(By J.Lee Grady) A desperate friend recently contacted me because he was worried that his son might be under the influence of a Christian ministry with questionable doctrines. The leader of the ministry preaches that any church that doesn’t experience regular healings isn’t following the true Jesus—and he suggests that only his small congregation has an inside track with God. Thankfully, my friend’s son discerned something was off track.

Satan loves to pull Christians into unhealthy extremes. And immature Christian leaders sometimes allow youthful pride, greed or insecurity to suck them into toxic spirituality. The result is always a trail of wounded people. In my years of ministry, I’ve learned there are several clear signs that a ministry has veered away from the truth and into deception. Here are the most obvious:

1. Lack of spiritual accountability. Healthy leaders know they need to surround themselves with mentors and advisers who can question them if they step out of line. Proverbs 11:14 says: “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.” But if you are following a teacher, prophet or apostle who has not submitted himself to any form of accountability, you are asking for trouble. Never align yourself with a Lone Ranger, no matter how fiery his sermons are. He will likely lead you off a cliff. CONTINUE