THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

31 01 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2012 – Vol. 17 Issue 1 – THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT – Keith Gibson

 Discernment Ministries International

 THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

By Keith Gibson

 “I heard what I call the internal audible voice of the Lord…It was as clear as crystal. I heard the actual words. There was no guess-work. It was not impressions. It was the word of the Lord came to me. And the Lord said this, ‘I am going to change the understanding and expression of Christianity in the whole world in one generation.” (1)

 I was first drawn to begin looking into the new apostles and prophets by a question from some of the youth in our church back in 2003. I have been a pastor in the Kansas City area for the last 21 years. Additionally, since 2004, I have been the Director for the Kansas City office of the Apologetics Resource Center. Several of the young men in our church had friends who were becoming involved with a new ministry in town called, The International House of Prayer (IHOP). When I told them I would look into it, I expected to find nothing more than a typical Charismatic ministry. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

 My foray into the doctrines and practices of IHOP introduced me to some of the key leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement with which I had been completely unfamiliar. To say it was eye-opening would be a gross understatement. What I found was a movement literally intent on redefining the Christian faith.

 The majority of the Church has not taken seriously the claims of the modern apostles and prophets to be introducing a new paradigm into the Body of Christ. These claims are far more than idle boasts. Indeed the paradigm shifts have already begun in many segments of Christianity. To say that the movement has grown rapidly would be a gross understatement. The Identity Network an email list promoting the teachings of the new apostles and prophets boasts a daily readership of over 150,000 people. The Elijah List, a similar network, is read by over 130,000 individuals daily. The issues raised by the new prophets and apostles go far deeper than a mere debate over the cessation or continuation of spiritual gifts. Without intending to be alarmist, it is the contention of this article that many of the statements and teachings of leaders within this movement strike at the very heart of essential Christian doctrine and the nature of Christianity. This is no longer a Charismatic vs. Non-Charismatic issue.

 This article will attempt to evaluate the new apostles and prophets. It is not the intention of this article to insinuate that these teachers are not believers in Christ, but only to bring a corrective to much of their doctrine and a warning to the church at large. It must be noted that space constraints will require the evaluation to be overly general in nature. The movement itself is loosely affiliated and contains great diversity. However there are some common themes that may be noted.

 It is important to understand that the leaders of this movement consider themselves to be absolutely essential in the preparation of thee church for the coming of Jesus Christ. Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries arrogantly declares, “No ministry which rejects or avoids what is now happening in the restoration of the prophetic ministry will be able to truly fulfill its own calling and purpose in this hour.” (2) Notice the role that these modern apostles are to play according to the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), “An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.” (3) Notice that these leaders are to “establish foundational government within the church”. In other words, the rest of the Body should be submitting to them and indeed will submit to their leadership as the church matures.

 Apostle Bill Hamon is even more direct when he writes, “…apostles and prophets must be restored before the Church can fulfill its predestinated end-time purpose on earth.” (4) He continues later in the same work, “The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity, and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ…..That will in turn bring about the end of this world system of humanity and Satan’s rule. The fulfillment of all these things will release Christ, who has been seated at the right hand of the thing will release Christ, who has been seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, to return literally and set up His everlasting kingdom over all the earth.” (5)

 With the roots of the current movement planted firmly in the Manifest Sons of God teaching of the Latter Rain Movement, many of these teachers boldly proclaim that the church will conquer the world for Jesus Christ and establish His government by subduing the nations. A few, like Hamon, still teach that the church reaches glorification and immortalization (victory over death) before Jesus returns.

 Issues and Concern

Though many red flags should have already been raised, the remainder of this article will examine the teachings of the new apostles and prophets and the impact of these teachings upon several key doctrinal areas.

 The Scriptures

 Without a doubt the most pervasive assaults by the modern apostles and prophets occur with regard to the inspiration, inerrancy, sufficiency and perspicuity of the Word of God. In order to be fair, it must be noted that the vast majority of these teachers are completely orthodox concerning the Scriptures if one only reads their doctrinal statements. When one examines their actual teachings however, a completely different picture results.

 Inspiration and Inerrancy

 In his extremely popular book, The Final Quest, Rick Joyner postulates four different levels of inspiration ranging from impressions (lowest), to open visions and trance states (highest). In this discussion, Joyner places the epistles of the New Testament at only the second level of inspiration. Concerning this level Joyner writes, “The next level of inspiration is a conscious sense of the presence of the Lord, or the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which gives special illumination to our minds. This often comes when I am writing, or speaking, and it gives much greater confidence in the importance or accuracy of what I am saying. I believe that this was probably experienced by the apostles as they wrote the New Testament epistles. This will give us great confidence, but it is still a level where we can still be influenced by our prejudices, doctrines, etc.” (6) (emphasis added)

 Notice that Joyner, in this alarming statement, has completely undermined the absolute authority of the epistles. While, according to Joyner, we can have greater confidence in them than if they were given by mere impressions, these epistles may still contain information that comes from the apostle’s own prejudices and personal doctrines. This would mean, at least theoretically, that we as believers now have the task of discerning which parts of the apostolic message are actually inspired by God and which are the result of the apostle’s flesh. Technically then, a believer would have the responsibility to set aside those parts of the New Testament that he determines to be from the apostle’s prejudice as opposed to the Word of God. Not only this, but Joyner claims that this level of inspiration frequently occurs for him when he writes and speaks. This would mean that many of Joyner’s words are on parallel with the New Testament itself. But it gets worse, for Joyner will also claim that he receives much of his information including that which is to be found in “The Final Quest, from the two levels of inspiration that are higher than that which the apostles received when penning the epistles. Though Joyner doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion, this would mean that the words of Joyner in works like “The Final Quest” actually possess greater authority than parts of the Bible itself. The result is shocking for if Joyner is correct, we can no longer evaluate his teachings based on the words of scripture but should actually evaluate some of the writings of scripture according to the standard of Joyner’s visions and trances.

 How far are Joyner’s comments from the writings of the true apostles, “Knowing this, that no prophecy is of any private interpretation. For prophecy did not originate with man but holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:20)

 Joyner is not alone in placing his words alongside scripture in authority. In her book, Heaven is So Real supposedly based on actual visits to heaven, Choo Thomas claims the following, “Like John, I had been called to write, and my mission was the same as his—to let people know that the marriage supper of the Lamb has already been prepared and blessed are those who are invited to be there on the last day.” (7) Elsewhere in the same book she writes, “Every word in this book is true. The words of Jesus have been transcribed exactly as He said them to me.” (8)

 Sufficiency

In a variety of ways, the modern apostles and prophets attack the sufficiency of scripture. Obviously, if the quotes already given by Joyner and Thomas are ture, then the scriptures are not teachers, doctrines are being invented on an almost weekly basis that have little or no foundation in the Word such as spiritual mapping, heavenly portals, spirit-ties, spiritual inheritances, judicial intercession, soaking and the list goes on and on. Studying the teachings of the new prophets one finds so many doctrines based on personal revelation that one wonders why we even need Bibles anymore.

 In some cases, the attacks are even more direct. For instance, Choo Thomas claims the following, “He wants me to serve as living proof of the Bible and His prophecies, because many people do not believe what they read in the Bible, nor do they believe that He is coming soon for His people.” (9) Elsewhere she writes “He had shown me how desperate many people are to know the truth about heaven, and I realized emphatically that my book would be the means whereby they could really know.” (10) Examine the words of Thomas closely. Her words will do what the Bible is unable to do. Those unconvinced of the truth by the gospel will be convinced by Thomas’s testimony. Those desperate pages of Holy Scripture but in the writings of Thomas.

 In her extremely popular book, “Journal of the Unknown Prophet”, Wendy Alec relates a word supposedly spoken by Jesus Himself concerning the teachers He is raising up in this generation. Jesus allegedly states, “For the Word alone is yesterday’s manna and even they [the prophetic teachers] have seen deep in their hearts that it is no longer enough to feed my people.” (11) Whether intentionally or not, Alec’s word compares the Scriptures to the worm-infested manna that the children of Israel experienced when they gathered more than they needed during the Exodus. Whether Alec’s vision is the result of an over-active imagination or an encounter with a seducing spirit one thing is certain, the Son of God would never speak of the Scriptures in such a manner.

 Perspicuity

The teachings of the modern apostles and prophets are destroying the church’s traditional understanding of the Bible. They have, in large part, rejected the historical-grammatical form of interpretation and have substituted a prophetic hermeneutic which allows the Bible to be manipulated to mean whatever the prophet says it means today. In this way, the Bible is no longer able to fulfill its function as the basis for truth and corrective against error but rather becomes merely the puppet of the apostle/prophet to advance his agenda. Therefore Mike Bickle can find in Micah 2:12,13 justification for the “breaker anointing.” (12) a doctrine completely unknown for the 2,000 year history of the church. Shawn Bolz can read Proverbs 6:31 and find authority to break off a “poverty spirit.” (13) Key doctrines of the new movement such as the restoration of the tabernacle of David, enthroning God through worship, spiritual mapping and countless other examples are all based on a poor approach to interpretation.

 The Decline of Doctrine

 In addition to the undermining of core doctrines, within the apostolic/prophetic movement there is an overall disdain for doctrine in general. Doctrine is unimportant. Doctrine is minimized. Doctrine is seen as that which divides. We simply need to follow Christ. For instance Francis Frangipane writes, “We have instructed the church in nearly everything but becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. We have filled the people with doctrines instead of Deity; we have given them manuals instead of Emmanuel.” (14)

 What the new apostles and prophets fail to appreciate is that doctrine is that which is believed to be true. To say that doctrine is unimportant is tantamount to claiming that truth is unimportant. While it is certain that some doctrines are more central than others and while we should acknowledge that the church has been too quick to divide over non-essentials, the answer cannot be found in minimizing doctrine altogether. Surely this is a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

 Additionally, the Christian faith has content. That is to say that when we affirm, for instance, that believing in Jesus saves, we are also understanding that there is a certain amount of content contained within such a profession. It is the Jesus of the Bible, the virgin-born sinless, Son of God, who died and rose again, who saves as opposed to the Jesus of the cults. Cults and even other world religions may speak of Jesus but the content they attach to the name is different. The minute one begins to answer the question, “Which Jesus?” one is dealing in doctrine. Furthermore, how is the church to be faithful to the command of Christ to teach converts to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20) without engaging in doctrinal instruction?

 Sound doctrine is vital to the health of the individual and the church. Our relationship with God must be founded upon truth. It is for this reason that the scriptures place a premium upon doctrine. Paul writes “Take heed to yourselves and to the doctrine for in so doing you will save both yourself and them that hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16)

 Yet today’s teachers consistently downplay the importance of sound doctrine. Consider a couple of examples from Mike Bickle in discussing prophets in general and William Branham in particular. First, Bickle writes, “Yes, prophetic people must be clear about major doctrines like the person and work of Christ and the place of the Scriptures. But on lesser points of doctrine, they might be misinformed.” (15) This statement doesn’t sound too bad, although it should be pointed out that if one were to consistently apply the standard of proper understanding of the place of scriptures to the modern prophets most of them would be rejected out of hand. But notice how Bickle equivocates as he discusses William Branham, “Branham ended up in some doctrinal heresy, although never to the extent of denying Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or doubting the authority of the Scriptures. While affirming the deity of Christ, he denied the Trinity.” (16)

 So apparently to Bickle, the Trinity is one of those lesser doctrines around which a true prophet may be misinformed. Further study of Branham reveals that Branham taught that God gave His Word in three forms, the bible, the zodiac and the pyramids. He taught the serpent-seed doctrine and a host of other heresies. But none of these issues disqualify him as a true prophet in the eyes of Mike Bickle or other prophetic personalities.

 Another example of Bickle’s lack of appreciation for sound doctrine can be seen when he writes, “True Christianity is a dynamic relationship with a living God and it cannot be reduced to formulas and dry orthodoxy. We are called to embrace the mystery of God and not to lust after neatly tying up every doctrinal or philosophical loose end that we encounter.” (17)

 Here Bickle sets up a false dichotomy. It is trure that we do not want a dry orthodoxy but we should still desire orthodoxy. A passionate heresy is not more desirable. It is true that we cannot tie up every loose end but we can know some things for certain because God has clearly revealed them. We are called to a dynamic relationship but this relationship must be based on the truth that God has revealed lest we find ourselves worshipping a God of our own creation. And given the number of strange practices that Bickle has endorsed in the past such as the Toronto Blessing, one can only wonder how many aberrant things may be covered under the “mystery of God”.

 The Nature of God and the Person of Christ

There can be no more fundamental area of doctrine than that of the nature of God in general and the Person of Christ in particular. Even here one finds problems in the teachings of the modern apostles and prophets. We have already examined the willingness of those in this movement to endorse those who deny the Trinity. But sadly this is not all.

 The Weak God

Consistently, the picture of God painted by these new leaders is less than the majestic, sovereign God of the bible. Shawn Bolz for instance, tells of a God who has had some of the inventions He intended for His children stolen out of heaven by those practicing witchcraft. (18) Spiritual mapping advocates imply that God alone is not mighty to save unless the church first clears the spiritual atmosphere. Numerous members of this movement subscribe to the faulty views of E.W. Kenyon that God somehow lost dominion over the earth in the fall.

 A classic example of this weak God can be found in the writings of ICA member Dutch Sheets. Sheets writes, “Recently, I believe the Lord showed me what sometimes happens when we come to Him with a need, asking Him to accomplish what He says in His Word. In answer to our requests, He sends His angels to get our bowls of prayers to mix with the fire of the altar. But there isn’t enough in our bowls to meet the need! We might blame God or think it’s not His will or that His Word must not really mean what it says. The reality of it is that sometimes He cannot do what we’ve asked because we have not given Him enough power in our prayer times to get it done. He has poured our all there was to pour out and it wasn’t enough! it’s not just a faith issue, but also a power issue.” (19)

 Pay close attention. Notice that Sheets indicates that our prayers can line up with what God has already promised in His Word, may be according to His will, and that God may actually attempt to answer our prayer but be unable to do so because we have not given Him enough power through our prayers in order for Him to accomplish His will. So apparently God is not able to keep His own promises without our help. We have to give God the power to act.

 The Nature of Christ

 Modern apostles and prophets show a consistent confusion with regard to the person and work of Christ. For instance Rick Joyner states, “There is a tendency to continue relating ot Him as ‘the Man from Galilee.’ Jesus is not a man. He was and is Spirit. He took the form of a servant and became a man for a brief time.” (20)

 Whether intentional or not, Joyner’s statement is a complete rejection of the hypostatic union. Orthodox Christianity has understood for centuries that when the Second Person of the Trinity took to Himself a human nature, this was permanent union. Jesus is forever the God-man, fully God and fully man. Jesus did not come in some sort of rent-a-body that He discarded after the crucifixion. Either Joyner does not understand this or he is denying it. Further, Joyner’s statements have serious implications for the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus for if Jesus is no longer man then in what way did He resurrect? Additionally, the scriptures link the ongoing work of Christ as intercessor to his humanity. (see 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 7:23-24 among others)

 Conclusion

In our brief discussion we have seen that current trends within the Apostolic and Prophetic Movement are undermining the historic Christian faith in regard to the place of Scriptures, the importance of doctrine and the nature of God and Person of Christ. If space permitted we could document similar issues with regard to the Person of the Holy Spirit, the atonement and the nature of the church. And we haven’t even mentioned the myriad of false prophecies made in the Name of our Lord.

 These are not incidental issues. The church can no longer be silent. The new Apostles and Prophets were not speaking in hyperbole when they promised to bring a new understanding of the Christian faith. If the Church does not begin to respond, the Christianity that is passed on to our children will bear little resemblance to the faith of our fathers. A.W. Tozer wrote, “The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him. We do the greatest service to the next generation passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian Fathers of generations past.” God enable us to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. “

 

Copyright © 2012 Keith Gibson

 

End Notes

1. “Our Prophetic History” CD series, CD #1. Mike Bickle, 2002 Friends of the Bridegroom.

2. Joyner, Rick “The Prophetic Ministry”, 1997 Morningstar Publications (Charlotte, NC) page 53

3. Ibid, “FAQ” What is an Apostle? http://www.apostlenet.net/index.asp?action+faq

4. Op. Cit. Hamon page 57

5. Ibid page 59

6. Joyner Rick “The Final Quest” 1996 Whitaker House (New Kensington, PA) page 10 on page 133 of this same book, Joyner relates an encounter that he had with the apostle Paul that supposedly took place in heaven where Paul tells Joyner that the words in his epistles do not carry truths as powerful as the words of Jesus in the gospels. Essentially Paul says that his letters are not an inspired as the Gospel.

8. Thomas, Choo, “Heaven is so Real” 2003 Charisma House (Lake Mary, FL) page 129

9. Ibid page 153

10. Ibid page 177

11. Ibid page 124

12. Alec, Wendy “Journal of the Unknown Prophet”, 2002 Warboys Media page 84 Bickle, Mike “Contending for the Power of God” CD #42003 Friends of the Bridegroom

13. Bolz, Shawn “The Keys to Heaven’s Economy” 2005 Streams Publishing House (North Sutton, NH) page 88

14. Frangipane, Francis, “The House of the Lord” 1991 Creation House (Lake Mary, FL) page 36

15. Bickle, Mike “Growing in the Prophetic” 1996 Charisma House (Lake Mary, Fla) page 51

16. Ibid page 63

17. Ibid page 77

18. Op. Cit Bolz page 73

19 Sheets, Dutch “Intercessory Prayer” as quoted in “The Worship Warrior” by Chuck D. Pierce and John Dickson 2002 Regal Books (Ventura, CA) page 211 Joyner, Rick, “There Were Two Trees in the Garden” 1992 Whitaker House,

20. (New Kensington, Pa) page 59 emphasis in the original. It should be noted that Rick Joyner says that many people still consider this to be the best book he has ever written.

__________________________________________________

About the Author

 Keith Gibson is a fellow truth-teller, pastor and heresy-hunter. He is recently published a new book titled “Wandering Stars Contending for the Faith with the New apostles and Prophets.” It is published by Solid Ground Christian Books and you can order a copy by visiting their website located at http://www.solid-ground-books.com Their mailing address is

 Solid Ground Christian Books 6749 Remington Circle Pelham, Alabama 35124

DMI is thankful to brother Gibson for his willingness to submit an article for this issue and we pray that his book is well received and mightily used by God to open the eyes of His people.

 

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Jim Bakker is Back At It Again

16 12 2012

Truth Matters, December 2012, Volume 16 Issue 12

Jim Bakker is Back At It Again By Rev. Robert Liichow

            Baby-face Bakker was the former reigning king of charismatic television superstardom.  For many years no one could touch him in ratings and raising millions of dollars from his viewers.  Bakker even began to build his own city/amusement park known as “Heritage USA.”  Jim and Tammy-Faye Bakker were the darlings of Christian television and Paul and Jan Crouch, Pat Roberson, Jerry Falwell and Robert Tilton all stood in the shadow PTL cast. 

Naturally, when it was divulged that Jim had a one-night sexual liaison with Jessica Hawn (who had been being sexually abused by her pastor, who passed her on to Jim) all of the other ‘Christian’ televised charismatic luminaries lined up to take the soon to be vacated throne of beaucoup broadcast bucks.  This was easily seen in the behaviors of the Crouch’s, who to this day do not ever mention the Bakker’s and Mr. Falwell who tried to wrest control of the PTL holdings (remember the infamous waterslide photo of Falwell in his suit going down it out of modesty).  Jim loses control of PTL and eventually goes to trial and is given a very harsh and unreasonable sentence from the judge.  Most sign-gift folks, while mourning the loss of PTL switched over to viewing the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN aka “The Total Blasphemy Network) or The 700 Club hosted by Pat Robertson.

In 1997 Jim Bakker released a book entitled “I Was Wrong.”    He published this fascinating book after serving several years of a forty year prison sentence.  I remember buying the book in Grand Rapids, MI.  at Bakers Bookstore and reading its 480 pages in one sitting (it was sort of long, but I found it a page-turner).

One aspect of the entire Jim & Tammy debacle that was quite telling to me was how quickly ALL the people the Bakker’s had made “stars” due to PTL totally abandoned them in their hour of need.  The Crouches, who owe much of their existence on television to Jim Bakker totally distanced themselves from any Bakker association.  I wondered “where is the love?”

            This book chronicles Bakker’s rise and fall in a fairly honest fashion.  Jim acknowledged that the “prosperity” message was unbalanced and confessed to his sexual sin and other failings.  At the end one is left to believe that five years in the Federal prison changed Jim Bakker.  From a multi-millionaire, to basically a homeless guy when he emerged from jail sans Tammy Faye, who divorced Jim and married Jim’s best friend Roe Messner in 1993 (the same year Roe divorced his wife & married Tammy).  Bakker seemed totally humbled by his “fall” from super stardom.

            Frankly, one would imagine that after what he experienced and learned in prison he would know how to avoid many of the snares set by Satan to entrap him (2 Tim. 2:26).  Sadly, the lessons he may have begun to learn in prison were fleeting at best and the ‘birds of wisdom’ have flown the coup in Bakker’s case.

            Some of our readers may be a bit unfamiliar with PTL (the forerunner to TBN) and the earthly kingdom Jim tried to build called “Heritage USA,” which was a Christian based theme park, schmaltzy shops that sold precious moments idols, and ice cream parlors.  The vision was to have a place where Christians could come with their families for a fun time with a little evangelicalism-lite thrown in.  Before some readers “poo-poo” Heritage USA they might know that by 1986 (it was begun in 1978) it was one of the top entertainment venues in America:

For those who are not familar with it’s story, this place was created by the PTL Ministry which was ran by Jim and Tammy Bakker. Heritage USA started out as a camp ground but quickly grew to be the 3rd most visited theme park in the world attracting over 6 MILLION visitors! Walt Disney World and Disneyland were the only 2 other parks ahead of Heritage USA during one point in the 80’s.[i]

Bakker got into legal trouble it was mainly about allegedly overselling the units in a high-rise hotel he started to build on the grounds, the hotel was never completed and Heritage Village went defunct shortly after Bakker went to the Federal penitentiary.

There have been several attempts in America to establish godly earthly kingdoms, all started by ‘charismatic’ sign-seekers.  The Shiloh Community led by Frank Sanford; Zion, Ill. Founded by John A. Dowie, Miracle Valley AZ started by A.A. Allen, The City of Faith started by Oral Roberts and of course, Heritage Village.

When Jim got out of prison, Dr. Billy Graham (a former frequent guest on PTL) took him in for a bit (none of the Word of Faith crowd he helped make rich, although the Copeland’s did give Tammy some money when she was financially hurting, helped him at all).  Jim returned to South Carolina where he was formerly established.  Earlier in this decade Jim met up with Rick Joyner, head of Morningstar Ministries in Fort Mill, S.C. — the location of the former “Heritage USA.”  Before you could say “divine appointment” Jim joined up with Joyner who was willing to back Jimmy financially to get him back on television.

Who Is Rick Joyner & What is Morningstar Ministries?

Unlike Jerry Collins, a Dog Track owner and gambler who bailed out Oral Roberts back in January of 1987. Remember when Oral said “God” was going to take him home unless he raised several million?  Jerry Collins gave Oral 1.3 million; Rick Joyner is a SINistry whose devotees comprise the very farthest fringe elements of the so-called Prophetic & Apostolic movements.   I believe Mr. Joyner saw an opening to broadcast his specific[ii] perversion of the Gospel.[iii]

Rick Joyner is one of the most egregious of the false-prophets on the scene today.   Joyner sits very high-up on the dais of the ranking (and boy they are rank) prophets today.  In short, Joyner is a huge player in the so-called Prophetic Movement.  In fact, Mr. Joyner was one of the people responsible for the ‘spiritual restoration’ of ex-child molester and false-apostle, Todd Bentley.[iv]

When one goes through the kind of restoration Todd has been through over the last year and a half you usually come out stronger in basic Christian disciplines and character than ever. I feel that is certainly the case with Todd. However, I was surprised by the depth, power, and the impartation of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that was immediately present when we released Todd into limited local ministry…”   Rick Joyner – The ElijahList Email”  ”Check Out These Todd Bentley Events” May 15, 2010

Joyner seems to think Todd is a genuine apostle and is now restored from the ravages of his lust for another woman and the divorce of his wife, along with various lies, false prophetic words, etc.  However, it seems the nation of Great Britain does not view Bentley as a penitent whose been restored, they will not allow Bentley to set foot on their shores![v]

Mr.  Joyner gained a wider audience through the release of his book entitled “The Final Quest” aka online under the title “The Hordes of Hell Are Marching” and it is listed as one of the top one hundred Christian books (depending on which web site you visit).  He reveals in a more recent nighttime phantasy of Joyner we are told that God has given Rick power over all natural laws and that the super-saints will move literal mountains (see Matt. 21:21) before the return of Jesus Christ.[vi]

Joyner is an integral part of the Prophetic movement and as such he believes: (1) in the need for the restoration of apostles and prophets in order for Christ to return; (2) the re-establishment of The Tabernacle of David (see Acts 15:16-17); (3) the validity of the so-called new wine of the Spirit gifts; (4) strategic level spiritual warfare which includes warfare praise, warfare intercession, etc.; (5) the global dominion of the earth by the Church prior to the return of Christ; (6) ultimate victory over death prior to the return of Christ; (7) new revelations from The Holy Spirit via dreams, visions, and trances; and (8) unity in the Church based on experience and not doctrinal confessions.  You can even see Mr. Joyner on video declaring that God was going to send the fire of the Spirit through their cell phones (I kid you not) if the assembled would pull them out and make the call (the crowd did so and went into a frenzy).[vii]

Joyner is associated with every major charismaniac SINister infecting the Body of Christ today.  Now through Bakker’s return to television another wave of spiritual counterfeits are released within the Church and upon the unwary saints due to his association with Rick Joyner.

The Jim & Lori Show

Here is a nasty dirty little secret — the world of ‘Christian’ broadcasting is a cesspool of greed, intimidation, false and/or compromised doctrine, immorality and more.  Jan Crouch pretty much hated the Bakker’s who were the front people for Paul Crouch’s initial foray into television.  Bakker was the reason Crouch had any success, and Jan knew this.  Janny wanted to push her hubby out front of the cameras, so Paul fired the Bakkers.  Jim was very depressed but eventually rebounded.   All of this history is well detailed in Tammy Faye’s book “Telling It My Way” (another page-turner if you are into reading about these folks). 

Jim went home to S.C. and started the PTL Club, and outdid Paul and Jan “in spades” for many years.  The Crouch’s shed few tears when Jimmy was hauled off to prison and his network shut down.  Those blinded by the cathode-ray tube had nowhere else to turn but to TBN, which blew-up huge (a little music industry lingo) in the vacuum created by the absence of PTL.

Understand this fact, TBN (the Crouch juggernaut) is soundly in the Word of Faith (WOF) camp.  The resurrected Heritage International Ministries (HIM) is solidly in the Prophetic camp.  WOF is of the pre-tribulation rapture belief and the Prophetic folk are overwhelmingly dominionists and deny any rapture of the Church.  Now we have two sign-gift networks, which is watched in the same day will no doubt produce a TREMENDOUS amount of doctrinal confusion among the swallow-and-follow crowd.  The following chart is a simple thumbnail sketch of a few of the positions held by the two counterfeits and the historic Church.

Doctrine

WOF Cult

Classic Pentecostalism

Prophetic/Apostolic

Historic Christianity

Restored sign gifts YES YES YES NO
Restored apostles & prophets YES NO YES NO
Pre-Tribulation Rapture YES YES NO NO
Baptism as a means of grace NO NO NO YES
Bible Translation preferred KJV/Amplified KJV Dakes translation Whatever Differs widely over denominational lines.
Lord’s Supper as a means of grace NO NO NO YES
Prayer as a means of grace YES YES YES NO
Financial Prosperity YES NO YES/NO NO
Current & new ‘revelations’ YES NO YES NO (the canon is closed)
Divine healing YES YES YES YES
Being Slain in the spirit YES YES YES NO
Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare NO (although WOF believes in a form of spiritual warfare) NO YES NO
Infant Baptism NO NO NO YES
Discipleship NO NO YES NO (not as practiced by the sign-gift folks). We Catechize. 
Trinity of God YES YES/NO Modalists are the largest in number. Primarily YES, some leaders are Modalists YES

 

The divergence on the cited doctrinal issues is not sufficient to keep both groups from mingling together at times in conferences or at big revival meetings.  Remember the charismaniac war cry “doctrine divides.”   It is not uncommon in large meetings to find a Roman Catholic nun ‘worshipping’ next to a Jesus-only Pentecostal who is standing in front of a “Spirit-filled” Baptist whose is adjacent to a tongue-talking Episcopalian.  Isn’t unity a wonderful thing?  The fact is, none of the aforementioned groups agree with each other on any of the cardinal doctrines of the one holy and Christian apostolic Church.

 Please realize how serious a door Bakker has opened for the enemy of our souls.  Prior to the return of his television show the majority of these so-called restored apostles and prophets did not receive much air time (due to the Crouches opposition to many of their beliefs). Now because of Bakker and his association with a chief false-prophet Rick Joyner another stream of extremism has been released on a viewing worldNow this specific steam of flakes has access to millions instead of a few thousand in conferences.  Now they can proclaim their spurious twist of the Gospel on a global level as Bakker’s empire continues to gather steam.  Now those who were previously unaware of the claims of the prophetic movement now have the opportunity to become beguiled by their lies.

One thing is for certain Jim Bakker has a gift or innate ability for making his televisions programs succeed financially by taking a voracious bite out of the Christian television market share; at least he had such ability prior to prison.   Assuming the Lord tarries, if I was a gambling man, I would put my money on Jim Bakker ending up on top of the charismatic cathode-ray crowd again.  Paul Crouch senior was/is in failing health and there is a huge power-struggle over who will take over at Paul Sr.’s death.

The latest in the nuclear family warfare surrounding the Trinity Broadcasting Network:  A photograph entered into the court record of what appears to be Jan Crouch, her head tossed back in ecstasy, showing off a letter that is alleged to have been written by her husband, Paul, on what was assumed to be his deathbed.[viii]

 Their close to a billion dollar empire is in huge disarray due to the many law suits that have been brought against TBN and Paul and Jan Crouch.  These law suits come from their own immediate family members (truth is stranger than fiction).

Bakker is moving with a much younger pool of sign-seekers than the Crouches.  Paul and Jan seem to appeal to the older middle and ‘blue-haired’ aging crowd.  Perhaps I’d compare Paul and Jan to Paul Harvey and Jim Bakker to Dennis Miller, one of the far more trendy and hip radio talking heads.

Even though Bakker has shifted camps doctrinally he has not changed his time-tested format on raising money.  The television programs seem to run along the lines of promoting a little bit of heresy in short teachings interspersed with a lot of selling products to garner funds for the various “projects” that need the viewers support.  What Bakker is now hawking to his viewers is indicative of his most recent evolution regarding the end times.  Jim begins this catalog off with the following statement:

Many, many Christians believe that the Church will escape the perils detailed in the book of Revelation.  I’d like to believe they are right – but I can’t.  And because I believe that the Church – including here in America – will go through a time on earth of suffering, hunger, violence and persecution, we must be ready.  More than that, we must help prepare our loved ones.[ix]

This statement is a HUGE dividing line among not only American evangelicals but also among the various derivations of sign-seeking groups.  Bakker is no longer among the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial rapture of the Church crowd.[x]  Now Bakker subscribes to a certain aspect of the Kingdom Now or dominionists belief system.[xi]  Bakker believes the Church must go through a literal coming tribulation period of seven years (see Daniel 9:24; Rev. 4) and he is building his empire on people’s fear of an uncertain future.  Let me prove this by giving you some examples from his “Christmas 2012” catalog:

But if I’m right, that nonperishable food may save your life someday. ..Prepare now.  In the days ahead, food will be more valuable than gold.  I totally believe one day that food will be the main tool of bartering for all of our financial and material needs.” Jim Bakker p.4

  1. 1.     TIME OF TROUBLE PLUS Food Buckets                                              $3,000
  2. 2.     YEAR FOR TWO PLUS                                                                          $1,000
  3. 3.     YEAR FOR YOU PLUS                                                                           $500
  4. 4.     TIME OF TROUBLE Dessert Buckets                                                   $1,200
  5. 5.     VEGAN FOOD BUCKET                                                                                    $150
  6. 6.     Morningside Fire NOW Emergency Fuel                                           $100 (“Imagine yourself on a cruise ship, a naval vessel, or a cargo ship, and suddenly the sea turns blood red. . .”)
  7. 7.     29 Blocks of Life Water Storage Containers                                     $580
  8. 8.     Super Silver Starter Kit                                                                       $100
  9. 9.     Fuel-Less Generator (solar kit)                                                          $1,900
  10. 10.  Radiation Water Pitcher & Ultimate Survival Squeeze Btl              $100

Yet Another  DIRTY SECRET REVEALED!

Raising money within Christian circles is often based on either blatant or subtle manipulation.  Within televangelism funds are obtained through the use of two psychological ploys: 1) People will “give” to purchase something, i.e. they are receiving something they want (or think they want/need depending on the giftedness of the salesman to manipulate the audience).  The donor receives some value for their dollar, along with the feeling they are helping support a cause they deem worthy. 2) People will “give” to build something, a cause to propose to build something or go somewhere and people will buy into the vision presented.  This makes the giver feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.  Manipulation can be brought to bear here through showing images of starving children (if a mission work), the homeless vs. an average home (like the viewers), etc.      Certainly sending out trinkets as point-of-contact fetish items along with an appeal letter is another way of subtly telling the recipient “see we spent money to reach out to you, at least send in something,” and playing on their guilt.  Naturally in both cases the Word of God is horribly abused and twisted by these Gospel pimps to work the miracle of transferring the sheeple’s dollars into their bank accounts (some people think that God’s ‘address’ really is P.O. Box A, Santa Anna, CA).

At the top of each page of this catalog is either an excerpt from Bakker’s latest book “The Time Has Come,” or apocalyptic biblical passage wrest from its context with the intent of driving home the critical need the reader has to order these products.  In a simple 14 page catalog 17 photographic iterations of the Bakker clan are shown.[xii]

Jim uses both time tested techniques on his programs to raise his money.  Money to what end?  To buy more television time, to get more viewers, to get more money, to buy more time, to. . .and so it goes.

I imagine Bakker makes most of his money from selling his End-Time Pepper (perhaps next month we will consider this recent phenomenon from a biblical perspective) supplies because this is the current fear among many Americans due to the current political and economic conditions. 

No SINister worth his or her salt leaves a revenue source untapped; ergo the viewers can support the “Lori’s House” project for unwed teenage girls.  A “project” they can give to and watch being built and for a mere $1,000 gift one can become “A Lori’s House Builder Club” member.  This project is probably perking along pretty well considering it is: (1) pro-life, who isn’t, right?), (2) deals with pregnant teens, who does not want to see them nurtured? (3) Lori herself had several abortions in the past so she can tearfully persuade (sell) the viewers on the need to give.  I can assure you once this project is completed there will be another one to take its place or then the push will/can become to (1) maintain Lori’s House or (2) replicate it elsewhere, etc.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

The more things change, the more they stay the same (a little French lingo) is most certainly true of Mr. Bakker.  He has exchanged his WOF affiliation for acceptance by the so-called Prophetic and New Apostolic Reformation heretics.  Now because of his doctrinal shift there are two MAJOR venues to promulgate WOF heretics (TBN) and Prophetic heresy (Bakker) to an undiscerning audience.

Bakker is using the same technique’s that grew his former SINistry machine and it will probably work again for him in this latest venture.  When I first read his book, written before his association with Joyner and Morningstar, I thought to myself “praise God, Bakker has finally gotten it.”  It is evident that my excitement was ill-timed.  Bakker has yet to produce the fruits of genuine repentance (see Matthew 3:8).  I urge that we pray for Jim and Lori (Tammy-Sue, little Jimmy too) and their viewers.  May our gracious Lord, the One who opened our eyes and has shown us the glorious liberty that is ours in the Christ of the Gospels open the Bakkers and their viewer’s eyes as well.  Selah.


[i] Obtained from http://www.tommyandjames.net/heritageusa.html. Still online as of 12-2-2012

[ii] All tongue-talkers are NOT created “equally.”  They all agree on speaking in tongues and divine healing after that they share few similarities.  Classic Pentecostals and WOF are pre-mill, most Prophetic/Apostolic cults are post-mill.  There is some mutual recognition of self-proclaimed prophets/apostles by both WOF and Prophetic, but much doctrinally divides them.

[iii]  Am not saying that Joyner did not or does not feel sympathy or something for Bakker in his decision to initially bank-roll Bakker, but trust me when I say there is a lot more going on than mere brotherly “love.”

[iv] For more insight’s into this stellar restoration go to: http://www.morningstarministries.org/resources/videos/todd-bentleys-restoration-update

[vi] Obtained from a video of Joyner speaking at a Morningstar Conference at http://www.morningstartv.com/featured-video-week/greater-works.

[ix] Obtained from page 2 of the 2012 Jim and Lori Bakker Christmas Catalog, available online at http://www.jimbakkershow.com/lovegifts/christmas as of 12/01/2012.

 

[x] Even among the pre-tribulation rapture folks there is disagreement.  Some teach all the faithful shall be raptured at that point in time.  Others teach only the overcomers, as delineated by their own set of requirements, will be initially taken up and the others will have to go through either (1) 3.5 years of the tribulation or (2) 7 years of the tribulation.

[xi] Please understand that even among the dominionists they have differing views on the Church during the actual last days.  Some view the Church as rising up and becoming these miracle-wielding super-saints who begin to systematically Christianize the world.  This view sees the Church as overcomers, as Joel’s Army, as conquerors even conquering the last enemy, Death itself!  Others view the Church as being persecuted, decimated, yet being highly empowered in the sign-gifts and out of the rubble of society the Church rises like the Phoenix with healing in Her wings and solutions to the world’s problems.  Then the Church Christianizes the world and hands it to Jesus.  This later view seems to be the one held by Bakker, or at least the view he offers because it is the more lucrative position, only God knows his motives.

[xii] There are reasons why all of these people plaster their faces on virtually every page of their magazines.  It too is done for psychological impact.  The goal is hopefully for the reader to unconsciously relate to the images shown repeatedly.  Also, there is the reality of the pride of life (see 1 John 2:16) that we are all prone to.  These people are very proud, boastful and arrogant and take every opportunity to promote themselves.





BE AWARE

30 07 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 7 – BE AWARE

 Discernment Ministries International

 BE AWARE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Here is a PARTIAL {we could not listed them all} listing of some SINisters who DMI has been warning the church about and can be seen daily on a global basis on television and whose books fill the shelves of virtually all ‘Christian’ bookstores and many local church libraries (I hope your pastor checks out all the books donated for public use, you’d be surprised what we have found on local church libraries).

Che Ahn — prophetic movement, signs and wonders devotee

John Avanzini — TBN’s ‘bagman’ a prosperity ‘pimp’ of the first rank.

Todd Bentley — convicted child molester, adulterer, remarried: The Reality of the Supernatural World: Exploring Heavenly Realms and Prophetic Experiences: Journey Into The Miraculous Kingdom; Kingdom Rising: Making the Kingdom Real in Your Life; Baptisms of Fire (DVD)

Reinhard Bonnke — Word of Faith heretic, decision theology, signs and wonders

William Branham (denied the Trinity) — considered the greatest prophet of our times, false teacher, false prophet, false sings and wonders. HUGE cult following today

Rodney Howard Browne — Word of Faith heretic, ‘God’s Bartender,’ helped popularize holy laughter excess and attending spurious manifestations, false prophet, pastor and teacher.

Paul Cain — exposed as a homosexual alcoholic, false prophet, Proponent of today’s New Apostolic Reformation.

Stacy & Wesley Campbell — false prophet & prophetess

Charles Capps — according to Copeland ‘the greatest living theologian,’ Word of Faith cult false teacher.

Morris Cerullo — false prophet, false teacher, prosperity pimp.

Paul Yongi Cho — Word of Faith heretic, pastor of the largest ‘church’ in world

Kim Clement — false prophet, teacher, TBN darling

Kenneth Copeland — current king of the WOF cult, false prophet, false teacher

Paul Crouch — responsible for the global export of heresy, paid off a homosexual to keep quiet, lair.

Jack Deere — charismaniac currently serving as a pastor, former DTS professor, false teacher.

Creflo Dollar — Kenneth Copeland’s son in the Gospel, WOF heretic, prosperity pimp, recently assaulted his younger daughter.

Jesse Duplantis —WOF heretic, false prophet, false teacher

Francis Frangipane — Latter Rain dominionist heretic

Kenneth Hagin — So called ‘father’ of today’s WOF cult, false prophet, false teacher.

Bill Hamon —false prophet, leader in the prophetic movement, false teacher.

Marilyn Hickey — WOF heretic, false teacher, prosperity pimp/gimmick queen.

Steve Hill — responsible for importing the Signs & wonders non-revival from England to America, signs and wonders devotee, false teacher/prophet

Benny Hinn — WOF heretic, false prophet/teacher/pastor, liar, fraud, adulterer, prosperity pimp.

Cindy Jacobs — false prophetess, started ‘Generals of Intercession’ based on an angelic visit

T.D. Jakes — Oneness heretic, prosperity pimp, false teacher

E.W. Kenyon — True father of the WOF cult

Joyce Meyer — WOF heretic, false teacher

Copyright ©2012 Robert S. Liichow





THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11

31 12 2011

Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 12 – THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11 – Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11

 After writing for the last several months about the heretical teachings, foolish concepts and spiritual excess being wrought by the so-called New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and their followers I was able to personally attend their awesome heaven & earth shaking meeting in Motown. It is no secret that D.M.I. is of the belief that this movement is not of or from God and that its leaders are desperately deceived and are deceiving others (Eph. 5:6). I am not saying these folks are not well intentioned, but then aren’t good intentions the paving stones of hell? (1)

 11.11.11 was the date chosen to hold this colossal game-changing (spiritually speaking) event where thousands of God’s prayer warriors drawn from all over the nation would gather and tear down demonic strongholds and further establish the Kingdom of God!

 I was disturbed by the date our sign-gift enthusiasts selected because it was the same date chosen by occultists all around the world as the date that would be the opening of spiritual portals and global spiritual transformation. Anyone can simply go to YouTube and watch 40+ videos on the occult significance of 11.11.11. Practicing Satanists, New Agers, occultists gathered on that day to do whatever they could to summon their gods, spirit guides, avatars, ascended masters or whomever. Many of these folks had been focusing on this specific date for many years (the next big one they are looking forward too is 12.12.12). These people actively cried out seeking to be deceived and I am sure their gods were more than glad to help them out. Before considering this aspect any further let’s begin with a brief history of “The Call” which is seen as pivotal by the NAR crowd.

 A Little History

According to the founder’s website there nationwide gatherings were started by a man by the name of Lou Engle:

 Lou Engle is the visionary and co-founder of TheCall solemn assemblies (www.TheCall.com), a movement of prayer gathering young adults to pray and fast for breakthrough and revival. TheCall began in Washington DC in 2000 gathering over 400,000 people to pray and fast for the United States. Since 2000, The Call has gathered hundreds of thousands of people to pray both national and internationally. After a few years of dormancy, TheCall was revived on 07.07.07 with over 70,000 people gathering for TheCall Nashville. (2)

 The unvarnished truth is that Mr. Engle is a full-tilt charismatic-extremist whom some readers might remember seeing in the documentary film “Jesus Camp.” He is shown preaching to the little children about abortion, ok I guess, better to have taught them really about the Biblical Jesus an thus the children would have learned through knowing Jesus that abortion is a sin against Him. He is the man putting up the life-size poster of George Bush and having the children extend their hands towards the effigy and pray for the President in other tongues, etc. . .

 Engle started in 2000 holding these “solemn assemblies” based on the concept touted by Bickle and other dominionists. It is no surprise that Engle lives in Kansas City and he and his wife are very involved in the original IHOP SINistry. In fact in 2008 at the Kansas City IHOP, Engle (who is one of many local/global prophets at IHOP) prophesied the following:

 I believe we’re headed to an Elijah/Jezebel showdown on the Earth, not just in America but all over the globe, and the main warriors will be the prophets of Baal versus the prophets of God, and there will be no middle ground,”….’There’s an Elijah generation that’s going to be the forerunners for the coming of Jesus, a generation marked not by their niceness but by the intensity of their passion,’ . . . .”The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Such force demands an equal response, and Jesus is going to make war on everything that hinders love, with his eyes blazing fire.” (3)

 Let’s look at what Lou Engle actually said at the Passion for Jesus conference that night. He referred to the new Elijahs rising up, preparing the way as forerunners. (James Goll linked to Lou Engle on the Call’s board), wrote in Charisma Magazine that The Call would result in a new breed of radical, fierce, yet humble intercessors. . . .emerging on the scene”. He points out that “in every generation God raises up forerunners. . . . Like John the Baptist. . .to prepare the way.’. . . .Lou Engle spoke on civil war in the church, and he was talking about it [whether people recognize it or not] literally, not just spiritually or metaphorically. This is the new apostolic takeover, or as Bob Jones prophesied, the civil war with the blues and greys (the people basically who have the new revelation and those in the church who oppose it). (4)

 Mr. Engle is a seemingly innocuous man, a genuine pied-piper who believes it is part of his destiny to establish racial reconciliation in the Church (among other things) through using every tool in the ever-growing toolbox of charismatic excess. He has been somewhat in the background until around 2000 when he went national with the Bickle message and concept of continual prayer. What differentiates Engle from Bickle is Engle focuses on our young . He is sadly a heretic, who is misleading hundreds of thousands of our young people by introducing many of them to the concepts of the NAR, concepts that include the overthrow of their traditional churches. (4) Everything I have written about the false doctrines and practices of people like ‘Todd Bentley, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, et al. Mr. Engle says gives them all a hearty “amen” and actively spreads their error. There is not “ten cents of difference” between Mr. Engle’s beliefs and those D.M.I has already exposed.

 The Meeting Itself

 On their standard boilerplate advertisement used for these meetings states that it is a “solemn assembly” after the spirit of Joel 2. Really? Joel 2 in context is backslidden Israel crying out to God to take away their reproach. What is a solemn assembly anyway?

 Solemn assembly, the translation generally used for the Hebrew terms atzeret and atzarah. These terms refer to gatherings of the people, in a state of ritual purity, for sacred, religious purposes. These purposes include set festivals, such as the seventh day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Deut. 16:8) or the eighth day of the Festival of Booths (Lev. 23:36; Num. 29:35; 2 Chron. 7:9; Neh. 8:18). They might also include special assemblies such as that called by Jehu for Baal (2 Kings 10:20) or for times of emergency (Joel 1:14; 2:15-16). Such assemblies were sometimes criticized by prophets when the people acted unjustly in their everyday lives (Isa. 1:13; Amos 5:21). (6)

 Engle likes to cite the various solemn assembly’s in the O.T. and how God responded to the cry of His people. All well and good. That was then, this is now. For starters, when the spiritual leaders of Israel called for such an assembly all the nation participated. There was also spiritual union/agreement among the Jews, there was some factionalism but not like today’s hundreds of denominational divergences.

 Nowhere in the New Testament do we read of any such gatherings. Even in the writings of the early church fathers we read of no doctrine or practice of calling “solemn assemblies” for the Church to cry out to God. We do read of people being gathered to fast and pray in the Book of Acts (Acts 13:2) and as we’ve covered in past issues fasting and prayer are legitimate spiritual “tools” we can use to draw closer to our Lord. However the extremists have turned what God has given the Church as gifts (prayer, fasting, praise) into works that man does to move the hand of our gracious Lord.

 A week before the momentous gathering of the tribes into one cohesive spiritual voice to shake the pillars of heaven and burst asunder hell’s gates and take a plunder of lost souls for Jesus on 11.11.11 there were radio interviews given by Mr. Engle in which he stressed the absolute pivotal role Detroit holds in national and church-wide racial reconciliation. He went on to share how Detroit was a “prodigal” city and was now retuning to the Father and thus great revival would spring forth from Detroit due to this 24 period of prayer and praise under girded by fasting and passion. On the Detroit Call website they made the following statement regarding the future “fruit” of the coming 11.11.11 meeting.

 STATEWIDE GOALS THAT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED –

TheCall hardhat will become a reality and MI will be a model to the nation.

Day and Night 24/7/365 Prayer connecting 83 Michigan counties impacting the 7 Mountains.

MICHOP/Oak Initiative – The Governmental Mountain will be covered in our state and nation.

The Tenacious 10K will be fulfilled – 10,000 intercessors in MI – U.S. Initiative by Cindy Jacobs

Unity of the Races, churches, ministries working together “as one” occur.

University students and young adults across Michigan and the nation will be part of TheCall. (6)

 Space does not permit me to unpack all the extremist “God-talk” (keep in mind every cultic group has its own language) but Herrnhutt comes from the pietistic Count Zinzendorf and is in reference to a hill where they “watched for the Lord.” NONE of what they prophesied has taken place and I would know living right in the middle of Detroit!

 Allow me to give you a glimpse behind the curtain — what happens is they spew forth many prophetic “words” shotgun style. Then if anything remotely can be sort of imagined to fit the previous prophetic declaration then the extremists get all excited and dance about proclaiming a true prophet is in their midst. On the other hand when the prophetic declaration does not come to pass it does not matter. Why not? First of all, most of the people have already forgotten the word having heard probably 15 more since then (I am not exaggerating). Secondly, if someone should remember the word given and mention to the leaders that it has not come to pass they will simply say that either the conditions of the prophecy were not met by us, ergo God was not obligated to do what He said He would do or that the Lord has abrogated that prophecy with a more recent statement. Lastly, there is always the possible response of “who are you to question the prophet?”

 There is no racial unity, in fact after the meeting things have taken an uglier racial turn in our City Council. There is no unity of doctrine within our churches nor any moves towards bridging the divide in any meaningful way that I am aware of. Detroit is not the prosperous city it once was probably will never be what it was any time soon. I suppose the extremists would rebuke me and say that all of the above prophesied things have taken place in the “spiritual” realm and will be made manifest soon in this “physical” realm. This what Harold Camping said regarding his latest false prophecy about the return of our Lord. Camping wa not wrong Jesus did return “spiritually.” Right. . . . .

 How Did They Accomplish These Spiritual Goals in Just 24 Hours?

The meeting began at 6:00 P.M. in Ford Field. My wife, Tracy, drove me to the entrance of the arena at 6:45 P.m. Crowds of people were flooding into the stadium, mostly white young folks. I garnered many starts and a few smirks wearing my clerical collar, pectoral cross, Greek orthodox prayer beads wrapped around my right wrist and the blood of the Lamb applied to my soul as I strode into the “Lions den.” (8)

 What’s this I hear as I am handed a pamphlet and a wristband at the front gate? It sounds like a celebration not a “solemn assemblage” at all. Before I could even get a view of the people down on the field I heard the wail of a screaming guitar (I must admit the cat could shred) and the pulsating drone of several drummers beating their skins in a hypnotic rhythm. Then I caught my first glimpse of the field and platform. There were probably around ten thousand (10,000) people there already and on the platform wa a band of Indians, uh Native Americans or in charismatic-speak “First Nations brethren,” in full native regalia on the platform dancing and leading the people in a chant/song which consisted of 2 sentences something like this: “Send the Spirit. The Spirit is here.” This was chanted/sung nonstop for about 45 minutes, I an not exaggerating. At the time I honestly thought to myself “at least the Indians had enough sense to ‘vest’ for the meeting.” (9)

 I cautiously made my way down onto the field itself, being careful not to step on any of the prone bodies which were scattered hither and thither among those standing. After softening the wills of the crowd had been softened up via this mind-numbing extremely loud, totally repetitive “song” the speakers began their part.

 With music being played more softly in the background various flakes got up and took the microphone. Then came the litany of white repentance. Lou Engle started it out only to be followed by I believe Cindy Jacobs (well known false prophetess) who stood up and “repented” to Canada on the behalf of the United States for attacking it in 1775! Thousands in the audience moaned in assent. Then one of the First nations men got up and forgave the white man for his sins against the Indians and asked the white interlopers to forgive the Indians too. Next a Mexican guy took the microphone and prayed in Spanish and English I suppose he was forgiving the gringo’s for stealing California and Texas, I am not sure because I do not speak Spanish. Interspersed between these racial declarations of repentance were calls for the audience to “pray in the spirit” (other tongues) while these racial representatives dredging up two to three hundred year old sins. It was at this point I simply had to leave, I could not stand any more nonsense.

 Their web site and literature declared it to be “a fast not a festival,” yet everyone was festive, laughing, pogo dancing up and down, gathered in small groups of people talking while all else was going on. I did not see too many serious or solemn faces in the crowd. People were supposed to be fasting and yet the concession stands were open selling food. People were walking around the field eating openly. (10) The handout given to me advised I fast and drink plenty of water. Thanks be to God there was plenty of water to be drunk, at a cost of over $2.00 per bottle and there were plenty of places selling water (none was given away that I noted). Naturally t-shirts were and are being hawked to help “defray the expenses.”

 Nothing was accomplished of any lasting benefit to the church or our city. It was supposed to be a huge gathering of all races and denominations. It was not either. At best it was a false show of Church unity, a unity that does not exist nor ever will again exist in this life. How was Jesus glorified when His Word was not proclaimed? How was the Holy Spirit honored, when it is He who only illuminates our Lord and He was given nothing (the Word) to work with? I as a Christian could not utter the “amen” to much of what was said from the platform because it was spoken in other languages than English. The Indians sang for a bit in their native tongue. I could not sing nor agree, how could I? The same was true with the prayers in Spanish, Arabic and other ecstatic tongues. Paul said:

 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. (11) 1 Cor. 14:10-11

 This was an exercise in futility or to be more charitable it was an expression of the term a “zeal without knowledge” (Romans 10:2), i.e. excited ignorance but a large group of people following the lies of a sincere sounding Pied Piper who is leading these willing masses into further deception. Everything I have studied and written about the IHOP meetings were in evidence in this 24 hour “micro-shot” gathering. What happened at Ford Field is supposed to begin taking place all over the world 24/7. Part of the purpose of these gatherings is to draw more people into localized 24/7 IHOP, to rally the troops and exhort them to get in line with the directions of the New Apostolic Reformation!

 TheCall and Acquire the Fire (Ron Luce) are geared towards the youth, they want young people and have no problem using any methods they can to lure them away from your congregation. Everything in these meetings is focused on the youth and youth culture, from the music, the verbiage, the graphics and dress style. These people are not stupid who run these meetings. They know that after just 24 uninterrupted hours they can make sure your child will never be satisfied with your hum-drum worship service. Can your organist compete with a host of professionally trained musicians using the latest instruments and technology? Do they dance, clap, wave banners at your church? Why not mom and dad? What about having “power encounters” where lives are magically transformed by a touch from the anointed, do you hold these services? Why these young people are about something, they have a big vision (to take over the world), they have a mandate from God and He has promised to give them all the power they need to bring it to pass! Where is your power pastor? See what I mean, and do not think this does not happen. Churches have been split by people who attended these type of meetings and tried the experience back to their local church (as they were charged to do at the meeting) ending in disruption and loss. That is my report and I testify to what I have written concerning IHOP and the NAR is the truth.     Selah.

 

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

1. I am referring to the old adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

2. Obtained from http://www.louengle.com/ on 12-2-11

3. Obtained from http://endtimepropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/lou-engle/ on 12-2-11

4. Ibid

5. I realize that “overthrow” sounds harsh but this is exactly what Bickle, Joyner, Wagner, Engle are seeking, prophesying and writing about plainly in books. Read Joyner’s “The Hordes of Hell Are Marching” and see where the traditional evangelical orthodox Church is placed in his vision. Make no mistake about it, many of these leaders are out to take over your church, make no mistake about it.

6. Paul J. Achtemeier, Publishers Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 1st ed. (San Francisco Harper & Row, 1985) 975

7. You might check out TheCall Detroit on Google, but it seems that this statement was taken down after the meeting (not sure why). I copied it from a post of mine I made on Facebook on Nov. 8th where it still resides.

9. The Detroit Lions play at/on Ford Field, but it can be a play on Daniel’s too. Hehe

10. Lutherans will get the ‘vest’ comment.

11. This must have bothered some other extremists. I mean after all, if I was a good doobie and fasted for 24 hours and you come prancing by eating a corn-dog, well it might cause me to stumble, but after the corn dog, fall out of unity with everyone else and thus halt whatever God was going to do! Guess they were too spiritually minded to think of this.

The Holy Bible English standard Version (Wheaton, Standard Bible Society, 2001) 1 Co. 14:10-11

 

 

 





“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.

 

 





Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous?

29 07 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 7 – Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous? – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous?

Rev. Bob Liichow

Over the last two issues we’ve been examining today’s so called Prophetic Movement (PM) and now we want to consider why it is dangerous on many levels.

My wife and editor of Truth Matters thought I was being a bit harsh in the last issue and possibly could have been more irenic in my writing. Although generally my wife is correct in her comments, in this case I thought not. Please keep in mind DMI is concerned with those individuals who occupy pulpits and the international stage as “prophets” as opposed to the squirrelly charismanic who always seems to “have a word from the Lord” for you at family gatherings.

Are false prophets dangerous?   Without a doubt they are: and God has always warned His people in both testaments to be aware of the danger they pose. The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesians elders (and us by extension) to be aware of the coming two-front attack on the Church:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:28-31.   (1)

A false prophet from outside the Church, truly a wolf devouring the souls of multitudes was a man named Mohammad, the guy who started the false religion Islam. Today over 1.5 billion follows are marching straight into the jaws of hell. Sadly, much of today’s suffering is directly tied to people following this particular false prophet. So you tell me, is a false prophet dangerous?

Let me cite a couple examples of false prophets from within the Church. A fellow named Joseph Smith decided to call himself a restored prophet (a man who believed in speaking in other tongues, healing cloths, etc.) and founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a movement of restorationists. This cult is listed as the ninth largest denomination in America and these people are very evangelistic both nationally and internationally. Millions are destined for eternal destruction because they follow the doctrines of a false prophet.

In 1978 over 900 people died following a formerly ordained minister (Disciples of Christ) who proclaimed himself a restored prophet, Mr. Jim Jones.

More recently in 1993 a member of a sect of the Seventh Day Adventist was shot to death along with other followers in Waco, Texas. David Koresh announced himself the prophet to the Branch Davidian, a sect of the S.D.A. church (2) and his disciples followed him to the death (those deaths I personally blame on our bumbling former government leaders).

Lastly, we have our brother Harold Camping, who describes himself as a Bible student and not a prophet, nonetheless stands in that “office” when he says “thus saith the Lord” according to his interpretation of various texts publicly. Several who believed his pronouncements lost their jobs and homes both most recently and previously when he declared the “rapture” of the Church. Another bad fruit borne is that the name of Jesus is tarnished and ridiculed even more so by the world when these people rise up in our midst. (3)   As an update for those who have not heard, brother Camping suffered a stroke, and he is home now, but pray for him, his wife and their followers. (4)  There are several other examples I could cite of some of the more obvious repercussions of following false prophets, but these should suffice.

Unfortunately we live in a time that is the perfect feeding ground for these deluded souls and wolves to feast upon. We live in a generation of experience driven spiritual enthusiasts. Our churches are filled with people who are no longer content with the plain teaching of the Bible. Today’s Americanized Christian wants direct immediate (current) revelation from God, not some dry exegesis of Scripture or some sermon on Law and Gospel. No today’s spiritual seeker looks for direct immediate mystical fellowship with God. It is not unusual for people attending prophetic congregations to be slain in the spirit  (5)  and get up later and share with the others how they had just spent “face time” with Jesus, mano-a-mano in heaven.

Our culture of immediacy, self-gratification and a desire for spiritual power (6)  is fertile ground for the wily wolf. When you combine thee elements with people who have no sure doctrinal foundation you have a recipe for a subtle but devastating spiritual shipwreck. I say subtle, because the destruction is done within the context of Christian church services and meetings. Subtle, in that the words they use are similar to ours but they mean something vastly different to them. As the patron saint of heresy-hunters said:

By means of specious and plausible worlds, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge (3) and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth. 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 (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. One far superior to me has well said, in reference to this point, “A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some) unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit. Or, again, what inexperienced person can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up with silver?” Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the true character of these men,–because they outwardly are covered with sheep’s clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined us to be on our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different.  (7)

America has given birth to almost all of today’s recognized false-prophets. One of the most dangerous is “Dr.” Bill Hamon, one of the living fathers of the P.M. Even though throughout the recorded history of the Bible God has sent less than 60 people total, 48 men and 7 prophetesses. That is all it took God in order to reveal His will to His people. However, Mr. Hamon has great news for the world!

John came in the power and spirit of the PROPHET Elijah. Just as one PROPHET, John the baptist prepared the way for Christ’s first coming, now a COMPANY OF PROPHETS will prepare the way for Christ’s second coming. That COMPANY OF PROPHETS is being raised up in the 1980’s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 PROPHETS on the North American continent alone being prepared to be released within the Church. This COMPANY OF PROPHETS will come forth in the power and spirit of Elijah. They as a corporate body of PROPHETS, will fulfill the prophecy of Malachi in relation to Christ’s second coming as John the Baptist fulfilled it in relation to Christ’s first coming. A single PROPHET prepared the way for the Messiah of Israel and Redeemer of mankind. The COMPANY OF PROPHETS will prepare the way for Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The one PROPHET prepared the way for Jesus to come and usher in the Church Age; the many PROPHETS will prepare the way for Jesus to come and usher in the Kingdom age.  (8)

“God” revealed to Hamon that there were 10,000 prophets being prepared to be released within the Church. Not only will there be 10,000 God-sent prophets, they have the duty to (1) prepare the way for the return of Jesus and (2) actually usher Jesus back to earth!

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21

This brings us to the very important question of authority. Under whose authority do these people operate? There are only three sources of authority: (1) God, (2) man, and (3) the devil. If they were from God then they would teach His Word accurately which they clearly do not do. Secondly, when they speak in the name of the Lord what they say would be 100% accurate every time. The first mistake would disqualify one from every speaking again (that is N.T. grace; the O.T. was death for the false prophet). There are books, audio cassettes, videos and internet transcripts of all of the major “prophets” of today making false and unfulfilled prophetic claims in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Himself gave us this guideline to use:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

What about a little fruit inspecting?  Paul Cain the “father” of today’s PM was recently exposed as an alcoholic and homosexual (9Well Bob we are all sinners… Yes, but isn’t it interesting that a man revered as the living bridge between William Branham, the greatest prophet since the Apostle Paul and mentor and spiritual father to the major prophets today would not be discovered/uncovered by the other “prophets” for over 20 years?  How good are these guys’ spiritual antennae?

Mr. Benny Hinn is on public record regularly prophalies (10)  things that do not occur. This does not stop Hinn nor hundreds of thousands hanging on his every word even after failure after failure both prophetically and miracle-wise. A good example of Hinn’s lack of heavenly insight was demonstrated when God did not reveal to Hinn that his two closest associate were heroin addicts, both of whom died of their addictions while in Hinn’s employ. (11) Surely our Lord would have wanted His servant to help deliver his close associates from this demonic addiction? Maybe God is not speaking to Mr. Hinn, I believe He is not.

The list of sexual predators within the PM is long, people such as the august Bob Jones  of Kansas City prophets fame and spiritual son of Cain. Nothing like having Christian sisters stand nude (how deceived were these poor women?) before you as you “speak” over them the words of God! (12) He stepped down for a short season, but he is back profiling today.

Todd Bentley was recently elevated to the role of an “apostle” their ceremony is still available to be seen on Youtube.com. Mr. Bentley is a convicted child molester  (do they ever change?) and soon after his “anointing” to new realms of revival power he got divorced from his wife due to his recent sexual indiscretions and married the woman he was cheating with. (13)  This all transpired within a year of his establishment as a mighty prophetic voice. I really urge our readers to go and watch some of the many Youtube.com videos.  It is simply amazing to hear swelling words over Todd’s spiritually slain body! I do not have space enough to cite all the prophets who’ve been divorced and remarried without missing a step! All of the above is simply an inspection of “fruit” borne in their public lives. I have written extensively in the past regarding the myriad of false doctrines and practices these people promote. To any sensible person it is obvious that these so-called men and women have not been sent by God (the fist and foremost Authority). Here is what the Lord says regarding these people:

Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophecy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters; for I will pour their wickedness upon them. Jeremiah 14:14-16

Since God did not send them that leaves only two options, either they sent themselves or by other men or Satan sent them. Never forget that Satan sends people into the Church under ministry guise all the time (where did all those pedophiles come from recently exposed?).

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also…The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  Matthew 13:25,26,38

Both of these possible choices are unacceptable to the Christian Church. We do not want any man sent, man ordained “prophet” whom God did not send, whom God did not speak to, and who prophesy a false vision and deceit from his heart! Nor will we accept someone sent by our adversary the devil roars like a lion and seeks tender lambs to devour (1 Peter 5:8).  In Jeremiah’s time God not only judged the false prophets but He also judged those who heeded their lies. It seems in this case that God expected His people to know better, to have been able to discern true from false, after all He did send them a true prophet in Jeremiah (whom they rejected).

Are we any better off today? God has sent His true prophet into the hands of His Church in the form of the Bible. The Bible alone is the only guide for faith and practice and it is readily agreed upon by all orthodox Christians to be 100% accurate in the original manuscripts. Yet tens of thousands of professing Christians have cast aside their true guide (their Bible) for willingly pay for a fresh word from some prophet or prophetess. The spiritual bastard (Heb. 12:8E. Bernard Jordan can be seen daily on BET television offering a word from the Master prophet (himself) for varying amounts of money. For a mere $3,000 you can get into his master circle and receive one-on-one prophetic instruction! You can also purchase prophetic soap, oils and other superstitious trinkets and crap from his web site at http://www.zoeministries.com/  Jordan was trained by prophet Bill Hamon and today is phenomenally wealthy and was the last place 1960’s false prophet Rev. Ike was given a television platform. Like granny always used to say [if it’s in the root, it’s in the fruit”]. Obviously thousands of people are hearkening to the voice of the Master Profit, people who prefer to hear an audible voice say “the Lord says He loves you” as opposed to reading 2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all Amen. They have more faith in the audible word than God’s written Word which is part of what makes these people so dangerous. If I can get to you to believe that God has sent me to give you your personal divine direction from the throne of Almighty God through the power of the Holy Spirit, then I own you lock, stock and barrel.

How can I prove God has sent me as His prophet (profit) for you? Simple!  Today this is proven by either matriculating from one of the many prophetic schools (14) or being even tangentially associated with some of the recognized prophets, i.e. Paul Cain laid hands on me to activate my prophetic gift.” Give Jordan enough money and he will put you on television with him and acknowledge you as a prophet under him.  That alone is probably a six figure money stream.  It is easy to obtain instant global public relations via the internet. Any aspiring prophet need only create a blog, link to accepted prophetic ministries (they will reciprocate), attend some meetings, get your photo snapped (or morphed) in with other recognized prophets. Write/prophesy something extreme. Doing this will generate (1) a mailing list, something coveted by all media SINisters, (2) money from donations, books, tapes, and (3) give one a veneer of legitimacy. Naturally every prophet worth his or her salt offers wondrous tales of their experiences in the spirit realm.  Jesus personally met with Paul Cain and offered him a prophetic ministry at the alleged cost of celibacy (Matthew 19:12). This gave the sodomite cover for remaining single for over fifty years of SINistry.  Branham heard voices, saw angels, others saw lights on and around him, etc. An angel appeared to Cindy Jacobs telling her to start Generals of Intercession. So one must have some sort of wild tale, trip to heaven, special mandate, etc. to set oneself apart and on a higher spiritual platform than those who seek your wisdom. After all, why follow someone who is no further along than yourself?

The prophetic bona fides as a prophet are then offered to a pastor of usually a smaller independent P.M. congregation (say any of the Vineyard or their offshoot groups) and thus begin the milking process with that initial pastor’s congregation and then ministry network, hopefully working one’s way up the food chain gaining access to larger and larger groups. All along the way they amass a larger and larger mailing list/donor base.  These small potato beginnings are part of the dues the false prophet has to pay in order to become a BIG PROFIT. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us not to despise the days of small beginnings in Zech. 4?

Infiltrating the local church route is pretty much a guaranteed feeding trough for the profit. First of all he is accorded special treatment by the pastor and elders. Even our small prophetic/apostolic congregations in Detroit had its “prophets chamber” with fresh juice and snack cart, private bathroom and, an armor bearer. (15)  Since the pastor let him or her into the sheepfold then they must be from the Lord, right? This is a legitimate charge against all the pastors who’ve allowed their portion of His flock to be misled by willfully allowing false ministers access. They will give an account for it on that day. The wolf will usually bring his own materials to sell, newsletters, sign-up sheets which along with the huge offering taken from God’s gullible sheep equal thousands of dollars for an evening’s work. I remember when we brought up false apostle Clarence from Baton Rouge who prophesied over all of us in leadership individually and those who gave money. That night, from an inner city church in Detroit, Jubilee Christian Center, under the leadership of false apostle Ellis Smith over $15,000 was raped from the ignorant by the beguiling words of a street thug. Do I sound bitter? I am not, but I am angry as I think how many of our friends we’ve known who were so easily taken in by various false prophets and apostles. These are people who have a sincere desire to work for Jesus and to be on the cutting edge of the moving of the Holy Spirit in the earth. People who are fervent in prayer and their giving embarrassingly outstrips the rest of us in our congregations. It is among these people, an open expectant people who already believe to some degree that God is restoring His Church in these last days that the false prophet finds a fertile field.

It is precisely this reason that God is against the false prophet and warns us continually to beware of these dangerous frauds, who if given ear to can be very convincing :

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jeremiah 5:30-31

Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: And they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; But have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. Lamentations 2:14

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:11-12

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingenth not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

God knows that people are sheep like (John 10:11) and we will follow leaders and no leader is more eternally important to Christians than the spiritual leaders who are supposed to lead us into a closer fellowship with our Lord, which I can tell you is genuinely fulfilled in Word and sacrament ministry and thus discipline us to be productive citizens of the Kingdom of God.

God knows that His people have a new heart to obey His will for their lives (Ezekiel 11:19) and the new man within them desires to please Him (2 Timothy 2:4) which allows for growth by the Holy Spirit through His means of grace. These godly capacities can be taken captive (2 Timothy 2:26)  by our enemy through false ministers. Some time ago I began a booklet to refute the tiresome extremist position called the Five-fold ministry and one day soon I hope to finish it (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher).

Sign-gift dogma teaches that every congregation must receive unique and particular anointing(s) from each one of these five ministry offices. It is in fact impossible for any church to genuinely develop apart from these specific impartations. This has been drummed into toe heads of virtually all sign-gift congregations since 1948 and it is widely accepted. Because virtually all congregations believe they must receive from the Lord via these final two restored ministries the false prophet has a readymade home in every city in practically every country.

Another attending facet to the prophetic ministry is reliance upon signs and wonders, the more bizarre and novel the better. Reports abound within prophetic congregations and on the internet about meetings where angelic feathers appeared, gold dust miraculously covering people, jewels and precious stones being found after prophetic worship. (16)  It was the so-called restored prophets who brought into the Church the onslaught of holy laughter and other forms of fleshly and demonic manifestations which has impacted millions of professing believers and is still roaring on in various morphed forms including the “Bay of the Holy Spirit.”

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, andgiveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 13:1-3

I am always reminded of the false prophet William Branham whose SINistry was truly accompanied by many strange signs and wonders. Yeah some of his wonders did come to pass and he pointed to them as proof that his doctrine was correct because God was using him in a mighty way. This caused untold thousands to abandon their former congregations and denominations and follow a man who denied the Trinity, taught bizarre doctrines and was at best an apostate. People believed the signs and wonders over the Word of God as taught and confessed by the Church since the beginning.

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24

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 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Some of the accounts of sign and wonders have been proven to be false (gold dust turning out to be gold colored plastic micro-flake for example and gold teeth that were prior to the revival meeting) others not so easily explained. Jesus said the time would come when false prophets would show great signs and lying wonders but I believe that same dark spiritual power is parceled out to the myriad false prophets today by Satan:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18-19

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist   2 John 7

How many tragic accounts have been reported due to the abuses of those calling themselves prophets? Profit Robert Tilton is now married to his third wife, and is still siphoning a few hundred million dollars from legitimate ministry work via television and mail. Bishop/prophet Earl Paulk of the mega Atlanta, GA Based den of extremism was charged several times with forcing women to have sex with him and other “church” officials. (17)  W.V. Grant is another convicted felon and prophetic fraud, hurting thousands. Many cases are being reported from Africa where extremist Pentecostalism is rampant. Here is one example—Madzibaba Urayai Zvamunondiita:

By Shiyiwe Mbedzi

ANOTHER SELF-STYLED bogus prophet has been caught in the eye of a storm accused of indecently assaulting his 22-year-old client. Madzibaba Urayai Zvamunondiita (36) of Waterfalls was yesterday in court facing charges of fondling the private parts of a married woman…rayai prayed for Sertina and told her that he would need her vaginal fluids to assist her. He ordered her to undress and started kissing and fondling her private parts. Sertina also accused Urayai of making her touch his erect penis until he ejaculated. Urayai took Sertina’s pants and wiped her vaginal fluids ordering her to use it when conducting her prayers. (18)

“Oh that would not happen here in America.”  Wrong,  ever hear about John Roberts Stevens, one of the fathers of today’s Latter Rain Movement aka Signs and Wonders Movement, Joel’s Army, the New Apostolic Reformation, Prophetic Movement, Apostolic Movement, etc? His overcoming prophetic group was scandalized by his leadership in which he led the way to rampant sexual infidelity among its members. His cultic congregation, Living Word Fellowship naturally has a school of the prophets, their deceased founder being one of the early Latter Rain false prophets and sexual predator.

When an individual has been seduced into following a pied-piper prophet they are on very dangerous ground indeed. It will cost them spiritually, because while they believe they are on the frontlines of spiritual warfare they have been taken captive by our enemy long ago and now are simply exhibiting the enthusiastic antics of the monkey cage. Not only is there loss of a genuine meaningful walk with Christ now (which is the only one that counts) but the loss of future spiritual reward at the reward seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

There is also the terrifying, yet distinct possibility of hearing:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

Here we find people standing face to face with Christ and what do we see? People pointing to their works, even works done in His name. (19)  These are power people, signs and wonder workers, folks who prophesied in Jesus’ name, cast out demons in His name and did many wonderful works, again in His name. These were not your rank-n-file low wattage Lutherans, frozen chosen Presbyterians or mundane Methodists. No these sound like the so-called “eagle saints” of Joel’s Army.  Is Jesus impressed?  Does He applaud their mighty works (in His name)?  Jesus does not deny what they have done, nor does He say that He once knew them but now had forgotten them.  No He says the most chilling words that can be uttered “I NEVER knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Those who presume to stand up and declare themselves to be prophets of the Living God are in extreme spiritual danger and need to quickly repent of their presumptuous sin (Psalms 19:13)  Equally those who have rejected the Bible for a now word from a prophet is being spiritually misled now and is in danger of eternal loss.

This has been a rather harsh article in some ways. I have not tried to write diplomatically about men and women who have been severely deceived into thinking they really are prophets or are demonically inspired in some cases — unfortunately, it is not an either/or situation, it is a both/and. Pray for all of those caught up in this seductive and growing movement within the Church. Warn those in love who you know are involved in this type of aberrant group and most of all continue to nourish your spiritual life with a regular infusion of God’s Word and sacrament.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. The Holy Bible: King James Version 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1906 Authorized Version) (Ac 20:28-31) Bellingham, WA: Logos Research System Inc.

2. Some people place the S.D.A. in the cult category, others place it as a sect, i.e. non-standard but still orthodox enough to be considered Christian. Where does DMI stand? Frankly, we are with those who call it a cult. They follow the teachings of Ellen G. White (a restored prophetess), are very legalistic in diet and worship being strict Sabbath keepers. I urge anyone who is interested to research them on the web and come to your own conclusion based on the facts about the SDA.

3. I know the rest of the Church rebuked and denounced Harold, but the world does not care about what we say, only that we look foolish in their eyes

4. Obtained from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/13/national/main20070762.shtml  on 07-13-11.

5, DMI has an excellent booklet entitled “Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit.” It is once of the few books in print on this bizarre, yet commonplace phenomena in the lives of millions of professing Christians.

6. Sign-gift people are very preoccupied with the search of mystical experiences and power. Simply look at the titles of the majority of their books (go to any televangelist’s web site bookstore). As a former extremist myself I know how much time I spent trying to gain spiritual power, naturally for the glory of God…and then Bob Isn’t it interesting the “gifts” are just that—gifts—given by God (or someone else). However, fruit on the other hand must be cultivated; it take time to develop into ripeness. Fruit bearing is work, labor and thus little is taught in sign-gift congregations on it.

7. Irenaeus Against Heresies book One, paragraph 1 and two. Underlining added for emphasis.

8 Hamon, Bill  Prophets and Personal Prophecy, Destiny Image 1987. Underlining added.

9. Read about him at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel19.html.

10. Prophalie, the act of uttering a false pathetic word masquerading as a word from the Lord God.

11. Read about it here http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/10/benny-hinn-heroin-and-long-trail-of-of.html

12. Read about this story at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/kcp.html

13. Read about it http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2009/03/todd-bentley-marries-woman-whom-he-had-extramarital-affair-with.html

14. Hamon, Jordan, Bickle, Joyner  all offer some form of prophetic education in and by their schools of the prophets. They seem to believe that if one is called to be a prophet, then they can be trained by other prophets. They argue both sides of the coin (1) we all can prophesy 1 Cor. 14:1, so we can learn how to do so or (2) obviously we cannot train one to prophesy who is not first called by God as a prophet, ergo any prophetic “failure” falls on the prophet not the school or the teacher. So these liars can take either side when challenged and they do.

15. What your pastor does not have an armor bearer? How passé and so five minutes ago. The ministry of the armor bearer has been restored back to the Church in the early 1990’s, where have you been? Calling all young men who want to get into the glory & bask in the anointing that flows from the garments of your leader then consider this vocation as seen in the Bible! Yes sir, this is a biblical ministry–read about King Saul and little David before he killed Goliath.

16. Prophetic worship is when the worship is aimed at spiritual warfare and/or the declaring of victory or future glories by the worship leader(s). It may involve simple impromptu singing and the “song of the Lord” and quickly made up ditty. Prophetic worship often is “spirit-led” i.e. a departure from whatever else was planned, and usually involves a protracted amount of time singing, dancing or doing carpet time. There is also “prophetic intercession,” “prophetic praise,” prophetic healing too.

17. Read more at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312249,00.html

18. http://www.hmetrozim.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4085:prophet-in-sex-scandal&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=165 has this story.

19. It is interesting that they point to their “works” even though if what they said they did was wrought in and by God then it would have simply been the





Truth Matters July 2013

5 08 2013

‘Proof’ of Heaven
Exposed

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Monday morning before work I was watching Fox News© when they announced that Eben Alexander, M.D. would be sharing his amazing experience of going to heaven! This Heresy-hunter went out immediately to his local Meijer and purchased a paperback copy and came home and read the book cover to cover. Let’s begin this short examination with the following text:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

What happens beyond death is the biggest mystery and foremost question on the minds of virtually everybody. It is no mystery that we all will die because the wages for our sin is death (Rom 6:23) and humanity does all it can to stave off that final moment before our bodies assume room temperature. The question is where does the “life” of that now deceased person go? Did it cease all existence at the point of physical death or did the life-force vacate the dead physical body and go to some other realm?

One would have thought that after two thousand years of Christian preaching and teaching regarding the life, death burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and what the scriptures plainly teach about the life to come that there is no need for any of these books. Yet almost annually there is at least one #1 N.Y. Times bestseller about someone’s visit to heaven. Obviously the true Christian message is not being shared adequately enough or is simply being rejected by the public in favor of these more recent and more detailed accounts of the afterlife.

Why Write This Article

I have begun to notice something about all of the accounts I have been researching. Each one of them has been a false non-biblical account and while some aspects are formulaic in nature other experiences are emphasized. Each version is crafted towards a specific audience. For example Mary K. Baxter’s visions of heaven and hell are written to a mainline Pentecostal audience. Whereas Jesse Duplantis wrote his novel about heaven to a distinctly Word of Faith oriented audience. The Hordes of Hell Are Marching vision of Rick Joyner appeals to those in the Prophetic and Apostolic branches of sign-gift enthusiasm. While each of these visions are spurious, it behooves us to have some understanding of them so we can wisely and lovingly correct those who are in error.

 

Proof of Heaven
A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

Unlike many of the previous books I have read and debunked Dr. Alexander’s fits into its own category, that of the “skeptic.” His religious skepticism is what makes this book in some ways more seductive than those written by professing Christians. After all, this author has no “axe to grind” theologically speaking so his insights will have appeal of everyone who is not a Christian and possibly to those who are CINO’s (Christians In Name Only).

Eben was a practicing neurosurgeon at the time of his illness. He is a married and family man, successful surgeon who occasionally did attend the local Episcopalian Church with his wife and children (p.34).

As much as I’d grown up wanting to believe in God and Heaven and an afterlife, my decades in the rigorous scientific world of academic neurosurgery had profoundly called into question how such things could exist. Modern neuroscience dictates that the brain gives rise to consciousness – to the mind, to the soul, to the spirit, to whatever you choose to call that invisible, intangible part of us that truly makes us who we are — and I had little doubt that it was correct. (p. 34)

Like an ocean wearing away a beach, over the years my scientific worldview gently but steadily undermined my ability to believe in something larger. (p.35)

Eben appears to be an agnostic; he does not really believe there could be a God and seems to have strongly immersed himself in raw materialism:

When the machine breaks down, consciousness stops. As vastly complicated and mysterious as the actual mechanics of brain processes are, in essence the matter is as simple as that. Pull the plug and the TV goes dead. The show is over, no matter how much you might have been enjoying it. (pp 8-9)

What Happened to Eben

Contrasting Mary Baxter; who was fasting and praying in ecstatic speech when the angel of light came into her room. Also in contrast to Mr. Duplantis who also was actively praying to his ceiling in other tongues. Dr. Alexander was stricken with some bizarre form of E-coli/meningitis that inflamed his brain filling it with pus (p. 22). As a neurosurgeon he spends a great deal of time explaining all the medical ramifications of what was taking place to his brain and body. Without getting bogged down in medical jargon the bottom line is that all the parts of his brain that constitute “us” as unique individuals became infected and shut down. He was as near to flat lining as anyone can be. Here is a glimpse of what he experienced in the Prologue of his story:

I was encountering the reality of a world of consciousness that existed completely free of the limitations of my physical brain. . .Those implications are tremendous beyond description. My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going. (p.35)

The implications of life after death are tremendous beyond description? I have news for him, in case he has not realized it, what you believe in this life has an eternal implication which is either tremendously good news or an unending horror of agony and regret.

Bravo! He has come to realize that we all will live on beyond this life, which ought to make him think that what we believe, teach and confess in this life is of paramount importance.

What Eben Experienced

Eben goes into a deep coma for seven days and is totally unresponsive to any outside stimuli, brainwave patterns, etc.

When I was initially in the Realm of the Earthworm’s-Eye View, I had no real center of consciousness. I didn’t know who or what I was, or even if I was. I was simply . . . there, a singular awareness in the midst of a soupy, dark, muddy nothingness that had no beginning and, seemingly, no end. Now, however, I knew. I understood that I was part of the Divine and that nothing—absolutely nothingcould ever take that away. The (false) suspicion that we can somehow be separated from God is the root of every form of anxiety in the universe, and the cure for it—which I received partially within the Gateway and completely within the Core—was the knowledge—that nothing can tear us from God ever. (p.77)

He begins his journey of enlightenment by finding himself in a dark murky place that smelled of feces and he heard an incessant mechanical drumming sound (p. 31). While in this dark place he sees a white-gold light spinning in the darkness.

“Then I heard a new sound: a living sound, like the richest most complex, most beautiful piece of music you’ve ever heard” (p.38) and he enters into this white-gold light and is transported from the dark murky realm into —-

The strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen . . . It was green, lush, and earthlike . . . You don’t know the place. Or at least you think you don’t. But as you look around, something pulls at you, and you realize that a part of yourself — a part way, deep down —- does remember the place after all, and is rejoicing at being back there again. (p. 38-39)

Words mean things, his words clearly imply the pre-existence of the soul and thus far he has begun to reveal that (1) God loves everyone and (2) we can never be separated from God and (3) eventually we all will go to heaven where we have been before.

He looks at the white-gold light that has been leading him and he realizes that someone is next to him “a beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” (p.40) and he learns they are in fact being moved along on/by butterfly wings beneath their feet (p. 40). Now the angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14) gives him a message:

Without using any words, she spoke to me. The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial. The message had three parts. . . ‘You are loved and cherished, dearly forever, You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.’ (pp. 40-41)

Now we know that in the heavenly realm we will communicate telepathically, something the Apostle John failed to mention during his personal and completely reliable account of his heavenly interactions. The mode of communication matters little, the message delivered is everything! First, “You are loved and cherished, dearly forever.” It is true that God so loved the world that He sent His only Begotten Son into it, to save it from eternal SEPARATION from God. Make no mistake about it, apart from faith alone in Christ Jesus alone there will be eternal separation from a totally holy and loving God.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue hath muttered perverseness. Isaiah 59:2–3
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:23
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Matthew 25:41

A common problem that people can easily slip into is when they try to place one of God’s attributes above another in rank or importance. If they focus on the fact that God is “love” (see 1 John 4:8) people can slide into fallen humanistic sentimental fallen perspectives about love and sacrifice the holiness of God. Our God is perfectly balanced in Himself; He is as much loving as He is just as He is holy as He is merciful, etc. As fallen creatures our emotions are not so and in this life we are incapable of ever comprehending the nature of our God perfectly. Yet Eben seems to experience only a “loving” God, i.e. a love that is akin to that of a doting grandparent.

Secondly, he is told that “you have nothing to fear.” What is strange is that this message is repeated a couple of times in his book with no real explanation. What is the context of the statement? Did the angel of light mean that Eban, and by extension all of us, have nothing to fear in this life or does the entity mean we’ve nothing to fear in the next? He does not explain. Eben, here’s something to think about:

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

As Christians I can honestly preach that we do not have anything to fear because of what Jesus Christ as done FOR US (please share the June issue with others, it is vital). The worst the devil can do is kill us, death is the next best thing we have waiting for us (our redemption being the first), so devil take your best shot!

Unbelievers, such as this man have everything to fear and be concerned about. For the worldlings this is their best life now. Apart from Jesus Christ you had better strive and fight for ALL the gusto you can get now because when you die, and you surely will die, you will face the judgment (see Hebrews 9:27) and a devil’s hell. The message from this demonic creature is a lie! In this life we are to “fear” God (see Gen. 42:18; Deut. 10:12, 20; Jos. 24:14) but since no context is given to the demon’s comment it is impossible for the reader to accurately parse. I believe the comment is the standard New Age lie that can be boiled down to “don’t worry, float through life, all will be well, fear nothing, embrace everything, all is well,” spiritual advice.

Thirdly, the demon says “there is nothing you can do wrong.” Again, what is meant by this? In this life we can’t really make any mistakes or do wrong? Or does it mean that once we leave our physical bodies and enter the spiritual realm that we can do no wrong? No further light is given on the statements, other than they become life changing for Eben.

A New Age person reading this book will interpret the above message to mean that evil is merely an illusion, the masses of the unenlightened see “evil” and “sin” all around them. The enlightened understand that it is all really just the laws of karma playing out in this realm. Wrong is simply another “false” perception, just as false as the wrong belief that we can somehow be separated from The Divine, how silly a notion once you realize you are one with The Divine (p. 76). It does not take a neurosurgeon to apprehend that there is PLENTY of “wrong” in this world, as a surgeon I would imagine he has seen plenty go wrong with people medically speaking. Then again, perhaps the message was for him alone, maybe Eben is the one among us who can do no wrong?

Remember in the beginning he stresses how he had lost all conscious memory of himself and now he reveals to us WHY this makes his book so much more important than the others:

And because I so completely forgot my mortal identity, I was granted full access to the true cosmic being I really am (and we all are). . . At the risk of oversimplifying, I was allowed to die harder, and travel deeper, than almost all NDE subjects before me. (p. 78)

Wow, he is special folks. He was granted FULL ACCESS to his true cosmic being, unlike others who must have only been granted some partial access to their cosmic being. Eben, like Bruce Willis was able to “die harder” and like Capt. Kirk “travel deeper” alleging to have gone where no Near-Death-Experiencer (NDE) had gone before!

. . .from reading other NDE literature, that the penetration of the higher worlds tends to be a gradual process and requires that the individual release his or her attachments to whatever level he or she is on before going higher or deeper. That was not a problem for me, because throughout my experience I had no earthly memories whatsoever. (pp. 78-79)

Now that he has given us his cosmic bona fides we know we can rely on what he has to reveal. We also know from Eben, that there are all sorts of cosmic “levels” and our advancement into the higher realms depends on our attachments to the current lower spiritual levels being occupied (i.e. you will have to do spiritual works, releasing attachments is a work) after this life.

Eben writes a lot about his time in what he calls “The Core” which I can only interpret as being the center of all that “is.” When he reached this level he puts forth some curious revelations:

Even on earth there is much more good than evil, but earth is a place where evil is allowed to gain influence in a way that would be entirely impossible at higher level of existence. That evil could occasionally have the upper hand was known and allowed by the Creator as a necessary consequence of giving the gift of free will to beings like us. Small particles of evil were scattered throughout the universe, but the sum total of all that evil was as a grain of sand on a vast beach compared to the goodness, abundance, hope and unconditional love in which the universe was literally awash. (p. 83)

Dr. Alexander never mentions the word sin one time. Evil is impersonal, no mention of a devil, no demons, just some sort of amorphous “evil” particles floating about the universe! We are given no explanation as to its origin, only that is seems never to be vanquished. According to Eben we really have free will but our world conspires against us to make us feel that we are not free. Thus any thoughts of being in “bondage to sin” (see Rom. 8:15) or being a “slave to sin” (John 8:34) are simply illusory in nature. Actually we are free as birds to choose how we live and react. Free will it seems has a lot more to do with our advancement, or not, in the spiritual realm.

But it is also hugely important, for our role here is to grow toward the Divine, and that growth is closely watched by the beings in the worlds above—the souls and lucent orbs (those beings I saw originally far above me in the Gateway, and which I believe are the origin of our culture’s concept of angels. (p. 84)

While in his altered state of being he reveals whom this ‘Divine’ personage is and how we are to fulfill our “role” on earth by growing toward the Divine.

God to Eben Is

This Being was so close that there seemed to be no distance at all between God and myself. Yet at the same time, I could sense the infinite vastness of the Creator, could see how completely minuscule I was by comparison. I will occasionally use Om as the pronoun for God because I originally used that name in my writings after my coma. “Om” was the sound I remembered hearing associated with that omniscient, omnipotent, and unconditionally loving God, but any descriptive word falls short. (p. 47)

We again read the language of all mystics “union with God” the feeling of “oneness” or merging with the infinite are commonly described. What amazes me is that Eben uses the ancient Hindu word “Om” which is defined below:

A mantric word thought to be a complete expression of Brahman and interpreted as having three sounds representing Brahma or creation, Vishnu or preservation, and Siva or destruction, or as consisting of the same three sounds, representing waking, dreams, and deep sleep, along with the following silence, which is fulfillment.

Eben previously shared that when he had a question the answer was immediately given to him. He never asks the name of the “god” speaking to him? Encounters between the human beings and the divine in the Bible usually include the desire on the part of humans to know the NAME of God or the being speaking to them (see Gen. 32:29; Ex. 3:13; Judges 13:17, etc.)

The name he associates with the being speaking to him is none less than one of Hinduism most revered titles/concepts/chants of their perversion of the Holy Trinity of the one true God. Here are a few insights from Om:

Om told me that there is not one universe but many—in fact, more than I could conceive—but that love lay at the center of them all. Evil was present in all the other universes as well, but only in the tiniest trace amounts. Evil was necessary because without it free will was impossible, and without free will there could be no growth—no forward movement, no chance for us to become what God longed for us to be. . . (p. 48)

Now we are faced with more new data that there are also multiple universes, many much more developed than our own. Sadly, evil is also present in all these universes but it does serve a purpose.

In Eben’s dualistic worldview he cannot conceive of existence apart from evil. The fact that he cannot escape his false dualism alone is more than enough proof that he in fact was trapped within his fallen flesh. Our fallen nature simply cannot conceptualize a non-dual existence. All we see and experience are cycles of birth and death, growth and decay, love and hate, mercy and vindictiveness etc. We cannot understand how there can be a life that is only and altogether truly good and truly loving. All I will say about this is that prior to their fall Adam and Eve knew only good. It sounds exactly like something a demon would say “there is a little evil throughout everything.”

I saw the abundance of life throughout the countless universes, including some whose intelligence was advanced far beyond that of humanity. I saw that there are countless higher, dimensions, but that the only way to know these dimensions is to enter and experience them directly. . . From those higher worlds one could access any time or place in our world. (pp 48-49)

Life on other planets is no longer speculation. There are countless universes filled with life on various developmental levels. On the cosmic side of reality there are again countless dimensions, some higher some lower. This is exactly the nonsense that the Gnostic’s taught and they were soundly rebuked by New Testament authors but also early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus, the patron “saint” of Heresy-hunters in his excellent book “Against Heresies.”

What Is Man?

Our truest, deeper self is completely free. It is not crippled or compromised by past actions or concerned with identity or status. . . This is the true spiritual self that all of us are destined someday to recover. . . This is the being living within all of us right now and that is, in fact, the being that God truly intends us to be. How do we get closer to this genuine spiritual self? By manifesting love and compassion. . . In order to return to that realm, we must once again become like that realm, even while we are stuck in, and plodding through, this one. (p. 85)

This is a lie from the deepest pits of Satan’s fetid demented mind, our truest nature prior to conversion is that of one who hates God (Luke 16:13), hates the light (John 3:20), is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) as well as being alienated from the life of God (Eph. 4:18).

The exact opposite of his CONcept is our reality. At our core we are sinful and unclean (Zac. 13:1) and we are not only crippled by our falleness to a ‘degree’; no we are much worse off than that. We are spiritually dead, cut off from our Creator. Mankind cannot in any way
shape or form transcend what his sordid reality is, that of a sinner under the just wrath of a holy God. No amount of attempted moral reformation will change our flesh; it cannot be trained or tamed. No good thing dwells in our flesh (Rom. 7:18). The flesh cannot become like heaven, sorry Eben any attempts to “once again become like that realm” leads only to despair or worse yet the delusion that one has conquered their flesh in this life!

How are we to get “closer” to this marvelous inner-sinner? Begin to do mercy works of love and compassion! Keep this FACT in mind: the more people turn into themselves, the closer they grow to their heart. What they will discover is that at the core of their being is pumping station spewing out filth continually? Of the human core or heart the Bible says:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

Those who counsel us to follow our hearts are counseling us straight to hell. Our hearts are not our guides nor are they the source of pure ANYTHING.

The readers and followers of Eben’s beliefs have a really big problem in following his pop-psychology directive. Their purpose in being loving and compassionate is simply a tool to gain self-knowledge. This will, like ALL other works-righteous endeavors, end in either pride or despair. One will feel proud if and when he does something he perceives as spiritual, say giving alms to a charity. Yet despair follows swiftly on the heels of all such works; that voice in his head says “you did not give as much as you could have, you should cut off the cable and give to the monks, yada yada yada.”

Not only do they have a problem with why they are to be loving and compassionate but they face the additional problem of not knowing what true love and compassion is apart from Jesus Christ. Essentially, Dr. Alexander is urging people to do the impossible and is so self-deceived that he thinks he is now walking in this exalted “Gandhi/Dali Lama” ocean of enlightenment.

As he is returning to his body (he never really left it) after the week long coma he gives us some more novel insights:

We are all in the position I was, in that we have other family: beings who are watching and looking out for us—beings we have momentarily forgotten, but who, if we open ourselves to their presence, are waiting to help us navigate our time here on earth. . . Each and every one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator. . .That knowledge must no longer remain a secret. (pp 95-96)

He is advising his readers to “open” themselves up to their presence. He does not tell anyone how to do this, which means [to me] that anyway that works for the individual is the “right” way. I have been writing about today’s mystics and their practices, any of these will open one up to familiar spirits (Lev. 19:31) and/or unclean spirits (Zac. 13:2; Matt. 12:43). You can fast for days; speak to yourself in tongues for hours, float in a sensory deprivation tank, use a Ouija board, crystals, yoga, have an experience imparted to one from someone else, etc.

The Bible never tells anyone to seek out power-encounters with angels or any spiritual beings, this includes Almighty God Himself. We are to walk by faith and not by what we see or feel (2 Cor. 5:7). God’s people are to be led by the Holy Spirit period (Rom. 8:14) and the manner in which He genuinely leads us is never separated from the Word of God.

Eben seems to stress the importance of these beings of light to help us and guide us. In his return to consciousness of the normal variety he says —

Then I realized that countless beings were surrounding me, kneeling in arcs that spread into the distance. Looking back on it now, I realize what these half-seen, half-sensed hierarchies of being, stretching out into the dark above and below, were doing. They were praying for me. . . These prayers gave me energy. . . These beings knew I was undergoing a transition, and they were singing and praying to help me keep my spirits up. (p. 103)

Now we know, angels are praying for us! This takes the role of the mediator from Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5) and relegates it to these intermediary beings, again error and Gnosticism. We have no one but our great High Priest to intercede on our behalf (Heb. 4:14).

In his direct communication with God he says

Instead, I felt like I was doing what every soul is able to do when they leave their bodies, and what we can all do right now through various methods of prayer or deep meditation. Communicating with God is the most extraordinary experience imaginable, yet at the same time it’s the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times. . . We are all connected as One through our divine link with God. (p.161)

He is not talking about prayer, but direct give-and-take talking between us and God. How does one know if it is indeed “God” who is speaking while in some deep altered state of mind? He ends chapter 33 with the basic New Age lie “God is present IN US at all times” (remember you can’t do anything wrong, so no need to worry about offending a holy God).

In returning from his NDE Alexander has come back with more good news—

Another aspect of the good news is that you don’t have to almost die to glimpse behind the veil—but you must do the work. . . but at the end of the day, we each have to go deep into our own consciousness, through prayer or meditation, to access these truths. (p.158)

Not only has he encouraged people to seek out “spiritual” beings (aka, ‘spirit guides’ in New Age parlance) for guidance and help; now he says we all can tap into the spiritual realm where God dwells through “deep” prayer and meditation. He also reveals that this is work on the part of the mystic seeker.

What utter drivel. Biblical prayer is never used as a tool to take one within, it is our hearts cry expressed towards our Father in the name of His Son empowered by the Holy Spirit. Biblical meditation is the exact opposite of empty-headed navel gazing! On the contrary it is actively engaging our minds on one of our God’s precepts to gain a proper understanding of our God, our relationship to Him and our neighbors.

The very title of his book is a deception. He gave no “proof” of heaven, not that I expected him to. His book offered nothing of any legitimate spiritual benefit. In fact, every insight he alleges to have gained while in the cosmic realm is nothing more than a restatement of Gnostic concepts, Hinduism, theosophy and New Age beliefs.

Eben Alexander did not mention anything about our Lord Jesus Christ, he cited no scriptures at all to attempt to buttress his experience and nothing he experienced agrees at all with the core doctrines of the Bible. His experience cemented in his mind that: (1) everybody goes to his heaven; (2) we’ve somehow been there before {reincarnation}; (3) we can do no wrong; (4) we have totally free and sovereign wills; (5) ‘God’ is in us all, He is also “in” all the universe {Panentheism}; (5) we can all experience the cosmic realm {astral projection}; (6) there is evil, but no personal sin; (7) to reach the true pure self, which is God’s desire, we must work at being loving and compassionate. Dr. Alexander is no longer a practicing surgeon due to his brain illness but his experience has led him to start a Foundation called The Eterna Foundation “The Convergence of Science and Spirituality” (http://www.eternea.org/ ). Their goal is to bring together various people who’ve had a NDE and work together via prayer, meditation and applied science to tap into the unseen heavenly realms!

It is obvious that due to his delusional experience and the age old demonic concepts revealed to him he is in desperate need of prayer because only God Himself can free him. Until Eben understands that he is thoroughly sinful and totally unacceptable to the True and Living God can he receive the blessed consolation offered only in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of all deadly sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God.”
— Martin Luther —

End Notes





Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP

30 08 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 8 – Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP – Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP

 Due the endorsement of Texas Governor Rick Perry a spotlight both secular and doctrinal has been placed squarely upon The International House of Prayer (IHOP). (1) Perry who is a Republican is running for the office of the Presidency and he has called for a day of prayer and fasting in Houston in August. A quote from a letter Perry sent to all 50 state governors says:

 I believe it will take a great amount of prayer, and a renewed commitment to spiritual principles, to get our nation back on track. Let us not delay in doing what is right for our people and their future. (2)

 Perry agrees with the proponents of extreme charismania so much so that he has asked Mike Bickle and his prayer warriors from IHOP to help in this event and Bickle’s group agreed and is involved. The let us not delay is referring to his upcoming prayer meeting and he, like all the extremists believe that their prayers will literally move the hand of God to manifest the things they have been decreeing in prayer. (3) [ I waited to finish this article until the prayer gathering occurred. People can listen to Governor Perry’s prayer online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvENzg61kw.  When you do you will notice that Jesus is not referenced in it at all, nor is the prayer addressed in His name, i.e. “whatever you ask the Father IN MY NAME” (John 14:13) I wonder if God the Father even “hears” prayers not offered in Jesus name].

 So What Is the Problem?

“Ok Bob what is so bad about a diverse group of Christians gathering together to fast and pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If anything, this sounds like something the Church and our society really need. . . more prayer, right?”

 It is without dispute that prayer is essential to our spiritual development and fellowship with our Lord. Christian voices alone are answered by heaven’s throne. (4)  This places a distinct burden on us who stand before the God of all creation as His royal priests (1 Peter 2:9) (5)  We do not have to pray…we get to pray! Prayer is one of the sacred privileges given to us by our loving Father to worship and extol His glorious virtues, to commune with Him, to pour out our hearts to the One who is easily touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). Prayer is a good thing; it should have a prominent place in our daily lives and every worship service. I would heartily agree with those who bemoan the fact that prayer is so often lacking in many church services. In rebuking those who bought and sold in the temple Jesus stated clearly that of all things—His house would be known as a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). One of the many aspects of our local worship service at Zion in Detroit is the amount of time given over to prayer. I can honestly say that Zion’s liturgical format is Christ centered and prayer driven. (6)

 Who among us when a serious enough need arises does not contact other people of like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1) especially with e-mail and Facebook. If we are really honest about it we are all a little superstitious when it comes to prayer. Many think that if a certain person prays for them, then they will receive their petitions, others believe if enough people pray sincerely enough that will move God to acquiesce to our demand(s). After all, if two people pray for something, that is one thing, but if say 50 or 100 bombard the throne room of heaven surely God will hear and act in accordance to our wishes, Right? Not necessarily.

 Like many beautiful things prayer can be twisted and turned into something that is ugly and totally unacceptable to God. This is the concern regarding IHOP, they have taken things given by God to the Church, (in this case prayer, fasting, music) and turned it into something God had not intended for it to be. They have taken prayer which is a good thing and they have added one too many “o’s”—prayer is a good thing, but in this case it is not a God thing.

 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. Numbers 16:17-19

 In the above text we see the Aaron and his sons taking their censer, incensing it and offering it to the Lord. The Lord responded by manifesting His glory. Incense is generally accepted to symbolize prayer offered to the Lord (see Revelation 5:4,8; 8:3) and in this case the Lord accepted it. However, one of the most sobering cases of ministerial malpractice is shown to us in the lives of the first Jewish high priest Aaron:

 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3

 These priests, members of the covenant family took their same censers and fired them up and put on the same incense and offered them to the same God. God did not come in His manifest presence to fellowship with them, instead a devouring fire went out from the Lord and devoured them in the tent of meeting where they stood. The same activity, the same people, the same God, yet the first was accepted and their own inventive “liturgy” brought nothing but God’s wrath upon themselves. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord and were judged for it. The point should be obvious — all prayer is not necessarily acceptable to the Lord. I would postulate that today it is still possible for God’s people to offer strange fire to the Lord via the incense of their prayers.

 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:5-13

 Our Master was a man of prayer. It is obvious from His life that prayer was massively important to Him. After preaching Jesus sends the multitude away and goes away by Himself to pray “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, (Matthew 14:23). (7) We see Jesus praying all night long in the following text: “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came…, (Luke 6:12-13)  (8)   He often went alone and apart from both the people and His disciples to pray to His Father. What do you think Jesus was doing during His 40 days of fasting in the wilderness? (9)  Yes Jesus even commanded that His disciples both pray (Matthew 6:7; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:2) and fast (Matthew 6:16). According to Jesus prayer and fasting are not optional accessories that can decorate one’s spiritual life or not. No, they are vital ingredients to a vibrant and fruit-filled Christian walk. Let me state it another way — if Jesus Himself needed to pray (and do it quite a bit) and fast, then how much more do we need to? It is an interesting study to take some time and look up the passages regarding our Lord and prayer. (10)

 After taking time to re-read through all the passages regarding Jesus prayer life you have found some interesting facts. First of all Jesus never held prayer rallies. He never held any type of mass prayer meetings, nor did He ever pray all night with His disciples. When He did ask His friends to come and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane they fell asleep on several occasions (Matthew 26:41). This may shock you but He did not pray for the world (John 17:9). You will have noted in Matthew 6 some directives given by our master which are to govern our prayer life.

 First He says don’t be like the hypocrites who like to gather and prayer aloud to be seen of men. Now, as a former Pentecostal & charismatic extremist (11)  (there is a difference) I can tell you that people act differently in groups than when they are alone. Part of this is normal acceptable behavior, yet much of it involves the myriad of masks we put on when we are around others.  There used to be an old motivational poster that said “integrity is what you do when no one is watching,” which ought to be true spiritually too. Many people attend these massive prayer meetings to be seen and often to see others. You want to see people who want ot be seen as deeply spiritual?

 Go to any IHOP gathering or just a local all-night charismatic shut-in. For example the women who lay on their backs with the legs bent and spread, pelvises thrusting toward the sky screaming out unintelligible gibberish want to be seen as giving birth to revival (I kid you not). The man jogging in place flapping his arms in the corner is either in ecstasy or is doing the pee-pee dance, in any event he draws attention and so it goes. Jesus says don’t pray to be seen by others. Your prayer life alone should mirror what it is around others. If you don’t raise your hands in private, why do it in public? Don’t prostrate yourself at home, don’t do it in the church.

 Next Jesus goes on to warn against using vain repetitions like the heathen do! Naturally, when the Lord tells people not to do something, they do and do the exact opposite and do it all the more. This too is pandemic among all tongue-talking prayer warriors. As one who spent hours each day praying in other tongues, as well as being in charge of prayer meetings I can attest that most of what is uttered by anyone in other tongues today consists mainly of vain repetitions. If you listen to anyone “pray” in other tongues for more than a few minutes you will

 Naturally, worship has now taken on an entirely new meaning for these fledgling Christians (at this point the word had not even been coined) whereas before they had been looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, now He has come and His flock await His return. The liturgy did not change, but the true underlying meaning behind the liturgy was now full understood and thus it became more meaningful in the lives of the disciples.

 quickly hear them saying the same syllables over and over again, sometimes softly at other times in a loud voice, but the same words. Charismatic prayer meetings are vocalized in other tongues, I mean a good 90% of the meeting are not in English apart from giving a general directive “the Lord wants us to cover India in prayer” then off we’d go in the spirit. It is just as true today as when Jesus first uttered His words “for they think they shall be heard for their many words,” This is the underlying belief and motivation of the IHOP — if they can just get enough people praying seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day especially when this is combined with fasting and music surely God will answer from heaven. Yet before we get ahead of ourselves we have to consider the historical roots behind IHOP in order to discern its doctrinal foundation.

 A Somewhat Brief History of IHOP

 Even though Mike Bickle’s non-profit “IHOP” is being sued for trademark infringement by The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) (12) we will continue to use the acronym until the case is settled to refer to the enthusiastic prayer warriors.

 Originally IHOP did not stand for “The International House of Prayer,” originally it was an acronym for Intercession, Holiness, Offerings and Prophecy. Where did this revelatory insight come from? From no less a luminary than the self-proclaimed prophet & exposed homosexual and drunkard Paul Cain, the spiritual mentor of Mike Bickle, the current SINister over The IHOP.  (13)

 Founded 12 years ago by Mike Bickle, a self-trained evangelical pastor, with a group of 20, the International House of Prayer, in a former strip mall, now draws tens of thousands of worshipers to its revival meetings. A wholly devoted cadre of 1,000 staff members, labeled missionaries, has given up careers to move here, living off donations and spending several hours a day in the prayer hall to revel in what they describe as direct communication with God. Another thousand students attend the adjacent Bible college, preparing to spread this fervent brand of Christianity. (14)

 True enough on the surface; Bickle did start IHOP around September of 1999. Since then they like to boast that prayer, fasting and praise to the Lord have been unceasing since that time. According to their web site—

 The International House of Prayer of Kansas City is an evangelical missions organization that is committed to praying for the release of the fullness of God’s power and purpose, as we actively win the lost, heal the sick, feed the poor, make disciples, and impact the seven spheres of society–family, education, government, economy, arts, media, and religion…We refer to our full-time staff at the International House of Prayer as ‘intercessory missionaries.” They raise their own support to work as full-time missionaries who reach out to others from a lifestyle of prayer and worship. Today, about 2,000 believers (staff, students, and interns) serve full-time, investing fifty hours per week, as they go from the prayer room to the classroom and then to ministry outreaches and works of service. Also, as those who are committed to the forerunner message, we are preparing ourselves to prepare others for the unique dynamics of the generation in which the Lord returns. (15)

 One thing to keep in mind is that IHOP did not just suddenly “spring up” into existence. The concept is an amalgamation of some obscure strings of thought from various charismatic luminaries. As mentioned in a prior article much of today’s extremism can be traced back to George Warnock’sFeast of Tabernacles, along with Franklin Hall’s Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting and David Wesley Myland’s book The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power. These books form the core of extremist beliefs today. Oh I suppose I should add in Kevin Conner’s The Tabernacle of David and maybe Hall’s book How to Raise the Dead (DMI has a copy of it too) (16)

 All of the aforementioned books speak of a fairytale world where virtually all believers will walk this earth (prior to Christi’s return) as true sons of God. The concept of sonship is very important to these people. The Greek terms used for “son” in the N.T. are not all the same designations. Some times son denotes an infant or at other times a young boy. To these folks the goal is to become a mature fully developed spiritual man. A man who now walks in the manifest presence of God, one who is used in any and all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that the most common term denoting sons of God, not some designation for the spiritual elite.

 Deeply planted in the minds of the extremist is the concept of the power of God. We know a little of His power is from our reading of the Bible. The question they ask is how does one go about obtaining His power and establishing the Kingdom of God on earth to the degree of ever vanquishing death (1 Corinthians 15:26). It has long been written about (see above books), preached in private leadership meetings, and whispered among the devotees that the day is coming and might be upon us where God will raise up a flock of “eagle saints” who will have risen on the wings of faith to such a degree that even death will bow before them! Naturally, such a belief must contain the reality of complete victory of all indwelling sin & every vestige of this fallen world. These so-called eagle saints, or manifest sons of God (MSOG) will have achieved complete sanctification in this life through a series of spiritual impartations, much fasting, prayer, Bible study, meditation. According to their belief system the best way in which a person can grow to become an eagle saint is to be in a growth environment with people who are all in agreement with the same spiritual goals. False prophet (real profit) Bill Hamon makes the following statements in his book The Eternal Church:

 Each restorational advancement of the Army of the Lord has established denominational forts that are given responsibility to maintain the purity and power of that truth…New recruits are now being drafted and trained and older soldiers and generals are being put through intensified training for the next advancement of the Church Army. They are being purified by the Baptism of Fire… Are you ready? Where do you start? What will you do? A new government must be established, a new way of life for those millions of people. You are now ready to rule and reign on your overcomer’s throne!… The Earth and all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the time when they will come into their maturity and immortalization. . . . When the Church receives its full inheritance and redemption then creation will be redeemed from its cursed condition of decay, change and death . . . The Church has a responsibility and ministry to the rest of creation. Earth and its natural creation is anxiously waiting for the Church to reach full maturity and come to full sonship. When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation. (17)

 Hamon, whom we’ve already written about received his “call” into prophetic ministry in the late 1950’s as a young boy at a revival meeting led by an early restored prophet of the New Order of the Latter Rain. For many years Hamon has been allegedly training and releasing thousands of prophets into the earth. His books are often the text books in charismatic Bible “schools.” Mr. Bickle and Mr. Hamon are ministry friends and support one another in the prophetic movement. Hamon is the mentor, Bickle the disciple in that Hamon cut his teeth on NOLR doctrine which he got straight from the horses’ mouth so to speak. Bickle got his doctrines second hand, but as we shall see he has learned them well and has implemented them all in the IHOP.

 The underlying concept behind the sign-gift people is that of restoration. They believe at some point the Church lost what God had revealed to her and along with that lost revelation the Church lost the dynamic power of God. When this loss happened depends upon who you ask, there is no one answer only many theories. It really does not matter to them as to when this loss of knowledge/power occurred what is important is that they agree it did happen. They love to cite the following text “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).

 Every non sign-gift denomination and congregation is placed into this category. Every one outside the sign-gift community is considered a low-wattage believer who will barely make heaven. If you do some basic Church history study you will learn that every movement within the Church or from outside have been groups asserting that they and their group are the true restored Church. Some groups have based their claim on restored truth, formerly lost revelation now revealed to their prophets. This would include people like Judge Rutherford, Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Helen G. White, Mary Baker Eddy and a host of other damnably deluded fools. Others claim restored Biblical truths, restored miraculous powers, restored foundational offices (prophet & apostle specifically) and now divine revelation called “present day truth” (2 Peter 1:12). IHOP falls into this second category of restorationists and in that sense they are not anything new on the scene.

 Bickle like all extremists take the Book of Acts to be their manual on how to “do” church. The extremists make the mistake of taking the Book of Acts to be the normative pattern for all of Christian life until Christ returns. (18) They fail to read with understanding.

 Acts is an historical account, not a doctrinal treatise, although there is doctrine in Acts. Acts was not meant to be normative until Christ return.

 In Acts not every Christian went around working miracles and healing the sick. Peter did not spend all his time walking about on really sunny days so folks could be healed by his shadow (Acts 5:15), nor did Peter start a “Healing Crusade” throughout Palestine.

 The Apostles did not go around imparting/releasing spiritual gifts into masses of people. For example from the Day of Pentecost until the time Cornelius’ household received the Spirit with the evidence of other languages was ten (10) years apart (see Acts 10:40-44) ! It was not a usual occurrence, re-read the account yourself, the apostles themselves were surprised.

 At no time since the death of the Apostle John have any Church expressions duplicated what occurred in the Book of Acts (which is why restorationists say the church lost its power somewhere somehow).

 Today’s extremists deny these four facts about the Book of Acts. To them Acts is the pattern of the victorious Church. They read of people having open visions of angels (Acts 12:8); divine teleportation (Acts 8:39) something Jesse Duplantis swears happened to him in his book Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind; demons cast out (Acts 16:18), people raised from the dead (Acts 20:10) David Hogan claims to have raised over 400 people from the dead and people actually believe him. Women who were prophetesses (Acts 21:9), obviously if God spoke through these women He will speak through women today, right? These are simply a few of the examples these folks love to examine. Everything supernatural in Acts is supposed to be our daily experience as Christians, and if not the sheep, then most assuredly our leaders. It is because of this faulty understanding of the book of Acts combined with insights from Warnock/Hall/Conner that IHOP emerged.

 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things Acts 15:15-17

 The IHOP started more with a prophetic basis (Paul Cain’s input) and it seems some Scriptures were cherry-picked to support their revealed word. In fact their own web site states as much:

 Over the last 25 plus years, the Lord has graciously given us about 25 powerful prophetic experiences that provide insight into what will happen in the days ahead in Kansas City, the USA, and other nations. These supernatural experiences were given to several prophetic people in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They include times when various believers saw the Lord, heard God’s audible voice, saw an angel, or had prophetic dreams that were dramatically confirmed. These prophetic experiences are referred to as IHOP-KC’s prophetic history. Scripture, being the highest standard and guardian of truth, is our primary light in a dark world. However, the Lord sometimes gives us prophetic experiences to highlight aspects of our specific ministry assignment and to strengthen us in our faith to believe for the release of His extraordinary blessing. (19)

 Remember what I just wrote about their view of Acts? Prophetic experiences, seeing Jesus, hearing audible voices, seeing an angel. . .”Scripture being the highest standard and guardian of truth is our primary light” [but not our only one]. Primary can mean first as in chief or primary can mean the first reference sought or first in a line of several. Extremist Tommy Tenney, author of the best seller The God Chasers stated that the Bible contained the dusty footprints of where God had been but now we had to rely on the Holy Spirit to take us to new experiences and revelations that continue where the bible stops. Extremists believe that the that the 29th chapter of the Book of Acts is being written today.

 After making his one weak statement on the semi-sufficiency of Scripture Bickle goes on to say “however,” meaning that yes we look to the Bible but the Lord gives us additional prophetic experiences outside of the Bible. There has been an alarming downward spiritual turn in the charismatic renewal since the early 1990’s.

[A SHORT BUT IMPORTANT RABBIT TRAIL BEGINS HERE]

The extremists took a further step towards cult status during the beginning of the so called “Toronto Blessing” which I have already proven beyond question in my book The Two Roots of Today’s Revival was demonically inspired and empowered and transmitted by men. When critics, such as myself and other heresy-hunters began to contact pastor Arnott (which I did) Kilpatrick, Rodney Howard Browne (the Holy Ghost bartender) and others about our concerns over what was being taught and practiced we were then told what has now become the official party-line when challenged about their unbiblical doctrines & practices.

 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25

 In expressing my concerns to former Pastor Arnott (20) and warning him that if he did not explain himself biblically I would have no recourse but to warn the Body of Christ to the fullest extent of my ability (Matthew 18:17) as meager as that may be. His response was to cite John 21:25 as his way of explaining spiritual drunkenness, making of animal sounds by the guest Pastor as he attempted to read the Scriptures and some other excesses we witnessed and videotaped. Everything that was done simply falls into the category of the “many other things which Jesus did” that are not recorded in the bible (keep in mind these people think they are writing the last chapter of Acts now). How then are we to judge such expressions?  Simple.  We are to believe in the revelations and prophetic directives given by the restored apostles and prophets. So spiritual drunkenness is from the Holy Spirit because John Arnoot/Kilpratrick/Hogan (___insert a name) says it is, and after all, God has called them to, in Kilpatrick’s own words “shepherd the revival” ergo he and the other leaders know what is from the Spirit and what is not, they are the authority in these cases since the Bible is silentDoes that seem strange to you?  Isn’t this what happened in the early church (the pattern)? Originally the Apostles took what Scriptures they had, the O.T. and received new insight into it via The Spirit. God has changed not (MalachI 3:6) and so today we can/should expect God to speak to His apostles and prophets and they then will faithfully reveal it to the Church, who will out of loving obedience to godly authority DO what the apostles and prophets direct. Whenever any leader attempts to lead people away from the Bible and into subjective experiences and asks them to place faith in their new revelations, then those people have departed from the one true and holy Apostolic Church. How so? When people reject the sole authority of Scripture and have added alongside it subjective revelations and experiences which they deem authoritative on the basis of a shared consensus, then these people have left the sure anchor of their souls (Hebrews 6:19) and are adrift on a sea of darkness and human speculation.

 [END OF THIS RABBIT TRAIL]

 IHOP came into being as a direct result of these main influences (1) assorted historical prayer movements, (2) concepts on power prayer, power fasting, power worship gleaned from the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR), and (3) one text from the New Testament.

 Bickle is correct when he comments that there were various prayer movements in the history of the Church. He mentions the Moravians, a Pietistic group led by Count Zinzendof and their admirable history of continual prayer. The next major movement he cites is the “Prayer Mountain” started in 1973 by Dr. Paul Cho, charismatic extremist with the largest church in the world. (21) Bickle cites other examples on his web site (22) and he attributes great spiritual moves of God directly to these various prayer endeavors.

 From his study of revival history he came away with the conviction that if enough people pray with sincerity and passion long enough then God will answer the pleas ascending to His throne by these tireless prayer warriors (Luke 11:9). Extremists base their staunch position that whatever God did for others in the past He is obligated to do the same and more for us, because He does not change (Mal. 3:6) and He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11) and since these are the last days we can expect ALL THINGS to now be restored (Acts 3:21).

 Bickle took his own conclusions from prayer movements of the past and added the “power” component that the NOLR SINisters taught him. Since the late 1940’s the vast majority of Pentecostal / charismatic books are focused on some facet of the power of God and how to obtain it and use it. Prayer ceased to be simple communion with our Lord, crying out our hearts to Him in both joy and sadness, in plenty and in want. No, for these members of Joel’s army, these proto-Manifest Sons of God (MSOG) prayer becomes a tool in the hands of the adept by which he or she decrees things into existence (Job 22:28), subdues the principalities and powers, releases weal or woe.

 With these two legs of his stool in place Bickle simply needed to add the Biblical “leg” of his work in progress, The IHOP. Charismatic extremists are highly gullible, but they still require some sort of Biblical text to at least cast the dimmest of Biblical light upon their beliefs. Extremists are quick to cite Acts 2:1-6 where the people were all gathered together in prayer and the Lord shook the place and three thousand souls were saved due to Peter’s prayer-fueled Spirit anointed preaching. First came prayer (directed by the Lord) THEN came the Holy Spirit with POWER — anointing the prayer warriors, chief of whom was the Apostle Peter whom preached under the anointing and thousands were saved. So in Bickle’s mind and now the minds of thousands of people the account means this today: a group of people in one accord (aka spiritual agreement) praying equals revival. Let everything be established by at least two witnesses (2 Cor. 13:1) so Bickle initially attempted to use Acts 15:16 as his key scriptural proof text.

 The context of Scripture means little to nothing to extremists. Read any recognized biblical commentary and they all uniformly agree that this passage has absolutely nothing to do with the re-establishment of Davidic worship as a pattern for the Church nor does it have anything to do with the return of Christ. When Bickle was confronted with the irrefutable context and thus true meaning of the text he backed off and now states on his web site:

 We affirm that the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority. (Lk. 18:7-8; Mt. 21:13; Rev. 5:8, 8:3-5, 22:17; Isaiah 62:6-7; Joel 2:12-17, 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the tabernacle of David… In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord night and day. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians. (23)

 Bickle had to back off from declaring what he has created is in fact the re-established Davidic tabernacle and must settle for being merely in the spirit of Davidic worship. By way of quick review the three legs of Bickle’s wobbly throne are his view of revival history combined with heretical and aberrant teachings of the NOLR buttressed by a few texts that were wrest from their contextual setting. This is how the rapidly growing phenomena of The IHOP got started.

 Next month we will consider the three key ingredients that comprise a “service” at IHOP and what these ingredients are supposed to facilitate in both heaven and on earth!

 Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. For more information go to http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/uhj

2. Continue reading on Examiner.com Rick Perry bases call for national salvation on “Joel’s Army” cult movement – National Political Buzz | Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/uhj#ixzz1SgLaYnXs

 3. Charismatic extremists are besotted with their false concepts of the “anointing,” which they define as the tangible-power of God given by the Spirit to believers. This power can be increased or decreased by the believers’ actions. Like Baskin-Robbins there are many flavors of the anointing and these folks hope to tap into the three major levels of anointing in these IHOP meetings. They teach there is a priestly anointing, a prophetic anointing and a kingly anointing (the decreeing anointing Job 22:28). They base this on some Old Testament references and couple it with the fact that Jesus ministered as a prophet, priest and King. Thus as His disciples who are called to go and do greater works than Jesus Himself (John 14:12) {according to their beliefs} then it only stands to reason that we too must have access to these levels of mystical power. Fortunately through the restored ministries of the apostle (I call them opossums)and prophets (whom I denote as profits) the disciples again has access to these endowments of power.

 4. I believe that God does not answer the prayers of unbelievers. Why? Because all prayer is offered to God in the name of His Son our Lord Jesus (John 14:13) and how can one pray in His holy name if they do not even believe in Him?

5. I do agree with our sign-gift brethren that part of our role as priests before God is to offer prayers on the behalf of the citizens of the Kingdom and those outside its sphere.

 6. I am a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Detroit (LCMS). We are unique in virtually all of the LCMS denomination due to our emphasis on adhering to the best of the Church’s reformation liturgical history. We are unapologetically a “smells & bells” congregation, as ministers we wear vestments according to the historic Church Year, we follow the historic One Year lectionary and much of our time together is devoted to prayer.

 7. The Holy Bible: English standard version 2001 (Mt. 14:22-23). Wheaton Standard Bible Society.

8. Ibid.

9. If anything this is the only genuine “40 Day of Purpose” in the Bible.

 10. Please understand I am not confusing the things the Jesus only could do as our Savior and the God-man. What I am saying regarding His prayer life and His directive “When ye fast” to mean these practices are not optional in the life of the believer. I believe that the Word of God creates faith that brings about willing obedience to God’s Word via the work of the Holy Spirit. Ergo, what we hear the Bible teach on prayer and fasting correctly, it creates a desire to do that which is pleasing to our Lord and God. As I like to say, it is not a “have to” but a “get to” and even more, now with a new heart (Eze. 36:26) the inner man desires to please the Lord (Romans 7:22).

 11. I initially joined the Pentecostal Church of god one of the original Pentecostal denominations formed around 1914-1916. Later on I left that congregation and joined a Word of Faith congregation replete with a Rhema graduate “pastor/prophet” Joseph Frye. Traditional Pentecostals are doctrinally the same as fundamentalist Baptists just add tongues (admittedly a reductionist comment). Charismatics come from all denominations & have no real centralized headquarters an amorphous bunch to be sure.

 12. Article can be read at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20016654-504083.html

13. Article is available at http://www.freepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2521723/posts as of 08-11-11

14. Quote obtained from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html?_r=3 on 08-14-11. ‘

15. Obtained from http://www.ihop.org/Groups.aspx?ID=1000036203 on 08-14 Underlining added for emphasis

16. The first three major texts I have cited are available on our CD Rom research disk on the New Order of the Latter Rain. For a mere $25.00 one can have a huge collection of out-of-print materials, some video and audio clips, overheads, pictures, sermons, etc.

17. Hamon, Bill, The Eternal Church p. 385, Destiny Image publication. Underlining added for emphasis.

 18. I cannot stress this fact enough. Acts is seen as the model, the norm for our Christian life. They fail to take into account that the book itself was written as a historical account of what took place. Although there is doctrine contained in Acts, it is not a source of Church doctrine per se. They posit that when they see miracles stopping in the Church that must have been the point at which power was lost, as more obvious false doctrines began to be accepted they would say that is when revelation was lost.

 19. Obtained from http://mikebickle.org/resources/series/38 Underlining added for emphasis.

 20. He left the Toronto Airport church as pastor to shepherd the revival as he likes to call it. There is some mystery as to whether he left on his own or he was asked to heave. I believe the latter due to all the attending problems of trying to pastor a church with members while entertaining out of country guests 7 days a week for a few years. Burn out occurs especially among the members who get shunted aside. Also, Kilpatrick from the Pensacola Outpouring also lost his pulpit when the fires died down and the fraudulent financial practices and faked manifestations came to light. They both can be found at the Holy Spirit revival at “The Bay” in Texas.

 21. I do not mean the largest charismatic church. I mean the LARGEST CHURCH & CONGREGATION in the history of the world (what does that teach us about the “narrow way.”?)





The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

1 06 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 5 – The Prophetic Movement in Our Time by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

 The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

By Robert S. Liichow  

Christ cannot return until His ascension gift ministries have brought the Church into full manhood.” Prophet Bill Hamon  

 D.M.I. has received several e-mails expressing concern over the so-called “Prophetic Movement,” and we have been urged to write again about what is going on in this popular and growing segment of the charismatic renewal.

 Throughout the post-apostolic history of the Church there have always been people who have claimed to be “prophets” speaking a newly revealed divine word from God. Without exception, every one of these individuals has been rejected by the orthodox Church. Certainly, these deluded individuals have had their followers but by in large these folks remained at the fringes of Christianity and their impact was slight.

 It was not until the 1940’s that the concept of God restoring the office and ministry of the prophet became popularized and this mainly through the ministry of William Branham. Branham boldly declared himself “God’s prophet.” The validation for his claim was the alleged sign gifts; the word of Knowledge, the word of wisdom (1) (see 1 Cor. 12:8) and divine healing. Due to his apparent ability to reveal past and present events (including embarrassing sins) of peoples lives coupled with the various testimonies of divine healing proved to the less astute that God was indeed with Branham. In their minds, God was confirming Branham’s word with signs following (see Mark 16:20).

 In 1947 a Pentecostal minister named George Hawtin, the head of what was then called “The Sharon Work” in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and several students and faculty attended a Branham meeting they even received an impartation from Branham through laying on of hands. Hawtin and his followers went back to their school marveling at what they had seen and experienced. At the same time a book written by Franklin Hall, a Pentecostal teacher and healer was being widely circulated among Pentecostal believers entitled “Atomic Power with God through Prayer and Fasting.” (2) Hall claimed that God was not only restoring all the sign gifts back to the Church (nothing new in that claim) but that He was going to cause a group of super-saints to arise, believers who would be physically immortal!

 These super-saints, aka manifest sons of God (3) (see Rom. 8:19) literally will take dominion over the entire world and then present it, a Christianized planet to the returning Jesus.

 The Branham encounter and Hall’s writings had a profound effect on George Hawtin and in the summer of 1948 the Sharon Brethren held a revival meeting which attracted that generation’s hungry sign-seekers (read Jesus’ opinion of such in Matt. 12:39) Hawtin and ministers interpreted the advent of Branham, Hall’s revelations, and the subsequent revival meeting at Sharon as being proof that what was happening to the Church was nothing less than the beginning of the outpouring of God’s “Latter Rain.”

 Please understand that sign-gift people throughout Church history have interpreted the Pentecost of Acts 2 as being the “former rain” of God’s which would vastly overshadow anything done in the time of the former rain (see Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23).

 Almost every group of restorationists have claimed that their group was the recipient of the “latter rain.” The heretic Montanus (4) in approximately 170 AD was one of the first sign-gift restorers to make such claims. Edward Irving in England, thought he and his group were oing to restore the Church. In America, Alexander Dowie claimed to be Elijah, the Restorer in his “holy” city of Zion, IL. He had planned to build Zion’s all over the world, but after his declaration of being Elijah he was stricken with a stroke, and his plans to establish the Kingdom of God on earth never materialized. The people at Azusa widely claimed to be receiving the latter rain. David Wesley Myland wrote the first Pentecostal treatise on this belief entitled “The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power.” (5) Now almost exactly 40 years later a new generation of sign-gift folks were laying claim to being those chosen to receive the latter rain of God’s Spirit! These extremists made such a strong claim regarding the latter rain, that their fledgling movement became known as “The New Order of the Latter Rain”.

Restoration of the Church Is Key

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21.

Ever since Montanus various people have risen up claiming that God is restoring some facet of “lost” truth through them. This is particularly true for Latter Rain disciples. Jesus must remain in the heavens until God has restored all things lost to the Church. One thing all the restorationists agree about is that the Church has been a failure. The Body of Christ seems to have trouble holding onto things the Spirit of God reveals to it. Ultimately such beliefs cast aspersions upon the Head of the Body, which is Christ Jesus.

 Bill Hamon, who can probably be rightly considered the father of the modern prophetic movement has written prolifically on the theme of this alleged end-time restoration of the ministry of the prophet and apostle. Naturally, he himself is a restored prophet, who has recently received the mantle of apostle. According to Hamon, there are nine distinct eras in which God has successively restored “lost” truths to the Church.

 Not only is the Acts 3:19 text used as proof of the need for restoration, the Prophetic Movement teachers also cite Hebrews 6:1-2 to further bolster their argument:

 Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Chrison unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2

Hamon and the other Latter teachers interpret this text to be dispensational in the following manner:  

 When the first six doctrines are restored, then the seventh one, ultimate perfection, can be restored. Doctrine number five, the resurrection of the dead, and number six, eternal judgment, will produce a Church restoration movement before the general resurrection and the great white throne eternal judgment. (9)

Hamon continues to write in his book that it is the Prophetic & Apostolic Movements which will be the key to bringing about the restoration of doctrines 5 & 6 which then ultimately bring to pass number 7, ultimate perfection.

 Under the larger aegis of “restoration,” the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s had other specific doctrinal beliefs, which have become part of the Charismatic movement in general.

** Some of the major distinctions, which separate them from the orthodox Church, are:

 Restorationism –This further development of restoration theology viewed God as progressively restoring truths to the church since the Reformation.

 Fivefold MinistryThe teaching that God is restoring apostles and prophets to the church to function with the three other gifted offices: evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11). Apostles and prophets provide direction with new revelation that will play a major role in paving the way for Christ’s second coming. Remember that Jesus cannot return until the prophets & apostles are fully functioning. Hamon goes so far as to make dispensations oout of these to in the following manner.

 Laying on of the HandsA ritual by which the restored apostles and prophets are “anointed” to impart the Holy Spirit and other spiritual blessings and gifts to yielded vessels.

 ProphecyViews the practice of “personal prophecy” as being restored to the church. Prophecy would no longer be restricted to general words of exhortation, but would include personal detailed revelations for guidance and instruction. Prophecy is also given to entire congregations for direction. All “Spirit-filled” Christians can prophesy, but not all are called to be prophets.

 Recovery of True Worship The belief that God’s manifested presence is dependent upon a certain order of worship involving singing in tongues, clapping, shouting, singing prophecies, and a new order of praise dancing. It is common in most charismatic services to have long praise and worship services, which will include corporate singing in tongues, corporate dancing, as well as dance “ministry.” Waving banners, pageantry, ritualized dance are all seen as a restored truths.

 Immortalization of the Saints The belief that those believers moving in the truth of Latter-Rain restoration, not necessarily all in the church, will attain an immortal state before Jesus returns. This message has been toned way down and it is not currently being taught openly, but it is discussed in private pastor level meetings.

 Unity of the FaithThe doctrine that the church, usually perceived to be a band of overcomers in neo-Pentecostal ranks, will attain unity in the faith before Christ returns. The main hindrance to this unity is doctrine. Bible doctrine divides believers, thus all that divides must be set aside and people must unite around the truths (doctrines) being currently revealed by the restored prophets and apostles.

Deliverance Latter Rain disciples emphasized a strong belief in the power of demons to inhabit Christians. Christians could be demon possessed and various “deliverance” churches and ministries sprang up to cast demons out of believers.

 By 1950 these basic tenets of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) had become dogma to many sign-seekers. However, all was not happiness and joy within the Pentecostal arena. Branham was teaching that all denominations (including Pentecostal ones) were the great whore of Babylon and that true believers must come out from among them in order to be saved.

The Sharon brotherhood was busy telling people that they were the only ones authorized to impart gifts (various other ministries began to claim this ability too). These concepts decimated the Assembly of God denomination. Many A/G pastors left their denomination and became independent congregations and placed themselves under the authority of the new prophetic presbytery of the Sharon brotherhood.

This problem was so severe that the A/G leadership in 1950 held a conference and the leadership produced a statement that denounced the doctrines of the NOLR as heretical. Some pastors returned to the A/G and it seemed that much of the initial energy of the NOLR was diminished. NOLR teachers were more or less shunted to the sideline of the sign-gift believers…yet they did not stop teaching and writing books.

 Even though the A/G’s stand for doctrinal truth was commendable, the damage had already been done. The “genie” of restored prophets, and later on apostles, had been let out of the proverbial bottle and there was no way to get him to go back in. Hundreds of independent latter rain congregations were being formed apart from any denominational oversight and from these churches the errors of the NOLR were propagated and expanded.

 In 1952, after reading Hall’s book on how to gain “Atomic Power” from God Hamon dedicated himself to fasting. After a long fast, a prophet came to his church and spoke a word over him, a word that changed the direction of his life.  What as the result of this  prophetic encounter? “For some thirty years later, Bill would be raised up as a pioneer and a worldwide leader in restoring the offie and ministry of the prophet into Christ’s Church with full recognition and authority.” (11) Here is one of Hamon’ more famous revelations: 

 That company of prophets is being raised up in the 1980’s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent along being prepared to be released within the Church. (12)  

In the 6,000 years of recorded biblical history there are less than 30 individuals named as genuine prophets of the Lord! Yet, Hamon says “God” revealed to him that there are 10,000 prophets in America alone. Hamon’s revelation is more in line with the Bible where it says:

 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

A plethora of false prophets invaded the early church and now 2,000 years later, we are again being inundated with these deluded people.

Hamon is the individual who is behind the very lucrative concept of holding “School of the Prophets” seminars where people can come for a very high fee and have the prophetic gift imparted to them or released by Hamon or the other prophets participating in the meeting.  Remember Hamon is the product of an independent latter rain church that is why he firmly believes he has the ability to bestow spiritual gifts and/or release them in the sign-seekers life 

 When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. (13)

 

The Role of the Prophet Today

 The prophets have been given the anointing and responsibility to receive from Christ the proper revelation and application of these Scriptures. They are hidden from the eyes of men until God’s time for that truth to be restored and established. (14)

The Scriptures Hamon refers to concern those truths, which must be restored so Jesus can return (see Acts 3:19). It is the restored prophet(s) who alone will receive the proper revelation of the Bible and also the proper application of these texts. This is why the Church needs to receive these prophetic men and women. They are the ones who will guide the Church into perfection.

 The prophets prepare the way for the second coming of Christ by bringing revelation knowledge on the Scriptures that must be fulfilled before Christ can return. The Church apostles and prophets have been commissioned with that anointing and responsibility. (15)

Prophets do not need to attend seminary or have any formal education whatsoever. What they teach comes to them by divine revelation of God Himself. The prophets today are here to give the Church the “correct” insight and interpretation of the Bible. What is more, these restored prophets claim all the power and authority of the biblical prophets:

 Church prophets function in all the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the New Testament gift of the prophet standing in the role of Christ, the Prophet. (16)

 The modern day prophets are parallel to those of the Old Testament. (17)

They declare that they operate in the same manner and same authority as both Old and New Testament prophets. Yet they do not hold themselves to the same biblical standard which governed the words of the Bible prophets.

 The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. That will in turn bring about the end of this world system of humanity and Satan’s rule. The fulfillment of all these things will release Christ. (18)

 The role of prophets and apostles today is to bring divine order, unity, purity and spiritual maturity to the Church. Well, if Hamon is correct and the prophetic movement was “officially” inaugurated in 1980, they have had 22 years to begin this process. Do we see any manifestation of these claims? Is there any more “divine order” in the Church? How about unity in the Body (Brownsville, the revival vortex in America just went through an ugly split? What about purity? Recently more international charismatic leaders have gotten divorces and remarried. Not to mention the recent exposures of Mr. LIARdon’s homosexual behavior, which DMI broke to the public and “prophet” Paul Cain another now known homosexual. Sadly, purity is not on the increase. What about spiritual maturity? Since the charismatic movement is in disorder, it is not unified by any stretch of the imagination, it is being led by men and women of questionable ethics and morality one can hardly claim any degree of spiritual development. In fact, just the opposite has been taking place. I can speak as one who has personally witnessed the downward spiral the renewal movement has been undergoing for the last twenty years.

 God’s miraculous power will increase in the prophets until the Creator himself will arise in them and speak His creative word that can turn dust into living lice. After the third encounter, the magicians and diviners were no match for God’s prophet Moses, and the same will be ture of God’s prophets today (Exodus 5-12). (19)

According to Hamon the prophets today not only have the same authority when they speak as the biblical prophets, they will also have the same miracle working power of God operating in their lives too. As my granny used to say, “put up or shut up.” Where are these creative miracles? What New Testament verses point to anything that Hamon is claiming? Absolutely none! Here are some verses to look up regarding what the New Testament has to say about prophets —Matt. 7:15; Matt. 24:1; Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1

 When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. ((13)

The Bible is also very clear about unfulfilled prophecies. False prophets are “full of hot air.” They prophesy events or hearings that are difficult to disprove. Much like a horoscope, many “words of knowledge” are nothing but generalized predictions that might find hundreds of “fulfillments.” And yet, particularly in end-time prophesy, many modern seers have made repeated predictions that have been demonstrated false. This is a serious matter as far as God is concerned. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true.” God instructed Moses, “that prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 19:22).

 The true prophet, Jeremiah, recorded God’s lamentation over the false prophets: “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” (Jeremiah 23:25,26). Furthermore, God even gives us instructions as to how we should respond to presumptuous prophets:

 If a prophet or priest or anyone else claims, “This is the oracle [word] of the Lord,” I will punish that man and his household. This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: “What is the Lord’s answer?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” But you must not mention “the oracle (revelation) of the Lord” again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God. Jeremiah 23:34-36

God is weary now, as He was then, of self-appointed prophets who claim to speak for God. 

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. That the World May Know (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1987), p. 10

2. Ibid., p. 142

3. Ibid., p. 144

4. Paulk, Satan Unmasked (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1984), p. 190

5. Ibid., p. 187

6. Ibid., p. 183

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.,

9. Paulk, That the World May Know, p. 125

10. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 170

11. Robert Tilton, God’s Miracle Plan, p. II

12. Correspondence on file with CURE (Christian United for Reform).

13. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 294

 The previous article is taken from Rev. Liichow’s book entitled “Blind Guides The Prophetic Movement Past & Present” which is currently under revision.

 One fact about the “pathetic” movement is that these people breed faster than rabbits in Australia; which is exceedingly fast if you don’t know. New voices have risen up declaring themselves to be prophets and they are having a devastating effect in many Christians lives. Let me close by saying I have not forgotten our series on the Eternality of the Liturgy nor have I forgotten lil Burpo’s revelations of heaven. Stay tuned these articles are coming along.

  

 





Happy “Fathers Day” Gift Issue

12 06 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2010 – Vol. 15  Issue 6 – “The Happy Fathers Day”  Gift Issue – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

THE HAPPY FATHERS DAY GIFT ISSUE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The month of June is indeed a blessed month. Not only do I get to celebrate Father’s Day but also my birthday (the 16th!) From one father to another I give to all the DMI family a free book this month to enjoy reading during these lazy hot days of June. This book will help equip you to answer some of the charges leveled against those of us who stand up for biblical truth. Enjoy!

Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up!

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Chapter 1

Name Calling

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”

One would think that leaders who are supposed to have been initiated into the high realms of sanctification and anointing due to revival would naturally be more spiritually-minded. Having arrived at a level of godly development beyond that of their non-charismatic brethren one would not expect them to stoop to the childish level of name calling…yet this is one of the most commonly employed tactics by the leadership of today’s so-called revival.

The Dreaded Title of Pharisee

In every revival meeting my wife and I have attended (which is quite a few) we have heard a litany of derogatory names used to describe anyone who dares disagree with their beliefs and practices. Their favorite term is that of “Pharisee.”

A Pharisee is anyone who has the gall to look to the Bible and only accept what is contained contextually within its pages. Here is a direct quote from the Toronto Blessings Page on the Internet:

Many passages of Scriptures seems to cast laughter as undesirable, and most Pharisees uses these Scriptures to forbid laughter at Toronto Blessing meetings.

Those who truly and honesty do not see holy laughter in the context of Scripture are reported as being so traditional as to forbid non-Biblical practices in the Church! I have yet to hear anyone publicly admit that there are Christians who out of a pure heart and honest motive simply do not agree with what is happening.

All of those who do not endorse the revival have evil motives attributed to them. Michael Brown, one of the leading writers for the revival chastises the non-supporters in this fashion:

How many worldwide awakenings would have taken place this century if church people had not stood in the way of God? Very few revivals have ever finished their God-appointed course. Very few outpourings of the Spirit have ever reached their potential. Man is always getting in the way!…Our denominational pride has stifled many a move of the Spirit.

 Which church people was Brown referring to? Obviously the “Pharisees,” the people who refuse to submit themselves to subjective experiences which fall outside of the Biblical perimeters.

What is more shocking than the name-calling is the lack of theological understanding of God that Michael Brown possesses. This is “shocking” because he is the head of the new bible training center at the Brownsville Assembly of God!

Mr. Brown has an incorrect view of God’s sovereignty. To him man is capable of stopping a sovereign move of the Spirit! The Lord wanted to send revival, but the ole mean Pharisees stopped Him and His Spirit by refusing to budge from the Word of God (forgive the sarcasm). If this were possible then man would be more powerful than God. Let’s consider some Biblical texts and see if God’s will is ever thwarted. (Bold type and underlining added for emphasis).

Daniel 4:25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

The king in the above text had lost sight of a crucial facet of the character of God – He is totally sovereign in His actions and is accountable to no one. “None can stay His hand”, so if He sends revival then there is no one alive who can stop His will to revive His people. None.

Deut. 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible which regarded not persons, nor taketh reward:

2 Chron. 20:6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

There are multitudes of Scriptures which prove beyond any discussion that God is sovereign. That He accomplishes all the good pleasure of His will. The Bible plainly states there is none that can stop Him. Yet the revivalists of yesterday and today continue to preach a “god” who is less than the God of the bible. Their god is one whose will and desires are thwarted by men and women who, obviously, are mightier than God at least in this respect.

Charles Finney was one of the forerunners of this misconception about the sovereignty of God. He said that it has always been the ministers who have stopped God’s revival.

Now it is remarkable that so far as my knowledge extends, all the seasons of great revivals with which the church has been blessed from the very first, have been broken up and the revival influence has been set aside by an ecclesiastical and sectarian jangling to preserve what they call the purity of the church and the faith once delivered to the saints. I believe it is to be a truth, that ministers as a class, have always been responsible for the decline of revivals.;

As the saying goes “the fruit does not fall far from the tree” and Michael Brown echoes the same incorrect concept that Finney originally harbored. Finney held a “limited” God view, which is not surprising since many theologians consider Charles Finney to be a Pelagian in regards to his doctrinal stance.

When the term Pharisee is used by today’s leaders it is often referring to other Christian leaders with a seminary education. Anyone who has gone to school for several years. Undergone the rigors of learning the original languages. Taking a few years to write a thesis and later a dissertation are somehow generally of no value to God. According to Rodney Howard Browne, the “Holy Ghost Bartender,” believers are often ruined by their seminary education.

Too many people allow their education to make them unstable. I’ve noticed people, prior to going into seminary, who are totally qualified for the work of God, totally anointed, but they come out after several years of seminary totally ruined.

Is that right? Unstable as in incapable of being used? I for one thank God for the seminary education I am undertaking, it has rendered me impossible to be used by the trickery of men, as I was prior to learning something about the God of the bible.

What does the Holy Ghost Bartender mean by qualified? When Rodney and his family go to the doctor how qualified does he expect his doctor to be? I assume the “call” to be a doctor must be all that is needed in order to set up a practice. On the contrary, I am sure he wants the most highly trained physician who got the highest grades and who graduated at the top of his class. When Rodney builds a home, I suppose the architects desire to draw is sufficient to license him as an architect.

Rodney, like everyone else demands the highest level of training possible from anyone he deals with, from cook to auto mechanic. Now if a mere medical doctor obtains from eight to ten years of training how much more should those who minister God’s eternal Word strive to obtain as much training and education as possible?

This is the mind set of Charismatic’s in general. Just being “called” is sufficient to start a church, get up in front of 1,000’s and teach, to write books and hold seminars. Do not loose sight of the fact that the majority of today’s charismatic leaders have little or no theological training. People such as Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Charles Capps, Marilyn Hickey, and many others have not graduated from seminary, do not read the original languages, etc. Yet they are qualified to teach millions of people the Bible!

Most of today’s leaders hold the wrong belief that God mainly uses the Scripturally ignorant to do mighty works…because somehow a sound theological education gets in God’s way. Speaking of the Azusa Street revival Brown says-

God had not chose an established mission where this could be done. They were in the hands of men; the Spirit born again in a humble ‘stable’ outside ecclesiastical establishments. God often moved through homely and unlikely vessels to show us we do not have it all.

He goes on to speak about Jesus choosing fishermen and a tax collector and not the religious leaders of His day. What Mr. Brown does not seem to understand is that these ignorant fishermen and tax collector, did not remain in the condition of spiritual or Scriptural ignorance for long.

To begin with they were Jews, and as such they had memorized the first five books of the law since childhood. Secondly, these ignorant simple folks, spent seven days a week for a little over three years with the Lord God, the Living Word. They did not take summer vacations away from Christ. In short, the original disciples (who later became apostles) received the most intensive on-the-job Biblical training ever given to any man! The amount of time they spent with Jesus would equate to approximately nine years of schooling. If one spent as much time in seminary as they spent with Jesus one would end up with a Master’s degree and two doctorate degrees. The bottom line: The fisherman might have started out somewhat ignorant, but they did not remain in that condition.

Mr. Browne also chooses to ignore historical fact – all the genuine promotions of the Body of Christ have come at the hands of highly educated, theologically trained individuals. Almost all of the early Church fathers were educated theologians. It was these men who set forth in systematic form the major doctrines of Orthodox Christianity. The Reformation was headed up by two men in particular, Martin Luther and later John Calvin– – – both men of huge intellect and unwavering desire to please God.

The men today’s revivalist’s love to cite were also men of great background, Jonathan Edwards for one, and John Wesley for another. Both of these men saw value in theological education. The Wesley’s started the concept of Sunday school, they were advocates of Biblical learning.

Furthermore, the text today’s revivalists cite like a mantra is Paul’s statement:

1 Cor. 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

They will say Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. However, Paul was not stating an either-or principle. One can have knowledge and love, they are not mutually exclusive. This possibility is not considered by those anointed with the revival spirit. They automatically assume if one has theological knowledge then they are devoid of love. Then on top of it, the same “loving” leaders heap aspersions upon those who do not agree with them!!

If this is an example of a heightened passion for Jesus then they can keep it to themselves, because it does not seem to be the fruit of the spirit the Bible speaks of.

Chapter 2

A Personal Testimony

On Wednesday August 20, 1997 my wife and I attended the Signs and Wonders Conference in Toronto held by Rodney Howard Browne. The first words out of his mouth were a mockery of those in traditional non-charismatic Protestant churches. Because their worship is different from his, the length of their services is shorter, the emphasis is placed in other areas he declared them “spiritually dead.” At 9:30 p.m. some people got up and left. As they left Rodney began to ridicule and make fun of them he assumed they were leaving (like many others had been doing in other locations) due to the various bizarre manifestations occurring throughout the sanctuary. He had no earthly idea why those folks were leaving! Then at the offering time he made more snide remarks that now is a good time for others to leave so they can get blessed at some local “eatery.”

None of these comments were called for at all. Rodney is the father of the holy laughter movement and has been drenched in this so-called anointing, yet it has not made him more loving or tolerant to those who differ from him.

Another example of name calling is seen in Pastor John Kilpatrick’s prophecy against Hank Hanegraaff. What was brother Hanegraaf’s crime? He did not (and does not) believe the revival today is of God. So what was the loving response of America’s vortex of revival power, a.k.a. Brownsville Assembly of God? Here is a portion of the text sent to me (Please read appendix One which was sent to me via e-mail)

…And Mr. Hanegraaff, I want to say to you, before you get back on national television and start spouting off at the mouth again about something of which you know nothing of, you’d better be careful, because God said, “Vengeance is Mine. Saith the Lord.”

And I want to say something else to you. If you want to keep any kind of a semblance of a ministry, you better back off from this revival and what God is doing. You better back off, because I’m going to prophesy to you that if you don’t and you continue to put your tongue in your mouth on this move of God, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down. I said, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down.

This portion gives a legitimate insight into the gist of the prophetic word to brother Hank.

When the 90 day period was almost over Pastor Kilpatrick repented and said he was in the flesh and asked forgiveness, which I know Hank extended to him long before he asked for it. I trust Pastor Kilpatrick was sincere, but it is curious that it took the Lord all that time to get him to admit he was in the flesh when he made that hideous statement. Keep in mind Kilpatrick was in revival services every night for all those days. He (in his eyes) was in the midst of the direct flow of the Holy Ghost and in the manifest presence of God and yet the Lord could not get through to him to make it right immediately! (I guess a Pharisee might think that he waited as long as he could and upon seeing his word was not going to be fulfilled he had to eat crow. After all hank’s book  Counterfeit Revival was listed as number seven on the bestseller list at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids when I last visited there).

This is simply another example of the leaders, the stewards of today’s mighty revival stooping to name calling and fear tactics. I have personally heard Pastor Kilpatrick of Brownsville, Pastor John Arnott of Toronto, and father Rodney all make cutting remarks of those who oppose the manifestations of the revival.

All of the alleged intimacy with the Lord, and personal ministry by the Spirit to their spirits has not produced the true fruit of the spirit spoken of in the Bible. Where is love? The turning the other cheek? Where is the longsuffering and patience? It is non-existent!

Frankly, it is just such behavior on the part of these leaders which is as much of a stumbling block as are the bizarre manifestations to many people looking at the revival.

Our ministry operates an apologetics/polemics web site (http://www.newdiscernment.org) and we get a great deal of e-mail. I want to cite an example of a typical e-mail from a supporter of the revival. I have withheld the author’s name to spare him any further embarrassment, but I have left his spelling alone:

I am an elder in the body of christ presently involved in the evangelizing of the lost training of leaders and elders relationally, ordaining of elders, church planting, school of ministry,church discipline, imparting the supernatural dimension of the kingdom of god as he leads, restoration of the apostles and prophets, five fold ministry, the tabernacle of david, the prophetic and apostolic movements, restoration theology, etc…each year we recognize, raise, and release hundreds of students through our school and personalized training ministry. no one has to pay for it, no one has to be a part of Your ministry. freely we receive, freely we give, you say that you do not believe in apostles and prophets. I say that you are extremely pharisaical and legalistic, restricting meanings of the scripture to support your contention and frustration to be right first of all, can you honestly disprove of present day apostles and prophets? What scriptures do you wrestle with to support your claims? can you define for me jesus the apostle, the twelve apostles, the post_ascension apostles, the 70 who were apostolic like but not apostolic in like but not apostolic in life, and the many apostles of the spirit today? in our school, we give a fair and plenary approach of the bible defining the bible, the word of god being it’s own interpreter. we teach the restoration of the church and divine order. We teach and train believers in the work of the ministry as recorded in Ephesians 4:11_16; 1 cor. 12, romans 12:4_8 etc…we believe that all expressions of ministry grace belong to the body of christ and flows out of the headship of jesus. not out of religion and legalism. we have confirmed in the ministry numerous ones with the call and anointing of apostleship on them. Understanding well (over 23 years of teaching ministry and a teacher of greek), that apostles are often alluded to as missionaries let me just say that all missionaries do not possess the wisdom, anointing, or calling to apostleship many today, travel to leper camps, food for hunger centers, orphanages, and such yet never understanding the depth or life of an apostle; thus being sent generically overseas to be what the religious bored (no misspelling here) made them to be. Selah! many are taught in cemetaries without the apostolic release of elders and the impartation needed to go ye therefore, holding to their limited degrees of titular authority, professional, and not anointed. and to make matters worse, they are sent out with a piece of paper by a rather staunch, cold, and impersonal advisory bored, assuming that this is the door for their expected avenues. only to operate the ministry from the heights of their lofty intellect, how sad! and you say that there are is no need for apostles? i would like to go on recored as having to say that your dogmatic and schismatic beliefs to further draw the body of christ apart with your Calvinistic,hyper_dispensational,ultra_nebula, pre_millennial theory of ministry is quite comical and obsurd. to think that your primary intentions personally is to re_write and to re_define holy Scriptures.

In one e-mail I was called: (1) dogmatic, (2) schismatic, (3) Calvinistic (I am a Lutheran), (4) hyper-dispensational, (5) extremely legalistic, and (6) extremely Pharisaical. What called for all this vitriol? The simple fact that I do not see what is taking place in the revival services in the context of Scripture. So I do not support the revival on that grounds.

On Saturday August 23rd 1997 I received another response to the web site from a “disciple of Christ” who prayed that I would be born-again. I need to wake up to the fact that the Holy Spirit was using Benny Hinn and what God only uses people who are mentally dead, a.k.a. brain dead!

Chapter 3

Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up!

The Biblical Pharisee’s get a negative response from the Lord Jesus, and rightly so. Why did Jesus respond to them in the manner that he did. There are several reasons, and I just want to consider a couple of them. Underlining added for emphasis.

Mark 7:9 And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! (NIV)

Matthew 15:6-9 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Here are two examples of why Jesus upbraided the Pharisees of His day. They had added their non-Biblical practices (traditions) to the Scriptures. By dong so they had rendered what God had plainly said in His Word of no effect:

Akuroo, from Greek 1 (a) (as a negative particle) and Greek 2964 (kuroo); to invalidate:_disannul, make of none effect.

Let me ask you a simple question. Who has added unbiblical practices (traditions) to the Word of God and thus reject the plain teaching of Scriptures which do not support such traditions? The answer is quite simple – it is today’s charismatic extremists who have supplanted God’s Word by their practices.

Allow me to cite some of the many man-made traditions used in almost all charismatic ministries which have no basis in Scripture at all.

  • The practice of being drunk in the spirit. this is the belief that the Holy Spirit will come upon a person and render them totally inebriated in the same manner as alcohol does. Please read another pamphlet I wrote entitled: Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Drunk In The Spirit?  There is nothing in the bible at all to even remotely support this tradition of men.
  • The practice of being slain in the spirit There is not one instance in the entire Bible of where hands were laid on another person and their physical body was overcome by a mystical force and they fell to the ground. This is the manner in which 99% of all slaying takes place in services today. Yet this tradition is fully endorsed by all Charismatics, even though there is not one contextual verse to validate this tradition.
  • The practice of holy laughter Again, another non-biblical practice. They know this and appeal to past revivals as validation that this is what happens when the Lord moves by His Spirit. They fail to recognize the past revivals are not the standard by which Christians are to judge faith and practice. The Bible alone is our guide. Those manifestations were spurious in the past and they are spurious today. Again, a tradition of men, not a Biblical practice or godly tradition.
  • The doctrine of sacred dance There are no New Testament examples of god’s people dancing before the Lord as David did. In and of itself dancing may be a legitimate expression of joy on the part of individual believers. But now dancing has become a means by which the presence of God is ushered in by ministers of dance. Dance was never an avenue used in the bible as a means to approach God or as a ritual by which God is enabled to approach His people. Dance in that context is strictly a pagan practice and not a godly one. Again, an example of a doctrine of men. Dance is now also a means to obtain healing, conduct spiritual warfare, and intercede for the lost – – – dance never was used to do any of these thing in the Canon of Scripture. All of these things are regularly practiced in pagan cultures today.
  • The doctrine of restored prophets and apostles It is now commonly taught and practiced that God has restored to the Church the ministry of apostles and prophets. Yet the Bible plainly teaches that these two ministries were foundational Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Once the foundation was laid their ministry was finished. You read of no apostolic succession in the New Testament. You never read of Paul or Peter saying who will receive their apostolic mantle.

Today there are thousands claiming to be prophets and hundreds claiming to be apostles! In total contradiction to the Word of god and the history of the Church. In the past all who claimed such ministries were proven to be flakes and liars. Men and women such as Montanus, Irving, Dowie, and Branham to name a few.

 

  • The Music Ministry as a means to usher in God’s presence Music in charismatic circles is not just an expression of love back to God from His people. It is a mystical tool by which God’s very presence is ushered into a service. It is a tool that transforms the worshiper and takes them into the realm of the spirit. Along with the music and dance is the charismatic concept of rebuilding the Tabernacle of David. Some ministries are striving to build places of praise and dance before the Lord 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By this work, God will manifest Himself in these locations. Again, total nonsense, mysticism, and extra-Biblical practice/tradition.

These are just a few examples that I know about from my own experience. Many of these things I have not only personally experienced, but have taught others as restored truth. I could add doctrines/traditions of spiritual warfare via other tongues, fasting for spiritual power, revelation knowledge, unique definitions of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc…

Who has added traditions to the Bible? Who by their traditions have gone further and further away from Biblical Orthodoxy? It is today’s charismatic extremists, not those who take the sola Scriptura stance!

For today’s charismatic extremist to call others who uphold Christian Orthodoxy as being Pharisaical is simply an unfounded charge meant to divert attention from their departure from the Scripture.

Here is the format of a typical response we get at DMI as we try to reason who those involved in charismania. First, they begin by calling us the usual litany of names. We respond that name calling is not very productive, why not discuss specifics, since we both are Christians. Secondly, they then go into what I term “level two” defense mode and they cite what is fast becoming their favorite verse:

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

It is now commonly held among many in the sign-gift movement that the Bible does not contain all that Jesus did and taught. Thus how can we say that these manifestations are not of God? Such a belief holds wide open the door which would allow anything not specifically named or shown within the Bible to be seriously considered as being from God! A unique argument, but one that does not stand even a small amount of logic. If you subscribe to such a belief then you must realize that it –

 

  • It impugns the wisdom of God – God obviously left out important examples when He gave us His Word.
  • It denigrates the sufficiency of Scripture – The Bible is no longer the sole guide. There are traditions outside the bible which are valid. How do we know they are valid? Because today’s leaders tell us they are.
  • Subjective fruit – alone has become the means by which these extra-Biblical practices are judged.

Yes, I will admit that the Bible does not contain all that Jesus did or taught. However, I believe wholeheartedly that the bible does contain all I ever need to know about knowing God and about faith and practice. The Reformation was fought over the concepts of sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, and sola Christus. Now those of us who hold to these hard won truths are considered Pharisees by those who have added to the Scriptures their own traditions of men, and in some cases demons.

What we have taking place in today’s charismatic renewal is a placing of man made traditions on an equal par with the Scripture. This is identical to the Roman Catholic view.

The sad truth of the matter is this – if anyone is guilty of being Pharisaical today it is those in the charismatic revival camp. A camp I was part of for years and I am well aware of the elitist mind set we harbored. We always saw ourselves in terms of being “God’s remnant” or His “overcomers.” We saw ourselves as the “Zion of God” and others as merely being “Jerusalem.” After-all we were “Spirit-filled” and others were just low-wattage Christians. Kind of reminds me of the following text:

Luke 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Some may say “that is not our attitude,” to which I say “I certainly hope not.” However, with over fifteen years and drinking from the last five moves of the “Spirit”, I have been in enough conventions, private pastor’s seminars, leadership meetings, etc…where this mind set was clearly enunciated.

In closing, I urge that we pray for those who are caught-up in the current frenzy of unbiblical practices, manifestations, and beliefs. May the Lord grant them to see the error of their ways and come back to Orthodox Biblical Christianity.

May we, who by the grace of God, have been spared or delivered out of this darkness respond to our brethren by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and correcting those who oppose themselves with a spirit of humility (2 Tim. 2:26).  

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

Oringinally Published by Truth Matters Press in 1997 revised 2010

( All colored highlights and some bolding and underlining not in the original)

Appendix

John Kilpatrick’s April 6, 1997 Prophecy Against Hank Hanegraaff and John Kilpatrick’s apology issued to Hank Hanegraaff on June 18, 1997. It looks like John Kilpatrick has a change of heart 74 days into the 90 day Prophecy he issued on April 6, 1997, against Hank Hanegraaff. Does this make John Kilpatrick a false Prophet? You make the call.

John Kilpatrick’s April 6, 1997 Prophecy Against Hank Hanegraaff

And Mr. Hanegraaff, I want to say to you, before you get back on national television and start spouting off at the mouth again about something of which you know nothing of, you’d better be careful, because God said, “Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord.” And I want to say something else to you. If you want to keep any kind of a semblance of a ministry, you better back off from this revival and what God is doing. You better back off, because I’m going to prophecy to you that if you don’t, and you continue to put your tongue in your mouth on this move of God, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down. I said, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down.

John Kilpatrick’s apology issued to Hank Hanegraaff on June 18, 1997

I called you (and by implication, others) a devil and that was wrong. I said, “Let Hank Hanegraaff and all the othe devils, etc” _ that was wrong of me. I ask your forgiveness. When I said “I’m going to prophesy as a man of God that the Lord bring you down in 90 days “ I was not speaking that as a prophet but as a shepherd putting something in the ears of God. I do not say “Thus saith the Lord”, it was a “Thus saith John Kilpatrick,” putting these words into God’s ears in the context of the message I was bringing. Let me reemphasize again that was me speaking….in April I got in the flesh and lashed out at you. I want to emphasize also that I did not wish you any harm personally. I was talking about your ministry, I was saying, “God bring down your platform for crying out and associating us with a cult.” I did not nor do I wish you any harm. I ask your forgiveness if you thought I meant any harm to you personally. Honesty, before the Lord, I had your platform in mind, not the person Hank Hanegraaff. This is by no means to be interpreted as an attempt to wiggle out of a prophecy. I would like to grant you the right to continue to count down the days and continue to comment about the 90 days. It’s ammunition that I gave you in April I only want you to know _ it was me speaking that and not a “thus saith the Lord.”

(As I stated earlier in this booklet, it only took 74 days of intense revival services for the Lord to get through to John Kilpatrick that he was wrong and in the flesh! Amazing, but I am glad the Lord did finally get through to him!)

NOTES

1. Brown, Michael. The End of the American Gospel Enterprise. Destiny Image, 1989.

2. Finney, Charles. Reflections on Revival (Minneapolis: Bethany House), 1979, pg. 94

3. Brown Rodney. Apostles Are Coming. Revival Ministries International 1997 pg. 19

4. Brown, Michael Second Wind, Spring 1997 Pg. 11

5. The statement was too long for this booklet, but the above gives a legitimate insight into the gist of the prophetic word to brother Hank. Taken in part from an e-mail sent to me from the Internet.

6. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance on the NavPress CD Rom

Oringinally Published by Truth Matters Press in 1997 revised 2010





Here We Go Again

25 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 5 – Here We Go Again – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Here We Go Again

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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Want to get a charismatic extremist salivating? Just tell him or her that “revival” is on the horizon! Charisma magazine has a section entitled the “Prophetic Edge” and in the April 2007 issue the article is entitled, “Get Ready to Serve” written by Steve Hill. His article starts with the following words:

SOMETHING POWERFUL IS ON THE HORIZON. The Lord is equipping His church for the greatest outpouring the world has ever seen. We must do everything possible to prepare our hearts and to train others for this soul-saving revival. We also must be willing to be used by the Lord in new, unfamiliar ways. (1)

Hill’s History

Allow me to refresh your memory concerning Mr. Hill. He is the individual who is often cited as God’s instrument for the so-called revival at the Brownsville Assemblies of God (BAG) church in Pensacola, Florida. According to the BAG mythology here is what they claimed took place. The Pensacola church has been divinely appointed by God to be the catalyst of revival according to some prophetic words given by a couple of recognized charismatic leaders. In 1993 Dr. Paul Cho, pastor of the world’s largest congregation in Korea was in the United States and was praying for revival:

He did so, and the Holy Spirit told him to point his finger at the map. As he did, he felt his finger drawn to the Florida panhandle and to the city of Pensacola. “I am going to send revival to the seaside city of Pensacola, and it will spread like a fire until all of America ha been consumed by it,” said the Lord to Dr. Cho, Dr. Cho shared his experience with others and the word predictably spread to many of the pastors in the Pensacola area. Some time later, a Mobile, Alabama, Church of God pastor (70 miles away from Pensacola) inquired of Dr. Cho. “Dr. Cho, there’s been a rumor that you have prophesied a great revival in America to begin in Pensacola, Florida. Is there any truth to this?” he asked. “No rumah! No rumah! No rumah! Said Dr. Cho in his broken English “Received vision; revival will com!” (2)

Cho’s “leading” of the Spirit sounds more like someone using a planchet on a Ouija board as opposed from hearing from God. Not to mention the fact that what Cho allegedly received from the Holy Spirit did not come to pass. The fire did not spread throughout all America, nor was all America consumed by it. The revival did spread to many charismatic and Pentecostal congregations and the fruit produced by it was nothing less than spiritual heartache, disappointment, church splits and fanaticism. (3) Secondly, I have personally sat under Cho’s preaching and his English is not broken, if anything, he speaks English better than many Americans, so the “broken English” is not true either. Make no mistake about it my friends, God is not inaccurate and His true prophets were absolutely correct when they spoke under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Cho was not hearing from the Holy Spirit, so his direction had to be coming from another source and given the paranormal way in which Cho describes this leading, we know that it had to be a demonic spirit that was his guide.

John Kilpatrick was the pastor of BAG during the revival. What he failed to tell people outside the congregation was that he sent his wife and leaders up to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) prior to the actual assigned start date of the BAG revival. TACF was the North American vortex of enthusiasm and fanaticism and the holy laughter revival had already been in full gear for several years prior to the BAG “outpouring.” He sent these key leaders to TACF to get the blessing and get some idea of what they should expect at BAG. So Kilpatrick had primed the pump, his people had been fed a spurious prophetic word and thus were expecting a “revival” to visit them. Their leaders (unbeknown to many congregations members) had already bought into the delusion being meted out at TACF and the stage was set for Mr. Hill to arrive.

Hill arrives at BAG on Fathers Day June 18, 1995 and he brings the revival with him! A “sovereign” move of the Holy Spirit begins as Hill and other BAG leaders lay hands on the seekers. Those responding to the alter call begin to exhibit all the bizarre manifestations common to the TACF revival. Keep in mind that Florida is a long way from Canada so to these Pensacola Pentecostals manifestations such as uncontrollable laughter, spiritual drunkenness, being slain in the spirit from protracted times, shaking, hopping, arms flapping for hours ere “new” to many of them. (4)

To this day, BAG, Kilpatrick and Hill declare that what took place at Pensacola was completely different than what was taking place at TACF. What they are reluctant to admit is that BAG leaders went to TACF and brought that brand of madness back to Pensacola and simply waited for Hill to arrive. Nor does Hill admit that he himself received the “blessing” while attending meetings at Holy Trinity Church in Brompton England just prior to coming to BAG. The truth is that what took place in Pensacola was simply an extension of what was already happening in Toronto. The BAG revival was a fully coordinated and orchestrated event. One thing both revival centers do agree about is that these revival manifestations, also referred to as the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit are highly transferable from one anointed vessel into a person seeking the experience.

Kilpatrick declares that the Holy Spirit has fallen on their congregation and he agrees to allow Mr. Hill to continue to preach. The news spreads initially throughout the Assemblies of God denomination and many members come to BAG and fro there the news spreads to other Pentecostal and charismatic people. At the height of the madness BAG reported the following statistics:

…approximately 3,000-4,000 visitors attend the revival each night. According to Evangelist Steve Hill, who has preached over 650 messages, the Brownsville Revival has had over 1,720,000 visitors to the services and over 108,000 have responded to the altar calls. The Revival has attracted visitors from over 17 foreign nations and boasts about 100 foreign visitors a night. (5)

The revival fire sputtered to an end by 2000. It seems that five years is historically about the extent of any Pentecostal “revival.” One can only sustain peak emotionalism for so long and the spiritual junkies seek ever increasing doses of transcendental highs. (6) Once the crowds (and offerings) began to dwindle and the manifestations became passé, Hill was the first leader to abandon ship. Lindell Cooley, the worship leader at BAG was the next to leave and by 2003 Kilpatrick himself resigned (or was asked to leave). Cooley and Hill both became pastors of their own congregations and Kilpatrick started his own “evangelistic” association. I might add that the same thing took place at TACF when the fire turned into cold ashes. John Arnott resigned as senior Pastor and started his own outreach.

Interestingly enough the Brownsville revival website does not mention much about all the controversy surrounding their move of the Spirit. They fail to mention the acrimonious split that occurred between BAG and the revival “Bible School” that had been birthed during the revival:

This group of students is particularly unique. With such a flood of interest in the school’s Fall session, this may be the only opportunity for such a small group of only 120 to commune together with the Holy Spirit and learn under tutors and elders while being in the midst of the mighty outpouring of Revival fire. (7)

The school started with big hopes but shortly became a divisive issue the school ended up leaving the church and establishing itself down the road. Also these leaders failed to mention the scorching articles written about the revival in the Pensacola News Journal. A series of articles uncovered the following facts about the two main leaders, Kilpatrick and Hill:

The two ministers we investigated were the two who are most in the spotlight: John Kilpatrick, the pastor of the revival church, and Steve Hill, the revival’s evangelist Both live in Alabama, not Florida. Alabama’s records are not easy to access and track, but when we finally got the property records together, we could prove that the revival had provided those two men with dramatically improved lifestyles and successively large and more luxurious homes. Their primary source of revenue is the nonprofit corporation each one created

We uncovered the ways the ministers turned Brownsville Revival into a million-dollar industry, and we uncovered the facts that contradicted their statements about how the money was used…We found and exposed the falsehoods in the public image that the evangelist [Hill] had constructed for himself…We debunked the revival leaders’ claims that they were performing miraculous healings. We tracked down a number of people the revival touted as “cured” and found none had medical evidence, such as lab tests, X-rays, or doctor’s examinations, to corroborate the cure…We exposed the origin of the revival, showing it was a planned and orchestrated event. A well-edited videotape of the first revival service appears to support the leaders’ claims that the revival was a spontaneous act of God. But close and attentive viewing reveals how it was manipulated to make the public believe the revival was spontaneous. (8)

Mr. Hill’s salvation testimony is riddled with exaggeration and outright lies but it does make for “exciting” reading, after all, God needs our help form time to time…ask Abraham. His claims of divine healing and miracles also proved to be false when given closer scrutiny. Hill reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars from the BAG outpouring and yet provided little if any genuine spiritual adulation began to dry up Hill knew it was time to head on down the road and form his own church, which he did in Dallas, Texas.

Now seven years later Hill is back and proclaiming that God is equipping His church for the GREATEST OUTPOURING the world has EVER SEEN! He says in his article that “a fresh evangelistic anointing is about to rest upon true believers.” Considering the lies, fraud and deception fostered by Hill in the prior greatest outpouring, I guess he will miss out on this upcoming greatest outpouring…since it is only for true believers. (9)

Hill is at best a semi-Pelagian and this heretical position stresses the roll of man in every aspect of redemption. We can see the man-centered emphasis in his article

However, we can’t ignore those who are starving for fresh bread and fresh water from heaven. Their deep[ hunger pains can only be satisfied as we offer more of God’s presence, power and prophetic insight. We can do this by allowing the Lord to show up in our church services….without restraint. The world is craving a touch from the creator. We must provide the atmosphere and the opportunity for miracles to take place… I believe God is going to empower us by sending a new wave of revelation as a foundation for operating in the prophetic… (10)

To begin with the world is not “craving a touch from the Creator,” I guess Evangelist/prophet and now Pastor Hill has forgotten the following elementary Bible truth:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-20

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understand, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one Romans 3:10-12

No one comes to a saving faith in Jesus Christ of their own volition. The Father draws us to His Son by the working of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). We are saved by GRACE alone through faith alone. The faith that saves is itself a GIFT from God (Ephesians 2:8) and not of human works.

Hill does not mention how “we” are to go about offering more of God’s presence, power and prophetic insight. He does not mention the reality of Baptism or the Lord’s Supper as means of God’s grace and presence. Nor does he ever mention the proclamation of the Gospel, which is the power of God unto everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). God’s Word is the infallible and totally sufficient prophetic insight, yet Hill means a fresh new revelation flowing from a restored prophet.

Hill says it is our job to provide the “atmosphere” and “opportunity” for miracles to take place. Just what does that mean? Talk about subjectivity! He does not state how we are to create this atmosphere and opportunity for miracles. He failed to produce such an atmosphere at Pensacola, maybe he has obtained some new “mystical” insight during the last seven years that he lacked back in the mid 90’s.

Hill says “I believe God is going to empower us…” but he does not say what he bases his faith on. His entire article does not cite one biblical text at all! He goes on to pontificate on what will characterize this next greatest outpouring. The new and unfamiliar” ways that God will empower His people seems to be in the arena making us peripatetic psychics:

He will reveal to us the depth of their cravings as if we were watching a documentary on starvation…

The spiritually sensitive are going to experience revelation knowledge of those who are dying of spiritual malnutrition and disease.

Hidden secrets with be revealed to the believer, and out of a heart of compassion, he or she will share them [the hidden secrets] with the lost to prove that Jesus Christ is alive. These words will be so direct and precise that conversations will take place. (11)

According to Hill during this next greatest outpouring God’s true saints are going to share these revelations that will be so “direct” and “precise” that people will be converted by our sharing them! What utter nonsense! Does Hill have any scriptures, even out of context to back up his assertions? No, none whatsoever. The Bible does say the following:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper tan any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

It is the Word of God that reveals the content of men’s hearts, not man mystically “anointed.” It is the seeming (to the world) foolishness of preaching the living Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to convict the world of sin and draw people to Christ, not some demonstration of power. NEVER FORGET the Jews saw daily miracles for forty years in the desert and yet died there in UNBELIEF (Hebrews 3:19) Miracles do not create faith! Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God (Romans 10:17) Marin Luther rightly stressed that God moves through His Word and sacraments and any other alleged “moving” of the Spirit apart from these means is demonic.

Hill, like Schuller places the emphasis on mans actions and not God’s drawing power through proclaiming the Gospel. Hill states:

My favorite prophetic words have always been those that are given outside the church walls. These are divine appointments that reach into the lives of people who often know nothing of biblical principles and doctrine. All they know is that some brave heart just read their mail. (13)

He closes his pronouncement of the coming greatest world revival by saying such “divine appointments” will be commonplace in the days ahead of us and that “these words fitly spoken, will literally shock the unbeliever into reality. (14) What he is describing is more akin to encountering the occult work of the TV psychics John Edwards or Sylvia Browne than any biblical accounts of people encountering the reality of their sin in the light of God’s holiness. In fact, according to the new reformation of Schuller the reality of personal sin is a barrier to accepting the grace of God in Christ. “Once a person believes he is an ‘unworthy sinner,” it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Christ Jesus.” (15) My friends let me state unequivocally that unless a person is brought to despair through seeing themselves as sinful they will not cry out “God have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13, NIV)

What Does the Bible Say About Revival?

Hill ha made the bulk of his money off of revivalism, which is possibly why he is proclaiming the coming greatest revival in human history. Who better to ask then the man seen as responsible for the Pensacola Outpouring? If I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Hill I would ask him the following questions. “Didn’t the people at Azusa street in 1906 declare that what they were experiencing was the final fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy? Or, how about, “didn’t restored prophets declare that what was taking place in North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1949 was really the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy?” maybe I should ask, “wasn’t 1967 declared by the Roman Catholics to be the beginning of Charismatic Renewal in the Church?” These sign-seekers have made as many false predictions as the Jehovah’s Witnesses! Or maybe I could ask him about all the supposed “moves” of the Holy Spirit beginning with the Pentecostal movement of 1906, the New Order of the Latter Rain of 1949-52, possibly the Charismatic movement of 1959, possibly the Word of Faith movement, the Prophetic movement of 1980, the Apostolic movement of 1990, the Signs and Wonders movement of 1995-onward? More moves than Exlax my friends! In the face of all these unfulfilled deception ridden and experience driven non-revivals Hill has the audacity to declare the “greatest” revival is just around the corner!

Personally, I would rather enquire of the scriptures and see what they indicate regarding the last days. Does the Bible state that the Church and world will experience a world-wide soul-saving revival or not? Are there any prophetic statements that (in their context) indicate a great sweeping move of the Spirit prior to the return of Christ? I will simply cite a few of the biblical texts and let you draw your own conclusions:

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Matthew 24:10-12

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. Matthew 24:23-25

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their action deserve. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kind of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. The perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, ratherlovers of pleasure  than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:1-3

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3: 4

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

In these eight passages do you read anything about a great world-wide soul-saving revival”? I read of the love of most people growing cold, of the danger of false Christs (truth Matters just dealt with one last month), false apostles, false teachers, and false prophets. At no time in recorded Church history have there been as many people claiming to either be a restored apostle or prophets as there are today. (16)

Deceivers are going about seeming to work signs and wonders which are not from God. Claims of holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, being slain in the spirit, heavenly jewels, and even angel feathers abound in thousands of congregations.

People claiming to be ministers exploit those who follow them and making merchandise out of God’s gullible sheep. Countless numbers of professing Christians have indeed heaped up teachers who teach them exactly what they want to hear versus faithful teachers who will teach them what they need to hear.

Revival? Sorry Mr. Hill I do not know what translation you are reading that gives you any idea of such a thing. The truth is the people who claim revival do so apart from scriptural support. Hill’s article, as I noted, does not mention one verse of scripture. Why not? The answer is simple, there aren’t any for him to cite. He and others must declare that the “Lord” has given them insight regarding the coming revival(s) supernaturally apart form the Bible.

In closing to my charismatic brethren I would remind them of the old saying “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Don’t get fooled again by this man with an abysmal track record. Don’t be deceived by a man who would break the Third Commandment and lie in the name of the Lord God. No my friends, my advice is simply this—keep your eyes focused upon Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith and pray for Mr. Hill and those who would be beguiled by him and others promising much but producing nothing of enduring value.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Endnotes

1. Underlining added for emphasis, Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

2. Bold type added for emphasis, Brownsville Revival Organization, Home page: http://www.brownsville-revival.org/index/php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=163/ accessed on April 9, 2007.

3. This book can be purchased form DMI for a donation of $10.00 plus 3.00 shipping and handling Roert Liichow, Fruit Proof (Detroit: by the author, 1999

4. Rev. Liichow has written separate booklets on each of these manifestations all of which can be purchased from DMI individuality or a set.

5. Religious Movements, http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Brownsv.html. Accessed on April 7, 2007).

6. I speak from experience as a former charismatic and revival participant I know that one cannot “live” off of yesterday’s spiritual experience.

7. “Brownsville Revival Magazine,” http://www.victorious.com/BRMagazine/brsmopen.htm accessed on April 7, 2007

8. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis, Gannett, May, 1998, http://www.gannett.com/go/newswatch98/may/nw0515-1.htm accessed April 7, 2007

9. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

10. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14 Underlining added.

11. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

12. Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation (Waco, Texas Word, 1982), 64

13. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

14. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

15. Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation (Waco, Texas Word, 1982), 64

16. A simple Google search on the Internet on the word “apostle” displays over 8 million web sites and “prophets” displays over 24 million. Certainly not all of these site are run by so-called restored prophets and apostles, but thousands of them are.





I Am OUTRAGED

19 09 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 11 – I AM OUTRAGED – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

I AM OUTRAGED

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                                By Robert S. Liichow

Outrage Defined

indignation a feeling of righteous anger Shock: strike with disgust or revulsion re: “the evangelists scandalous behavior of his ministry shocked the church” desecrate: violate the sacred character of a place or language: “desecrate a cemetery”, “violate the sanctity of the church.” “profane the name of God.” (1)

As an individual I generally run on a fairly even keel emotionally as much as any adult dealing with being ADHD. Even with my disability I strive to live a disciplined and organized life in may areas including emotionally. Yet within about a weeks time four incidents have taken place that literally burned my bacon in such a righteous manner that I have not even felt a twinge of remorse over what I have written or the way I felt at the time of writing you this newsletter. Some of these outrages you may be familiar with, others may not have hit your “radar” yet. In any event, consider this the “Outrageous Issue” of Truth Matters.

Ted Haggard

The title of this months article reflects a bumper sticker on the car in front of us as my wife and I pulled out of the movie theater a few nights ago. It sums up perfectly my emotional state concerning what is transpiring within the Church. There are four specific “cases” each of which has stirred up my righteous indignation and I hope that you are equally appalled over them too. Before I drop the hammer on these folks let me make it very clear that we are praying for all these individuals and the ripple effects their actions are having on their family, many Christians in the Body of Christ and the world’s view of the integrity of Christian leaders both morally and doctrinally.

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By this time you already know about the growing scandal concerning Haggard. If you are not aware of it then here is what has currently been brought to light. Ted Haggard was the senior pastor of New Life Church, a mega-church of 14,000 members in Colorado Springs, CO. He was the Presiding President of the National Association of Evangelical (NAE) which represent around thirty million evangelical Christians. He is a husband, a father of five children and a charismatic/sign-gift believer. In short, Haggard was a player in both the Church Growth Movement and conservative politics.

News of Haggard’s dismissal rocked the Christian world. Haggard was one of the evangelical movement’s most powerful leaders, and helped Colorado Springs earn the moniker of “evangelical Vatican.” He had the White House on speed dial, and Harper’s Magazine called New Life “the nation’s most powerful mega church.” Haggard had served as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents more than 30 million evangelical Christians, until he resigned. (2)

It was the latter arena that brought to light his hidden sins. As you know America had an election Tuesday, Haggard was a staunch and vocal advocate against same-sex marriage. That stand is one I and DMI give a hearty “amen” to. The problem in Haggard’s case was that he had been living a double-life for at least three years according to his accuser, a homosexual prostitute whom Haggard is alleged to have been having sex with:

The scandal began Wednesday when a male escort in Denver said he had an ongoing sexual relationship with an evangelical leader. By later that day, Haggard had been named as that leader. (3)

Mike Jones is the homosexual escort who “outed” Haggard not only for his homosexuality but also Jones admitted that Haggard had used and bought methamphetamine from him. The reason Jones came forth at this point in time was because he thought, rightly so, that Haggard was being a hypocrite due to his vocal stance against homosexuality while being actively engaged in it!

What is outrageous to me is that when Haggard was confronted with the allegations Jones was making he lied about it! He is on record denying the charges. In one interview he acted like he had never even heard of Mike Jones. However, Mr. Jones has Haggard’s voice on a voice-mail (which is now available for the world to hear on the Internet). Then when pressed Haggard admitted that he had purchased crystal meth at some point but threw it away.

Finally more truth was revealed when his church leaders asked him to step down due to sexual immorality (the did not mention the drug abuse). It seems at this point that many, if not all, the charges made by Jones concerning Haggard are true.

What is equally outrageous to me is that Haggard’s case response echoes three other cases of homosexual immorality within the sign-gift segment of the Church. In December, 2001 Mr. Robert LIARdon was exposed for his ongoing homosexuality with the Youth Leader of his congregation. (4)

Three months later Robert Liardon was back preaching again. In February, 2004 Latter Rain false prophet Paul Cain was exposed for his life of homosexuality and alcoholism by fellow so-called restored prophets. Lastly, on September 18, 2004 the Los Angeles Times ran a story with allegations of homosexual behavior and drunkenness on the part of Paul Crouch Sr., the Founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN paid the accuser in Crouch’s case $450,000 in hush money as you may remember). (5)

In each of these cases, including Haggard, there are several outrageous similarities: (1) NONE of these men came forth voluntarily and confessed their sins. It was only when they were caught that any admission of guilt came forth. In the case of Mr. Crouch he denies to this day that any type of homosexual behavior went on, yet why then did TBN pay close to half a million dollars of donors money to the man making “false” charges? (2) Each of these leaders were and still are members of independent charismatic organizations which they ran. They had little to no genuine accountability to others around them or to any denominational affiliation. (3)The “Flip Wilson Defense” was invoked in LIARdon’s case and now Haggard’s. For those readers too young to remember the Flip Wilson Show, he had a segment where Mr. Wilson would appear in drag before a judge and say “the devil made me do it.” Here is how one of Haggard’s members cast this sordid situation:

Some people cast the situation as a struggle between good and evil and Haggard as the victim of a religious battle. “Satan may have won the battle, God will win the war. Satan is like a hunter. Satan goes for the big trophies. This is spiritual warfare, and Ted is under something the average person can’t fathom,” said Earl Beatty, who knelt at the church Saturday night. (6)

Note how Beatty views Haggard immorality —he is simply a victim of a Satanic onslaught. You, Mr. Haggard, are a “big trophy,” whereas if you or I fell into such immorality we’d be kicked to the curb immediately. I have seen this happen on numerous occasions within the sign-gift movement. The rules simply don’t apply to these superstars. If they get sick and die then it was the devil trying to stop the advancement of God’s kingdom. You or I get seriously ill and die, then we had some hidden sin or unbelief in our lives. They get divorce and remarried on other than biblical grounds; they are given a pass whereas other lowly sheep usually can’t even serve as a church janitor after a divorce.

Isn’t what the Bible teaches in James a little more plausible than Beatty’s comment regarding Haggard?

James 1:13-15: When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Let me cite a few of the statements given by Mr. Haggard in a letter read to his congregation on Sunday, November 5, 2006: (1) Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.” The first thing on his list is that he asks his former congregation to continue to give MONEY!! Hopefully Haggard’s people have had their faith in Christ all along and thus naturally will stay faithful to Jesus.

(2) “Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.” Note the order, money first, then he confesses he is a sinner. Perhaps it took a fall from so lofty a height for him to realize something most biblically based Christians readily acknowledge, I.e. that they are sinners at the same time as being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

(3) “Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life.” Why should we forgive Mr. Jones? He did the right thing in exposing Haggard. Most certainly Mr. Jones needs to be brought to faith in Christ and delivered from homosexuality. It seems to me like Haggard is saying something akin to “forgive the police officer that caught me.” He should have asked his former congregation to pray for the redemption of Mr. Jones, not for them to forgive him!! Lastly, in point  (4) Haggard tries to make lemonade out of lemons by saying Because of the negative publicity I’ve created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.” (8)

See, Haggard’s immorality is really a blessing in disguise because we (the Church) can now demonstrate to the world how our sick (Haggard) and wounded can be healed. I have news for Mr. Haggard the Church has been healing its sick and wounded for 2,000 yeas by the discipline and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Haggard has not committed the unpardonable sin and he has asked for forgiveness, even if it did not come voluntarily, and so it must be given to him. I will not doubt his contrition, for I cannot judge his heart. Nonetheless his immorality, denials, lies and attempts to deflect what he did from himself is outrageous in my eyes. Not to mention the blight he places on the rest of God’s genuinely faithful ministers who the world will tar with the same brush due to Haggard and all the other recent scandals rocking the Church.

We do pray for his restoration, but especially we pray for his wife who is understandably devastated, their five children who have to face their peers, the thousands of congregational members, many of whom were babes in Christ and without doubt “star stuck” by Haggard and may become shipwrecked due to his moral failure.

Haggard’s fall is simply more proof that allegedly possessing the sign-gifts does not make a person more anointed, powerful in Christ or holy. The fact of the matter is that the most egregious scandals to besmirch the name of our Lord have come mostly from “charismatic” believers such as Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Larry Lee, Jimmy Swaggert, Roberts LIARdon, Paul Cain and Paul Crouch. All of these leaders claimed to be special due to their alleged spiritual gifts, but in reality they were shown to have feet of clay, like the rest of us.

Katharine Jefferts Schori Installed As Head Of 2.3 Million Member American Episcopal Denomination

This is the next item to outage me, not because a female being ordained to lead a denomination, which in itself is unbiblical. Women have often been misplaced or taken place of authority within the Church since the false prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla around 155 AD. It is not an outrage to see a woman holding the office of a bishop, which again biblically has been given to men. (9)

1 Tim. 3:2-5 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

What is outrageous is her blasphemous and heretical statements concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we get to her comments you should know that she endorses the ordination of homosexuals and also approves of same-sex marriages. (10) Do the following comments outrage you?

But in an interview this week with Associated Press, Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori — who is to be installed on Saturday as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA — stated that Christians should not say that Jesus is the only way to God. “If we insist we know the one way to God,” she said, “we’ve put God in a very small box.” (11)

Jefferts-Schori says she views salvation as the healing of all Creation through holy living. “I understand salvation as being about the healing of the whole creation. Your part and my part in that is about holy living.” she offered. “As Christians we understand [salvation] as relationship with God in Jesus, but that does not mean that we’re expected to judge other people’s own commitments. (12)

Katharine Jefferts Schori preached her first sermon to the Episcopal Church General Convention as presiding bishop-elect, she announced, “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creaton and we are his children. (13)

How a historical mainline Protestant denomination could elect a pro-gay female bishop who denies that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life is an outrage. If she is allowed to remain in that position then all those congregations that submit willingly to her authority can no longer be considered part of the Christian Church.

We disagree about many things within the Church visible, but one thing about our belief that cannot be compromised is that salvation is found through grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone and to God alone be all the glory. Any deviation from these obvious Apostolic doctrines places an individual, congregation or even denomination outside the orthodox Christian religion.

Katharine Jefferts-Schori, I do insist that Jesus Christ is in fact the only way to God simply because this is what God the Son Himself stated:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 17:3: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

JN 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

We can disagree over the mode of baptism, how often to celebrate the Lord’s Supper or which translation of the Bible to use…but salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone is NON-NEGOTIABLE. What part of Acts 4:12 is the presiding Bishop so obtuse to not understand? If this is the last thing I ever write you please understand this simple fact:

Two Statements Can Be Untrue, But Two Contradictory Statements Cannot Both Be True. “A” Is “A” And Cannot Be Non “A”

Truth by its very nature demands the exclusion of all other claims which contradict it. Either Jesus is who He said He was or He is notDMI chooses to draw a line in the sand right here. This issue right here is a make or break fellowship issue for us. I have a pastor friend in Detroit whose congregation is part of the American Episcopal Church, in fact, my mother-in-law’s funeral was held in his congregation’s sanctuary and if he agrees to submit to this heretic’s authority, then we will have no further fellowship, it is that serious to me personally and it breaks my heart but I and DMI fears God more than seeks the applause and friendship of man. The Apostle John is quite clear as is Paul in his letter to Titus on this matter and his admonition to Timothy:

2 John 1:9-11 Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your home, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deed.

Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

2 Tim 3:5: Having the form of godliness, but denying the power: from such stay away.

Many American Episcopal Churches have the outward form of godliness, I.e. they sing the hymns, pray, follow some form of liturgy, but deny the power of God which is found in the proclamation of the Gospel (see Rom. 1:16) by teaching that there is another pathway to eternal life apart from faith alone in Jesus.

As outrageous a stance as this woman has taken it is gratifying to report that several other bishops in the United States are appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking to come under his authority. Other American Episcopalians have placed themselves under the spiritual oversight of the African Archbishop. Both of these Archbishops represent conservative wings of the Anglican faith. The African Archbishop being the more conservative of the two, but neither one accepts homosexual ordination nor agrees with the comments of Katharine Jefferts-Schori. Please join with us in prayer that the American Episcopal Church will come to its senses and reconsider whom they’re currently elected and replace with a brother who at least abides by the original confessional stance of the Episcopalian Church. If they do not remove her, then let her and those who follow her be anathema to you.

The “Father” Fenton Fiasco

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The first two attacks on the Church that outraged me (and I hope at least concern you very deeply) are issues that possibly touch closer to your home than my third “outrage.” This one is far more personal to me in my journey from heresy to Christian orthodoxy. John Fenton was previously a confessional evangelical pastor within the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). As of Sunday 11-05-06, he had left the LCMS to join himself to the “Orthodox Church.” By Orthodox I mean as in the “Eastern Orthodox” branch of the Church. You might be saying to yourself, “ok, so what is the big deal? Didn’t Frankie Schaffer do the same thing after his illustrious father, Francis Schaffer died?” Some of you may be thinking “well aren’t Lutheran’s just Kissing-cousins of Roman Catholicism and the Eastern/Greek/Russian Orthodox Church just the stepbrothers of Roman Catholicism?” There is no short succinct answer to these questions. Let me just say that the Evangelical Lutheran Church (14) is not doctrinally related in many significant ways to the Roman Catholicism, the various Eastern Churches or the various Reformed and Protestant denominations. You’ll have to do your own sleuthing on this matter to see the clear distinctions between these branches of the visible Church. That said, confessional Lutherans readily and joyfully admit that God has His children scattered hither, thither and you, i.e. biblical Lutherans do not view themselves as the only genuine believers, nor do we consider the Evangelical Church to be the only true visible Body of Christ on earth.

What is outrageous about brother Fenton is that he is an intelligent man with a solid conservative seminary education; in fact, he is a graduate of Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. He has served as a pastor within the Missouri Synod for eleven years and as of October 29, 2006 he resigned as pastor at Zion Evangelical-Church of Detroit to join the Orthodox Church of America (OCA). I will cite statements he made in his resignation letter:

However, I am convinced that the Book of Concord contains defective or deficient doctrines not in accord with the faith of the apostles. In simple terms, these deficiencies include the acceptance of an amended Nicene Creed, the notion that Jesus died to appease His Father’s wrath, a man-centered understanding of the church, the denial of prayers to the saints, and the idea that the liturgy is a man-made product. (15)

No Lutheran seminary professor or pastor I have met (and I have met quite a few over the last several years) proclaim the Book of Concord to be infallible. The LCMS does teach, believe and confess that the teachings within the Book of Concord do accurately represent biblical doctrine and orthodox Christianity. It is however never placed on the same level as the Holy Bible, nor are its contents ever appealed to over the plain teachings of the Bible.

Naturallly, the OCA, like all branches of the Eastern Church, disagrees with the western understanding of the Nicene Creed. Here is the argument in a nutshell (more or less):

The Nicene Creed introduced the word “homoousious” or “ consubstantial” meaning “of one substance.” This word was not invented at the council Eusebius writes that some of the “most learned and distinguished of the ancient bishops had made use of consubstantial in treating of the divinity of the Father and the Son. (16)

The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeco-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian church in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism. These heresies, which disturbed the church during the forth century, concerned the doctrine of the trinity and of the person of Christ. Both the Greek (Eastern) and the Latin (Western) church held this creed in honor, though with one important difference: the Western church insisted on the inclusion of the phrase “and the Son” (known as the “filioque”) in the article on the procession of the Holy Spirit; this phrase still is repudiated by the Eastern Orthodox church. In its present form this creed goes back partially to the Council of Nicea (AD 325) with additions by the Council of Constantinople (AD 381). It was accepted in its present form at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but the “filoque” phrase was not added until 589, However, the creed is in substance an accurate and majestic formulation of the Nicene faith. (17)

All of the historic creeds were developed by the early church fathers as a means of refuting heretics and their false teachings. A simple working definition of creeds is as follows: “A creed is a brief statement of faith used to enumerate important truths, to clarify doctrinal points and to distinguish truth from error. Creeds are usually worded to be easily memorized. The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, meaning, “I believe.” (18) Creeds are simply statements of what is commonly accepted as genuine Christian dogma. Virtually all Christian bodies do accept the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Chalcedon as well as the Athanasian Creed. (19) Apart from the Church of the Brethren, a small Anabaptist denomination whose statement is “no creed but the Bible,” this sounds pious, but actually demonstrates their ignorance of why the aforementioned creeds came into existence. It also highlights their misunderstanding regarding the place and use of the various creeds in liturgical confessional congregations.

What is the OCA (which is submitted to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church) and Fenton’s issue with the Nicene creed as we confess it in the west? It boils down to western theologians adding a few words to clarify the Trinity because the original writing of the creed was a little fuzzy in this area:

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” the debate concerned whether the Holy Spirit proceeded fro only the Father, or from the Father and the Son [filioque in Latin]. The phrase “and the Son” was not in the original Greek version of the Creed accepted at Nicaea and Constantinople. It was added in the Latin versions used in the Western (Roman) church in AD 589 as an attempt to clarify the relationship of the three person of the Trinity. The concern was that the original wording made Jesus the Christ subordinate to the Father, a view that the Western church felt endangered the doctrine of the Trinity. (20)

The Episcopalian Church has recently reverted back to the eastern version of the Nicene creed in their latest printing of the Book of Common Prayer (anything the Episcopalians do no longer surprises me).

Fenton’s next statement is equally outrageous to me when he blithely writes in opposition to “the notion that Jesus died to appease His Father’s wrath.” I am sure you have all seen the famous painting representing our Lord knocking on the outside of a cottage door? Now visualize that same painting with me standing there knocking on brother Fenton’s head!! Who does Fenton think Jesus was appeasing in His substitution death on the cross? The ransom view of the atonement is thankfully, not widely held these days (apart from the Word of Faith cultists). In this view Jesus died to purchase us back from Satan, this concept had its roots in the teaching of an early theologian named Origen, who was later condemned by the Church as a heretic not due to this teaching alone, but several others that went far beyond the pale of orthodoxy. (21) The problem inherent in Origen’s doctrine of the atonement deals with the issue of why does God owe Satan anything, especially His own Son?

The teaching of the LCMS and other truly evangelical bodies is that God sent His Son into the world (John 3:16) because of His great love for all humanity to suffer as our substitute, bearing the full brunt of God’s divine judgment that we owed due to our sin against a totally holy God. The words of an old hymn we used to sing, who name escapes me goes something like this: “I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.” Jesus suffered and died in our place to appease the holy wrath of God by bearing in His own body the penalty for our sins. How brother Fenton could discard such an obvious truth of the Bible and embrace a heterdox view is to me outrageous.

Fenton’s next reason for departing from evangelical Christianity and going east is because Lutherans and others within Protestantism do not believe in praying to “saints.” He sure got that point of his letter correct. Lutherans and millions of other Christians do not pray to dead saints (including Mary) for one simple reason — THE BIBLE NEVER REMOTELY SUGGESTS THAT WE DO SO. Contrary to Fenton’s belief, the Bible teaches us the following:

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 7:11 how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name your kingdom come.’

John 15:16…Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

These are merely four verses from the Gospel that I have cited. In each case we are told by God the Son to pray to the Father, to do so in the name of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Why didn’t Jesus say “when you pray, ask my mother, who in turn will ask Me, and I will then ask the Father.” Or why don’t we read of any of the writing Apostles saying “when I have gone on to glory, I’ll be listening for your prayers in order to intercede on your behalf before the throne of Almighty God.” What we do learn from apostolic writings are directives such as these:

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not . And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Christ Jesus Himself makes intercession for us and as for me and my household we’d much rather have the Son of God standing in the gap for us than His mother, blessed woman that she was or even Peter and Paul. We are also told quite plainly that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:26). As God’s own dear children in Christ we are told by the author of the book of Hebrews to come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, not to ask some dead “saint” to do it for us.

This brings me to another “outrage” concerning brother Fenton’s deflection from the pure light of God’s Word into the shadows caused by man-made doctrine…the whole eastern (Roman Catholic too) stress on “saints.” Folks we are all saints, set apart by the blood of the spotless lamb of God. No one in the New Testament is especially noted as a “saint” and the rest of the Church is full of ain’ts. Such a distinction is never made biblically, that is the impure invention of sinful man.

I close this last outrage with Fenton’s comment that he is now seeking membership in the “true visible church” on earth, I.e. the Orthodox Church of America. This is very prideful on the part of Orthodox Churches to make such a statement. If words mean anything, then every other expression of the Church visible is in fact not the true visible Church, only the Orthodox Church holds that position!

Some reading this may ask why is it that some fellow believers turn to Roman Catholicism (RC) or Eastern Orthodox (EO) expressions and jettison their former evangelical beliefs. I think the answer is both complex and simple and may differ from case to case. Over all, I believe what takes place is that people get deceived into thinking that either expression is the closest thing to New Testament Apostolic Christianity. Both of these historic expressions make this claim regarding themselves, but it is not true. The Great Schism between Eastern and Western branches of the faith were due to doctrinal issues.

Here are a few beliefs brother Fenton now embraces as “Truth”:

About Mary: “The Mother of God is often referred to as the “New Eve,” for she said “yes” to God whereas the first Eve said “no” We believe that the Mother of God was sinless of her own free will, that she remains ever virgin, and that she is the “living tabernacle” of God inasmuch as her womb, as one hymn states, becomes “more spacious than the heavens” by carrying within it the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. (22)

Psal. 51:5 Behold, I was sharpen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Rom. 3:1 As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

So much about Mary’s perpetual sinlessness and perpetual virginity (Matt. 13:53).

About Icons: Orthodox people kiss them, bow to them, pray to them, Why? Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience. this central function of religious images (icons) – unparalleled in any other Christian tradition – received its full definition following the end of the iconoclastic movement in Byzantium (843). The Orthodox theologians, on the other hand, based their arguments on the specifically Christian doctrine of the incarnation: God is indeed invisible and indescribable in his essence, but when the Son of God became man, he voluntarily assumed all the characteristics of created nature, including describability. Consequently, images of Christ, as man, affirm the truth of God’s ral incarnation, Because divine life shines through Christ’s risen and glorified humanity, the function of the artist consists in conveying the very mystery of the Christian faith through art. Furthermore, because the icons of Christ and the saints provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images should be objects of “veneration” (pokiness), (22)

Regardless of tradition, where is this commanded in the Bible? Our Bible commands that we make no graven images (see Deut 7:5-6)

Praying to the Dead: The saints are regarded as those who have reliably finished the course of their lives in the path of theosis. Those that are known to the Church are glorified (canonized) by incorporating their lives into the Church’s liturgical life, a recognition of Christ in them. They are venerated (shown great respect and love) but not worshiped, for worship is due to God alone. In showing the saints this love and requesting their prayers, it is believed by the Orthodox that they thus assist in the process of salvation for others. (23)

The reformation came about because Dr. Martin Luther and others wanted to reform the church and bring it back into line with the Scriptures. He, nor any other reformer ever taught that we should seek the dead on behalf of the living.

Please re-read carefully the Book of Acts and you will not find a blueprint on how to “do” Church. God by His wisdom left us a great deal of latitude in how local congregations function administratively, musically, and yes, even liturgically. For instance nothing is mentioned about wearing a collar, robes or vestments with specific colors for specific seasons of the Church calendar. Nothing is mentioned about incense, how long a sermon is to be, should candles be used or not, length of a service. Nor are we commanded to have a specific number of deacons or elders. Must we sit in pews or are folding chairs ok? Should the pastor speak from behind a pulpit or walk around the congregation as he preaches? These and a whole host of other issues are considered adiaphorous (or non essentials) by the Evangelical Church but unfortunately some portions of the church have elevated these and other non-essential traditions to having equal status with the Holy Bible.

Pray for brother Fenton, I fear he has jumped out of the pan quite literally into the fire. He will find that the Orthodox Church of America is run by sinful men, just like the LCMS, the Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptist confederations, et al. There is no perfect Church on this earth, at least as long as you and I are alive.

Paula White

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While the prior events were taking place I was doing a bit of morning surfing on the television and happened across the Christian program sponsored by Paula White Ministries. Paula, when not screeching and running around a platform somewhere like a chicken on crack she has decided to try her hand at a sit-down television studio set similar to other televangelists. Some of you may not know anything about White, so allow me to cite her own PR from her website:

Paula White is a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Preacher, Author, Humanitarian, Philanthropist, Teacher, TV Personality, Wife and Mother. Beneath her unassuming beauty, lies a gentle and girlish charm. (24)

Note the order of importance that she describes herself: (1) Life Coach, (2) Motivational Speaker, (3) Pastor, (4) Preacher, (5) Author, (6) Humanitarian, (7) Philanthropist, (8) Teacher, (9) TV Personality, (10) Wife and (11) Mother.

Her husband and children are last on the list. The first two are accurate, especially after what I witnesses on her television program.

What was outrageous to me was that her guests were no less than Mr. Donald Trump and his co-author, Robert Kioysaki hawking their latest best selling book entitled “Why We Want You To Be Rich.” In fact, Mrs. White had these two men for several days. During this time (paid for by Christian donors) she never once confronted them in a loving manner with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, i.e. that they were lost sinners in need of a Savior. What shocked and appalled me was that an internationally known woman “preacher” and a TBN regular would have two unrepentant heathens on her Christian program for the sole purpose of making money off the success of their book which she offers on her website ( anyone can buy it cheaper at Amazon.com). Trump has been married three times, after jettisoning wives number one and two on totally unbiblical grounds. He is well known for making much of his fortune from the gambling industry (casinos) and in short is a “prime candidate” for salvation. I do not know that much about his co-author, but he too is a multi-millionaire due to his other books and games he has created.

Brothers and sisters, there is something terribly wrong when someone who calls themselves a Christian and yet does not share the Gospel message with sinners sitting right next to them! Equally it is appalling to see irredeemable time wasted talking to men about how to get rich! The Bible plainly teaches that “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10). Sadly, Trump, Kioysaki and White’s goal seems to primarily self enrichment and not gaining wealth for the purposes plainly set forth in the Bible.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having wealth or making a great deal of money in this life time if biblical realities are kept in mind:

FIRST we all need to remember that it is God (not Trump’s schemes or our own abilities) that gives us the power to get wealth (Deut. 8:18). The purpose for our wealth is NOT to buy bigger homes, fancier cars, more expensive clothing or more jewelry. God gives people the ability to get wealth to establish His covenant. The Lord knew then as He does now, how easy it is for His people fallen human beings that we are to wrongly take credit for what we have and to grasp onto it tightly as if the money He has entrusted us with was as precious as life itself.

SECONDLY, We are to use a portion of our wealth to support (25) the work and workers in the ministry (1 Cor. 16:2). In fact, the Holy Spirit has Paul remind God’s people on two occasions that they need to set aside a portion of their finances for ministry support. (1 Cor. 9.9 , 1 Tim. 5:18). In another place he says that those who preach/teach the gospel ought to make their living by their ministry work (1 Cor. 9:14). This doctrine is echoed again by Paul to Timothy especially regarding leaders who teach (1 Tim 5:17). (26)

THIRDLY We all gain wealth to some degree through the work of our hands, some make more, others less that is not the issue. What is paramount to remember is the purpose of our work. Again, we do not work to get ahead of the “Jones” or keep up with the “Copelands.” No, the purpose of our labor is so that we may have something left to give to those who lack, I.e. the poor. (Acts 10:2, Eph. 4:28).

All of these outrages seemed to occur within a week of each other, it really has caused me to consider the seriousness of the times we are living in and the need to be all the more faithful in teaching truth & exposing error.

On behalf of Discernment Ministries International let me again express my heartfelt gratitude to our Lord for raising up those of you who faithfully support our ministry. We thank you for being both obedient to our Lord with your support and generous in your giving. It continues to be our prayer that everyone who reads Truth Matters, makes use of the website or uses our materials would give some amount each month. In all honesty, DMI really has need of more financial support.

With the passing of my mother-in-law things got backlogged on every front, both in ministry and our personal lives as a family. It may be a negative confession, but all of my immediate family not only went through a period of grieving, but my wife and I also suffered from a low grad depression, which thankfully has now lifted.

With this in mind please forgive the lateness of the last issue of Truth Matters, a few folks might still be waiting to receive a book or CD (they are on the way!), not to mention the delayed sending out of quarterly giving statements. If by the time you read this letter and you have not received something you did order PLEASE let me know (call me collect, and I will rectify it as quickly as possible.

I realize that some ministers would never publicly admit to such things, but I learned a great lesson from Kevin Butcher, a friend, fellow pastor and mentor who taught me that value of taking the risk, of being transparent to those you love and serve along with the truth of striving to be a human being versus a human doing. Thanks Kevin, those are lessons I will not forget. ♦

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Obtained from http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=defineoutrage&sa=X&io=glossary_definition&ct=title.

2. Colorado Springs Gaette, by Paul Asay, Bill Vogrin and Deedee Corell, Haggard Dismissed, 11-03-2006

3. Ibid

4. DMI was one of the first Apologetic ministries to expose Mr. LIARdon the date for his outing was obtained from http://www.christian-witness.org/archive/van2003/bilby_restor16.html

5. Los Angeles Times, Andrew Gumbel, September 18, 2004

6. Ibid. Bold type added for emphasis.

7. Please understand that I cite “church janitor” as merely an example of a lowly position (in some people’s eyes) as opposed to that of the pastor/prophets/apostle. I am in no way denigrating the often unseen and thankless task of those who keep the church buildings clean.

8. Colorado Springs Gazette, Ted Haggard’s letter to New Life Church, November 5, 2006. Underlining added for emphasis.

9. It is beyond the scope of this article to consider the roles of men and woman within the church. I know many women who are very gifted and I respect them. Yet God’s Word is the guide by which all our faith and practice is to be judged by and women simply are not called to serve as pastors, elders, bishops, or teachers over men.

10. This is according to an article on her ordination located at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/04/national/main2153338.shtml

11. Agape Press, by Jody Brown and Allie Martin, Comments by Jefferts-Schori During Interview Appear to Contradict Scripture, 11-02-06. Bold type added for emphasis.

12. Ibid

13. Quote from Jim Tonkowich, Religion Without Foundations, writer for the Daily Standard.

14. Please understand that the Lutheran Church was originally called the “evangelical” church and was not a part of the Roman Catholic church, nor is Confessional Lutheranism a part of the Protestant reformation nor a “Reformed” church/

15. Taken from John W. Fenton, M Div., S.T.M. Letter of Resignation submitted on 10- 29-06. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

16. Obtained from http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/nicca.htm

17. Obtained from http://www.crcna.org/pages/nicene_creed.cfm Underlining added for emphasis.

18. Obtained from http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/pamphlet/3creeds.htm

19. For more insight into the interesting history surrounding these and other classic statements of the Christian faith you might pay a visit to the following websites: http://www.creeds.net/; http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/pamphet/3creeds.htm or http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html.

20. Statement obtained from http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

21. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomisu, Macedomius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not equally anathematize] all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema. This quotation was obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/widi/Origen#Christology.

22. The Evangelical position is stated as follows: Lutheran teaching of the atonement stresses that God’s act is objective, taking the imitative (cf. the OT concept of the Covenant) in reaching out toward man, and that Christ’s work is vicarious in that He bears the burden of sin, which is rightfully man’s (GI 3:10-13, cf. ls. 53). Obtained from http://www.lcms.org/ca/www./cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=A&t2=t.

23. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church#The_Theotokos_and_the_saints on 11-08-80.

24. Obtained from http://www.oca.org/QAasp?ID=6&SID=3.

25. Obtained from http://www.paulawhite.org/about.htm.

26. When DMI and other Apologetic ministries refer to financial support please understand that we mean just that I.e. receive enough financial help to pay or feed or families, pay our bills and run our small ministries. I do not know one Apologetic or Counter-cult ministry that lives above a “middle-class” financial level, most of us, DMI most assuredly lives just above the poverty line economically speaking. I find it shameful when “ministers” receive millions of dollars personally I don’t care how “big” they are.

27. Those who preformed their functions well were worthy of “double honor [GK G5507}.” Since this word was often used in the sense of a price paid for something, it had been suggested that here it might be translated “honoraruim”. Perhaps we should allow both “honor” and honorarium” Highest honor is to be given to “those whose work is preaching and teaching.” 18. This verse, a well as the proceeding discussion of support for widows (vv. 3-16), suggests definitely that the “double honor” for elders was to be a financial remuneration. Quoting Dt. 25:4 (cf. 1 Co. 9:9) and Lk 10:7, Paul makes the point that a worker should receive compensation. Obtained from the Zondervan Reference Library CD, ver. 2.6. The New American Commentary Module.





God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings

4 08 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 2 – God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings

DMI often receives e-mails from individuals who admit that even though certain individuals do teach false doctrines they are “alright” because after all, no one is perfect doctrinally. While we certainly agree that we are all sinners and none of us is perfect we disagree most vehemently with the concept that false doctrine and those who propagate it are harmless. There is no such thing as “harmless” false doctrine. I urge people to hold a very high opinion of the absolute seriousness of God’s view regarding false prophets, teachers and leaders in the Bible and history of the Church.

In theology proper one of the attributes of God is veracity which refers to truthfulness in His being and in all He does. The following definition will serve as a good place to begin our consideration of how seriously God considers those who prophesy or teach falsehoods in His holy name.

The apostle says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar”, (Rom. 3:4) this must be affirmed of him, whatever is said of creatures, he is true and truth itself.

1. God is true in and of himself; this epithet, or attribute, is expressive. 1a. Of the reality of his being; he truly and really exists; this is what every worshipper of him must believe (Heb. 11:6). Creatures have but a show of being in comparison of his; “Every man walks in a vain show”, or image; rather in appearance than in reality, (Ps. 39:6) but the existence of God is true, real and substantial; hence he has the name Jehovah, “I AM that I AM”; which denotes the truth, eternity, and immutability of his essence. What seems to be, and is not, is not true; what seems to be and is, is true.

1b. Of the truth of his Deity; he is the true and the living God; so he is often called, (2 Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:9) in opposition to fictitious deities; who either have reigned themselves such or are feigned so by others; gods only by name, not by nature; of which there have been many; but the true God is but one, and in distinction from such who are called gods in a figurative and metaphorical sense, gods by office under God; as Moses was to Pharaoh, and as Kings, Judges, and civil magistrates be, (Ex. 7:1; Ps. 82:1, 6, 7). But the Lord is God in a true and proper sense.

1c. This title includes the truth and reality of all his perfections; he is not only omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and immutable, but he is truly so; what is falsely claimed by others, or wrongly given to them, is really in him; he is not only good and gracious, holy and just, but he is truly so; what others only appear to be, he is really.

1d. This may be predicated of each Person in the Godhead; the Father is the only true God, (John 17:3) through not to the exclusion of the Son, who is also the true God and eternal life; nor of the holy Spirit, who is truth; and who, with the Father and the Son, is the one true and living God (1 John 5:20, 6,7).–This attribute of truth removes from the divine nature everything imperfect and sinful: it is opposed to unrighteousness, (Deut. 32:4) and has the epithet of just or holy along with it, when God is spoken of in his persons, ways, and works, (Rev. 3:7, 6:10, 15:3, 16:7, 19:2) it removes from him all imputation of lying and falsehood; he is not a man, that he should lie, as men do; the Strength of “Israel will not” lie; yea, he is God that “cannot” lie; it is even “impossible” that he should (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29, Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18) this frees him from all deception, he can neither deceive nor be deceived. (1)

Truth matters to our God because He is at His core a being of truth. Whenever anyone stands up and proclaims what is false either intentionally or unintentionally (2) in His name as one of Hs ministers it is a grievous affront to His holy character. It is a very serious matter to stand before God’s people (or any people for that matter as His representative) and speak in His name. We should do so with fear and trembling, knowing we are flawed individuals and our best attempts are tainted by our sinfulness. Yet today myriads of “leaders” have lost their fear of the Lord and brazenly proclaim innumerable false prophetic words in the name of our Lord.  Men and women of every stripe think noting of teaching novel man made doctrines and those of demons (read 1 timothy 4:1) on a global scale. Those who follow their pernicious ways think little of the fact that their leaders err here and there doctrinally and “miss it” when they prophesy in God’s name. But what saith the Lord?

The Old Testament Witness Against False Ministries and Their Teachings

Deut 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of others gods, even that prophet shall die.

During the instructional phase of establishing the nation God warned His people regarding those who would presume to speak a word (an instructional directive in His name. If such a person dared to put themselves forth as a spokesman for the Lord, and was not, they were to be killed.

Some may say “surely you are not advocating stoning false and presumptuous prophets today.” No. I am not….but if the Church did stone false prophets then the Body of Christ would not be troubled by the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Cain, Kim Clement, Bernard Jordan, Paul Crouch, Rick Joyner, John Paul Jones, Mike Bickle and other liars. If we still did enforce stoning of false prophets I believe the televangelists ranks would have been thinned to almost non-existence. THANK GOD for His mercy!!

Lev. 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, [and] all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name [of the LORD], shall be put to death.

Not only did God require false prophets to be stoned to death, He also commanded that those who blaspheme His name be likewise stoned to death. This refers directly to taking the LORD’s name in vain, but it can also refer to blaspheming His name by speaking or teaching falsely using it. Anytime a minister gets up and says “The LORD told me” or “Thus saith the LORD,” and it is not in direct context of God’s written Word then that minister is in danger of having committed a presumptuous sin and attributing to the LORD that which He has not uttered, thus lying (blaspheming) in His holy name. It was and still is a serious matter.

The context of the following verses comes from Jeremiah, who lived during the last days of a decaying nation. He was the last prophet to Judah, the southern Kingdom, the northern ten tribes had already gone into captivity and soon Judah was to suffer seventy years of Babylonian captivity. His was a time of both spiritual and moral decay where God’s people preferred to listen to the sweet lies of the false prophets and reject the sure Word of the Lord from His true spokesman (sound familiar?).

Jer 5:30-32 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Jer 14:14-16 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name; I send them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters; for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

Jer 29:8-9 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name; I have not sent them, saith the LORD.

Jer 23:32 Behold, I [am] against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them and, cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

The Lord speaking through Jeremiah reveals several things regarding false ministers. First and foremost, it is not a light matter when ministers misuse their office and take the Lord’s name in vain. On the contrary God considers it a horrible thing. The Hebrew word sha`arura means something horrid, disgusting, a horrible thing. (3)

God blames both the false prophets and ministers who rule by their own decisions versus leading by God’s Word (5:v. 31) and His people “My people love to have it so.” Those who proclaim lies in God’s name would have no effect if people would ignore and shun them. Sadly, then as today these people were and are embraced by many. In Jer. 14:14 that Lord plainly states these prophets are lying in My name! What is the end result? God will judge them and those who listened to them (14:v.16). Again, we read of a close connection between those who lie in God’s name and those who listen to their lies. Lastly, God is against them that prophesy lies and mislead His people because of the lies they tell.

Ezekiel ate the bitter fruit of Jeremiah’s prophetic words. He ministers as a captive of Babylon and yet even while the people were in captivity they still strayed from God’s ways and suffered from ungodly leadership!

 Eze 34:2-3 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock.

Eze 34:9-10 therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

God is against leaders who take care of themselves at the expense of the flock of God under their care. These false leaders were guilty of feeding and enriching themselves by preying on the flock. God said He would judge them and free His people from their tyranny. God does not change (read Mal. 3:6). He keeps excellent records and He will require those who lead in His name to give an account of how they treated His people (take heed Mr. Robertson, Mr. & Mrs. Crouch, and a host of others).

From these few citations in the Old Testament we can readily see that our Lord does not wink at prophets who “miss it” now and then in His name. Nor does He excuse leaders who make merchandise of the sheep and to some extent He does not overlook those who heed the messages of false prophets. The witness of the O.T. is sure, God is not pleased with anyone who lies or misleads in His name.

The Witness of Jesus Against False Prophets and Leaders

Some might try to argue that the O.T. texts come to us under the old dispensation and that now we are under a dispensation of grace and a better covenant based on better promises. To be sure we are children of the new and final covenant based on better promises (read Hebrews 8:6) This being the case then we’d do well to pay close attention to the One who established that better covenant sealing it with His shed blood.

Mt. 18:6-7 but whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

The word translated offend comes from the Greek word skandalizo from which we get our term “scandalize.” It is defined as meaning “to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall.” (4) Jesus is saying that if anyone is going to cause even the most immature (thus helpless) believer to stumble in their walk with Christ it would be better for that person to be drowned! It seems that to our Lord doctrinal purity matters quite a bit. In fact, He goes on to say that offences will come but Jesus uses the prophetic term “woe” to that man who causes the offenses! When the prophets in the O.T. declared “woe unto you” it meant that the nation or individual had become the object of the wrath of God.

As the true shepherd our Lord warns us in several places to be aware of those claiming to speak for God and to weigh carefully what we hear taught:

Mt. 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt true bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

We are warned to be alert, to be conscious of the reality of pseudo-prophets (false prophets). Why be warned? Because these people come looking like sheep, false prophets come dressed in Christian garb and talk the “God” talk. From all outward appearances they seem to be Christian. Yet what makes one a believer is not seen by long dresses on women, short hair on men and ten pound Dake or Scofield KJV Bible under their arms. (5) True Christianity begins in the heart as a work of the Holy Spirit. This is where the false prophet is detected. Not by how they look but what is on the inside, which is revealed to us by what they teach. Remember, it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks (see Luke 6:45).

All of the false prophets, false teachers, false brethren and false apostles fall under the category of “tares” sown among the pure wheat of God by the enemy (see Matthew 13:25). The tare looks exactly like a stalk of wheat except it is empty inside and worthless. The end result of these false ministers? They shall be bound in bundles and burned (see Matthew 13:30).

In the same discourse regarding our need to be aware of the reality of false prophets Jesus foretells of their end:

Mt. 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Sadly, this reminds me of many leaders within the Signs and Wonders movement today. Many are quick to prophesy in the name of Jesus, some even are so bold as to hold “Prophetic Schools” teaching people how to become prophets! So called strategic level spiritual warfare and casting demons out of people (deliverance ministries) are all the rage today…all done in Jesus name. Open any issue of Charisma magazine and read advertisement after advertisement offering miracle crusades and meetings touting that the power of God will be in manifestation (for a price)….again all done in Jesus holy name. I fear that some of these people will hear the most dreadful words of all “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

In keeping with our times today our Lord’s warnings seem particularly appropriate:

Mr. 13:22-23 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

We are warned by the true Christ and true prophet that falsely “anointed” ones (Christos) along with false prophets shall come forth and bring with them signs and wonders the purpose of which is to seduce (“to cause to go astray” in the Greek) if possible even the elect of God. Jesus warns His disciples to take heed (blepo, to discern, perceive) regarding these liars. One of Satan’s biggest tools in his arsenal of deception is having a false message followed up with lying signs and wonders (read 2 Thess. 2:9). After all, isn’t the Word confirmed with signs and wonders following (read Mark 16:20)? Frankly, it depends on the Word (doctrine) being delivered and the nature of the so-called signs and wonders.

Mt. 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Regarding the Pharisees Jesus warns His followers to leave them alone because they are spiritually blind and those who follow them are equally blind. What is the danger in following blind guides? The blind leaders and their followers will end up falling into the ditch!

Mt. 16:11-12 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

It should be very obvious from these few texts that our Lord is extremely concerned about the nature of what is bring taught as doctrine and the character of those proclaiming to be prophets or teachers of the Law. Jesus knew that a little false doctrine (leaven) would, if left unchecked, spread and corrupt the entire loaf. Christ warns that we need to check out the biblical content of what is being presented to us as God’s truth and not to simply swallow-and-follow whatever is presented to us by individuals who claim some special anointing.

False leaders have not changed from Jesus’ day to our time. Jesus rebuked the lawyers saying:

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Lawyers in Jesus’ day were the interpreters of the law, they were the teachers of Mosaic Law.

52. Key of knowledge—not the key to open knowledge, but knowledge, the only key to open heaven. In Mat 23:13, they are accused of shutting heaven; here of taking away the key, which was worse. A right knowledge of God’s Word is eternal life (John 17:3); but this they took away from the people, substituting for it was their wretched traditions. (6)

Due to their man made traditions, practices and teachings which God had never instated these false leaders made the Word of God of no effect in the lives of the people they were supposed to be leading (read Matthew 15:6). They lay heavy burdens (works) on the people’s shoulders but would do nothing to liberate them (read Matthew 23:4) through the correct teaching of God’s Word.

Brothers and sisters, our Lord, yes precious Jesus, was NOT tolerant of ignorant, proud and blind spiritual leaders. He rebuked them at every turn. He warned His disciples of the danger these SINisters posed to the true spiritual growth and welfare of the disciples time and time again.

The Apostolic Witness Regarding False Leaders

Were the writing Apostles any less concerned about doctrinal purity and godly leadership? The Apostle Paul who the Holy Spirit used to write almost two-thirds of the New Testament said quite a bit about these issues. I will cite just a few examples:

Acts 20:27-30  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Paul exhorts the Ephesian elders at his departure reminding them how he warned them day and night for three years of the fact that the flock would be attacked from without and within. He urged these leaders to take heed to their own spiritual lives first and having done so they would be in position to help guard the flock that God had entrusted to them. The “wolves” could refer to those Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:15, people who outwardly looked like Christian leaders but who in reality would ravage the flock. He also mentioned the fact of leaders rising up who would teach things that would turn those who followed them from the right path. Later on Paul gives a similar warning to his disciple and pastor Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 Paul knows he is about to die (read v.6) and he is exhorting Timothy by first reminding him to preach the word in a steadfast manner. Paul uses some strong words in the Greek to Timothy:

Reprove (elegcho) means to: a. by conviction to bring to the light, to expose; b. generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted; c. to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation.

Rebuke (epitimao) meaning: a. to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely; b. to admonish or change sharply.

Exhort (parakaleo) define as: a. to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc; b. to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; c. to instruct, teach. (7)

 Paul knew that Timothy would face doctrinally illiterate people who would be easy targets for false teachers peddling an appealing message. This is why he exhorts Timothy to preach the Word of God and take a firm stand against those who are wavering in their faith or being misled by false teachers.

Nothing has changed! Pastors still face the same challenges, but many pastors are not preaching the full counsel of God’s Word, nor are they willing to reprove and rebuke people who are wavering in the true Christian faith. Somehow this is seen as “unloving.” Yet the end result is the same today as it was in Timothy’s ministry —people are being seduced by false leaders and are perverted, turned away from the right path, the narrow way of God’s Word.

Heresy and heretics are nothing new to the Church; as these texts amply prove false ministers have always plagued God’s people. Paul said that there must be heresies among us to prove who are the genuine (1 Cor. 11:19) believers.

What has changed is the unwillingness on the part of both leaders and laity to step up and speak out against the heretics and their false doctrines and practices in our midst. The Apostle Peter prophesied of our day when he said:

2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

We are told to expect the advent of false teachers bringing in damnable (tisk tisk Peter, not to judge) heresies and many (pollus, a whole bunch of folks in the Greek) shall follow them. Because of these SINisters the “way of truth,” Christianity, will be spoken evil of. People like Mr. Tilton, Benny Hinn, Jim & Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Earl Paulk cause the world to speak evil of the Church. These false teachers covet followers and most importantly covet their money. Through their false doctrine (such as the false prosperity message) they reduce their followers to nothing more than giving units. Paul in his closing remarks in his letter to the Romans echoes Peter’s warning:

Roman 16:17,18  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.

God commands that we identify those who cause divisions or schisms within the Church by teaching doctrines which are against the true teaching of Scripture. What is more we are to avoid them. Why? Because they are not servants of Christ but of their own desires and they will use the same language of the Church to deceive those with no sound doctrinal foundation for their spiritual lives. Jude exhorts his readers and us today of the necessity of contending for the faith:

Jude 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend (epigone,zesqai) for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The KJV is more accurate than many other translations when it says “earnestly contend” for the faith because it is truer to the Greek word. We are in a battle and the Church has to fight to keep the truth of God. This battle has been raging ever since Satan said “hath God said” to Eve back in the garden of Eden (see Gen 3:1).

The Witness of the Early Church Fathers & Reformers

In the Preface of his stellar work Against Heresies our Patron Saint, (8) Irenaeus stated the following:

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 (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. One far superior to me has well said in reference to this point, “A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some), unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit. Or, again, what inexperienced person can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up with silver?” Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the true character of these men, —because they outwardly are covered with sheep’s clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined us to be on our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different…I do this, in order that thou, obtaining an acquaintance with these things, mayest in turn explain them to all those with whom thou art connected, and exhort them to avoid such an abyss of madness and of blasphemy against Christ. (9)

Irenaeus was not being mean spirited, spiteful nor was he causing division an strife by exposing the false teachers of his day. Quite the contrary, his goal was to be a faithful under shepherd and warn God’s people of the wolves in their very midst. He noted how these false brethren looked like sheep, spake God-talk but that the meaning behind their words were (and are to this day) vastly different from those of orthodox Christianity. For example, words like “faith, anointing, Christ, prosperity” are biblical terms yet in the mouth of Mr. Copeland, Hinn, Dollar or Crouch have vastly different interpretations than what they truly mean. Irenaeus wrote so that his reader(s) could in turn warn others. THIS IS THE EXACT SAME REASON DMI PUBLISHES TRUTH MATTERS EACH MONTH. Our hope is that you, our readers, will share what you learn with others.

In chapter VII of The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Polycarp who was one of the Apostle John’s disciples wrote the following exhortation:

For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist,” and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning; “watching unto prayer,” and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplication the all-seeing God “not to lead us into temptation” as the Lord has said: “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. (10)

Polycarp urges Christians to forsake the vanity of many and their false doctrines and to return to the word that was handed down to the Church from the beginning. At the very early stages of the Church false doctrines and false practices ran rampant. Is it any surprise then, now at the end of the age the Church still must be exhorted to return to the faith once delivered unto the saints? Clement wrote in Chapter XVI of his Epistle to the Corinthians of the fact that it was those who were unstable in the faith and taught false doctrine who were the cause of strife and tumult…not those who exposed them!

It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclination of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. (11)

Martin Luther in writing about the Second Commandment made the following bold statement:

It also belongs to this work to resist all false, seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines, every misuse of spiritual power. Now this is much higher, for these use the holy Name of God itself to fight against the Name of God. For this reason it seems a great thing and a dangerous to resist them, because they assert that he who resists them resists God and all His saints, in whose place they sit and whose power they use, saying that Christ said of them, “ He that heareth you, heareth Me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.” On which words they lean heavily, become insolent and bold to say, to do, and to leave undone what they please; put to the ban, accurse, rob, murder, and practice all their wickedness, in whatever way they please and can invent, without any hindrance. Now Christ did not mean that we should listen to them in everything they might say and do, but only then when they present to us His Word, the Gospel, not their word, His work, and not their work. (12)

In keeping God’s name holy we are to resist ALL false, seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines and EVERY misuse of spiritual power. To sit idly by and blithely say “no one is perfect” in the fact of known error is to defame God and sin against His holy name. I love the following quote from John Calvin “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

Those few of us who dare to speak out against heresy and heretics – are held generally in very low esteem by the majority in the Church. Yet as I have shown from the O.T. through the Reformation that it is the uniform testimony of God that we ARE to speak out against error wherever it is found, regardless of who is speaking it.

Yes we are to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) , but we are to still speak it. Without doubt we are to correct others with humbleness of heart, knowing that we too may fall (Gal. 6:1), yet we still seek to restore our fallen brother. We are not exempt from rebuking those who sin before all (1 Tim 5:20) again with the hope of restoration, but also as a warning to others who may be wavering.

Like Irenaeus, according to my meager abilities and the grace of our Lord I am going to strive to be bolder in Teaching Truth and Exposing Error than I ever have before. I thank God for each and every one of you who supports our portion of His ministry and urge those of you who do not support us to join with us in this battle for the truth. What we and other Apologetic ministries do is totally in keeping with the will of God as I have shown in this short article. Our ability to engage the father of lies depends on the support we receive.

May our gracious Lord keep us all steadfast in His Word and may He continue to grant us grace to swim against the violent currents of blasphemy and doctrinal error that are sweeping so many of our brethren downstream. May we be empowered by the Spirit of Truth to reach out and rescue as many as we can from the spiritual bondage they see as liberty. In Jesus name, amen and amen. ♦

Copyright © 2006  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Gill, John A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 1 Chapter 22. Available online at the Dr. John Gill achieves http://www.phministries.org/books/gill/octrinal_Divinity/Book_1/book1_22.htm Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. I readily admit that many people DMI often takes to task for their propagation of false doctrine deception is just as spiritually harmful to the individual as intentional deception. The result is the same, God’s people are misled.

3. Harris, Archer, Watke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody Press, Chicago, Il. 1980, p.946.

4. http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/4/1138124504.html

5. Please understand my use of hyperbole here. I support modest dress and enjoy using the KJV, however I would not endorse Scofield or Dake as study Bibles due to the many errors in their notes.

6. Jamieson, Robert; A.R. Fausset; and David Brown. “The Gospel According to Luke” Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Blue Letter Bible. 19 Feb 2000. 25 Jan 2006.

7. Obtained from http://www.blueletterbible.org/mp_dir/words/3/1138394516-7859.html.

8. The International Order of Heresy Hunters of which this author is the Grand Pooh-bah has taken Irenaeus as our “Patron” saint…we don’t pray to him or burn candles in his honor, but we think he was an expert at ferreting out the tares from among the wheat.

9. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.ii.I.html. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

10. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ecel/schaff/an01.iv.ii.vii.html underlining and bold type and italics added.

11. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xiv.html emphasis added.

12. Obtained from http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/luther/works03.asc





The Fivefold Fallacy

22 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – Oct. 2005   Vol. 10 Issue 10 – The Fivefold Fallacy – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Fivefold Fallacy

scanhamonbook0001

One of our primary ministry objectives is to equip our readers with enough accurate biblical information so they can defend the truth of God’s Word when confronted with the various biblical errors and heresies that are swamping the Church.

Defeating heresy requires going to the root and laying the axe there first, once the root has been severed the various limbs lose the source of their strength and wither and die. This is why DMI spent six months dealing with the core doctrines of the Word of Faith cult. Once a person sees the biblical fallacies within the central tenants of their belief system the truth of God’s Word will indeed set them free to begin to worship and follow Christ in spirit and in truth.

In my former ignorance as a charismatic extremist I studied the history of Pentecostalism and their leaders and began back then collecting original source materials from as many of these leaders as I could, the bulk of which now serves as the DMI archive. I was an active extremist when the “prophetic” became a movement in the early 1980’s according to its farcical father “Dr.”, “Bishop,” “Apostle,” Bill Hamon who is on record making the following statement:

That company of prophetess is being raised up in the 1980’s, God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent alone being prepared to be released within the Church. (1)

The fact that today virtually every Pentecostal and sign-gift charismatic believes that God has indeed restored prophets and apostles to the Church (2) are merely branches from the poisonous tree whose tap root is found in the false doctrine commonly referred to as the fivefold ministry.

Before we dive into the murky depths of this doctrine of men you must understand a key term of “restoration.” All of Pentecostalism from Montanus in 170 AD (3) to Edward Irving in the 1800’s to the so called Azusa revival and then later on the “Healing” revival of Post World War Two have seen themselves as a divine movement of restoration by God. Initially the belief in restoration was confined to divine healing, then later it included the sign-gifts, especially the alleged ability to speak in other tongues (4) and a general restoring of supernatural miracle power to the Church.

According to the extremist leaders (past and present) the Church somehow lost a great deal of its biblical knowledge, truth, insight and power. Obviously, this means somewhere down the line our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church (read Eph. 1:22) dropped the ball and allowed great truths to be forgotten or lie dormant until He could get through to certain anointed individuals to “restore” them back to the Church and bring us back on track. Hamon, a firm believer in dispensational demarcations gives us the following “chart” of divine restoration of the Church:

Hamon, Bill. Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, p.20, 1987. This statement is from vol. one of a three vol. set on the Prophetic Movement.

Obviously, there are some exceptions. Some of the traditional Pentecostal denominations and other independent charismatic congregations do not believe God has set apostles and prophets back into the Church. However, these groups are in the minority. It is fair to say that easily 90% + people involved with some form of Pentecostalism endorse the reality of prophets and apostles today.

According to historic Pentecostalism, the gift of tongues was given for missionary purposes because the leaders of that time firmly believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon and the Gospel needed to be preached throughout the World. There was simply no time to go to a mission school and learn foreign language. They believed God was restoring this gift to get the “Word” out. It was not until almost 50 years later when the fledgling charismatic movement was started that the concept of having a personal private prayer language became popular, that was not the original belief of Pentecostalism.

Year        Restoration Movement               Major Truth Restored
1500                  Protestant (5)                               Salvation thru grace thru faith
1600                     Puritan                       Water Baptism, separation of Church and state
1700                    Holiness                 Sanctification, the Church set apart from the world.
1800               Faith-Healing                      Divine healing for the physical body
1900         Pentecostal movement         Holy Spirit Baptism and speaking in tongues
1950      Latter Rain Movement              Prophetic presbytery, praise and worship
1960            Charismatic                                        Renewal of all restored truth
1970          Word of Faith                                      Faith confessions, prosperity
1980             Prophetic                              Prophets and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (6)

 

Four Major Movements

All Christians who have received God’s present truth (7) accept the last four groups —Protestant, Holiness/Evangelical, Classical Pentecostal and Latter Rain/Charismatic — as movements that were Holy Spirit directed and established by God. They are called major movements because each one restored one of the seven doctrines of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1,2.   (8)

Present Truth or Present Day Truth is extremist code and it refers to the new revelations being given by the accepted restored prophets and apostles to the Church. These may be doctrines previously unknown and untaught in the history of the Church, they are “new” and must be accepted by faith in the one delivering the new revelation.

Doctrine of Christ                          Approx. Date            Restoration Movement
1. Repentance from dead works               1500         ……….        Protestant
2. Faith toward God                                        1800         ……….        Holiness/Evangelical
3. Doctrine of Baptism                                 1900          ……….         Classic Pentecostal
4. Laying on of Hands                                   1950          ……….         Latter Rain/Charismatic
5. Resurrection of Dead                                  ?                                             ?
6. Eternal Judgment                                       ?                                             ?
7. Ultimate Perfection                                   ?                                             ?

 

Hebrews 6:1,2 are not dispensational. The author gives no indication that he is referring to anything more than foundational doctrines that comprise orthodox Christianity. The writer is in a way unbraiding these Christians because they ought to be well established in these truths. In the prior verses he bemoans the fact that they ought to be teachers (Heb. 5:12) but are still only fit for the milk of God’s Word and not the weightier matters. According to Hamon and the other Latter Rain adherents it has taken God something like 450 years just to “restore” these doctrines to the Church, teachings that any well equipped pastor is transmitting to his flock to his Sunday school classes or from the pulpit.

Yet it is crucial that people buy into the concept of God continuing to “restore” lost truths and give new revelations to empower the Church for the last great world-wide revival which will Christianize the world and prepare it to be a suitable place for Jesus to return to. (10) If one is willing to believe that God has been in a process of restoring the Church then they are in perfect position to accept the next major fallacy which is the foundation of today’s so-called Prophetic/Apostolic movement.

The Fivefold Ministry

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heaven, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: Eph. 4:10-13

This is the text that has been used since the mid 1940’s to make the case that the Church needs to have, in the words of the Latter Rain extremists, all five ascension gifts active in the Church for it to be brought to the full stature of Christ.

willybranham

What gave strength to the false belief that the Church needed all five of the ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4 was the advent of the ministry of William Branham. Without going into detail Mr. Branham was a unique individual, whose life was marked by many paranormal events. He grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky in 1909 and was virtually uneducated. Around 1946 he began a major thrust of his divine healing ministry.

He was supposed to be able to reveal to the individuals standing before him their names, what was wrong with them, where they lived, etc… Often before he would pray for them he would say “do you believe I am the Lord’s prophet?” the person would respond “yes” and he would say, “then go on your way your faith has healed you.” Branham attributed his ability to discern the thoughts and intents of people’s hearts as a gift from God who has appeared to Branham an told him He would bestow these two signs to him. (11) Due to Branham’s unique ministry and his own claims to be God’s prophet he drew a huge following. His ministry combined with some of the writings of Franklin Hall (12) was the impetus behind the formation of a new revival called “The New Order of the Latter Rain.”

There is some confusion over this aspect of Branham’s ministry, because on some of his audio tapes in the DMI archive he admits that he is helpless until his “angel” appears on the platform and that it was this being who actually revealed people’s lives to Branham. Once he was asked if what he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said “no it was his angel.” Also it is well documented on tape and video that Branham used prayer cards that people filled out, and although uneducated, he may well have had a photographic memory which gave him to appearance of knowing these facts about people.

Franklin Hall wrote a book which became somewhat of a manual for this next “great’ move of God entitled “Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting.” This book is out of print today but it along with other out-of-print resource materials is available on a DMI CD entitled: The New Order of the Latter Rain for $15.00. Hall was a complete nut who wrote about how to levitate, how to achieve physical immortality and how to raise the dead. Hs writings were crucial to a sub-group within the NOLR called “The Manifest Sons of God.”

What has always amazed me about Mr. Branham’s ministry is that even though he was acknowledged as a false teach by other charismatic ministers he was accepted as a genuine prophet by them. He denied the Trinity of God, he taught that belonging to any denomination was a sign of the beast and would damn a person to hell. This teaching alone was primarily responsible for the mass exodus of pastors from the Assembly of God denomination, which came out with a statement against the New Order of the Latter Rain in 1949. It was also the reason behind the creation of all the independent charismatic congregations we have today. Not to mention the various false and unfulfilled “prophetic” words Mr. Branham is on record of spouting.

Some Canadians who attended some of Branham’s meetings took their enthusiasm back to their Bible school in North Battleford. It seems that from this seedbed the concept of a restored “Fivefold” ministry was birthed:

One of the points of controversy between the North Battleford brethren and the established Pentecostal denominations was the belief of the leaders at Sharon that the church had present-day apostles and prophets. Some of the first indications of controversy along these lines are in the June 1948 issue of The Sharon Star. According to George Hawtin: When one starts talking about prophets and apostles being in the Church in our day, the poor saints are shocked half to death. They raise their hands in holy terror and cry, “heresy! Heresy!” Now MY BIBLE SAYS: “GOD HATH SET SOME in the church, FIRST APOSTLES, SECONDAIRLY PROPHETS, THIRDLY TEACHERS, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, etc. (13)

The movement became associated in people’s minds with the brethren in North Battleford who played a large part in initially spreading the revival. It also became associated with the practices of these brethren, including the laying on of hands and acceptance of present-day apostles and prophets. (14)

Mr. Hamon received his ”call” into ministry in October 1953 in one of the fledgling break away Latter Rain congregations. (15) from one of the restored prophets, which made an indelible impression theologically on the rest of his life. This initial false teaching of a restored fivefold ministry, like yeast in bread has spread throughout all of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement and today it is not even questioned as valid.

One of the hallmarks of the New Order of the Latter Rain (LRM) and subsequently the Charismatic Renewal Movement is a doctrine of imparting the Holy Spirit and His gifts through the laying on of hands. In response to this error let me simply cite Dr. Martin Luther in his Smalcald Articles:

In these matters, which concern the external, spoken Word, we must hold firmly to the conviction that God gives no one his Spirit or grace except through or with the external Word which comes before. Thus we shall be protected from the enthusiasts—that is, from the spiritualists who boast that they possess the Spirit without and before the Word and who therefore judge, interpret, and twist the Scriptures or spoken Word according to their pleasure…Even so, the enthusiasts of our day condemn the external Word, yet they do not remain silent but fill the world with their chattering and scribbling, as if the Spirit could not come through the Scriptures or the spoken word of the apostles but must come through their own writings and words.

In short, enthusiasm clings to Adam and his descendants from the beginning to the end of the world. It is a poison implanted and inoculated in man by the old dragon, and it is the source, strength, and power of all heresy… Accordingly, we should and must constantly maintain that God will not deal with us except through his external Word and sacrament. Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word and sacrament is of the devil. Luther, in dealing with the extremists of his day simply said that God does not give the Holy Spirit apart from His Word and sacraments. Whatever people want to attribute to the Spirit apart from the external word of God and sacraments is from the devil. (16)

This relegates the belief that one can bestow the Holy Spirit and His gifts (as if He was some commodity) through the laying on of hands as being of the devil and I agree with Luther on this matter. Like all error unless it is biblically excised from the Body it will spread. So the LRM enthusiasts took their initial error further and teach that not only is the Spirit given through their hands, but now also ministry offices are imparted (or activated) through their hands as well.

What is the role of these restored ascension gifts of apostle and prophet in the Church according to the extremists today?

The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. (17)

According to Hamon and may others in this movement, they see their role as being pivotal in bringing the Church to a place of completion thus enabling Jesus Christ to return. They base this belief on the following proof-text:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21

They interpret this text to mean that Jesus must stay in heaven until the times of restitution (restoration in some translations) of all things, which, obviously, has to include the ministry of both the apostles and prophets. Without all the five ascension gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 being active with the apostle and prophet having the preeminent roles in activating (18) the other ministries the church will remain out of divine order, in disarray, impure and immature.

Hamon and others see the restored fivefold ministries as a divine hierarchy, with the apostle being at the top and the prophet either next to or directly beneath him or her (depending on whose book you read). Everybody else is beneath them. The restored apostles and prophets are to give divine direction to the Church. These heretics have set themselves up not only to be the judges of doctrine but also the formulators of new doctrines.

Please understand that the stated goal of this movement is to demolish every denominational distinction and to enforce spiritual unity through the use of supernatural power. They foresee the day when every city will have one Church with many pastors, but each city will be led by a group of apostles and prophets, who will hear from God and give direction for the Church without walls. Hamon has gone so far as to explain how the fivefold “mafia” will work within the “city church.”

When the fivefold ministers come together to consider doctrines and practices this way, they will need to keep in mind several areas of insight; (1) the claimed revelation from God; (2) the fruit of the ministry among those who have received the doctrine or practice; (3) the supernatural working of God accompanying it; (4) the Logos and rhema word of God application and authority for the doctrine or practice; and (5) the witness of the Spirit and the unified consent of those present. (19)

All five of these principles for establishing doctrine, as Hamon calls them, are completely subjective. Let me break omerta and decode the lingo in Hamon’s directive. The claimed revelation from God refers to the belief that God is giving forth-new revelation to/through His restored prophets and apostles. Then they look at the subjective experiential fruit among the people espousing the latest revealed truth. Are the people happy? Is it causing numerical growth and financial giving, are people reporting a deeper walk with Christ in a pietistic sense? Number three, we have to check out the signs and wonders, after all, God confirms His word with signs following (mark 16:20). Any new doctrine or practice must have some variety of paranormal activity validating its divine origin. These signs do not have to have a biblical precedent (see rule number 4), thus just have to be accepted as coming from God and can easily fall under the aegis of being “new wine” of the Holy Spirit such as was seen in the Toronto Blessing experience. Fourthly, the Word of God must be considered. Not to worry, if what is currently being proposed as new doctrine or practice, even if hitherto unknown in the 2,000 years of recorded Church history, cannot be found within the context of Scripture there are tow fall-back positions. (1) What is being taught and experienced is present day truth (read 2 Peter 1:12). (2) What is being taught and/or experienced is part of something Jesus did, but it is not recorded in the Bible (read John 21:25). (20)  These two arguments are commonly cited today. They are used as a means to get away from the absolute authority of God’s external word, the Bible. Lastly, we have the subjective “witness” of the spirit by the restored fivefold ministry. In other words, this means that the gathered group of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers all sit around and say “yup seems ok to me.” It is very apparent that the Word of God is not central in their thinking, It no longer serves as the sole source of all faith and practice.  Please keep in mind, this aspect of the charismatic movement is growing very rapidly and almost universally endorsed within the movement overall.

Does The Fivefold Ministry Exist Today?

In a word, no it does not exist today. The LRM has twisted this text, like so many others, and have tried to make it say something that it does not say at all. To begin with we have to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture and even that must be done within the context of the verses examined.

Jesus said “I will build my church”  (read Matt 16:18)  so we know that the Church is being constructed by no less than God the Son. Furthermore we see in the Scriptures that Jesus is referred to twice as the “Head of the Body” (read Eph. 5:23 and Col. 2:19). What is more He is also referred to as “being the chief corner [stone];“ Eph. 2:20.

Most theologians would agree that The Lord Jesus Christ began to build His Church on the Day of Pentecost. By that time He had already chosen who would be His Apostles and they had received the Holy Spirit (read John 20:22). (21) For simplicity’s sake let me just say that the foundation of the Church was laid in the beginning and is detailed for us in the Book of Acts.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord; In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph. 2:20-22.

When you build a house you first lay the foundation. The foundation of the Church was laid by the genuine Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief corner stone. Once the foundation has been laid the master builder proceeds to erect the superstructure.

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; …1 Cor. 3:10-12

This is exactly what the Apostle Paul stated in the text above. He has laid (past tense) the foundation and others build on that foundation. There is no other foundation which can or needs to be laid than that which has already been laid, which is Christ Jesus! Then Paul goes back to commenting on how one may build on that original foundation.

Brothers and sisters Jesus Christ is not asleep at the right hand of the Father, but is active and alive among us today. He has been superintending His Church since its inception. He has been building upon the original foundation laid by the original genuine Apostles and Prophets through the faithful ministry of the proclamation of the Gospel and sacraments carried out by evangelists and pastors. I might as well add at this point that the Greek text does not divide pastors and teachers as two gifts but is better-translated pastor-teachers. I acknowledge that in other places teachers are mentioned apart from pastors, but this text, which the heretics abuse does not even hold forth the concept of a fivefold ministry linguistically! At best, if they wanted to be honest with the text they would have to say God is restoring a fourfold ministry.

God does not need to “restore” apostles and prophets to the Church in order to bring us to perfection. No one apart from the lunatic fringe has ever claimed such a thing until the advent of the neo-Montanist movement. They laid the foundation, they received the Word of God and the canon is closed. The Scriptures are all we need as our guide for faith and practice and anything which is not in accord with the context of the Bible is to be rejected as false doctrine and false practice. These deceivers insult the authority of the Scriptures by their claim to additional revelation and restoration and what is worse they insult the Author of the Scripture and the Holy Spirit Himself. The so-called restored apostles and prophets are on very dangerous ground indeed and the Church needs to mark them and sound a warning to our brothers and sisters not to be led astray by such people.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.     Romans 16:17    ♦

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Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Hamon, Bill    Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today.   Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, p. 20, 1987. This statement is from vol. one of a three vol. set on the Prophetic Movement.

2. Obviously, there are some exceptions. Some of the traditional Pentecostal denominations and other independent charismatic congregations do not believe God has set apostles and prophets back into the Church. However, these groups are in the minority. It is fair to say that easily 99% + people involved with some form of Pentecostalism endorse the reality of prophets and apostles today.

3. DMI has one of the few books in publication on Montanus entitled Montanus, Father of Charismatic Extremism. It can be ordered for 8.00

4. According to historic Pentecostalism, the gift of tongues was given for missionary purposes because the leaders of that time firmly believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon and the Gospel needed to be preached throughout the world. There was simply no time to go to a mission school and learn a foreign language. They believed God was restoring this gift to get the “Word” out. It was not until almost 50 years later when the fledgling charismatic movement was started that the concept of having a personal private prayer language became popular, that was not the original belief of Pentecostalism.

5. I will not be too exacting regarding Mr. Hamon’s inaccurate assessment of Church history, however he is referring to Martin Luther (as he does later in his book). Luther and Lutheranism are not part of the Protestant Reformation, nor are Lutherans Protestants denominationally; we are original “Evangelicals”.

6. Hamon, Bill,   Prophets and the Prophetic Movement God’s Prophetic Move Today.  Shippensburg, Pa; Destiny Image, p. 24, 1987.

7. Present Day Truth is extremist code and it refers to the new revelations being given by the accepted restored prophets and apostles to the Church. These may be doctrines previously unknown and untaught in the history of the Church, they are “new” and must be accepted by faith in the one delivering the new revelation.

8. Hamon, Bill,   Prophets and the Prophetic Movement God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, Pa; Destiny Image, p. 37, 1987.

9. Ibid. p. 38

10. The New Order of the Latter Rain which has its beginning in the mid 1940’s differed from classic dispensational systems in that it taught that the goal of restoration was to enable the Church to take complete dominion over the entire world (often referred to as Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology). The leaders of the prophetic/apostolic movement do not teach in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church which is common among mainline Pentecostal groups, most Baptists, and even the Word of Faith cult.

11. There is some confusion over this aspect of Branham’s ministry because on some of his audio tapes in the DMI archive he admits that he is helpless until his “angel” appears on the platform and that it was this being who actually revealed people’s lives to Branham. Once he was asked if what he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said “no it was his angel.” Also it is well documented on tape and video that Branham used prayer cards that people filled out, and although uneducated, he may well have had a photographic memory which gave him to appearance of knowing these facts about people.

12. Franklin Hall wrote a book which became somewhat of a manual for this next “great” move of God entitled “Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting.” This book is out of print today but it along with other out-of-print resource materials is available on a DMI entitled The New Order of the Latter Rain for $15.00. Hall was a complete nut who wrote abut how to levitate, how to achieve physical immortality and how to raise the dead. His writings were crucial to a sub-group within the NOLR called “The Manifest Sons of God.”

13. Riss, Richard.  Latter Rain,  Etobicoke, Ontario; Honeycomb Products, p. 71, 1983.

14. Ibid p. 76. Underlining added for emphasis.

15. Hamon, Bill   Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today.  Shippensburg, PA. p.2 1987

16. Tappert, Theodore  The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA Fortress Press, pp. 312,313. 1959. Underlining added for emphasis.

17. Hamon, Bill. Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, PA. , p59 1987.

18. The term “activate” is a term used within the prophetic/apostolic movement to refer to the alleged ability to not only impart the Holy Spirit and His gifts, but also to anoint and empower men and women into every ministry field including that of apostle and prophet. The concept of activation is central to Latter Rain Theology because God only uses these restored apostles and prophets to genuinely impart ministry gifts to God’s people.

19. Hamon, Bill.  Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, PA. , p 180 1987.

20. This is an especially dangerous position that the charismatic movement has taken regarding judging so called new doctrines and experiences. When questions about the total lack of biblical precedent regarding being slain in the spirit, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness or other novelties, they simply respond that they were no doubt found in Jesus’ ministry but not recorded in the Bible. We are then required to take it on “faith” when the restored leaders tell us that this is indeed proof of a new “move” of God. Every bible-based cult group took this approach when they attempted to support their views, eventually the cult group took this approach when they attempted to support their views, eventually the bible is always cast aside the writings of the cult leader or becomes interpreted by the cult leaders insights.

21. A careful reading of the Book of Acts will demonstrate that only the Apostles were authorized to “impart” spiritual gifts. Those who were empowered by God through these genuine Apostles are never shown bestowing the Holy Spirit or His gifts to others. Throughout Church history it is only people captivated by spiritual enthusiasm or who are heretics that have believed/taught that they had the authority and power to give the Spirit to others.





Soli Deo Gloria

18 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter -January 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 1 – Soli Deo Gloria – by Rev. Robert Liichow

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The Reformation reclaimed the Scriptural teaching of the sovereignty of God over every aspect of the Believer’s life. All of life is to be lived to the glory of God. As the Westminister Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” This great and all consuming purpose was emphasized by those in the 16th and 17th Centuries who sought to reform the church according to the Word of God. In contrast to the monastic division of life into sacred versus secular perpetuated by Roman Church, the reformers saw all of life to be lived under the Lordship of Christ. Every activity of the Christian is to be sanctified unto the glory of God.   (1)

This last of the five Reformation solas is really the capstone of them all because it points us back to the source from which the other four we’ve studied come from, that being Almighty God. The Cambridge Declaration gives us a very succinct statement on this glorious truth when it states:

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel. (2)

I especially enjoy the inclusion of the negative proclamation that God cannot be properly worshipped “if our worship is confused with entertainment.” Entertainment is exactly what the majority of charismatic extremist and today’s so-called evangelical churches worship portion of the service consists of.

As a recovered charismatic extremist pastor I can speak from experience when I say that our church services were divided up into basically four segments. First, we began with “praise” which consisted of fast paced songs and refrains written to get the people’s emotional juices going. The praise portion of the service was when the band would really begin to “rock out.” Some of us would get out into the aisles and dance (yes I used to cut-the-rug quite a bit in those days). People would clap in time to the songs, most of which were man-centered,  i.e. we sang about how good we felt about Jesus or how good He made us feel.

There was little theological content in anything we sang. The praise portion was where you’d hear the loud shouts of “halleluiahs” and the like. This specific type of singing would continue for a minimum of fifteen minutes to half an hour or more, depending on the congregation. (3)

After getting the people emotionally stimulated the worship team (we did not have a choir, most charismatic churches and many seeker-sensitive churches  do not believe in them, they smack of the dreaded traditionalism) would slow the tempo and we’d then enter into the second phase of the service called “worship.” Worship differed greatly in emotional content and rhythm. In our congregation the lights would be lowered to almost total darkness apart from the words on the screen. Allegedly, this was to help the people focus on “God” and not the person standing next to them.

These songs also lacked a strong theological basis yet in most cases they were directed towards God. Many of the songs were little more than refrains which were sung over and over again. This technique is really a form of hypnotism and helps those engaged in worship (and we were strongly encouraged to give over selves over totally to “God” during this portion of the service) empty their minds.

If you have ever attended a Benny Hinn non-miracle crusade you will see Mr. Hinn and his musicians utilize the same technique to get the people to swallow-and-follow whatever he is teaching. In our church, the dimmed lights, the repetitive chanting of simple refrains would go on sometimes as long as an hour.

Then the lights would begin to brighten and lo-and-behold the Pastor was standing behind the pulpit and the third portion of the service began with the delivery of the message. The Cambridge Declaration also mentions that God cannot be truly worshipped when the proclamation of the Law and Gospel is neglected and is replaced with messages on self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment. In fifteen years of active charismatic ministry in various leadership roles I never once heard the term “Law and Gospel.” Although in no way could we be considered liturgical in the confessional understanding, we did have our own form of preaching through our lectionary. Our charismatic “lectionary” consisted of sermons on: the nine sign-gifts of the Holy Spirit; financial prosperity; divine healing, submission to authority; the anointing; revival; the office of the restored prophet and apostle, etc. (4)

The fourth section of the church service was the alter call. This is here the pastor or visiting guest speaker do all they can to cajole the attendee to make a decision to receive Christ. During this phase of the service in our church we had four specific aspects which were usually mentioned: 1) salvation 2) rededication, i.e. backsliders to repent and renew their commitment to the Lord; 3) divine healing, where hands were laid on folks who usually got slain in the spirit at this point of the service; 4) baptism in/with the Holy Spirit, a second work of grace by which the individual was instructed on his or her need to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit and the proof they had in fact received the Spirit was that they would speak with other tongues. (5)

The reason I take time to go through these four aspects common to most charismatic congregations is that “worship” is seen as only one part of what is done, it is a specific moment in the service itself. We did not have the understanding that fro start to finish the entire service was to be an act of worship. Nor did everything we did point to Jesus Christ and His work alone on our behalf. A great deal of what was done and is currently being done in congregations such as these can genuinely be considered as man-centered entertainment and not done for the glory of God alone.

The preacher may be exalted after the service (as he is led away by his armor bearers) “oh, wasn’t pastor Jakes so anointed this evening!” The singer or musicians are often praised with uproarious hand clapping and hooting and hollering for more. People are lifted up and “glorified” but often God is alone in some back corner, only given lip service.

What Does It Mean to Give Glory To God?

Thomas Watson, a Reformed Confessional theologian made the following comments about the first question of the Westminister Short Catechism :

Q 1: What is the chief end of man?

A : Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Here are two ends of life specified.

1. The glorifying of God.      2. The enjoying of God.

1. The glorifying of God. ‘That God in all things may be glorified’ (1 Peter 4:2) The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. ‘Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor 10:31). Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living. The great truth is asserted, that the end of every man’s living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity.

When we speak of God’s glory, the question will be moved, What are we to understand by God’s glory?

There is a twofold glory: [1] The glory that God has in himself, his intrinsic glory. Glory is essential to the Godhead, as light is to the sun: he is called the ‘God of Glory’ (Acts 7:2). Glory is the sparkling of the Deity; it is so co-natural to the Godhead, that God cannot be God without it. The creature’s honour is not essential to his being. A king is a man without his regal ornaments, when his crown and royal robes are taken away; but God’s glory is such an essential part of his being, that he cannot be God without it. God’s very life is in his glory. This glory can receive no addition, because it is infinite; it is that which God is most tender of, and which he will not part with; ‘My glory I will not give to another’ (Isa. 48:11). God will give temporal blessings to his children, such as wisdom, riches, honour; he will give them spiritual blessings, he will give them grace, he will give them his love, he will give them heaven; but his essential glory he will not give to another. King Pharaoh parted with a ring off his finger to Joseph, and a gold chain, but he would not part with his throne. ‘Only in the throne will I be greater than thou’ (Gen 41:40). So God will do much for his people; he will give them the inheritance; he will put some of Christ’s glory, as mediator, upon them; but his essential glory he will not part with; ‘in the throne he will be greater.’ [2]  The glory which is ascribed to God, or which his creatures labour to bring to him. ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name’ (1 Chron. 16:29) And, ‘Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit;’ (1 Cor. 6:20) The glory we give God is nothing else but our lifting up his name in the world, and magnifying him in the eyes of others. ‘Christ shall be magnified in my body’ (Phil. 1:20).

What is it to glorify God?

Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection,  4.Subjection. This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.

[1]. Appreciation To glorify God is to set God highest in our thoughts, and to have a venerable esteem of him. ‘Thou, Lord, art most high forevermore.’ (Psa.92:8). ‘Thou art exalted far above all gods’ (Psa. 97:9) There is in God all that may draw forth both wonder and delight; there is a constellation of all beauties; he is prma causa, the original and springhead of being, who sheds a glory upon the creature. We glorify God, where we are God-admirers; admire his attributes, which are the glistering beams by which the divine nature shines forth; his promises which are the charter of free grace, and the spiritual cabinet where the pearl of price is hid; the noble effects of his power and wisdom in making the world, which is called ‘the work of his fingers’ (Psa. 8:3). To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only.

[2]. Glorifying God consists in adoration, or worship.  ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ (Psa. 29:2). There is a twofold worship: (1) A civil reverence which we give to persons of honour. ‘Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the children of Heth’ (Gen. 23:7). Piety is no enemy to courtesy. (2) A divine worship which we give to God as his royal prerogative. ‘They bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces towards the ground’ (Neh. 8: 6). This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of his eye, the pearl of his crown; which he guards, as he did the tree of life, with cherubims and a flaming sword, that no man may come near it to violate it. Divine worship must be such as God himself has appointed, else it is offering strange fire (Lev. 10:1). The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle, ‘according to the pattern in the mount’ (Ex. 25:40). He must not leave out anything in the pattern, nor add to it. If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will he be about the matter of his worship! Surely here everything must be according to the pattern prescribed in his word.

[3]. Affection This is part of the glory we give to God, who counts himself glorified when he is loved (Deut. 6:5). ’Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.’ There is a twofold love: (1) Amor concupiscent, a love of concupiscence, which is self-love; as when we love another, because he does us a good turn. A wicked man may be said to love God, because he has given him a good harvest, or filled his cup with wine. This is rather to love God’s blessing than to love God. (2) Amor amicitiae, a love of delight, as a man takes delight in a friend. This is to love God indeed; the heart is set upon God, as a man’s heart is set upon his tresure. This love is exuberant, not a few drops, but a stream. It is superlative; we give God the best of our love, the cream of it. ’I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate’ (Song of Solomon 8:2). If the spouse had a cup more juicy and spiced, Christ must drink of it. It is intense and ardent. True saints are seraphims, burning in holy love to God. The spouse was amore perculsa, in fainting fits, ‘sick of love’ (Song of Solomon 2:5). Thus to love God is to glorify him. He who is the chief of our happiness has the chief of our affections.

[4].  Subjection  This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for his service. Thus the angels in heaven glorify him; they wait on his throne, and are ready to take a commission from him; therefore, they are represented by the cherubims with wings displayed, to show how swift they are in their obedience. We glorify God when we are devoted to his service; our head studies for him, our tongue pleads for him, and our hands relieve his members. The wise men that came to Christ did not only bow the knee to him, but presented him with gold and myrrh (Matt. 2:11). So we must not only bow the knee, give God worship, but bring presents of golden obedience. We glorify God when we stick at no service, when we fight under the banner of his gospel against an enemy, and say to him as David to King Saul, ’Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine’ (1 Sam. 17:32) A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God, has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience. (7)

When Christians live lives of Soli Deo Gloria, they live consciously for their King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every aspect of their Sunday service is worship from the first words spoken to the benediction given. Everything points to Jesus Christ, His perfection, our imperfection, and the grace the Father has provided freely in giving us His only begotten Son.

What is more is that the early Evangelical Christians saw the entirety of their lives as mere extensions of what they participated in on Sunday. All of their life was, and rightly so, viewed as a form of worship and a way to glorify their Lord in even the most mundane aspects. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul when he exhorted:

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the mane of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col. 3:17

 

This is the practical goal of this sola as Herbert Samworth says the following:

The Reformers also taught that it was possible to live victoriously and serve God in the world. This is the meaning of soli deo gloria. God receives all the praise for one’s salvation and, out of thankfulness, one dedicates their entire life to the service of God. That service of God might consist in different types of work but was united in the Person Who was served. In contrast, the Roman Church taught that the clerical life was the only life that truly could please God. Thus one had to withdraw from the world in order to live for God. The Reformers, while stressing that salvation was entirely of God, were equally determined to show that one honored God by living for Him. (8)

God is to be given the glory in all we do and say, for it is in Him that we live and move and have our being (see Acts 17:28). Sadly, this is not the case in the vast majority of the most well know charismatic “ministers.” The question which needs to be asked at the end of any spiritual endeavor is, who was glorified? Man or God (it will always be one or the other)? Here is an account given by Oral Roberts:

“Brother Roberts told his two visitors, “I want you men to know that my vow to God is to touch neither the gold nor the glory. I am sure God will meet the needs of my forthcoming ministry in an honorable way. And all the funds will be handled in the highest manner. (9)

That sounds humble, and possibly Mr. Oral Roberts even meant it when he said it. However, history has proven that he has broken his vows to God regarding touching the “gold and the glory.” To begin with Mr. Roberts is a multimillionaire. He and his remaining son, Richard (his other son committed suicide and his daughter died in a plane crash) own multiple homes and Oral sits on the boards of may prominent businesses in Tulsa, not to mention all the property his “ministry” owns.   Secondly, regarding the glory it seems that whenever a minister does anything to take the focus off of God and places people’s minds and hearts on himself, he has attempted to take God’s glory to some degree. EVERYTHING Roberts has created bears his name! Allow me to cite a few examples; “The Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.” then later we had “Oral Roberts University,” and even “Oral Roberts Publishing.” His pictures and more than a few statues adorn the campus bearing his name. Isn’t this touching the glory a bit?

Frankly, any ministry which is named after its founder garners more than a little scrutiny from me. Such as Benny Hinn Ministries and Benny Hinn Media Ministries; Kenneth Copland Ministries; John Hagee Ministries; Marilyn Hickey Ministries; Joyce Meyer Ministries; T.D. Jakes Ministries Inc.; Jesse Duplantis Ministries; Jerry Servalle Ministries International; Creflo Dollar Ministries; Jimmy Swaggat Ministries; Peter Popoff Ministries; Leroy Jenkins Evangelistic Association. This list could go on for pages. Note that each of the ministries (or sinistries as a brother as called them) point directly to themselves. None of them have biblical names or even names which simply designate who or what they are about! What is more if you get their magazines (which I highly recommend) you will see their pictures on every other page. It is possible to get some literature that may mention the name of Jesus once or twice, but the founder’s name forty or fifty times.

Mr. Hinn is a classic case study in being a psychopath and fraud. It is no mistake that Mr. Hinn has instructed his mass choirs (my wife and I have been a part of several of them) to sing “How Great Thou Art” as Hinn ascends to the platform to begin his dog-and-pony show This is not done coincidentally, sure the song is about how great God is, but while the desperately ill and devotees are caught up in the song…there appears God’s man of faith and power the divine healer of the hour in his bright white suit & Nehru collar. Who is really receiving the glory, who is really the great one? God or Benny Hinn? Benny when pressed will confess that God is the Healer, since this is true, then why do people need to come to his miracle crusades? Well because God has chosen Benny as His conduit for miracles of healing. I urge our readers to go visit http://www.pfo.org and purchase he most recent copy of “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn.”   It is the seminal work exposing this man for exactly what he is. Also the Trinity Foundation has some outstanding videos/DVD’s exposing this fraud, visit them at http://www.thedoormagazine.com

None of the above mentioned organizations live for the glory of God and His glory alone. They exist to enlarge their sphere of spiritual influence by any means necessary. The messages they preach are devoid of any mention of Law or Gospel What is a shame is that millions of people are being led astray by these biblically illiterate preachers, who in some cases are outright charlatans, teaching their followers to live lives of selfish shallow pseudo spirituality. Well did the prophet Isaiah prophesy of such people when he said:

Wherefore the Lord said, Foreasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, [even] a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall perish, shall be hid. Isa. 29:13-14

There is a great deal of excitement in the praise and worship aspect of charismatic services and revivals. Everything from smoke machines, dancing of all forms (including a form of conga-line/Jericho march two-step), banner waving pageantry, dramatic skits, dance ministries 9with women and men in varying degrees of immodest dress at times), not to mention the use of emotional testimonies thrown into the mix. All of these elements equal “worship” and are supposedly done unto the glory of God. Yet God is far from such nonsense, as well intentioned as it might be in some cases.

The Lord through the prophet says that these people do draw near to Him with their mouths, they even say the right words, i.e. got the “God-talk” down to a science. Yet for all their religiosity they fail and miserably so. Why?  Their hearts are far from God.  The Hebrew word for “far” (rachag) to become far or to become distant.   This heart distance fro the Lord was not an overnight experience, but a process begun in their lives by following the doctrines (precepts) of men versus adhering faithfully to the Word of God.

What is the Lord’s response to those who act religiously, but are in reality far from Him? He says that He will proceed to do a marvelous work a true “wonder” (those in the sign &wonders movement have received one from the Lord’s hand and do not even know it) among these apostates. The wisdom of their wise men (teachers) shall perish (ahad) has a very strong Hebraic meaning including: to be destroyed, to vanish, to be exterminated. The understanding (hiynah) which is defined as understanding or discernment of their leaders shall be hidden from them!

Some may wish to argue that the context of the text is referring to Israel, which is correct; however, it can be legitimately applied to those in the Church because our Lord applied to the religious leaders of His day and He is the Head of the Church today (see Col. 1:18)  so it can be applied to erring leaders in our time. If you want to see a great example of what I have been writing about then all you have to do is get on-line and watch and listen to a Bonnie & Mehesh Chavda service about “ushering in the glory” at http://www.maheshchavda.com/video/ushering_in_the_glory-april_2004.asp

See Video here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKHaRYeJdBU     (It could disappear at anytime, like the TBN clip recently did, so see it while you can! )

Make no mistake as was stated earlier in the article by Watson that God will never share His glory with us. Yet so many conferences, books and tapes are produced about how we can tap into the glory of God versus teaching the flock how to live lives that bring glory to our Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria  must become the heart motivation of God’s people once again. There needs to be a genuine revival within the Church where God’s people again become humbled by the fact that all we are and all we have are because—of grace alone, by faith alone, in the work of Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone and thus to God alone belongs all the glory…which we dare not even attempt to touch or usurp. Selah.   ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Strawbridge, Gregg, Ph.D This statement came from a document was originally written for the 1993 Reformation Celebration at Audubon Drive Bible church in Laurel, Ms, as part of a worship service and can be found at http://www.fivesolas.com/5solas.htm. Underlining added for emphasis

2. You may read the entire Cambridge Declaration on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals located at http://www.christianity.com/ace.

3. Our former congregation, Jubilee Christian Church, was known as a warfare church because of our praise and worship which was consciously used as a tool of spiritual warfare against the principalities and powers over our city. We based this practice on Ps. 149:6-9 [let] the high [praise] of God [be] in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; Ps. 149:7. To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD

4. These messages would comprise a year’s worth of teaching. The list may vary a bit depending on what flavor of charismatic church you attend. Our church was a syncretism of Word of Faith doctrines and newer prophetic/apostolic restored teaching. Some church’s would have regular series of spiritual warfare, demons and deliverance, sign and wonders, etc.

5. DMI offers a book entitled: “Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

6. My wife, Tracy, and I operated the prayer room for people seeking the baptism. We laid hands on approximately 1,000 people the vast majority of whom left muttering some form of gibberish which made them and us feel very good. When someone would fail to begin to speak ecstatically we then went into encouragement mode and told them they might begin to speak when they were alone in prayer or we’d be glad to minister to them again next Sunday.

7. Watson, Thomas, Westminister Shorter Catechism. Obtained from http://www.bpc.org/resouces/watson/wsc_wa_001.html Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

8. Samworth, Herbert. What Was the Reformation? Obtained from http://www.solagroup.org/articles/faqs/faq_0034.html.

9. Roberts, Oral My Story. Tulsa, OK Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, 1961 p. 73

10. I recommend people get their free materials, get on their mailing list because you will begin to build an original source collection of teachings, failed prophecies and a huge collection of “Spirit” empowered fetish objects, aka “point-of-contact” items. Plus you will become well versed in their lingo and fundraising techniques.

11. BibleWorks ver 4.0.03 p. For Windows, 1998 BibleWorks, LLC Software Hebrew cited from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

12. For those who love the word of god and want to understand its proper place in our lives DMI is offering a CD entitled “Sola Scriptura” delivered by Rev. Liichow on 01-02-2005 (its different from the article).

13. Ibid

14. ibid 





Sola Scriptura

17 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – December 2004 – Sola Scriptura – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The Cambridge Declaration

THESIS ONE: SOLA SCRIPTURAscantri20040001

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

The above statement is a good reaffirmation of what was originally voiced by Dr. Martin Luther when he, as a Roman Catholic monk, stood before the governing authorities of the Church. The following is a brief summation of that encounter:

Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church and father of the Protestant reformation, was publicly rebuking the Catholic Church for its unbiblical teachings. The Catholic Church threatened Martin Luther with excommunication (and death) if he did not recant. Martin Luther’s reply was “Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning – unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, – and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!” (1)

What Luther and the reformers who followed his lead were saying was that Holy Scripture alone was the only true and infallible guide for all Christian’s faith and practice. Furthermore, that any traditions within the Church had to have their basis within the context of the Scriptures. Traditions are valid only when they are based on Scripture and are in full agreement with Scripture. Tradition that are in contradiction with the Bible are not of God and are not a valid aspect of the Christian faith. (2)

The Reformation was at its core a fight to get back to the Bible and discard a plethora of manmade doctrines and traditions which had been increasing over the years in the Church. At this point it is helpful to begin by defining our terms so that we understand how the following term “doctrine” is being used.

The word “doctrine” in the Greek is: {did-akh-ay’} Meaning 1) teaching 1a) that which is taught 1b) doctrine, teaching, concerning something 2) the act of teaching instruction 2a) in religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching, in distinction from other modes of speaking in public. (3)

Doctrine simply means “teaching.”  The question before us is what is the source of the teaching we are adhering to? It is important for us to always remember that according to the Bible there are only three sources of doctrine impacting our lives at any time. Hopefully we are building our lives on the doctrine of God.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. Mark 1:22

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection: not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,   Hebrew 6:1

Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Titus 2:10

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:9

The Bible speaks much of the doctrine of God and of Christ (who is God) and this doctrine is found only within the pages of the Bible, it is not found outside of the Scriptures themselves. As Christians we have no other authoritative source that we can point to and say “this is the Word of the Lord.” The Bible also speaks of the doctrine of men. In the following citation we read of our Lord rebuking the religious leaders of His day:

For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [it is] a gift, by whatsoever ever thou mightiest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:4-9

Manmade religious tradition will always supersede the authority of God’s commandments, it is simply part of our fallen nature to attempt to exalt ourselves above God. Manmade teachings and practices may seem religious and appear to promote the worship of God but this is simply not the case. Jesus reminds the religious leaders and the crowd surrounding him of what the prophet Isaiah said regarding people who attempt to draw near to God with their mouths and endeavor to honor God with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Him! The Apostle Paul addressed the same issue of the danger of false manmade doctrine in his letter to the Church at Colosse:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ… Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Colossians 2:8, 20-22

From the inception of the Church, various false teachers, false prophets and false apostles have tried to supplant the authority of Scripture by adding their own teachings and practices in an attempt to gain power over the spiritual lives of God’s people and to destroy the foundational doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

There is yet one more source of doctrine, which must also be considered and that is the doctrines of devils. This one in particular is often the source of the false doctrines of men:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their consciences seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 1 Timothy 4:1-6

Expressly is used only once in the entire New Testament and here we read of the Holy Spirit stating unequivocally that in the latter times some people shall depart or fall away from the true faith in Christ and His work alone. What causes this apostasy? These individuals give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, that word can also be translated as demons.

How do demons teach? Obviously they speak through people who are open to them.  The examples that Paul cites specifically are doctrines of devils. The first one is the doctrine which forbids marriage. To this day the Roman Catholic Church forbids both its priests and nuns to enter into marriage. The Shaker cult forbade their members to marry and demanded people get divorced who joined their ranks. Other sundry cults and sects have also forbidden marriage among its members. The Bible clearly denotes this as a doctrine of devils. The other area Paul cites concerns dietary regulations. For many years the Roman Catholic Church forbid people to eat meat on Friday (I am not sure if this practice is still being enforced). Many other groups demand strict vegetarianism and some “Hebrew” roots cults demand strict dietary adherence. Obviously, Hasidic and Orthodox Jews still keep the Old Covenant dietary laws too. Any group that demands that their members abstain from eating anything that God has created to be enjoyed is promulgating a doctrine of devils.

The sign of a “good minister” is one who puts his portion of Christ’s flock in remembrance of what the Bible has taught, nourishing or feeding the flock in the words of faith and good doctrine. In verse 13 Paul exhorts Timothy to give himself over to reading, to exhortation and doctrine. Verse 16 he warns this young Pastor to “take heed” of his spiritual well being, the doctrine entrusted to him and to continue in them! I like Robertson’s commentary on this verse:  1 Tim 4:16(6)

Thus we see that according to the Scriptures there are three sources of teaching; God; man; and devils. The realization that Luther came to was that much of what was being presented as the doctrine of God was in fact nothing more than the commandments of men and doctrines of devils. He came to decry the fact that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) had elevated its own traditions to a position of either equaling the authority of the Bible or even superseding it. The next quote is from a Roman Catholic web site giving their view of Martin Luther:

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) is to be given the credit for inventing the false doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Bible Only or Bible Sufficiency). He had separated himself from the authority of the Papacy and the Magisterium, and thereby so doing lost all authority regarding Church matters. He then turned to the Bible, a book as the sole source of authority. Can a book ever be a sole source of authority?

The above Roman Catholic apologist considers Sola Scriptura a false doctrine and that Luther had the audacity to turn from the traditional authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic traditions and look to the confines of the bible, “a book” the author says, “as the sole source of authority.”  (7)

This article is not about Martin Luther nor is it a polemic against Roman Catholicism (RC) as a religion. What is important to notice is that even to this day RC upholds its traditions as equal in authority with the bible and when the Bible and tradition do not agree it seems that manmade doctrines and those of demons prevail. Let me cite just a few extra-biblical traditions concerning the Virgin Mary within the R.C.C. These are taken directly from their own catechism in use today.

The most blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue and merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (CCC491) (8)

 The Bible never teaches any such thing! Mary was chosen by God to be His vessel through whom our Lord was born, but she too was born in sin and shaped in iniquity (see Psl. 51:5).  She needed to have her sins washed away by the blood of Christ just as all who would be saved. By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. (CCC493) (9)

No, Mary was a sinner as we all are. If she did not, then the Apostle John is a liar when he says in 1 john 1:10  “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” They teach at the time of her death Mary was taken spiritually and physically into heaven:

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven… (CCC974) (10)

There is nothing scripturally to base this claim upon. The Bible speaks of Enoch being taken up and Elijah riding off to heaven in a chariot of fire but no mention is made concerning much at all about the life or death of Mary after the resurrection of Jesus.

…the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix (CCC969) (11)

Mary is prayed to which contradicts the plain teaching of the bible when we are told by the Apostle Paul to Timothy in his first letter to him:

For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5,6

In fact, within the R.C.C. there is a strong movement afoot to see to it that Mary is elevated to an even higher status, to that of being the Co-redemptrix:

The Blessed Virgin Mary is to be called Queen not only on account of her divine motherhood but also because by the will of God she had a great part in the work of our salvation…..In this work of redemption the blessed Virgin Mary was closely associated with her Christ…Just as Christ, because he redeemed us, is by a special title our King and Lord, so too is Blessed Mary, our Queen and our Mistress, because of the unique way in which she co-operated in our redemption. She provided her very substance for his body, she offered him willingly for us, and she took a unique part in our salvation by desiring it, praying for it, and so obtaining it…–Ad Coeli Reginam. (12)

The entire cult of Mary within the R.C.C. is an abomination and a blasphemy. These are not minor issues that we can agree to disagree about. Teaching that Mary played a vital role in our redemption is teaching a doctrine of devils; one which reduces the centrality of Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God who alone bore the sin of the world.

These are only some examples of non-biblical traditions that the R.C.C. practices, such as the infallibility of the Pope when he makes declarations from “Peters” seat in the Vatican. Or the belief in purgatory where the partially saved sinner goes to have the rest of their sins purged away by fire. Not the mention the practice of indulgences which are still being given.

It is easy to understand why the R.C.C. took such a violent stance against Luther and all those reformers who followed him. The R.C.C. knew that if the Bible ever got into the hands of the “common man” in a language they could read and understand that the R.C.C. would lose the stranglehold it had on the souls of millions of people.

The printing of the Bible by Guttenberg in German and Luther pointing people to the Bible as the only rule for faith and practice shook the very foundations of the R.C.C.

The medieval church assumed that Scripture, the church’s tradition, and scholastic theology were identical in content. Any tensions between Scripture and tradition were resolved by the use of the Quadriga, the medieval system of biblical interpretation which recognized four levels to the truth of Scripture: literal, topological, allegorical and anagogical. Great respect for the authority and content of the Scripture could thus coexist with a theology and practice quite different from the Scriptures…When the authorities refused to acknowledge the authority of the apostolic tradition in Scripture over the ecclesiastical tradition, the Reformers loyally continued to assert the apostolic tradition against those who claimed apostolic succession. (13)

In other words when the R.C.C. was faced with their own human traditions which did not agree with a plenary reading of the Scripture they created a system by which they could make the Bible agree (more or less) with their manmade doctrines. The Reformers refused to accept this and stood with Luther asserting that the Scriptures Alone, Sola Scriptura was the only authority to be submitted to when it came to faith and practice within God’s Church. One of the most succinct statements of the sufficiency of Scripture is found in the introduction of the Formula of Concord:

Thus understanding of the significance of the confession is also stated explicitly in the introduction of the Epitome of the Formula of Concord. ‘In this way the distinction between the Holy Scriptures of Old and New Testaments and all other writings is maintained, and Holy Scripture remains the only judge, rule, and norm, according to which as the only touchstone all doctrines should and must be understood and judged as good or evil, right or wrong.” (14)

Today as Evangelicals and Protestants in reading the above statement we might respond, “So what’s the big deal? Of course, the Bible is our only guide.” After all, don’t all Evangelicals and Protestants agree with Paul’s statement to Timothy in:

All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  2 Timothy 3:16

God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and He has given us the Bible as the only concrete source by which we are to measure every spiritual experience, doctrine and practice. The Word of god is an unwavering arbiter on all matters concerning the life of faith.

…the knowledge of god is not therefore at the mercy of human forgetfulness or mystical notions of spirituality. God has given Scripture and the church to connect the once-for-all act in Jesus Christ with the present act of the Holy Spirit, who is the presence and power of the risen Lord. God calls His church into being by the word of the gospel and by His presence as the Holy Spirit equips and empowers His people for His service. To His church He entrusts the Scriptures, the prophetic and apostolic witness to Jesus Christ, the bearer of His word. (15)

In 1860, Charles A. Hodge wrote an article on the value of Sola Scriptura in his book Outlines of Theology, the following comments come from the chapter heading “The Rule of Faith & Practice.” this chapter is written in somewhat of a catechism format with a question stated and then answered. The following citation is from question six and fifteen:

6. What argument do the Scriptures themselves afford in favor of the doctrine that they are the only infallible rule of faith?

1st. The Scriptures always speak in the name of God, and command faith and obedience.

2nd Christ and his apostles always refer to the written Scriptures, then existing, as authority, and to no other rule of faith whatsoever. (Luke 16:29; 10:26; John 5:39; Rom. 4:3; 2Tim 3:15).

3rd The Bereans are commended for bringing all questions, even apostolic teaching, to this test. (Acts 17:11; see also Isa. 8:16).

4th. Christ rebukes the Pharisees for adding to and perverting the Scriptures  (Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:5-8; see also Rev. 22:18, 19, and Deut. 4:2; 12:32 Josh 1:7.

15. What is meant by saying that the Scriptures are the Judge as well as the rule in questions of faith?

‘A rule is a standard of Judgment; a judge is the expounder and applier of that rule to the decision of particular cases,’ The Protestant doctrine is –

1st That the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

2nd  (1) Negatively. That there is no body of men who are either qualified, or authorized, to interpret the Scriptures, or apply their principles to the decision of particular questions, in a sense binding upon the faith of their fellow Christians.

(2) Positively. That Scripture is the only infallible voice in the church, and is to be interpreted, in its own light, and with the gracious help of the Holy Ghost, who is promised to every Christian (1 John 2:20-27), by each individual himself; with the assistance, though not by the authority, of his fellow Christians. Creeds and confessions, as a form, bind only those who voluntarily profess them, and as to matter, they bid only so far as they affirm truly what the Bible teaches, and because the Bible does so teach. (16)

The battle regarding trusting in the sole authority of the scriptures has been going on ever since God’s Word was written down as an eternal record of His truth. This explains the stern warning given in the Bible concerning tampering with its contents:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD.”  Deut. 4:2

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deut. 12:32

Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Prov. 30:5-6

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book. Rev. 22:18,19

Not only is the R.C.C. (and some mainline Protestant denomination) guilty of violating the above texts so is every “Bible-based” cult. Many within the charismatic movement directly violate the above Scriptures also. I have already mentioned several examples in the R.C.C. so I will briefly mention some examples in a few of the cult groups.

The Unification Church of the Holy Spirit, aka the “Moonies” have supplanted the bible with Mr. Moon’s revelation called “The Divine Principle.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka The Mormons, although using the Bible, their main focus of faith and practice is found in “The Book of Mormon,” “The Pearl of Great Price” and “Doctrines and Covenants.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own perversion of the Bible called “The New World Translation” which has been highly redacted to support their ungodly beliefs. The Children of God (now called the Family of Love) uses the “Mo Letters” as their guide. The Church of Christ Science, aka Christian Science, uses Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures.” The Christadelphians use “Key to Understanding the Bible.” All of these cults use the Bible but in reality have placed it below the interpretation and/or further revelations of the founders of the cult. The Bible is in no way the sole authority in any of these cult members lives.

I mentioned some mainline Protestant denominations. As many of our readers know there has been an ongoing battle over the use of “inclusive” language in newer translations of the Bible. This inclusive language is nothing less than deleting certain words and phrases from the original manuscript evidence the church has in its possession. Not only are these apostates subtracting words from the original Greek and Hebrew text, they are adding their own words to these newer paraphrases of what cannot really be considered the Word of God. The United

Methodist Church is one such mainline historic Protestant denominations who seek to be more politically correct and culturally relevant will also join the chorus of those whose fidelity is not to God but to the approval of fallen humanity. This “new” translation of the Bible is called “Today’s New International Version (TNIV) and is being published by the International Bible Society and is a revision of the NIV.

The 26 scholars’ statement was released Feb. 1. Meanwhile, a list of more than 100 “inaccuracies” in the TNIV was compiled by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in a daylong review of the TNIV Jan. 31. A 25-page document listing the translation objections is posted at the organization’s Internet site, www.cbmw.org   (17)

The scholars (18) who examined this latest perversion of God’s Word were no spiritual lightweights nor were they supporters of the “King James Only” debate. Sola Scriptura implies having an accurate translation of the Scripture to begin with! This changing of God’s Word is very dangerous because it will mislead some people into thinking they are standing by the principle of Sola Scriptura, when it is not God’s Word, but man’s they are standing upon. The result will be disastrous for these peoples spiritual lives because they will discover that they have built their spiritual house upon sand and not the true rock of Jesus Christ, the Living Word (see Matthew 7:24-27).

Earlier I mentioned just a few examples of R.C. traditions and doctrines which have taken away from the rightful authority of God’s Word, but within the Protestant Church there are many traditions and practices that also do not bow their knee to God’s Word as final arbiter either.

I will cite just a few that I am personally knowledgeable with the fast growing and pervasive sign-gift movement.

Although Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations pay lip service to adhering to Sola Scriptura in reality they do not. For example, virtually every Pentecostal and Charismatic Church teaches as dogma the experience of being slain in the spirit. (20) There is neither contextual biblical support for this teaching nor any valid biblical example for the experience. This teaching and practice is completely manmade. The same can be said of their definitions for the gift of the word of Knowledge and the gift of the word of wisdom (see 1 Cor. 12:8). The Bible never explains what these gifts were or how they manifested themselves in the life of the early church. The definition for these two gifts were restored to the Church by a man named Howard Carter, a Pentecostal evangelist who claimed God revealed them to him while he was in prison! (21) Mr. Carter also claimed to possess all nine of the sign-gifts. His definitions have become the accepted Pentecostal definitions from the sign-gifts. Over a million professing Christians flew into Toronto to receive the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit in the form of holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, prophetic animal sounds and movements. (22) These so-called manifestations of the Holy Spirit spread rapidly around the world and are generally accepted as being valid demonstrations of God’s power in the midst of His people, Even though there is not one shred of biblical support for any of these spiritual enthusiasms.

When I have confronted those who endorse these practices and ask them to show me in the Bible where they can be found their only response is—”Well, brother you know what the Bible teaches don’t you? And they proceed to cite the following text as support:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25   scanbook0001

There answer is that what is occurring now in their revivals (I also failed to mention the alleged manifestations of gold teeth, gold dust, angel feathers and jewels  being manifested in revival services) are simply part of what Jesus did in His earthly ministry but are not recorded in the biblical text. That response is extremely troubling because if one takes that approach to the Bible then you can allow anything to take place and point to John 21:25 as ones biblical support.

This type of response impugns the sufficiency of Scripture. To hold to such a position is to say that God left out things (such as these manifestations) which are needful for Christian growth and a closer more dynamic fellowship with God.

The secondary response given is “look at the good fruit being brought forth in the individuals lives.” Having been totally enmeshed in charismatic extremism for many years I can honestly say that I have yet to see any benefits from these practices in individuals’ lives or that of congregations that have embraced such practices. In fact, I’ve noted quite the opposite in those participating in practices not endorsed by God’s Word. Our ministry produced a book entitled “Fruit Proof,” which is over 100 pages long and consists of eyewitness accounts given by Pentecostal and sign-gift believers who went to revival services to get the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit and instead left oppressed and disheartened. Many congregations have literally been split and the sheep scattered when the local church leaders brought in these new gifts, which turned out to be curses. Good fruit is at best subjective. The Moonie, Mormon or Mohammedan can point to members in their groups whose lives have been transformed by their embracing of the cult or false religions demands.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 3:13,14.

Paul reminds this young pastor to stick to the scriptures which can make one wise unto salvation which is by faith alone in Jesus Christ. He declares that all scripture is given by God and is profitable for (1) doctrine, (2) reproof, (3) correction and (4) instruction in righteousness. That by the faithful proclamation of the Bible those who hear and obey will grow spiritually and be equipped for good works. Then he solemnly charges Timothy before God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ to “preach the word.”  I believe Paul is warning this pastor not to get caught up in the latest fad or gables. (he warned Timothy earlier of this in 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; and then again in 2 Tim. 4:4). Why? Because Paul knew by the Spirit that the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine. Robertson says the following about this text:

2 Ti 4:3 – A time when . One of the (out of season) times. Will not endure ( ). Future middle direct) of ( ). “Will not hold themselves back from” (Col. 3:13). Having itching ears ( ). Present middle (causative) participle of ( ), late and rare form of the Attic ( ) to scratch, to tickle, here only in N.T. “Getting the ears (the hearing, ticked.” The Vulgate: has . Cf. the Athenians (Ac 17:21). Clement of Alexandria tells of speakers tickling the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely “popular” preacher, to furnish the latest tickle. (23)

These words of the bible fit so many of today’s Christians. They run from conference to conference, from fad to fad. As a former charismatic extremist I saw this firsthand and was guilty of it too. People went from Toronto to Pensacola seeking the new wind of the Spirit. After that they became “God Chasers” (24) from there they tried implementing the “Prayer of Jabez.” Once Jebez’s prayer grew stale the herd moved onto trying out “Cat and Dog Theology” (I kid you not) and after that failed to satisfy their itch they are now becoming “Purpose Driven”. (25)

The largest church in America is the Lakewood Church in Dallas led by Joel Osteen (you might remember him from a couple of issues ago). Joel stated in the article in Charisma magazine that people are not interested in theology…the knowledge of God. Thirty thousand people with itching ears and a “pastor” who can’t wait to scratch them.

Not only does the Apostle Paul warn the Church about the danger of being carried away from the sure anchor of our souls, the Word of God, the Apostle Peter also warns us:

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves sift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Teachers abound on both radio and television proclaiming damnable heresies and due to the biblical illiteracy of believers in the Church “many” follow their heretical teachings. Due to the heretics and those who follow them true orthodox Christianity will be (and is) spoken evil of by those outside the faith. All one must do is look back to the scandals of the 1980’s when the PTL scandal was revealed and Jim Bakker was shown to be immoral, then came revelations about Mr. Robert Tilton, Peter Popoff, Larry Lea, Jimmy Swaggart and W.V. Grant. Now recently we learned that Paul Cain is a homosexual and alcoholic and that Paul Crouch, President of TBN, may also have been engaged in homosexual activity. The various healing frauds, often lead to the death of their followers. They have perpetrated false promises on God’s gullible sheep. Over the years, people like Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, A.A. Allen, Hobart Freeman, Jack Coe, William Branham and of course, Mr. Benny Hinn have peddled false hopes and produced no documented miracles.  All of these people have literally made merchandise out of the people of God and over the years bilking them out of over a billion dollars!

Some may say that I have set up a straw-man argument by citing the more notorious peddlers of God’s Word, but this is not the case. All of the above mentioned individual are (or were) leaders within Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Renewal. These people are the “giants’ of this brand of belief and trust me when I say the fruit does not fall from the tree regarding these leaders.

How and why is this occurring today?   The answer is very simple; people have departed from looking to and relying upon the Scriptures alone. The Bible is no longer enough to satisfy their souls. Multitudes want to experience something mystical; they want to receive an impartation of power; they want a personal word from “God” through one of the multitudes of restored prophets and prophetesses. The simple exposition of Scriptures is not enough for this generation which Jesus referred to in His own day (and applies to ours):

“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Matthew 12:39

In the latest issue of the Issues Etc. Journal, Pastor Todd Wilkins authored an article entitled “The Fad Driven Church” in which he gave the following example of a pastor being purposed driven versus biblically led:

Mark Jones has been a pastor at Metropolitan Family Fellowship in Ventura since 2004. ’I feel a little betrayed. I mean, I’ve pretty much based my entire ministry on Warren and Hybel’s stuff, I don’t know what I’m going to do now. And I can’t imagine what I’m going to tell my congregation. It’s not like my congregation is going to put up with just interpreting Scripture every Sunday. That’ll hold their interest for about two seconds. (26)

Many pastors have departed from teaching biblical messages and are relying instead on whatever the latest church growth guru is peddling. Whenever anyone teaches or believes things which are not scripturally sound, i.e. doctrines based upon the context of the scripture they are headed for deceptions. Several very popular preachers have based their ministries outside of the godly confines of the Bible. These people are claiming to have been taken to heaven and/or hell. The Bible warns us of such people:

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshy mind, {beguile…: Col. 2:18

Mary K. Baxter initially wrote The Divine Revelation of Hell in which she says that Jesus took her on a personal tour of hell for 40 days. That book sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is now in several languages. People bought into her folly to such a degree Mrs. Baxter went on to pen The Divine Revelation of Heaven and most recently The Divine Revelation of Glory. These books are filled not only with outright lies but they contradict the Bible numerous times. Yet because of her alleged vision and experience she has gained an international following and is seen by many as an expert of the heavenly and hellish realms.

Jessie Duplantis wrote Heaven, Close Encounters of the god Kind, another international best selling book, available in 99% of the Christian bookstores. In his book Jessie denies he complete atoning work of the cross (we have to do some additional works when we get to heaven in order to perfect ourselves). He denies the sufficiency of Scripture and denies its infallibility not to mention teaching pre-incarnation human souls, heaven as a literal planet and a whole host of error and even blasphemy. Yet Mr. Duplantis is a regular teacher on TBN and travels world ide sharing his vision and other Word of Faith heresies.

These are just two examples of people who’ve based much of their ministry on their alleged encounters in the unseen realm; I could cite a dozen more people. My point is simply to demonstrate what occurs when people place their faith in anything or anyone, no matter how persuasive they may be, outside of the Bible.

God’s Word and His Word alone is our only guide for faith and practice. Any dream, vision, doctrine, manifestation or practice must be validated ithin the context of the Bible. If it fails this test than such matters must be avoided, those teaching/practicing them warned and if they persist in them, then it must be taken to the Church and God’s people made aware of the leaven in their midst. ♦

“IT IS WRITTEN”

Sola Scriptura,  Scripture Alone

scansolascroll0001

Copyright © 2004   Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. You can read the entire Cambridge Declaration written on April 20, 1996 by visiting the following web site http://www.reformed.org/documents/cambridge.html

2. Obtained from http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-scriptura.html December 3, 2004 Bold type and underlining added for emphasis

3. White, James R. Scripture Alone Bethany House Publishers 2004

4. Reference obtained from BibleWorks for Windows, release version 4.0.035p 1999 software

5. Liichow, Robert Blessing or Judgment goes into great detail examining the charismatic Shaker cult and is an excellent resource for any Christian to have who is interested in knowing the origin of today’s revival manifestations.

6. Robertson’s word picture reference obtained from BibleWorks for Windows, release version 4.0.035p. 1999 software

7. Stanley, Bob, May 1, 1999. Obtained from http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/sorigin.htm on December 1, 2004

8. Obtained from http://www.reachouttrust.org/article/world/catholic.htm Underlining added for emphasis

9. Ibid. 10. Ibid 11. Ibid

12. Pope Pius XII, Ad Coeli Reginam Underlining added for emphasis.

13. Uanbeck, Warren A. Marburg Revised, A Reexamination of Lutheran and Reformed Tradition. Augsburg Publishing Home, 1966, pg. 16 Underlining added for emphasis

14. Ibid p. 17 Underlining added for emphasis.

15. Ibid p. 19

16. A.A. Hodge Outlines of Theology. Electronic edition obtained from http://www.homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/aahsolascrp.htm

Underlining added for emphasis

17. Obtained from http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=12653 on 12/13/04

18. The 26 scholars who have stated their refusal to endorse the TNIV include two Southern Baptist Convention seminary presidents. R. Albert Mohler. Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Semiary and Paige Patterson of South-eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, along with Wayne Grudem of Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Ariz, and a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society; Harold O.J. Brown of Reformed Theological Seminary; R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries; John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and Raymond C. Orlund Jr. of First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Ga.

19. I prefer to use the term “sign-gift movement” versus the more common phrase “charismatic movement,” when referring to the larger group because all of God’s people are charismatic in that we have all been gifted by the Holy Spirit with differing gifts.

20. DMI offers the only book in print (to our knowledge) that deals exclusively with this and the other practices cited in this article. These books can be purchased from our web site.

21. Truth Matters has dealt with Mr. Carter in past issues. To learn more about this man you can purchase his book entitled “Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts

22. These are all historically detailed and biblically refuted in our two books: The two Roots of Today’s Revival” and “Blessing or Judgment.”

23. Robertson’s Word Pictures reference obtained from Bibleworks for windows, release ver. 1999 software.

24. Tommy Tenney wrote the “God Chasers” which became a small industry with follow-up books, tapes, tee-shirts, devotional guides, etc. Few Christians seemed to mind that Tenney is a Oneness Pentecostal who denies the Trinity, believes in salvation through water Baptism in Jesus name only. He can be seen on a regular basis on TBN.

25. Rick Warren has written several books around the theme of being “purpose driven” and these books have also spawned an industry around them. Many struggling churches think using his curriculum will be their salvation and result in a population explosion.

26. Wilkins, Todd Issues, Etc. Journal Vol. 3, No. 3, 2004, p. 4 underlining added for emphasis.

 

 

 

 

 





Sola Fide

12 06 2009

Truth Matters – Oct 2004 – Vol. 8 Issue 10 – Sola Fide – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Romans 5:1-2

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

It is fitting that this article appear in the October issue of Truth Matters, because October 31st is celebrated as “Reformation Sunday” by Lutheran bodies and other Reformed congregations. Luther’s message is as startling today as it was when he first taught it around 1515. I was surprised when I taught this message at my own church that one of the oldest members came up to me afterwards and after giving me a hearty handshake told me he had never heard such a message before! I was shocked because I assumed that the Presbyterian Church was still proclaiming the great “Solas” of the Reformation, apparently this is not the case. Then I looked back over my own somewhat checkered spiritual journey I have to admit I too had never heard any such messages within the charismatic movement or amongst the seeker-sensitive crowd.

Let us consider some of the historical background before we examine what the Bible has to teach regarding being justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

The Church of Rome taught, and teaches to this day that we can and must do something to merit favor in the eyes of God and moreover do certain works to remove the guilt and future punishment of our sins. How so? One can remove the guilt of their sin and escape the just punishment of them through the use of indulgences given by the Church of Rome to the sinner. Let me quote an Irish Reformed Presbyterian Pastor, Ian Paisley:

Indulgences were originally introduced in the eleventh century and arose in connection with the so-called sacrament of penance, which was claimed to asure the penitent sinner of the forgiveness of sins while making a distinction between (1)  the guilt  and  (2the punishment of the sin. According to the church of Rome, the former (the guilt of sin), was forgiven by God through the priest. The latter (the punishment of sin) however, had to be met through the performance of certain good works such as fasting, the recitation of certain prayers, pilgrimages, or alms. In the fourteenth century we find the partial substitution of money gifts for the Reformation. The practice of selling indulgences, with its falsification of Biblical truth as well as scandalous financial exploitation of the populace, thereafter increased significantly until in Luther’s time it led Europe to the brink of revolution and caused the mighty revolt against Rome in the form of the glorious protestant ReformationThe event that brought the latent crisis into the open was the public sale of indulgences by a notorious Dominican friar, Johann Tetzel, in 1517. He was the Vatican’s “Apostolic Commissary for all Germany and Inquisitor of Heretical Pravity” during the popedom of Leo X (1513 -1521). His indulgence-brokering activities which soon aroused Luther’s righteous indignation, were part of a corrupt and ambitious ecclesiastical scheme by Leo to provide funds for the reconstruction of St. Peter’s in Rome, the most lavishly expensive mass house of Romanism. Some people may try to argue that indulgences were a thing of the past and that today’s modern Roman Catholic Church surely does not still offer indulgences. Nothing could be further from the truth. The following quote is referring to a dogmatic proclamation from the current pope starting with the year 2000:

The pope’s recent encyclical is not the only current document that proves the Roman Catholic Church still embraces and propagates doctrine that is incompatible with the Word of God. To mention the fact that Pope John Paul II is allowing Roman Catholics to obtain indulgences during the year 2000 often invokes a response characterized by astonishment – “I didn’t even know the church issued indulgences anymore!” Yet those who think indulgences bestowed by the Roman Catholic Church are only to be found in the annals of church history are sadly mistaken. Pope John Paul II’s latest papal bull highlights the Catholic Church’s plans for the celebration of the third millennium to begin in the year 2000, or the “Year of jubilee” as it has been called. According to the pope’s decree, the turn of the millennium not only promises unprecedented ecumenical activity on the part of all major world religions, but it also allows faithful Catholics the opportunity to gain indulgences either for themselves or for their deceased loved ones… Pope John Paul II’s papal bull expressly defines the history and doctrinal significance of the indulgence. In summary, the indulgence gives the repentant, forgiven sinner a remission of temporal punishment due for his sins. It is dispensed by the Church since the Church has “received from Christ the power to forgive in his name” and since the church “diffuses his mercy in the world, by means of that precious gift which from very ancient times has been called “indulgence.” The pope states in no uncertain terms that “no one can be separated from the love of God (cf. Romans 8:21-39) except through their own fault” and that since one can lose his salvation, the “Sacrament of Penance offers the sinner ‘a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification’ won by the sacrifice of Christ.” However, even though one can gain his salvation again, “every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory.” So, while the Church can dispense the mercy and forgiveness on behalf of Christ, the one who sinned must still suffer punishment in Purgatory or on earth in order to be able to enter the presence of God in heaven. The indulgence is intended to shorten the individual’s time in Purgatory.  Today there are multitudes within the Roman Catholic Church doing certain works prescribed by the pope to somehow make themselves more acceptable to God and to shave some time off their pending sentence in purgatory. It appears that through the working of indulgences one can even decrease the time in purgatory for their departed loved ones.   (1)

Most of you know Martin Luther was originally a Roman Catholic monk and he labored mightily following the dogma’s Rome to the utmost. He did this in an attempt to make himself acceptable before a Holy God. After all, this is what the Church taught. If an individual did the works of penance prescribed then they would be absolved of the guilt and punishment of their sins. How did the person know of a certainty that they were forgiven? They could look to their works and place their trust in them!

Luther fasted and prayed; he carried out the various forms of penance given to him by his confessor only to realize that afterwards he still fell into some form of sin. You see Luther was originally trained as a lawyer and his mind was very sharp and it appears that his conscience was equally aware of the slightest sin in word, thought or deed which drove him back to the confessional on a daily basis. Luther’s mind was alive with the reality of the holiness of God and the utter sinfulness within himself. He was smart enough to know after arduously working the system that Rome presented that he still fell short of God’s law, which demanded (and still does demand) utter and complete perfection.

Galatians 3:10

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (KJV).

While Luther was a professor of theology at Wittenberg in 1515 he gave a series of lectures on the book of Romans. This time is characterized by Luther’s grappling with religious understanding. His decisive religious enlightenment is said to have come during his intensive study of the Letter to the Romans during which time he realized that people receive justice through the grace of God, not through good works:  “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)  { obtained from http://www.luther.de/en/moench.html } (2)

As Luther worked through what it meant to be declared righteous in God’s eyes by faith and not works. He began to criticize the theology of indulgences in some of his sermons. His displeasure increased noticeably during 1517, when the Dominican John Tetzel was preaching throughout much of Germany on behalf of a papal fund-raising campaign to complete the construction of St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. In exchange for a contribution, Tetzel boasted, he would provide donors with an indulgence that would even apply beyond the grave and free souls from purgatory. Tetzel is said to have had a little “jingle” to go along with his fundraising: “as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” That sounds fairly innocuous, but Tetzel also preached a message aimed at tugging at the heartstrings of his hearers:

Listen to the voices of your dear dead relatives and friends, beseeching you and saying, “Pity us, pity us. We are in dire torment from which you can redeem us fro a pittance.” Do you not wish to? Open your ears. Hear the father saying to his son, the mother to her daughter, “We bore you, nourished you, brought you up, left you our fortunes, and you are so cruel and hard that now you are not willing for so little to set us free. Will you let us lie here in flames? Will you delay our promised glory?” Remember that you are able to release them, for as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs. Will you not for a quarter of a florin receive these letters of indulgences though which you are able to lead a divine and immortal soul into the fatherland of paradise? (3)

Upon hearing such blasphemy and the diminution of the work of Christ on the cross Luther promptly drew up 95 propositions for theological debate and on 31 October 1517, following university custom; he posted them on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg.

October 31st has become know as “Reformation Day” on that day our Lord Jesus began a process of a genuine restoration to the Church. What Luther and the other Reformers taught was not some “new” doctrine, but simply a re-affirming of what the Bible actually taught. With Luther, the Reformers saw ALL Scripture as being, in the last analysis, either LAW or GOSPEL—meaning by “law” all that exposes our ruin through sin and by “gospel” everything that displays our restoration by grace through faith—and the heart of the biblical gospel was to them (and to us) is God’s FREE GIFT of righteousness and justification. These 5 “SOLAS” which true evangelicals proclaim are not anything new. They are the Gospel itself. The battle has raged over them since the time of Paul when he dealt with the Judaizers. The battle continued on with Augustine’s dealings with the Pelagians, not to mention the Church of Rome both before and after the Reformation. Even within the Reformed camp the Reformers had to battle the Arminians. It seems that the eternal question of humanity regarding redemption can be crystallized in the question posed to Jesus by the Rich Young Ruler in:

Matthew 19: 16,17

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

This man wanted to know what he can do, what works he can perform to merit eternal life. Jesus simply points him to the law and says: keep the commandments.” The disciples are amazed at Jesus comments and respond with great concern:

Matthew 19:25,26

When his disciples heard [it] they were exceedingly amazed, saying Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

What is impossible with man is possible with God. Mankind cannot save itself, only God can save.

Since the fall of Adam humanity has sought ways to justify themselves before a holy God (just like the Rich Young Ruler). Every religion in the world apart from Orthodox Biblical Christianity is based on some form of works to merit salvation or favor with God. Yet the Bible is very clear on the value of even our best efforts to meet the demands of God’s law

Isaiah 64:6,7

But we are all as an unclean [thing] and all our righteousness [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And [there is ] none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

In the light of the perfection of God Isaiah rightly noted that our best works are as filthy rags and they have no merit before God regarding salvation. Religious man always points to his “good works” and boastfully declares before God and man “what a good boy am I.”

Romans 3:19-26

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.  For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as an expiration by his blood, to be received by faith.

This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus. Notice a few key points in this text:

1. No human being will be justified in the sight of God by doing the works of the law. In chapters 1 and 2 of Romans Paul shows the total depravity of man and the wrath of God towards those who have suppressed the knowledge of God.  So we are left with the eternal question: how are we to become acceptable in the eyes of a holy God?

2. God’s righteousness is available to all who believe through faith in Jesus Christ.

3. We are made just by His grace which the Father gives freely because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Paul goes on in his letter in the next chapter to say in

Romans 4:1-5

What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

The Scripture teaches justification by Faith Alone, Sola Fide in at least 6 ways in the passage:

1. The justified one does “not work.”

2. The justified one “trusts” not in the merit of his works, but in God.

3. The justified one confesses himself to be “wicked.”

4. The justified one does not have faith in his faith.

5. The justified one see his faith only as “credited” to him.

6. The justified one sees his faith credited as “righteousness” to his account.

Some may ask, and it is a legitimate question: “where do our works come into the picture?” The Roman Catholic’s and many Arminians charge that the Evangelical and Reformed Churches are teaching lawlessness. They wrongly declare that we teach that works do not matter at all in the life of a professing believer.   (some people even try to make a dichotomy between what Paul taught and what James taught when there is actually no difference between their comments, since both were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and God is NOT confused).

Luther and the Reformers agree that faith is not a work in and of itself, but the faith is never without work.   As we saw in last month’s issue on Sola Gratia,  that even the faith to believe in Jesus Christ is given to us as a gift and not of works lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:9).

Justification  is by faith alone; make no mistake about this, but not by a faith that is alone. Justification is by a working faith.  People who get confused about this do not seem to understand us when we say that : we are justified apart from the presence of works. Paul and James agree that faith without the presence of works is dead.  Saving faith is a productive working faith in the life of a Christian.

The works in a Christian’s life are necessary to  prove  the genuineness of their professed faith but they are not necessary for “earning” heaven. Anyone who goes to heaven does so by the merit of Christ’s work alone, apart from any merit in any and all of his own works of obedience.

However, EVERY  post-justification good work we do will merit, deserve, and receive its reward in heaven.

Let me close this section with another inspired comment by the Apostle Paul to the Galatians:

Galatians 2:15,16

We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Works will never save us. Only faith in the work of Jesus Christ, who perfectly kept the law, can save. Pease understand that it is not “faith” itself that saves us —The saving power of faith resides not in itself, but in the Almighty Savior on whom it rests.

So what is the answer to the eternal quest of lost humanity? It is not found in their works. To receive forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of God what must we do?

Jesus was asked this question in John 6:28 “what must we do to do the works of God?” Our Master replied “this is the work of God that you believe (have faith) in the One He has sent.”

It really is quite simple. To do what God requires we must believe in His Son and as we have seen the Father is so gracious He even grants to us the ability to believe to have faith in Christ and in His works alone!! The Westminister Confession of Faith (1646) sums the doctrine of Justification by faith alone very nicely:

XI of Justification

I. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith insself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness is the alone instrument of justification; yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love. (4)

(Scriptural texts: # I Rom, viii. 30; Rom iii, 24; Rom, iv. 5,6,7,8; 2 Cor. V.19, 21; Rom. Iii. 22,24,25,27,28; Tit. Iii 5,7; Eph. I. 7; Jer. Xxiii 6; 1 Cor. I. 30,

Rom v. 17,18,19; Acts x. 43; Gal. ii 16; Phil iii 9; Acts xiii 38, 39; Eph. Ii 7,

8. #II John I. 12 Rom iii. 28; Rom. V.1; James ii. 17,22,26; Gal. v.6.)  ♦

copyright 2004  Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Foot Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?Artkey=indulgences.

2. www.fundamentalbiblechurch.org/Tracks/fbchsro2.htm  (bold type added for emphasis)

3. Roland H. Bainton,  Here I stand, Nashville;  Abingdon Press.  1950 pp. – 59-60. )

4. obtained from http://www.the-highway.com/Justification_Packer.html.