Question: The NewsWatch article about Governor Perry's prayer meeting with two pastors in the August 2011 TBC reminded me of Luke:9:49-50: A man was casting out demons in the name of Jesus, and He said, "do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side." [By the same token] Governor Perry stated that the main purpose of the prayer gathering was to turn to God/Jesus (yes, he did "name the name of Jesus"). God's Word says that this type of prayer is pleasing and glorifying to Him. Shouldn't that give us all reason for joy?
Response: We have the word of Jesus that the man in Luke's account was "not against us," and we can conclude that this man was truly casting out demons in the name of the true "Jesus."
Scripture, however, warns us: "For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" (2 Cor:11:4). We do not have the testimony of Jesus concerning the two pastors who came to pray with Governor Perry. Indeed, what we do have is "a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce, an influential prophet (son-in-law and heir to C. Peter Wagner's Latter-Rain legacy) from Denton, Texas." God had supposedly commanded some of Pierce's followers to "pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule"--and the claim is that Rick Perry was the one.
We have addressed the false teaching and prophecies of the Latter Rain movement and in particular those of Chuck Pierce (see TBC, 12/11) in past newsletters. How can one have any assurance that the "Jesus" spoken of in this political gathering was the Jesus of the Bible? The Latter Rain movement and its offspring in the New Apostolic Reformation speak of visions, prophecies, and great spiritual experiences and sometimes interactions with angels. Nevertheless, we are expressly warned in Galatians:1:8, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
God commands the church to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes:5:17) and He certainly answers prayer. Of course, we do not receive Christ just so we can get our prayers answered; nevertheless it's a wonderful blessing and even a promise to believers. Certainly we should pray and certainly we should gather with others for prayer.
But consider the instruction of the Lord concerning prayer. The Lord will not "hear" when we have sin in our lives: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Ps:66:18). Can the Lord respect the prayers of those who teach and prophesy falsely in His name? Indeed, we are exhorted to "prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes:5:21).
We're told in the Gospel of John that God desires that those who worship Him "must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (Jn:4:23-24). Since gathering together in prayer is a form of worship, the same condition of "spirit and truth" applies to prayer. Therefore, discernment is required before believers join in prayer with others. Would Governor Perry's joining in prayer with Mormons or Roman Catholics (who have another Jesus and a false gospel of works) be "pleasing and glorifying" to God and a "reason for joy"? No. The same applies to all of those who do not abide in the teachings of Christ (2 Jn:1:9-11).