I received the following question:

Do you know of any other verses that would support the idea of how false testimony of Christ during the Acts period would be able to be discerned by the lackings of their miraculous signs?  I can see where you were coming from in Romans 10:15 verse when it says, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written:  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good thing!'”  However, more support in Scripture about false teachers not having any influence at all in the Acts period would obviously be a good thing.  Maybe you have some more?

I wish that I could say that false teachers did not have any influence in the Acts period.  However, to say this would be manifestly untrue.  There were false teachers, and they did tend to hold sway over men, just as false teachers do today.  The advantage men had at that time was that they had God-commissioned apostles to tell them who the false teachers were and to set them back on track.

My point was not that no one taught false doctrine at that time.  Rather, it is that no one preached the gospel of salvation at that time unless God had specifically commissioned him to do so.  Consider salvation like an invitation to a club.  This club has a leader who maintains absolute control over who can and cannot enter the club.  Members are allowed to invite others to the club, but only those who are previously approved by the club leader.  The club members might wish they could spread to any of their friends they wanted to the good news of this great club, and offer to let them join it.  However, though they could tell their friends about the club, they could make no offer to them to allow them membership unless they had been given permission to do so by the leader.  If a club member was making an offer of membership to one person or group of people, another person or group might overhear.  Though these would now know about the club, they still could not enter it, for the offer of membership was not made to them, but only to the group for which the offer of membership was intended.  No matter how much they might desire membership in this club, they could not receive it, for the offer of membership was not made to them.  They could not enter the club unless another offer was made to them at a later time.

Now, suddenly, the club leader changes the rules entirely.  Now, anyone who wants to can join the club.  No one has to have permission to offer membership to another.  No person has to be qualified by the leader before he can hear about and accept an offer of membership.  Anyone can now join, and any member, new or old, can at any time offer membership to any other person.  Printed leaflets might be sent out explaining the rules of membership, and a person could join the club without ever even meeting a club member.  The club was no longer exclusive, but was now open to all.

This is the change that took place at the end of the Acts period.  Now, anyone could preach the gospel, and anyone could believe it, whereas before only those with God’s permission were allowed to.  Each time they preached, moreover, God would inspire them and give them the exact words to use in the exact situation they were in with the exact people they were preaching the gospel to.  No one could preach the gospel unless this was true.  Yet anyone could still teach regarding the Word, and were not stopped from doing so, although there was certainly a difference between a God-inspired teacher and one who wasn’t.  Now, the gospel itself is free to go and be preached rightly or wrongly, just like any other teaching.

More proof?  Here is a statement of Paul’s in I Corinthians 2:1-5.

1.  And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
2.  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
3.  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
4.  And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5.  That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

There is no way for us to preach to men other than to use persuasive words of human wisdom.  I cannot demonstrate the Spirit and power when I speak.  I cannot help but speak with the wisdom of men, not the power of God.  If anyone believes when I preach the gospel to him, he will be believing based on what a man said about the gospel.  He is not believing because he saw the Spirit or the power of God demonstrated. If the Spirit lends power to my words so that the man truly believes, He does so silently and in secret.

Salvation in our day is in direct contrast to the Acts period. Paul would never have preached in the way we do in the Acts period. He boasts that he didn’t preach like we do in these verses! It would have been bad if he had preached like we do…undesirable. Now, it is the only way TO preach. If we waited for the Spirit’s power to guide us, we never would do it.

Another proof in Acts 16:6-7.

6.  Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
7.  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

Here, we see the Spirit expressly forbidding them to preach the gospel in certain places. Eventually, He leads them to where He does want them to preach. Now, we are forbidden from preaching nowhere. Anywhere we wish to go, we can preach. The Spirit is not going to forbid us.

This isn’t “proof,” for the proof is in the passage I already gave you, as you quoted it.  This is just evidence of this being worked out in the Acts period.  This is how things worked then.

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