr John MacArthur recently defied the government’s order that churches close due to the pLandemic.
His congregation members stood firm with him and arrived for church fear-free.
Why? Because they have been taught strong Biblical truths which have made them spiritually strong. Their eyes are wide open to what’s really going on because they are spirit-filled and spirit-led.
If you want to know a prophet or teacher, check their social media pages and the responses from followers. Their comments are a reflection of the pastor they follow.
#4: Page analysis
Take a look at their Facebook page, and once you’ve scrolled through all the posts, and checked their “about” section, ask yourself what is their main message.
They strive to win over people with their opinions. Their aim is to please people. They will not ever say anything that could cause a stir or detract from their popularity.
Know them by their motive.
Their ministry is a business
They are very focused on building a brand; their own brand which is all about themselves. Their page, photos and posts will all reflect this. While not every branded ministry means it’s false, it’s more likely that the more branded and professional it is, the more fake.
Example of a ministry building a brand; this ministry is a business for profit.
They are often professional marketers and they often attach schools to their ministry, such as healing or prophetic schools (we know that true prophets are not taught, they are called and trained by God Himself). “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ – Deut 18:20
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. – Deut 18:18
Posts are mostly focused on themselves and getting something
Their posts speak a lot on “I” and “me”, and they will often include a link so you can do something, like buy a book or something.
Nothing in their posts will ever offend the fleshly Christian, because they would lose likes.
Other tips to spot a fake
It would probably be a mistake to take one point in isolation, but if there are a few points, chances are the person is a false teacher or prophet:
- Do they look ungodly or Godly?
- They often don’t mention Jesus on their pages.
- They often display a disdain for true believers; calling them “haters” or “legalists” or even “religious”. Their followers will be the ones shouting, “don’t judge!”
- They are full of pride.
- They treat spiritual things carelessly.
- He or she never teaches the fear of God; it’s only ever about the “love of Jesus”.
- Their followers never grow spiritually under them.
- They never talk of the state of someone’s heart.
- When his/her teachings are always about money; on TV you’ll see banking details or requests for people to “sow seeds” or “if you were blessed by this, consider a donation”.
- They use gadgets.
- They never talk about holiness or consecration.
- They have a lot of followers; they are very popular.
- They cannot explain the Bible. They use it instead to back up their message so that it sounds Christian, and they tend to use The Message Bible because their followers are babies.
- They are full of wonders and scandals.
- They use threatening prophecies to instill fear in you so that you can become gullible so that they can rob their followers.
- They are often groomed meticulously; they look and have an air of wealth.
- They give false hope.
- They prophesy false peace.
- A false prophet or teacher likes to keep company with the rich and powerful.
- A prophet who ignores the sins of his friends is a prophet for a party, not for God.
- A true prophet avoids self grandiosement.
- False prophets always draw attention to themselves instead of to Jesus.
- Most of their followers are bewitched, and will defend their idol vehemently, crucifying anyone who criticises them.
- Their followers do not know the Bible.
It is critical at this time of deceit, that the true believers identify the false from the true, and the best way of doing that is by reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. Reading God’s word increases our discernment and we are able to tell who is teaching false messages as opposed to truth.