Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Question for Errantists: By What Method Do You Distinguish between the Spirit of God and the Spirits of Antichrist?

I'm curious to know what errantists (by which I mean people who think the theology and ethics of Scripture are in error) believe the spirit of antichrist to be?

If knowing Jesus must be a matter of knowing Him as Lord, and His Lordship is only recognized by submitting to the Word of God, all of which speaks of Him and all of which is His teaching, then how does one know the real Christ from antichrist if he cannot trust that he actually knows the teachings of the Word of God or that he simply cannot trust the Word of God as much as his own views of theology and morality?

If you think that Scripture needs to be redeemed, by what is it being redeemed? Isn't it by a modern view of Jesus that holds to modern sensibilities? Isn't then the Holy Spirit who points to Jesus just the zeitgeist? But if that is true, then what is the difference between the zeitgeist and the spirit of antichrist?

To clarify what I'm getting at here, let me make sure you understand the question.

The word "antichrist" in the New Testament does not refer to one who is opposed to Christ. It does not mean the spirit that is "against Christ." That's a later understanding of the word anti. Instead, in the New Testament anti means "instead of," conveying the idea of replacement. In 1 John, this refers to replacing Christ with a different Christ (specifically in the letters it refers to replacing Christ with a docetic Christ who only appeared to become, but was not made, flesh (i.e., human). It also seems to cut at the gnostic idea of adoptionism, which denied that there was a Father and Son in the Godhead, but only the Father. Jesus was just the human, but there was no divine Son, just the spirit of the Father who perhaps went into Jesus. It's difficult to say whether adoptionism was prevalent when the letter was written, but it does seem to allude to some sort of Jesus that at least looks something like adoptionism.

In any case, the point is that 1 John is speaking about a spirit that replaces the real Christ with a false one. It tells us that we are to then put the spirits on trial because many false prophets have come into the world.

So my question is this, "By what do you put the spirits of antichrist that have gone out into the world to the test?" "How do you differentiate between the Spirit of God that relates to you the real Christ and one of the many spirits of antichrist that are attempting to displace Him with a false view of Christ? Do you do it with the zeitgeist? How do you differentiate between the zeitgeist and a spirit of antichrist, especially when Scripture's theology and ethics cannot be trusted?

Remember, according to Jesus, or at least what you may believe to be the broken and errant view of Jesus' words in the Bible, you cannot accept Jesus apart from accepting His words. Now, if you don't believe that, but rather that Jesus' words are not important to know and obey, where did you get that concept? Was it from the zeitgeist, and again, how do you differentiate all of these? Thanks in advance.


  1. Hi Bryan,

    Any particular errantist that you sorta, kinda had in mind when you wrote this post?

  2. All of them really. I feel like they make these sweeping critical claims against the Bible and then want to hold that it's still God's Word and that they still follow Jesus. Well, which Jesus would that be? And how do you know it's the right one? What's the inerrant philosophical/theological/moral measuring stick by which you judge the presentation of Jesus (again, as the whole Bible points to and represents Him) to be true or false, to be Christ or antichrist?