The Great Imposter

By William Handschumacher

Rock of Offence Special Commentary










The following is a special insert included with certain commentaries
dealing with the "different gospel of Christ" that Paul warned about
in his Epistles to the Church. It will repeat some things already
addressed in this study, but may also provide answers to some
questions not previously covered.




Some readers may recognize this logo of a popular television program. Between 1956 and 1967 CBS produced a prime-time game show; "To Tell the Truth". The theme carries an important message for Christians today. The program consisted of the host, Bud Collyer, a panel of four Hollywood celebrities and a set of three mystery contestants. Broadcast time only allowed 2 or 3 sets of challengers to appear. The object of the game was simple - at least on the surface. All three challengers introduced themselves as the same individual, using the same name. The host read a statement describing the life and experiences of the person who all the contestants claimed to be. The panel of celebrities was allowed to question the three contestants to determine which one was telling the truth and which two were lying. At the end, each celebrity voted for whom he or she thought was the person the host described in his opening statement. Wrong guesses credited money to all three contestants, who split the winnings equally. The largest sum of money was awarded when the three contestants "stumped the panel" (no one guessed correctly). It was in the contestants best interests to fool the panel.


The famous line stated at the end of each
round was;

"Will the real [person's name]
please stand up!"



Several identities were discovered
quickly. But, some clever contestants
would 'stump the panel'.


Spiritual counterfeits approach
us in a similar way.



The Dangerous Game of
Spiritual Counterfeits


All Christians face the game of "To Tell The Truth" on a spiritual level. Yet, being 'stumped or fooled' by a religious counterfeit will lead you astray ... and cause you to miss out on the life that Jesus came to give.

Counterfeit Bible teaching approaches
us in much the same way as the two
imposters on the television game show.
They all look and sound as if they
originate with God. They all look and
sound like "the real thing". Unless
you ask some very direct questions and
examine the facts, you will be fooled.

Proverbs 14:12 warns us about spiritual
things that 'seem right';


"There is a way that seems right
to a man, but its end is the way
of death."



This same thought is found in a
judgment pronounced upon Israel
by the prophet Hosea who said;


"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me...."


Hosea warns that there are some actions God will not ignore. Rejecting correct knowledge about how salvation is obtained today is one of them. Christians use various methods to interpret the Bible. Yet, God has established rules of context that must be observed if we want to walk in truth. Saint Paul's command to "rightly divide the Word" is one such rule (2 Timothy 2:15). If we abuse or ignore Biblical context - as most Christian do - our interpretation will be riddled with errors. As a result, if we insist on obtaining salvation based upon these out-of-context Scriptures - God has no special obligation to accept our profession of faith. Most professing Christians today follow a way that they think is right. They heard someone give a sermon about Jesus Christ and decided to commit their life to Him. There's nothing wrong with this decision. Every new Christian begins their spiritual journey this way. We all want to follow a spiritual path that's right, otherwise, what's the point?

Yet, deciding to commit one's life to Christ
may not necessarily mean that the individual
is saved. It could mean that they're 'turning
over a new leaf' and making a commitment to be
a good person. It might mean that they will
start attending church services more often.
It could mean that they will fill their life
with good works, Bible study, prayer and
Christian service. All of these are good
things ... but they don't bring eternal life.


The subject discussed in this commentary is not about our desires and good intentions. For the most part, our intentions are always noble. The real issue is "the way" (or spiritual path) we choose. If we choose a wrong way, even if we're convinced it's the right way, God warns us that it could carry many serious unintended consequences, and maybe even His rejection. This is the reason the Apostle Paul made the following statement to the Church:

"Examine yourselves as to whether you
are in the faith. Test yourselves.
Do you not know yourselves, that
Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless
indeed you are disqualified."
(2 Corinthians 13:5)


Paul gave this warning because there are generally two kinds of faith operating in the institutional church. The New Testament warns that God accepts one but rejects the other. In Paul's day, a prominent group of evangelists were teaching the wrong kind of faith, which led many astray. This same dangerous condition continues today and most of us are programmed to ignore the problem. This programming blinds us to the danger. For many, the desire to be accepted by their church or religious peer group guarantees that they will be trapped in this condition for the rest of their lives.

The Great Imposter


Understanding the nature of spiritual counterfeits turned my Christian worldview upside down and ended my participation in the modern-day church growth and unity movement. Once I discovered its unbiblical strategy and tactics, I was forever changed.

According to the Bible, Satan is "the Great Imposter". The Book of Revelation uses various names and titles to describe him such as, the great dragon, the devil and the deceiver of the whole world. His main objective is to deceive the inhabitants of earth concerning God's plan of salvation through Christ - and His gift of eternal life. This means he tricks us into believing a lie ... by making us think that the lie is actually truth from the Bible. He has 6000 years of experience dealing with the human race. His first victims, Adam and Eve, were caught in his trap of spiritual death that ultimately ensnared the entire human race. In various ways, this same fate awaits many professing Christians and church-goers today.

Satan knows our weaknesses and how to gain our trust. Paul warned that the devil's most dangerous and effective strategy is appearing as "a minister of righteousness and an angel of light". Many Christians assume that all angels, especially the ones that appear in special "visions and dreams" are sent from our Heavenly Father. Some angels are sent from God. But, the Bible warns that others are sent by the devil - to do his bidding.

All of this sets the stage for unimaginable religious deception. In modern-day language, it means that the devil has created a counterfeit (look-alike) system of faith often referred to as "Christian religion". (Note: We also refer to it as 'Galatian religion' in various studies on this website.)


  • This counterfeit system has its own churches in various denominations, which outwardly appear to be godly.

  • It portrays itself as a "Christian" - or an organizational entity that represents Christ.

  • It claims the Bible as its authority, yet redefines its principles to support an aberrant historic theology that can be traced all the way back to the first century.

  • It has its own prophets, who claim to speak for Christ, yet actually speak for our enemy in order to lead us astray in our faith.

  • The counterfeit church has its own ministers, who claim to be uncompromisingly committed to God's Word and a preacher of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). These preachers appear, on the surface, to be God's most humble and dedicated servants. They can be a pastor of a "Bible-believing" church and will earn your trust by being one of the most loving and helpful individuals you would ever want to know. All of these people are convinced that they're serving the God of Heaven. They're totally sincere, yet unaware of their true spiritual condition.


In order to achieve the objectives of the modern-day unity and church growth movement, the devil's role as "the great imposter" (or one who impersonates God) can never be fully revealed and taught because it offends too many tithe-paying church members. They've been tricked into believing that the imposter is actually the true God they worship and serve. Through silence or neglect, various ministers leave the impression that church members can hold beliefs that contradict the principles of New Covenant salvation - and still remain valid members of God's family. In order to keep from offending anyone, they often suggest that these beliefs are not necessarily wrong - just different.

When we consider that such individuals might unknowingly be destined for hell ... are we really 'walking in love' by refusing to warn them (which is an offensive act) of the danger?

In an attempt to avoid offending (and losing) church members, we now see mainline denominations and various other church ministries depart from the truth of the Gospel ... for a counterfeit 'out of context' social gospel that satisfies the largest number of people.

But, why would anyone want to attend a church that pleases people at the expense of displeasing God?

This popular mindset of "big tent Christianity" places unity above the truth of Scripture ... and carries unthinkable consequences. Yet, this is the environment where our enemy sets up his counterfeit Christian church.

The Bible contains two different ways to obtain righteousness. The first way is according to the tenants of Old Testament (or Old Covenant) Law. The second way is according to Grace (or the unmerited favor of God) that operates through the New Covenant of Christ.

However - after the cross - the way righteousness (or worthiness) is obtained under the Old Testament program ... is declared to be 'obsolete' (Hebrews 8:6-13). This means that God now only honors the New Covenant His Son initiated at the cross - and no longer operates according to the old program.

However, a majority of ministers
within Christendom continue to
preach the Old Testament kind of
righteousness, despite Paul's
warning that their teaching is
connected to 'The Great Imposter',
and will bring a curse upon their
congregations.

Paul addresses this problem in the
following Scriptures;


"Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
(Romans 10:1-4)

"...And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith..."(Philippians 3:9)

"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the Law is not of faith..." (Galatians 3:10-12)

"You have become estranged (separated or cut-off) from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from Grace." (Galatians 5:4)

"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)

"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, “a new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)

"But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his (Satan's) ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)


These things are easily taught "out of context" and go unnoticed by most Christians. That's why 'truth seekers' must confront these stealth "ministers of righteousness" (the ones who continue to teach the now obsolete Old Testament type of righteousness) with some hard questions about the source of their message. Remember that we're talking about an 'aberrant Bible-based influence' that operates from within the world-wide Christian Church.







One of the most effective strategies used in all methods of deception is changing the definition or characteristics behind a particular word or name ... while leaving the word or name unchanged. Since the devil has a counterfeit Christian church, he must also have a counterfeit Jesus - otherwise, no one would be fooled. Paul refers to this false Jesus - as 'another Jesus' (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). However, if there is a false Jesus, then there must also be a counterfeit or false gospel, which Paul refers to as 'a different gospel' (Galatians 1:6-8). And again ... if there is a counterfeit gospel, then there must also be counterfeit grace. Additional information on this subject is available HERE

All of these things send a sober
warning to modern-day Christians:

We must never assume that all
ministers and church leaders
who claim to serve Jesus Christ;
are serving the same Jesus Christ
known as 'the Son of God'. They
could be serving 'another Jesus'
who is actually an imposter.



The Religious Right vs.
The Religious Left


It is not our goal to politicize the subject of this study. Yet, the devil's hidden strategy of using 'another Jesus' is now out in the open and visible to the general public.

Around 35 years ago a loosely-knit group of Christians the media chooses to call 'the religious right' started to gain public recognition. They were led by such organizations as 'The Family Research Council' and Dr. James Dobson's, 'Focus on the Family' ... along with many others. Their stated goal was to address the departure of American society and the U.S. government from God's moral (and family-oriented) standards found in the Bible. The group's main focus was the tens of millions of unborn children that had been killed in America through abortion. Over the years, 'the religious right' became an influence that helped America to 'reverse course' ... and return, in a small measure, to a Godly morality. As a result, some Americans began to wake up.

However, things are about to get worse.


The 'religious right' had become so influential that one popular politician went on television and labeled it part of; "a vast right-wing conspiracy". Over the next few years, her statement was repeated by every major news outlet in the country. This caused another group to quickly mobilize. Sadly, various mainline Christian denominations joined its ranks. The media referred to this group as; 'the religious left'. A majority of the group's members also referred to themselves as 'Christian' and followers of Jesus Christ - yet held views that contradicted, redefined and distorted Biblical morality. On the abortion issue ... instead of defending and saving unborn children (something the God of the Bible is on record as supporting), they emphasize 'a woman's right to choose' (or the right to choose to kill their unborn child). All of this is done while stripping the child of its right to live.

What is often called 'A woman's right to choose' is presented by the religious left as 'a God-given right'. As a result, the God of the Bible is now associated with the right to kill babies - rather than saving them. To date, over 60 million unborn children have been killed in the name of 'choice'. Some are referring to this as; 'the American Holocaust'. Recently, one politician refered to 'Choice' as; 'Reproductive Justice'. It's not hard to figure out who is behind this effort.

Nearly every moral issue the religious right supports is opposed by the religious left, whose members routinely quotes the Bible out-of-context to defend its agenda. Remember that many in this group claim to be staunchly 'Christian'.

We understand that abortion is not the only issue on which these two groups disagree. But, it can be used as a standard litmus test. The Bible portrays God as being the source of life - but portrays the devil as being the source of death and destruction.

Jesus said it this way;


"The thief cometh not, but for to
steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more
abundantly. I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd giveth his life
for the sheep." (John 10:10-11)

Note: Jesus is subtly referring to
the thief as the devil.


When one group supports life, while the other supports death (under the pretense of 'civil rights') - which group do you think is closer to representing the God of Heaven? Yet, both groups claim to be 'Christian'.

Just something to think about ...



While addressing the Church at Corinth,
the apostle Paul refers to the devil
using a disturbing title.


"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor 4:3-4)


Paul calls Satan, "the god of this world", who seeks to blind our minds. What methods do Satan and his "ministers of righteousness" use? They hide the light of the glorious gospel of Christ by replacing the real Jesus and His Gospel of Grace with "another Jesus and his different gospel" (Galatians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 11:4). In other words, they replace what's real with a counterfeit. I am reminded of an old cliché, "The devil is in the details". Considering the topic we're discussing ... this saying is literally true. Many ministers preach righteousness from the Bible. Yet, very few Christians ask the all-important question: Are they preaching Christ's New Covenant, where the very 'righteousness of God' is freely imputed to the believer ... or are they preaching something else? The devil could be in the details.

"....And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9)


Our Heavenly Father is giving us a frightening revelation from His Word. It is far more than just a warning. The devil, the great imposter who impersonates God, tricks a lot of church-going people into believing his out-of-context Bible teachings. Exposing this hidden demonic agenda that operates nearly unhindered within the Christian Church was one of the apostle Paul's most difficult tasks. Today, a majority of professing Christians are taught, by their church or denomination, to oppose the Grace of Christ. They mix or replace God's Grace with a "religion of works" (also known as Old Testament "works-based righteousness") established upon out-of-context Scripture. This popular teaching (actually a false theology in disguise) is then reintroduced as, "The Biblical Gospel of Christ" - sometimes referred to as 'Biblical Christianity'. Yet, the apostle Paul warns that their doctrine, which appears to carry the authority of Scripture, is actually "a different gospel" that does not come from Jesus Christ, but from our enemy.

Joe Kovacs, author of the book
"Shocked by the Bible", voiced
the same concerns several years
ago in an interview with Good
News Magazine.


Note: Including these quotations in this
commentary should not be considered an
endorsement of all teachings by Joe Kovacs,
nor should it be interpreted that he is
in total agreement with our teachings on
this subject.


(Start Quote)


Joe Kovacs: If you understand who Satan is and the origins of Satan, you would know what he's doing. Satan, "the god of this world" [2 Corinthians 4:4, King James Version], is not the ultimate God who created everything. He is the ruler of this present society. Satan was originally an archangel of God. He was booted out of heaven because he tried to lead a rebellion of angels against God.

The Bible refers to this rebellion, saying he ascended above the clouds to be like the Most High. He has a "god complex" and thinks he can do a better job than God. Who knows what his motivation is, but apparently he was a brilliant individual. The Bible calls him an angel of light. He is able to appear as very good so he can lead people away from God.

He wants to be God and to be worshipped. I can say unequivocally that most people on earth, no matter what religion they are, think they are worshipping the true God. However, they are actually worshipping a corrupted form of satanic confusion that was begun back in the Garden of Eden.

Interviewer: Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:4 that there was "another Jesus" with "a different spirit" and "a different gospel." Do you think this scripture reveals what Satan is doing?

Joe Kovacs: I think that Satan has transformed himself into an angel of light [2 Corinthians 11:14], and many, but not all, people think that they are worshipping the true God, the true Creator God of the universe. Yet they are actually following, unknowingly in many cases, Satan the devil. He has brought a brilliant deception upon people of this world and especially the Christian world.

Many people call themselves Christian, and yet they do things that are antithetical to what the Bible teaches. You can go through the Bible and find out what God's teachings are. You can look at what the religions of the world teach and see that they are, in fact, very different from what the Bible teaches.

(End Quote)


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discussion purposes only.


The book of Hebrews instructs us not to neglect the great salvation of Christ. For this reason, we should carefully consider these warnings. What is often called, "The Stealth War Against the Truth of the Gospel" is actually a war being fought against the devil's counterfeit "Christian religion". But, from the viewpoint of the inexperienced masses - the war appears to be 'Christians fighting against other Christians', which proves that the great imposter is very good at what he does.

The leaders of the early church had to deal with this same problem. The apostle Paul fought this stealth counterfeit theology until the day he died.


A Cause For Concern


Some ministers and various concerned believers privately agonize over this worsening situation. One pastor said that he spends over 80 percent of his ministry time correcting hurtful "out of context" Bible beliefs held by Christians that visit his fellowship. Another individual conducts and publishes yearly research on "the health of the Church" and found that less than 16 percent of all professing Christians in the worldwide Church (all those claiming to be Christian) believe what's necessary to be saved. Yet, all of them insist that they "believe in Jesus" in one way or another. Others who analyzed the research felt that his numbers were too optimistic ... and that the numbers were closer to 5 percent! If this research is correct, all of us should be very concerned.

Some Thoughts From Christian
Music Artist Keith Green


The late Keith Green commented on these disturbing trends in his gospel tract, "Unity, At What Price?" (currently out of print) He was concerned about a growing number of churches that made unity a higher priority than 'the truth of the gospel'. Keith stated that there is both a true and a false division that occurs in the Church ... and that division is justified if it's about the distortion of the truth. He specifically noted that most churches wouldn't discuss the topic of "what is the gospel" because each one has their own different definition.

All readers should seriously think
about what is being said here.


Keith added (his quote is paraphrased) ... To avoid heated arguments, churches discourage all debates about the true nature of the Gospel of Christ and emphasize the need to "walk in love" and to be "seeker sensitive" to avoid problems. In the following quote from his tract - more thought-provoking comments are made....


"Today there is much talk among Christians about the need for unity. Wherever Christians gather you can hear someone saying, "If only all the believers could get together and agree, then the world would sit up and take notice! Then the devil would be running scared! Then there would be real revival!!! The whole "Ecumenical Movement" is based on such a conclusion. I admit the thought sounds wonderful - to have all those different denominations (and non-denominations) in love and fellowship with one another - that would be something, wouldn't it!

Ah....but don't hold your breath....it can't happen. There'll always be a couple of real Christians around to spoil it!

'What?! You say, "How could real Christians spoil it? Wouldn't they be the very ones who would be the most loving and ready to unite?' Oh yes! True believers are full of love - love for God, love for their brothers and sisters, love of souls - in fact, love would be the very thing that would make them oppose a mass move of unity. 'What?! You say again, Why that's the most absurd thing I've ever heard! How could love keep them from wanting to get together with everyone else who confesses to love God? You're not going to get me to believe that people with such deep love wouldn't just love to see all the churches and professing Christians come together in unity? Why, what could they love more than that??'

For one thing, they love the truth! Yep, they're pretty attached to it - those true believers can even seem right stubborn and ornery at times - the way they stick to the truth."


Keith added:

"You must remember, people who
love the truth will divide from
people who love lies!"

(End Quote)


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Due to the non-profit research and educational
nature of the Rock of Offence website, we qualify
under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the “fair use”
clause for copyrighted materials. For this reason,
any copyrighted work on this website is provided
under the “fair use” provision without profit or
payment for non-profit research, educational and
discussion purposes only.


Martin Luther, the famous German evangelist
and leader of the Protestant Reformation
was in agreement with Keith's position when
he said almost 500 years ago ...

"Peace whenever possible,
truth at any cost."


Yet, most of modern-day Christendom
operates by the rule; "Truth whenever
possible, peace at any cost". This
is the unspoken guiding principle of
the modern-day unity and church growth
movement.



When unity becomes a higher priority than truth, all kinds of heretical doctrines are allowed to enter the Chrisitan Church unchallenged. This includes what Saint Paul referred to as; 'a different gospel of Christ', which is designed to look like it originates from the God of the Bible - but doesn't. Because of its dangerously deceptive characteristics, warning about this 'different gospel' is one of the major goals of our ministry - almost to the point of being overly redundant (because we talk so much about it). Readers might think that we're warning about the teachings of the popular cults that occasionally show up at our doorstep. But, most warnings, like those of Saint Paul, are directed at churches and mainline denominations that operate within the world-wide Christian Church.

Since God's 'truth detecting mechanism' is now neutralized by the false unity movement (and the ministers that propagate it), more and more Christian churches - and even whole denominations - are sliding into apostasy. Martin Luther, and others like him, recognized this danger nearly 500 years ago and tried to stop it. But now, a 'false form of godliness' (and the counterfeit religious doctrines that empower it) is consuming everything in sight. Soon, we we will have a totally apostate Church that is 'Christian in name only'. As a result, it's counterfeit gospel message will not lead their congregations to heaven ... but to hell.

This Global Apostate Church is ...

The Church of the Great Imposter






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