GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out)

16 12 2012

Truth Matters, November 2012, Volume 16 Issue 11

GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) A Cautionary Tale By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

          Joel Osteen, America’s favorite pastor has published yet again another bestselling book entitled “I Declare 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life.”  However, before we delve into Joel’s latest masterpiece please accompany me for a quick trip in my “Wayback machine.”[1] 

The miracle is in YOUR MOUTH.  Dare to speak those promises out loud.  Say them to yourself!  Say them to the devil!  Say them to the sickness! Say them to your mountain of trouble!  Confess them in the face of all contrary evidence!  Say them while the pain is there!! Say them while you are so sick you can hardly think!!. . .When we SAY and CONFESS His Word, He brings the miracle to pass!![2]

          If John Osteen preached the above words once, he preached them thousands of times.   John Osteen was part of the beginning of the fledgling charismatic movement.  He was formerly a Southern Baptist pastor, and had an earned Master’s degree from Northern Baptist Seminary (one of the few sign-gift leaders with any genuine seminary education).  Osteen was voted out by his congregation and left the Baptists due to his stance over the sign-gifts and began Lakewood Church as an independent ministry in 1958.

Much to my dad’s surprise, many of the people in that congregation didn’t appreciate his fresh discoveries.  They were steeped in their traditions, and because of Daddy’s enthusiastic, fiery messages weren’t exactly what they were used to hearing, it made some of them uncomfortable. . .they were upset that the supernatural God Daddy described didn’t fit into their denominational guidelines.[3]

            Even though I disagree strongly with his theology I will say that John Osteen always struck me as a decent man, good husband and father and faithful pastor to his flock.  To his credit Lakewood was one of the early churches to being openly interracial, which was no small thing in Houston Texas in the 50’s and 60’s.  Lakewood was also one of the largest churches in Texas many years before Joel came onto the silver screen.[4]

            John was one of the main proponents of what was later codified as the Word of Faith (WOF) movement/cult led by its titular head Kenneth Hagin, a close personal friend of Osteen’s.  I’ve heard John proclaim the belief that our words create our reality time and time again.  Osteen was preaching positive confession before anyone heard of Kenny and Gloria Copeland.

            John Osteen practiced what he preached.  His daughter Lisa was born with some serious physical defects, they prayed, they confessed the promises of God and in the end their daughter was totally healed.[5]  Many years later in 1981 John’s wife Dodie was stricken with live cancer.  Even though she had Oral Roberts, Ken & Gloria Copeland, T.L. and Daisy Osborn[6] all pray for her it made no difference.  It was up to her and Jesus if she was going to be healed.

I felt like I was going through a dark tunnel.  There seemed to be no end to it and yet I still confessed, ‘I am healed.’  When anybody would ask me how I felt, I never confessed that I felt bad.  I said, ‘I am blessed of the Lord.’ …Confession did not seem to work for me for quite a while, but it finally did work!  I began to see a faint ray of light.[7]

            Dodie was healed of metastatic liver cancer in 1983 and she shares her story in a little booklet “Healed of Cancer.”  Dodie rightly gives God the glory for healing her body.  However, it is her belief that she would not have been healed had she not done her part, i.e. positively confess God’s promises.  Dodie can be seen sometimes sitting on the front row of her son’s stadium.

            Why this trip in the Wayback machine?  Because when you understand his parents and their home life, which John used to vividly describe in his messages, one begins to comprehend why Joel is as he is today.  Joel was raised in an almost hyper-faith atmosphere.[8]  He never heard a discouraging word at home nor was he allowed to utter one either!  Every week on Sunday, during the mid-week services and daily at home Joel had the precepts of positive confession bringing possession drilled into his young malleable melon.  I am sure his sister Lisa was probably a great “object lesson” to remind the family and congregation about the creative power of their words if anyone began to waver in their confessed hopes.   When Joel eventually attended college he went to Oral Roberts University, Oral was a very close friend of John and Dodie’s.  Even away from home and Lakewood Joel continued to have the hard core beliefs of the WOF cult, seed faith principles, etc. poured into him.  Unlike his father Joel did not earn a degree in theology but was a communications major.  Joel has no formal biblical education at all, and yet he finds himself at the helm of the largest congregation in America and by default is assumed to have God’s blessing due to the size of his church.

            Joel is without a doubt a product of his upbringing, the apple truly did not fall far from the tree.  Joel has taken his father’s errors and spread them much further than his father ever dreamed possible.  There are some major differences however between John and Joel when it comes to ministry.  John Osteen did preach Jesus Christ fairly as the Savior from sin; he did keep that much of his Southern Baptist doctrine active, which I believe if why God allowed him the modicum of success he experienced.  Joel Osteen hardly ever mentions Jesus Christ at all in his sermons or as I will prove, his books.  Why is this?  He did not learn this from his father or at ORU, he bears this guilt alone.  Lakewood was always known as a cutting edge charismatic congregation.  People getting filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues, men or women shouting out the occasional prophetic word; folks getting slain in the spirit were part-n-parcel of Lakewood services under John Osteen.  From what I have observed on television Joel’s services are anything but Spirit-led in the Pentecostal sense.  Joel assiduously avoids mentioning speaking in other tongues in his broadcasts; his father worked his enthusiastic experiences into virtually every one of his messages.

            Joel has cleverly marketed himself as everybody’s pastor and has successfully divorced himself, at least publically, from his WOF cultic upbringing and his former charismania.  I don’t know how he transitioned the former charismatic Lakewood into the seeker Lakewood it is today, but he did it and it is some sort of church-growth miracle.  The unknowing channel surfer can watch Joel weekly and never know that Joel: (1) comes from a hyper-charismatic cult background; (2) that Joel and all his family practice speaking in other tongues; (3) everything Joel teaches is based on WOF heresy; (4) has no formal biblical education.  These four “unknowns” are an example of the art of superlative spinning and of a marketing miracle.

            Kenneth Hagin Sr. used to ask rhetorically “how do you poison a dog?  You put the poison in the good meat.”  How best to disseminate error to as many people as possible?  Wrap the error around a fairly good looking guy, with great teeth & hair and winsome demeanor.  Give him a communications background, television and media production experience (Joel was always behind the scenes at Lakewood) and PRESTO {a little magician’s lingo} the leaven of Lakewood is spread to spiritual seekers globally.

I had never preached before! Ever! I had spent seventeen years behind the scenes at Lakewood managing our television production.  Over the course of those years, Daddy tried many times to get me out in the public to speak, but I never had the desire to do it. . .Keep in mind, I had never even prepared a sermon.[9]

            By his own admission Joel was (and is) totally unprepared to serve as a pastor.  He had no actual pastoral training, no seminary education, not even a diploma from an unlicensed “Bible” school!  What he did have was an entire lifetime spent surrounded by the leaders of some of the most extreme enthusiasts around (Oral Roberts, Hagin, Copelands, Price, Yandian, etc.).  Growing up in this environment was all the training Joel has received, and in his mind all he needs.  Gigo, garbage in over a lifetime, now , garbage out to an undiscerning spiritually hungry world.  Some of Joel’s foundational beliefs include things such as:

WOF & Words

God created everything by speaking “faith-filled” words. God created man in His image. Man was to be the ‘god’ of this world, but Adam committed high treason and gave his dominion over to Satan, who became the ‘god’ of this world. Man, like God has the ability to create reality by speaking either faith-filled or fear-filled words.  This is a spiritual law and it works for everybody whether they know it or not, but usually in the negative. Spirit-filled Christians are to function exactly like Jesus did on earth “speaking” to fig trees, mountains, devils, sickness — because we are to do His works & greater works. To learn how to walk like Jesus all it takes is revelation knowledge, which you cannot obtain in seminaries, but you can receive it via “anointed” teachers (Copeland, Hagin, Hinn, Dollar).

As a graduate of Robert Tilton’s Bible School and former WOF cult pastor I can assure you that the lynch-pin of the WOF cult is their alleged doctrine of the creative power of our words.  Virtually everything they teach hinges upon their concept of positive confession (pc).  Once you swallow this false doctrine then everything else they teach makes sense within their specific paradigm.  Everything is traced back to spoken words in their worldview.  For the newer readers, or those without a sign-gift background the following is a very brief peek into the basic WOF doctrine of words:

Most of the above mentioned CON cepts are seen in his books or heard in his messages.  Make no mistake about it — Joel Osteen is an ardent WOF heretic in the same class with Mr. Copeland, Hinn, Dollar, Meyers, Duplantis, et al.

            “I Declare” is Joel’s third major book and it is simply an expansion of some of the CONcepts he plated up for public deception in his prior book “Your Best Life Now.”  In order for us to experience our “best” (as defined by his version of the American dream) now we have to do the following:

As long as you can’t imagine it, as long as you can’t see it, then it is not going to happen for you.  It’s the same way with us. . .We have to conceive it on the inside before we’re ever going to receive it on the outside.[10] But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.[11]

God abides by the laws He established, and if you don’t sow, you will not reap.[12]

Your Best Life Now is around 300 pages of well camouflaged WOF ‘101’ doctrine.  The spiritual law goes something like this: (1) First you begin by visualizing what it is you desire, say physical healing.  You must begin to “see” yourself as totally healed, the more precise and vivid an inner picture you and paint the better. (2) Then you must begin to confess verbally to yourself and to others (when asked) that you are totally healed prior to any manifestation of healing at this point.  This confession is usually comprised on various snippets of Bible verses taken out of their context, yet claimed as “God’s promises” for your life. (3) During this time of visualization and positive confession you will have to cast down every thought or report you are given that contradicts your stance.  During the waiting period (between initial confession & final possession) one must guard against digging up their “seed” (words) by giving in and confessing negativity about what you want.  When this happens then one must begin the process over.  Negative words will cancel out the positive ones, if the individual has more faith in the negative coming to pass.

If you allow your thoughts to defeat you and then give birth to negative ideas through your words, you actions will follow suit.  That’s why we need to be extremely careful about what we think and especially careful about what we say.  Our words have tremendous power, and whether we want to or not, we will give life to what we’re saying, either good or bad.[13]

(4) In God’s timing, if you remain steadfast in your confession you will receive what you have conceived in your heart and confessed with your mouth, isn’t this what Jesus taught in Mark 11:24?

            Your Best Life Now lays out the framework for why it is a necessity to verbally proclaiming the BEST desires of your heart until they manifest in your life.  As further proof that Joel is nothing more than a clever redressing of old sign-gift heresy we come to Chapter 28 of this book is called “The Seed Must Lead” and it is a shortened version of Oral Robert’s “seed faith” heresy that he made popular back in the early 1950’s and this false doctrine has syphoned off untold hundreds of millions of dollars from legitimate Church ministries.[14] Gigo, garbage in, garbage out.

            I Declare is Joel’s subtle next step into silently converting his followers into WOF demi-gods.  This is a much shorter book than Your Best Life Now.  This book is very similar to the previous one and honestly, it is like all of John’s and Joel’s sermons; one sort of ‘point’ with a lot of ancillary stories from either his father’s life or from people Joel knows.  On a very infrequent basis Joel attempts to shore up his doctrine with some cherry-picked pericope from the Bible.

            The book consists of 31 declarations aka positive confessions that the reader is to “declare” over their lives at the beginning of each day and then hold fast to that confession regardless of the circumstances or situations life may threw against you.  I have heard Kenny Copeland say on numerous occasions “if you play the game right you win,” meaning that if we simply will implement God’s “laws” regarding our words, then we will be victorious every time!

            The first words on the page of Joel’s latest book PROVE is a WOF heretic by writing the following:

Our words have creative power.  Whenever we speak something, either good or bad, we give life to what we are saying. . .They don’t realize they are prophesying their futures. . .Here is the key; you’ve got to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go.[15]  

            For those who might say that Joel Osteen is not a WOF devotee, because he has never said he was let me simply point you to a few of the following titles, all from people personally known by the Osteen family and apart from Joyce, all of these enthusiasts have helped shape and form Joel Osteen into the proclaimer of error he has become.

Your Words Hold a Miracle: The Power of Speaking God’s Word, John Osteen

There is a Miracle in Your Mouth, John Osteen

Reigning in Life As a King, John Osteen

How To Release The Power of God, John Osteen

Living in the Abundance of God, John Osteen Words, Kenneth E. Hagin

You Can Have What You Say, Kenneth E. Hagin

Right and Wrong Thinking, Kenneth E. Hagin

How To Be A Success In Life, Kenneth E. Hagin The Power of the Tongue, Kenneth Copeland

Living in Heaven’s Blessings Now, Gloria Copeland The Tongue: A Creative Force, Charles Capps

How To Avoid Tragedy and Live a Better Life, Charles Capps Change Your Words, Change Your Life: Understanding the Power of Every Word You Speak, Joyce Meyer Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind, Joyce Meyer

Two Difference Between Joel and these authors —-        

 One major difference between Joel and the fifteen titles I cited (I could easily add 50 more titles) is that the above authors speak basically in reference to Jesus whereas Joel does not. Joel does not even mention Jesus until chapter 10 of his book.  When he does mention our Lord it is in regard to Christ making wine at the wedding “Jesus sped up the winemaking process —God can do in a split second what might otherwise take you many years.”[16]  Joel NEVER refers to Jesus Christ as God the Son, as our Savior, as the sacrifice for the sin of the world.  Nor does he make any appeal to the readers to place their faith in the finished work of Jesus for them.  He does not even invite the reader at the end of the book to consider the claims of Christ, to pray, to receive Him as Lord, nothing like the normal American “evangelical” pattern at all.

Secondly, the above books all proof-text[17] massively whereas Joel does not cite many biblical texts at all and sadly, when he does cite the Bible he also resorts to proof-texting since he has never learned how to properly exegete the texts.  Here are some example of this truth-twisting Joel does:

1)     Ephesians 2:10 says, “You are God’s masterpiece,” (p. 68) — yes we are God’s handiwork (ποίημα or worksmanship) created in CHRIST for good works. Joel leaves this out.

2)     Jesus said ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’  God wants to make your life easier, (p. 105).  He was comparing the heavy burden of keeping the Law as opposed to the liberty and freedom that come from walking in the light of the Gospel.  Where does the Bible say God wants to “make our life easier”?  Jesus said in John 16:33 that in this world we shall suffer tribulation, but in Him we have peace. Those who desire to live godly IN CHRIST JESUS shall suffer persecution 2 Timothy 3:12. 1 Peter 4:16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”           

3)     It says in Romans 5:17, “We are to reign in life as kings” (p. 117).  That is a misinterpretation of the text. Here is the entire verse “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ)AGAIN Joel leaves out any reference to reigning in life BY ONE, CHRIST JESUS.  Paul’s entire thought is about Adam’s sin and the remedy for our ancestral and inherited sin —- the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the ungodly!  Joel does not go here at all.

4)     James 4:2 says, ‘You have not because you ask not,’ (p.143). The entire text reads “You desire and do not have; you murder and are filled with envy, and are not able to obtain; you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, in order that you may spend it on your pleasures.  The lack in our lives is because we are not asking God for great things, never mind the part about asking with wrong (selfish) motives, asking for things to bring you pleasure and make your life a waking dream.

5)     And He promises in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for our good” (p. 147). Joel’s statement is FALSE.  God did not promise that all things are working for the readers good.  What He DID promise is this: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

6)     God says, ‘If you take the limits off Me I’ll amaze you with My goodness.  I’ll not only meet your needs, I’ll take it one step further. I’ll give you the desires of your heart.’ (2 Cor. 9:8-9 NIV) (p. 113). The verse reads in the NIV as follows: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”  There is nothing in this text which indicates that God will give you the desires of your heart. That is a citation from Ps. 37:4.  This text says that IF we delight ourselves in the Lord (only possible for Christians) THEN He will give us their desires of our heart.  Also, does this mean that He will give us “our” hearts desires or that He will place in our hearts His desires?  I believe the latter is true.

 These are not all the examples of Joel’s abuse of the scriptures, but I believe they are indicative of a very troubling pattern I have noticed in Joel’s preaching, in his televised interviews and now his writings —- he seems to intentionally leave out Jesus in all three venues of expression.  I admit that intentionality speaks to motive (a little Barrister lingo here) and no man knows the motives of another man, however I make my claim based on the facts in evidence.

For example why doesn’t Jesus figure prominently in the preaching and writing of America’s leading pastor?  When Jesus is cited it is by example of Him speaking “faith-filled” words into existence or taking life out of existence (the cursed fig tree, p. 164).  He is not shown as God the Son, moving as Emmanuel among the people.  Jesus is not portrayed as the suffering servant (what, Jesus suffer?) who came to die for the sins of the world.

Any Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Unity School member, theosophist, Christian Scientist, even Muslim’s can read this book as it is written and not be offended by its contents.  Nor will they have their current belief system challenged.  The book is so doctrinally insipid that any form of deist could place it on their bookshelves, and no doubt many have done just this.

I have counted the number of times the following words occur in Joel’s book to help prove my contention: the cross – 1 time, p. 17; Christ – 1 time; Jesus – 21 times; God – over 200 times.  In the entire book only 18 times are biblical texts cited.  Virtually every time Joel cites a text he misapplies it to such a degree that it is no longer “God’s Word” because he has made it a lie by taking it so far out of context.  God is never referred to as “the God of the Bible,” or “the Father of Jesus,” He is presented as the generic God that any reader could claim as their current understanding of deity.  The Holy Spirit is also never directly referenced as far as I could tell, after all, to do so might lead some readers to wonder if Joel is some form of Trinitarian (he is, but why share this and confuse others, right?).

  A lot of times we pray about our mountains: God please help me. . .It’s good to ask God to help you.  But when you face a mountain, it’s not enough to pray.  It’s not enough to just believe.  It’s not enough to just think good thoughts. Here’s they key: you have to speak to your mountains.[18]

You may be praying about things you should be speaking to…If you have health problems, instead of begging God to heal you, you need to declare to that sickness, ‘Sickness, you have no right in my body. I’m a child of the Most High God, You are not welcome here…I’m commanding you to leave my body.’[19]

There is a time to pray.  But there is a time to speak.  You don’t pray about your mountains; you speak to your mountains.[20]

            These declarations are not prayers to God, so what are they?  WOF doctrine teaches that words are carriers of either the spiritual force of faith or of fear.  They take quite literally Hebrews 11:1faith is the substance of things hoped for. . .” To Joel faith is an actual spiritual substance, a force which is wielded victoriously via the mouthed words of the adept.  These words (declarations) will cosmically draw the things, people, opportunities (Joel continually refers to them as “good breaks”), and money to us.  Our words are either used by God or the devil and demons to bring to pass whatsoever we confess for good or bad.  Joel is quite adamant about his belief that we all are living the lives we have created for ourselves.

            There are many problems with the doctrine of positive confession which are beyond the scope of this article.  Let the following be sufficient for now: 1) Positive confession is not taught anywhere in the Bible as a doctrine of the Church.  2) None of the writers of the Bible ever teach that our words have creative power similar to God who speaks things into being ex nihilo (out of nothing). 3) None of the Church Fathers wrote anything akin to what Joel is telling his readers to do.  This idea that we create reality by what we believingly confess is a novel idea in the Church and as a teaching is less than seventy (70) years old.  The mind-science cults that served as the fountainhead for this demonic deception are less than 160 years old themselves.

The Tyranny of Words

            One more serious flaw with Joel’s doctrine is that it puts those who adhere to it in bondage.  I experienced this personally as a WOF pastor many years ago.  I learned I could not know how any member of the congregation was really doing by asking the members.  Asking a PC person “how are you doing” will elicit a response of “oh Pastor, I am blessed in the city, blessed in the field, why I am the head and not the tail, blessed by Almighty God, filled with His Spirit, growing from faith to faith and glory to glory.”  Joel, as a pastor, does not want to hear about how big your problems are, he wants to hear how big your God is (see p. 124 Your Best Life Now) and Joel’s people are afraid to confess the truth because then they will dig up and cancel out their (hopefully) sprouting faith-filled words by speaking negative (reality as it is) words.

This places people under a tremendous weight.  They must watch their words at every waking moment.  They must be careful who they associate with, because negative people can also hinder one’s receiving.  Every thought must be held captive to whatever the dream/vision/hope one is trying to create.  Any thought to the contrary (even warning’s from the Lord) to what you are declaring is automatically consigned to Satan and cast down.  Once one starts down the path, there is no turning back unless the goal is willingly forfeited by the practitioner.

There is also the agony of doubt created by such a subjective concept.  Faith-filled words only produce when they are spoken from the heart and not the head (mind).  Their view is of man as a tri-partite being comprised of spirit, soul and body.  The spirit is reborn; the soul (mind, will, emotions) must be renewed by the Word.  Then together these two will control the body.  The only way they can know for certain that they are speaking true faith-filled words is when they receive what they are confessing.  Remember, these folks are either trying to confess the dream in their heart OR they are confessing things mentally to get them down in their spirit.  In either case, the acid test is the obtaining of whatever is being sought.  Since generally the things being sought do not arrive automatically, one must be prepared to begin confessing and never stop until the manifestation, even if it takes many many years.

            Since Joel is very clear that this spiritual law works every time it is properly used I would like him to explain these various events in light of this doctrine.  How did his father John end up on kidney dialysis for several years prior to his death?  John taught Joel all about confession brings possession yet John did not receive his deliverance from kidney failure.  Nor did he receive healing from the heart problems which eventually took his life.  Also, the positive confessions of his entire church for John while he was in the hospital were also of no avail (I will not go into the prophetic words that said John would live and not die, but be died anyway).  How is it that his mother got cancer in the first place?  We rejoice over God’s grace in restoring her, but she should not have gotten ill to begin with, how did that cancer spirit gain entrance?  Why did his sister Lisa’s first marriage end in divorce?  I know beyond any doubt that much confession went up prior to the marriage and during it.  Why didn’t those words work?

Joel’s View of Sin

            Something else is troubling about Joel’s writings.  In these two books and in his preaching and television interviews he does not talk about sin, judgment or hell.  Joel’s father planted the fetid seeds of “you are no long a sinner, you were a sinner but now you are a saint.”[21]  Joel grew up believing that he is not a sinner any longer.  I buttress this belief with these comments:

…King David, made a lot of mistakes. . .David didn’t focus on his faults or on the times he had done wrong.  No, he lived favor-minded.[22]

That’s not to condone wrongdoing, but the truth is, we all have areas in which we need to improve.  We can’t become so focused on our faults that we cease to enjoy who God made us to be.[23]

…David wasn’t perfect.  He made mistakes, he became discouraged, but he prayed. . .You may need to pray something similar. ‘God please help me to get rid of this negative attitude.[24]

Your job is not to judge.  Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something, or to decide who is right or who is wrong.[25]

            Joel never uses the word “sin” or “sinner” in the entirety of his books.  To say the word “sin” is to give it place in his life and I suppose those of his hearers.  King David did make a lot of mistakes, but he also sinned grievously against his Lord.  He did not confess he missed it, he confessed his sins.

            We should be focused on our faults and wrongdoing if they are indeed sinful, which all wrongdoing is.  Guilt is a good thing when it drives the person to their knees seeking forgiveness from our Lord Jesus Christ.  We should feel guilty when we sin.  However, if we ignore sin and simply cast down guilt feelings immediately as “negative” is spiritually unwise.

            Obviously to Joel sin is no real problem in the Christian life, if it were as a pastor he would surely address it.  No, the pressing problem for us is not sin, but a poor self-image created by our negative words and those who accepted into our hearts from others.  Joel would have people believe that if they just change their thinking, renew their minds according to the cherry-picked promises (many of which are really not promises per se) then their former wrong doing will cease and via their declarations God will bring good things to them.

            Where the Bible does urge we confess — “If we confess (ὁμολογῶμεν) our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)Joel is silent. Or how about in James 5:16Therefore, confess (ἐξομολογέομαι)your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Note that it does not read “confess your mistakes” but says sins.  Lastly, what of our Lord’s own statement in Matthew 10:32-33So everyone who acknowledges(ὁμολογήσει) me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  Where is the acknowledgement/confession of Jesus Christ as Lord in his preaching or his writing?  It is absent.

            In place of leading the people in a united public confession of sin and then standing before them as Christ’s mouthpiece and speaking forth the words of absolution Joel leads them in another confession he got from his father: ‘No wonder he held up his Bible every service and said, ‘This is my Bible.  I am what it says I am.  I have what I says I have’ (see p.64 Your Best Life Now).  Joel and his people confess a longer form of this same confession in each service.  I doubt Lakewood has ever been led by Joel or anyone in confessing the Apostles or Nicene creeds, I doubt Joel knows them.

            Joel’s latest book is simply more of the same heresy continued from his previous publication.  Both of his books prove beyond any controversy that Mr. Osteen is a Word of Faith heretic.  He may hold the title ‘pastor’ and his people may refer to him as such but Mr. Osteen is no biblical pastor.  He does not meet the qualifications to serve as pastor.  He refuses to preach Christ crucified for the SINS of the world.  He has not openly preached Jesus Christ in his services, books or interviews.  He intentionally leaves Jesus out of the verses that pertain to Him!  Joel is a false shepherd and he is misleading (unintentionally let us hope) multitudes further from Christ and not closer to Him.  DMI urges that prayer is offered for Joel’s deliverance from doctrinal darkness for the sake of his soul and those who follow him.


[1] The Way Back machine was an integral part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, okay I date myself.

[2] Osteen, John. There is a Miracle in Your Mouth. A John Osteen Publication. Houston, Tx. 1972 p. 6.

[3] Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. Warner Faith. New York, NY, 2004 p.172.  Bold type added for emphasis.

[4] There is no dispute that Lakewood has grown exponentially under Joel’s smiling gaze.  He started with something like a mere 6,000 or people and now speaks to 40,000 people in person on Sunday and multitudes more via television.

[5] There are a great many accounts, sadly, probably most of them that are false.  However in the two cases in the Osteen’s life we see the genuine mercy of God.

[6] Daisy Osborn would later die of cancer, no confessions could heal her.

[7] Osteen, Dodie. Joel . John Osteen Publication. Houston, TX. 1986, pp. 42-43.

[8] I followed the hyper-faith teachers, Dr. Hobart Freeman and Elbert Willis.  These men took the WOF teachings to their logical conclusions.  Eschewing doctors, medicine, insurance, hospitals were all proof of “faith.”  The few hyper-faith teachers were not welcomed by the other WOF leaders, because the hyper-faith preachers “walked the walk,” whereas Hagin, Copeland, Harrison, etc. did not.

[9] Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. Warner Faith. New York, Ny. 2004, p.215. Underlining added for emphasis.

[10] Ibid. p. 3

[11] Ibid. p. 5

[12] Ibid. pp. 256-257

[13] Ibid. pp. 121-122. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

[14] The dirty little secret is that Oral Roberts PAID Eugene Ewing for the CONcept of “seed faith” when Roberts SINistry was about bankrupt in the late 1960’s.  Ewing taught Roberts the whole scheme of “give and God will give back to you.”  Ewing has remained a “mystery man” ever since, his great wealth has kept him well insulated.

[15] Osteen Joel. I Declare. FaithWords. New York, NY. 2012, p. v. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

[16] Ibid. p. 56.

[17] Proof-texting is the bad practice of simply taking a biblical text out of its context, thus making it a pretext and using it to buttress a point being made.  With proof texting the person simply tries to find texts that “fit” their doctrine as opposed to making their doctrine submit to the contextual authority of the passage.

[18] Ibid. p. 161 Underlining & bold type added.

[19] Ibid. p. 162

[20] Ibid. p. 165

[21] This is not a direct quote from John, but he has made this statement, as have virtually all of the WOF cultists.

[22] Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. P. 48

[23] Ibid. p. 66

[24] Ibid. p. 192

[25] Osteen, Joel. I Declare. P. 89





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





Why DMI Does What It Does

27 07 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 7 – Why DMI Does What It Does

 Discernment Ministries International

 Why DMI Does What It Does

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

“We praise God that, despite the large amount of poison, He still saves so many people at the same time we remember our sacred duty to witness against every false doctrine whenever we can.”  CFW Walther, Essays for the Church, Volume 1, 178.

I was recently at Concordia seminary, Fort Wayne explaining to their Vicarage Department why I was no longer pursuing a position as a pastor within the LCMS. Instead I shared with Professor Pulse the great need to (1) educate God’s people of the dangers from within and without and (2) to the need to help equip the sheep with the biblical tools they need to give a defense for what they believe. I shared that my goal was to continue the fruitful ministry the Lord entrusted to me by hopefully starting a ‘Recognized Service Organization’ (RSO) within our Synod dedicated to warning, educating and equipping congregations within the LCMS about the dangers impacting the church. Professor Pulse agreed there was (1) currently no one doing this type of outreach and (2) there is indeed a great need for such work.

I was however disappointed to learn that the two Apologetics/counter-cult type courses that were offered to pastors in training are no longer offered at any Lutheran seminaries. What is more I have yet to work with any congregation that was well educated and equipped regarding the current trends sweeping away many souls.

For over sixteen years I have dedicated my meager abilities to “Teach Truth and Expose Error” and it has been at times exhilarating as well as very depressing. Exhilarating in that I have seen many people come out of doctrinal darkness and false practice by the grace of God. Depressing, because of the lack of support from local churches and individuals in battling the very things that are destroying them!

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. Therefore, watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:27-31

The Field of Battle Is Two-Fold

From Without-

Paul in his address to the Ephesian elders warned them of the battle to come when he departed. Nature abhors a vacuum, and evil spirits know how to make the most of a “clean and swept” house (see Matthew 12:45). One avenue to assault against the sheep is from outside of the Church that Paul designates as “grievous wolves” —

To begin with cultic activity is pandemic in the world. Christianity is no longer merely competing with the views of the major world religions (Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc.). Today, the Church is competing with literally 1,000’s of new belief systems, many of which are very sophisticated technologically and extremely evangelistic in delivering their message.

These non-Christian cults have multitudinous websites, Blogs, Public Access television programs, cable programs in the form of infomercials and a growing army of devotees actively spreading their version of salvation. A good example would be the church of Scientology. A highly published Christian Apologist was told by Zondervan Publishing House, the largest Christian book publisher in the world, to remove the chapter he had written about Scientology, simply because that cult is too powerful and they have the capability to sue organization into bankruptcy (this is what happened to the Cult Awareness Network, which is now owned and operated by Scientologists). Due to the many high profile musicians and movie actors in Scientology their cult is growing in popularity and power. What is your church doing to combat their false message? Ask yourself a simple question, “is my church equipping me to biblically and effectively challenge their beliefs”? When was the last time your church offered a course or seminar on the cults, their beliefs and how to refute them from a loving biblical perspective?

Do the brothers and sisters you worship with weekly understand what Islam believes? Do they know its history, why the Shiites fight the Sunni and both of them fight the Sufis. We may have a Latter Day Saint for a President of the nation. It might surprise you to learn that Christians have more in common with Islam than we do with Mormonism—is your church educated to know why this is true?

The church is currently under a massive attack from without. Not just the overt non-Christian cults, but also by our culture. The homosexual movement has been growing by leaps and bounds. It was not that long ago when being a homosexual was one of society’s darkest secrets. Not only was it a shameful secret, but was classified as a psychological ailment and a crime of sexual deviancy in most states. In less than twenty years (20) homosexuals are touted as ‘normal’ and thus should (and do) have the same rights as heterosexual citizens. Gay pride floods our parades, our military and virtually every television sitcom has at least one openly queer character.

Our own government has been moving in rapid fashion against the Church under the Obama regime. The church is going to be forced to pay for birth control pills and abortions. Bible believing Christians are now listed as potential terrorists by our government. Do not be surprised if/when they rescind tax breaks for Churches. Obviously, Hollywood television programs and movies, the music industry conspire to works against the cause of Christ. When was the last time you saw a Christian portrayed in a good light in a film or program? Ask yourself, are you, your church family and friends biblically prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you (see 1 Peter 3:15)?

From Within-

What is even more troubling is the rapid expansion of heresy and aberrant teachings within the Church. What’s worse is that the vast majority of this nonsense flows from America! Never in the history of the Church have the people of God suffered from such a massive infestation of false teachers, false prophets and false apostles.

The “Christian” bookstore has become one of the most spiritually dangerous places for the child of God to set foot in. The list of Christian best selling books include such titles as Good Morning Holy Spirit, The Divine Revelation of Hell, God Calling, The God Chasers, Heaven Is Real and other books filled with false teaching, blasphemy and in many cases outright lies.

“Christian” Television offers the world a perversion of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. TBN, a global network, serves up a regular diet of heresy and error through people such as Jessie Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Kim Clement and others. Televangelism is alive and well on the airwaves proclaiming a false gospel of health & wealth. Peter Popoff, Don Stewart, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey and Robert Tilton (to name just a few) are still broadcasting on a regular basis and raking in close to a combined BILLION dollars a year to support their lavish lifestyles (wonder why Senator Grassley was interested in some of these Gospel pimps?).

The televangelists do not provide any financial reports, but it is estimated based on what has been revealed that altogether they siphon off close to a billion dollars a year tax-free from legitimate Christian work. Where does this money go? It goes to pay for mansions, private jets (many televangelists own several), running their SINistry machines. Very little goes to feed the hungry, build orphanages, medical clinics, locally based outreach, etc. These people promise much, but they deliver nothing but false and unfulfilled promises.

The elderly, infirmed, work-at-home mom’s & dad’s represent the “mission” field of the televangelists. These Christian folks, who are lonely, want some “Christian” teaching & fellowship have no choice except to watch and be influenced by a myriad of false teachers, prophets, apostles, brethren and false evangelists. If such viewing comprises the majority of spiritual input, then it makes sense that these people would be deceived into believing what they see and hear — because the televangelists ALL preach the same errors on television, ergo they ‘confirm’ their own doctrines by pointing to one another as additional witness (see 2 Cor. 13:1). I have relatives who actually go to sleep with TBN on!

The problem with the people who have risen up among us speaking perverse things is that we live in a time when pointing this out is politically incorrect and this notion has crept over into the Church in a big way. The lambs of our Lord suffer under these blind guides because the leaders in the Church are very busy perfecting their place in the monkey line —” see no evil hear no evil speak no evil,” others are working on Oscar winning performances akin to “Sgt. Shultz” on television who was known for saying “I know nothing” when questioned about questionable activities.

Some swimming in the river of denial say “let the Lord handle it,” or “I’m taking the high ground and walking love towards them” — all-the-while people are being misled regarding who our Lord Jesus Christ is, what He did, what is our response to be to Him for His great gift, etc. By keeping silent error increases. The apostle Paul rightly said to the Galatians regarding the false teachers assaulting their faith:

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Gal. 5:7-9

These folks were hindered from obeying the Lord because they listened (how faith comes) to false teachers. Paul warns them that the little leaven (error) will infect the entire loaf unless dealt with.

 A few years back Tracy and I marveled at the ignorance of a leading charismatic pastor, John Arnott, who answered a question regarding spiritual deception in this manner, “I have more faith in God’s ability to bless than in Satan’s ability to deceive,” words to that effect. Arnott got many hearty ‘halleluiahs’ from the crowd for his pious sounding words. But what sayeth the Scripture?

The Satanic Six Fold-Ministry

When I start out as a young charismaniac the teaching of that day was about the “five-fold ministry.” This is taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and buttressed with a few other texts:

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. Eph. 4:11-12

Sign-gift people are restorationists and as such believe that today’s Church is supposed to operate exactly like the early Church but with more power in these last days. They believe that God has restored back to the Church the specific office of the (1) Apostle, and (2) Prophet. The other three (3) Evangelist, (4) Pastor and (5) Teacher have always been with the Church. This teaching goes as far as to declare that unless a local congregation receives spiritual input from all five ministry gifts they will remain deficient and non-effective in the last great outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and power. Many books have been written regarding the work of the restored five-fold ministry and this concept (which is wrong for many reasons) is widely held by countless sign-gift folks. They believe for example, that the apostle is one who operates in all the other four ‘offices.’ I would like to briefly mention the other side of the coin, which NONE of the charismatic luminaries has touched on to any great degree; that of the demonic counterfeits.

The False Apostle

Chief Apostle Dr. Eric vonAnderseck believes that the church needs living apostles today to bring the church into the unity of the faith. By his apostolic stewardship the church is again receiving one doctrine of Christ, one faith, and one restored blueprint of truth. Apostle Eric is establishing the true testimony of Jesus Christ as the record of faith to mature the church unto a perfect man, to bring the church to the fullness of Christ. (Eph.4:13)   (2)

God is changing the look and feel of Apostolic and Prophetic ministry as it is now functioning in the church. A new dynamic of the ministry of Apostles and Prophets will soon be revealed through Jesus Christ, the giver of the Five-Fold ministry gifts. Interestingly enough is that the new dynamic is the same pattern given for Apostles and Prophets in the Holy Scriptures. (3)

The ministry of the apostle is the latest act of restoration by the Holy Spirit according to the enthusiasts. My wife and I personally experienced the rise of the apostolic which was “birthed” by the proclamation of the restored prophets! We saw individuals who started out as street evangelists become pastors, who later became prophets and then were elevated to the role of apostle and others who jumped the ranks from pastor to apostle, including one of our former pastors, Ellis Smith. If you Google “prophetic movement” you will get a return of 4,670,000.

According to the enthusiasts the ministry of the apostle is the culmination of the restoration process. They believe that these men and women (although Jesus chose no female apostles, nor did the early church) are the ones through whom God will pour out new revelations, give directions for the Church both locally and globally. These people are the forerunners who will initiate the forthcoming manifestation the sons of God (see Romans 8:19)  by imparting spiritual gifts of power.

One of the most recent examples of this belief was the ‘elevation’ of Todd Bentley to the office of apostle. The whole debacle can be seen and heard on YouTube, simply input ‘Todd Bentley’ and you will get back over 3,800 videos. The fact is this: Mr. Bentley has no legitimate biblical education. He is a convicted child molester, (4), and shortly after his elevation it was discovered that the Church’s newly minted “apostle” was in the midst of a sexual affair with another female anointed vessel. Now a few months later Todd is divorced, remarried and back on the stage with the FULL BACKING of today’s so called restored apostles and prophets (many of whom can be seen on his elevation video prof-a-lying over Todd). (5) There is one good video of Todd where he is rebuked by 4 people during a meeting, which he ignores and belittles, if you get online you can go to the following address and see men rebuking Todd biblically – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_tRwgItUFo.

These roving wolves are nothing new to the Church. From its inception Satan raised up tares among the pure wheat o0f God to deceive and mislead the sheep; to lead them to hell and not to heaven.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Cor. 11:13-15

Paul is defending his genuine apostleship against those who were claiming that they were in fact the true apostles to the Corinthians. Three times Paul uses the Greek word

Paul lets us know that these pseudo apostles are people who disguise their true motives; they masquerade as Christians which should not surprise us because Satan and his demons always attempt to appear in an appealing and tempting form. So it is no big mystery that his servants will appear as ministers of righteousness — they will reap what they sow. Our Lord commanded the saints who did not simply “swallow-and-follow” whatever they were taught, but they checked out those who claimed to be apostles:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. Rev. 2:3

Discernment Ministries International has been putting these people to the test and we have found them to be false apostles and DMI is doing all it can to warn the body of Christ about the grave spiritual danger these frauds present to our spiritual wellbeing. Today’s crop of so-called apostles fails the biblical test set forth in Acts:

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts 1:21,22

What is more, Jesus and the early Church never chose a woman to be an apostle, ergo any women today who claims to hold such a position is obviously extremely deceived and thus deceiving all those who follow her, regardless of how well-intentioned she may be. (7)

This new crop fails the true seal of apostleship in the area of genuine signs and wonders. Paul, in defense of his ministry said:

I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you; for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Cor. 12:11,12

False Prophets

Today, there is no doubt that God is restoring the prophetic ministry to the church as never seen before. Prophets are springing up from everywhere and people are more than ever aware of the prophetic ministry as never before. (8)

The polemical aspect of the heresiologist’s work is decried by many in the church today. Many people think those of us involved in apologetics, polemics and counter-cult works are simply wasting our time. After all, if someone wants to call themselves a “prophet” what business is it of mine or yours? Christian love demands a response to (1) the lies told in the name of the Lord who saved them and (2) warn the undiscerning to the spiritual danger facing them if they warn the undiscerning to the spiritual danger facing them if they follow these blind guides.

False prophets are the frontline “battle tanks” in Satan’s arsenal. Through them Satan has sent more souls to eternal damnation than through almost any other means. Think a moment — Islam was started by a false prophet. Close to a billion souls, praying five times a day heading towards the pit of destruction. Today Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and the source of virtually all the world’s current problems. How about Joseph Smith? He convinced many that he was a prophet of our Lord. The result?  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a cult which is being rapidly accepted as a “sect” within Christianity! None less than Joel Osteen, America’s mega-church pastor, who speaks to millions weekly accepts Mormons as Christians. If Mitt Romney becomes President then expect to see a massive push to mainstream Mormonism into acceptance as part of the Church. Jim Jones took hundreds with him to hell, they died believing he was a prophet.

Today virtually all sign-gift believers (500 million, ¼ of the professing Church today — no small number) believe that God has restored true prophets back to the Church today. While there is no agreement on who is or is not a prophet and no unity regarding the function of today’s prophets they do seem to agree that this is a necessary ministry in order for Christ to return.

 This means that 500 million people believe that God has placed men and women in the Church to hear from God on their behalf, relate these revelations to the recipients and then empower them to fulfill the revelation by imparting ‘the anointing’ to devotee. This means that 1/4th of the Church today is not relying on the Scripture alone to give them guidance, instead they are placing their faith in the words spoken by the false prophets and prophetesses.

It boggles the mind that this many people can accept the word and direction of someone who is not necessarily expected to be 100% accurate (how one knows what to accept or reject is purely subjective). Below is an example of this unbiblical belief (the bible accepts nothing less than 100% accuracy for God’s prophets):

There is a creative realm to prophecy and the prophetic ministry. If you say ‘God, I don’t want to be making this stuff up.” That is doubt!” Now remember that without faith it is impossible to please God. Like any new thing you are trying to learn, it takes time. It takes time to become good at expressing what you see in the spirit. It is because you must sort through all the impressions and prophetic pictures that come to mind. You must take time to learn how to interpret them. If you are going to move in the prophetic ministry, then you must be willing to be made a fool for Christ. Does that sound familiar?  Have you ever done something that you thought you heard God tell you to do?  You must be willing to make mistakes You will learn what not to do through experience. That is the price. (8)

The Prophetic Movement is the hotbed of all forms of enthusiastic excess such as, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness and the other revivalism nonsense was birthed in prophetic congregations. Today the leaven has spread to now include things such as “prophetic dance.” Dancing certain dances are a form of prayer, will cast out evil spirits, as a form of worship. There is also prophetic prayer, prophetic worship, prophetic mantles and all sorts of pagan practices being accepted as part of legitimate Christian worship! The prophetic (pathetic) movement is a dangerous deception and it is a powerful force to contend with.

False Teachers

As with the other counterfeits that church has always been beset with false teachers. The Apostle Peter warned the church when he wrote:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And MANY WILL follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness THEY WILL EXPLOIT YOU with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 1:1-3

The only change today in the fulfillment of this text is that they no longer do it in “secret.” today the false teachers rove the globe spewing forth a myriad of deceptive teachings on physical healing, financial prosperity, the gifts of the Spirit, and redemption itself is twisted by these liars.

These tares are especially dangerous because God’s people have been taught to respect and believe the Bible. However, this is where the average believer often stumbles. Someone stands up and preaches something using biblical texts and says “its in the bible.” What is required on our part is to be well grounded in Christian doctrine. Most Christians are not adequately prepared to properly discern truth from error (what else explains the millions in spiritual bondage today?).

The major televised SINisters preach another Gospel, proclaim another Jesus and offer people another spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Out of a godly concern for the Church on a regular basis DMI exposes the false doctrines of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Marilyn Hickey, Creflo Dollar, TBN, Jesse Duplantis, Fred Price, Joel Osteen and a host of others who oppose Christ and themselves. DMI has contacted many of these individuals by registered mail documenting their errors and asking them to recant their false teachings. To date none of them have done so. Having followed Mathew 18 to some extent, DMI now takes the concern to the Church.

False Shepherds

The small letter to Titus gives us some insights into the motivation of the false minister in the following:

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths MUST BE STOPPED, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. Titus 1:10-11

False shepherds care nothing for the souls that are under their “care.” The sheep on the other hand have a somewhat innate trust in their pastors by virtue of their office alone. They are motivated by greed and pride (which is why so many SINistries are named after their human leader(s). The majority of sign-gift leaders are self-taught and self-appointed; few have any legitimate theological education and training. Tracy and I experienced tremendous spiritual abuse under two Rhema graduate “pastors” ( one man was also a prophet and the other was elevated to role of apostle) and over the years have counseled numerous victims of wolves masquerading as pastors. Ezekiel reveals another key indicator of the false shepherd:

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?   The weak you have not strengthen, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. Eze. 34:1-5

Every charismatic pastor I have known personally have “fed” themselves at the expense of their flocks. This is very evident especially in urban ministries where the pastors all live in as close to a mansion as can be obtained, drive very expensive cars and wear fashionable clothing. However, the people they serve live at or below the poverty level. Due to being literally bewitched by these Gospel pimps the people accept this burden willingly.

False Christ’s

The word of Faith cult has redefined “Christ” to refer to the anointing that was upon Jesus, ergo the text “I can do all things through Christ…” (see Phil.4:13) is read “I can do all things through the anointing” —a BIG difference in meaning. They look to the power of God and not to the God who supplies the power.

We are warned that there would in fact be falsely anointed people who claim by virtue of the accompanying signs and wonders as verification that they speak and work for the Living God.’

For many will come in my name, claiming ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many. 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 24:5,24

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am he,’ and ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. Luke 21:8

Few Christians will be deceived into thinking that someone is in fact the Lord Himself (although DMI has covered a few of them out-front antichrists including Sun Myung Moon, the aging ‘Korean’ Jesus and the most recent ‘Hispanic’ Jesus name Jose Luis de Jesus), but they seem to have no problem believing the claims to possess the power of Christ’s Spirit.

Benny Hinn is probably the best known living purveyor of power. After twenty years of holding ’miracle crusades’ the only miracle he can prove is the miracle of people continuing to attend his lame meetings. I can prove under oath in court that more people have physically died during Hinn’s meetings than he has ever healed. In fact, Mr. Hinn who by now should have a Quonset hut full of medical testimonies to divine healing — but he cannot verify one miracle. What is more Hinn is on record as a false prophet, adulterer and a liar (I do not say these things lightly). Yet the multitudes still flock to his meetings. There are many others claiming to impart the power of God. DMI covered the latest crop of deceivers in the last two issues of Truth Matters.

False Brethren

And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: Gal. 2:4

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. Titus 3:10

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son if anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 2 John 1:11

The Church is filled with wheat and tares and while we are commanded to believe the best (1 Cor. 13:7) we are also commanded to be aware of those around us. Sometimes false brethren sit in the pews and after the service they pull individuals aside and begin to discuss what is wrong in that local congregation. Tracy and I have run into people who simply ‘flit’ from church to church causing problems and sometimes splitting congregations.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17

False brethren are probably best considered as the ‘little foxes that destry the vine” (see SoS 2:15) as opposed to the SINisters, who also fall into this category. These are the folks who invite congregation members to their house for a little ‘home Bible study’ apart from the knowledge and direction of the pastor with the goal of sowing discord among the brethren. This is especially true, sad to say, for many ‘sign-gift’ devotees who believe it is their mission to get as many people out of their former denominations by infiltrating their former churches and sheep steal. Perhaps you’ve encountered these people.

In closing this out, let me simple warn you to keep an eye on your youth groups. Why?  Because our youth are directly targeted by charismaniacs. Youth are vulnerable and thus susceptible to wanting anything other than what their parents offer. The enthusiasts know that their future lies with the youth and not their parents. A word to the wise: Keep a sharp eye on what is taking place in/with your youth at church.

We’re very briefly considered some of the main avenues of assaults by Satan and his demons against our Christian family. Probably everyone reading this issue has a relative or friend who is enmeshed in some form of charismatic extremism, some “bible-based” cult, or possibly just a plain ole secularist. Discernment Ministries International was created to help educate and equip the saints of God to make a stand for God’s Word and by Its power rescue those who oppose themselves (2 Tim. 2:25) and are in danger of eternal damnation.

By the grace of God good fruit has been produced by DMI and by His grace in the days ahead we will expand our outreach and continue to Teach Truth & Expose Error!

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

2. Obtained from http://www.apostleeric.com on 6-30-12.

3. Obtained from www.apostolicministry.org

4. Understand that I am not saying the Mr. Bentley has not repented of his former sins, or that Jesus has not forgiven him. I bring this up because it is part of the public record and sadly, pedophiles, according to research seldom change, may Christ have genuinely changed Bentley.

5. Prof-a-lie is a term I co8ined to describe the action of an enthusiast standing up and uttering some sweet sounding lies in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek New Testament, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, Logos Research).

7. Again, I am not making statements regarding anyone’s eternal state before our Lord. He knows, all you and all I can do is to examine their fruit and see if it meets biblical standards. If not they must be rebuked and hopefully restored to soundness.

8. Obtained from www.whatsnewintheprophetic.com/PropheticMinistry

9. Obtained from www.prophetic-ministry.com

10. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1 Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domain electronic ed. Of the 2nd edition (New York: United Bible Societies 1996), 415





Sons of Thunder? (Part Two) “You Don’t Know What Spirit You are Of”

22 06 2012

Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 6 – Sons of Thunder? (Part Two) “You don’t know What Spirit You are Of” By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

Sons of Thunder? (Part Two)

“You Don’t Know What Spirit You are Of”

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

E.W. Kenyon taught the concepts of (1) the creative power of words, (2) Jesus ministering as only a man anointed with/by the Holy Spirit, (3) Jesus defeating Satan as a born-again man, a man like you and I, (4) and Jesus was born again from sin (Jesus became an actual sinner according to Kenyon) into new divine life. These and several other bizarre, unbiblical and heretical concepts are rooted in Kenyon’s ideas of what transpires when we become “new creations” in Christ.

Crowder is not teaching people what it means to live life as a Christian as normally understood for the last two thousand years. He is presenting the Kenyon concepts, which like all error has grown (Matthew 16:12) and developed far beyond Kenyon’s nascent dreams of glory.

Crowder presents a theology of glory where the end time Christian mystic will simply walk in the manifest glory of God (the Shekinah of God), healing the sick, working miracles where needed, traveling back and forth between heaven and earth (more on this later), raising the dead, and ultimately defeating death itself in his own life, becoming immortal (1 Cor. 15:26). (14)

 Dear readers, I know the above paragraph sounds beyond belief, who would really think that this was how God always meant for the church to operate? I have news for you, there are hundreds of thousands of professing Christians who believe exactly these things and many have simply been waiting for someone to “show” them how to do what they believe God has appointed for the church, especially in the last days.

 Before the initial fervor of the last revival had died down people were already asking and even prophesying what God was going to do next. Tracy and I heard and have on video tape these prophetic words declared by no less than John Arnott’s wife at TACF regarding when the “laughing stops,” referring to the holy laughter revival which the soul-hucksters knew was warning. Crowder is on the move, gathering sign-seeking souls who are after their next “fix” of the divine.

 PLEASE do not just file this information away under “wacko.” Initially the orthodox Church ignored what was taking place on the wrong side of the tracks at a street called “Azusa.” Today Pentecostalism is the fastest and largest segment of the visible Church today. Back then it was ignored and not studied and it grew and is growing still! We cannot afford to (1) be ignorant of what is taking place in the Church and (2) if it is wrong then we MUST speak out about it in Christian love and warning.

 

Gain A Historical Grid of Miracles & Mystics

This is probably the most honest statement in the advertisement. Crowder’s grid is nothing more than an outline of the various accounts of Christian mystics and alleged miracle workers of the past. The point of providing this information is two-fold: (1) It demonstrates that God did this in the lives of past believers, He will do it for you; (2) these former mystics tapped into the divine, leaving us a roadmap to follow. They simply lived the “normal Christian life” according to their charismatic paradigm and we cn all enter into the glory realm. (15)

Church history is filed with wild accounts from various monks and nuns which form much of the basis for Crowder’s historical grid. Tales of levitating monks (16) and statues that bleed” do not inspire me anymore than accounts of various stigmatic’s wounds. No one in the Bible simply lifted 3 or 4 feet off the ground and hovered around a bit while in ecstatic prayer. The accounts he sites are from murky sources at best, written down during the Dark Ages and other times of great superstitions.

Yet for arguments sake let’s say these things occurred. OK, so what benefit accrued to the Church because of these events?  How was Jesus exalted?  Were people brought to faith by such events? [If so, I would doubt their conversions, salvation is by faith alone, not by seeing miracles]. No Crowder is simply trying to buttress his faulty belief system by presenting what happened in past enthusiasts lives and trying to make these individuals the pattern we are to follow.

Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel

Here we go again being “activated” by Crowder and his anointed crew!  But this time the activation is to be in three specific areas which require some explanation.

The Seer Realm:

Let us read directly from a modern “seer” and see how he explains this hitherto unknown “gift”.

My personal journey into the seer realm has been progressive. Some seem to be “born with a full blown gift’ – like Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson and a few others in our day and time. Others come forth step-by-step as I did over a period of months and years.

In the prophetic, I heard first in the Spirit before I ever saw. I was comfortable in this realm and the voice of the Lord spilled over into the fit of prophecy. Later on, I recognized that the feeling dimension had been active in my life all the time–I just seemed extra sensitive and emoted more than others—especially men. But there was no teaching on that realm so the “feeler” stayed at a certain level and found its primary expression as burdens from the Lord in the place of prayer. For me, the seer realm unfolded over time like a flower blossom–opening in the sunlight ever so slowly. Eventually, especially in the atmosphere of worship, I found the Lord giving me both internal and external visions. Dreams were multiplied and became a regular tool in which the Lord would speak to me. Being around the culture of the seer, hanging out with gifted people, enhanced my own hunger, gift and calling. Visitations were never daily with me, but I would come into seasons where encounters with a supernatural God were profuse and not rare at all. (17)

It is commonly taught that certain gifts of the Holy Spirit develop over time.  One might have the gift of prophecy, but stumble at first and then with growth accuracy comes (of course the Bible recognizes no such process of development regarding the gifts). Seers’ see’ things in the spirit that the rest of us do not se either in an open vision (while awake) or in dreams (while asleep). The biblical examples of dreams and visions were exceedingly important, something today’s so-called seers cannot claim. The Bible does speak about those who —

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 fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (18) Col. 2:18-20

Crowder and his ilk fit the category of “intruding into those things which he hath not seen.” They are today’s Gnostics teaching that there is insight and power hidden from common view, yet available via the adepts who have already trodden the path to ecstasy, all that is required is that one pay for the course and check their mind at the door.

Prophecy

Like tongues, prophecy is a verbal gift (the third verbal gift is the interpretation of tongues) and it is something that usually is not instantly in manifestation i.e. people who believe they receive the gift of tongues speak immediately, no one begins to immediately prophesy as did the disciples of John in Acts 19 when they received the Spirit. Most active charismatics have pro-fa-lied at some point in their Christian experience; certainly all of them have heard others give forth the “word of the Lord.” (19) We have no recorded prophetic utterances over the last couple of hundred years which have increased the Church at all. We do have a vast repository of false and unfulfilled words given by Mr. Hinn, Copeland, Duplantis, Capps, Branham and a myriad of other liars and deceived deceivers. Those who can boldly stand up in a service and declare “thus saith the Lord” at the end of their spewing do not fear the Lord as they ought. It is the utmost of seriousness to stand and speak in the Lord’s name (see James 3:1) and to teach His people anything.

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 1 Tim. 1:6-9 (20)

Leaving the path of charity Paul speaks of those who have swerved aside to worthless talk, speculation and jangling (3467 (mataiologia), n. fem.: = Str 3150; TDNT 4,524-LN 33.377 idle discussions, meaningless talk, empty talk (1 Ti 1:6+). This is certainly the case with Crowder and the others. They have no formal education in the Scriptures and they are either self-taught or the product of sitting under other unsound and heretical teachers and adding their own unique twist on things along the way. If one believes someone can “activate” them into the miraculous, then to learn how to utter a prophetic word is no big stretch. After all, this gift can be developed one may start off being only 20% accurate but over time grow to be maybe 80% right. The problem with this view is simply this: How does one know when the prophet is right or not? Whether to act on the “prophetic word” or not. Good intentions fall into hell’s pit when one lies in the name of the Lord God Almighty.

Spirit Travel

Bilocation is the term our government used when testing people for the psychic ability of sitting in one location and seeing what is taking place somewhere else, often miles away. This is also called remote viewing among parapsychologists. The occult world is replete with accounts of so-called astral projection or soul travel. Paul Twitchell started a new age cult called Eckankar which is devoted to astral projection to other cosmic realms. What I find outrageous is that this darkest form of occultism is being openly taught and embraced by professing Christians! Like Paul I want to shout “who has bewitched you” (Gal. 3:1). Is there anything in the Bible that even tangentially brushes on the farthest twisting of any text to support astral travel? Oh sure, have you forgotten what Paul said to the Colossians—

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Col. 2:5 (22)

Paul said he was “beholding” their order and steadfastness in Christ in the spirit. He obviously was in one place physically BUT was literally watching them in another location via being in the spirit. (23) After all, The Apostle John was also in the spirit on the Lord’s Day (see Rev. 1:10) when he went to heaven in the spirit while his body remained on Patmos. Lastly, we do have the account of Paul about a man who was caught up into the third heaven, whether he was in his body or not he did not know (see 2 Cor. 12:2). According to Crowder’s crowd we have three “witnesses” and thus let a doctrine be established (a misread of 2 Cor. 13:1) promoting astral tripping.

Not only does Crowder have at least three potential texts to wrest he can also fall back on the charismatic belief that everything that Satan has and does is just a counterfeit of the genuine. Thus if New Age and occult people astral project to various realms and places by the devil’s power. . . . How much MORE should God’s children enjoy the benefits of such travel.

However what Crowder doe not reveal to us is what the benefit of such travel is for the church. KEEP THIS IN MIND: Whenever our Lord blesses us, it is never for only “us.” He blesses us in order to bless others. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to profit the Church, not the individual used in the gift. Their blessing comes from simply being God’s chosen instrument of the moment. This is the principle of it is more blessed to give than to receive,  Why?  Because the implication is that the one giving has something to give to someone else who lacks that resource.

These people have no biblical authority or even Church tradition (much much lesser authority) to buttress this teaching on. Their primary sources are the alleged subjective accounts from people we would consider spiritual “flakes.” Secondarily, they can appeal to the occult for other directions and insights along with their own fantasies of what transpired “in the spirit.”

Receive Open Heavens & Revelatory Understanding

Unfamiliar with the term ‘open heavens’? don’t feel bad; enthusiasts have an entire coded language of esoteric phraseology that the uninitiated do not understand. An “open heaven” refers to the belief that there are times when God opens the gates of heaven and sort of layers heaven over the earthly. The heavens are often closed to us due to our own sins and we have no fellowship with God.

And your heaven that is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth that is under you shall be iron Deut. 28:13

And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: Lev. 26:19

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isa. 59:2

However, there are times, when the spiritual condition have been met, when God can come down and fellowship with His children. There is often a lot of build-up in a service before the leaders declare the heavens to “be open” and an Acts 3:19 event can occur:

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

It is during one of these services when there seems to be a great deal of paranormal manifestations that they declare an “open heaven.” Naturally after holding a successful meeting a score of meetings/conferences pop-up declaring things like “Open Heavens Prophetic Conference.” (24)

The concept of an “open heaven” comes into the church via the Vineyard false prophets especially Bob Jones, Paul Cain and Todd Bentley.  Here is Todd (former child molester) Bentley’s reasoning on an open heaven:

Bentley’s main argument of an open heaven goes like this “If He’s the same today, then why can’t He visit me like He visited Abraham? If he’s the same today, why can’t He visit me like He visited Daniel? Why can’t He visit me like He visited John? Why can’t He visit me like He visited Isaiah? How about Ezekiel? Yes, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that makes what’s available in “Bible days” available today. It’s not just about healing and laying hands on the sick and seeing miracles, as great as these are, but it’s also about supernatural encounters with God. Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead and over five hundred people saw Him for forty days in His resurrected body (1 Cor. 15:6)? Do you believe supernatural things can take place today? I’m asking this because we’re okay with angels showing up and speaking to Mary and Joseph, but we’re not okay with angels showing up and speaking to us. We’re okay with Paul being taken into heaven, or what he called the third heaven – caught up into a place called paradise. We’re okay with that. It’s good for Paul, or it’s good for Elijah. Yet both Paul and Elijah were men just like we are, and as you know, they’re both in heaven today.  So are Abraham and Isaiah. They aren’t on earth anymore for God to interact with. But God, by His very nature, wants to interact with somebody supernaturally. My question is: Why not you? Why should anyone’s experience in Christianity today be any different from what people experienced in Bible days?” (A Face to Face Encounter, Monday, November 19, 2007) http://acloserwalkwithgod.blogspot.com/2007/11/face-to-face-encounter.html  ) (25)

An ‘open heaven’ is declared due to the mass number of enthusiasts in the thrall of various manifestations, all of which are attributed to the Holy Spirit. Those which have no biblical foundation are referred to as “new wine,” and people are constantly reminded that the apostle John said that the bible does not contain everything Jesus said and did. Thus the things occurring now are ascribed to God. At no time are people warned to beware that Satan counterfeit’s the genuine via his “angels of light” (2 Cor. 11:`14)

The sad thing is that these people, often sincere, are stripped of the only tool that can help them discern what is from the Lord and what is not. They are not encouraged to go and study the scriptures as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11) and to allow the bible alone to be their guide. On the contrary they are told just the opposite. I have personally heard John Arnott the “father” of the so-called holy laughter revival say that he has more confidence in God’s ability to bless than in Satan’s ability to deceive!

Sounds pious, but it is as deadly a lie as can be told to the Christian. Certainly God is more powerful than Satan, but then tell me why is the New Testament FILLED with warnings regarding being deceived and mislead? Those admonitions are not in the bible to fill up space, they are meant to make us aware of the reality of Satan and the deceptive nature of our fallen flesh which is against God (Rom 8:7) and is prone to accept anything that is in defiance of Him. Arnott, Crowder and all of the enthusiast SINisters are the arbiters of the genuine and counterfeit due to their own proclamations of having already paved the way, they are now guides to the seeking souls.

Revelatory insights! This has nothing to do with transmitting faithfully the doctrine of the Apostles already received by the church. Crowder is referring to ‘newinsights versus the old tried-n-true religion. For them truth is progressive, what the scriptures may have meant to others in the past, today they can take on an entirely new meaning.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know ( them ), and be established in the present truth. 2 Peter 1:12

Benny Hinn made the following statement, “Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Lift your hands. Something new is going to happen here today. I felt it just as I walked down here. Holy Spirit, take over in the name of Jesus….God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; and He is a triune being by Himself separate from the son and the Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear it. See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you–and maybe I should-there’s nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul, and his own personal spirit-body. You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you’re in this church to hear things you’ve heard for the last 50 yrs? (Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn program on TBN (October 3, 1991). (26)

Tommy Tenney in his bestselling book, “The God chasers” says: “God chasers have a lot in common. Primarily, they are not interested in camping out on some dusty truth known to everyone. They are after the fresh presence of the Almighty. . . If you’re a God chaser, you won’t be happy to simply follow God’s tracks. You will follow them until you apprehend His presence. (27)  DMI has already extensively covered the foul deception of the heretic Tenney who follows the error of Sabellius. The Bible is passé, yes it contains dusty truths, but what is being fostered is a false desire for something else, something new and fresh that can only be found outside of the Holy text. This is a very disturbing trend which my wife and I saw occurring within the sign-gift movement years ago.

We noted that many of our former teachers were beginning to reinterpret texts which had always meant something altogether different. When we questioned we were told that what they were teaching was “newrevelation and that we needed to be established in this present truth being revealed for these last days. Any questioning of these new teachings was met with hostility and suspicion.

Beliefs and practices which were totally outside the bible were passed off as ‘John 21:25’ events (things done by Jesus but not recorded) and we knew this how? Because a restored prophet or apostle told us so! They had become the source of correct understanding and as such they expected to be obeyed without question. At this point Tracy and I had our eyes opened by our Lord Jesus christ (thanks be to Him, who still seeks straying sheep!) and we left the madness.

Since the Lord delivered us from this madness I have dedicated my life to “Teaching Truth & Exposing Error.” things have gone from being merely ‘silly’ to becoming overtly demonic and dark in many cases and few within the movement have ever risen up to shout out a warning.

I thought for awhile that I should become a Lutheran pastor and operate DMI in the background. I went back to seminary, this time in Fort Wayne and I benefited greatly by the experience. However, it seems as though this is not the path for me.

Instead, I am working towards creating a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) within the LCMS and thus hopefully be given invitations to come and teach their congregations about the dangers facing the church. As a mere LCMS “member” I have the freedom to speak from any pulpit (something as an LCMS pastor I could not do) that invites me to speak.

The point is this:

FULL SPEED AHEAD WITH DISCERNMENT MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL!

Until Christ Jesus calls me home, I will contine as the Lord provides to continue to stand on the “wall” and shout out a warning to God’s people according to my meager abilities. To all those who support DMI —you have my heartfelt thanks!

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

14 The DMI scriptorium has a copy of an extremely rare book entitled “How to Raise the Dead” by Franklin Hall, written during the early days of the post WWII healing revival. His writings have impacted this generation of sigh seekers.

15. If you doubt this, simply go to Google and type in ‘Christian Mystics’ and over 4 million sites will pop up, this is a popular delusion which is gaining momentum.

16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Saints and levitation  has a decent section on flying monks.

17. Obtained from http://www.enlijahlist.comwords/ display word/8462  Underline and bold type added for emphasis.

18. The Holy Bible King James Version, Electronic Editiion of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA; Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Col 2:18-

19. In years past when I would speak forth a ‘prophetic word’ when I was finished I would often ask my wife Tracy if what I said was “alright” because when the few times I did speak publically I HAD LITTLE CONSCIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT I WAS SAYING, it was spewing forth from some other part of my brain. Naturally, I have shamefacedly repented of this foolishness long ago, begging the Lord’s forgiveness for lying in His name and misleading His people.

20. The Holy Bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorize version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), 1 Tim 1:6-8

21. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 1997).

22. The Holy Bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorize version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Col 2:5

23. I always find it amazing when folks suddenly become literalists in biblical interpretation. Then when asked what about Jesus statement “this is My body,” well that is not what He meant there. Their position demonstrates their unstable and shifting hermeneutic.

24. These folks will try to make a movement out of anything. See

25. Obtained from our good friends and fellow truth-tellers at Let us Reason, http://www.letusreason.org . Note his line of argumentation, which we have already considered (see folks, I do not have to make anything “up”).

26. Obtained from http://defendchrist.org/false_teachers.html#hinn

27. Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/GodChasers.htm





Sons of Thunder? (Part One) “You Don’t Know What Spirit You are Of”

10 05 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 5 – Sons of Thunder? (Part One) “You don’t know What Spirit You are Of” By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 

Sons of Thunder? (Part One)

“You Don’t Know What Spirit You are Of”

 By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 

A disturbing ‘new’ trend has arisen promising its adherents tremendous mystical insight. These hitherto unknown insights will be gained through two avenues, learning through teachers and also through direct impartation and activation from the mystic to the enthusiast sign-seeker.

Nothing occurs within a vacuum and John Crowder and his gang did not spring up ex nihilo either. Crowder is simply part of the ‘fruit’ of the latest global out-pouring of spiritual excess. DMI has covered in great detail the origins of these revivals and the myriad of mystical experiences which attended (and still attends) each service to some degree or another. (1) These experiences include: spiritual drunkenness, uncontrollable ‘holy’ laughter, being slain in the spirit, bizarre uncontrollable bodily movements, apparitions, visions, prophetic utterances, unknown tongues, angelic feathers, green stones magically appearing in worship, gold dust on the participants, ‘new’ revelatory perceptions, seeing angels, trips to the throne room, etc.

All of these paranormal experiences are part-n-parcel of today’s revivalism and apart from prophesy and tongues which are valid biblical gifts when exercised biblically; the other manifestations are not biblical and are directly related to the occult realm. What Mr. Crowder has done is to take these experiences and codify them into some system which can then be taught to the seekers and he naturally includes the belief in impartation of spiritual power from the greater to the lesser vessel.

Due to the ‘Holy Laughter’ revival tens of thousands of people willingly opened themselves up to receive ‘whatever’ the Lord had for them at these services. They eagerly embraced all of the bizarre manifestations as what they were touted to be “the new wine” of the Holy Spirit. The widespread impact of the revival of the 90’s (2)  caused these occult manifestations to become widely accepted as legitimate expressions of the Spirit of our God.

This widespread acceptance gave Mr. Crowder a platform to come up with a “Mystical School,” which he and some others are exporting around the US and world. In his school Crowder makes the following assertions:

Operate in Trances, Raptures & Ecstatic Prayer

Experiences Physical Phenomena of Mysticism

Get Activated in Creative Miracles, Signs & Wonders

Understand & Access New Creation Realities

Gain A Historical Grid of Miracle Workers & Mystics

Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel

Receive Open Heavens & Revelatory Understanding

Access and Manifest the Glory Realm (3)

 

Before considering the above claims, let us remind ourselves what the bible has to say on these matters:

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:4

The Lord has provided miraculously for the people and they came seeking more supernatural provision. And the Lord’s response?  They were wicked (morally corrupt) and adulterous (feminine form (4))  Why?  They were seeking a sign and not the God of the sign. Theses sign seekers may have been in doubt, challenging the Lord God to perform for them and so validate His ministry. This much is certain, our Lord did not think much of the sign-seekers then and since He does not change (Mal. 3:6) His attitude is still the same towards today’s sign-seekers.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold but climbed up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. And shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:1-10

It seems that Crowder is attempting to climb into the heavenly realm using the wrong door(s) of mystical experience. Jesus likens those who engage in such futile attempts to “thieves and robbers.” Christ alone is the Door, He alone is the Shepherd. To come to Christ by faith alone is to enter into the green pastures He provides for His sheep.

 

What is Mysticism?

Crowder is claiming to run a school of and for the “new mystics,” so it behooves us to define some terms before going further. According to Webster’s Dictionary mysticism is:

1: the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics

2: the belief that direct KNOWLEDGE of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)

3: vague speculation: a belief without sound basis: a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquistion of ineffable knowledge or power. (5)

This is the goal of Crowder’s school — direct communion and fellowship with God and angels through various disciplines and practices (and a lot of innate imagination). “Direct knowledge” of God is another way of saying “revelation knowledge” which is another goal of these new mystics. Again this knowledge comes directly from God apart from any mental effort on our part, one simply “knows.”

Some might say “well, what is wrong with seeking direct communion and communication with The Ancient of Days?” I would respond by saying absolutely nothing is wrong with seeking communion & communication with our Lord, in fact, I would be very troubled if a Christian was not actively engaged in such pursuits to some degree or another. We are enjoined both positively and negatively:

But if from thence thou shall seek the Lord thy God thou shall find him, if thou seek him with all thy hearth and with all thy soul. Deut. 4:29

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, Call ye upon him while he is near: Isa. 55:6

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. Psl 27:4

Evil men understand not judgment: But they that seek the Lord understand all things. Prov. 28:5

And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. 2 Chron. 12:14

That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 2 Chron. 15:13,14

Every Christian has the desire and longing to be with their Lord and probably each one of us has had times where we have experienced the awesome presence of Jesus. These unique times are to be treasured in our hearts, but not taught as doctrine or as a ‘goal’ to attain. What is more the Bible speaks plainly on what is involved in seeking the Lord, which is where Mr. Crowder and others sadly depart.

How Do You ‘Teach’ Mysticism?

In order to deceive Christians and keep them from being effective in this life for God’s kingdom the devil has to twist our Bible. He does this most effectively through his five-fold SINistry ‘gifts’: 1] false apostles (2 Cor. 11:5); 2] false teachers (2 Peter2:1); 3] false prophets (Jer. 14:14, Mark 13:22); 4] false Christ’s {falsely anointed ones} (Mark 13:22); false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26). 

Crowder and the other revivalists have always done is to appeal to certain miraculous and unrepeatable events and declare them to be available to all. (6) for example the event with Paul in Acts 19:12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” This happened one time in the ministry of Paul and it is something he never mentions in his letters. Yet the enthusiasts have made a money-making machine out of so-called prayer cloths and other points-of-contact. (7) The logic behind making the unique commonplace is simply the belief that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11 misapplied),  if He did it for one, He will do it for you if you meet His requirements.

What God did for Daniel in seeing visions, He will do for us, since Joseph dreamed prophetic dreams so can we. After all, Joel has promised our sons and daughters will prophesy and there will be visions and dreams given to both the old and young! Yes, Joel does say this, but the apostle Peter said “this is that which was prophesied by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:17) — folks Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on that Day, never to be repeated as the enthusiasts have claimed from Montanus to this day.

Crowder must twist the scriptures violently to be able to teach that these sovereign events in the salvific economy of God are actually available to all of God’s people. Let’s consider the topics Crowder teaches:

Operate in Trances, Raptures & Ecstatic Prayer

Are trances biblical? Yes there are examples of a few people being in a trance state in the Bible.

And the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God,

Which saw the vision of the Almighty, Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: (Numbers 24: 3-4).

And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself which this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, (Acts 10:10-17)

“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I as in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him. ‘ Then He said to me, ‘Depart for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:17-21)

That is it for the biblical record of three events. The first example is with the false prophet Balaam. The second is of the Apostle Peter being supernaturally informed that the Gentiles were to be included in the Kingdom as well. Peter still was learning and had not gotten the understanding that the Jews were to be a light to the Gentiles and God had to get his attention in a dramatic fashion. So dramatic that Peter initially doubted what he had experienced (as opposed to immediately starting up a trance ministry)! Lastly we have the Apostle Paul, who is warned by His Lord to depart and go to the Gentiles, thanks to his obedience the Gospel was spread around the world.

In both N.T. examples we see God dealing with His Apostles directly. Both trances were instructional for these men, who in turn informed the church. The result was no less than the ongoing conversion of the Gentile world. It is important to note that neither men sought these experiences. These trances were initiated by God for very important reasons (the spread of the Gospel, e.g. the salvation of the world).

So far we know that trances did occur three times in the bible. We also know that during these trances Peter and Paul both heard the voice of Jesus. Peter seeing the table cloth & critters and Paul seeing our Lord Himself. Yet what exactly is a trance?

TRANCE The Gk. Word ekstasis (lit ‘standing outside’ or ‘being put outside’. i.e. of one’s normal state of mind) is rendered ‘trance’ in Acts 10:10; 11:5; 22:17, where it forms the condition of a vision. The trance state has never been fully explained, but it involves an overriding of normal consciousness and perception. In the only two occurrences of the strange Heb. Word sanwerim, translated ‘blindness’ in Gn. 19:11 and 2 Ki 6:18, it is clear that a trancelike state of hypnotic suggestibility is indicated. (8)

A Charismatic definition: The Greek word for ‘trance” is “ekstasis.” It means “the displacement of the mind.” This is an experience where your physical senses are suspended and you are unaware of your physical surroundings. You do not know, for the moment, exactly where you are or sometimes even who you are. A Scriptural trance is unrelated to a hypnotic trance. You cannot come out of a hypnotic trance if the hypnotist will not allow you to come out. You can come out of a Scriptural trance if you choose to do so. (9)

The definitions need no further explanation. What I would like explained to us is how Crowder can possibly offer to teach people how to operate in trances. Can I or anyone teach someone what a strawberry tastes like, or adequately describe the color orange to a blind man? No, the best we can do is describe what we have personally experienced and in sharing that with others is the extent to which they can “enter into” our subjective experience. Crowder can give no biblical directions to induce a trance state which means he has to rely on other sources for his information. Crowder will point to someone like Maria Woodworth Etter, aka the “Trance Evangelist” [1844-1924]. Etter was famous for going into a standing catatonic state for days and while in a ‘trance state” large numbers of people were supposed to have been brought to faith in Christ just by observing her standing frozen. (10)

Next he promises to teach ecstatic prayer which is no “biggie” in that sign-gift folks have been teaching people to speak in ecstatic speech for over a hundred years in America. Some charismatic groups have this instruction down to a science. The former Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, MI taught “life in the Spirit” seminars at the end of which we would speak in other tongues, I know I did. The Way International, charismatic cult, has long taught its devotees how to speak in tongues using tape recordings.

Speaking in other tongues today is what I call the “gateway drug” into enthusiasm.  Virtually every sign-gifter begins by speaking in tongues, from there some wander off into prophesying, interpreting tongues, etc. In fact such speaking is the glue that unites all sign-gift people, it certainly is not doctrine!

The novelty of the post Apostolic tongues movement is the emphasis on this expression being given as a supernatural power to pray. Tongues is universally taught as a private prayer language between the speaker and God and only God knows what is being said thus the devil cannot interfere. In my days as a single charisManiac I used to pray in other tongues between 2 ½ to 3 hours per day without pause. I did this for years. I know from experience that praying for protracted lengths of time in other tongues does place one in an altered state of consciousness by stilling the conscious mind and allowing some otherwise suppressed or unconscious portion to take charge. Speaking for myself, I did not have the biblical gift of other tongues (speaking an unknown language) so the feelings and experiences I had could not have had their source in God, regardless of my nascent devotional sincerity. At best my own imaginings or at worst something far darker. (11)

In order to create the right conditions to enter into a manmade trance all that one needs to do is to pray in other tongues for several hours, combine it with a few days of total fasting and a strong desire to ‘experience’ something will usually result in some sort of break with our commonly shared reality.

Experience Physical Phenomena of Mysticism

This promise is even more of a stretch biblically. Fasting could be about the only biblical practice that is common to the Christian mystics of the past, but I believe Crowder is referring to the usual crop of revival manifestations with a heavy emphasis on being slain in the spirit since many people claim to see visions or receive revelations while doing “carpet time.” (12) DMI and others have proven how easily transferable these manifestations are from one person to another (willing/open) vessel. Crowder and those attending his classes expect these manifestations, they embrace them and more have already seen or experienced them in the past.

What benefit is these to experiencing mystical phenomena? The attending phenomena is not the content of the mystical encounter anyway. For example, I have been slain in the spirit probably around 80 times over the years. Many mystics claim the same experience, yet I never saw any visions, trips to heaven or hell while slain. So same “phenomena” yet not the same experience, ergo, what’s the point Mr. Crowder?

Get Activated in Creative Miracles, Signs & Wonders

The belief that certain people can both impart and activate spiritual gifts was true only for the Apostles of the Lamb. In the book of Acts we see the Apostles being called upon to bestow (impart) the Holy Spirit. We have no biblical example of non-apostles bestowing any spiritual gifts. THIS IS HUGE Folks because with their death all such spiritual gifting/apostolic impartation passed away.

Crowder is simply one of many voices claiming to now be able to activate spiritual gifts including signs and wonders which are not typically included as part of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit cited in 1 Cor. 11-12. Here are a few examples of how this dangerous delusion is spreading:

Activating the Angelic: Keys to Releasing the Holy Spirit and Unlocking the Miraculous

There’s an invisible barrier between the natural and the supernatural that’s penetrated only by people daring enough to risk everything on an encounter with the miraculous. In Disc 1, Larry reveals “seldom heard” concepts about how to release the working of miracles. Also insightful, are 5 laws of faith revealed in Disc 2 that will cause your heart to dance on the edge of the miraculous Revelatory teaching, with practical application. (http://larry randolph.com/store/mp3-download/activating-the-miraculous.htm)

 

Sword of the Spirit’s School of the Prophets “Activate the Miraculous thru the Seer Anointing” in Buffalo, April 1” (“www.swordofthespiritministries.com )

Kevin conducts Supernatural Lifestyle Conferences in which people are equipped, empowered, and activated in miracles, healing, prophetic, and evangelism as a normal lifestyle of the believer. Kevin also oversees the Firestarter Class, which equips and empowers newcomers and new believers to live as revivalists -healing the sick, prophesying, and supernatural evangelism.(http://www.global celebration.com/news/240/61/Miracles-Signs-Wonders—Kalamazoo-MI )

All of these people claim to be the dispensers of God’s power, they claim to equ9ip, empower, and activate miracles and yet NONE of them can provide any proof of the miraculous in their own SINistries. The only miracles in their meetings are people falling down in some form of a fugue state, people speaking in gibberish, others prophesying in the name of Jesus this that and the other. . .nothing from God is being imparted. The Bible plainly states:

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he wills. (13) 1 Cor. 12:8-11

All of the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit are given as He wills not according to the will of fallen man. It is the sovereign good pleasure of God alone regarding which gifts He gives to the Church. No man has the authority or ability to dispense supernatural gifts as he wills, nor can anyone declare in advance which gift (if any) the Holy Spirit will bestow. For Mr. Crowder or anyone to assert that they can activate spiritual gifts is simply a LIE and Mr. Crowder is a liar.

Understand & Access New Creation Realities

If words mean anything then at this point Crowder seems to promise that participants will understand and access new creation realities which seem straightforward enough. All Christians need to grow in their understanding of who they are in Christ Jesus as new creatures ‘in Christ’ (2 Cor. 5:17). New Creation Realities is a term coined by E.W. Kenyon, the faith of today’s Word of Faith cult. Kenyon, although not a Pentecostal, was convinced that god’s children were to walk and operate in the supernatural realm as part of their redemption in Christ.

 

Continued Next Month

In the next issue all of the foot notes will be included there was simply no space for them in this issue.

Copyright © 2012 Rev. Robert S. Liichow





Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing the Will of God – Part Two

22 03 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 3 – Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part Two

Part Onehttps://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/charismatic-confusion-over-knowing-the-will-of-god-part-one/

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part Two

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Last month we began to consider a common belief that there are degrees of being in or out of God’s will. It is also commonly taught that God has His own unique personal “perfect” will for each of His children. This belief is held by thousands of sign-gift devotees and Christians of every evangelical stripe.

We specifically considered the false teaching that it is the will of god for all His children to be financially wealthy. However, we also learned that God’s will simply does not come to pass by His divine fiat. In order to enter into His will for one’s prosperity there are various laws which the believer must work in order to be blessed financially. The dirty little secret is this; these blind guides are promoting nothing less than a Ponzi scheme with their names at the top of the pyramid. People who have been donating to these frauds and their SINistries faithfully for years are not any more finically prosperous than the rest of us who do not work their laws.

Copeland has however (as the “top” of the Ponzi scheme) raked in an estimated one billion dollars over the last forty years because of televangelism, books, tapes, investments. When you add the financial take from Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, Benny Hinn it is billions of dollars. What have they done with the money they have siphoned off from the Church? Where are the schools, hospitals, the feeding & clothing programs, orphanages or other visible expressions of the love of Christ for a dying world? The reality is, these people suck in huge amounts of money and yet a very small percentage is ever given away (most ministries these folks support are run by volunteer staff with little overhead).

As a pastor I know this false belief about God’s will is very destructive to the spiritual wellbeing of Christ’s people. The very concept of law keeping and/or doing some works in order to receive (merit) something from our Lord is a horrid and retched belief which can, at its fullest foul flowering lead to the damnation of the individual due to a reliance upon their own works (pride) to merit salvation. Others are led to despair and some become destitute after giving their last farthing in “faith.” After being slavish workers of the various laws, principles and Kingdom rules for prosperity they believe they have failed to enter into God’s will and they fall away, discouraged and usually angry at the Church in any form. Thus Satan wins, he has gotten these deceived sheep to give sacrificially and pour their hard earned money into to these dry wells, wells that never produced the promised results.

It is not just this view on financial prosperity that is wrong, it is the faulty foundation of God having a specific will for each of our lives and that it is up to us to enter into it by our conscious efforts. The other insurmountable problem is that their endeavors are all attempts at uncovering the hidden will of God.

Because God is sovereign He does have an overarching plan for all of His creation, much of this plan is “hidden” from our knowledge. On the micro-level, how our individual lives exactly fit in to His macro plan is not revealed in Scripture to us.

This obvious fact (one only has to read) has not stopped people from teaching that we can and should know God’s hidden will for our lives in spite of the deafening silence of the Scripture. There are many methods people use to try to discern God’s hidden will for their lives. Some hidden areas that people commonly try to bring into the “light” are issues such as who should one marry, what school to attend, which job to take, where to work, buy a home, which local church to attend, etc. See if from time to time you have relied on the following techniques in the past (I admit I have).

Putting out a “fleece” we piously base this on the example of Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:33-40. The problem with us using Gideon as our example as we put out our “fleeces” of prayer, weather, circumstances or whatever we are using to divine what the Lord’s will is that this example was an unrepeatable event. Another instance of making an “event” a doctrine is seen in the example of the Apostle Paul use of prayer clothes (Acts 19:11). There is no biblical support for such a doctrine or practice in the Church.

I was guilty of doing this when I first met Tracy. After we met, had gone out a bit, I went before the Lord in prayer and said “Lord if You want her to be in my life have her call me.” that was my fleece, the phone call – – – I was dead serious about it, I was at the time one of a small group of self-named brethren “the intense brethren” and was one of “the bachelors till the rapture.” God had mercy on my foolish ways and Tracy did call me within fifteen minutes of my prayer and we have been very happily married for almost thirty years. This is an example of God’s mercy, not a method to determine His will! What if she had not called me? What if my phone went on the blink? I guess we will never know (but I do know this, I would have chased Tracy to the ends of the earth).

Inner-Witness of the Spirit

After a (short) period of time Tracy acquiesced to become engaged to be my wife. This caused no little ripple among the members of our congregation (not to mention my family), where I was serving as the Associate Pastor. Another sister was positive she had heard from God and that I was out of His will because I was supposed to marry her. She shared her belief among the congregation and so I was faced with a decision, had I missed God? This is no small charge when considering marriage coming from the strong belief that you only get one bite at the marriage apple. Was Tracy the one, or this other one? In all honesty I could have chosen either handmaiden of the Lord, but which one was God’s perfect will for my life and here? If I choose wisely then I will have a good life with a loving mate. Miss God and I am (1) out of His will, (2) thus out of His umbrella of protection and subject to demonic attack, (3) open to the possibility of divorce since I/she am out of His will, (3) open to the possibility of divorce since I/she am out of His will. Let me stress the divorce aspect, many evangelical Christians we know have sadly gotten divorced, some will blithely say “well he or she was not God’s will for my life.” So due to this false teaching, they actually believe that their divorce was pleasing to God since now they are united with His best choice for them!!

Faced with a decision like any good charismatic extremist I turned within. Is not my body a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and as such I am filled with “God” and I can thus expect that He will lead me (Romans 8:14). Since I am one of Jesus’ prized sheep I will hear His voice (John 10:27). Having already had my fleece answered previously, it was not too hard to discern His voice regarding who should become my smoking hot wife, giggity giggity giggity. Naturally the other sister was sure we had missed God, but she did attend the wedding and gave us a nice frying pan that Tracy and I have used for years.

When it comes to using our inner-witness as the means to determine the will of God is that 99% of the time the Spirit” seems to lead us in the direction we had already pretty much determined to go in. Also, is there anything more subjective than listening to a voice only you can hear? People end up with arguments going on in their minds, sort of like the cartoon figures with an angel and demon on each shoulder whispering in the ear of the listener. You respond one way and it is a path of blessing, go with the wrong voice and become cursed. The inner-witness of the Spirit is tricky at best and potentially fraught with danger. That still small voice (1 King 19:12) many rely upon is in no way representative of how God leads His people. Here is an example of how wrong people can be following that inner-voice:

The Findhorn Community was begun in 1962 by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. All three had followed disciplined spiritual paths for many years and had been specifically trained to follow God’s will. Eileen received guidance in her mediations from an inner divine source she called ‘the still small voice within’. Peter ran the hotel according to this guidance, following to the letter the instruction of the “voice” in complete faith. In this unorthodox way – and with many delightful and unlikely God-guided incidents – Cluny Hill swiftly became a thriving and successful four-star hotel.

Where did this inner-voice lead these people? Findhorn became one of the world’s leading centers of New Age occultism mixed in with some heretical esoteric form of pseudo-Christian concepts. This particular inner-voice did not lead them closer to Jesus Christ, but they are in fact are His enemies.

Open or Shut doors

God can open a door that no man can shut (Rev. 3:8). You got the job? Great, God opened the door!  Did not get hired, then He closed that door, look for an open one somewhere else! This is sort of a pragmatic approach to God’s will. Sometimes it is required of us to knock (Matthew 7:7) and keep knocking on a “door.” Work is something god has given man to do, it is honorable to work and whatever we do we are to do to the glory of God in Christ’s name (Col. 3:17). There is nothing in the bible which indicates that god has a specific dead-center of His will “job” for you or I. Sometimes persistence is required of the saint. Daniel’s answer to prayer was withheld by a demonic struggle in the heavenlies (Daniel 10:2) for three weeks, sometimes repeated knocking is required (Matthew 7:7). An example of this would be in my own life, I am still “knocking” at the Synod’s door for a call.

Dreams & Visions

Yes God revealed His will to Abraham, Joseph and Daniel and several others through dreams and visions. Is there any promise where God has said He will reveal His will for your life to you via dreams and visions (please don’t abuse poor Joel)? If you do have a dream or a vision how do you know it was from the Lord? Often the divine dream required someone else to interpret t for the dreamer (Genesis 41:8). Regarding important decisions there is nothing wrong with “sleeping on it,” as long as it is for simple mental quietude and refocusing versus seeking God’s will in a dream. Many cults have been founded on dreams, visions or apparitions of demons appearing as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:4). Any dynamic or seemingly prophetic dreams in/for your life demands a thorough biblical examination and virtually all of them can probably be traced back to some tainted mushrooms on that Domino’s extra meat pizza you ate the night before.

Personal Word from the Lord

One of the huge draws to the prophetic wing of the diffuse sign-gift movement is that these men and women claim emphatically to be in direct communication with the Ancient of Days. This is a “field” ready to be harvested financially by the wolves due to the endless stream of people seeking God’s hidden will.

We live in uncertain times politically, socially and economically things are not good and the future is unclear. People want to know the future and more specifically they want to know their own personal future and how it fits into God’s plan.

{An Aside} – It has always amazed me how the evangelicals decry the belief in the need for Mary or deceased saints to pray for the living (understandable) BUT they wholeheartedly believe in spiritual mediations in the form of the living, such as the need for Benny Hinn to lay his hands on you, an Oral Roberts to pray for you, or how you MUST be at the next meeting, etc.

Prophetic conferences are scheduled with the guaranteed promise that those who attend the prophetic breakfast or dinner (for an extra cost) at the conference will receive a word from the prophet or prophetic hosts who are there! Profit E. Bernard Jordan can be seen on cable television with his school of the prophets lying over people regarding their future marriage, jobs, income, family members, vocations, etc. Christians people pay BIG MONEY to hear from these blind guides. Although it would come as a shock to some of these Christians, but this is really nothing less than giving a fortune teller some money and having her read your palm.

The whole idea of “personal” prophecy being a means to determine where one works, whom one marries, what church to attend, how to “save” your loved ones is a fairly recent addition to the biblical concept of a prophetic utterance. It should come as no surprise in our “me” centered culture that the words flowing from darkened hearts and through the seared lips of these liars that their words would mirror our fallen culture (Luke 6:45). Great spiritual harm has come to many lives through following these revelations of God’s hidden will.

Perhaps all of us have fallen into using one of the methods in the past trying to distinguish what is and is not God’s will for your life. The problem again is in misunderstanding the concept of the will of God. As I have already alluded to earlier in this article first and foremost God’s will is sovereign. He is God and as God He is in control of all of His creation and He is under no obligation to explain His way to us. Nothing exists outside of His sustaining power. As a former Presbyterian I would cite question twelve from the Westminister Large Catechism:

Q. 12 What are the decrees of God? A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.

As a Lutheran I can say “this is most certainly true” regarding the tapestry of history I can attest that God is indeed in complete control, He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), nothing takes Him by surprise. This aspect of His overreaching will is often referred to as “the hidden will of God.” God has not revealed everything to us, but what He has revealed to us belongs to us and to our children (Deuteronomy 29:29) that we may fulfill His law, in the Christian’s case, fulfill His law of love (Romans 13:10). Examples of His sovereign will can be seen in Ephesians 1:11 and Job 42:2.

Before moving on in all fairness to our Reformed brethren an important distinction must be made regarding the Reformed catechism – – – it is not saying that God “causes” everything that happens to happen; if this were the case then God would indeed be the Author of sin, which he is not {James 1:13, 1 John 1:5} A succinct way to put it follows:

Rather, it acknowledges that because He is sovereign, He must at least permit or allow whatever happens to happen This aspect of God’s will acknowledges that even when God passively permits things to happen, He must choose to permit them, because He always has the power and right to intervene. God can always decide to either permit or stop the actions and events of this world. Therefore, as He allows things to happen, He has “willed” them in this sense of the word.

God has not called His people to grope about trying to determine what He has plainly hidden from us. God has revealed to us in the Bible what His will is for our lives and yet apparently this is not good enough for the Pharisees in our midst, they need to peer behind the veil. It is this type of seeking that has caused so many people great confusion in their Christian lives. Why not examine what the bible does teach is God’s will for our lives and seek His grace to enable us to be doers of what we have heard and not mere hearers only (James 1:22). In doing so what we will discover is that the false teachers proclamations, such as; “God’s will is prosperity” or “God’s will is healing” are not mentioned as part of God’s revealed will for all His children. One way to easily “spot” a false biblical teaching is when it declares a promise to only Christians who attain to it by their efforts; such a notion of a works based system is antithetical to the Gospel. Fundamentally people err in two ways regarding the will of God. First they teach that we can know and walk in the hidden will of God, others err in teaching things which are not God’s will for all His people, such as financial prosperity, physical healing and divine health.

The Revealed Will of God

I could start with the Ten Commandments (Deut. 10:4), as a revelation of God’s will, but for the sake of space, let’s accept them as a given. Any of the laws given by God in the Old Testament are examples of His will for His people. We know that the Israelites could not keep it, that in fact, no flesh will ever be justified in God’s eyes by working the law (Romans 3:20, Gal 2:16). We also know that our Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4). With this understanding we know that walking in the revealed will of God does not involve trying to fulfill various O.T. laws. Theologically speaking we always begin with the “plain” texts and use them to help determine the meaning of more “obscure” texts. In the case of God’s revealed will al the texts are “plain” texts, easily understood by anyone who can read. Let us focus on what we know for sure.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to posses his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not god; That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter; because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy spirit.

Here is a perfect example of an in-your-face truth – – – God’s will for ALL Christians is that we ABSTAIN from fornication. Fornication in the Greek is which we transliterate into from which we derive our word for pornography. Naturally, Christians should abstain from viewing pornography but the term has a wider meaning. It coves all manner of sexual activity outside of marriage, not just looking at sexual images. Abstaining from fornication entails all of the mental activity that precedes the actual sexual activity. It encompasses what we think about, what we read, what movies we watch, and our verbal conversations with others (Ephesians 4:29). “Christians are to avoid and abstain from any and every form of sexual practice that lies outside the circle of God’s revealed will; Christians are to avoid adultery, premarital and extramarital intercourse, homosexually, and other perversions.”

The walk that pleases God is first defined with the words, “the will of God,” and then as “your sanctification.” With the statement, “This is the will of God,” Paul brings into focus the constant battle and a key issue going on in the hearts of men. “Will” is thelema, “what is will.” It points to the sovereign will and plan of God for the Christian. But all men by nature tend to follow the desires, thelemata, of the flesh and mind which are opposed to the will of God (see Eph. 2:3) and which can never please God (Rom. 8:8). It is not that all of those desires are evil, for many of them are God given. Sex is not evil. From the beginning God created marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman and sex was to be a part of the union for the continuance of the race and for pleasure in marriage. What makes many of man’s desires (thelemata) evil is his self-centered commitment to follow those desires contrary to God’s will (as in adultery) and at the expense or exploitation of others. The specifics of God’s will are clearly set forth in many places in Scripture, even though Christians often seem to have a great deal of difficulty applying it in everyday decision-making (cf. 5:16-18; 1 Peter 2:15). Nevertheless, Paul describes this in general terms as “your sanctification.

In our sexually obsessed culture God’s will for His people is sexual purity before and during marriage period.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not ever be named among you, as is proper among saints. Ephesians 3:8

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you sexual-immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

How many para-church ministries are devoted to setting people free from pornography within the Church? Immortality among some of the best known televangelists and revivalists is scandalously well known in the world. The divorce rate within the Church mirrors that of the world, when we ought to have next to zero divorce among us if the love of Christ indeed rules and reigns in our lives. It is painfully obvious that this seemingly simply aspect of God’s revealed will takes great faith, patience and grace to walk out daily. The Holy Spirit via Paul given us further revelation of God’s will for our lives.

Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Chjrist Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:18

Sandwiched in between “pray without ceasing” and “quench not the Spirit” is the clarion call to give thanks in every thing. Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us! Note that the verse says “in” and not “for” everything which makes all the difference in our lives. Nowhere are we told to be thankful for the evil, wicked and sinful things that we bring on ourselves or that befall us. However, it does take faith true biblical faith to look up to the heavens and give thanks to God in the midst of the fiery furnace. It is easy to be thankful when things are going very well in our lives which is why I believe the Holy Spirit had Paul write in “every thing” knowing our tendency towards being only partially grateful some of the time. This is not “deep” present day truth received through praying in other tongues, but it is the stuff that sets us apart from the world; it is also a sign of spiritual maturity to exercise child-like-faith.

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

As we saw last month, this is the text that is often cited as proof that God has three levels of His will. Without laboring the point again, the Greek simply does not support this assertion; it is an example of hyperbolic speech. One of the points of this pericope (there are several really) apart from presenting our bodies to God as a “living sacrifice” a conundrum in Paul’s day; we are as God’s people not to be conformed to this fallen world age. How? Through the practice of renewing our minds by the power of the word of God. As we feed regularly (hopefully daily) on God’s Word, hearing it proclaimed from the pulpit as well as personal study our minds begin the process of transformation. Our minds will not be fully “transformed” into the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) until we receive our glorified bodies, however we are to start the process now in this life as disciples.

The entrance of God’s Word gives us light (Psl. 119:130) and as God’s Word renews our thinking we are enabled to deal wisely (Matthew 10:16) in this fallen world. To know God’s Word is to know His will (but (but you have to know it before you can do it, right?). Obviously the bridge between “knowing” and “doing” is the grace of God, as our Lord said “apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) yet let your heart rest assured in the fact that Jesus also promised to “never leave or forsake you” (Deut. 31:8; Matthew 28:20).

In Christ Jesus we are now the children of God (1 John 3:2) and we have freedom in Christ, for it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) – – -you are free to make the choices you want to make. God has given us His Word and the Great Teacher (John 14:26) has come to dwell within each of our hearts and we are free in Christ to either deal wisely or unwisely in the affairs of this life. I suggest you take the path of wisdom which can only be gained through the fear of the Lord. (Psl. 110:11) this golly reverence will unavoidably lead to the study, contemplation, ingestion and incorporation of the Word studied.

Brothers and sisters God has not revealed to us in His Word the specifies for our individual lives, not because He does not “care” about you individually, but because we are free to choose. Out of His great love He has given us His Word and Spirit, what more do we need to walk in God’s will? Jesus had paid the price for our sins on the cross. Now through faith in Him, He is not ashamed to call us His brothers (Hebrews 2:11) and He ministers before our Father as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) ever living to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25) so we do not have to live in fear of making the “wrong” choice. It is not called a walk of faith for nothing (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Let me close with another personal example. Tracy and I just purchased our first home last month. Many people are having mortgage problems, losing their homes, loan money is tight etc. Buying a home is a big decision with a ton of variables, such as the neighborhood condition currently and potentially in the future; type of homes, distance ot our church and work, utility cost, monthly mortgage payment on and on. How did we decide?

First, we prayed and asked for God to grant us wisdom (James 1:5), we’ve never bought a home, what do we know? Secondly, we researched the different variables. How much house can we afford? What do we really need in our home? What style? Then we found a Realtor who then showed me over sixteen homes. Of those I narrowed it down to 2 or 3 possibilities. Next Tracy visited the homes selected and then we decided on the one we wanted.

God did not speak to us and say “thou shalt buy this home and not that one,” nor did we have any visions or dreams. We did not “fast” over our decision. We took it to the Lord in prayer and then we stepped our trusting our Lord and purchased our home.

There is tremendous liberty in Christ, don’t let the false teachers and false brethren place you back into bondage. Allow the principles for wise living as found in the bible to be incorporated into your study and live in the liberty of our Lord.

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow





Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part One

15 03 2012

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

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ibid. p. 50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Ibid, p. 86

17. Ibid . 65

18. Ibid p. 88

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

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

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