“Scope” Them Out!

30 11 2011

Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue11 – “Scope” them out! – By Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 “Scope” Them Out!

Rev. Bob Liichow

 I cannot put my finger on the exact moment in time, but at some point church “culture” changed from being more direct and confrontational when dealing with sin and error to growing more silent, complacent and accepting of doctrines and practices that formerly (in my fairly short life time) would had gotten one publically rebuked or possibly excommunicated.

 One of the reason’s the Church is in the pretty sad and confused condition it is today is because a generation of leaders have fostered a non-Christian practice of “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, and speak no-evil.” this is great advice if you are a monkey, but it is hardly biblical or practical counsel for Christians.

 We’ve been wrongly counseled to “not judge” others, when the Bible plainly tells us to do exactly this. Most certainly, you and I do not know the spiritual state of those professing belief around us; however we are called to examine their fruit. We can surely see their lifestyles and we can easily determine whether or not some one is living a godly life according to the scriptures. Obviously the doctrine they proclaim is open to scrutiny, after all were not the Bereans declared nobler by Paul than the Thessalonians in Acts 17:11 for scoping out what Paul was declaring as truth?

 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf; but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and innocent concerning evil. (1) Romans 16:17-19

 In the Apologetic and Polemic arena of ministry one is often wrongly rebuked for having the audacity to name names when exposing the sources of doctrinal error. Some think it is uncharitable and a form of sinful judgment to be too specific in warning the church of the dangers facing her from within and without. Others accuse us of “casting stones” (John 8:7) and even serving Satan by being his mouthpieces “accusing the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). Virtually all sign-gift aka charismatic devotees continually warn us to “touch not God’s anointed and to do His prophets no harm” (Psalms 105:15). On the surface it would seem in the light of these and some other texts often cited that perhaps our critics are correct and that we have been behaving in an ungodly manner. Let us not be guilty of being superficial people and dig beneath the surface and uncover the truth of this matter; after all we are told in Proverbs 25:2 “that it is the honour of kings to search out a matter.”

 The Apostle Paul in ending his letter to the Roman Christians beseechs (begs) the brethren to “mark” (transliterated as skopeo) them that cause divisions: 5023 (skopeo): vb; = Str 4648; TDNT 7.414—1. LN 2432 notice carefully (Ro. 16:17; Php 3:17+), for another interp, see next; 2 LN 27.58 watch out for, implying a response to the danger (Ro. 16:17, Gal 6:1+), for another interp, see prior; 3. LN 27.36 be concerned about (Php 2.4+); 4 LN 30.20 keep thinking about, ponder fix attention toward (Lk 11:35; 2 Co. 4:18) (2)

 Let me ask you a question —- who is it that causes divisions in the Church? Is it the one who spreads false doctrines and spurious practices within the Church or is it the ones who contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3)? I can assure you it is the former and not the latter.

 How important is this as an issue in our lives as believers? The Holy Spirit through Paul seems to think it necessary enough to be placed in God’s written Word. Here is Paul, having not even visited Rome, yet he begs these young Christians to notice carefully and to keep thinking about with a fixed attention on those who cause divisions and offences of a specific type. What type? We are told to carefully watch out for and take note of (what discovered) anyone who causes divisions and offenses regarding the true apostolic doctrine which has been learned.

 Once we discern such tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:25) what are we to do? We are to avoid them which in the Greek carries the meaning to turn away from to no longer trust and avoid associating with. Why? Because these people do not serve Jesus Christ, they serve instead their own appetites. These false brethren couch their message in “good words and fair speeches” and by their use of “God talk” deceive and ensnare the hearts of the simple (unsuspecting). Iraneaus, the “patron saint” of all heresy-hunters stated it in the following manner as he dealt with the heretics of his time:

 “Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.” (3)

 Paul knew well the reality of the danger of false doctrines spread via false apostles, prophets and teachers and he unfailingly fought them by exposing them and their errors as well as proclaiming God’s truth.

 It is not enough to say there are “some” among us who do not teach the truth. Everyone hearing such a statement will automatically think their own school of teachers are doctrinally sound, until and unless named by name which normally evokes a response on the part of the hearer. (4)

 To merely declare that there are some people on television preaching lies in Jesus name is insufficient unless one clearly states who it is teaching error and where they have in fact erred. Paul had no problem naming names:

 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Php 3:17-20

 In this case Paul tells the Philippians to “mark” them that walk properly following the apostolic example set before them by Paul and the genuine leaders. “Many” in the Greek is denoting a large amount of people are in fact enemies of the cross whose end is nothing less than eternal destruction. Paul did not rejoice over their impending judgment, he wept for them, which must be our attitude as well in this field of Christian servant hood. Note that Paul says that he has told them OFTEN about these people, he did not keep silent regarding them and the eternal danger they pose.

 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:20

 If Paul wrote such things today he would receive emails after the manner of those sent to DMI, something along the lines of: “Get over it Paul, forgive and forget.” Or maybe, “How unloving of you Paul, I rebuke your unloving attitude it sickens me and god.” I doubt these missives would affect his actions any more than they do ours, for we are truly of the same like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1) as the blessed apostle. Paul named the source of the problem “Alexander the Coppersmith,” someone who was still alive and causing divisions in the church. Ultimately the Lord will repay him according to his works, but until that time the Church needs to be warned regarding the existing threat flowing through Alexander (Ephesians 6:12). (5)

 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 timothy 1:19-20

 WOW! Not only did Paul name Alexander, he cited him twice in his letters to Timothy. Paul saw their error so damaging that he turned them over to Satan, i.e. excommunicated them from the church and handed them over to be tormented by demons for the purpose of instruction and possible reconciliation.

 This is the same Paul who rebuked Peter openly in front of everyone (not quietly in a corner with a quick hug and back slap). What is more he even told those who were not in attendance, the Galatians, what he did and to whom he did it!

 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Galatians 2:11-14

 Paul did this because Peter was wrong and his actions caused others (other Jews, Barnabas) to enter into his hypocrisy and sin. Rebuking Peter openly was not only the right thing to do but it was the loving thing for Paul to do. Paul loved his Lord and this love demanded he take a stand for God’s truth regardless of the personal consequences. What is more, Paul loved Peter and this agape, this divine love shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) compelled Paul to rebuke Peter first for Peter’s own sake and then for the sake of those following Peter’s errant behavior. One of D.M.I.’s goals is to see these people come to repentance, recant their errors and teach the truth —if I can do it, and by God’s grace I did, so can anyone.

 Jesus in His earthly ministry openly rebuked the religious SINisters of His time:

 Wow unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our father, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Matthew 23:29-33

 Can you hear these words coming out of the mouth of Joel Osteen or Robert Schuller? Jesus did not pull any punches, yet who among us would dare call Him “unloving” or being an accuser of the brethren?

 Woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Luke 11:43-46

 Speaking “truth to power” is not without its risks. Jesus was crucified at the hands of wicked men (Acts 3:15). Historically we believe that all the Apostles but John the Beloved died martyrs deaths, Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:59) and Hebrews chapter eleven speaks at length about those of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:38). The world loves its own (John 15:19) and anyone who dares to stand up and denounce it and expose it for what it is makes them an enemy of all that the lost and deceived count as of great worth. Paul no doubt felt the sting of being misunderstood when he rhetorically asked “have I become your enemy by telling you the truth” (Gal.4:15)?

 Speaking the truth in any generation has never been easy, and yes those who tread this path are indeed on the road less traveled; but then our Lord said Himself that the way was narrow and few were on it (Matthew 7:14). In all of the above examples we’ve been considering the godly exposure of those proclaiming false doctrines and misleading God’s people or misrepresenting Himself to the lost world. Yet Paul urging us to scope out some other indicators which denote people to “mark” and “avoid” Paul says:

 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought, but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

 Not only are we to mark and rebuke openly those in doctrinal error (1 Timothy 5:20), we are ALSO to mark and avoid those who walk (live) contrary to the apostolic traditions given to the Church. Paul as an apostle, was responsible for helping establish religious traditions in the young Church. Some people within the young Church were already casting aside the genuine apostolic traditions for their own novel ideas while the Apostles themselves were still alive!

 “Tradition” is a dirty word to most American evangelical Protestants, (6) after all we are a people who loudly confess “I’ll do it my way” throughout our days. Anything old is quaint at best and outdated at worst. It is the “new” we adore; new is fresh; new bespeaks innovation; new is good and old is bad. Sadly, this culturally driven point of view has been carried into the Church.

 The New Apostolic Reformation SINisters not only are guilty of propagating a wide variety of doctrinal error they are also guilty of subverting the genuine apostolic traditions handed down through the ages with their own non-biblical traditions. Here is a short list of practices now accepted and traditional in and among these brethren (let them be ashamed) which include: (1) altar calls to receive salvation & impartation of spiritual gifts, (2) being slain in the spirit, (3) all Christians can/should speak in tongues, (4) demonic deliverance of believers, (5) 24/7 praise/prayer/fasting centers as the means God is using to glorify the Church. These novel-praxi have replaced the orthodox practice of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, supremacy of the Word in preaching, etc.

 Over the last several months DMI has been exposing specific individuals such as C. Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle, Francis Frangipagne, Paul Cain, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland and others as false ministers. Some of them may be genuine Christians, but they and all that follow their doctrines & practices are to be avoided by the Church so that they may be restored to genuine Christian fellowship.

 Do not allow any misled devotee of whoever browbeats you into being silent about the danger these people pose to the spiritual welfare of those who listen to them. There is no deeper nor more painful wound than that caused by spiritual abuse. Truth Matters, it really does.

 We are commanded to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and by doing so we grow in Christ. My love for God and the integrity of His Word impel me to action, even so my love for all the Church. If I love someone and I know of something that will seriously harm them I will tell them. Obviously, if I know someone is peddling poison then I will warn them and then others (Matthew 18). Why should I care, if I am not drinking their poison? Love can do no less than all it can for the sake of others, and it is that love motivates what we do and those who support us.

Copyright 2011 Robert S. Liichow

 

Abbreviated End Notes

1. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 2009). Bold type, italics and underlining added for emphasis.

2. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 1997). Bold type added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1579882.Irenaeus_of_Lyons on 10/20/2011 , taken from Against Heries. Underlining added for emphasis.

4. For example if someone said to me, “Bob, your Pastor Braden is teaching heresy regarding….” At first I would probably be angry at the messenger in that I respect and love my pastor, however, as a thinking person, I would also examine the changes being brought against my pastor and determine whether they are in fact true—-then I will respond appropriately.

5. The problem was coming from/through Alexander. The originator of the error is Satan and his hosts, with whom we do wrestle with, but not flesh and blood per se. Satan uses people and our battles are ultimately spiritual, but that does not give a “mulligan” to those used by Satan, Alexander is still culpable before God as is Hinn, Copeland, etc. . . . .

6. I am an American, but not a “protestant” per se. I am a true “evangelical” a term coined by Dr. Martin Luther to describe what was taking place in what became known as the Reformation. I am an “Evangelical Catholic” I guess if one must call names and label.

 

 

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For Whom Do We Do Good Works?

27 11 2011

Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue11 – For Whom Do We Do Good Works? – By Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 For Whom Do We Do Good Works?

Rev. Bob Liichow

 The writing of this article coincides with the celebration of the Reformation led by Dr. Martin Luther. The one aspect of the “Lutheran” Reformation that separates it from all other reformation is the focus of Luther on the eternal question “how can a sinful man become righteous in the eyes of a holy God?”

 By the time of Luther the Gospel message of salvation based only on the sovereign grace of God as testified by and in the life, death, and bodily resurrection of His Son, one Lord Jesus Christ was all but totally obscured by the teachings and practice of the Church of that day, i.e. The Roman Catholic Church.

 Rome had over time denigrated the doctrine of salvation from God’s completely free work of redemption by grace through faith in Jesus Christ to a complex system of human effort working in cooperation with some sort of infused grace. In Luther’s time the message being taught was that of salvation by human works and effort which did nothing but torment Luther and bring him to the verge of despair. The best Luther and virtually all other Christians could hope for was a short stay in purgatory. At this point in Church history the purpose of good works was to merit salvation.

 In his despair Luther began to study the scriptures with I believe a desperate spiritual hunger. Luther had been as faithful as he could be to the practices (works) of his church and found no spiritual peace in them (I dare say because spiritual peace was not there to be “found”). All Luther had left was the Word of God and as history tells us he came to know the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as His Lord promised, that truth of the Gospel see Luther free from the deadly treadmill of trying to obtain a righteousness based on his works.

 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 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. But now the righteousness of god without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. (1)

 Luther clearly saw the Gospel in its purity. He saw that Jesus Christ did all the work on our behalf. He came to rightly understand that when Jesus said “it is finished” He meant just that, the work of salvation is now complete in His sacrifice on the cross. Naturally, Luther did not arrive at all of his conclusions in an evening, but as he studied God’s Word and compare it to his Church’s practices and dogma he realized that reform was necessary and he sought about to bring reform to the Church. We all know basically what happened, Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic confession and he went on to form gatherings of what were called “evangelicals.” After his death these “Evangelicals” began to be called “Lutherans” congregations. (2) We can all give thanks to God for raising up a man like Martin Luther through whom (and others) God brought back the correct understanding that justification comes solely by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.

 This brings us to the topic, since we know (or should know) that salvation/redemption/justification (fairly synonymous terms) is effected by God’s grace and not our works, then where is the place of works in the life of the disciple of Jesus?

What Luther and those who followed him saw was the distinct demarcation between God’s grace and human works. Salvation was either: (1) by grace alone without any human merit or works. (2) by works that merited the favor and mercy of God or (3) a combination of divine grace and human merit working in cooperation. The biblical position is obviously number “1.” The Lutheran Reformation was the vehicle God used to spread the good news of salvation as a gift not as a reward for our efforts.

This aspect of Luther’s teachings was more or less accepted by what has become known as the Protestant Church i.e. the various Reformed denominations that also rebelled against The Church of Rome. However, I know from experience with several “baptistic” congregations, including some mainline Pentecostal denominations, that the biblical teaching of salvation by the grace of God through and in Christ alone has been twisted. How so? Many groups teach that we are saved by the grace of God as shown to us in Christ, so far so good. BUT (and it is a big “but”) we are kept in the state of salvation by our works. These people readily admit that works do not save, however our works post regeneration keep us saved.

Today hundreds of years after the Lutheran Reformation the Church is still filled with millions of people who do not understand the biblical place of good works in the life of the disciple. Multitudes within Roman Catholicism are still taught that their works are meritorious not only in reducing the time they will spend in purgatory but that their works are also efficacious in the ultimate obtaining of eternal life. Untold numbers of so-called evangelicals are running around doing various “good” works in order to gain higher rewards and status in heaven. In this “evangelical” system believers’ works do not save but are meritorious for future eternal status.

 Jesse Duplantis, a televised Word of Faith heretic and false teacher revealed in his best-selling novel (that masquerades as “truth” in Christian bookstores) “Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind” that in heaven the saints either wear “gowns” or “robes” depending on their works. Better and more numerous good works obviously equal better vestments in heaven according to Duplantis. Pentecostalism teaches that there is a unique soul-winners crown laid up for those in heaven who have faithfully witnessed to others about Jesus led people in repeating the sinner’s prayer, or maybe just stood on a corner passing out religious tracts to passer byes. These type of believers carry with them the American view that working harder equals more reward, which is usually true in this fallen world, but not so in the Kingdom of God:

So, when ever was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the Goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and iheat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do these no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (3) Matthew 20:8-16

 We are familiar with the above parable. On one level we read of some people working harder and longer than others and yet all received equal pay. Strange? Only to the minds of those bound by this world. The Kingdom of god does not operate by our principles.

 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (4) Romans 4: 5-6

 The righteousness of God is given by God without the aid or assistance of human works. Resting in this reality is indeed a state of blessedness which is how Paul describes the man who accepts God’s mind-blowing humanly incomprehensible GIFT of righteousness based on what HE did in Christ—the forgiveness of our sins.

 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (5) Ephesians 2:8-9

 Paul well understood that righteousness was the gracious gift of God and thus an alien righteousness (righteousness distinct from humanity in and of itself) imputed (not imparted) to the disciple by faith in Jesus Christ. Knowing this Paul could well say that there was a “crown of righteousness” waiting for him in heaven (2 Timothy 4:8) Why, because of his good works on behalf of the Church? NO! Given bestowed by God and based on the alien righteousness of Christ that Paul trusted in.

 The Revelation of Jesus Christ reveals a marvelous truth regarding our “crowns” or rewards if you will:

 The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (6) Revelation 4:10-11

 In heaven before the throne of the Lamb of God these elders representing the completed Church cast their crowns on the ground before their Christ. Why? I believe it is because they fully realize in heaven that anything they did for Christ on earth was due to His power working with and through them. Seeing that their deeds were wrought in and by God (John 3:21) cast their crowns down rightly at His feet thus acknowledging that the glory was all Jesus’ from start to finish. This seems to be the response of the servant to His master in the following text:

 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (7)

 Since we are not saved by our works, nor are we kept saved by our works (1 Peter 1:5) and no, our works do not earn us a better mansion in heaven (John 14:3) what place do they have in our spiritual life as followers of the Lamb?

The best way to approach this issue I believe is to exchange the word “work” for the term “fruit.” Our Lord speaks often about fruitfulness in the life of His disciples:

 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (8) John 15:4-5

 Fruitfulness is the natural outcome of being engrafted (see Romans 11:15-25) into Christ at conversion. As we abide in Christ Jesus [how that is done is the topic for another article] we will bring forth much fruit. Note: however the caveat given by Christ “without Me you can do nothing.” The fruit of eternal value and significance is that which is borne by Christ through us to others.

 “Others” is exactly whom we are producing good fruit for as an extension of God’s love and care for all creation. Jesus summed it up for all eternity when He responds:

 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (9) Matthew 22:37-40

 God does not need your love, compassion, help or anything else because He lacks nothing. He does desire to use us to bless others. He calls us to be a city set on a hill, a bright beacon of hope to a world wandering in abject darkness (Matthew 5:14). We are called to shine as light amidst a crooked and perverse generation (Philippians 2:15).

 As we mature in Christ our spiritual fruit (see Galatians 5:22-23) blossoms and our good deeds are cast abroad as we live out our daily lives surrounded by people with various needs. God does not need our peace, patience, longsuffering, etc. Our neighbor does, the brother or sister next to us in the pew does, the orphan and widow does (James 1:27) The fruit produced may not even seem that earthshaking to us; “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:24).

 In closing this meditation, consider the response of the following disciples:

 Then they also will answer saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. (11) Matthew 25:44-45

 In this scene we see the judgment of the sheep and the goats. Note that the sheep were unconscious of their good deeds done towards others, but ultimately accepted by Christ as done unto Him! “Unconscious” in that they simply lived Christ-centered Word-focused lives walking in the good works the Father had prepared for them to walk in (Ephesians 2:10)

 What is the “work” that we must do, from which all other acceptable works flow? Jesus Himself tells us in John 6:29 “Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ ” Our “job” is to believe in Jesus Christ, whom the Father has sent. . .yet in demonstration of His great mercy the Father Himself gives us the faith to believe in His Son (Ephesians 2:8). Christ’s sacrifice for us was totally sufficient for our salvation. His work cannot be added to nor detracted from by our actions or inactions. All that we can do is to humbly bow at His pierced feet and receive His completed work and then in great joy go out and serve others for His glory.

 “Anything that God could ever want form you now or forever is there in the sufficiency of the work that Christ has already done for you. God will never demand anything more from you and for that matter you don’t have anything He needs. But Christ has been privileged to give you the opportunity to do something that is significant in life and that is to be instrument’s through which God distributes His blessings to others here in this world.” Dr. Hine, LCMS pastor on Issues Etc. speaking about The Reformation and Vocation, October 2011

 Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009) Romans 3:19

 2. It grates me now when I hear other non-evangelical groups being called “evangelical” Christians, but then I hate the fact that “charismatic” has come to refer to a specific type of Christian, whereas biblically ALL Christians have been gifted by the Holy Spirit and thus we ALL are “charismatic” Christians, geesh! Lastly, Luther DID NOT want anything named after him. So naturally, when he died folks disobeyed their leader and put his name on it, something he would not approve of. The best name for we who are as Lutherans would have been and really is “Evangelical Catholics.”

 3. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009 Mt. 20:8-16

 4. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009 Ro. 4:5-6 Bold type added for emphasis.

 5. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009 Eph 2:7-10

 6. The Holy Bible English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard bible Society, 2001) Re 4:1–11

 7. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009 Lk 17:9-10

 8. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009 Jn 15:4-5

 9. The Holy Bible King James Version Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA Logos Research Systems Inc, 2009 Mt. 22:37-40





The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God Prayer, Fasting and Worship

2 11 2011

The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God

Prayer, Fasting and Worship

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 In this final article on the International House of Prayer (IHOP) phenomena we will consider the three spiritual ingredients that when utilized properly will bring about global change in the Church and also in the world system (“cosmos”).

 Harp & Bowl Intercessory Prayer

Now when He has taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8

 The harps here represent music and worship, while the bowls represent intercessory prayers. In the Harp and Bowl model there is a combination of intercessory prayer with worship and music, reflecting the scene before God’s very throne in Heaven itself. “On earth as it is in heaven” is a goal of Harp and Bowl prayer.  Spirit-led music is constantly playing as people pray. There is a flowing together between the worship leader, instrumentalists, vocalists, prayer leaders, and intercessors in antiphonal prayer and praise. Not only does intercessory prayer have a powerful effect on a community, but so does the praise and worship of God. The Kingdom is brought down to earth as God’s people worship Him in a community, and a form of spiritual warfare takes place in praise. (1)

 What you’ve never heard of Harp & Bowl ministry? If you search that phrase on the internet you will discover that Google brings up over two million six hundred thousand results (2,600,000+ ) which means that this concept of worship has gone viral in net-speak. Tens of thousands of professing Christians have bought into the above interpretation of Revelation chapter five. This interpretation is naturally buttressed with other proof-texts to paint a picture of 24/7 prayer and worship services.

 In the past three articles we’ve demonstrated that the very foundational concept of IHOP is unbiblical. The text in Acts 15:16 is not a doctrinal statement commanding the Church to “rebuild” the tabernacle of David and go backwards to his form of worship. (2) Sazyc (a former good friend of the author) draws doctrinal support for this novel form of enthusiasm from the Book of the Revelation, another book that is not a source of doctrine for the Church, being it is apocalyptic literature. Our brother Sazyc cites the line in our Lord’s Prayer “Thy will be done on earth” as support for these never ending prayer meetings. If he is correct then it must be that the wheel of divine response grind at an exceedingly slow pace. For two thousand years God’s people have prayed the prayer our Lord gave to His Church and until the last twenty years (give or take) there has never been 24/7 prayer as a component of the Church’s life. The scene in Revelation chapter five is not a pattern for church prayer services but it does give us some insight into heavenly worship. We do see that singing, prostrating ourselves, incense and musical instruments are part of heavenly worship and thus have a place in our worship on earth. (3) Joe (Sazyc’s first name) goes onto to explain the close relationship between music and prophetic ministry (prophetic prayer (4) ):

 Music is also closely connected with prophetic ministry. Spirit-led and prophetic-edged prayer is a goal of the Harp and Bowl model. King David set up this kind of praise as a constant offering before the Lord in the Temple. (5)

 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord. As for Herman, from his sons: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael and Jerimoth; Hannaniah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti and Romamti-Ezer; Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth. All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives–all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord–they numbered 288. 1 Chronicles 25:1-7

First of all these were not God ordained prophets. (6) David with his close commanders set apart some of the sons for “the ministry of prophesying.” Some can argue that David was being led by the Holy Spirit in the choices made. The Scripture is silent regarding any divine direction in the appointment of these men by David and I think it is important that we make a distinction between these musicians and that of the named biblical prophets. God called His prophets and in this case David calls men into the ministry of prophesying.

 I labor this point because the charismatic teachers have twisted this text and declare that it means that these men prophesied either as they played their music or while music was being played. The enthusiasts teach that these people were prophets in the order of a Daniel or Zachariah. There is nothing regarding this family of singers written of any of their prophetic utterances, i.e. there is no “Book of Asaph” or “First Herman.” How are we to understand the ministry of prophesying if they were not being oracular in their playing?

 The Teacher’s Bible Commentary says the following:

 In verse 1 prophesying with musical instruments is mentioned. Many of the Old Testament prophecies are preserved in poetic form. By the same token, some of the poetry (Psalms) in prophetic in nature. Music played an important part in the Hebrews’ worship of God. This can be seen by the different instruments which were used in worship. (7)

 It seems because these men did not receive any sort of supernatural “call” into the office of the prophet that their role was to give voice to what had already been prophesied and recorded in the divine scroll. Naturally their ministry would include the Psalms that King David wrote and was possibly composing at that time; many of these Psalms are unarguably prophetic in content. Ergo to sing these divinely penned words is to prophesy in a sense. The text itself goes on to validate what I have written because in vs. 8 of that same text we read that these men prophesied under the direction of Asaph who prophesied under the direction of the king.

 Obviously God was not directing them. The source seems to have been the King, David, who did receive revelation from the Lord, penned the psalm(s) and he directed Asaph (possibly they went over the music together) and then Asaph went and directed the musicians who then proclaimed prophetically if you will, to those in attendance. There is nothing deep or mystical about this at all when you consider it in its context. There is no hermeneutical justification to call these Levites “prophets” in the accepted understanding of the word.

 This is probably going to shock you (and Brother Joe) but there is no mention of anyone in heaven praying for us on earth. (8) The bowl contains the prayers of the saints on earth which ascend as incense before the throne of grace. Grandma and Papoo are not praying for you in heaven, nor is Mary or Joseph. (9) Prayer requires faith; faith is based on what is not seen (see Hebrews 11:1) but promised by God. In heaven when people are standing in the unveiled glory of the Ancient of Days no faith per se will be required so no prayers will be offered by the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). Sorry, if this offends anyone’s pietistic sentiments about the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews (Hebrews 12:1). But nothing is said about them praying for us nor we to them. Oh yes we do see glorious worship in heaven, but worship is not prayer. No one is seen petitioning the throne for those left on earth, apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Intercessor and High Priest (Hebrews 7:25). Prayer is designed for those who are living, not the glorified. Prayer and its attending answers are needed on this earth not in heaven.

Prayer is not a means by which we can manipulate God and get Him to do whatever we want or think is right. One of the principles of charismatic extremist prayer is based on a twisting of the following verse:

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, And concerning the work of my hands command ye me. (10) Isaiah 45:11

Extremists believe this text gives them a Divine “fiat” by which they can literally “command” Almighty God concerning the work of His hands, i.e. all of created reality. The Hebrew word for “command” means to cry aloud and does not refer to people commanding God to do anything. All the attempts at playing God, or telling God what to do have always ended badly for those who would usurp God’s sovereign authority. Yet this is what Bickle seems to be involved in with this IHOP experiment.

Bickle teaches that Jesus’ second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church’s spiritual maturity and readiness. He declared that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return, when in actuality, Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ and to ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory. Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God’s sovereign power, but that the end-times church will actually cause God’s judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer. In other words, the end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation; it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrist’s global evil empire. (12)

The above statement is a succinct explanation of charismatic extremist eschatological thought. Bickle and the so-called Apostolic/Prophetic movement are “dominionists.” There is nothing new in what Bickle is proclaiming; this victorious and overcoming Church view prior to the return of Christ Jesus has plagued the church for a long time. Originally this view of world history got its real start in America among hardline Calvinists. (13) In 1973 Rousas John Rushdoony wrote a long book on the Ten Commandments and started a movement called “ Christian reconstructionism. “ Rushdoony’s son-in-law, Gary North also has written a lot about this novel idea of needing to Christianize the world by enforcing the O.T. legal code to cover every area of all people’s lives.

What started off as a staunchly Calvinistic theocratic approach to enforcing the Law of God throughout the world has morphed into today’s Apostles/Prophets movement. Their goal is the same — to Christianize the world and then after fully dominating every sphere of culture (government, social morality, the arts, education, and religion) the overcomers will hand it to the returning Christ as a gift.

In the minds of the enthusiasts they probably think that Rushdoony had the right idea, but lacked the “power” and authority that can only come through the restored Apostles & Prophets — this missing power and authority naturally resides within the rank ranks of them claiming The Spirit.

To Bickle Jesus is sitting and waiting for the church to mature and get herself ready to be used as God’s instrument to effect global transformation. It is up to us to decide when Jesus returns. We can either speed up His return or we can hinder it (see Acts 3:18). Obviously, the Church has been hindering His return over those last two thousand years so now we need to hasten His return.

According to Bickle Jesus is waiting for the Church, who like a Bride must get busy and prepare herself for her Bridegroom. What exactly is Jesus waiting for? He is waiting for the Church to prepare herself, i.e. come into spiritual maturity (become a manifested son). To what end? So that the Church, composed of super-anointed end-time saints will “…launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory.” (14)   The role of the church is to be the instrument that will by engaging in spiritual warfare (divine war) drive evil from the earth and cleanse it. Why? So that it can then be filled with God’s love and glory. Does this mean that he will be driving all the evil out of people too? If words mean anything, then this is what he means. Satan is the Tempter (1 Thess 3:5) but humanity at its core is evil (Luke 11:39) and in order to get rid of evil you have to get rid of the all sinful people as well as Satan and his demons.

This last phase of divine war was entered into when IHOP got going. Bickle teaches we will release God’s end-time judgments (written about in The Revelation) because of the power of prophetic prayer. Bickle has never been one to let context get in his way. It does not matter that the context of Rev. 8 plainly states that it is anangel that God uses to release His judgments (Rev. 8:1-5) not some army of super-saints.

It all boils down to human works.   Bickle and his followers are trying as hard as they can to work the various so-called spiritual laws and principles they have attached to prayer, fasting and worship. Concerning spiritual law let me just say this — it is the belief that God Himself operates by universal laws He Himself created. The Bible is somewhat of a code book that when properly understood reveals various universal laws which will work for anyone when they are applied. There are laws that govern financial prosperity, physical healing, fasting, prayer, etc. Visit any “Christian” bookstore and simply look at the titles in their charismatic section, which is probably the largest section in the store, and you will see how many focus on these “laws.”

I hope you noted who does the work in Bickle’s scheme of thinking. We do the work, poor Jesus is just sitting on the right hand of His Father (Hebrews 8:1) in the throne room of heaven waiting for us to grow up and act right. Since Bickle and his entire ilk believe that the Church is either hastening or delaying the return of Christ then they must believe that Jesus lied when He stated:

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (15) Mark 13:32

There is a fixed time when Christ Jesus will return. Jesus came on an appointed hour (Galatians 4:4) and He will return on the exact moment set for Him to do so by the Father. Bickle seems to think we are in control and that if enough of us will get in line and follow his directions and get working. . . Then Jesus can come back quicker. One of those necessary works to bring Christ back is the principle of fasting.

One of the laws that activates prayer to a higher realm is fasting. Adding the fasting aspect to prayer kicks prayer up a bunch of notches on the esoteric “fervency” scale in God’s eyes, right?   Taking time out to pray is one thing, but when you don’t eat too, WOW that really impresses God (not)! Now combine these two practices with hundreds of hungry people all gathered together crying out at full volume in ecstatic speech at the same time. Surely that must get heaven’s attention.

Like prayer fasting is a completely biblical practice and is something that should be practiced by all of God’s children. Jesus told His disciples “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16) not “if you fast.” I believe Jesus expects His disciples to fast in accordance with His Word. Five times in the Book of Acts fasting is mentioned, twice prayer and fasting are mentioned together. Fine and dandy. Without belaboring the point suffice it to say that if one fasts with the goal of obtaining spiritual power (aka “anointing”) or to help elevate himself into a mystical realm then the devil is close at hand to grant pseudo-power and a plethora of quasi mystical experiences. Fasting does not impress God. It is a method He has given us for our benefit in helping us focus on Him and to help set our minds on things above. It is a discipline of the flesh and as such it has its proper place in our spiritual lives.

Fasting when abused can lead people into great deception.   DMI has extensively covered the heretical writings of Mrs. Mary K. Baxter. After prolonged fasting she alleged Jesus took her on a personal 40 day tour of hell in her globally best-selling book “The Divine Revelation of Hell.” Baxter writes in the beginning of her book (a novel really) that she was praying in tongues and fasting when her version of Jesus appeared to her and transported her to the mystical realms of the damned. A.A. Allen regaled crowds in the Latter Rain revival of post WWII with how he shut himself away in a closet and refused to come out until God came and revealed to him what he, Allen, had to do to work miracles. After many days without food and water, God came down and revealed to Allen 12 things, 11 of which he shared but the twelfth secret he never shared. (16)

Around 1916 Howard Carter alleges to have fasted in prison while the Lord personally revealed to him all the nine sign gifts of the Spirit and how they operated and he also humbly received all 9 himself. Throughout history both within and without Christianity there are reports of people fasting and praying for protracted periods and the experiences they had. A camel herder named Mohammad went into a cave to fast and pray — he saw an “angel” and look at the fruit of his long prayers and fast today, modern Islam. A rich kid in India named Siddartha decided to fast and meditate under a Bodhi tree. After many days of fasting, Siddartha vanished and lord Buddha was brought forth with his Eight-fold Path. Consider all the misery caused by the false religions of Islam and Buddhism, both of which were birthed out of prayer and fasting. What is my point?  Simply this, going on long fasts can open people up to demonic influences. This is especially true when the long fasts are combined with the mind-numbing effect of praying in ecstatic speech.

The synergistic effect of both on body and mind can be profound. There are two specific dangers facing the extremists: (1) such practices have and can lead to direct demonic influence in the participants lives, and (2) such practices place the participants in a compliant semi-hypnotic state where they are susceptible to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous SINisters.

If while enacting the above a large hungry very vocal semi-hypnotized party of prayer warriors do not seem to be breaking through the brassy heavens then they need to add the third ingredient of an IHOP prayer meeting. . . {drum roll please} the ministers of music! (17) Prayer and fasting, while two necessary ingredients simply don’t mean a thing without that swing that the prophetic saophone and trumpet players bring. In the enthusiasts congregations and meetings the minister(s) of music has as much, of not more authority than the pastor during the service. NOW heaven must hear them. After all, we’ve got people praying, fasting, clapping, dancing, running around, weeping, laughing, calling down principalities and powers, loosing and binding — all at once. The louder and sweatier one gets the better the meeting is. In most of these type of meetings, and I have participated in many in the past, there is little or no proclamation of the Gospel, in fact I’ve heard it said many times that the Holy Spirit was moving so powerfully there was no need for preaching!

Music has a very powerful role in any so-called revival meeting. The power of music on people’s emotions and behavior is thoroughly documented.

Change in consciousness can be triggered when the brain is overloaded by an excess of sensory input. A simple method of overloading the brain’s ability to follow melodic patterns is through polyphony, the use of multiple independent melodies. The average person can consciously attend to one or two melodies at a time, but not to, say, four simultaneous melodies, as in the counterpoint of J.S. Bach. (18)

Throughout history, traditional and modern cultures have sought to generate trance-like states using music with short, repeated phrases and a hypnotic beat, so that time seems to slow down or stop.

The incremental repetition of brief, non-developing phrases, with or without intelligible words, generates and at the same time is generated by an unremitting [sic] beat. The continuity of the beat destroys the sense of temporal progression, so that one lives once more in mythological, rather than in chronological, Time [Mellers, p. 29.]

Repetitive, hypnotic sounds can induce trance-like states y focusing the brain’s attention n a minimal set of sensory inputs: Music has become such a commonplace that its effects may pass unnoticed, but when recordings of African or other unfamiliar music is listened to, it is realized that the rhythms are “fascinating.” The repetition of phrase and motif, the complicated rhythm within a rhythm that is characteristic of much of this music, may explain why man throughout recorded history and in the multiplicity of modern cultures has used music, both instrumental and vocal, for inducing the trance. When these phenomena are subjected to experimental study, some forms of music will be found to be much more hypnogenetic than others, and some persons will be more susceptible than others. For example, Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ can hardly fail to induce definit trances in some listeners. Ancient man knew of the trance-inducing qualities of music and used it for this purpose. The Druids, at the beginning of the Christian Era, were versatile in their use of hypnosis and music was one of their chief ways of inducing “magical sleep.” [Williams, p. 6] (19)

The role of music and musicians has been given prominence because of David’s use of both in his worship. In any enthusiasts gathering the music and the songs sung create the spiritual atmosphere (20)  in which God literally inhabits and thus He is enabled to flow through His yielded vessels the restored apostles and prophets working signs and wonders in their midst.

What I’m going to write now I ask that you take my word for it being true. Space simply does not permit me to verify what I am sharing, which no one else either knows about or is fearful of sharing. Before his death in 1990 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was using his disciples in his large gatherings for a specific purpose. Through his use of music, mind-numbing chanting, physical animations (jumping, jerking about, etc) he was attempting to create in his words “the Buddha field” through releasing the psychic energy residing within his disciples. Rajneesh was a real Nosferatu, vampire, but on the psychic level, he literally fed off the energy of his followers and probably was as close to being totally demon possessed as one can be.

IHOP’s meetings are in essence little different from the Bhagwan’s experiments. (21) Bhagwan was seeking god-like miracle working power and so were his followers. Bickle and his people are seeking power. Everything they do is about the “anointing” or alleged spiritual power. Prayer is about power, fasting is to increase power, music creates the zone where one can tap into God’s power. After all it is going to take massive amounts of spiritual power to cleanse the world from all evil. (Just something to ponder when considering God’s power — when was God most powerful?  When He died on the cross for our sins, think about this power in relation to the sign-gift view of power).

Bickle knows full well that the type of experiences occurring in their meetings cannot take place without all of the ingredients we’ve been looking at for the last several months. Music plays such a vital role in manipulating human emotions and a skillful musician can turn a crowd into psychic putty to be shaped as they please. Combine this fact with a group of hungry folks loudly engaged in song, in ecstatic speech, physical animations and loud repetitive music and you have created a platform for mind control.

In this charged atmosphere people routinely report finding precious gem stones, people covered in gold dust and even angel feathers after intense sessions of so-called worship. (22)   There are many videos on YouTube given by obviously “blissed out” sign-gift robots that you can view demonstrating the susceptibility to deception by those who’ve checked their minds at the door. The fact is that to charismatic believers there is a clear distinction between spirit, soul and body. So much so that they favor turning down or off their minds so as to feed their spirits, albeit they do this unconsciously via prayer, fasting, worship but the subtle underpinning philosophy beind these practices has been sown by their deceitful teachers.

With a little practice one learns how to enter into this altered state quite easily, the zenith of perfection being able to walk in and out of the “spirit” at will. Prior to the 24/7 experiment our former congregation in Detroit, Jubilee Christian Church under the false apostle Ellis Smith, were leaders regarding worship warfare due to our highly skilled musicians. The praise and worship portion of our services were over an hour. We’d start off “hot” with praise songs (animated songs that were suited to dancing) than after a long while (get good and sweaty) then the lights would dim and the music would shift th worship songs (slow songs, equally repetitive as the fast ones) often giving way to instrumental music following by singing in tongues by the congregation. . . . Then after a long while the lights would go up and the apostle/prophet/pastor/flavor of the moment was standing behind the Lucite podium ready to spoon feed our neutralized minds present day truths and whatever the vision (marching orders) of our anointed leader(s) were.  (23)

At Jubilee and throughout charismania we had “warfare” praise songs; songs that when sung literally were an engagement in fighting the principalities, powers and dominions. What scriptural basis did we have? Here goes:

Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD! (24)  Psalm 149:6-9

Enthusiasts interpret this text to mean: “as we praise God fervently we are executing vengeance on the forces of spiritual darkness that enslave the nations. We bind prince demons and execute the judgment written about them in Jesus name. Praise the Lord!”

Set aside the context and think back to Bickle’s concept of ridding the world of evil. This is part of how it is going to be done through the high prophetic prayer/praises of God’s overcoming remnant of prayer warriors who manifested into sons and joined Joel’s Army.

Make no mistake about it; thee folks are serious in their efforts. It is obvious, when you can actually get people to PAY YOU to come pray at their center. They are working so very hard, just like hamsters on the wheel in their cage. Happily running as fast and as hard as they can, but getting nowhere fast all the while thinking they have made great strides spiritually.

Probably the saddest part of Bickle’s experiment is the deception that these people have willingly submitted themselves to. They have been skillfully manipulated by some very crafty people into thinking they are encountering the Living God when in reality they are far from Him. The degree of brain washing is extremely disturbing to observe. What do you make of people who refuse to believe that the “gold dust” found in the meeting is really nothing but plastic mirco flake when you show them the truth? Sai Baba, one of India’s premier perverted power gurus used to materialize gold dust, ask, gems, Rolex watches out of seemingly thin air. How hard is it to scatter some mini-semi-precious gem stones around the floor while everyone’s eyes are closed? What about the total lack of any contextual biblical support for Bickle’s activities and teachings? Bickle says the “manifest sons” will cleanse the whole world of evil prior to and without Jesus Christ’s direct personal involvement? Come on, what thinking Christian could believe such things? I know who, a person who has been brainwashed. Doubt me? Simply find someone who buys into this belief system and ask them some simple questions. How about this one — “since IHOP has been praying 24/7 for over 10 years now what results have you seen?”

I’d love to confront Bickle and ask him to cite the fruit from his experiment thus far. Is the world any closer to Christ? Is there any less evil, more glory and love? No in questioning these folks they will respond in anger and accusation. You will feel what Paul felt when he exclaimed — “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 6:4) Some of these folks seem to be embodying the dire condition related in the following passages of text:

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall detroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (25)  (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12)

It is very sobering to me when I present the truth of God’s Word to someone who professes to be a Christian and yet they vehemently denies God’s truth and embraces obvious fallacy. I’m not speaking about some esoteric obscure doctrinal position that the Church has never agreed upon, no I am referring to simple basic foundational truths which must be believed in order to be a Christian. (26) When someone denies these central truths and debates them with me versus humbly bowing their fallen minds to the authority of God’s Word then I do doubt their salvation and would at that point steer the conversation towards Christ Jesus and His redemptive work. Jesus said “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (27) (John 8:27).  Paul said “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (28) (1 Cor. 2:14-16)

The only thing that will be spiritually accomplished by Bickle and his IHOP experiment will be the numbers of spiritually abused, broken and disheartened people, many of whom will be (and possibly already are) scanning the sunny horizon for the next move of the Spirit. Well, that and the millions of dollars gathered by Bickle through IHOP participants, music sales, books, and conferences. In effect the devil has sidetracked thousands of people, getting them involved in seemingly spiritual activity and siphoned off millions of dollars that could have been used for legitimate Christian work.

Like all of the prior enthusiastically inspired visions of power and glory (read in: “I will be like the Most High”) IHOP will dwindle down and fizzle out and trust me all the SINisters in the movement will have left long before the lights are turned out. May God have mercy on their souls and may He continue to send witnesses across their paths proclaiming God’s Word with boldness, accuracy and love.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Written by Rev. Joe Sazyc located at http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ on 9/28/11 Underlining added for emphasis.

2. As I have previously written concerning the Eternality of the Divine Liturgy, the Church does bring forward some of the O.T. worship practices but at no time are we to come back under the yoke of the Old Covenant and its laws.

3. I am not contradicting myself my saying this about this text; in that incense, musical instruments, prostrations before the Lord are all found in numerous other texts and when viewed in their context it becomes evident that they are bone fide worship activities. I am not forming doctrine from the book of the Rev.

4. Prophetic Prayer: Allegedly prayer that is led by the Holy Spirit, predictive in nature, very declarative “thus saith the Lord I will bring great joy….” This is another invention by our sign-gift enthusiasts. The Bible does not denote any specific type or form of prayer as prophetic per se.

5. Obtained from http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ .

6. Let me cover myself and quick — God is sovereign, everything that exists is under His direct and complete control nothing happens apart from His divine permission so in that sense these men were ordained by God to fill these roles. The distinction I make is between the divine calls on the biblical prophets by name — versus 288 men chosen by David and his cronies to fill this role.

7. Franklin H. Paschall and Herschel H. Hobbs, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary: A Concise, Though Interpretation of the Entire Bible Designed Especially for Sunday School Teachers (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1972), 228-229

8. Notwithstanding our Lord Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession on our behalf (see Hebrews 7:25)

9. Just a word of friendly advice, not only are they not praying for us, but I hope you do know that you are not to pray for them either, they are not listening to you.

10. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Is 45:11.

11. In an earlier article in the series I denoted several historic examples of charismatic extremists “experiments.” The 24/7 prayer model is another such experiment, it will remain in effect as long as the money flows into it. Keep in mind that those on “staff” actually pay for the privilege of being spiritually abused & used.

12. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology .

13. History records what Calvin attempted in Geneva, it didn’t work then and won’t work now. However, let me add that I have GREAT respect for Calvin, anyone who at age 21 wrote The Institutes of the Christian Religion is not a lightweight. As an Evangelical Lutheran, I can appreciate some of his thoughts, but not all f them.

14. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology . Italic added for emphasis by this author.

15. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Mk. 13:32.

16. A.A. Allen died of an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. Prior to his death in CA he was arrested in TN, for DUI. His co-SINisters bailed Allen out and they fled the state never to return. His cohorts were R.W. Schambach and Don Stewart, both televangelists today, both fed from Allen’s addiction and did nothing to help him.

17. It drives my fellow Lutheran pastors crazy when they keep learning of new “ministries” apart from that of the pastoral office. Charismatic sign-gift folks have ministries for everything and everyone, regardless if it has ever been a part of the Church at any time in 2,000 years.

18. http://www.sfxmachine.com/docs/musicandconsciousness.html Underlining and bold typed added.

19. Ibid.

20. “Spiritual” is what the sign-gift folks call it, the atmosphere is a result of a form of mass hypnosis and susceptibility.

21. He was kicked out of India and other countries due to the unsavory sexual escapades he and his followers involved themselves in plus the several strange deaths, suicides and commitments to mental institutions of those unable to keep up caused him to be persona non grata.

22. DMI has the only books in publication that deal with the gold dust phenomena and supernatural gold teeth, etc….contact our office if you are interested in : Does the bible Support A Doctrine of Gold Teeth?

23. Worship to most of same Christendom refers to the entirety of the service. Sign-gift folks delineate music as either being praise or worship. Both genres of music create specific responses and crafty leaders know which buttons to push. Sorry if it seems I am beating this point to death — but it really is a very hideous form of spiritual abuse.

24. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard bible Society, 2001), Ps. 149:6-9.

25. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), 2 Th. 2: 6-12. Underlining and bold type added

26. Want to know what “must” be believed? Read The Athanasian Creed, it makes a beautiful chant as well.

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