It's amazing and saddening to see the amount of literature that has been produced in recent decades by Christians that is aimed at judging other churches or ministries and even going to the extreme of labelling them “demonic” or “of the devil.”
Yes, it is important to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and stand for truth. However, we must focus on the fundamentals of Scripture and the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, not on minor controversial issues. We should also do everything in the spirit of Christ, which requires a loving and sensitive approach when speaking about other Christian ministries.
The Bible does tell us to test all things and to hold on to the good and let the bad go (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). 1 John 4:1-3 also tells us to test the spirits and to not believe everything we hear. We should test churches and ministries by what they say about Jesus - who He is and what he has done. We should, however, place final judgement on nothing before its time (1 Corinthians 4:5. James 4:10-12). God is the true judge, and each person will stand before Him (not us) and give account for all they have done.
Christian love requires us to avoid a critical attitude that is quick to pull down and point out flaws in other people and their ministries (Matthew 7:1-5). Instead of judging, Jesus tells us to examine the fruit or results of a person or ministry.Derek Prince recommends five key things that we should look for when discerning whether any church, ministry or so-called “move of God” is genuine or not (from his booklet Uproar in the Church published by Derek Prince Ministries). Here they are:
- The fruit of repentance. Are people turning from sin to God?
- Respect for the Scriptures. Is God’s Word being respected, valued and taught?
- Exaltation of Jesus. Is Jesus being lifted up and magnified?
- Love for other Christians. Is there a growing love for other believers?
- Loving concern for the unreached. Is there a focus on reaching people for Christ?