Do you all recall the litmus test? If you took Chemistry in high school, you’re familiar with this test in which specially treated paper strips are used to indicate the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. No, I didn’t like Chemistry either and passed it only by the skin of my teeth. In the jargon of our culture, a litmus test has also come to mean any single factor (such as an attitude, event, or fact) that decisively reveals a finding or conclusion. But litmus tests have gotten a very bad reputation lately. In our wide-open, post-modern era, when all truth is relative, and plurality and inclusiveness are worshiped as idols, anyone who presumes to judge anyone else according to any standard is deemed to be sectarian at best.
When it comes to Biblical Christianity, I surely don’t assume to know everything in God’s Word, but there are some basic foundational Scriptural truths that we can stand on. When I come across a person who claims they are an evangelical Christian pastor or a leader of a evangelical para-church organization, I immediately want to know three things about them:
- Do they uphold the Bible as the infallible, inerrant Word of God?
- Do they proclaim the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone?
- Are they faithful to the Gospel by refusing to join in ecumenism with Roman Catholicism and its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit?
If they don’t pass muster on these three items, I really don’t care to listen to ANYTHING else they have to say. Period. Needless to say, just about every performer on TBN who I can think of fails on at least two of these “litmus tests,” with Charles Stanley being the exception.
“…test everything; hold fast what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8