I know . . . that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. (Rev. 2:2)

THE YEAR i RETIRED, i was defrauded by a coworker. She held a trusted position in the company where we worked, and during the time I knew her she portrayed herself as a Christian. When she approached me about a difficult family situation, I gladly gave her a loan, but soon learned she had taken money from other coworkers as well, and then disappeared. Too late, the employers admitted they had not conducted any background check. This would have revealed that the woman had already served time in prison for similar fraud.

God commended the Ephesians for testing those who claimed to be apostles. All apostolic credentials were checked and the frauds were exposed. The Ephesians preserved God’s truth by staying alert to possible imposters and taking action before their corrupt teachings could infect the whole church community.

In our nation today, the same laws that protect freedom of speech and religion can also enable religious shams to delude hundreds of thousands of people through means of modern technology. Church leaders have a duty to guard their congregations from persuasive spiritual liars. Nevertheless, each one of us is also personally responsible for detecting and rejecting false doctrine. By carefully comparing what we read and hear to what the Bible says, we can spot religious fakes and defeat their attempts to defraud us of truth and lure us away from God.

Take time to research the bio and beliefs of your favorite speaker or author.

Carol Chase and her husband live in Surrey, British Columbia. She is a retired administrative supervisor, enjoys gardening, and loves to pray for others.