Wheat and tares look so much alike that it is almost impossible to distinguish them before they mature. Those who are true can be just as arrogant, foolish, and sinful as the tares until they mature. The main way that wheat and tares are distinguished at “the harvest,” or when both have matured, is that the wheat will bow over and the tares remain standing upright. This is a metaphor for how the true grow in humility and the false grow in pride. If one is maturing but getting more resistant to correction, we have a problem. God resists the proud, but gives His grace to the humble (see James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5). We are told throughout Proverbs that the wise love correction and reproof, but the foolish hate it. So, watching those who are more prone to embrace and appreciate correction and those who are not can tell us a lot.
These are general principles, but there are additional factors, such as if the correction is valid or from a valid authority. It is right to resist correction from invalid authority. Many Christians live in perpetual defeat because they wrongly accept the devil’s condemnation as correction from God.
Others get misled because they receive guidance or correction from other Christians who may have the best intentions but are illegitimate because they have presumed authority that was not given to them from the Lord—the only Source of true authority in the kingdom. A good example of this is the media, even “Christian” media. Being a journalist does not give one authority in the Church. Neither does being a good writer or speaker. God established leaders such as apostles, elders, pastors, etc. as authorities in His Church. Most of those who fall into this presumption and become illegitimate judges of the Church become “fault-finders,” and as we see in Jude a special judgement is reserved for them we should all fear.
Even those authorities appointed by God have specific “spheres” of authority that are based on experience and fruitfulness. The apostle Paul explained to the Corinthians that if he was not an apostle to others, he was to them because they were his fruit, an obvious result of his authority. So Paul was admitting that he was not an authority to everyone, and he wasn’t. For example, he was not an apostle to the Jews, as the Lord had given that sphere to Peter. As Paul also related to the Corinthians, he had authority for building them up or tearing them down, by which we can conclude that we do not have authority to tear down what we have not been used to build.
Therefore we should ask those who presume to be judges and critics, journalists or presumed prophets, what they have built that gives them the authority to tear down. As a publisher we all too frequently receive manuscripts by authors who claim to have the new wineskin pattern for the Church. My first question to them is to show me the ones that they have been used to raise up. To date, none have been able to show me such a work, and therefore we have not published any such books. Authority comes from having fruit, not theories.
There are many books available on releasing the prophetic or raising up prophets. Some are legitimate because you can go to their work and find fruitful and maturing prophetic ministries. Others you go to have none, so why should we listen to them?
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