February 22, 2012
(Jesus said) "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24
You probably have never heard of Ofcom.
I hadn't either -- not until I read that Ofcom, the organization that watches over media in the United Kingdom, has fined a religious broadcast channel $40,000 for the equivalent of false advertising.
False advertising? Yup. False advertising!
According to Ofcom, if a pastor is going to say that his "Miracle Olive Oil Soap" can cure cancer, diabetes and heart problems, he ought to have proof: solid, incontrovertible proof.
If the tele-preacher doesn't have that kind of evidence, he ought not to be making the claim. And he most certainly shouldn't charge an exorbitant price for selling that soap to his desperate supporters.
For a number of reasons, I think the Lord and His disciples would agree.
Reason One - They would agree because -- unlike these modern-day false prophets -- Jesus and His associates never charged anyone for the miracles of healing that were performed. That gift, along with so many other blessings which come from the Christ, was offered freely.
Reason Two - Just as importantly, while I have heard the Savior say, "Your faith has made you well," never, never, never did He say, "This bar of Miracle Olive Oil Soap has healed you."
Reason Three - Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus' representatives must always point people to the Savior and not to themselves. That's what Peter and John did when the Lord healed the beggar on the temple steps. Speaking for both the apostles, "Peter said, 'I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!'" (Acts 3:6).
Yes, Jesus would agree, and He would also say any person who doesn't lead His listeners to the cross and empty tomb is a "false prophet." He is a false prophet, whose message should be left unheard.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, please keep me steadfast in Your Word. Bless pastors and parishes who point people to their Savior and the salvation He has won and, if it is possible, muzzle false prophets, who preach anything other than Christ crucified and risen. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries