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Are you able to discern scammers and merchandisers in the church? (Facebook)

Jennifer LeClaire is now sharing her reflections and revelations through Walking in the Spirit. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

Last week—for the second and third time—some nefarious false prophetic voice hijacked my photos, my name and my very words and set out to do serious damage to believing saints in the name of Jesus. The experience got me thinking about how false prophetic voices are actively merchandising sincere believers looking for a breakthrough online, on TV and radio, and in churches.

Here’s the background: Some hijacking merchandiser created two fake Facebook accounts with my face, name, books and prophetic words plastered all over them. This false prophetic voice then started sending friend invitations to people who were commenting on my real page. (Click here to see my real Facebook page.) One woman—we’ll call her “Sally” to protect her identity—shared her experience with me:

“Just today I ‘shared’ one of your posts only to get a ‘friend’ invitation on FB. I was thrilled to think I could be in touch with you. Could you pray for me, as God was about to do something big in my & my family? Then you ultimately started asking, demanding, and were manipulative with spiritual abuse to solicit for money for the orphanage. It smelled like a rat. Surely this is not Jennifer & was about to ask. But I had already emailed back my suspicions, my disappointment, my sick feeling—and the person knew I was onto them … Oh, it truly was such a time waster, such a disturbing, distressing issue. It really did get me at first because I very much relate to your writings & keenly follow—made me feel very vulnerable & regretful for opening up as much as I did. Such a warning to be more alert, more cautious—have a prowling enemy seeking to devour.”

The Big Picture

This is not an isolated incident. Just last month, a fake Facebook page claiming to be Joyce Meyer did the same thing. Rick Warren in August shut down 179 fake Facebook pages seeking to merchandise the saints. Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonnke, Ed Stezter and others all experienced this same hijacking—and people who follow their ministries were cheated, or at least harassed, in the name of Jesus.

Now, let’s pull back the lens so we can see the big picture. What’s happening on Facebook is rather obvious to many people (I got a flood of email from folks warning me of the hijacker), but it seems fewer are discerning false prophetic voices in other mediums, like radio, television or even church.

You can turn on Christian radio and hear false prophetic voices selling miracle soap, sawdust supposedly from the revival tents of old (or even pieces of those tents), anointed prayer shawls that guarantee prayer answers and more. When you turn on Christian television, you’ll often find manipulative tactics like the Luke 6:38 scheme that promises breakthrough when you sow $638. I could go on and on.

The True Merchandisers

The point is this: Nefarious characters are springing up all over Facebook, hijacking the identities of authentic ministers. But that only mirrors what’s happening from a spiritual perspective in the church at large.

Beyond cyber-criminals trading money for fake prophecies on Facebook, spirits like Baal and Jezebel are working through those who accepted the call to ministry but have given in to the financial pressure of building their own kingdoms rather than serving the kingdom of God. When the pressure of the Babylonian system becomes too great, some compromise with these merchandising spirits rather than trusting Jehovah Jireh, the provider who called them into ministry.

Here’s the bottom line: Just as you would be cautious about sending money over Facebook to someone making demands, be just as cautious about sending money over radio, television or church conferences to someone making promises that seem too good to be true. I’m all for sowing seeds in faith, but when you feel pressured, manipulated or otherwise cajoled into hurrying to the phone or the altar with money in hand, your wallet is likely being hijacked by a false prophetic voice.

Sally wound up disappointed and with a sick feeling, but she also learned the need to be more alert and cautious. We’d all do well to learn from Sally’s experience.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

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