In 1956 Jim Jones began a church called “Peoples Temple Christian Church Full Gospel”. Jim Jones would go on to preach a socialist and communist message founded on his own ideas about how society should be organized. The bible had nothing to do with it. Matter fact Jim Jones once referred to the bible as a paper idol. Jim Jones would begin preaching rather odd concepts that would definitely conflict with scripture. He would go onto to say, “If you’re born in capitalist America, racist America, fascist America, then you’re born in sin. But if you’re born in socialism, you’re not born in sin.” He also taught, “those who remained drugged with the opiate of religion had to be brought to enlightenment — socialism.” Jones also began to proclaimed himself the reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi, Father Divine, Jesus, Gotama Buddha and Vladimir Lenin. He believed that he could be a savior to those that believed in him.
Even though many today do not consider Jim Jones to have been a legitimate Christian minister, since his teachings were in contradiction to the Bible, It did not stop many politicians from seeking his advice and support. The Democratic major of Indianapolis Charles Boswell appointed Jones director of the Human Rights Commission in 1960. In 1975 San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appointed Jones as the chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission.
In 1978 Jones moved many members of his congregation to Jonestown (named after Jim Jones) Guyana and many at the time would never imagine what would happen next. Jones explained to his people that somebody was coming to take over Jonestown and shoot babies, torture children and seniors. He convinced them that it was best to commit suicide. 900 hundred would be found dead, including 303 children.
Peter had this to say about men such as Jones, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.” (2 Peter 2:1-3). Paul also warned that some could be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14)
One great defense against false prophets is the study of scripture. First we must read scripture diligently. Studying it, learning it, and keeping it in our heart, that when men come with false doctrines we can recognize it as false immediately. Paul writes that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) David explains that the word lights his path, showing him were to go. (Psalm 119:105) The word of God gives us wisdom (2 Timothy 3:15), training and guidance so that we cannot be easily persuaded into error. We should dedicate time daily to its study in order to identify the deceivers when they come.