Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!…Luke 6:36

8 06 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 5 – “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!…” Luke 6:36 – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!…”

Luke 6:26

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

One of the attributes that is needed by every heresiologist (1) (aka heresy-hunter) is a thick skin and yet a sensitive heart which is a somewhat difficult emotional tightrope to have to traverse. Nonetheless, God does bestow His grace upon all of us as we endeavor to be faithful to our various vocations in Christ. DMI has little to fear of the above passage from Saint Luke coming to pass while DMI is still on this mortal coil.

Allow me to share with you a sample of just some (2) of the many negative emails we receive. I share them not to gain your pity, hey this is part-n-parcel of what we do, but because these comments are common and it is profitable for you to know how to give a simple answer; an apology for what you believe regarding these charges against all of us who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).

If you truly had discernment you might even come to realize that you are not too different from the Pharisees, not even recognizing JESUS and blaming HIS miracles on the devil! You pretended to be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT only to find that it was just your flesh playing a game. So then you came to another fleshly decision, the infilling of the HOLY SPIRIT is not for now, GPD changed HIS mind. How sad it is to see the devil win even with so called educated preachers. If you ever mature in the word, you might be able to be lifted out of darkness and find the light of the LORD JESUS. I shall pray for you. More than likely any reply will only show more of your flesh!; and lack of a spiritual relationship with GOD, but if you must, go for it, ye of little knowledge of the HOLY SPIRIT or of faith. (3)

The above diatribe is from a brother Warrick Jerrall who I not only responded to, but also thanked for giving me additional material for this newsletter. Now let’s begin to unpack his charges, which are ones commonly lodged unfairly against us.

You Are Not Too Different From the Pharisees

I almost want to say “these guys need new writers” because their material is getting stale! Over ten years ago I wrote a booklet entitled “Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up? “ but it appears Warrick has yet to get a copy.

Warrick rightly states that the Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the Holy One of Israel and they did accuse Jesus of working miracles by the power of the devil (see Matt. 9:33,34). However, he is wrong when he compares DMI (and myself) to them because we have the audacity to point out the FACT that Mr. Hinn and others are liars and frauds especially in the area of miracles and divine healing. Mr. Hinn cannot prove one genuine miraculous healing in his entire SINistry. Any power at work in his meetings is that of people’s heightened sense of gullibility, mind control, hope, desperation, fear and yes some demonic influences too. (4) The obvious fear context cannot be missed either. Warrick is basically saying that because we denounce the frauds, that we are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin by blaspheming the work of the Spirit. Did I hear someone say “Testify?”

DMI recognizes and gladly has bowed its collective knee to the supreme authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and declare Him to be God the Son, all of whose works glorify His Father in Heaven. Warrick is wrong to declare us Pharisees and anyone is equally wrong in calling you one too. These folks do so out of anger simply because you and I stand on the authority of the Bible and demand that every experience that is claimed to be wrought in and by God must be subject to His written Word. They lash out because when they are pressed to defend their experiences or doctrines by the context of Scripture because they cannot and we irritate them by our unwavering stance on the Bible.

You pretended to be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT

This charge is a bit of a baffler but I believe he is referring to the fact that I once used to speak in other tongues and no longer believe that Biblical gift of supernaturally speaking another language as empowered by the Holy Spirit is a gift given to the church today. (5) Yes I can certainly attest that when I was studying First Corinthians in seminary under Dr. H. Wayne House that I came to realize that I did not have the same gift as the Bible clearly describes, nor have I ever encountered anyone who did (nor have linguists who have been studying glossolalia for over 50 years). My former activity, while meaning to be spiritual was in fact a fleshly mental act. I can own that. What is more I thank God for bringing me back to a much closer fellowship with Him in prayer by using the “God-given” normal capacities I have.

Since DMI upholds the cessation point of view regarding the sign-gifts  Warrick equates this to mean that we deny the infilling of/with the Holy Spirit.  Nothing could be further from the truth. In his mind, and that of millions of sign-gift devotees, being “filled” with the Spirit equals speaking in other tongues. All people who speak with other tongues are Spirit-filled those who do not are not. So goes their belief on this matter.

We answer this charge by simple going back to the Bible and examining the relevant passages concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body —whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Cor. 12:13)

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Eph. 5:18-21)

When people confuse being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues simply show them the above texts. Every person who is a genuine Christian at the moment of their conversion is filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 is the only verse Paul ever uses regarding being filled with the Spirit. Speaking in other tongues is not mentioned.  A lifestyle of thanksgiving is. A life focused on the goodness of God resulting in our heart flowing forth with praise in the name of Jesus our Lord is mentioned. Being filled with the Holy Spirit also results in a lifestyle of mutual submission to one another for the sake of Christ in the fear of God. All Christians are in fact sealed (sphragisamenos) unto the day of our redemption is fully realized (see 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30). There is simply no such entity as a non-Spirit filled Christian.

Naturally I tried to direct Warrick to the pertinent passages and I challenged him to provide evidence of any miracles or healings in Hinn’s machine. I asked him to please show me where the following doctrines and practices could be found in the bible: 1) being slain in the spirit, 2) holy laughter, 3) spiritual drunkenness, 4) Jesus dying spiritually and being tormented by Satan in hell, etc….Here is his well reasoned apology for his beliefs:

I thought you were an idiot, you’ve proven my case little boy, as I said I will pray for you to get saved that you might not burn for an eternity. Precious LORD JESUS I pray this lost individual will be touched by the ONE he at present so easily blasphemes! You have never been able to walk with GOD, so it is pointless to answer ridiculous nonsense such as you espouse. You are doing nothing more than helping Satan with the idiotic nonsense on your pathetic website.

I must have struck a nerve in brother Warrick. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). Now he has gone from simply seeing me as an errant brother to being an idiot, and one who is not saved and thus facing eternal damnation. I guess he figures Jesus’ injunction against calling ones brother a fool does not apply to me since I am not really a brother now. Instead of answering my questions in a mature manner, instead of trying to defend what he obviously believes is true he simply ridicules me and since I am an idiot it would be “pointless to answer ridiculous nonsense…”  How is that for an apology?

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but false doctrines can kill me.” (6) He had no answers to give me. He had no true biblical defense so instead he goes on the offense by hurling ad hominem attacks against his questioner. I meant nothing personal in asking my questions, all I sincerely hoped for was that he’d think about them, check them out in the Bible and come to the correct conclusion that he has been wrong. I urged him to consider God’s gracious offer of deliverance by bringing to our web site and not to dismiss it.

Unfortunately, we can see his response, which is typical of many enmeshed in this movement, that thus far his mind is as closed as a steel trap. That is the danger of deception, it is so deceiving and it has in its power the ability to blind men’s eyes to the truth and only God alone can lift that veil.

Jesus said we would do what He did, right? The works I do he will do John 14 this tells me we will cast out demons; have Transfiguration experiences (GO, CATHOLICS!! They do this, right?); go to the wilderness and not get into ministry until we are finished like Jesus did and let Him shake the world off us because we don’t go to doctors, medicines, lawyers, public, schools, SSI, Unemployment, TV, radio, newspapers, among other things; change water into wine (or change one thing into another); walk through crowds; heal the sick; raise the dead; and much more. Do you these things? I would like to know Thanks.  Connie

Connie begins by citing a familiar text and somehow quickly meanders off into what I will assume she means “Roman” Catholic when she refers to transfiguration experiences. (Uh Connie, I know of no Roman Catholic transfiguration experiences per se, do you maybe mean transubstantiation experiences?)  From there it seems ministers are to go into the wilderness and not come back out until we are to go into the wilderness and not come back out until we are “finished” like Jesus. If that were the case Connie the wilderness today would be filled with the bones of Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, Kenny Hagin, Kathy Kuhlman and other SINistries who never would have gotten out. Somehow the “finished” ones will have allowed Jesus to shake off the world from them —how do we know this has happened in their lives? Because, Connie and the other super-saints have transcended the need to go to: (1) doctors, (2) use medicines, (3) use lawyers {highly commendable}, (4) public schools {yeah they can be a cesspool}, (5) SSI {don’t sweat it, it will be bankrupt before we can get to it anyway,} (6) unemployment, (7) television {not much on these days}, (8) water into wine, (9) walk through crowds {been doing that all my life}, (10) heal the sick {I have never healed anyone, laid hands on some that GOD did gracious deliver}, (11) raise the dead {I have tried on 2 occasions, failed miserably}.

Hey Connie, let me ask you some questions. Apart from our Lord Jesus Christ do you know any human being past or present who has done the works of Jesus in the manner that Jesus Himself did them? I do not know of anyone and my research goes back to the earliest accepted Christian writings. Radio and television are out, but obviously the internet is in why is this? Jesus washed the feet of His disciples (see John 13:12) do you do so too {I have, but humility precludes me from mentioning it further, blush/blush}? Are you really among those who reject doctors and medicine? If so, then you also forego the dentist, the usual inoculations, and have OPPTED OUT of all health insurance plans as well as OPTING OUT of SSI (oh yes folks, one can do this and receive the monies otherwise deducted, but BEWARE if you do so)—having done all of the aforementioned (sorry a little legal-lingo that the lawyers that you do not believe in use) what is your success ratio for (1) healings, (2) miracles, (3) resurrections, (4) transfigurations/transubstantiations thus far?

Connie’s response? Allow me to gently wrest a text for humors sake–”And there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Rev. 8:1)  meaning, she had no response.

What does John 14:12 mean for us today?

I think the greater works Jesus had in mind are not greater miracles in terms of signs and wonders. Instead, the greater works done by those who believe in Jesus refer to the work of the spirit in people’s hearts, a work of the Spirit that has greater dimensions now that Jesus has ascended to the Father. (7)

This view is the commonly accepted view with the accompanying four arguments in support:

1. The “greater works” cannot refer to signs and wonders that are greater in quality than those done by Jesus because no believer ever has or ever will do greater miracles than Jesus. He raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, restored hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, healed the lame, calmed a story sea, etc. No miracle-worker has ever come close since the days of the apostles, and even the apostles did not do any signs and wonders that were greater.

2. But perhaps John means that believers will do greater works in the sense that we will do more signs and wonders than Jesus? But the Greek word for “greater” used here does not refer to a greater number of works. If John wanted to refer to a greater number of works, he probably would have used the Greek word “polla” meaning “more.” A careful study of the world “greater” in John’s gospel shows that the word consistently refers to something that is greater in quality rather than something that is greater in number. For example, in John 19:11 Jesus says to Pilate “he who delivered me up to you has the greater sin.” In other words, Judas’ sin is a more serious sin (not greater in number!) Than Pilate because he actually betrayed Jesus. Some other examples: John 4:12 “Are you greater than Jacob?” this obviously means greater in quality, and the idea of greater in number doesn’t make any sense. 5:36 “I have a testimony greater than John.” the testimony is not greater in number, but greater in quality, for the superior testimony comes from the Father. John 8:53 “Are you greater than Abraham?” John 10:29 “the Father is greater than all.” John 13:16 “The servant is not greater than his master.” John 14:28 “the Father is greater than I.” the most significant example is from John 5:20 where Jesus says, “And greater works than these he (the Father) shall show to him (Jesus) that you may marvel.” This verse is very close to John 14:12 because in both verses Jesus speaks of “greater works.” Jesus is contrasting here his healing of the lame man on the Sabbath (John 5:1-16) with the greater works that he would do in the future. The greater works in the context appear to the communication of spiritual life (John 5:21,24,25), the judgment of all (5:22), and the future resurrection from the dead (John 5:29). The point here is not that these works are greater in number, but they are qualitatively superior to the healing of a man who was lame. These works are superior because they will last forever, while the lame man got sick again and died. To conclude this second point: the greater works do not mean believers will do more works than Jesus, but that they will do works qualitatively better than those Jesus did in his ministry. These better works are due to the outpouring of the Spirit after Jesus’ ascension. [Note: Incidentally, there is no evidence from church history that any believer did more miracles than Jesus anyway, and this verse is not limited to those who have the gift of healing; it refers to all believers.]

3. The word “works” in John’s gospel in some contexts clearly includes Jesus’ miracles (John 7:3, 21; 9:4, 10:25, 32,33,37,38). But even though the word often includes the idea of miracles, the word “works” cannot be limited to signs and wonders in John’s gospel. For example, John 6:28,29 identifies the “work of God” as “believing in the one whom the father sent.” and in John 8:39 Jesus exhorts the Jews to “do the works of Abraham,” and there is no record of Abraham doing miracles, and so Jesus must mean, “do the good deeds of Abraham.” John 14:10 is especially interesting, for their Jesus says, “the words which I speak to you I do not speak from myself, but the Father abiding in me does his works.” Here the “words” of Jesus in the first part of the verse are defined as his “works” in the latter part of the verse. Thus, we have clear Evidence in the near context (compare also verse 11) that the word “works” should not be restricted to signs and wonders.  Indeed, when John wants to speak of miracles, he consistently uses the word “sign.” “Sign” is the unambiguous word John uses to describe Miracles, and the word “works” is a more general term, which may include miracles, but does not necessarily focus on signs and wonders. All of this suggests that the first part of verse 12 where Jesus says, “the one who believes in me the works I do he shall do also” does not mean that believers will do miracles and signs and Wonders to the same extent as Jesus.  The word “works” is a general term, and thus Jesus is simply saying that you will do works of the same quality as I did and more. It should also be Noted that Jesus’ miraculous works were unique in the sense that such “signs” manifested his unique glory from the Father (John 2:11), and John tells us that the signs Jesus did were performed so that “you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and in order that by believing you might have life in his name” (John 20:30-31). Thus, Jesus’ miracles were in one sense a unique manifestation of his glory and divinity. This is not to deny that miracles can be done today. The point is that Jesus’ miracles were unique, and no one in church history or in the Bible has ever matched Jesus in miraculous activity.

4. The greater works, then, refer to the extended work of the Spirit, which will occur when Jesus ascends to the Father. This is not to deny that the Spirit was active previously in significant ways. But the work of the Spirit on earth was intensified with Jesus’ ascension. Note that Jesus specifically says that “the greater works” will occur “because I go to the Father.” Going to the Father, then, provides the reason or ground for the greater works. But why does Jesus’ going to the Father make possible greater works? The rest of John’s gospel answers that question. In John 16:7 Jesus says, “It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the paraclete will not come to you, but if I go I will send him to you.” This fits beautifully with John 14:12. Jesus says that it will be better if he goes because only when he goes will the Spirit be sent. And John 16:8-11 makes it clear that the Spirit when he comes will convict unbelievers of sin, righteousness and judgment. Such conviction of sinners is clearly another way of describing the “greater works” which will occur after Jesus goes. Greater than any healing is the inclusion of one’s name in the book of life. Jesus reminds his disciples of this when they are so excited about casting out demons in Luke 10:20. “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”   (8)

These four points can be condensed into a shorter more easily shared version, but learn the argument first and adapt it to your own needs. Connie probably was somewhat well meaning, ok, a little back-handed slap with the “do you do these things” implying some deficiency if one was/is not doing them. She is a victim of bad hermeneutics (9) and is clueless regarding how to properly interpret the Scriptures.

Regrettably Connie’s spiritual aliment is one that is commonly suffered by the majority of her fellow sign-gift compatriots. They have a zeal for Christ, but a zeal without knowledge, what we at DMI call “excited ignorance.” Due to their inability to correctly interpret the Scriptures the leaders and their followers rely upon experiences to validate their understanding of the (sometimes Satan is glad to oblige). When anyone lacks the tools to properly interpret the bible (rest assured it is not some arcane science) they are left to rely on their own experiences, beliefs, culture and fallen reasons. The entire sign-gift movement is built upon key individuals experiences and these experiences went on to become doctrinal positions and/or practices.  (10)

Whenever one attempts to build a theological contextual argument for modern Pentecostalism the arguments fall down upon close examination.

The answer for the Warrick’s, Connie’s and others is simply to strive in a winsome manner to direct them back to the Bible. If we are all Christians (which includes our sign-gift brethren) then we can agree {hopefully} that the bible is God’s Word and thus is authoritative when understood in its proper context and setting. When this foundation is established then we can begin to examine and consider the various doctrines and practices that separate us. The goal in this endeavor is not to win the argument, but most importantly to win our brother over from doctrinal darkness into the light and liberty of God’s Word rightly understood. (11)

DMI does not fear the “woe” of all men speaking well of us, we have other issues to try not to worry about, but that is not one of them. These few e-mails I have shared are only the tip of the iceberg regarding the biblical ignorance of those misled by convincing con artists on television, radio and the internet. I can assure you that 99.9% of sign-gift folks cannot defend what they believe. How can I say this? Because probably 90% of the rest of the Church cannot defend what they believe either! Obviously, our readers are within the 10% that can or is interested in defending the bible and Christ Jesus against an ungodly world.

In closing let me simply say this—God always has a remnant of people who will refuse to bow the knee to the Baal of their day. Today it is a people who refuse to compromise their stance upon the written Word of God. A people who will swim upstream against the current of go-along-to-get-alone that has lulled the Church asleep. In short, folks like you whom God has awakened to sound the alarm to those at ease and complacent in Zion.

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Heresiology is the formal study of heresy; ergo one who studies heresy and heretics is a heresiologist.

2. DMI receives and responds to 100’s of emails per week, but the added counseling and prayer requests that now come to us via Facebook.

3. This is first of a few e-mails by brother Warrick, his email address is Warwick Jerall jerrallwl@yahoo.com in case anyone would like to send him an encouraging word or helpful link J The underlining and bold type was added by me for emphasis and is not in the original e-mail.

4. I have participated in several of Mr. Hinn’s meetings, even singing in several of his mass choirs. I have seen firsthand the manipulation of desperate, and gullible people—all for the sake of money, adulation and personal worship.

5. An interesting book on the topic is Glossolalia by Stagg, Hinson, Oates, Abingdon Press.

6. Part of a child’s nursery rhyme taught to all young heresy-hunters.

7. Obtained from http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/John14_12pdf  on  04-26-2010

8. Ibid

9. How to Read The Bible for All It is Worth by Dr. Gordon Fee is an excellent book to begin to learn how to interpret the Bible. Look for a used copy at www.http://www.abebooks.com

10. Without having to write an entire book consider the following and then do the necessary follow-up research if desired: 1) William Seymour leading Azusa allowed spiritualist mediums experiences to meld in with the Christian seekers. 2) Oneness Pentecostalism started in a brush arbor meeting around 1914 when a man had a “vision” of Jesus Only on the Mt. of Transfiguration, 3) William Branham was led by angels, and the list goes on and on.

11. I say “rightly understood” to mean that correct doctrine liberates, false doctrine brings people into bondage. “Rightly” is a loaded term, I admit that, but for the sake of this argument I am referring to the commonly held orthodox.

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