We should be like the Berean believers: "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." (Act 17:11). By this I am not implying that these testimonies constitute the Word of God, or that they become a new book of the Bible. However, they do contain messages purportedly from Jesus Christ, and they often quote Scripture. Don't despise prophetic utterances (1Th 5:20). Let's eagerly receive anything the Lord has so say to us through His Body, but be diligent to examine the Scriptures daily to see whether these things are so. Let's test the spirits to see whether they are from God.
I would like to suggest that here we use the same review criteria outlined on Robert Brownell's website, SpiritLessons. Brownell states:
"[This] website receives many new testimonies from around the world, by people who testify of Revelations by Jesus. These testimonies are very valuable, but like the 1st century church, there needs to be review process by Mature Christians. When a testimony has something controversial or difficult, we'll put it under the 'UNDER REVIEW' section. With a comment box on the bottom, for wise Christian counsel. This should help weed out problems, and identify issues. Similar to the way the early Church discussed matters."
"Remember, we are NOT canonizing scripture here. The Bible is sufficient! We were never given permission by God to add His scripture. We are just investigating Face to Face encounters with Jesus Christ. None of these testimonies have gone through the rigorous and thorough testing that the Bible has gone through. If something contradicts with clear scripture, please note that in the comment section. I never allow people's revelations to contradict verbatim scripture. If any revelation contradicts clear scripture, I reject it. For the Bible is my foundation of doctrine. But I will allow revelations to challenge my interpretation of scripture. And I will not pridefully hold up my interpretation of scripture as infallible."
"Things to remember when reviewing:
1. Please understand that there MAY be mistranslations from the original testimony.
2. There MAY be places where authors are not clear enough in their description.
3. We are looking for patterns, that show up in multiple testimonies. This gives certain issues more weight.
4. Also remember that we don't care about their opinions, ideas or speculation. We only really care about what Jesus told them. There are many good people of God who can have misunderstandings in their opinions. No one's opinions are perfect. Hopefully they won't share opinions in their testimonies, we just want the FACTS! WHAT WAS THE MESSAGE FROM JESUS? This is why we often highlight the words of Jesus in Dark, Bolded Red.
5. Also, regarding sin, remember that the Lord weighs the Motives of the Heart. Two people can do the same thing, and the Lord judges differently. Therefore if one person claims an actions can lead a person to Hell, we're looking for a clear definition of what that action is, not just a vague description."
"So get your Bibles, and hammer these testimonies out. Please leave Wise and Referenced Comments on the bottom." -- Robert Brownell.
In addition to these excellent guidelines that Brownell has recommended, for more help in reviewing these testimonies, please read my articles, called "Judging Revelations, Visions, and Prophecies," "Testing the Spirits of False Prophets," "Discerning the Things of the Spirit," "Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit," "A Warning to the Nay Sayers," "An Open Mind that Loves the Truth," and "The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught." It is very important to test the fruit of the messenger, and that is why I try to check the character of the person giving the testimony, when it is controversial. I attempt to make phone calls and speak with the person who had the experience, as well as with those who know the person well, in order to see what kind of fruit is in their lives.
I hope these guidelines will help you as you seek to test the spirits and discern the things of the spirit.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The photo of the careful examination of Scripture comes from "Beginning and End."
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.