Vol.VI No.VIII Pg.1
October 1969

Testing The Hearer

Robert F. Turner

In Deut. 18: 21-f. the Israelites were told to test the words of the prophet, and if the thing follow not nor come to pass — the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him. The gravity of false teaching is emphasized by the fact that the prophet who claimed to speak for God, but who spoke falsely, was condemned to death. (vs. 20)

This is but one of many times that the people were told to test the prophet; be careful lest a fast talking preacher lead them astray. But the prophet was not the only one who was subject to testing. What if the sign or the wonder came to pass as the prophet had predicted — did this remove the hearers responsibility??

Note Deut. 13: 1-3. If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass. whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams: for Jehovah your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The hearer was also subject to a testing — just how willing are you to hear something that calls in question the nature of God, and the principles of truth previously learned? Even when the signs apparently came to pass — THE WORDS, NOT THE SIGNS, were the final determinants.

Truth is a UNIT, and all so-called new truth must conform to that which has been previously established. (Notice this test in the N.T. 1 Jn. 4:1,6.) While it is true that we sometimes confuse traditional orthodoxy with established truth; there is serious warning here for those who think themselves pragmatic, and grasp hurriedly progressive philosophies which deny congregational independence and the spiritual work of the church.

Faith must remain objective. and God constantly tests whether we put His word before modern signs.