Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous?

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

Discernment Ministries International

Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous?

Rev. Bob Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By means of specious and plausible worlds, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge (3) and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth. Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. One far superior to me has well said, in reference to this point, “A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some) unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit. Or, again, what inexperienced person can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up with silver?” Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the true character of these men,–because they outwardly are covered with sheep’s clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined us to be on our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different.  (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

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

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

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

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

By Shiyiwe Mbedzi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Matthew 13:24-30

21 02 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 2 – Matthew 13:24-30 – The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord, 2011 A.D.   In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost – By Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

Discernment Ministries International

Matthew 13:24-30

Rev. Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

The enemy has sown the tares. The devil roams the earth, going back and forth in it. He sneaks around among those in the Kingdom of Heaven. He sows tares among the wheat. That is to say he lies. His only weapon is falsehood. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. But he can not bite with physical teeth, for in this world he does not have that power. In this time he is chained. God has put limits on his power.

The devil’s mouth is filled not with teeth, but with false teachings. That’s how he attacks. He leads men by deceiving them to firmly believe wrong things about God. The tares that grow up among the wheat are men who believe wrongly, the product of false doctrine sown by the enemy.

You see wrong teaching about God isn’t harmless. There is a relationship between false doctrine and eternal death. Believing wrongly but fervently, men cling to their false beliefs and their superstitions and their own fallen reason. When confronted with the Truth, they reject it because they have come to believe something entirely different. That’s why there are denominations. That’s why there are false religions.

Now, until the harvest, there are tares mixed in with the wheat. Men who believe wrongly and teach false doctrine are mixed into the Church. Outwardly they look like wheat. Some tares wear clerical collars. Many are they that run but have not been sent. Many are they who prophesy to whom God has not spoken. For it pleases the devil that as many shocks of wheat as possible be ruined by the tares he sowed. Tares sap the nourishment from good soil. They compete with the wheat, their roots entangled with good roots. So the church today is beset with strife and conflict. It is the Church Militant. Our Lord Himself prophesied that it would be so.

It is not as if the Lord of the Church has left His Bride defenseless. He has given the Church His Word, the Sword, the Holy Scriptures, the only Truth. It is by the Word that the devils attacks are repelled. It is there that God reveals Himself, and there alone. But many will not study them or hear them. It is a terminal laziness that allows the devil’s bad seed to take root. For absent the Truth, falsehood grows like weeds – like tares. And many will not stand up in the face of false teaching to rebuke those tares that hold or preach false doctrine.

Perhaps you have known this laziness. Perhaps you have skipped the study of the Scriptures. Perhaps you have heard false doctrine from friends and family and co-workers, but because you have not know the Scriptures you have been unprepared to defend the Truth. Perhaps you have doubted, but have been lulled into a sense of complacency, accepting the devil’s lies that false belief and doctrine are not that harmful. So you have felt the tug of the roots of the tares as they have quietly crept in and invaded you. Repent, for on the last day men who believe wrongly will be separated from the Church and cast into the fire. But thanks be to God, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turned from his way and live. God is a God of love. God is a God of life. This is the time of grace. Now the tares are not torn up, in mercy, that men be converted and come to faith. Now the tares are not torn up lest some of the wheat be uprooted with them. That is a demonstration of God’s great love and longsuffering. It is a demonstration of God’s great love for you.

That you be spared the fires of judgment, God gave His only-begotten Son to die for you. Though you were born a tare, in His mercy God came to you and saved you. He took on Flesh and lived a perfect life, a sinless, holy righteous life. And then the Son of God died as a tare, punished by men and by God as the worst sinner of all time. The cross was His threshing floor, as He was torn up and cast into the hell of separation from the Father and death. It is in His death that your sins are removed. It is by His Blood that your transgressions are covered. Believing in Him, believing that in love He died for you, none of the sins which you have committed shall be remembered against you, you shall surely live.

Now is the time of God’s grace. Now is the time when men are called to repentance and salvation. Now is the time when God showers upon fallen men the benefits of Christ’s perfect death and resurrection. Now is the time when He makes Christ’s righteousness your righteousness. For in His great mercy, God delays the harvest that His Gospel be preached to the ends of the earth.

Now God pours out upon you the saving waters of Holy Baptism. Now you hear His Word, and that Word works faith unto salvation. You hear the Gospel Truth that your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and that believing in Him you have life in His Name. Now the Scriptures are taught, that the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. Now the Lord of the Church, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, gives you to eat of His Body and drink of His Blood. In these ways He strengthens you to resist the tug of the tares, to prevail over the devil’s lies, to receive the forgiveness of your sins, and to grow up bearing fruit pleasing to Him.

Soon the Lord will let His angels come. Then they will be no false doctrine. Then the tares will be separated from the wheat. Then the True Church, the Good Seed that God sows, will be known. Then you, elect of God, holy and beloved, who by God’s grace endure faithful to the end, will receive the reward Christ won for you. And you shall not die, you shall surely live.

In the Name of the Faith, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

All Rights Reserved

Pastor Mark Braden serves at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (English District) in Detroit. It is our local church. The Zion web site has a great deal of information, sermons, links, etc. which are worthy of your consideration. To visit go to: http://www.ziondetroit.org

 





Reformation Sunday Sermon

29 11 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2010 – Vol. 16 Issue 10 – Reformation Sunday Sermon – Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

Discernment Ministries International

Reformation Sunday Sermon

By Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence. The violent take it by force. So speaks the Lord of the Church, the Lord of the Kingdom. It is not the Kingdom of Glory of which He speaks. No, thanks be to God, the saints are safe, at rest, in bliss and felicity, their souls in the very presence of God. No one takes them. They are eternally secure. It is not the Kingdom of Glory that suffers violence.

Nor is it the Kingdom of Power, that Kingdom by which God creates and sustains all things. Indeed, there is violence amidst that Kingdom, for God causes His rain to fall upon both the just and the evil. Like an ant taking throwing a punch at the sun, God’s good provision and prvidence are in no danger of man’s puny violence. It is not the Kingdom of Power that suffers violence.

But the Church, oh, the Holy Church on earth! She is the Church Militant, the Church at war, the Church beset by struggles, the Church that tastes of the sufferings of Her Lord, the Church that is the Kingdom of God on earth, for this Kingdom comes when God gives us His Holy Spirit. The Kingdom suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Of this Abel’s blood testifies. So too does the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, murdered between the temple and the altar. And which true Prophet did not endure the darts of violent tongues, the stones of angry hands, the sword or lance of proud and violent men. But sword and lance pierce them no more. They are the Church Triumphant. They dwell in the Kingdom of Glory.

Physical violence can only harm the body. But there is a violence that can harm the soul, a violence that opens the dark trap door to imprison men’s spirits, a snare to capture the wayward, a siren’s cry to beckon the ship too close to crushing rocks, a strange voice to lure the sheep away from safe pasture. That violence is false doctrine—wrong teaching about God and so wrong teaching about salvation. False doctrine is violence perpetrated against the Kingdom of heaven.

Among the chief lies of the devil is that doctrine doesn’t matter. He would have you think that what one believes about God is a personal thing, not subject to review by anyone. The devil teaches that anyone that would insist that there is a right belief and a wrong belief about God is simply not nice, uncompromising, inflexible, unloving, just plain mean.

But God’s Word teaches something very different. God’s Word teaches that there is a right and a wrong, there is Truth and there are lies. You see, teaching that fallen men can earn God’s favor by their works is a lie. It is a violence. It is contrary to the clear Word of God. And yet, by such false teaching, sinners would take the kingdom by force. They desire to wrest forgiveness and salvation away from God by the puny strength of their own works. So too the doctrines of purgatory, indulgences, monasticism, multiplying the Sacraments, Mariolatry, and prayer to saints. Matthew 11:12-15 The Festival of the Reformation, 2010 A. D.

So too the teaching that “real” Christians don’t suffer, but rather are rich and happy in the world inasmuch as they rightly believe. That’s where Robert Schuler meets the Pope. So too the teaching that a man born of human father can rule Christ’s Church on earth by Divine right. These false teachings, these sins, do violence to the Word of god. They lead men to seek salvation where it has not been promised. They are but lies born of the father of lies, and the harvest of their deceitful violence is fodder for hell.

Bad doctrine is always popular among sinners, however, for there is a little pope in each of us. Our old man is proud to don the triple tiara, to take rulership of the Kingdom by force. For each of us has been bold to invent our own justification for our false beliefs, to craft our own plan of salvation, in which we work together with God as equal partners. We have unseated, if it were possible, God from His heavenly throne, and sinfully appointed Him to be our “co-pilot”. We have granted ourselves indulgences by minimizing our sins, and have assigned ourselves penance to “work off” our sins and earn God’s favor. To the fallen flesh, it all makes sense. Each of us has desired to take the Kingdom of heaven by force.

The irony is, of course, that what men desire to take by force God freely gives–but never to men who believe they can take it by force. God freely gave His Son over to violent men. The King of Heaven suffered violence. They desired to make Him King. When He would not be an earthly king, a king of their own design beckoning to their whim and call, they took Him by force. For when the Son came, the vinedressers said “This is the heir, come, let us kill Him and the inheritance will be ours…” And the Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence as the King willingly allowed Himself to be put to death.

But what men could not take, God freely gives. It is in Christ’s death that sins are forgiven, and by which God, by grace alone gives the Kingdom of Heaven to men. For Christ indeed from death has risen, our new life obtaining, that men be justified, declared righteous in His sight because of Christ. And this God works by faith alone, in Christ alone. What men could never take God freely gives you — as the faith He works in you trusts in Christ.

By that faith you know that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. By this faith, Baptismal faith, God declares you forgiven, holy and blameless in His sight, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. He freely gives you the Kingdom.

This faith, this living, life-giving faith, is born of the Word of God by His Spirit. This faith seeks Truth in Scripture alone, for there God reveals His love for all men in Christ Jesus. This faith is fed and nurtured by God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament, not by what is earned or sold, but by what is freely given: His Body given for you, His Blood shed for the remission of your sins. This faith is fed and nurtured by right teaching about Matthew 11:12-15   The Festival of the Reformation, 2010 A. D.

Christ and salvation, by the Word preached in its purity and the Sacraments rightly administered, for true faith hungers to hear only what it already knows best — that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law. Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

Copyright ©2010





The “Bishop” Eddie Long Saga

25 10 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 10 – The Bishop Eddie Long Saga – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International  

The “Bishop” Eddie Long Saga

By: The Grand Pooh-bah 

By Rev. Robert Liichow

 As President Ronald Reagan said “there you go again.” Now Christ’s Body takes another hit as the charges mount against Mr. Long, Bapti-costal pastor of a mega-sized congregation in Georgia, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Four (4) men have charged Mr. Long with sexual misconduct, i.e. the man is charged with committing homosexual acts by taking advantage of his position as pastor to abuse those who are under his care.

 Yes, I know there are other leaders in other expressions of the Church who fall, yet isn’t it astounding how many of them in recent years are charismatic televangelists. The most recent scandals have been revolving around Mr. Benny Hinn who also has been charged with homosexuality in Uganda by local pastors, his wife, Suzanne, divorced him during the time of those charges. Since then tabloids have accused Mr. Hinn of having an affair with televangelist Paula White (also divorced) —personally, this ole Heresy-hunter doubts the tabloids on this one, both of their egos could not fit in the same room, let alone the same bed!

 In our own short span on the planet we have seen the decimation of the ranks of the leading charismatic stars (naturally, television abhors a vacuum and others fill their places quickly). Here is a short list of fallen stars (The names in bold are or were regular guests on T.B.N. or the former P.T.L. network):

Aimee Semple McPherson, 1920s – 40s

Lonnie Frisbee, 1070s – 1980s

Billy James Hargis, early 1970s

Marjoe Gortner, early 1970s

Jim & Tammy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, 1986 and 1991

Peter Popoff, 1987

Morris Cerullo, 1990s

Mike Warnke, 1991

Robert Tilton, 1991

W.V. Grant, 1996 and 2003

Bob Moorehead, 1998

Roy Clements, 1999

John Paulk, 2000

Paul Crouch, 2004

Paul Barnes, 2006

Lonnie Latham, 2006

Douglas Goodman, 2004

Kent Hovind, 2006

Ted Haggard, 2006

Gilbert Deya, 2006

Richard Roberts, 2007

Earl Paulk, 2007

Coy Privette, 2007

Thomas Wesley Weeks, lll, 2007

Michael Reid, 2008

Joe Barron, 2008

Todd Bentley, 2008

Tony Alamo, 2008

George Alan Rekers, 2010

Eddie L. Long, 2010  

What translation Are These People & their Followers Reading?

 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.

1 Thessalonians 2:10 

An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Titus 1:6

 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  Romans 6:12-13

Do not be overcome by evil, but over come evil with good.   Romans 12:21 

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

  





Happy “Fathers Day” Gift Issue

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

Discernment Ministries International

THE HAPPY FATHERS DAY GIFT ISSUE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up!

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Chapter 1

Name Calling

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

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

The Dreaded Title of Pharisee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2

A Personal Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 3

Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

Oringinally Published by Truth Matters Press in 1997 revised 2010

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

Appendix

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oringinally Published by Truth Matters Press in 1997 revised 2010





Come As You Are?

7 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – Aug 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 8 – Come As You Are? – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Come As You Are?

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The large room slowly filled up. The men entered wearing “wife-beater” tee-shirts and sandals, women in shorts, sleeveless dresses and their children in a motley assortment of garments ranging from Goth-wear to skateboard attire. At first you might think I was describing a crowd entering the local movie Cineplex, but no this was the usual Sunday go-to-meeting clothes, commonly worn today in most worship services across our country.

Let me begin by stating very clearly that I am no advocate of clothesline religion i.e. what you wear determines your level of sanctification. Clothesline religion is found within fundamentalism and some branches of Pentecostalism. It entails strict law regarding what one is allowed to wear. It might include such regulations as men’s hair length (and women’s) skirt length (I am all for modesty), long sleeves on both men and women, no jewelry on women etc. Also, I certainly would agree that ultimately God is not as concerned with our outer appearance as He is with the attitude of our heart:

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Isa. 29:13

Biblical worship is above all else a “heart” condition (see John 4:23) and not a time to parade our haute couture.

One truth I have learned over the years from my own spiritual journey is that spiritual BALANCE seems to be one of the most difficult things to achieve in this fallen world. We as people seem to lean one way or another; the pendulum swings to the far left or to the far right. For example, we have congregations that are doctrinally dead-on, but with little spiritual passion or exuberance. Then again, we have congregations whose members are ignited by the fire of the Spirit, passionate about others coming to know Jesus Christ as Savior, unrestrained in their worship and yet an inch deep doctrinally. It seems almost impossible to find any group that is equally balanced with Spirit & Truth.

Over the last twenty years I have seen a subtle change in dress and attitude on the part of the people of God in America. As a child in the late 1950’s and 60’s I grew up going to church having to wear what we called “my Sunday best.” As a young boy this meant my best trousers, my shine able shoes, a button-down shirt and at least a clip-on-tie, possibly a sport coat or a suit. These clothes were set aside specifically for church. Why wear such a uniform? It was because my parents were trying to instill within my young skull the reality that we, as a family, were coming to worship the transcendent and yet personal God who was totally holy. There was nothing blasé about attending church and approaching the altar of God.

Why Change?

The decline of church attendance, especially within the mainline Protestant churches gave birth to what we know today as the “Church Growth Gurus” of whom many of the most prominent were (and are) charismatic sign/gift enthusiasts such as Dr. C. Peter Wagner and the late John Wimber who started the Vineyard churches. The operative philosophy behind the Church Growth Movement (CGM) was to try to remove anything that would offend the non-churched visitor or seeker. (1) This meant removing crosses and crucifixes from sancturaries because such symbols point to God’s bloody sacrifices for our sins. The use of the hymnals went out the door as well; they hymns are old, traditional and unfamiliar lyrically and musically to the seekers. Pastors were encouraged to stop wearing any form of vestments or clerical garb because one does not want to present any distinction between the seeker and the pastor. (2) The congregants themselves were encouraged to dress casually so as to help create a more “homey” and easy-going atmosphere. Naturally the pews had to go as well. Pews not only point to traditional worship, but they also tend to somewhat force people to sit together and if not padded can be uncomfortable. The CGM gurus did studies, took polls and tried to determine what would make the un-churched visitor most comfortable if/when they felt led to attend a service.

Within the seeker-sensitive mentality one of the gravest of sins is to offend the lost person’s sensibilities. So the CGM collated their data and sold its programs to desperate pastors and denominations. Presto! Now we have congregations that no longer have any form of the cross in their buildings, sing no hymns, have no pews, and dress like attending a picnic versus coming into the presence of the Ancient of Days. To be sure these are outward actions, yet like all “leaven” it spreads.

Once the outer changes had been made then the CGM gurus began to proclaim the need to change the message being presented. They realized that just changing the furniture around was not going to entice and keep any potential sheep. Oh sure, now a pastor might get some visitors to come, enjoy the comfortable stadium seats with cup-holders for the gourmet java distributed I the narthex (oops I meant “the welcome center”), but what if they are offended by the preaching? Naturally, once you got the seeker in the seat you want them to fully enjoy the “show.” The show consists of having engaging music performed by professional musicians and dancers, (3) moving PowerPoint presentations and then a short message on how to be the best one can be using biblical references.

Words such as “sin, sinner, hell, damnation, and depravity” have been erased from the vocabulary of any successful seeker-sensitive pastors, such as Joel Osteen and Robert Schuller and all their clones. These words can offend the hearer, after all, who wants to hear that they are a miserable sinner from the pulpit, let alone get down on their knees and confess such a reality openly to God and others? (4) Obviously such changes in vocabulary point to significant changes in the messages presented. Jesus ceases to be the Savior of sinners, instead He becomes more of a “life coach” pointing all of us onwards and upwards towards unending success in this life. The people cease to be sinners in need of a Savior. This is a huge departure from the message the Apostle Paul shared when he said:

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners: of whom I am chief. 1 Tim. 1:15

Paul would not be welcome to preach in any of the mega-churches in America today. He is too old-school and most certainly off message for today’s seeker. Sadly, the Biblical Jesus would not be welcomed either.

The CGM has radically transformed the face and substance of Biblical Christianity in America, South America and Europe. Church now is almost totally man centered. Everything that can be changed has been changed to facilitate the comfort of man both physically, esthetically and spiritually. Attending church is now about having an “enjoyable worship experience” as opposed to coming to worship the God who saved you and who has something to say directly to you via His Word and Sacrament.

Come As You Are ?

After that short romp through the history of the CGM we arrive back at our topic regarding the blasé manner in which people come to worship the Lord of Hosts. Seeing all that has changed regarding much of our worship format it is easy to see how the un-churched were never taught to treat coming to church as a privilege. The un-churched or lapsed visitor looks around sees how everyone else is dressed and follows suit. Obviously, I do not expect the un-churched to know how or why to properly dress when they initially begin to come to church. The old adage is very true — “you have to catch the fish before you can clean it.” The point is they are to be taught, instructed, discipled if you will, regarding their daily walk with Christ and then how to comport themselves in the house of God during a worship service. Shocking as it may seem dear friends worship is all about God and not about us. We come passively to receive the free and good gifts of God and then we can respond with our sacrifice of praise. (see Heb. 13:15).

The priests in the Old Testament wore special clothing (see Ex. 28:2-4; 29:5, 21; Lev. 6:11) that they took off when they were not serving the Lord specifically. They had a format of worship, a liturgy which they followed. No one worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob wearing whatever they wanted and however they wanted.

Today, all of the Church is considered by God in the following manner:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:5,9,10).

If you were invited to the Whitehouse to see the President, how would you dress? Naturally, most of us would wear our best clothing out of respect for the office if not the office holder. Even today upscale restaurants require men to wear ties and some even jackets when dining! How much more then should we attire ourselves in our best clothing when we approach the Living God to whom we owe our every breath?

Church is not a fashion show. Nor are congregations to show any favoritism to those who are obviously wealthy as James warns us:

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there comes in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (James 2:2-4).

What I am talking about is reestablishing a sense of decorum and modesty within our worship services. Modesty seems to be another word which has fallen out of favor within the people of God. During the hot summer months we are subjected to a wide range of immodest attire on the part of both men and women. Skintight jeans, shorts, no bras and sleeveless tee-shirts do not help any of us focus on Christ Jesus. Yes we are “free” in Christ, but that freedom is given so that we can now obey Him from our heart and we are surely not to use our freedom as a license to sin (see Rom 6:18-23).

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with god works. (1 Tim. 2:9,10).

Again, we see church worship is not a fashion show, but a sacred time that is carved out of our day, set aside (sanctified) to be devoted to our loving God.

Ask yourself a simple question, why not dress up in your Sunday best for church? If you don’t is it because no one else does in your congregation? If this is the case, so what, worship is ultimately between you and God (while not ignoring the important corporate aspect). Start a trend! Or perhaps you have the attitude that “God knows my heart, what I wear is not important.” Well I might give the opinion that if ones heart is truly set on Zion then ones dress will be appropriate. Studies have shown that even in secular schools when the children all wear similar uniforms that behavior and grades both improve. Dressing nicely also works on ones self-esteem (that ought to be enough of a draw today). Personally, when I am dressed nicely I feel better about myself in a way. Dressing for church reminds me that I am going to a sacred place and spending sacred time communing around the altar of God with both the saints on earth and all the saints in heaven!

Copyright 2009 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Congregations who bought into the CGM ministry philosophy have become known as “seeker-sensitive” churches. There is legitimate theological debate whether or not any lost person genuinely seeks after God.

2. Let me simply say here that there is no difference in value before our God, He loves all His people equally. However, there is a distinction in function within the Church and its worship service regarding the pastor and the congregation.

3. Naturally I want “professional” musicians in any church setting, but I am really referring to professional entertainers.

4. No worries for the seeker, their churches are not equipped with any for of “kneelers” because they are not going to kneel for anything during their services.





From the Rising of the Sun to its Setting The Name of the Lord is to Be Praised! (Ok, but how?)

7 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 7 – From the Rising of the Sun to its Setting The Name of the Lord is to Be Praised!  – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

From the Rising of the Sun to its Setting The Name of the Lord is to Be Praised!

(Ok, but how?)

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The manner in which we worship God is extremely personal and obviously every person and religious group believes it is doing “it” the right way. Anyone or anything that is different from the way we do it is usually denigrated by us. There are at least three reasons for this reaction. First, we believe we are worshipping God correctly, ergo anything different from our way is automatically wrong. Secondly, denigrating other practices helps to psychologically bolster our own position by creating an “us-and-them” mentality a subtle form of elitism. Thirdly, as fallen people it comes naturally for us to tear down than to build up.

I believe there is another way to rightly consider the worship of our God. The lens I want us to look through is taking place biblical? Many forms of worship may not be from our specific cultures or traditions, but that does not make them necessarily wrong only different. The only valid question to be asked is the way or method people worship biblically acceptable and if so we must not criticize them.

Regardless of what flavor the brand of Christianity being practiced does through the centuries one of the constants has been the role of music in the worship of the Lord God. Music can be one of the highest forms of emotional expression available to mankind and it is as varied in its presentation as are the cultures from which it springs.

The nascent early Church expressed itself musically by initially following the format of Jewish worship including its music; after all these were Jewish believers. The Psalms were set to music and without a doubt King David, who is often referred to as the “sweet Psalmist of Israel” was a keen musician and a great lover of music and he commanded the use of a wide variety of musical instruments in the worship of Jah:

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. The musicians Herman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benajah were to play the lyres according to alamoth, and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneish, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith. Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it. Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat,Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark. 1 Chron. 15:16,19-24

Jewish worship was (and still is among the Orthodox Jews) very expressive, animated, loud and joyful. Read First Chronicles 16 entirely and you will see where David dedicated a Psalm to Asaph and in vs. 36 we read the people verbally said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord” during their praising of God. I mention this because in most LCMS congregations such verbal declarations are unheard of (this is true in most mainline denominations) but such responses are indeed biblical.

Many times our understanding of the Bible is hindered by our lack of knowing the original languages. (1) This is especially true when it comes to our English word “praise.” When we come across this word we mentally default to our personal definition or experience of what praise means or is to us. Although this is something we all do it can be a very dangerous way to study the Bible and it can and has led to many misunderstandings and false doctrines. Never assume important reoccurring words have one simple direct translation into our language from their original languages because they do not. Good examples of this are the Greek words for “love.” There are four major Greek words for specific types of love and we err if we interpret them incorrectly.

The Seven Major Hebrew Words for Praise

When we think of praising our God often we think of the various styles of music we sing in praise of/to Him. However, music although preeminent and central to worshipping the Lord is only one of the ingredients which work together with others in honoring God. It behooves us to take a look into the Hebraic words we simply translate as praise in our English translations. There are no less than seven Hebrew words which are used to denote the praising of God.

1. YADAH: to worship with the extended had; the giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands up unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absolute surrender as a young child does to a parent – “pick me up, I’m all yours”. Scripture: Gen. 29:35; 2 Chron. 7:6, 20:21; Psalms 9:1; 28:7 Psalms 33:2, 42:5,11, 49:18; Isaiah 12:1.

Strong’s Concordance number 3034 yadah; a primitive root; used only as denominative from 3027; literally, to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively, to bemoan (by wringing the hands). Yadah in practice – Lift my hands to Him and say how I am surrendering myself to Him. The New Testament gives us the directive to lift up our hands in worship and prayer in 1 Tim. 2:8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” The word “yadah teaches us that it is perfectly biblical and acceptable to lift up our hands in worship to God.

2. TEHILLAH: to sing, to laud. A spontaneous new song. Singing from a melody in your heart by adding words to it. This refers to a special kind of singing-it is singing unprepared, unrehearsed songs. Scripture examples: Psalms 22:3, 34:1, 40:3, 66:2; 2 Chronicles 20:22.

Strong’s Concordance number 8416 tehillah; from 1984; laudation; specifically (concretely) a hymn, praise, adoration, thanksgiving (paid to God). Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” might be an example of this type of praise.

3. BARAK: To kneel or to bow. To give reverence to God as an act of adoration. It implies to continual conscious giving place to God. Blessing the Lord and extolling His virtues. There is a sense of kneeling and blessing God as an act of adoration in the word BARAK. Physical application – To bow, kneel or to do this with the intent in my heart that He is my King and I yield to Him.

Strong’s Concordance number 1288 barak; a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the King, as treason). It is biblical and is legitimate to kneel before God while praising Him.

4. HALAL: The Strong’s Concordance gives us a good working definition, its number is 1984 halal; a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify; This word is used over 110 times in the Old Testament. Some scriptures using halal include: 1 Chron. 16:4, 23:5,30, 29:13; Heh. 12:24. From halal we get the word hallelujah. Halal songs are loud and clamorous in expression and are very emotional demonstrations of joy and celebration.

5. TOWDAH: To give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural, i.e. an expectant faith. Towdah implies agreeing with His Word – faith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. Scriptures: Psalm 42:4, 50:23; Jer. 17:26.

Strong’s Concordance number 8426 towdah; from 3034; properly, an extension of the hand, i.e. (by implication) avowal, or (usually) adoration; specifically, a choir of worshippers: KJV — confession, (sacrifice of ) praise, thanks (-giving, offering). Today as Christians the only sacrifice we are told to give to the Lord is the sacrifice of praise as seen in Heb. 3:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

6. ZAMAR: “To sing with instruments”. To make music accompanied by the voice. One of the musical verbs for praise in the book of psalms. It caries the idea of making music in praise to God as in Psl. 92:1. The word ZAMAR also means to touch the strings, and refers to praise that involes instrumental worship as in Psl. 150. The one word is usually translated “sing praises”.

Strong’s Concordance number 2167 zamar; a primitive root [perhaps ident. With 2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers]; properly, to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument I.e. play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music.

7. SHABACH: to address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout! Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the Glory, triumph, power, mercy, love of God. This word implies that testimony is praise. The phase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH. It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited. Scripture citations: Psalm 117:1, 63:3-4

As you can see the word “praise” in our Bible refers to a great divergence of adorational (2) expression presented to and accepted by our Lord. All of these seven terms can and often do incorporate music. My dear brothers and sisters the bottom line is simply this — there is no one right “right” way to give praise to our God. Any one or all of the aforementioned seven expressions are legitimate. Here are some additional references to how the people of Israel worshipped The Ancient of Days:

Singers and singing ( 1 Chronicles 15:16-27 & 25:1-7)

Musicians and instruments (1 Chronicles 23:5, 25:1-7)

Ministry of Levites before the Ark ( 1 Chronicles 16:6, 6:37)

Recording (1 Chronicles 16:4, 28:12, 19)

Thanking the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:4, 8, 41)

Praise ( I Chronicles 16:4, 36)

Psalms (1 Chronicles 16:9, Psalms 98:6)

Rejoicing and joy (1 Chronicles 16:10, 16,25,31)

Clapping hands (Psalm 47:1, 98:8, Isaiah 55:12)

Shouting (I Chronicles 15:28, Psalms 47:1, 5; Isaiah 12:6)

Dancing (1 Chronicles 15:29; 2 Samuel 6:14, Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4

Lifting up hands (Psalms 134; 141:2) (Lamentations 3:41)

Worship (1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalms 29:1-2, 95:6)

Seeking the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:10-11, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

Spiritual sacrifices (Psalms 27:6, 1 Peter 2:3-5, Hebrews 13:15,16)

Saying Amen (1 Chronicles 16:36)

There is one very important fact that cannot be overlooked when considering these expressions of praise in worshipping our God. All of them are to be the result of an intense love for God; they are quite simply an outward manifestation of heartfelt devotion to the Savior. All of these manifestations can be a genuine spiritual expression or merely one’s flesh trying to appear spiritual.

Worship In Spirit & In Truth   (John 4:24)

The charismatic movement has embraced all of these biblical forms in their worship services (and yes added a few of their own). No one can rightly say that what they are doing is unbiblical because it is not. Admittedly, clapping, dancing in the aisles, shouting “glory to God,” etc. is not for everybody, but that does not make it “wrong” it only makes it different.

Spirit and truth are the two guidelines for genuine worship. Coming out of the charismatic movement I have seen all types of fleshly activities which frankly are virtually unavoidable due to our human condition. For instance, I can dance before the Lord or I can dance to be seen by those around me and secretly hope they deem me as spiritual because I appear to be caught up in the spirit. One way a leader can place some governance on the exuberance without putting out the “fire” so to speak is to challenge the people by asking them if they (sticking to my example) dance before the Lord at home when no one is watching but God. This same question can be applied to all these outer forms of praise.

Another issue is what I’ll call the “herd mentality,” in other words doing something simply because everyone else is doing it. I’ve been in services when one person may suddenly take off running around the sanctuary and before you know it ten or twenty others are following that person. Good exercise, without a doubt. Spiritual worship? Maybe it was for the initial runner, probably not for the others. Person “A” lifts his hands up to the Lord and in his heart he is crying out “I surrender myself to You Lord.” Babe in Christ. “B” sees “A’s” actions and posits “hmm, this is what spiritual people do, so I will raise my hands too” without any inner surrender to God, just the outward action.

At other times I’ve been in services where the praise leader begins to command the congregation to “clap your hands,” or “shout to the Lord” and this is wrong because it violates the principle that such expressions come from the heart not from outside the worshipper. It is also a subtle form of manipulation and I have seen worship “leaders” get people to do all sorts of things that normally they would not do which violates the command of Jesus regarding “in spirit” or from the heart.

This much is certain the act of praising God is multi-dimensional. It is first and foremost a private one-on-one communion between the individual and his God. If one is not connected to Jesus Christ by grace through faith then they cannot and are not worshipping God. This intimate love relationship is usually expressed corporately in worship with other lovers of the Living God. For example, I am singing a hymn to my Lord yet others around me are also singing the same hymn to Him, so we have both an individual and corporate experience going on. The focus of all worship is to be on our Triune God, who He is, what He has done on our behalf, what our response is to His love and not on what other people are doing or not doing around us. Anything that pulls my attention away from God during this sacred time is of the flesh. Speaking from my own experience the most precious times in worship is when I lose sight of myself and those around me and I am completely focused on Christ.

Everybody thinks their way is the “right” way to Praise the Lord

It is only natural to believe that the manner in which we worship the Lord is indeed the only proper way to do so. The Bible clearly states in Prob. 16:2 “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.”

When it comes to worship formats we must be honest with ourselves and ask some penetrating questions. Generally the manner in which we worship is dictated by our culture. I have spent the last year being somewhat mentored by confessional Lutheran pastors who firmly believe any worship format other than theirs is not of God. They decry any form of what they consider “contemporary” worship formats which includes the use of various instruments (guitars, drums, keyboards, etc) and uses songs not found in the standard hymnal. The truth is what these ultra-Germanic culture and expression founded in 15th century practice. That is fine and dandy if that is your culture. Te problem arises when you attempt to place Germanic culture in an African setting and force people from a totally different culture to accept the Germanic practice as the correct one. (3)

African-American Christians often worship God in a vastly different format than do, say LCMS Christians. Does that make the African-American believers wrong? No, it does not, it make them different based upon their culture and life experience as a people. The same can be said for Hispanic people, Native American Christians or Asian disciples.

After sitting under some very rigid teachers during the last two years all I can do is shake my head in wonder and sadness. These poor souls miss the beauty and freedom that is our biblical heritage in Christ when it comes to worshipping our gracious Lord. The complaints and finger pointing usually come from those who have no idea how vast a landscape of emotional expression is pained by our simple English word praise when it is studied in the Hebrew. We must never forget that our God is a lot bigger than our cultures, denominations and understanding and as long as what is being offered unto God as worship does not violate the given biblical practices then let us humble our hearts before Him and worship Him in the beauty of holiness, however it may be expressed.♦

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. This is one of the reasons why I stress the importance of sitting under well educated pastors. Although I do not claim to be a Hebrew or Greek scholar I have taken (and pasted ) my courses in both original languages so I have at least a rudimentary understanding of what I am studying.

2. Ok, I admit “adorational” is not a formal word, I made it up, but then the Apostle Paul coined some words too

3. I use Africa merely as an example, it can be as simple as trying to make African-American “German” when it comes to worship. Frankly this practice is nothing more than racism regardless of who practices it.