Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part One

15 03 2012

Truth Matters Newsletters – December  2011  – Vol. 16  Issue  2 -Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God Part One  – Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part One

It is good to be free!  Free from the tyranny of trying to discern exactly what the will of the Lord was in just about every decision, major and minor, in life.  As a former charismatic extremist pastor I know firsthand the pressure and guilt that untold thousands of sign-gift believers and also thousands of “evangelicals” Christians have been placed under through false teaching regarding an important issue.

 Naturally Christians want to do the will of God in their daily lives.  In our home congregation we pray (versus recite) the Lord’s Prayer at Mass, Matins, Vespers, just about anytime we Lutherans gather ecclesiastically and we join our voices with that of the historic Church of two thousand years by crying out “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Furthermore as people born from above, we now know (or should) that there can be a HUGE chasm between our will and God’s will.  We now as His dear children desire to do what is pleasing to our Lord Jesus and it is this sincere desire that Satan takes advantage of to mislead the unwary.

 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:1-2

From this verse multitudes of people believe that God has three levels of His “will.”  They understand the text as follows: It is possible to be in the good will of God: one can come closer to the mark by entering into the acceptable “will” of God.  The method by which the believer begins the journey towards entering into the perfect will of God is through renewing their minds which occurs through a steady infusion of the Word of God.  Through the faithful hearing and doing (James 1:25) of what was heard the individual’s thinking is transformed.  This process eventually ends up with some faithful Christians entering into the perfect will of God.

 I do agree with the belief that if one feeds on the sincere milk of the Word of God they will grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2).  This benefit of growth is predicated upon feeding on God’s Word in context.  Feeding on passages out of their context will not produce good fruit.  For example, the average Jehovah’s Witness cult member probably can recite from memory or look-up hundreds of more Bible texts than the average Christian (they know what they believe) — yet they are lost.  Our Lord said:

 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

Abiding in His Word results in intelligent comprehension of the truth and the knowledge of this truth (which is summed up in Christ Jesus) will set one free.”

 I believe the opposite is equally valid, abiding in doctrinal error and false teaching will darken the mind and place the person in spiritual bondage and most certainly mental confusion.  The Word of God when proclaimed in its purity and received by faithful hearers then hearts and minds are enlightened and GREAT liberty occurs!  Yet through the fallen mind of man and activity of Satan and his demons the word of blessing becomes a “curse.”  This bondage is no fault of God’s Word, the bondage results from demonic teachings (1 Timothy 4:1) or fleshly wresting of the Scripture.

 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (1)  2 Peter 3:16

With the above text in mind we must ask is this a correct understanding of the Romans 12:2? Does God in fact have three separate “wills” when it comes to making the right decisions in our lives?  If He does then we had better get busy and begin the process of learning how to prove what His will(s) are in any given situation.

Where does such a belief come from?  First of all it is a jump in the logical process.  It takes a biblical fact and attempts to apply that truth to other areas where it does not fit.  Salvation is particular in nature. God saves us as individuals, He sovereignty draws each one of us specifically to faith in Christ.  This is plainly taught throughout the Bible (see Acts 20:28; 2 Thess 2:13; Eph. 1:3-4).  I believe that people take the facts of “particular” redemption and wrongly believe that since God saved them as unique individuals that God must have an equally unique plan or “will” for that person’s life in Christ.  On the surface it seems to make sense, logically but not biblically.  Another factor which causes many evangelicals torment regarding whether or not they are in the will of God is a simple misreading/interpreting of certain texts.  Here are a few examples: Jeremiah’s call “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations, (Jeremiah 1:10).  See Bob, he was called before he was born; God had a plan for his life and thus He must have one for mine!  Jeremiah was an Old Covenant prophet, are you or I?  No.  Forget Jeremiah’s call.  Equally Paul’s conversion to Christ was a one time non-repeated occurrence; sorry we are not Apostles either.  Christians may harbor such beliefs, that God has something specific for each of us to do, but the problem is trying to discern  exactly what His specific will for each of our individual lives is.

Are you beginning to see the problems that can arise from such a belief?  If one believes they are in the “good” will of God, is that “good” enough?  Is that just for the slacker-Christian whereas the “perfect” will is for the overcomer? How can a person know if they have transcended from level one (good) to level two (acceptable) and finally achieving the zenith of ascertaining the perfect will of God?  Are there any objective proofs as to knowing  what these “wills” are, or is this knowing to be based on inner-leadings (mysticism) or are we to look at results in life (materialistic pragmatism)?  What is the gauge used to determine our personal placement in regards to the will(s) of God?  Are we in His will or not?  If so, how do we know, if not, again how do we know?

Fortuitously we have not been left to flounder on our own.  There are a whole plethora of individuals who through their spirituality (refer to 2 Peter 3:16) have graciously revealed to us what they have received regarding knowing and walking in the will of God!

Virtually all the major (and minor) televangelists and SINisters proclaim unequivocally that “God’s Will is Prosperity.” a favorite title of many a false teacher. God’s will is to establish His covenant of prosperity in your life and to do it today.”  (2) God wants to make all of His children wealthy. The reason most of us are not financially flush is because we are either unaware of God’s will for our lives and/or we are not yet established in this great truth (we lack sufficient faith in His promise to manifest it in our lives. . .yet).  Jesse Duplantis is on record as saying that Jesus is more concerned with our financial prosperity than He is about healing the sick.  Need proof?  In His first sermon did not Jesse begin by saying

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, (3) Luke 4:18

The first thing on Jesus’ mind was preaching good news to the poor.  According to Duplantis what is good news if you are poor? Obviously, that it is God’s will that you be financially prosperous.  By the time of the first advent of Christ the Jews had lost just about everything spiritually, just having the form of their religion, but no power.  We know this because sister Copeland lets us know:

 Abraham’s descendants who kept God’s commandments were not just prosperous — they were exceedingly prosperous. . . Just think how much easier the laws of prosperity will work for us under the New Covenant.  We have all the blessings of the Old, plus the power of the New! (4)

The Jews of Jesus’ day were not waling in God’s laws of prosperity which He has revealed to Joshua in Joshua 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

 However, according to Copeland, Duplantis and the other prosperity pimps, just because it is God’s will to prosper His children, it is up to us as individuals to allow His will to be done in our lives.  Copeland teaches that God’s will does not simply come to pass, it is not automatic.  Nebuchadnezzar learned firsthand about God’s will:

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing:  and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his had, or say unto him, What doest thou? (5) Daniel 4:34-35

God does whatever He wants, He does not need our permission or our cooperation in the accomplishing of His will.  Psalms 115:3 says “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” How about Psalms 135:6 Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth,  In the seas, and all deep places.  As we used to say frequently in the Pentecostal church “God is god all by Himself,” meaning He requires no assistance from mankind, either fallen or redeemed.

 Not so according to the Word of Faith (WOF) cultists and other false prosperity pimps.  God operates according to so-called spiritual laws.  These laws, which are in the Bible but must be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, govern every aspect of life and it is through our use of these laws that allow God to manifest His will in our lives and this world.  Copeland makes this very clear:

 We had taken the step of faith and God saw to it that we had the revelation knowledge of His Word to put us over. . . God gave me what I would call a revelation of divine prosperity.  (6)

Every true spiritual insight comes to the believer via divine revelation. Although this is a true statement on its surface, the cultists, as they do with most things, take a truth and twist it so out of context that it in essence becomes false by misapplication.  The natural unregenerate man does not understand the things of the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:27) because they are discerned by the spirits of men made alive by the Spirit of Grace (Zac. 12:10).  True enough.  However, taking the concept of levels of insight Copeland and others err when they teach that within the Bible there are hidden truths which can only be understood by direct mystical encounter with God aka “revelation knowledge.”

 Fear not! Since Copeland has told us that she knows by revelation directly from God that it is His will to prosper us we can have faith that He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11) and ergo will also share with us this divine revelation of His will!

 The first step is to read Gloria Copeland’s book on the topic.  We all begin with a “head knowledge” understanding, i.e.  the grunt mental work or actually reading, studying, meditation on, confessing, visualizing, researching, etc.  The sincere believer starts on the path to getting into the will of God by reading her book.  In WOF parlance, this is the process of renewing your mind.  It is the first vital step in “proving” what God’s will is.  (7)

 In reading the book the believer receives secondhand revelation from God via Gloria, but knows that if they are faithful and DO what Gloria did and tells the reader to do…that they will begin to enter into God’s will for prosperity.

 You cannot receive these things just because I tell you about them. You have to take the Scriptures on prosperity and mediate on them until they become a reality in your heart, until you know that prosperity belongs to you.  Once you have a revelation of divine prosperity in your spirit, you won’t allow Satan to take it from you.  (9)

One thing the Copeland’s and all WOF heretics are adamant about is this: if you work spiritual laws properly they will always produce the promised results.

 How do we enter into God’s will for prosperity?  Did not Isaiah tell us in Isa. 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land?  First, we must e willing.

 If you make up your mind —make a quality decision—that you are not willing to live in lack, but that you are willing to live in divine prosperity and abundance, Satan cannot stop the flow of God’s inancial blessings.  (9)

So be “willing” to become rich and then be obedient to God’s laws regarding financial prosperity as revealed to us by Copeland and others are the keys to unlock the door to heavenly riches.  It is the obedience aspect that is stressed, the keeping of the law.

These folks plainly teach that it is through the keeping of God’s various spiritual laws that the believer is in fact justified before God. Even though the Bible plainly teaches us that “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20).  They ignore the dire warning that if we are to keep any of the law, then we’d better keep all of it as says the Apostle James “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10)

So one reads Gloria’s book and learns God’s will be for the reader to be financial wealthy.  To enter into God’s will requires the working of His laws that govern prosperity.  These laws He has graciously revealed through Gloria and others, but it is up to the reader to work these laws in order to receive the promise of prosperity.  The requirements (laws within laws) to fulfill God’s will in this area include: (1) the “law” of tithing, which when faithfully enacted will open up the windows of heaven  (MalachI 3:10).  Does one give on the net or gross?  Does this tithe go to my local church or SINistry that “feeds” me?  Is my tithe ten percent of my income or does it also include ten percent of my tite ten percent of my income or does it also include ten percent of my time each day?  There were several tithes under the Old Testament;  does it only refer to money thee days?  Ask Copeland, she is the one who believes in a law of tithing, not me.  (2) Giving in faith, not merely putting a check in the bucket.  You must really really believe that God is going to give back to you at least 30 fold and when your faith grows to mature sonship (10) status then you will receive 11-fold on whatever you give to the Lord! Remember Mark 4:8 speaks about our 30, 60, and 100 fold return on our giving (could this be akin to God’s good [30], acceptable [60] and perfect [100-fold]  will?).  Naturally Copeland touts only the hundredfold as a divine promise! (11)   (3) Confess God’s will as you act on it.  If they agree about one thing as a cult it is this “confession brings possession” of everything we have, good or bad.

Stand your ground on the Word of God simply because it is yours. Believe it and the things you need will come into yhour life.  Take authority over them and command them to come to you in the Name of Jesus.  Command money you need to come to you.  The authority is yours.  Have dominion and subdue the earth and it’s vast resources.  (12)

Once a person becomes convinced, which really does not take a lot of convincing, that God wants them to be financially wealthy {naturally for the sake of the Kingdom of God} then the individual steps onto a treadmill of works that never ceases until they draw their law breath. Every penny given is viewed as a deposit on ones “heavenly bank account.”  I have heard Mr. Copeland teach that we are to hold up our cancelled check and or checkbook to heaven and “decree” a release of money based directly upon our giving.  Decree you might ask?  That’s right, decree abundance with complete confidence, after all Job 22:28 says “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: And the light shall shine upon thy ways” So in Copeland’s words “make a demand” on the banking systems of heaven.

 How long does one have to work these laws in order to begin to walk in God’s will?  It all depends on the results one receives. Since these are “laws” and when they are enacted they produce the promises results every time.  Thus if one is not yet financially prosperous it indicates that person is out of the will of God.  All of the poor Christians throughout the world are obviously out of God’s will.  All those who’ve lost their houses were out of God’s will.  Those who invested in Kodak obviously were not “hearing” from the Lord.

 If brother “John” were to have sat down with me when I was a WOF heretical pastor and told me of his financial problems my counsel would have gone probably somewhere along these lines:

 (1) John are you a tither? (Yes).  (2) How long have you been tithing? (several years now).  (3) Do you also give offerings as well as the tithe? (Er, uh sometimes, when I can).  You see MalachI tells us that people often rob God of His tithes AND offerings.  Many just tithe and give no faithful offerings and thus FAIL to receive the windows of heaven blessing.  (4) Have you decreed release of your monies?  (No, I just put the money in the KFC bucket when it comes by). Well, that is no doubt a good part of your problem.  You seem to understand some of the Kingdom Principles regarding giving, but it seems you are getting “hung by your tongue.”  confession brings possession.  My counsel as your pastor is this: (1) continue to give your tithes faithfully as you have been doing.  Possibly make some changes in your lifestyle so that you can give more in offerings (you know many of us are at a giving level approaching 19% glory to God)!  Most importantly I want you to begin to confess God’s will in this area of your life.  Hold your checkbook up to heaven and decree and release based on your current level of giving.  Exercise “faith” in your confession, REFUSE to “dig”  your seed up when circumstances seem contrary.  Also, remember what Jesus showed Dad Hagin, when He introduced Dad’s “angel” to him?  Jesus told Dad Hagin to command his angel to go out and gather up his money!  After all, the Bible teaches us that they are ministering spirits sent to help us (Hebrews 1:14), so speak to your angels! [End of counseling session, when a drain on my anointing to have to discuss this law-level truth].

 It seems that once Hagin had received his revelation from Jesus (he claimed to have met with our risen Lord on no less than eight face-to-face meetings) about angels, all his clones (13) got on that band wagon and added the “angelic” component to working God’s laws and thus entering into His will.

 Kenneth Copeland teaches, “. . .when you use the Word in the name of Jesus [that is, in positive confession] they (angels)  are obligated to follow your command.” (14) Gloria Copeland suggests there may be at least 40,000  angels assigned to each believer, thus, “there is no shortage of angel power,”  (15) and, “how long do you think it would take them to make you wealthy?” (16)  Unfortunately, “for the most part,  the heirs of the promises have not been using the angel power available to them.”  (17) Thus, “Your words put the angels to work on your behalf to bring to pass whatever you say. . .the words of your mouth bind them or loose them to work for you.” (18) Charles Capps says God supernaturally revealed the same truths to him.  In Angels he says, “You need the supernatural beings of God working for you here on earth.” (19)  In Releasing the Ability of God, he states, “The Spirit of God spoke this into my spirit just as plainly as if I heard it with my ears. . . He said: “The Word says the angels are ministering spirits.  These ministering spirits stand beside you daily and listen to the words that you speak….but you are the one who tells them what to do.” (20) Thus, “Angels will work for you. They will become involved in every area of your life–your home, your business, everything–but only to the extent that you allow them to operate.”  (21)

 I hope you see the biblical problems as they rapidly multiply.  According to the heretics God’s will is great financial prosperity for all His children.  However, in order to fulfill God’s will (and isn’t that the desire of all believers, to please God?)  we must do the work.  God is totally impotent regarding His will for our lives; He cannot bring His will to pass in our lives apart from our working His laws.  Like the famous illustration, Jesus is literally knocking on the door of our lives asking to please let Him make us wealthy.  We must first desire it, give  towards it,  confess, decree and command our angels to go out and get our money.  How they accomplish this goal is never spelled out.  Do they bring back stacks of cash?  Do they appear to rich folks and tell them to donate to the ministry?  Do they work through dreams and visions?  I guess this is unimportant, what matters according to Copeland et al is that they work for us and that is all we need know.

 In closing who is it that determines God’s Will?  It is not God, His will is thwarted on a regular basis because of our ignorance of His spiritual law, unbelief that He is willing to make us rich, wrong confessions stopping the “sowing” principle. You and I are the ones who determine  whether or not we fulfill the will of God for our lives.

 The next article will be a continuation of the confusion surrounding the will of God for the life of the Christian and rest assured that in the end of the articles the reader shall be at peace regarding the will of God for their lives.

 Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

1. This is one reason I stress all men who believe they are called into public ministry to attend a solid, accredited theological seminary (I can suggest a few good ones) and be trained and educated theologically.

2. Copeland, Gloria God’s Will is Prosperity,  Harrison House, Tulsa, OK 1978, p. 17

3. The Holy Bible English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 2001), Lk 4:18.

4. Copeland, Gloria God’s Will is Prosperity  Harrison House, Tulsa, Ok. 1878, p. 17

5. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 2009), Daniel 4:34-35 Underlining added for emphasis.

6. Copeland, Gloria  God’s Will is Prosperity Harrison House, Tulsa, Ok 1978, p. 41

7. They got this part right. We DO look to God’s Word IN CONTEXT to understand what He has done for us and what He might require of us.

8. Ibid. p. 50

9. Copeland, Gloria God’s Will is Prosperity, Harrison House, Tulsa, Ok 1978, p. 43

10. I have already discussed in previous issues the charismatic doctrine of sonship.  The enthusiasts believe the Bible places people at 1 of 3 levels of spiritual development,  from being a little child to a mature child of God, a mature son God.  These are the manifested sons of God, Joel’s Army, the overcomers, those who will even overcome physical death prior to Christ’s return.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will is Prosperity, Harrison House, Tulsa, Ok. 1978 p. 49

12. Ibid. p. 49 Underlining added for emphasis.

13. The Word of Faith major teaching heretics are (1) E.W. Kenyon,  (2) Kenneth E. Hagin  (3) Kenneth & Gloria Copeland,  (4) Charles Capps,  (5) Jesse Duplantis (6) Jerry Savelle,  (7) oyce Meyer, (8) Creflo dollar, (9) Fred Price,  (10) Joel Osteen and others.

14. Kenneth Copeland The Laws of Prosperity (fort Worth, TX Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974) p. 104

15 Gloria Copeland God’s Will in Prosperity (fort Worth, TX Kenneth Copeland Publication, 1978) pp. 84-85

16. Ibid, p. 86

17. Ibid . 65

18. Ibid p. 88

19. Charles Capps, Angels (England, AZ Charles Capps Publishing 1984) pp.80

20. Charles Capps Releasing the Ability of God (England, AZ Charles Capps Publishers 1978), pp. 100-101, 105

21. Capps, p.173 Bold type added for emphasis





The Cult of Personality Is Crumbling

20 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 2 – The Cult of Personality Is Crumbing – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Cult of Personality Is Crumbling

By Rev. Bob Liichow

The following article is written by Gillian Flaccus – Associated Press Writer on 2/1/2009. The highlighting italics and underlining were added by DMI for emphasis.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Once one of the nation’s most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life’s work crumble. His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled mega church is home to the “Hour of Power” broadcast, an evangelism staple that’s been on the air for more than three decades.

The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County Property to pay off debts. Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, Schuller Sr. implored the Eagle’s Club members – who supply 30 percent of the church’s revenue – for donation and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support.

“The final months of 2008 were devastating for our ministry,” the 82-year old pastor wrote.

The Crystal Cathedral blames the recession for its woes. But it’s clear that the elder Schuller’s carefully orchestrated leadership transition, planned over a decade, has stumbled badly. It’s a problem common to personality driven ministries. Most have collapsed or been greatly diminished after their founders pulpit or died.

Members often tie their donations to the pastor, not the institution, said Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University. Schuller, with a style that blends pop psychology and theology, has a particularly devoted following, she said. “Viewers are probably much less likely to give when it’s not their preacher they’re giving to,” she said. “There’s something about these televised programs where people develop a certain loyalty.”

Today’s increasingly fragmented media landscape is also to blame, said Quentin Schultze, a Calvin College professor who specializes in Christian media. Church-based televangelism led by powerful personalities filled TV in the 1980s, but now only a handful of shows remain, he said. Among the struggling ministries are those of Oral Roberts and the late D. James Kennedy of “The Coral Ridge Hour” TV show. “I don’t see a scenario for maintaining a TV-based mega church anymore. The days of doing that in the models of Schuller and Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts are over,” Schultze said. “It’s amazing to me that the ‘Hour of Power’ was able to keep going as long as it did.”

Through a spokesman Schuller Sr., his family members and other cathedral officials declined to comment. The younger Schuller, 54, did not respond to an e-mail requesting an interview. The elder Schuller, who called his weekly show “America’s Television Church,” founded his ministry in a drive-in-theater after moving to Southern California in 1955.

He studied marketing strategies to attract worshippers and preached a feel-good Christianity, describing himself as a “possibility thinker” and spinning his upbeat style into a 10,000-member church and a broadcast watched by millions worldwide. The church’s main sanctuary, the Crystal Cathedral, is a landmark designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, with a spire visible from afar amid Orange County’s suburban sprawl. Thousands make the pilgrimage to see where the broadcast is filmed before a live congregation. The Schullers consider the church a family business and the younger Schuller’s 2006 appointment was sanctioned by the Crystal Cathedral’s parent denomination, the Reformed Church in America.

But the church announced on Nov. 29, that Schuller Jr. had resigned as senior pastor, just a month after he was removed from the church’s syndicated broadcasts. In a news release, Schuller Sr. said: “Robert and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry.” The church since instituted a rotating roaster of high-profile guest preachers, including Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area mega church, and evangelist Luis Palau.

Schuller Sr.’s daughter and sons-in-law remain involved in the church, some in key roles. But Juan Carlos Ortiz, the interim senior pastor, hopes to appoint a senior pastor with no ties to the Schuller family within two years.

On the church Web site, concerned members and TV fans have posted hundreds of comments protesting the upheaval, with some indicating they have stopped giving or will leave altogether.

Several angry viewers have launched petitions to get the younger Schuller back. Melody Mook, a 58-year-old medical transcriptionist from El Paso, Texas, said she stopped her $25 monthly donation and is looking elsewhere for her spiritual needs. She said she dislikes the guest pastors. “I feel hurt and confused and I’m not sure that I want to sit and watch when I know there’s problems beneath the surface,” she said. “You feel like you’re in somebody else’s church every Sunday.” Others said they felt betrayed that the Schullers couldn’t put God before their family spat. “They have not been forthcoming at all,” said John Dewart, an insurance agent from New Jersey who’s watched for 30 years. “Why can’t a father and son work together for the glory of God.? That’s my big question.”

(End of Article)

For years, even when I was a raving charismatic one thing I always disagreed with was the practice of naming ministries, later I learned were really SINistries ) after the people who started them. When you put your name on something it points to you and if you are in ministry my advice is for you to always point to Jesus Christ the One who are supposed to be serving.

So the article by Flaccus should not come as any surprise. When various so-called works of God that are built upon fallen men or women will begin to crumble and fall when their founders begin to die off. I can promise you that any work that is bearing the name of a man will bear some of the marks of a cult of personality. I am referring to works men name after themselves, not names given by others posthumously.

For example, Oral Roberts reported that no less than God Himself told him never to touch the “three G’s.” The three g’s are (1) the gold, (2) the glory and (3) the girls. Well Oral seems to have been obedient with number 3, he is the husband of one wife with no hint of adultery. He failed with number one, he is phenomenally wealthy and number two he did name his university after himself, i.e. “Oral Roberts University,” and his SINistry is called “Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.” So is it any wonder with Oral and his deathbed that his son Richard is having trouble keeping the ORU ship afloat not to mention the television aspect of the work? After all, these things bear Oral’s name and not Richard’s. At best he stands in the shadow of his allegedly anointed father, a shadow Richard never could nor will outgrow.

Benny Hinn Media Ministries, is one of the “official” names of Mr. Hinn’s moneymaking machine. When he dies it will not continue. Why not? Because it is built around Mr. Hinn there is no “ministry.” The same can be said of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Jerry Savelle Ministries, Jesse Duplantis Ministries, Ed Dufresne Ministries, Marilyn Hickey Ministries, ad nauseam.

None of the above were created to live any longer than their flawed founders, apart from their specious books and tapes. None of them has any plans to really continue after the deaths of their namesakes. These leaders are not interested in raising up disciples because their operations are one-man shows. NEVER FORGET THIS FACT! It is all about Benny Hinn, Kenny Copeland, Joyce and Jesse.

Perhaps the one exception to the rule might be Marilyn Hickey Ministries. Marilyn is getting pretty long in the tooth so to speak and is not in the best of health. So a couple of years back she brought her daughter Sarah along side her. However, Sarah lacks the abilities her first-grade teacher mom has in communicating to audiences. She does try to use the same aphorisms and gestures as Marilyn but she ain’t Marilyn and when Marilyn dies that work will decrease to infecting people on a local church level as opposed to the current global level of infection.

I suppose in retrospect it is somewhat of a good thing that these SINisters thought only of themselves when they got started out. Because they have a built in self-destruct button in the form of their death (and I do not care how much faith you have, there is still one death per person).

In closing, I find it interesting that I cannot find one biblically sound television ministry that is named after a living person, man or woman. Names have meaning names indicate things and point people in certain directions. Biblically, names are important and often have prophetic meaning. Thus, I think the very act of consciously naming of a work (that is supposed to be about Jesus) after oneself speaks volumes abut the direction that work will take. Jesus’ words are as true today as they will be forever when He says “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” 

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow





“HEARING” THE VOICE OF GOD

23 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 4 – “Hearing the Voice of God – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Hearing the Voice of God

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

One of the most frustrating things for me as a charismatic extremist was hearing the various testimonies of my teachers regarding hearing the voice of God. All of these men and women made it abundantly clear to us mere sheep that they were in fact in daily, if not, moment-to-moment communication with the Ancient of Days.

Usually their sermons or lessons began with statements like “ I was in prayer the other night and the Lord said to me ‘son why don’t you explain what faith is to My people’ and I said yes Lord and He opened my eyes to the scriptures like never before.” Obviously, we as the hearers upon hearing this statement buckled down in our seats, got out our pens and took notes on what was divinely revealed to the speaker (you can insert almost anyone’s name e.g. Ken Hagin, Copeland, Savelle, Dollar, Price, Jakes, White, Meyer, Dupantis, Hayes, et al.). After their stirring words we little sheep would wander to our homes wondering what did it take to actually “hear the voice of God”? We were literally in awe of people like Kenneth Hagin senior who said on a regular basis that God was more “real to him then his wife.” Also, Mr. Hagin was a man who claimed to have had at least seven (7) direct face-to-face encounters with the risen Christ, during which encounters Mr. Hagin was given revelations which became some of the body of his teachings {doctrine}. Obviously Mr. Hagin and many of our other teachers had a relationship with Jesus Christ that we did not have. Hagin used to share an anecdote that went something like this: “A man told me he was afraid of anyone who said God spoke to them, I answered him back and said I was afraid of anyone who God didn’t speak to!” In context let me add that Hagin was not talking about God speaking through His Word, he meant God speaking directly to us as individuals. Hagin’s position was that it was normative for God to speak to His children.

This obviously lack of intimate fellowship with the Godhead that our teachers seemed to have led many of us “on-fire” saints (me included) on the “hunt” for obtaining such an equally close fellowship with our Lord and Savior. After all, who does not want to “hear” the Holy Spirit say directly to them “go this way, turn left on Elm, “ or marry this woman,” or “accept this job position, it is My will.” Hearing from “God” on that level would take all of the guesswork out of life. If a person could hear so clearly from the Lord it would equal an error-free life (something God nowhere promises any of us in His Word) assuming the individual heeded everything the Lord told Him directly.

I’ll let you in on one of charismania’s dirty little secrets. A large portion of what charismatic teachers offer to those who will follow can be condensed into the claim that they (the teacher) possesses some spiritual experience which can be anyone’s if they will learn how to “tap in” as their teacher did. This experience can include some of the following examples: receiving revelation knowledge, receiving divine healing; walking in divine life; increasing the anointing in one’s life; achieving financial prosperity among other claims. Naturally merely attending a conference will probably not give one any of the above abilities. Thus the seeker is urged by the SINister or his or her shills to purchase books, tapes and DVD’s on the experience being sought, all of which happen to be for sale, authored by the SINister just outside the arena (all major credit cards accepted).

Apart from the extraordinary gifts, such as the power to heal or work miracles, every charismatic teacher claims to hear directly from God. The old expression “from God’s lips to my ear” would be wildly accepted by these people. Most Christian’s will accept that they will probably not work miracles or heal the lame, but at least they can hear from God can’t they?

The question is a simple one —does the Bible teach that the children of God would in fact hear His voice and be led by Him directly and individually? It does not matter how many people vociferously declare that God speaks to them directly to their spirits. As discerning Christians we must always go back and look at what the Bible teaches concerning this or any other matter being foist upon us.

Really the challenge is in the court of the charismatic extremists to prove to us biblically that it is the practice of God to speak individually to His children. The spiritual enthusiast has two general responses to this challenge. The popular response today (at least since the Holy Laughter paranormal manifestations) has been well expressed by Jack Deere, a former Dallas Theological Seminary professor who went off the spiritual rails so to speak:

God can and does give personal words of direction to believers today that cannot be found in the Bible. I do not believe that he gives direction that contradicts the Bible, but direction that cannot be found in the Bible.

According to Dr. Deere, John Arnott and a host of other charismatic leaders God speaks to His children all the time, gives them guidance, but it is of such a type that cannot be verified biblically. The best they can say is that any supernatural direction given, whether through dreams, visions, apparitions or voices will not violate the Bible!

This is the same type of argument that John Arnott (former pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Church i.e. vortex of the holy laughter nonsense) gave me personally in our e-mail correspondence. Mr. Arnott in answering my concerns regarding all the non-biblical manifestations my wife and I eye witnessed in his congregation was simply to begin by citing John 21:25

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25 (KJV)

Arnott’s response to me was simply that what was taking place in the outpouring of the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit was nothing new, it just was not recorded in the Bible for us to read about. Holy Laughter, making animal noises, being slain in the spirit, uncontrollable jumping, jerking and running are simply part of the “many other things” Jesus did as well !!!

I responded by asking Arnott how can we know that what is happening is biblical if the Bible is silent on this specific matter? What are we to use as our guide pertaining to spiritual matters? His response was to direct me to all the good fruit being borne by the revival, the joy, the laughter, the changed lives of those undergoing these manifestations.

In the words of the arch-heretic Kenneth Copeland “that dog won’t hunt!” If the best Arnott can do is point me to subjective paranormal experiences that some people were undergoing as proof that it was “God” at work then he has a great deal to learn about religious experiences. I can take Arnott to various ashrams where the same manifestations are being experienced by the devotees of various power gurus and these followers will give passionate explanation of how their lives have been changed.

Appealing to anything other than the Bible as the final arbitrator of doctrine and experience is to leave oneself wide open to demonic deception, delusion, and disappointment. What today’s charismatic enthusiasts want the Church to do is simply accept their teachings, experiences and practices on the power of their word alone, not on the authority of God’s Word.

I warned Mr. Arnott that he and those like him were in danger of becoming a cult due to their going down the same pathway all the Bible-based cults have gone. The reason we call them “Bible-based” cults is due to their claim to believe in the Bible, however God has given them further revelation whether it is in the form of the New World Translation of the JW’s, or the Book of Mormon, The Divine Principle, The Scripture Keys to Science and Health or the Mo Letters. So for these cults it boils down to a formula like — The Bible + new revelations/writings {guess which ends up being authoritative }. Many charismatic are in the same place — The Bible + new revelations, fortunately the Bible still seems to hold ultimate authority in may of their lives.

The second response to our apologetic challenge is a finally turning to the Bible and cherry pick examples that seem to fit their particular belief or practice. In the case of our topic, they will show us people God talked to and use these examples to attempt to prove these encounters as normative. This is GREAT! Always guide the discussion with these misguided folks back to the Bible, because we both can agree that it is God’s Word and as Christians It is binding on our lives. So then the weight is upon us to prove our position is in fact – the biblical one.

Who “Heard” the voice of God?

Old Testament

Adam & Eve: Obviously we can start with them. They not only heard the voice of God, but also walked with Him in the cool of the garden (Genesis 2:3). Obviously none of us can use Adam and Eve as our examples of fellowship with God since after they sinned and were kicked out of the garden their face-to-face communication ceased with the Lord.

Noah: Yes Noah heard from God directly. Since it had never rained on the earth until the flood I’m sure the Lord had some things to make clear to Noah, such as the directions on building the ark and who to place within it. (Gen. 6:9). Noah conversations with the Lord can hardly be normative since it involved the salvation of mankind.

Job: Only towards the end of the book of Job (Job 38-42) do we read of Job having a divine communication from the Lord.

Abraham: Over the entire span of his long life Abraham heard directly from the Lord in various manners only 16 times, hardly a daily ongoing conversation between The Ancient of Days of the patriarch of the faith!

Sarah: She only was spoken to once, which she initially denied saying what she had said (read Gen 18).

Moses: He holds the “record” of hearing from God, but then leading a few million Jews no doubt required quite a bit of direction. We read are approximately 85 times when God spoke to Moses. Again the majority of these times had to do specifically with the economy of God and the leading of God’s people.

Aaron: Moses’ brother and first high priest, he heard from God about 14 times, again always involving serious matters.

Joshua: The man who replaced Moses and led the people across the Jordan — again only around 13 or so experiences with the “voice of God” in his life.

Samuel: The great prophet of the Lord, we know at the beginning of his ministry the Lord spoke to him and he did not even recognize the Lord’s voice (1 Sam. 3) How the “word of the Lord” came to him and the other prophets we are not always told. We do know that in Samuel’s time the “word of the Lord was rate” (3:1) and there were few visions. What I am focusing our attention on is direct, personal communication from God to individuals.

David: The sweet psalmist of Israel, you’d think he would had daily running conversations with the Lord (like Hagin, Copeland, and others claim), But, no, go read the accounts of his life again and you’ll find less than 12 direct encounters Person-to-person.

Solomon: One of Israel’s most blessed kings, wisest of all O.T. personages, he only had 3 experiences hearing directly from the Lord. (read 1 Kings, 3:5-14; 9:2-9; 11:11-13).

My brothers and sisters there are many other O.T. examples I could cite, but these examples should make it very clear that people in general never personally heard God’s voice. Even God’s specially chosen vessels, rarely heard His voice and when they did it was regarding salvation’s history in some form or another.

The charismatic belief that throughout biblical history God is just chattering away to His people simply doesn’t stand up to any close examination of the Bible. Of course many within the charismatic movement will point that we are “New Testament” believers, ergo we should consider the New Testament as our “norm.” Ok, let’s take a quick look through the New Testament.

New Testament

Again our sign-gift inclined brethren would have us believe that under the new covenant we find our heavenly Father speaking to His children on a regular basis, leading and guiding them via personal speaking, dreams, visions and even angels. However, as Christians we must allow the Bible to be our guide, not subjective personal experiences. We know that during Jesus’ ministry when God spoke it was at times considered thunder by those who heard it (see John 12:29). On the Mount of Transfiguration when Peter, John and James did hear the audible voice of God they were speechless (see Mark 9). There is absolutely no evidence that “God” apart from the personal earthly ministry of Jesus, God and Son, ever spoke internally to any of the disciples in the Gospels.

As a former charismatic I’d be quick to argue that the Book of Acts is really the template for the Church and that’s where will find God speaking to about everyone. I also used to believe that miracles were commonplace and were being wrought by just about every Miriam, Peter and John. Folks the truth is, as with hearing the voice of God, very few people were ever used by God throughout the entire Bible to work a miracle. Think about it, write them all down and you will have a very short list. Common sense dictates that if miracles where commonplace then they would cease to be “miraculous.”

Well if one reads the Book of Acts carefully one will discover that the vast majority of the times we read of God speaking directly or even indirectly, say through an angel, less than twenty times and the majority of these times were involving the Apostle Peter and Paul. The few others so specifically guided by God were folks like Agabus (a prophet), Cornelius (whose salvation was a catalyst for the Gentiles), and Ananias (who went to pray for a man named “Saul”.

What is remarkable about each occurrence is that none of these individuals were seeking to hear from God directly! God was the One who reached out to them. Also keep in mind that none of these people were ever taught any formula, hidden keys, or method on how to hear from God (which is a very popular subject in almost all Christian bookstores & conferences). Even more astounding is the FACT that no one is ever counseled to seek to hear God’s voice.

A simple truth that really “blew” my mind in seminary was when I learned from Dr. Eugene Mayhew that the Book of Acts is a historical account of what took place in the early Church and NOT a template on how to do Church. This was contrary to everything I had been taught as a sign-seeking believer. However, once you realize this is true you see that everything that took place in Acts is not normative nor to be expected in the daily life of Christians today.

Some may respond “but brother Liichow doesn’t the Apostle Paul tell us that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14)?” Yes, but the text does not say “those who hear from God directly are the sons of God.” In fact, this text does not tell use exactly how God’s Spirit will lead us. Sign-gift folk insert voices, dreams, visions, visits from Jesus and /or angels into the text in invisible ink. They may assent that this text does not say exactly how the Spirit will lead us but will often counter with another text, this time from the Gospels. “Didn’t Jesus say that ‘My sheep hear My voice’ so obviously His true hear from God!” The context of John 10:16 is regarding sheep and goats and the fact that untimely there will be one flock (Jew & Gentiles together) under one Shepherd, Jesus. Jesus is not speaking about some private conversation(s) He will have with His sheep. Compare this text with Romans 10:17 “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Add to this “how shall they hear without a preacher’? (Rom. 10:14). Jesus was not speaking about Him personally talking with His sheep. Oh yes He does “call” us but He does so generally through the foolishness of preaching or even through our baptism.

Some Charismatic Comments

“In June God gave us a vision of the world with silver and gold bands covering the entire globe —we began to understand that God was telling us to take the message…” Charles and Francis Hunter, How to Heal the Sick, Hunter Books, pg. 1.

“I could hear the Spirit of God challenging me, “You’ve approached it wrongly. You’ve worked on the wrong end of the thing. You fasted and you prayed that I would do something and I’ve done all I’m ever going to do…” Kenneth E. Hagin, The Art of Intercession, Faith Library, pg. 47

My Father said to me (oh, I could hear His voice so plainly as He spoke to me), ‘Son, you don’t know how that delights My heart…You know, He said to me, ‘I made man so I’d have someone to fellowship with. I made man for My companion…I’ll put this way (and He said it is just these words), I made man so I’d have someone to pal with,’ “ Kenneth E. Hagin, Growing Up, Spiritually, Faith Library, pp. 64-65.

“The Spirit of God spoke up on the inside of me and said, ‘She has been holding fast to the problem al of these years. If she had prayed in faith she wouldn’t have prayed all those other 24 years…But she has bound Me from the situation by the words of her mouth.” Charles Capps, Releasing the Ability of God, Harrison House, p. 38.

“I asked the Lord, ‘Why did the centurion have that kind of faith…The Lord said, ‘He was a military man who understood authority because he was under authority. If you will teach My people to understand authority as this man understood authority, they will operate in the same kind of faith.” Charles Capps, Authority, Harrison House, p. 5

“Just this Pat: God is telling me to go and share the message of His power an the baptism of the Holy Spirit with Mrs. Peale.” Pat Robertson & Jamie Buckingham, Shout It From the Rooftops, Logos, p. 66

Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the people of the world. IF YOU WILL BE SINCERE, AND CAN GET THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE YOU, NOTHING SHALL STAND BEFORE YOUR PRAYER, NOT EVEN CANCER… He told me how I would be able to detect diseases by vibrations on my hand. He went away, but I have seen him several times since then.” Gordon Lindsay, William Branham A Man Sent From God, Voice of Healing, p. 77.

The BIG Question

These are just a very few examples of some instances where well known charismatic leaders are relating a little of their personal conversations with the Lord. In the same arena we have to also include today’s restored prophets and the “word of the Lord” they proclaim to congregations and individuals (that also is a common charismatic way to hear from God). The question for either individuals hearing from God or from the mouth of an alleged restored prophet is the same: “Why isn’t the words you’ve received from God authoritative?” In other words if God is indeed speaking then what is said should be transcribed and placed in the back of the Bible, right? Since when does God’s “word” cease to become God’s word to us? Also, if the words received in whatever manner (through a neo-Montantist prophet, dream, and vision or audible voice) is not elevated to such a level, then what good are they?

Our sign-gift brethren have a problem on their hands (as does anyone who says they have heard directly from God) and their response is to say that these words are a combination of both our flesh & the Lord which is what many leaders suggest having mature believers discern the wheat from the chaff so to speak. They say this is the biblical pattern as taught by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 14:29. This text says let 2 or 3 prophets speak and the others should weigh carefully what is said. That’s fine considering at the time there were still prophets in the Church as well as false prophets! The Corinthians being sign-gift driven needed to be told to “judge” what was being told them in the name of the Lord. Plus there is nothing in the text to indicate that the “others” ere discerning if part of the word given was of God and part of the flesh. Biblically either one was a true prophet, 100% accurate or one was a false prophet. From the record of scripture it seems most likely that the “others” were judging whether the person speaking was in fact from God or our enemy.

When it comes to the accuracy of today’s so-called prophets and their prophetic declarations virtually every charismatic leader will defend the blatant error, lies and unfulfilled statements given out in God’s name as being simply part of the “growing process” we all undergo in our God-given gifts! Just as one develops as a pastor or a Bible teacher even so one develops as God’s prophet. Oh really? Pray tell where is that in the Bible? There is nothing to indicate that the prophets developed from one level of accuracy to another. Daniel was not 5 % accurate as a young man and about 80% as an old man. What nonsense! Yet this explanation is commonly handed out to those who dare question the inaccuracies of today’s plague of prophets.

All of us who have thought that God was speaking to us and directing us in some area of life have had to admit that it was not God after all. I remember before I was married another sister in our congregation “heard from the Lord” that I was supposed to marry her. God had told me nothing about it and I told this deceived sister she was in error. She later went on to marry someone else and would gladly admit today she was not hearing from God. Other couples said they both heard from God to marry and now are divorced, what happened to the “plan of God” (I can assure you His plan never includes divorce).

There is a method by which we ALL can hear from God, but I have run out of space to go into this month. Stay tuned for Part Two! (Below are some examples of the many books out there to mislead the unwary).♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 





Flying High on the Widow’s Mite

10 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 1 – Flying High on the Widow’s Mite – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Flying High on the Widow’s Mite

By Robert S. Liichow

With Senator Grassley looking into a mere six SINisters and their money making machine, I thought it would be good to take a brief look at who is flying high on the donors dime (maybe Senator Grassley can expand the scope of his investigation).

“Dr.” Jesse the “Raging Cajun” Duplantis: A Cessna Citation 500 a mere $1.25 million. It burns approximately 1,700+pounds of fuel per hour (jet fuel costs more than gasoline).

Jerry Savelle: Another Copeland “clone” also fly’s a Cessna Citation 500 {they are the poorer relatives in the WOF cult-club}.

Mark Bishop: A wannabe player with the big boys is also at the starter private jet level of the Cessna Citation 500.

Joyce Meyer: Bombardier Challenger 604 a whopping $4.5 million. The Chalenger burns 1,192 pounds of fuel per hour and it takes 18,144 pounds of jet fuel to fill its tank. Obtained from www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/Challenger604/specs.html

Benny the “Healer” Hinn: Not to be outdone by anyone, Hinn fly’s very high in his Grumann Gulfstream II at the stratospheric cost of $4.5 million. It holds 28,300 pounds of jet fuel and can seat 12 “yes” men or shills. It costs $1,939.28 per hour to operate (not including the cost of the 2 pilots). Information obtained from www.jetsales.com/comp/planes/Irgjetcost.html

“Dr.” Fred Price: He also flys a Gulfstream II (drives a Rolls Royce when on the ground).

Paul & Jan Crouch: TBN has been good to these two hicks — they fly a Bombardier Challenger 604 at the heavenly cost of $16.5 million! 19 toadies can hitch a ride to Maui with Paul and Jan in supersonic style.

“SkyKing” Kenny Copeland: He started off as a co-pilot with the Oral Roberts Evangelical Ministry years ago and now owns several planes. But his daily ride is a Citation X which runs a modest $10 million. When you add Gloria’s Citation X that brings the total to $20 million! Here is a listing of the planes owned by Mr. Copeland and /or his SINistry:

1944 Boeing B75N1 “Stearman” Value: 70,000 to $140,000.

1953 North American T-28B “Trojan“, Value: $59,000 to $325,000.

1976 Beech E-55 “Baron”, Value: $144,000,

1947 Republic RC-3 “Seabee”, Value: One is listed online for $40,000.

1962 Beech H-18 “Twin Beech” * Value: $96,000.

1973 Cessna 421B “Golden Eagle” or “Executive Commuter” Value: $220,000

1975 Cessna 500 “Citation” Value: $850,000.

1998 Cessna 550 “Citation Bravo” Value: $3.4 million

2005 Cessna 750 “Citation X” Value: $17.5 million.

All make and model information is based on Federal Aviation Administration records. The church said that its Beech H-18 is a 1963 model. Sources: Cessna; www.aircraftbluebook.com; FAA: Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation; Doug Jeanes of Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison; Pete Lane, a retired University of North Texas faculty member; www.nasa.govere

Creflo “Cashflow” Dollar: A Gates Learjet (a small jet only seats 4 passengers) & a Gulfstream-3 which costs $37 million if purchased new.

The cost of owning a plane is only one of the costs involved. Other costs must be factored in, such as the cost of jet fuel, storing your jet in a hanger (unless you are Mr. Copeland who purchased a defunct airbase many years ago), paying the salary of one or two pilots depending on the size of your plane. These pilots have to be available 24/7 due to speaking schedules of their employers. Also airplanes must be maintained on a regular basis by highly skilled mechanics. Owning a private jet is an extremely expensive proposition. The question I have is simply this—do these people need to have their own jet(s)? Are they really being used to further the Gospel, or are they a means to “get out of Dodge” quick and to zip off to a country without an extradition treaty with the USA?

Sadly, all the people cited in this short article teach false doctrine and are misleading multitudes of people. What is equally sad is that those who follow their false teachings actually believe these SINisters have a right to fly anywhere on their dime!

Perhaps they don’t realize that they are paying over $1,000 per hour of flight time just so these charismatic superstars don’t have to associate with the hoi polloi sitting next to them on Delta.

To the best of my knowledge none of these people use their planes for philanthropic reasons. Their planes are used for their own personal needs. The only charismatic minister who purchased a plane for the right reasons was Lester Sumrall (deceased). He bought a Hercules jumbo cargo jet. He used his plane solely for the purpose of taking food and medicine to people in need around the world (Lester also never owned a car, he always drove a leased car) nor did he live in a “mansion.” His sons are running his ministry and continue to use the plane for world missions.

In light of the jets, mansions, luxury cars is it little wonder why Senator Grassley’s Senate Committee is taking a close look at some ways the money they receive as “non-profits” is being spent. It is a shame that the Church has not taken a stance against such opulence within Its own ranks and that God must use the government (sometimes newspapers, ask Jim Bakker) to clean house.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

The Gulfstream III is for those at the top of the heap





7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

4 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

When Larry King mentions me as a “critic” of Joel Osteen our web site went down for 2 days due to excessive band-width use which told me that a lot of people were downloading my initial article concerning Joel. Next more negative e-mails berating me for simply pointing out the errors Joel had made in his interview began to flow in. I knew it would only be a matter of time before a Osteenite asked me “well have you even read Pastor Osteen’s book?” I can honestly answer in the affirmative and tell them “yes I have and here is the problem I have with it.”

Joel’s latest book is the largest printing ever published at one time by A Free Press, the publishers of his materials. They’ve printed an initial 3 million copies of his latest book based on how well his former book Your Best Life Now performed.

This book could easily be entitled “The Little Engine that Could” or possibly “Fake It Till You Make It,” and anyone who has been involved with the charismatic movement will be disappointed in the contents because it says absolutely nothing new. The entire premise of the book can be boiled down to the old aphorism “God helps those who help themselves.”

In the DMI archive we have several bookcases filled with titles such as: Super Brain Power: 6 keys to Unlocking Your Hidden Genius; God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World; Prayer, Power, and Prosperity: Three Keys to a Move of God; Biblical Keys to Financial Prosperity; seven Facts About Prevailing Prayer (John Osteen), You Can Change Your Destiny (another John Osteen)…and the list could go on.

Now just when we thought we might have gotten past the formulaic approach of laws, principles, and rules for spiritual development we are offered another set of 7 keys to self-improvement! Here is Joel’s list: 1). Keep pressing forward. 2) Be positive toward yourself, 3) Develop better relationships, 4). Form better habits 5). Embrace the place where you are 6). Develop your inner life and 7). Stay passionate about life!

Obviously, the book is divided into these 7 sections and we’ll take a quick trip through each (it will save you the price of buying the book)! The first chapter urges the reader to never be content with where they are in life. “He’s a progressive God and He wants every generation to be increasing in happiness, success and significances. (1)

The Apostle Paul said this about Contentment:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13

Paul’s source of contentment was found in Christ Jesus not in any material sources. Whether he had “plenty” or whether he was in need Paul was content because he had the correct focus knowing who was his source of strength.

Where does the Bible ever say that one of God’s purposes is for us to be happy? I’d be willing to grant He does not want us to be depressed or despondent but where does the Scripture teach that God wants each succeeding generation to increase in happiness, success and significance? I’ll give you a hint, the Bible never teaches such things.

In Joel’s reality our only limits are self-imposed. It does not matter if you live in the poorest ghetto in Haiti, or if you are horribly handicapped the only limits to life are those you place upon yourself. “If your thinking is limited, then your life is going to be limited.” (2) If that sounds like the old Norman Vincent Peale “power of positive thinking” you are correct!

At the start of each new day, remind yourself, ‘I am talented. I am creative. I am greatly favored by God. I am equipped. I am well able, I will see my dreams come to pass.’ Declare those statements by faith and before long, you will begin to see them in reality. (3)

Let me just briefly unpack this common thread through the entire book. This is also basic Word of Faith (WOF) cult doctrine “101.” It’s called “calling those things that be not as though they are, i.e. “fake it till you make it.” Hagin, Copeland, Capps, Savelle, Duplantis, Price and pappy Osteen all have taught this same error.

WOF dogma teaches that this world is ruled by spiritual laws and these laws will work for whoever will work them, child of God or child of the devil. Furthermore, the WOF cult teaches that faith is a force that we use to create our own reality. Understand — it is not faith in Jesus, it is faith in a spiritual force we wield and release by our words.

Joel is after all his father’s son, and all he has ever learned about the Bible has come through the lens of a Word of Faith heretic (John Osteen) which explains why his books are nothing more than warmed-over WOF dogma.

How can I say that? Simple! Joel begins with encouraging the readers to think positive thoughts. From here he will go in a few chapters to the next building- block of WOF error…positive confession. Once you have the image of what you want in your mind then you confess “faith-filled” words out of your mouth continually until you change your reality by the power of these faith-filled words. However, before getting to speaking the right words he has to deal with an uncomfortable fact, i.e. why does your life stink now? In Chapter 4 Joel teaches another bizarre WOF concept, that of generational curses. Again this a teaching I heard Marilyn Hickey teach at Robert Tilton’s church over 20 years ago, but Joel is reaching many folks who probably don’t know about generational curses.

This is the false teaching: that some believers problems stem from their family line passing a “curse” through the generations. Joel says” many times, you can look back and see the results of those choices somewhere in your family line.” (4) The proof texts these false teachers use are Ex. 20:5; 34:7 Num. 14:8; Deut. 5:9 and these texts basically say that God will curse the generation that hates Him to the third or fourth generation But let’s consider the rest of the context of these passages.

Notice that the curses are on those who hate God. It is not for those who love God, but make some mistakes in life. One might argue, however, that their father or grandfather might have hated God. This is irrelevant, but brings up the next point. Using a hyper-literalistic interpretation of this passage, if the Lord shows mercy for 1000’s of generations on the fathers who loved God, then all that would be necessary for us to be in the “mercy” rather than “cursed” category is to find one relative in the past thousand or so generations that loved and obeyed the Lord. Is it not probable that we have at least one distant relative in the last 1000 generations who loved the Lord and kept His commandments? The statistical probability is that we most certainly do. And if we do, then we are part of the 1000 generations the Lord promised to show mercy to, not curse. This notion is pure WOF heresy which Joel follows up by teaching in the next chapter on “Generational Blessing.” Joel says that we are to think of our good works in this fashion.

Think of it like this: Each of us has a spiritual bank account. By the way we live, we’re either storing up equity or storing up iniquity. Equity would be anything good: our integrity, our determination, our godliness. That’s storing up blessings…You have more of God’s favor, more of His blessing because of what they have done. (5)

Its almost like a Roman Catholic belief (Joel does not know that of course) of the storing up of meritorious favor by the saints that can be drawn upon by those on earth! If you come from godly parents and grandparents then they have been putting spiritual ducats into the family account, or as Oral Roberts might say “they’ve sown seeds and you’re reaping the harvest.” My father was a godly man but I doubt I can tap into some heavenly bank account and draw from his good work! Naturally Joel offers no contextual biblical proof for such a doctrine, but who cares, right? It sounds good and who doesn’t want a spiritual piggybank to draw upon?

In part two of the book Joel, having liberated the reader from negative self-talk marches on to encourage them to stop listening to accusing voices (negative words spoken to the reader). He says that it is imperative that you “learn to feel good about yourself.” (6) Anytime a criticism comes to you (or from your conscience) you are to cast it down immediately!

Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on that rubbish, not for a moment. Sometimes when I walk off the platform having spoken at Lakewood and around the world by means of television, the first thought that comes to my mind is, Joel that message just wasn’t good today. Nobody got anything out of that. You practically put them to sleep. I learned to shake that off. I turn it around and say, ‘No I believe it was good! I did my best…I thought it was good. (7)

Brothers and sisters one of the ways we grow is by receiving correction, by useful criticism. When we reject rebuke and correction then our spiritual growth is stunted. Proverbs clearly says:

Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. Prov. 1:30

He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Prov. 15:31

A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool. Prov. 17:10

Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge. Prov. 19:25

Personally I want someone I respect and trust to tell me the truth when I have finished teaching or preaching. Maybe my message fell way short of the mark. Maybe I didn’t properly distinguish between Law & Gospel or took certain passages out of context. If I immediately reject any “negative” input then I will not grow and worse yet may lead those who hear farther from Jesus and not closer to Him. Joel’s guidance in this chapter is simply “if it seems remotely negative don’t listen to it!”

Chapter 8  entitled “Learning to Like Yourself” is more nauseating pabulum. Joel does not seem to get a fundamental message in the New Testament — the problem is not that people do not love themselves or like themselves, just the opposite, we love ourselves far too much!

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Cor. 10:24

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:4

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Heb. 13:16

All of this psycho-babble about people not loving themselves is recent nonsense which the Bible does not even address…because 99.9% of humanity has no problem loving numero uno.

Another one of Joel‘s glaring theological inadequacies is his lack of any real sense of our sinful fallen nature.

Shake off guilt, condemnation, inadequacies, and a sense that you can’t measure up, and start feeling good about who you are. ‘Well Joel, I don’t know if I believe that,’ a dear, well-meaning man told me. ‘We’re just poor old sinners.’ No, we used to be poor old sinners, but when we came to Christ, He washed away our sins. He made us new creatures. Now, we are no longer poor old sinners. (8)

This too is a WOF cult and general charismatic extremist point of view. They teach that we were sinners prior to salvation. Now in Christ we are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and no longer sinners. They have no concept of the reality of being simil Justus et peccator which means we are simultaneously justified, and yet sinners. Both conditions are always true of us. We will fight against sinful inclinations our entire lives and by the means of grace God will be working in us progressive sanctification in this life. Joel is dangerously misleading his readers to encourage them to think they are no longer sinful.

Chapter 9 – is classic WOF/Positive Confession dogma and Joel has very subtly brought the reader from a place of thinking positive thoughts to now confessing these thoughts. What he says in this chapter is regularly proclaimed in any Ken Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis or Fred Price meeting.

As long as we have that poor self-image, we’re not going to experience God’s best. You will never rise above the image that you have of yourself. (9)

He restates the problem of humanity as he sees it but he fails to recognize one very salient point — God blesses us APART from what we do virtually all of the time! Grace, is the undeserved gift from God. We experienced God’s best (which by the way, Joel, is salvation by JESUS CHRIST alone) when we were haters of God.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Rom. 5:10

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, Col. 1:21-23a

In Joel’s warped view how are we supposed to overcome this self-image problem in order to experience God’s best? Simple! We speak positive words about ourselves!

One of the best ways that we can improve our self-image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power. Every day, we should make positive declarations over our lives. We should say things such as, ‘I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am wise.’ When we do that, we are building up our self-image. As those words permeate your heart and mind, and especially your subconscious mind, eventually they will begin to change that way you see yourself. (10)

Our words do not have creative power. We cannot change reality by what we say. To believe such things is simply occultism and not Christianity. I’ve buried folks who died from AIDS confessing they were totally healed by the stripes of Jesus.

Positively or negatively, creative power resides in your words because you believe your words more than you believe anybody else’s. (11)

The WOF/extremist universe words are the most powerful things in the universe. They teach that God Himself created the universe not out of “nothing” (ex nihilo) but out of words that contained the force of faith to bring to pass whatever He said. They teach that since we are in His image we too have been given this same power. Negative words will produce bad results in our lives, they carry a sort of negative-faith. Positive words carry the force of faith in a fruitful direction creating whatever the wizard wielding the magic wand desires.

The sad thing is that Joel probably has not thought it through enough to realize what bondage such a belief system puts people under. If Joel is correct, then humanity is in the condition it is in simply because of not speaking the right words necessary to create a better life. All of his congregation’s problems fall squarely on their shoulders. Whatever their situation it is their fault.  The only way out is to begin to confess positive “faith-filled” words until your situation changes, which may take years…Remember just a few negative statements can dig up years of positive confessions and then the poor soul, like Sisyphus, is back at the beginning. What a horrific weight to place on the shoulders of God’s people.

No matter how impossible something looks, no matter how you feel, start boldly declaring, ‘I am strong in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ. I am well able to fulfill my destiny. Call in what God has promised you…Don’t merely use your words to describe your situation; use your words to change your situation….With our words, we can prophesy our own future. (12)

Notice God active in any of this? Who is the agent of change? Who determines your situation? Who is in control of your future?  Obviously, you are! God set these so-called spiritual “laws” in place and now we eat the good or bitter fruit from them apart from God.

I think you can see why Joel’s book is so immensely popular. It is all about self and works righteousness. Which all people love (yes even Christians). People love spiritual legalism in all its varied forms and dislike the orthodox biblical view of sola Christus, by Christ alone and looking to Him to do what we cannot do. That is too easy, we want to know “where’s my part in the play?” The point is this — salvation and all its benefits are monergistic, which means that God did all the work and we passively receive what He has done on our behalf. We add nothing to our salvation but thanksgiving to God for His great grace and mercy which He richly pours out on us through the sacrifice of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

The genius behind Joel’s writing is that he has encapsulated the basic tenets of WOF heresy into a format which does not come across as either charismatic in nature nor as something that has been taught by WOF heretics for over fifty years now. He has “spun” old false doctrines a new set of “Dr. Phil” clothing and is marketing it as a self-help book. The problem is that people will not genuinely be helped, in fact, many may end up in some serious bondage due to his lightweight version leading some readers to seek heavier teachings on the same concepts.

In closing, I will leave you with some simple biblical texts that will show you how to truly become a better you.

And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt. 10:38,39

Then he said to them all; “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:23-25

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

You want to be a “better you” then take up your cross, follow Jesus (where) to Calvary and DIE to yourself. This dying (reckoning ourselves dead Rom. 6:11) is a daily process/struggle (we Lutherans like to urge one another to “remember your baptism”) that is how we become “better people” we become less SELF-INVOLVED and thus with ourselves off our hands we are freed up to love God and our neighbor more perfectly Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and ALL the things the Gentiles seek after will be added to you (Matt. 6:33), something Joel does not mention. Instead of seeking the sphere of God’s rule he has his readers trying to conjure up a better self-image instead of one buried in the waters of baptism. He has people confessing how good they are as opposed to saying “God have mercy on me a poor miserable sinner.” He inflates human pride by a system of works-righteousness to our account. Frankly, Joel is fundamentally wrong regarding the major premises of each of his chapters. His biblical/doctrinal ignorance is truly appalling and I sincerely urge all of us to pray for him (and I will be writing and sending him a registered letter soon, I’ll let you know if he responds) and more importantly the 100,000’s of people who watch him on television and buy his books. Lord have mercy upon us! ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Osteen Joel, Become a Better You New York: A Free Press, 2007, p. 3

 2. Ibid. p.21

3. Ibid pp. 22 -22

4. Ibid. p. 49

5. Ibid. pp.56,66

6. Ibid. p. 85

7. Ibid. p.86

8. Ibid. pp. 101-102

9. Ibid p. 109

10. Ibid pp. 109-110 underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

11. Ibid. p. 11

12. Ibid pp. 113-114 underlining and bolding added.

Anyone else notice a “theme”? 7 steps to living at your full potential & now 7 keys to improving your life every day. Is it possible that Joel is using a ghost writer to pen these novels? If I was already achieving my full potential why should I read his latest book? It simply does not make sense to me?

 





The Jet Set

8 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2006 Vol. 11 Issue 8 – The Jet Set – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Jet Set

copeland3

In the rough-n-tumble world of televangelism it seem that to be a “player” you must own your own private jet. Simply flying first class in a commercial jet is not good enough. These men and women of God are too important to stand in line and be searched like the rest of us. Here is a short list of those who need millions of dollars a year just to keep themselves in the air:

Copeland protégés Jesse Duplantis and Jerry Savelle, and Florida’s Mark Bishop, each fly their own Cessna Citation 500. They cruise at 400 mph with a range of 1,400 miles and carry a price tag of about $1.25 million each.

Fred Price, Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn all have their own Grumman Gulfstream II’s. With a two-man crew and 19 passengers, these babies cruise at 581 mph with a range of 4,275 miles. Used, they’re worth about $4.5 million each.

Paul Crouch owns the current Queen of the Flying-Televangelist Fleet – a Bombardier Challenger 604. Carrying a crew of two plus 19 passengers, she cruises at 529 mph with a range of 3,860 miles. She’s valued at $16.5 million, not including Paul’s “special interior remodeling.” The late Ken Hagin’s Challenger 601, about 10 years older than Paul’s is “only” worth about $9.6 million. Joyce Meyers has her own Challenger 600. A full 18 years older than Paul’s this one’s only worth a paltry $4.5 million.

Mr. Copeland owns a Cessna Citation 550 Bravo (valued at $3.4 million), PLUS his Grumman Gulfstream II (worth $4.5 million) AND his Cessna Golden Eagle AND his Beech E-55 AND his assorted less aircraft AND his own airport all add up to untold millions of poor folks’ dollars. But Kenny’s masterstroke is the fact that he’s now telling the faithful that God wants him and wife Gloria to EACH have their own Cessna Citation Ten super-jets.

Video – Kenneth Copeland: God told me to buy a Citation:

Flying just below the speed of sound, these state-of-the-art flying palaces carry a base sticker price of $20 million! That means when “God” has his way, the widows and orphans will have “invested” just about $50-60 million in Kenny’s Heavenly Air Force. Information obtained from http://www.wittenburgdoor.com.

Kenneth Copeland’s Jet Denied Tax Exemption:

 

Copyright  © 2006 Robert S. Liichow








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