Hell Hath Enlarged Herself (Isaiah 5:14)

21 09 2012

Sun Myung Moon, a self-professed messiah who claimed millions of religious followers in his Unification Church and sought to become a powerful voice in the American conservative movement through business interests that included the Washington Times, has died. He was 92.1

Almost thirty plus years ago as a young man I experienced my first cult intervention which involved a young man who had become ensnared by the false claims of an alleged Korean messiah.  That deceiver was no one less than Sun Myung Moon, founder of The Unification Church of the Holy Spirit aka The Unification Church and/or Moonies due to their slavish devotion to their leader.

An Aside:
Have you ever noticed how Satan tries to dress up his false cults with names that sound so appealing to the unwary?

The Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Unification Church of the Holy Spirit
The Children of God aka The Family of Love or Love Family
The Way International
The Church of Christ Science

Jesus Christ Superstar was out in theaters (as a movie) and one evening myself and a couple of friends decided to go see the movie.  As was our habit in the early 70’s we began the evening by ingesting some mind altering substances, after a while we got hungry and stopped by a 7-Eleven and my friends went inside for some munchies.  I sat in the car and looked out and saw a young guy standing there by our door holding a box of peanut brittle and wearing a huge round button with the deceased Mr. Moon’s photograph on it.  By this time in America, the Unification Church was deemed a cult, and rightly so and many parents were having their children kidnapped and deprogrammed.  One famous de-programmer was Ted Patrick2 who was in the newspapers back then.  I looked at this ‘kid’ and got out of the car and went up to him and said “do you know who I am?”  He said “no.”  I responded “I am Ted Patrick (who turned out to be African-American) the white lightening.  What are you doing here?  The boy responded “I am serving God would you like to buy some peanut brittle?” I said, “No, you are serving (pointed to his button) THAT man!”  He looked at me and said “same thing.”  I then told him to get in the car, he tossed his case of peanut brittle in and got into the backseat.  My friends returned and were naturally surprised to see this unknown guy in the car with us.  Long story short, we took him to see Jesus Christ Superstar (I know, I know), he slept through all of it,  At the end of the movie we had a debate between the 3 of us as to what to “do” with this guy now that he was with us.  Rudy, had no church or pastor to call, Greg was Roman Catholic and he said his priest would not have anything to do with him.  My Presbyterian pastor was a “no go” as well.

During his stint at the 7-Eleven a Baptist pastor had come by and given him a tract with his phone number on it.  We found a phone booth and called Rev. Kuncle who came out at 3:00 in the morning and took the young man to his home and his church.  That morning, after church, yes rebellious as I was I was in church every Sunday; I approached our Pastor, Ben Jones, and related the story with tears in my eyes and he responded “oh, huh, you can’t save everybody.”  Although I have never forgotten the encounter, Pastor Jones response was sufficient enough cold water thrown on a fledgling spark that was not rekindled for another five years.

I must be honest with our readers.  I have NEVER liked Moon or his organization.  I have fought against him, even to his face when he spoke at a Baptist ‘church’ in Detroit several years ago.  My wife and I went out and witnessed AGAINST Moon and FOR Christ in front of the church building he was usurping.  We were not well received by his followers or henchmen.

The Bible says that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (see Eze. 18:23).  I guess “pleasure” is too strong a word, but I am glad he is dead.  He deceived millions during his life; he was given 92 years of grace and never repented of his blasphemy.  I am sorry he never came to the saving knowledge of Christ and will now suffer the eternal torments of the damned.

I am on David’s imprecatory psalms side of the scale when it comes to Mr. Moon.   The imprecatory psalms are the ones in which David calls for Divine judgment and curses to fall upon the godless, the wicked and his personal enemies.  In Mr. Moon’s sad case he has certainly obtained what he deserved, may each of us reading this NEVER receive what we deserve, but may we gladly and humbly accept the grace of God shown only in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord and soon coming Savior.  Although I have written in the past about the Moonies, allow me to give our newer readers a thumbnail sketch of his beliefs and practices.

Who Was Mr. Moon?

Sun Myung Moon was nothing if not ambitious.  He had his sights on nothing less than global domination by his organization:

His stated ambition was to rule the world and replace Christianity with his own faith, which blended elements of Christianity, Confucianism and Korean folk religions.3

Like virtually all of the false religions Moon had a mystical encounter with an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14) who revealed himself as Jesus.  This Jesus explained how e had failed by being crucified.  According to Moon’s Jesus the crucifixion was never the Father’s plan, yet Jesus failed and he appeared to Rev. Moon (at age 16) to call Moon to finish His redemptive work!

Young Myung Moon (later changed to Sun) was born in Pyungan Bud-do province in North Korea on January 6, 1920.  Throughout his early life, Moon had a great deal of interest in spiritism.  It was on Easter Sunday morning at the age of 16 that his first major encounter occurred, when Jesus Christ supposedly appeared to him while he was in prayer.  Jesus told Moon that he had an important mission to accomplish in the fulfillment of God’s providence as a latter-day prophet.   After the experience, Moon began writing his Divine Principles while studying Engineering in Japan.  It was during this time, and after World War II, that Moon became involved in an underground Pentecostal movement that was deeply entrenched in mystical revelations and the appearance of the Messiah in the New Jerusalem, Korea.  (They believed the Messiah would be born in Korea).  It was in 1945 that Moon experienced his most important victory when he fought and defeated all Satanic forces and became victor of heaven and earth.  (This is when he changed his name to Sun).   In 1950, Moon was released from prison and moved to South Korea when in 1954 he began his Unification Church.  In 1955, Moon was again jailed for draft evasion, adultery, and promiscuity.  This came for his ritual sex with women in the church.  Those who have been in Moon’s church say that one has to receive Moon’s blood to receive salvation.  This salvation comes from three periods of sexual intercourse.   In the years that followed, Moon became a multi-millionaire from his many enterprises-tea, titanium, drugs, and air rifles.  Finally, on January 1, 1972, Moon claims God appeared to him and told him to come to America to prepare the people for the Second Advent of Christ.  Believing the USA to be the base of the coming Messiah, Moon purchased much land in New York along with his 22-acre estate in Tarrytown, N.Y.  Since this time, the church has grown here in America.4

Who was Mr. (I cannot call him “Rev.” people he was never ordained by any recognized body within the true Church) Moon? He had no biblical framework to judge his mystical encounter by, so he accepted it at face value, after all it is pretty “heady” stuff to be asked by Jesus to fulfill his “failed” mission!

Unfortunately for Moon he was raised in North Korea prior to the partition.  He grew up in a rural area that was steeped in religious syncretism and mysticism.  He joined an aberrant Pentecostal cult that firmly believed the next and final Messiah would come from Korea, which just happened to line up with his paranormal encounter.  In 1946 Moon was arrested by the communists and sentenced to a five year prison term.  While in prison he alleges to have engaged in tremendous spiritual warfare and in the end every other former religious leader and demon(s) bowed down to Moon as victor over them.

Moon did his time and in 1950 moved to the South and began his new religion he called “The Unification Church.”  Part of his bizarre doctrine was that the women in the church, in order to be saved had to have sex with him on three occasions.  That apart from his blood, there was no salvation (I wonder where he got that concept from)?  This unique doctrine landed Mr. Moon back into jail for immorality and adultery.

There was a book by Pak Chung Hwa who was one of the earliest followers of Moon in the early days called The Tragedy Of The Six Mary’s. In the book, Pak alleges that Moon’s early teaching was that the new messiah must have sex with 6 “Marys” in a ritual that would cleanse the womb and make it pure. These women who must be married would then have sex with other men and the process would multiply until all people were “saved” in this way. Pak claimed though, that Moon wouldn’t stop at the six as he originally stated, but turned the theology into a kind of rotating sex-club for himself, which upset Pak, particularly he claimed because sometimes these encounters produced children and Moon allegedly left the women to fend for themselves with no support from Moon.5

Soon after getting out of jail the second time Moon “felt led” to take his message to America to prepare us for the second return of Christ (which meant the installation of Mr. Moon as the Christ).  From 1972 until recently he has seconded himself to his palatial estate in Tarrytown, New York.

Moon became a huge supporter of Richard Nixon during his troubles and he gave massively to right-wing organizations and mobilized his followers to campaign for various politicians and raise money for them, etc.

Within ten years of his stay in America Mr. Moon was arrested, this time for tax evasion in 1982. While the trial was ongoing various American “evangelicals” came to his aid, people like Jerry Falwell whose Bible school was bailed out of bankruptcy by Moon.6   Moon was convicted of all counts and spent his full 18 month sentence in prison.

Moon taught that his family was the perfect family and his twelve children were representative of perfection.  The public illusion of his perfect family was shattered by a few tragic events.

In 1984 17-year-old Heung Jin Moon died in Poughkeepsie when he drove recklessly into a truck.7   In 1998 his eldest son, Hyo Jin, was denounced as a violent cocaine addict by his wife (he would die of a heart attack in 2008, aged 45). In 1999 another of Moon’s sons, Younjin Phillip Moon, committed suicide aged 21.8  Several of the perfect families spouses have divorced their less than ‘perfect’ husbands.  The biggest insights into the Moon daily lifestyle came from Nansook Hong, wife of the eldest of Moon’s sons and heir apparent to his vast empire.  Nansook divorced and exposed her husband for the abusive pervert he was along with revealing the ungodly and lavish lifestyle led by all the members of the perfect family in her book “In The Shadow of the Moons,” I highly recommend her book to anyone interested in the daily inner workings of an antichrist and his family.  The last I heard was that Nansook has become a Christian since her departure from the madness of the Moons.

What Is His Doctrine?

Any cult leader worth his or her cosmic salt has to appeal to some sort of authority; ergo the deceiver MUST put down the sublime new revelations in a book.  Mary Baker Eddy wrote her “Scripture Keys to Science and Health,” Joe Smith got together his “Book of Mormon,” Mohammed’s followers cobbled together “the Koran” after his assumption of desert temperature.  Even the Rastafarians have their “Holy Philby” (DMI has copies of all these heretical tomes), Judge Rutherford and devotees patched together “The New World Translation,” The Urantia cult has “The Urantia Book,” The Bahai have their “The Book of Laws,” and yes folks Rev. Moon wrote his too entitled “The Divine Principle,” which Moon left open for further revelations which he gave in his series of talks called “The Master Speaks.” From these two sources we can learn what Moon’s  doctrine is.

To begin with the Bible is not “truth itself” but the Bible does contain truth, so immediately understand that Moonies have no real regard for Scripture as God’s holy Word.  They usually interpret the Bible allegorically:

The Moonies interpret much of the Bible allegorically; they teach that the thieves on the cross represent democracy (the “right”) and Communism (the “left”). They claim that “resurrection” does not refer to raising the dead, but to accepting the “word of God” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12-20). They say that the expression “end of the world” only means that “evil is going to end.” [HJB] Moon also believes the Bible teaches that Christianity is not the one and only divinely revealed and saving faith. He says that “God has established many religions. … God cannot be found where there is conflict. Catholicism and Protestantism must become one.”9

Scriptures are understood in the current light of The Divine Principle along with whatever else Moon may have said in various teaching settings.  Allow me to briefly bullet point some of their main doctrinal “distinctions.”

The Fall:

Moon was indeed a sexual deviant and his views on sexually colored much of what he believed and taught to others.  The sin of Adam and Eve can be boiled down to Eve having sex with the serpent (Satan) and then having sex with Adam causing all mankind to fall.10

Sin:

Sin was not the result of Adam’s willful disobedience to the Law of God, but was of a sexual nature:

Adam and Eve thus failed to fulfill God’s plan for them to be the “true parents” of mankind. According to Moon, then, sin is a matter of genetics (physical children of Lucifer), not moral choice. Salvation, therefore, requires a physical redemption; i.e. it is a matter of being born of Moon’s physical bond or entering a marriage union chosen and blessed by Moon himself. [Originally, “Blood cleansing” as defined by Moon was accomplished for any male by having sexual relations with a woman that had been “cleansed” by Moon (i.e., had sexual relations with Moon). Now, those who totally submit to Moon’s authority (e.g., defined as turning over all financial assets to the Unification Church, allowing Moon to choose one’s mate, etc.) may consider their devotion to be a spiritual kind of purification not requiring sexual cohabitation.]11

God the Father:

They deny the Triune nature of God, instead saying that God is dualistic in nature being composed of both male and female energies.

Jesus Christ:

Jesus is not God, He is not virgin born, He is not the Savior of the world.  Jesus is a failure, the bastard son of Zachariah and Mary and begged Mr. Moon to complete his “failed” mission (see D.P. pp. 143-145).  At best Jesus provided an incomplete spiritual salvation and not the full physical redemption designed by God.

The Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is not “God” but is the impersonal redemptive activity of God.  They teach that the Holy Spirit is female and the “spirit-wife” of Jesus the failure (see D.P. p. 113).

Salvation:

Naturally, Moon as all non-Christian religions teaches salvation by personal works:

Moonies teach the “Law of Indemnity” — that God’s children must pay for at least a part of their debt of sin before God will forgive them. They believe a person earns his salvation through fasting, fund-raising, recruitment, and other such works. They claim that both a spiritual and a physical salvation are needed — and that the “third Adam” will provide physical salvation by marrying and producing sinless children (Divine Principle, p. 148). They teach that once the “third Adam” comes, those who have paid indemnity will also be able to marry and bear sinless children. [HJB] Moonies view Moon as that “third Adam” who provides physical salvation through a perfect family (indeed, his twelve children are considered sinless!), and extends this perfection to his followers through their obedience to him.12

There we have it!  “Trickle down salvation” that starts with Moon and his perfect family and spreads to those who have been tireless workers and whom Moon puts together as husband and wife.  These now blessed couples will produce perfect families such as their Master’s, i.e. broken families of immorality, substance and physical abuse and in the end, hell.  According to Moon eventually all of mankind will be saved and hell will be dissolved by the expanding universe.

I will not waste much time mentioning that Moon was a shrewd businessman and invested his cult’s assets into a vast global empire spanning everything from the making of air rifles to ginseng drinks!  These businesses are run by his family members and trusted flunkies and many of them are staffed with Moonies who work for little pay and give much back to Moon!

Moon is Dead, Now What?

Frankly, I do not know what this will mean.  Moon never really prepared for a successor, He was the “guy” period.  His teachings did not make room for someone to continue his work, he said he fulfilled it.  As with many groups based on failed promises and/or prophetic utterances I believe we will see a “spiritualizing” of many of Moon’s belief’s about his success.  Sort of like the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses spiritualizing events they said would take place on earth.  Those left behind (a little End-Time lingo) will have to do some very fancy footwork to keep he religious aspect of the cult alive.

Key to the church’s religious future is the Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, the U.S.-born 33-year-old who was tapped to succeed his father several years ago as head of the church.  Known as “Sean” back at Harvard, where he studied, he is more fluent in English than Korean and has signs of his father’s charisma — but with an American sensibility. His sermons, delivered in English, are designed to appeal to the next generation of “Unificationists,” the name followers prefer over the moniker “Moonies.”13

Often cults wither away, thankfully, with the death of their founder, but in the case of the Moonies they may persist for a while longer.  Moon’s sort of sex-magic salvation is behind all of the “mass weddings” we’d see taking place with Mr. & Mrs. Moon presiding and blessing the arranged couples.  Through these marriages the women are saved, perfect children are born already members in the cult and if people are employed by a Moonie owned and operated business, they had best continue to toe-the-line.  These marriages alone account for thousands of people and families, so the cult has a sort of built-in survival system, at least for a little while.

Also, many cult watchers agree that Moon’s organization is indeed not so much a “religion” as it is a money-making concern.  They still field thousands of solicitors (beggars) on the streets of the capitals of the world asking for donations (and getting them), this brings in unknown amounts of cash which is used to keep the Perfect Family in the mannerto which they are accustomed.  It is a religious cult that provides the motivation to mobilize people to become slaves to Moon and his family organization.

The big question now that Moon’s being turned into compost is who will run his vast business global empire?

The church has amassed dozens of businesses in the United States, South Korea and even North Korea, including hotels, a ski resort, sports teams, schools, universities and hospitals.  One expert said the church’s business prospects appear brighter than its religious future. Tark Ji-il, a professor of religion at Busan Presbyterian University, described the church not as a religious organization but as a corporation made up of people with similar religious beliefs.  The church won’t give details about how much its businesses are worth, other than to describe them as part of a “multibillion-dollar” empire.14

He has ten of the twelve surviving perfect children and there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.  It seems the next eldest son is the head of the business wing of the cult:

An older brother, Kook-jin Moon, a 42-year-old also known as Justin, runs the Tongil Group, the church’s business arm.  The church has amassed dozens of business ventures over the years, including the New Yorker Hotel, a midtown Manhattan art deco landmark, and the Yongpyong ski resort in South Korea. It gave the University of Bridgeport $110 million over more than a decade to keep the Connecticut school operating. Moon also founded the Washington Times newspaper in 1982. (They also own the Associated Press newswire, the AP).15

Obviously, this leaves eight other siblings to either be happily bought off or possibly form some splinter group, only time will tell.

How Should Christians Engage the Moonies?

When  approached, most people will encounter Moonies soliciting money for runaway teen programs, substance abuse, pregnancy centers, etc.  Now they may be real programs (Moon has 100’s of non-profits) or they may be total lies.  Moon has a teaching called “heavenly deception”which allows Moonies to lie to others for the sake of the kingdom.  It is perfectly permissible to lie to those you are about to bilk.

A pair of fresh-faced usually young people approaches you asking for money to help the homeless.  They are well dressed, well groomed (kind of look a bit Mormony) and usually they will not say anything initially about religion, most have been taught to somewhat hide their affiliation with Moon and his cult until pressed on the point.  The following are merely suggestions and they can be applied to anyone who has not yet been converted to faith in Christ.

For many of my Lutheran brethren, it has not been our practice to actively “share our faith” on the public streets or door-to-door.  Be that as it may, we still need to be equipped to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.  If your pastor has not yet taught you how to share your faith effectively, then why not ask him to hold such as class or invite DMI to come and help equip the saints in your area!
1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear

#1.  Pray first!  Keep in mind all cult members have been deeply deceived and are totally invested in their group.  Realize that you are engaging in genuine spiritual warfare, so ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom (see James 1:5) and to “fill your mouth” with the proper words to share (Luke 12:12).

#2.  Share Christ alone!  Jesus is the focus of our witness. The Apostle Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we aren’t explaining the sacrifice of Christ, then we’re not really sharing the gospel. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:2 and Romans 10:9-10.)  Make sure to stress the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, not just one of many ways. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).   I would probably share the Father’s love for lost humanity with John 3:16 and make sure the cultist knows that our Father loves them so much He sent His only Son to die for them that they might have eternal life.  If this is all you have time to get out before they flee from the presence of the light in you — then thanks be to God you have shared enough!
#3.  Thank God!  At the end of your encounter then give God praise for allowing you to share your faith.  Know that when you have shared it is up to the Lord to convict and to draw to faith.  Our job is to simply share what Christ has done for the world and for us personally.  We are not the Savior, nor do we rest on our ability to share the Gospel.  God has promised that His Word will not return to Him void (Isa. 55:11).  In some cases we will be watering seed that has been previously sown (see 1 Cor. 3:8) at other times we will be sowing Gospel seeds, and yes at times you may meet people who are ready to be “harvested” into the Kingdom, i.e. people who come to repentance while you are with them.  In the sowing, the watering and the harvesting — the Lord of the harvest (Matt. 9:38) gets all the glory.

Moon is dead, now is the time for Christians to reach out to the confused devotees with the genuine Gospel.  One way to gain experience in sharing your faith proactively is simply go online and join the various forums sponsored by the Moonie cult and begin to engage the cultists with  God’s Word.  This is a less pressured way to witness and you have the ability to lookup texts immediately as your share and/or find answers quickly to somewhat “pithy” questions the cultists may ask.  Let me close this out by saying that in sharing our faith we do not have to have all the answers.  When asked questions you do not have an answer for then say “that is a good question, give me your number and I will get back to you with the answer.”  Our job is simply to be faithful, walk humbly before our God and share His love flowing through us to a dying world of neighbors for whom Christ died.

An Attitude of Gratitude

DMI wants to acknowledge the work of one of our fellow truth-tellers.  Sister Sherrie D. has single-handedly set up and run the DMI Blog for the last six years!  Due to her work the newsletters have now been read (to some degree) by over 100,000 people.

THANK YOU SHERRIE!

For six years of volunteering your time and gifts for Christ’s sake.  Fact is —— without the sacrifices of time, talent and treasure of ALL of our readers DMI would not be able to “Teach Truth & Expose Error.”  We give thanks and praise to God for each and everyone of you!

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/sun-myung-moon-dies-at-92-washington-times-owner-led-the-unification-church/2012/09/02/001b747a-f531-11e1-aab7-f199a16396cf_story.html.  Underlining added for emphasis.

2. To read more about his colorful life go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Patrick

3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/sun-myung-moon-dies-at-92-washington-times-owner-led-the-unification-church/2012/09/02/001b747a-f531-11e1-aab7-f199a16396cf_story.html. Underlining added.
4. http://www.biblelineministries.org/articles/basearch.php3?action=full&mainkey=THE+CULT+OF+SUN+MYUNG+MOON. Underlining added.
5. Obtained from http://www.reocities.com/craigmaxim/m-3a.html.
6. Obtained from http://www.contendingfortruth.com/wp-content/uploads/Exposed-Chuck-Missler-Tim-Lahaye-etc.pdf
7. Obtained from http://www.icsahome.com/docview_elib.asp?Subject=Ex-Memers+and+Moon’s+Alienated+Kin+Speak+Out+About+Troubled+Family+Life
8. Obtained from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9517193/The-Rev-Sun-Myung-Moon.html
9. Obtained from http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/unificat.htm.
10. Bizarre, yes, original, no.  William Branham taught this sex-with-Satan nonsense aka as “the serpent seed doctrine” in the 40’s when Moon was involved with an underground Pentecostal cult, so he may have gotten gist of it then.
11. http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/unificat.htm
12. Ibid.
13. Obtained from http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/feuds-concern-children-inherit-moons-empire-17142307#.UEYii41lQn0
14. Ibid. Obtained from http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/feuds-concern-children-inherit-moons-empire-17142307#.UEYii41lQn0. Underlining and highlights added for emphasis.
15. Ibid.

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When the Purpose of a Thing is Misunderstood Abuse is Inevitable

7 09 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – September 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 9 – When the Purpose of a Thing is Misunderstood – Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

“When the Purpose of a Thing is Misunderstood Abuse is Inevitable”

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Last month I began an article on The International House of Prayer (IHOP) and now I want to focus in on what it is that actually transpires in these vaunted 24/7 never ending prayer services.

 I have gone as far as to join the IHOP website and I have spent too much time watching their archived services and reading through their own literature. One thing I am pretty firmly convinced of this that IHOP is a grand experiment, which may or may not yield anything verifiable. By “experiment” I mean that Bickle has put into motion a charismatic-experiment, something hitherto untried in the Church. This vision he has created is simply one of a long line of charismatic-experiments.

 Most people today know nothing about Shiloh in Maine operated by early restored apostle Frank Sanford which ended in the spiritual abuse of many people and the deaths of several of them and children as well. (2) Sanford was indirectly connected to another grand experiment down south from him in Zion, Illinois. Again, many people do not now that Zion was founded by apostle/prophet/healer John Alexander Dowie. Dowie wanted to create a godly city patterned after heaven. He got things going pretty good until he received the revelation that he was The Elijah to Come and after making that pronouncement he was stricken with a stoke and died suddenly, only to be replaced by several men more despicable than himself.

 In our day PTL had their little precious moments Kristian Kingdom. We know where that experiment ended up today — vacant land. Let us never forget The City of Faith that Oral Roberts built in Tulsa. Another costly, yet failed experiment. I am still waiting for the medical cure for cancer to come from the now defunct ORU Hospital and Medical School that Oral said God told him would happen. (3) The Children of God led by the now deceased David Berg aka Moses David tried to express a utopian view which was in reality nothing more than a thin veil to cover Berg’s insatiable sexual perversions. (4) Berg was a tongue-talking self-proclaimed restored prophet who burst onto the Jesus Movement in the late 1960’s.

 IHOP seems to be following this pattern. In all these cases a leader gets an “inspired” (aka novel) idea, gets feedback from others of like mind, seeks some form of biblical proof text(s) and rallies disciples and puts the vision into motion. When it fails later, as they all have, the leaders shrug their shoulders and keep on stepping leaving in their wake many shipwrecked souls.

 Think I am being harsh? I am not being harsh enough. Here is the proof: John Arnott allowed the Holy Laughter phenomena which destroyed true body ministry, burned out his staff and people. In the end, Arnott left TACF and took off when the revival died. The same thing happened to Pastor John Kilpatrick who oversaw the Pensacola revival (Brownsville Assembly of God, BAG). When problems arose at BAG and the crowds diminished revivalist Steve Hill left, then music leader Lindell Cooley bugged out and finally Kilpatrick left (or was fired, it is unclear) to assume the same role as Arnott who declared himself as one called to “shepherd the revival.” These men took the money and ran, leaving in their wake more damaged and abused souls.

 In researching IHOP I learned that there are many people (mostly unmarried) that make up the “staff” of the IHOP meetings. It is these people who have the responsibility to see to it that Isaiah 62:6-7 is fulfilled by them:

 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: Ye that make mention of the LORD, Keep not silence. And give him no rest, Till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (5)

 As in some of the other experiments, the people all live together in a campus/communal setting. Living together makes sense on the surface, but in the charismatic experiment cases it has always been about control over people’s lives and has ended in spiritual abuse and often sexual abuse as well. The IHOP application form which asks some extremely personal questions concerning past sins. Answering such questions places the devotee at the “mercy” of their leaders who will refer to these forms if there are any problems with the person. Knowing every detail of one’s life, especially a detailed list of past sins is an easy way for a SINister to psychologically manipulate their followers by playing to either their strengths or weaknesses. Do I sound cynical? I hope not, but as one who has suffered spiritual abuse I know what I am saying is true.

 IHOP has been hopping along since 1999 but it has taken them awhile to develop to the place where they have people paying money to serve their vision. It takes time for abusive situations to develop. The initial recruits have to proe themselves to their leaders, who initially are very involved with the people. After some time of people coming and going a core group remains; these become the second tier of leadership. At this point the leader(s) usually back off from contact with the plebeians, (7) apart from the larger gatherings they spend their time “imparting” to tier two leaders and living off the largess generated from the “down-line” dupes in this Ponzi scheme. [I’d make money all day betting Bickle is virtually impossible to get “face time” with by the rank-n-file].

 There are now several credible accounts on the Internet from people long associated with IHOP who have escaped the madness and are now sharing their sad experiences. One Blog account located at truthspeaker.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/is-ihop-a-cult speaks about some common practices in the charismatic experiments formerly mentioned:

 1. Food deprivation (required fasting), 2. sleep deprivation – (praying at all hours of the day and night) Sleep and food depravation are all used as mind control methods! Mike Bickle’s own words: (Matthew 12:37 “for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”) “We require that all our full-time staff missionaries commit themselves to at least 50 hours per week of dedicated service. This includes helping to lead prayer and worship meetings, training missionaries and leaders, evangelism, outreach to the poor, administration of the Missions Base, etc. our missionaries maintain a rigorous prayer life with regular fasting as they serve the poor, sick, and needy in our outreaches.” So, the question is how do you support yourselves? If you have to work a secular job to pay for your food and rent and then are REQUIRED to work another 50 hours per week as a full time staff missionary, this causes SEVERE SENSORY DEPRIVATION! (8)

 Anyone whose studied religious phenomena knows that protracted fasting accompanied with hours of repetitive songs and ecstatic tongues does at least tow things in virtually all people: (1) it causes ones conscious mind, the ability for critical thinking aspects to be diminished, (2) and opens people up to paranormal experiences bypassing one’s normal state of perception. These practices are used as spiritual tools by all religious cultures to attain altered states of consciousness — EXCEPT — orthodox catholic Christianity. (9)

 Even the most cursory reading of any of IHOP’s literature reveals a myriad of paranormal (10) experiences including angelic visitations, visits from Jesus, visits to heaven/hell, out-of-body experiences which are the same results attained by the false religions and cultists whose deception is shown to them in the appropriate religious grab. If a Hindu has a demonic paranormal experience it falls within the context of his religious culture, background, former experience. So, I am not surprised that demons present their deceptions in Christian grab. Isn’t this what Scripture warns us about?

 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (11)

 Prayer, fasting, worship are as we know are godly activities when used in their biblically prescribed forms. However, when they become simply tools and or as spiritual weapons (12) depending upon the context of the gathering, although the atmosphere can change in these meeting in an instant and I mean suddenly from praising Jesus to calling down demonic strongholds with angry shouts, foot stamping, karate kicks in the air (I kid you not); they become twisted and open people up to deception. Never forget what Jesus taught us in:

 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (13)  John 8:31-32

 If we continue in God’s Word, being doers and not hearers only (James 1:22) we shall know the truth ( truth matters, it really does) and the truth we know shall set us free. However, I believe the converse is equally true. Just as the truth of God’s Word sets us free, the misapplication of His Word will put people in bondage, even though they think they are people of the Word.

 There is little contextual validation for using prayer, fasting and praise/worship as either weapons or as means of gaining spiritual power. [A Short Rabbit Trail to be Fair & balanced] I say “little” because of one possible text in:

 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting (15) Mt. 17:18-21

 It would seem that Jesus is saying that “this” specific kind of demon is cast out by means of prayer and fasting. Some interpret this event to mean that since Jesus neither “prayed” nor “fasted” at that moment He was referring to living a fasted life in which one is prayed-up at al times so the disciple will be ready to victoriously encounter the demoniac. Others, say this refers to the need for a specific time of fasting and prayer in preparation to successfully cast out the demon. So if pressed I would agree that prayer and fasting can be used to cast out this specific demon if ever encountered. This text does not teach a doctrine that fasting and prayer is required to cast out all demons. [IHOP abuses prayer, fasting and their concept of worship. [End of the Trail]

 Let’s focus back on the abuse of the people, next month we will deal with the abuse of the three practices that comprise this movement. The formula is like this: Get the people to fast for long periods of time combined with hours of praying in other tongues during virtually their every waking moment liberally sprinkled with dancing, moving around, loud repetitive music both vocal & instrumental. Intersperse during the lulls in these marathon services with quasi preaching exhortations delivered under the emotion that befit’s the mood. (16) The result is like this: A room full of, in Rush Limbaugh lingo, peole with “skulls full of mush.” Within the large group is a sub-group that is highly susceptible to suggestion, probably many more people than we suspect and these folks comprise the swallow-and-follow cadre of devotees. These folks have been taken “captive” by the enemy (2 Timothy 2:26) and they have suspended their rational critical thinking abilities. The fact remains, there are things people will do or believe under duress that they would not act on or accept if in their sober mind (1 Peter 1:13). Many leaders use what I have shared (the less scrupulous SINisters in their ranks) because they know the mechanics work whenever they are applied.

 The following is the testimony of a former prayer-warrior showing how these spiritual practices were really tools for manipulation, spiritual control and abuse:

 1. Mandatory fasts which made me very physically ill. They would never admit to having “mandatory” fasts but when you don’t have any food available, close down the kitchen, give your cook the day off and don’t allow interns to hold jobs (or that they have money to go buy food if they aren’t participating in the fast) then that is called mandatory.

 2. Being practically held hostage in the prayer room and told that it was required that I be there and I was not allowed to leave even though I did not feel well and wanted to go back to my apartment. I was told I needed to stay in the prayer room to be part of the “corporate anointing” and that I shouldn’t leave. It was one of my “required” prayer room sets as an intern so I spent the remainder of that 2-hour set in one of the side prayer rooms in the back sobbing on the floor because I wanted to leave so badly and our internship leaders were standing by the door. You might ask “why didn’t you just force your way out and leave anyway?” When you are part of a cult where free, independent thinking is not condoned when you don’t comply with what is expected of you, very often guilt, manipulation and penalties are instated for those who resist. Interns who didn’t follow “the rules” of the internship were penalized through loss of privileges (such as loss of your day off, having to do extra work/manual labor, etc.)

 3. The grip of control and micro-management increasing: greater demands and restrictions on interns (such as increased pressure to fast more to attain a higher pinnacle of spirituality) being told where we had to sit when in the prayer room, taught a model for how to pray, how to dance, sing, etc. Any form of worship outside of this model was not considered to be acceptable. It had to fit IHOP’s style and method to be admissible.

 4. Mandatory journaling assignments which we had to do weekly and then we had to turn in our journals to be read by internship leaders. (17)

 I do not doubt the validity of the many growing complaints by former IHOP participants. These groups/experiments have always ended up being abusive to its followers. Sometimes they can be pulled back from the brink of becoming labeled an actual cult. This was the case concerning The Jesus People U.S.A. (JEPUSA) located in Chicago. A large and influential charismatic commune that got very heavy-handed and abusive got brought back to some form of orthodoxy via the intervention of people like Dr. Norman Geisler and others. IHOP as an organization is beyond redemption, but the people, often referred to as sheeple can have their eyes opened and be recovered back to usefulness. God delivered Tracy and myself from extremism so I know He can do the same in the lives of others too.

 Next month we will biblically consider the three ingredients that comprise an IHOP meeting prayer, fasting and worship. I believe you will continue to learn why false doctrine produces false practices which often lead to bondage and abuse. Selah.

 Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

 1. Restored false apostle Myles Monroe made this statement to us as elders at an extremist congregation Detroit. Later he wrote a best selling book on “Purpose.”

 2. DMI has an excellent and hard to get book entitled: Shirley Nelson, Fair, Clear, and Terrible: The Story of Shiloh, Maine (Latham, New York: British American Publishing 1989). Nelson was the daughter of former members and it is fascinating and sobering reading. Check for it used at www.abebooks.com

 3. To read more about it check out http://www.ondocrine.com/10robero.htm

 4. Fellow truth-tellers have a good web site & article on Berg at http://www.arcapologetics.org/articles/article17.htm

5. The holy Bible: King James Version 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Is. 62:6-7). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

6. Obtained from www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=100005168o Underlining added for emphasis by the author.

7. Nothing like paying for the privilege to be abused.

 8. If you doubt what I say simply visit any big charismatic Word of Faith church say Word of Faith in Detroit with over 10,000+followers and try to speak personally with Pastor Keith Butler (you will not get past his armed bodyguards, I kid you not). This is common in many charismatic congregations where the pastor is led to and from the pulpit by his or her personal Armor Bearer one of whose duties is to deflect cloying toadies from the SINister.

 9. Obtained from www.truthspeaker.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/is-ihop-a-cult/ Bold type added to honor the text cited.

 10. By “Catholic” I obviously mean universal referring to the “one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith” type of Catholic (I regularly tell people who ask “Oh me? I’m an Evangelical Catholic which never fails to open doors for communication).

 11. I purposefully use the term paranormal to describe these type of events. Only God is supernatural and only His actions are truly supernatural. Paranormal simply means beyond the normal observable realm, a realm I consider the haunt of demons and unclean spirits and all manner of darkness and deception that masquerades as the supernatural.

 12. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009) 2 Co. 11:14-15.

 13. When I was an extremist my wife and I ministered at a congregation led by a restored “Apostle.” We were know as a “warfare church,” in that we waged what we called “strategic level spiritual warfare” using as weapons fasting, long sessions of praying in tongues and protracted praise and worship times.

 14. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009) Jn 8:31-32.

 15. Naturally if you interpret “truth” here to refer to Jesus then simple faith in Him is eternal life, yet I do stand by the fact that a person cannot walk (live by faith, obey, etc…) the Word (portion of the Bible) they do not know. Ignorance is one thing, something that is easily ovrecome through study. Ignorance when combined with scriptural error and the resulting self-deception (see Gal. 6:3) takes the power of God’s Word rightly roclaimed to set at liberty such individuals.

 17. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Mt 17:18-21.

 18. I’ve seen these guys cry at the drop of a hat, then quickly switch gears. If the service atmosphere is somber or too happy either can be manipulated by a skillful charismatic con-artist.

 19. Obtained from www.endtimepropheticwords.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/some-of-my-ihop-%E2%80%Cred-flags%E2%80%9D/ Underlining added for emphasis by the author.





The Word of Faith Cult & the Atonement

22 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 4 – The Word Of Faith Cult & the Atonement – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Word of Faith Cult & the Atonement

The Easter Issue

Due to the faithful sacrificial giving of several individuals Discernment Ministries International is able to print another issue of Truth Matters. A dear couple has committed to help DMI get the website back online and with their (and others) help in a short time our web site will be back up on the Internet “Teaching Truth & Exposing Error.” We thank God for all our partners and especially give Him thanks for those individuals who heeded our recent plea for financial support. Truly Easter is a time of “resurrection.”

His servant and yours,

Rev. Bob Liichow

__________________________________ 

The Word of Faith Cult & the Atonement

By Bob Liichow & Moreno DeBallo

Since it is Easter time I thought it would be beneficial for us to study what is being preached, taught and unfortunately believed by millions of professing Christians around the world regarding the atonement of Jesus Christ.

There are some issues which we as Christians can disagree upon, things we Lutherans call “adiaphora” or “things indifferent,” such as the wearing of vestments, the exact age of communing a child, when Christmas is celebrated, length of a worship service, etc.

However, there are certain core beliefs which all Christians must agree about in order to be considered genuine believers. The atonement of Christ on our behalf is one of those central doctrines of the Church.

Unfortunately the Church has been deluged with a blasphemous heresy regarding the atonement for over forty years now. Many of the most prominent charismatic televangelists believe and teach what shall be shared in the rest of this article.

Lest anyone think that their favorite televangelist surely does not teach such error allow me to cite just a few of the most well know purveyors of this damnable poison: Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin Jr. , Fred Price, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jessie Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Norval Hayes and Charles Capps to name just a few.

On the cross the satanic nature entered Jesus at the point of spiritual death upon the cross. It was then that He literally became sin and was separated from God. The spiritual death of Jesus transformed Him from a man into a mortal and satanic creation. Kenneth Copeland ‘enlightens’ us, “See you have to realize that He (Jesus) died; you have to realize that He went into the pit of hell as a mortal man made sin. But He didn’t stay there, thank God. He was reborn in the pit of Hell and resurrected.”   (54)

Furthermore, we are told by Copeland that while in hell Christ’s “…emaciated, poured out, little, wormy spirit…” (55)  was tortured by Satan and every demon in hell without legal right. The reason given by Copeland as to why Jesus could not be detained in hell is that Jesus was not an actual sinner but was only made sin as the result of the sins of others, plus the fact that Satan had forgotten this detail Copeland says, “The Devil forgot to take into consideration that Jesus hadn’t sinned Himself but, rather had merely become sin as a result of the sin of others.” (56)  I don’t know how stupid Copeland thinks Satan is, but it is very difficult to perceive how the wisest of God’s creature could simply forget such a truth. Where is the evidence to sustain all of this in Scripture anyway? Conveniently, what Copeland and others fail to find support for in the Bible is attributed to personal conversations with God or His Son, as has so often been the case with other espousers of ‘new truth’.

This apparently was the opening God had been awaiting. We are told that God spoke forth words of faith into hell, and as Copeland articulates: “…that Word of the Living God went down into the pit of destruction and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power! Suddenly His twisted, death-wrack spirit began to fill out and come back to life. He began to look like something the Devil had never seen before. He began to flex his spiritual muscles…Jesus was born again–the first born from the dead.”   (57)

This is nothing but sheer fantasy. Copeland twists the meaning of first born from the dead (Col. 1:18), from that of pre-eminence, to the false notion of Christ’s being born again. What possible need would Jesus, the sinless and Holy Son of the Holy God have to be born again? This teaching, perhaps more than others we have discussed, does away with the truth that Jesus is unchangeable, and strips Him of His eternal deity!  (Heb. 13:8).  This false teaching unveils Copeland’s ignorance and distinct lack of understanding of Biblical terminology, his total disregard for Bible scholars, the most eminent theologians and Church history. Not surprisingly, these sources are often ridiculed by Copeland and other Faith leaders.

The fable does not end here. Charles Capps teaches that the outcome of all this was the birth of the Church! Capps says, “Jesus was born again in the pit of hell. He was the firstborn, the first begotten, from the dead. He started the church of the firstborn in the gates of hell…He went down to the gates and started His Church there…The Church started when Jesus was born again in the gates of hell.” (58)  Not only was the Incarnate Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ born again in hell, but according to Capps, the very Church of Christ can trace its roots to the gates of hell!

This teaching is so preposterous that I will give only the briefest response by answering with the truth that the birth of the Church, as any Christian knows, began on the day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2.

Best-selling author Benny Hinn gives this piece of ‘revelation knowledge’ to his hearers: “My, you know, whoosh! The Holy Ghost is just showing me some stuff. I’m getting dizzy! I’m telling you the truth–it’s, it’s just heavy right now on me…He’s (referring to Jesus) in the underworld now. God isn’t there, the Holy Ghost isn’t there, and the Bible says He was begotten. Do you know what the word begotten means? It means reborn. Do you want another shocker? Have you been begotten? So was he. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Jesus was reborn. You say, ‘What are you talking about?’…He was reborn. He had to be reborn…if He was not reborn, I would never be reborn. How can I face Jesus and say, ‘Jesus you went through everything I’ve gone through, except the new birth?”   (59)

Despite Hinn’s claims to divine revelation, the word begotten does not mean reborn. The true meaning of the word begotten is simply born, or to be born. It has nothing to do with being reborn. A moment of basic Bible study will reveal that Jesus is referred to as the only begotten from the Father (NASB), or, the one and only Son who came from the Father (NIV) (John 1:14; cf. John 1:18; 3:16), which stresses the unique nature of our Lord, Hebrews 1:5, “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee,” is a reference to Christ’s resurrection. God raised up Christ from the dead and imparted life to His body, and, as Albert Barnes notes, “By His own power restored Him; and hence is said figuratively to have begotten Him from the dead.” (60) (cf. Psa. 2:7; Acts 13:33). The resurrection was a type of begetting to life, or its beginning (Rev. 1:5).

Copeland accentuates the issue (note his subtle changing of the word firstborn to reborn), by saying “It is important for us to realize that a born again man defeated Satan…Colossians 1:18 refers to Jesus as the firstborn from the dead…He was the first man to be reborn under the new covenant.” (61)

The original Greek word for firstborn (prototokos), speaks not of being born again, but of primacy; headship and pre-eminence. Colossians 1:18 (cf. Rom. 8:29), simply denotes Christ’s supremacy over all creation, as the context of Colossians 1 will bare out (cf. Col. 1:15). The remainder of v. 18, …among the dead, is a reference to Christ’s bodily resurrection, not of a mythical spiritual death from which He needed to be reborn. Michael Moriarty expounds: “Scripture is clear that the term ‘firstborn’ is used to refer to the physical birth of the first child born into a family, but also speaks of a person’s position, rank or status. For example, in Israel the firstborn son has special birthrights and privileges. He succeeded his father as head of the house and received a larger portion of the inheritance; these were his birthrights. The nation of Israel is also called God’s ‘firstborn’ and received special blessings and privileges as compared with the heathen nations (Ex. 4:22). In this same way Jesus is called the firstborn (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:6). The term has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus being born again; such an option is completely foreign to the Biblical text and is much closer to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ understanding of this word (firstborn = first created), than it is to orthodox Christianity’s.  Jesus Christ is the Pre-eminent One, the first Heir to all creation. The N.T. calls Jesus the firstborn in reference to His exalted position and firstborn right of inheritance. He is first in rank and has first place in everything. ‘ And He is the Head of the body, the Church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.” (Col.1:18).   (62)

Kenneth Hagin, who on occasion has denied that he has ever taught such things, clearly does so in this statement, “Why did He (Jesus) need to be begotten, or born? Because He became like we were; separated from God. Because He tasted spiritual death for every man….Jesus was the first person that was ever born again.”   (63)

Gloria Copeland, in her book God’s Will, says, After Jesus was made sin, He had to be born again…(Therefore) Jesus is a born again man. This is the same new birth that the Good News of the Gospel still offers to any man who will accept it.” To teach that Jesus needed to undergo a new birth is to teach that He at one time had an unregenerate and sinful nature, which is precisely what these Faith teachers would have us believe. It is to deny the indisputable fact that Jesus is the eternal God and has always been God.  According to Hebrews 13:8, Jesus cannot change in essence. He is eternal. There is no beginning, no end and NO INTERRUPTION to His Godhood! (cf. Mal. 3:6; John 5:26; Phil. 2:6).

As we approach the next chapter, one may be thinking, ‘where are all these extraordinary teachings leading to? The following statement made by Kenneth Copeland will show exactly where. It will take us to the precipice and then plunge us head first into an age old lie. The Serpent’s lie!! Copeland declares: The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, “Son realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your tradition trip you up.’ He said, ‘Think this way–a twice born man whipped Satan in his own domain.’ And I threw my Bible down…like that. I said, ‘What? He said ‘A born again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him.’ He said ‘You are the very image, the very copy of that one.’ I said, ‘Goodness, gracious sakes alive!’ And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, ‘Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could’ve done the same thing, cause you’re a reborn man too.”  (64)

If ever there was an absolute departure from the Word of God, from the most basic understanding of what the Bible teaches, this is it. Kenneth Copeland, a mere man, not only claims that he could have redeemed mankind by defeating Satan in hell, but he dares attribute this nonsense as being communicated to him directly by the Holy Spirit!!

If Copeland could have redeemed us, then we also could have done the same thing. We could all have been our own saviours were it not for our lack of knowledge! The Christian is to be on guard against false doctrine, especially when it is presented to him with a smile and in an authoritative manner, Oftentimes, such ‘new truth’ is presented to the eager listener as God’s very own Words.

Thus far, we have investigated the Faith movement’s claims that Christ’s death on the cross was not enough to atone for our sins; that Christ had to die spiritually for every man; that He took upon Himself the satanic nature; and that He needed to suffer the agonies of hell and become born again in order to acquire the redemption of mankind. And the outcome of all this, so Kenneth Copeland believes, is that, “He (Jesus) was the pattern of a new race of men.”   (65)

One always needs to be aware of the origins of a doctrine and where it leads. Perhaps the underlying reason for this massive straying from Scriptural soundness on the part of Faith leaders, has been to lead us to the subject at hand: The Deification of Men!

No words can better illustrate what the Faith leaders teach concerning the rebirth and what it means for us, than the following statement made by Benny Hinn:

“When you were born again the Word was made flesh in you. And you became flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Don’t tell me you have Jesus. You are everything He was and everything He is and ever shall be…It (the new man) says, ‘I am as He is.’ That’s what is says…As He is, so are we in this world. Jesus said, ‘Go in My name go in My stead.’ Don’t say, ‘I have.’ Say, ‘I am, I am, I am, I am, I am.!   (66)

Most recently, Hinn has declared, “When you say, ‘I am a Christian,’ you are saying, ‘I am mashiach’ in the Hebrew. I am a little messiah walking on earth, in other words. That is a shocking revelation….May I say it like this? You are a little god on earth running around.”   (67)

The Faith movement and certain charismatics hold that upon being born again, Jesus’ divine nature returned to Him, and subsequently every born again person has also been infused with God’s own nature. 2 Peter 1:4  is the verse that is quoted to prove that we have the nature of God,”…that by these (promises) you might be partakers of the divine nature…” Note that Peter here has said that we might be partakers of His divine nature not essence. The verse is simply saying that we may become partakers of God’s attributes, His divine qualities not His divinity for God has said,” …I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me”  (Isa. 43:10).

In order to better understand who Copeland says we are, we need to grasp just who he believes Adam was. Copeland believes that:

“God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself and in the Garden of Eden He did just that (Adam) was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even…Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as JesusAdam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh.” (68)

The Faith movement does not adhere to the Biblical teaching of Adam and what happened at the Fall. They believe that Adam inherited Satan’s nature at the Fall and that this was our condition before becoming born again partakers of the divine nature. Kenneth Hagin expounds on this concept and believes that not only was Adam God manifest in the flesh, but that we are all just as much incarnations of God as Jesus was!! Hagin states, “Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” (69)   It would appear from this statement that Satan’s lie in the Garden of Eden, “ye shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5), has taken on yet another façade. Hagin’s claim divests the word incarnation of its unique reference to Jesus Christ (John 1:14), and turns a one time act into a daily occurrence!

Hank Hanegraaff makes the observation that the whole idea of an incarnation only makes sense if a person existed prior to having a physical body, He explains: “….while the bible clearly declares Christ to be pre-existent (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5), nowhere in Scripture do we find the concept of human pre-existence. In fact, human pre-existence remains a concept relegated largely to such cults as Mormonism. The fact that Christians are indwelt by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (John 14:17,23) in no way implies that the Bible endorses the concept of incarnation for Christians.”   (70)

It is unsettling enough that many such claims are coming out of the Faith movement. What is of greater concern however, is the fact that they are being all too readily accepted as Christian teaching, which should make the disciple of Christ wonder just what is happening in Christianity today. One has commented that the Faith movement has infiltrated Christianity, not unlike the New Age invasion of the world’s affairs. If there are any who doubt that the Faith leaders are proclaiming that all Christians are gods, please read on.

Kenneth Copeland makes the bold announcement that, “You don’t have a God living in you, you are one!”  (71)   And again, “God has been reproduced on the inside of you.” (72)  Kenneth Hagin also promotes this tenet when he says, “This eternal life He came to give us is the nature of God.” He then adds, “It is in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to one human spirit…Zoe, then, means eternal life, or God’s life. This new kind of life is God’s nature…Even many in the great body of Full Gospel people do not know that the new birth is a real incarnation…Jesus was first divine, and then He was human. So He was in the flesh a divine-human being. I was first human, and so were you, but I was born of God, and so I became a human-divine being!”   (73)

Hagin here elevates himself to the rank of a god. His view is that we are all god-men as was God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The view is similar to Nestorianism, a 5th century heresy which was condemned by Church leaders at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431. Michael Moriarty explains: “This view, developed by the scholarly monk Nestorius (ca. 381 – ca 452), taught that the Word did not actually become flesh (John 1:14) but only united Himself to a human being. Christ was in effect a God-bearer rather than the God-man. Nestorius ended up making Christ out to be a man in whom, in Siamese twin fashion, the divine and human natures were combined in a mechanical union rather than in an organic union of natures, Hagin’s view of the incarnation is very similar to the fifth-century Nestorian heresy.” (74)

The concept which teaches that, at conversion, we become spirit-gods who merely reside in human bodies is Gnostic in origin and is also touted by Gloria Copeland. She states in her article ‘A Fast Brings New Direction’, in Christian Life magazine, “When we are born again we become a spirit being in a flesh body.”

Gnostic belief held that material creation is evil, but the sparks of divinity have been encapsulated in the bodies of certain ‘spiritual’ individuals who have been destined for salvation.

Kenneth Copeland makes his views quite clear when he says, “You need to realize that you are not a spiritual schizophrenic—half God and half Satan–you are all God.” (75)   One can easily identify whose fingerprints are impressed upon this teaching and others that we have mentioned specifically in this chapter, for they all promote the Devil’s lie to Eve in the Garden”…ye shall be as gods…” (Gen 3:5).

There has not been much analysis of these teachings in this issue of Truth Matters because they are self-damning. However, we will take a closer look at the most poplar passage from Scripture applied by Faith teachers to support their ‘little-gods’ theory, John 10:31 – 39. In v. 34 we see Jesus addressing the Jews and saying, “Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods?” Jesus is here responding to his opponents with an ironical use of Psalm 82:6, where God condemns the unrighteous judges of Israel for their self-righteous attitude and pride. These judges sinned by showing partiality towards the wicked rather than defending the weak. Psalm 82:7 is one verse you will never hear from the mouth of Faith leaders. After calling these judges gods, God says in the next verse, “But ye shall die like men…”

Jesus was reminding the Jews that the Scriptures called Israel’s judges gods, not because they were in any way divine, but because of their roles as representatives of divine justice. Moses and the judges in Exodus were also referred to as gods because they, like God, held the power of life and death (Ex. 4:15, 16; 6:28 – 7:2; 21:6; 22:8,9). The word gods is used symbolically to show that the judges were the representatives of God. God told Moses in Exodus 1, “I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”, an obvious reference to Moses’ being as a god, not literally divine. Walter Martin comments on John 10:34, “Jesus mocks the people as if to say, ‘You all think you’re gods yourselves. What’s one more god among you? Irony is used to provoke us, not to inform us. It is not a basis for building a theology.”   (76)

The idea that we, or any created being can be like God is a lie of Satan’s. It was this very desire–to be like God– that brought the fall of Lucifer (Isa. 14:14). There is only one God– there shall only ever be one God (Deut. 5:35,39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 7:22; Isa. 43:10; 44:6; 45:5,6; 21:22; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; Gal. 4:8). No one is as God is, neither is anyone even remotely like God.

The Faith movement doctrine which purports that being born again means we become as Christ was–a God-bearing people–a new race of men, was also presented to the Church during the 4th century, and is known as the Appolinarian heresy. John 1:12,13 is used as a proof text that we share God’s divinity. The fundamental difference between Jesus as the Son of God and the Christian as a son of God, is that He is the only begotten of God, and we are adopted sons. Contrary to Copeland’s claim that “Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son of God”, the Bible tells us that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son (John 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:9). Jesus remained the second Person of the Trinity when He became flesh. We are not an incarnation we are not gods in the flesh. We are never spoken of in Scripture as being incarnations of God. The notion that man is, or ever will be, a god is only ever spoken of in Scripture as idolatry and blasphemy.

These declarations of men are more at home with the ravings of Orange People guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who once exclaimed, “When you call Jesus, really you have called me. When you call me, really you have called Jesus.” (78) Or that of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of Transcendental Meditation fame, “Be still and know that you are God.” (79) Faith teachers have yet another infamous comrade in Jim Jones, who taught, “It is written that ye are gods. I’m a god and you’re a god…until I see all of you knowing who you are, I’m gonna be very much what I am—God, Almighty God.”

As this article has shown the Word of Faith cult is teaching another Jesus and another non-biblical view of the atonement of Jesus Christ. As Christians we can disagree about many things, but when it comes to the Person and Work of Christ we can not accept any divergent view that deviates one iota from the Apostolic teachings held by the Church for the last two thousand years. Mr. Copeland and his ilk have placed themselves outside the boundaries of the Church and must not be considered genuine Christians until they repent and recant their heretical teachings concerning Jesus Christ and especially His work on the cross. ♦

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

54. K. Copeland, audiotape #00-0303, op, cit.

55. K. Copeland, “Believer’s Voice of Victory” program 21 April 1991. This massage was originally delivered at the Full Gospel Motorcycle Rally Association 1990. Rally at Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas.

56. K. Copeland, audiotape #00-0303, op. cit. Side B

57. K. Copeland, “The Price of It All”, Believer’s Voice of Victory 19, 9 Sept. 1991; 4-6

58. C. Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, op. cit p. 212-213.

59. B. Hinn, “Our Position in Christ, Part 1”, Orlando, FL: Orlando Christian Centre, 1991, videotape # TV – 254

60. A. Barnes, op. cit. p. 461

61. K. Copeland :Jesus our Lord of Glory”, 3 op. cit.

62. M. Moriarty, op. cit. p. 375

63. K. Hagin, How Jesus Obtained His Name, Tulsa: Rhema audiotape #44H01.

64. K. Copeland, Substitution and identification, K. Copeland Ministries, 1989, audiotape #00-0203, Side B

65. K. Copeland, audiotape #00-303, op. cit.

66. B. Hinn, “Our Position in Christ” #2 The Word Made Flesh”, Orlando, FL. Orland Christian Centre, 1991 audiotape #A031190-2 Side B.

67. B. Hinn, “Praise-a-Thon” program on TBN, 6 November 1990.

68. K. Copeland “Following the Faith of Abraham 1” , Side A, Fort Worth, Texas K Copeland Ministries, 1989, audiotape #01-3001.

69. K. Hagin, “The Incarnation”, The Word of Faith magazine, 13, 12 (Dec. 1980); 14

70. H. Hanegraaff. Op. cit. p. 176.

71. K. Copeland, “The Force of Love”, Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, n.d. audiotape BCC-56.

72. K. Copeland, “the Force of Righteousness”, Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Minstries, 1984, p 12.

73. K. Hagin, Zoe: The god-Kind of Life, Tulsa, OK Faith Library, 1981 p. 40.

74. M. Moriarty, op. cit p. 332

75. K. Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory, march 1982, p. 2

76. W. Martin, “Ye Shall Be As Gods” The Agony of Deceit, ed. M.A. Horton, Chicago: Moody, 1990. P. 97.

77. K. Copeland, How We Are in Christ Jesus, fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, n.d. p. 24.





The Cult of Personality Is Crumbling

20 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 2 – The Cult of Personality Is Crumbing – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Cult of Personality Is Crumbling

By Rev. Bob Liichow

The following article is written by Gillian Flaccus – Associated Press Writer on 2/1/2009. The highlighting italics and underlining were added by DMI for emphasis.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Once one of the nation’s most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life’s work crumble. His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled mega church is home to the “Hour of Power” broadcast, an evangelism staple that’s been on the air for more than three decades.

The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County Property to pay off debts. Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, Schuller Sr. implored the Eagle’s Club members – who supply 30 percent of the church’s revenue – for donation and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support.

“The final months of 2008 were devastating for our ministry,” the 82-year old pastor wrote.

The Crystal Cathedral blames the recession for its woes. But it’s clear that the elder Schuller’s carefully orchestrated leadership transition, planned over a decade, has stumbled badly. It’s a problem common to personality driven ministries. Most have collapsed or been greatly diminished after their founders pulpit or died.

Members often tie their donations to the pastor, not the institution, said Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University. Schuller, with a style that blends pop psychology and theology, has a particularly devoted following, she said. “Viewers are probably much less likely to give when it’s not their preacher they’re giving to,” she said. “There’s something about these televised programs where people develop a certain loyalty.”

Today’s increasingly fragmented media landscape is also to blame, said Quentin Schultze, a Calvin College professor who specializes in Christian media. Church-based televangelism led by powerful personalities filled TV in the 1980s, but now only a handful of shows remain, he said. Among the struggling ministries are those of Oral Roberts and the late D. James Kennedy of “The Coral Ridge Hour” TV show. “I don’t see a scenario for maintaining a TV-based mega church anymore. The days of doing that in the models of Schuller and Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts are over,” Schultze said. “It’s amazing to me that the ‘Hour of Power’ was able to keep going as long as it did.”

Through a spokesman Schuller Sr., his family members and other cathedral officials declined to comment. The younger Schuller, 54, did not respond to an e-mail requesting an interview. The elder Schuller, who called his weekly show “America’s Television Church,” founded his ministry in a drive-in-theater after moving to Southern California in 1955.

He studied marketing strategies to attract worshippers and preached a feel-good Christianity, describing himself as a “possibility thinker” and spinning his upbeat style into a 10,000-member church and a broadcast watched by millions worldwide. The church’s main sanctuary, the Crystal Cathedral, is a landmark designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, with a spire visible from afar amid Orange County’s suburban sprawl. Thousands make the pilgrimage to see where the broadcast is filmed before a live congregation. The Schullers consider the church a family business and the younger Schuller’s 2006 appointment was sanctioned by the Crystal Cathedral’s parent denomination, the Reformed Church in America.

But the church announced on Nov. 29, that Schuller Jr. had resigned as senior pastor, just a month after he was removed from the church’s syndicated broadcasts. In a news release, Schuller Sr. said: “Robert and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry.” The church since instituted a rotating roaster of high-profile guest preachers, including Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area mega church, and evangelist Luis Palau.

Schuller Sr.’s daughter and sons-in-law remain involved in the church, some in key roles. But Juan Carlos Ortiz, the interim senior pastor, hopes to appoint a senior pastor with no ties to the Schuller family within two years.

On the church Web site, concerned members and TV fans have posted hundreds of comments protesting the upheaval, with some indicating they have stopped giving or will leave altogether.

Several angry viewers have launched petitions to get the younger Schuller back. Melody Mook, a 58-year-old medical transcriptionist from El Paso, Texas, said she stopped her $25 monthly donation and is looking elsewhere for her spiritual needs. She said she dislikes the guest pastors. “I feel hurt and confused and I’m not sure that I want to sit and watch when I know there’s problems beneath the surface,” she said. “You feel like you’re in somebody else’s church every Sunday.” Others said they felt betrayed that the Schullers couldn’t put God before their family spat. “They have not been forthcoming at all,” said John Dewart, an insurance agent from New Jersey who’s watched for 30 years. “Why can’t a father and son work together for the glory of God.? That’s my big question.”

(End of Article)

For years, even when I was a raving charismatic one thing I always disagreed with was the practice of naming ministries, later I learned were really SINistries ) after the people who started them. When you put your name on something it points to you and if you are in ministry my advice is for you to always point to Jesus Christ the One who are supposed to be serving.

So the article by Flaccus should not come as any surprise. When various so-called works of God that are built upon fallen men or women will begin to crumble and fall when their founders begin to die off. I can promise you that any work that is bearing the name of a man will bear some of the marks of a cult of personality. I am referring to works men name after themselves, not names given by others posthumously.

For example, Oral Roberts reported that no less than God Himself told him never to touch the “three G’s.” The three g’s are (1) the gold, (2) the glory and (3) the girls. Well Oral seems to have been obedient with number 3, he is the husband of one wife with no hint of adultery. He failed with number one, he is phenomenally wealthy and number two he did name his university after himself, i.e. “Oral Roberts University,” and his SINistry is called “Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.” So is it any wonder with Oral and his deathbed that his son Richard is having trouble keeping the ORU ship afloat not to mention the television aspect of the work? After all, these things bear Oral’s name and not Richard’s. At best he stands in the shadow of his allegedly anointed father, a shadow Richard never could nor will outgrow.

Benny Hinn Media Ministries, is one of the “official” names of Mr. Hinn’s moneymaking machine. When he dies it will not continue. Why not? Because it is built around Mr. Hinn there is no “ministry.” The same can be said of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Jerry Savelle Ministries, Jesse Duplantis Ministries, Ed Dufresne Ministries, Marilyn Hickey Ministries, ad nauseam.

None of the above were created to live any longer than their flawed founders, apart from their specious books and tapes. None of them has any plans to really continue after the deaths of their namesakes. These leaders are not interested in raising up disciples because their operations are one-man shows. NEVER FORGET THIS FACT! It is all about Benny Hinn, Kenny Copeland, Joyce and Jesse.

Perhaps the one exception to the rule might be Marilyn Hickey Ministries. Marilyn is getting pretty long in the tooth so to speak and is not in the best of health. So a couple of years back she brought her daughter Sarah along side her. However, Sarah lacks the abilities her first-grade teacher mom has in communicating to audiences. She does try to use the same aphorisms and gestures as Marilyn but she ain’t Marilyn and when Marilyn dies that work will decrease to infecting people on a local church level as opposed to the current global level of infection.

I suppose in retrospect it is somewhat of a good thing that these SINisters thought only of themselves when they got started out. Because they have a built in self-destruct button in the form of their death (and I do not care how much faith you have, there is still one death per person).

In closing, I find it interesting that I cannot find one biblically sound television ministry that is named after a living person, man or woman. Names have meaning names indicate things and point people in certain directions. Biblically, names are important and often have prophetic meaning. Thus, I think the very act of consciously naming of a work (that is supposed to be about Jesus) after oneself speaks volumes abut the direction that work will take. Jesus’ words are as true today as they will be forever when He says “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” 

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow





“HEARING” THE VOICE OF GOD

23 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 4 – “Hearing the Voice of God – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Hearing the Voice of God

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

One of the most frustrating things for me as a charismatic extremist was hearing the various testimonies of my teachers regarding hearing the voice of God. All of these men and women made it abundantly clear to us mere sheep that they were in fact in daily, if not, moment-to-moment communication with the Ancient of Days.

Usually their sermons or lessons began with statements like “ I was in prayer the other night and the Lord said to me ‘son why don’t you explain what faith is to My people’ and I said yes Lord and He opened my eyes to the scriptures like never before.” Obviously, we as the hearers upon hearing this statement buckled down in our seats, got out our pens and took notes on what was divinely revealed to the speaker (you can insert almost anyone’s name e.g. Ken Hagin, Copeland, Savelle, Dollar, Price, Jakes, White, Meyer, Dupantis, Hayes, et al.). After their stirring words we little sheep would wander to our homes wondering what did it take to actually “hear the voice of God”? We were literally in awe of people like Kenneth Hagin senior who said on a regular basis that God was more “real to him then his wife.” Also, Mr. Hagin was a man who claimed to have had at least seven (7) direct face-to-face encounters with the risen Christ, during which encounters Mr. Hagin was given revelations which became some of the body of his teachings {doctrine}. Obviously Mr. Hagin and many of our other teachers had a relationship with Jesus Christ that we did not have. Hagin used to share an anecdote that went something like this: “A man told me he was afraid of anyone who said God spoke to them, I answered him back and said I was afraid of anyone who God didn’t speak to!” In context let me add that Hagin was not talking about God speaking through His Word, he meant God speaking directly to us as individuals. Hagin’s position was that it was normative for God to speak to His children.

This obviously lack of intimate fellowship with the Godhead that our teachers seemed to have led many of us “on-fire” saints (me included) on the “hunt” for obtaining such an equally close fellowship with our Lord and Savior. After all, who does not want to “hear” the Holy Spirit say directly to them “go this way, turn left on Elm, “ or marry this woman,” or “accept this job position, it is My will.” Hearing from “God” on that level would take all of the guesswork out of life. If a person could hear so clearly from the Lord it would equal an error-free life (something God nowhere promises any of us in His Word) assuming the individual heeded everything the Lord told Him directly.

I’ll let you in on one of charismania’s dirty little secrets. A large portion of what charismatic teachers offer to those who will follow can be condensed into the claim that they (the teacher) possesses some spiritual experience which can be anyone’s if they will learn how to “tap in” as their teacher did. This experience can include some of the following examples: receiving revelation knowledge, receiving divine healing; walking in divine life; increasing the anointing in one’s life; achieving financial prosperity among other claims. Naturally merely attending a conference will probably not give one any of the above abilities. Thus the seeker is urged by the SINister or his or her shills to purchase books, tapes and DVD’s on the experience being sought, all of which happen to be for sale, authored by the SINister just outside the arena (all major credit cards accepted).

Apart from the extraordinary gifts, such as the power to heal or work miracles, every charismatic teacher claims to hear directly from God. The old expression “from God’s lips to my ear” would be wildly accepted by these people. Most Christian’s will accept that they will probably not work miracles or heal the lame, but at least they can hear from God can’t they?

The question is a simple one —does the Bible teach that the children of God would in fact hear His voice and be led by Him directly and individually? It does not matter how many people vociferously declare that God speaks to them directly to their spirits. As discerning Christians we must always go back and look at what the Bible teaches concerning this or any other matter being foist upon us.

Really the challenge is in the court of the charismatic extremists to prove to us biblically that it is the practice of God to speak individually to His children. The spiritual enthusiast has two general responses to this challenge. The popular response today (at least since the Holy Laughter paranormal manifestations) has been well expressed by Jack Deere, a former Dallas Theological Seminary professor who went off the spiritual rails so to speak:

God can and does give personal words of direction to believers today that cannot be found in the Bible. I do not believe that he gives direction that contradicts the Bible, but direction that cannot be found in the Bible.

According to Dr. Deere, John Arnott and a host of other charismatic leaders God speaks to His children all the time, gives them guidance, but it is of such a type that cannot be verified biblically. The best they can say is that any supernatural direction given, whether through dreams, visions, apparitions or voices will not violate the Bible!

This is the same type of argument that John Arnott (former pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Church i.e. vortex of the holy laughter nonsense) gave me personally in our e-mail correspondence. Mr. Arnott in answering my concerns regarding all the non-biblical manifestations my wife and I eye witnessed in his congregation was simply to begin by citing John 21:25

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25 (KJV)

Arnott’s response to me was simply that what was taking place in the outpouring of the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit was nothing new, it just was not recorded in the Bible for us to read about. Holy Laughter, making animal noises, being slain in the spirit, uncontrollable jumping, jerking and running are simply part of the “many other things” Jesus did as well !!!

I responded by asking Arnott how can we know that what is happening is biblical if the Bible is silent on this specific matter? What are we to use as our guide pertaining to spiritual matters? His response was to direct me to all the good fruit being borne by the revival, the joy, the laughter, the changed lives of those undergoing these manifestations.

In the words of the arch-heretic Kenneth Copeland “that dog won’t hunt!” If the best Arnott can do is point me to subjective paranormal experiences that some people were undergoing as proof that it was “God” at work then he has a great deal to learn about religious experiences. I can take Arnott to various ashrams where the same manifestations are being experienced by the devotees of various power gurus and these followers will give passionate explanation of how their lives have been changed.

Appealing to anything other than the Bible as the final arbitrator of doctrine and experience is to leave oneself wide open to demonic deception, delusion, and disappointment. What today’s charismatic enthusiasts want the Church to do is simply accept their teachings, experiences and practices on the power of their word alone, not on the authority of God’s Word.

I warned Mr. Arnott that he and those like him were in danger of becoming a cult due to their going down the same pathway all the Bible-based cults have gone. The reason we call them “Bible-based” cults is due to their claim to believe in the Bible, however God has given them further revelation whether it is in the form of the New World Translation of the JW’s, or the Book of Mormon, The Divine Principle, The Scripture Keys to Science and Health or the Mo Letters. So for these cults it boils down to a formula like — The Bible + new revelations/writings {guess which ends up being authoritative }. Many charismatic are in the same place — The Bible + new revelations, fortunately the Bible still seems to hold ultimate authority in may of their lives.

The second response to our apologetic challenge is a finally turning to the Bible and cherry pick examples that seem to fit their particular belief or practice. In the case of our topic, they will show us people God talked to and use these examples to attempt to prove these encounters as normative. This is GREAT! Always guide the discussion with these misguided folks back to the Bible, because we both can agree that it is God’s Word and as Christians It is binding on our lives. So then the weight is upon us to prove our position is in fact – the biblical one.

Who “Heard” the voice of God?

Old Testament

Adam & Eve: Obviously we can start with them. They not only heard the voice of God, but also walked with Him in the cool of the garden (Genesis 2:3). Obviously none of us can use Adam and Eve as our examples of fellowship with God since after they sinned and were kicked out of the garden their face-to-face communication ceased with the Lord.

Noah: Yes Noah heard from God directly. Since it had never rained on the earth until the flood I’m sure the Lord had some things to make clear to Noah, such as the directions on building the ark and who to place within it. (Gen. 6:9). Noah conversations with the Lord can hardly be normative since it involved the salvation of mankind.

Job: Only towards the end of the book of Job (Job 38-42) do we read of Job having a divine communication from the Lord.

Abraham: Over the entire span of his long life Abraham heard directly from the Lord in various manners only 16 times, hardly a daily ongoing conversation between The Ancient of Days of the patriarch of the faith!

Sarah: She only was spoken to once, which she initially denied saying what she had said (read Gen 18).

Moses: He holds the “record” of hearing from God, but then leading a few million Jews no doubt required quite a bit of direction. We read are approximately 85 times when God spoke to Moses. Again the majority of these times had to do specifically with the economy of God and the leading of God’s people.

Aaron: Moses’ brother and first high priest, he heard from God about 14 times, again always involving serious matters.

Joshua: The man who replaced Moses and led the people across the Jordan — again only around 13 or so experiences with the “voice of God” in his life.

Samuel: The great prophet of the Lord, we know at the beginning of his ministry the Lord spoke to him and he did not even recognize the Lord’s voice (1 Sam. 3) How the “word of the Lord” came to him and the other prophets we are not always told. We do know that in Samuel’s time the “word of the Lord was rate” (3:1) and there were few visions. What I am focusing our attention on is direct, personal communication from God to individuals.

David: The sweet psalmist of Israel, you’d think he would had daily running conversations with the Lord (like Hagin, Copeland, and others claim), But, no, go read the accounts of his life again and you’ll find less than 12 direct encounters Person-to-person.

Solomon: One of Israel’s most blessed kings, wisest of all O.T. personages, he only had 3 experiences hearing directly from the Lord. (read 1 Kings, 3:5-14; 9:2-9; 11:11-13).

My brothers and sisters there are many other O.T. examples I could cite, but these examples should make it very clear that people in general never personally heard God’s voice. Even God’s specially chosen vessels, rarely heard His voice and when they did it was regarding salvation’s history in some form or another.

The charismatic belief that throughout biblical history God is just chattering away to His people simply doesn’t stand up to any close examination of the Bible. Of course many within the charismatic movement will point that we are “New Testament” believers, ergo we should consider the New Testament as our “norm.” Ok, let’s take a quick look through the New Testament.

New Testament

Again our sign-gift inclined brethren would have us believe that under the new covenant we find our heavenly Father speaking to His children on a regular basis, leading and guiding them via personal speaking, dreams, visions and even angels. However, as Christians we must allow the Bible to be our guide, not subjective personal experiences. We know that during Jesus’ ministry when God spoke it was at times considered thunder by those who heard it (see John 12:29). On the Mount of Transfiguration when Peter, John and James did hear the audible voice of God they were speechless (see Mark 9). There is absolutely no evidence that “God” apart from the personal earthly ministry of Jesus, God and Son, ever spoke internally to any of the disciples in the Gospels.

As a former charismatic I’d be quick to argue that the Book of Acts is really the template for the Church and that’s where will find God speaking to about everyone. I also used to believe that miracles were commonplace and were being wrought by just about every Miriam, Peter and John. Folks the truth is, as with hearing the voice of God, very few people were ever used by God throughout the entire Bible to work a miracle. Think about it, write them all down and you will have a very short list. Common sense dictates that if miracles where commonplace then they would cease to be “miraculous.”

Well if one reads the Book of Acts carefully one will discover that the vast majority of the times we read of God speaking directly or even indirectly, say through an angel, less than twenty times and the majority of these times were involving the Apostle Peter and Paul. The few others so specifically guided by God were folks like Agabus (a prophet), Cornelius (whose salvation was a catalyst for the Gentiles), and Ananias (who went to pray for a man named “Saul”.

What is remarkable about each occurrence is that none of these individuals were seeking to hear from God directly! God was the One who reached out to them. Also keep in mind that none of these people were ever taught any formula, hidden keys, or method on how to hear from God (which is a very popular subject in almost all Christian bookstores & conferences). Even more astounding is the FACT that no one is ever counseled to seek to hear God’s voice.

A simple truth that really “blew” my mind in seminary was when I learned from Dr. Eugene Mayhew that the Book of Acts is a historical account of what took place in the early Church and NOT a template on how to do Church. This was contrary to everything I had been taught as a sign-seeking believer. However, once you realize this is true you see that everything that took place in Acts is not normative nor to be expected in the daily life of Christians today.

Some may respond “but brother Liichow doesn’t the Apostle Paul tell us that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14)?” Yes, but the text does not say “those who hear from God directly are the sons of God.” In fact, this text does not tell use exactly how God’s Spirit will lead us. Sign-gift folk insert voices, dreams, visions, visits from Jesus and /or angels into the text in invisible ink. They may assent that this text does not say exactly how the Spirit will lead us but will often counter with another text, this time from the Gospels. “Didn’t Jesus say that ‘My sheep hear My voice’ so obviously His true hear from God!” The context of John 10:16 is regarding sheep and goats and the fact that untimely there will be one flock (Jew & Gentiles together) under one Shepherd, Jesus. Jesus is not speaking about some private conversation(s) He will have with His sheep. Compare this text with Romans 10:17 “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Add to this “how shall they hear without a preacher’? (Rom. 10:14). Jesus was not speaking about Him personally talking with His sheep. Oh yes He does “call” us but He does so generally through the foolishness of preaching or even through our baptism.

Some Charismatic Comments

“In June God gave us a vision of the world with silver and gold bands covering the entire globe —we began to understand that God was telling us to take the message…” Charles and Francis Hunter, How to Heal the Sick, Hunter Books, pg. 1.

“I could hear the Spirit of God challenging me, “You’ve approached it wrongly. You’ve worked on the wrong end of the thing. You fasted and you prayed that I would do something and I’ve done all I’m ever going to do…” Kenneth E. Hagin, The Art of Intercession, Faith Library, pg. 47

My Father said to me (oh, I could hear His voice so plainly as He spoke to me), ‘Son, you don’t know how that delights My heart…You know, He said to me, ‘I made man so I’d have someone to fellowship with. I made man for My companion…I’ll put this way (and He said it is just these words), I made man so I’d have someone to pal with,’ “ Kenneth E. Hagin, Growing Up, Spiritually, Faith Library, pp. 64-65.

“The Spirit of God spoke up on the inside of me and said, ‘She has been holding fast to the problem al of these years. If she had prayed in faith she wouldn’t have prayed all those other 24 years…But she has bound Me from the situation by the words of her mouth.” Charles Capps, Releasing the Ability of God, Harrison House, p. 38.

“I asked the Lord, ‘Why did the centurion have that kind of faith…The Lord said, ‘He was a military man who understood authority because he was under authority. If you will teach My people to understand authority as this man understood authority, they will operate in the same kind of faith.” Charles Capps, Authority, Harrison House, p. 5

“Just this Pat: God is telling me to go and share the message of His power an the baptism of the Holy Spirit with Mrs. Peale.” Pat Robertson & Jamie Buckingham, Shout It From the Rooftops, Logos, p. 66

Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the people of the world. IF YOU WILL BE SINCERE, AND CAN GET THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE YOU, NOTHING SHALL STAND BEFORE YOUR PRAYER, NOT EVEN CANCER… He told me how I would be able to detect diseases by vibrations on my hand. He went away, but I have seen him several times since then.” Gordon Lindsay, William Branham A Man Sent From God, Voice of Healing, p. 77.

The BIG Question

These are just a very few examples of some instances where well known charismatic leaders are relating a little of their personal conversations with the Lord. In the same arena we have to also include today’s restored prophets and the “word of the Lord” they proclaim to congregations and individuals (that also is a common charismatic way to hear from God). The question for either individuals hearing from God or from the mouth of an alleged restored prophet is the same: “Why isn’t the words you’ve received from God authoritative?” In other words if God is indeed speaking then what is said should be transcribed and placed in the back of the Bible, right? Since when does God’s “word” cease to become God’s word to us? Also, if the words received in whatever manner (through a neo-Montantist prophet, dream, and vision or audible voice) is not elevated to such a level, then what good are they?

Our sign-gift brethren have a problem on their hands (as does anyone who says they have heard directly from God) and their response is to say that these words are a combination of both our flesh & the Lord which is what many leaders suggest having mature believers discern the wheat from the chaff so to speak. They say this is the biblical pattern as taught by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 14:29. This text says let 2 or 3 prophets speak and the others should weigh carefully what is said. That’s fine considering at the time there were still prophets in the Church as well as false prophets! The Corinthians being sign-gift driven needed to be told to “judge” what was being told them in the name of the Lord. Plus there is nothing in the text to indicate that the “others” ere discerning if part of the word given was of God and part of the flesh. Biblically either one was a true prophet, 100% accurate or one was a false prophet. From the record of scripture it seems most likely that the “others” were judging whether the person speaking was in fact from God or our enemy.

When it comes to the accuracy of today’s so-called prophets and their prophetic declarations virtually every charismatic leader will defend the blatant error, lies and unfulfilled statements given out in God’s name as being simply part of the “growing process” we all undergo in our God-given gifts! Just as one develops as a pastor or a Bible teacher even so one develops as God’s prophet. Oh really? Pray tell where is that in the Bible? There is nothing to indicate that the prophets developed from one level of accuracy to another. Daniel was not 5 % accurate as a young man and about 80% as an old man. What nonsense! Yet this explanation is commonly handed out to those who dare question the inaccuracies of today’s plague of prophets.

All of us who have thought that God was speaking to us and directing us in some area of life have had to admit that it was not God after all. I remember before I was married another sister in our congregation “heard from the Lord” that I was supposed to marry her. God had told me nothing about it and I told this deceived sister she was in error. She later went on to marry someone else and would gladly admit today she was not hearing from God. Other couples said they both heard from God to marry and now are divorced, what happened to the “plan of God” (I can assure you His plan never includes divorce).

There is a method by which we ALL can hear from God, but I have run out of space to go into this month. Stay tuned for Part Two! (Below are some examples of the many books out there to mislead the unwary).♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 





7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

4 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

When Larry King mentions me as a “critic” of Joel Osteen our web site went down for 2 days due to excessive band-width use which told me that a lot of people were downloading my initial article concerning Joel. Next more negative e-mails berating me for simply pointing out the errors Joel had made in his interview began to flow in. I knew it would only be a matter of time before a Osteenite asked me “well have you even read Pastor Osteen’s book?” I can honestly answer in the affirmative and tell them “yes I have and here is the problem I have with it.”

Joel’s latest book is the largest printing ever published at one time by A Free Press, the publishers of his materials. They’ve printed an initial 3 million copies of his latest book based on how well his former book Your Best Life Now performed.

This book could easily be entitled “The Little Engine that Could” or possibly “Fake It Till You Make It,” and anyone who has been involved with the charismatic movement will be disappointed in the contents because it says absolutely nothing new. The entire premise of the book can be boiled down to the old aphorism “God helps those who help themselves.”

In the DMI archive we have several bookcases filled with titles such as: Super Brain Power: 6 keys to Unlocking Your Hidden Genius; God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World; Prayer, Power, and Prosperity: Three Keys to a Move of God; Biblical Keys to Financial Prosperity; seven Facts About Prevailing Prayer (John Osteen), You Can Change Your Destiny (another John Osteen)…and the list could go on.

Now just when we thought we might have gotten past the formulaic approach of laws, principles, and rules for spiritual development we are offered another set of 7 keys to self-improvement! Here is Joel’s list: 1). Keep pressing forward. 2) Be positive toward yourself, 3) Develop better relationships, 4). Form better habits 5). Embrace the place where you are 6). Develop your inner life and 7). Stay passionate about life!

Obviously, the book is divided into these 7 sections and we’ll take a quick trip through each (it will save you the price of buying the book)! The first chapter urges the reader to never be content with where they are in life. “He’s a progressive God and He wants every generation to be increasing in happiness, success and significances. (1)

The Apostle Paul said this about Contentment:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13

Paul’s source of contentment was found in Christ Jesus not in any material sources. Whether he had “plenty” or whether he was in need Paul was content because he had the correct focus knowing who was his source of strength.

Where does the Bible ever say that one of God’s purposes is for us to be happy? I’d be willing to grant He does not want us to be depressed or despondent but where does the Scripture teach that God wants each succeeding generation to increase in happiness, success and significance? I’ll give you a hint, the Bible never teaches such things.

In Joel’s reality our only limits are self-imposed. It does not matter if you live in the poorest ghetto in Haiti, or if you are horribly handicapped the only limits to life are those you place upon yourself. “If your thinking is limited, then your life is going to be limited.” (2) If that sounds like the old Norman Vincent Peale “power of positive thinking” you are correct!

At the start of each new day, remind yourself, ‘I am talented. I am creative. I am greatly favored by God. I am equipped. I am well able, I will see my dreams come to pass.’ Declare those statements by faith and before long, you will begin to see them in reality. (3)

Let me just briefly unpack this common thread through the entire book. This is also basic Word of Faith (WOF) cult doctrine “101.” It’s called “calling those things that be not as though they are, i.e. “fake it till you make it.” Hagin, Copeland, Capps, Savelle, Duplantis, Price and pappy Osteen all have taught this same error.

WOF dogma teaches that this world is ruled by spiritual laws and these laws will work for whoever will work them, child of God or child of the devil. Furthermore, the WOF cult teaches that faith is a force that we use to create our own reality. Understand — it is not faith in Jesus, it is faith in a spiritual force we wield and release by our words.

Joel is after all his father’s son, and all he has ever learned about the Bible has come through the lens of a Word of Faith heretic (John Osteen) which explains why his books are nothing more than warmed-over WOF dogma.

How can I say that? Simple! Joel begins with encouraging the readers to think positive thoughts. From here he will go in a few chapters to the next building- block of WOF error…positive confession. Once you have the image of what you want in your mind then you confess “faith-filled” words out of your mouth continually until you change your reality by the power of these faith-filled words. However, before getting to speaking the right words he has to deal with an uncomfortable fact, i.e. why does your life stink now? In Chapter 4 Joel teaches another bizarre WOF concept, that of generational curses. Again this a teaching I heard Marilyn Hickey teach at Robert Tilton’s church over 20 years ago, but Joel is reaching many folks who probably don’t know about generational curses.

This is the false teaching: that some believers problems stem from their family line passing a “curse” through the generations. Joel says” many times, you can look back and see the results of those choices somewhere in your family line.” (4) The proof texts these false teachers use are Ex. 20:5; 34:7 Num. 14:8; Deut. 5:9 and these texts basically say that God will curse the generation that hates Him to the third or fourth generation But let’s consider the rest of the context of these passages.

Notice that the curses are on those who hate God. It is not for those who love God, but make some mistakes in life. One might argue, however, that their father or grandfather might have hated God. This is irrelevant, but brings up the next point. Using a hyper-literalistic interpretation of this passage, if the Lord shows mercy for 1000’s of generations on the fathers who loved God, then all that would be necessary for us to be in the “mercy” rather than “cursed” category is to find one relative in the past thousand or so generations that loved and obeyed the Lord. Is it not probable that we have at least one distant relative in the last 1000 generations who loved the Lord and kept His commandments? The statistical probability is that we most certainly do. And if we do, then we are part of the 1000 generations the Lord promised to show mercy to, not curse. This notion is pure WOF heresy which Joel follows up by teaching in the next chapter on “Generational Blessing.” Joel says that we are to think of our good works in this fashion.

Think of it like this: Each of us has a spiritual bank account. By the way we live, we’re either storing up equity or storing up iniquity. Equity would be anything good: our integrity, our determination, our godliness. That’s storing up blessings…You have more of God’s favor, more of His blessing because of what they have done. (5)

Its almost like a Roman Catholic belief (Joel does not know that of course) of the storing up of meritorious favor by the saints that can be drawn upon by those on earth! If you come from godly parents and grandparents then they have been putting spiritual ducats into the family account, or as Oral Roberts might say “they’ve sown seeds and you’re reaping the harvest.” My father was a godly man but I doubt I can tap into some heavenly bank account and draw from his good work! Naturally Joel offers no contextual biblical proof for such a doctrine, but who cares, right? It sounds good and who doesn’t want a spiritual piggybank to draw upon?

In part two of the book Joel, having liberated the reader from negative self-talk marches on to encourage them to stop listening to accusing voices (negative words spoken to the reader). He says that it is imperative that you “learn to feel good about yourself.” (6) Anytime a criticism comes to you (or from your conscience) you are to cast it down immediately!

Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on that rubbish, not for a moment. Sometimes when I walk off the platform having spoken at Lakewood and around the world by means of television, the first thought that comes to my mind is, Joel that message just wasn’t good today. Nobody got anything out of that. You practically put them to sleep. I learned to shake that off. I turn it around and say, ‘No I believe it was good! I did my best…I thought it was good. (7)

Brothers and sisters one of the ways we grow is by receiving correction, by useful criticism. When we reject rebuke and correction then our spiritual growth is stunted. Proverbs clearly says:

Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. Prov. 1:30

He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Prov. 15:31

A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool. Prov. 17:10

Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge. Prov. 19:25

Personally I want someone I respect and trust to tell me the truth when I have finished teaching or preaching. Maybe my message fell way short of the mark. Maybe I didn’t properly distinguish between Law & Gospel or took certain passages out of context. If I immediately reject any “negative” input then I will not grow and worse yet may lead those who hear farther from Jesus and not closer to Him. Joel’s guidance in this chapter is simply “if it seems remotely negative don’t listen to it!”

Chapter 8  entitled “Learning to Like Yourself” is more nauseating pabulum. Joel does not seem to get a fundamental message in the New Testament — the problem is not that people do not love themselves or like themselves, just the opposite, we love ourselves far too much!

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Cor. 10:24

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:4

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Heb. 13:16

All of this psycho-babble about people not loving themselves is recent nonsense which the Bible does not even address…because 99.9% of humanity has no problem loving numero uno.

Another one of Joel‘s glaring theological inadequacies is his lack of any real sense of our sinful fallen nature.

Shake off guilt, condemnation, inadequacies, and a sense that you can’t measure up, and start feeling good about who you are. ‘Well Joel, I don’t know if I believe that,’ a dear, well-meaning man told me. ‘We’re just poor old sinners.’ No, we used to be poor old sinners, but when we came to Christ, He washed away our sins. He made us new creatures. Now, we are no longer poor old sinners. (8)

This too is a WOF cult and general charismatic extremist point of view. They teach that we were sinners prior to salvation. Now in Christ we are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and no longer sinners. They have no concept of the reality of being simil Justus et peccator which means we are simultaneously justified, and yet sinners. Both conditions are always true of us. We will fight against sinful inclinations our entire lives and by the means of grace God will be working in us progressive sanctification in this life. Joel is dangerously misleading his readers to encourage them to think they are no longer sinful.

Chapter 9 – is classic WOF/Positive Confession dogma and Joel has very subtly brought the reader from a place of thinking positive thoughts to now confessing these thoughts. What he says in this chapter is regularly proclaimed in any Ken Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis or Fred Price meeting.

As long as we have that poor self-image, we’re not going to experience God’s best. You will never rise above the image that you have of yourself. (9)

He restates the problem of humanity as he sees it but he fails to recognize one very salient point — God blesses us APART from what we do virtually all of the time! Grace, is the undeserved gift from God. We experienced God’s best (which by the way, Joel, is salvation by JESUS CHRIST alone) when we were haters of God.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Rom. 5:10

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, Col. 1:21-23a

In Joel’s warped view how are we supposed to overcome this self-image problem in order to experience God’s best? Simple! We speak positive words about ourselves!

One of the best ways that we can improve our self-image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power. Every day, we should make positive declarations over our lives. We should say things such as, ‘I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am wise.’ When we do that, we are building up our self-image. As those words permeate your heart and mind, and especially your subconscious mind, eventually they will begin to change that way you see yourself. (10)

Our words do not have creative power. We cannot change reality by what we say. To believe such things is simply occultism and not Christianity. I’ve buried folks who died from AIDS confessing they were totally healed by the stripes of Jesus.

Positively or negatively, creative power resides in your words because you believe your words more than you believe anybody else’s. (11)

The WOF/extremist universe words are the most powerful things in the universe. They teach that God Himself created the universe not out of “nothing” (ex nihilo) but out of words that contained the force of faith to bring to pass whatever He said. They teach that since we are in His image we too have been given this same power. Negative words will produce bad results in our lives, they carry a sort of negative-faith. Positive words carry the force of faith in a fruitful direction creating whatever the wizard wielding the magic wand desires.

The sad thing is that Joel probably has not thought it through enough to realize what bondage such a belief system puts people under. If Joel is correct, then humanity is in the condition it is in simply because of not speaking the right words necessary to create a better life. All of his congregation’s problems fall squarely on their shoulders. Whatever their situation it is their fault.  The only way out is to begin to confess positive “faith-filled” words until your situation changes, which may take years…Remember just a few negative statements can dig up years of positive confessions and then the poor soul, like Sisyphus, is back at the beginning. What a horrific weight to place on the shoulders of God’s people.

No matter how impossible something looks, no matter how you feel, start boldly declaring, ‘I am strong in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ. I am well able to fulfill my destiny. Call in what God has promised you…Don’t merely use your words to describe your situation; use your words to change your situation….With our words, we can prophesy our own future. (12)

Notice God active in any of this? Who is the agent of change? Who determines your situation? Who is in control of your future?  Obviously, you are! God set these so-called spiritual “laws” in place and now we eat the good or bitter fruit from them apart from God.

I think you can see why Joel’s book is so immensely popular. It is all about self and works righteousness. Which all people love (yes even Christians). People love spiritual legalism in all its varied forms and dislike the orthodox biblical view of sola Christus, by Christ alone and looking to Him to do what we cannot do. That is too easy, we want to know “where’s my part in the play?” The point is this — salvation and all its benefits are monergistic, which means that God did all the work and we passively receive what He has done on our behalf. We add nothing to our salvation but thanksgiving to God for His great grace and mercy which He richly pours out on us through the sacrifice of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

The genius behind Joel’s writing is that he has encapsulated the basic tenets of WOF heresy into a format which does not come across as either charismatic in nature nor as something that has been taught by WOF heretics for over fifty years now. He has “spun” old false doctrines a new set of “Dr. Phil” clothing and is marketing it as a self-help book. The problem is that people will not genuinely be helped, in fact, many may end up in some serious bondage due to his lightweight version leading some readers to seek heavier teachings on the same concepts.

In closing, I will leave you with some simple biblical texts that will show you how to truly become a better you.

And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt. 10:38,39

Then he said to them all; “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:23-25

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

You want to be a “better you” then take up your cross, follow Jesus (where) to Calvary and DIE to yourself. This dying (reckoning ourselves dead Rom. 6:11) is a daily process/struggle (we Lutherans like to urge one another to “remember your baptism”) that is how we become “better people” we become less SELF-INVOLVED and thus with ourselves off our hands we are freed up to love God and our neighbor more perfectly Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and ALL the things the Gentiles seek after will be added to you (Matt. 6:33), something Joel does not mention. Instead of seeking the sphere of God’s rule he has his readers trying to conjure up a better self-image instead of one buried in the waters of baptism. He has people confessing how good they are as opposed to saying “God have mercy on me a poor miserable sinner.” He inflates human pride by a system of works-righteousness to our account. Frankly, Joel is fundamentally wrong regarding the major premises of each of his chapters. His biblical/doctrinal ignorance is truly appalling and I sincerely urge all of us to pray for him (and I will be writing and sending him a registered letter soon, I’ll let you know if he responds) and more importantly the 100,000’s of people who watch him on television and buy his books. Lord have mercy upon us! ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Osteen Joel, Become a Better You New York: A Free Press, 2007, p. 3

 2. Ibid. p.21

3. Ibid pp. 22 -22

4. Ibid. p. 49

5. Ibid. pp.56,66

6. Ibid. p. 85

7. Ibid. p.86

8. Ibid. pp. 101-102

9. Ibid p. 109

10. Ibid pp. 109-110 underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

11. Ibid. p. 11

12. Ibid pp. 113-114 underlining and bolding added.

Anyone else notice a “theme”? 7 steps to living at your full potential & now 7 keys to improving your life every day. Is it possible that Joel is using a ghost writer to pen these novels? If I was already achieving my full potential why should I read his latest book? It simply does not make sense to me?

 





THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

28 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – October  2007   Vol. 12 Issue 10 – THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE – Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

As we studied last month all of the aberrant practices and false doctrine stem from an incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures. In fact, all errors in “Bible” based cults can be traced back to using a faulty hermeneutical system. Every Christian should understand and apply some basic hermeneutical principles when they study their Bible. Unfortunately most pastors do not equip their people with the skills necessary to become good Bereans. Sadly, many pastors across America have little or no theological training and thus they lack any real understanding of how to correctly teach the Bible of to their congregations (Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar are just two examples) and we end up with a case of the blind leading the blind.

Apart from incorrect biblical interpretations with all its attending problems there is another difficulty plaguing God’s people and that is the widespread practice of accepting personal spiritual experiences as authoritative. Millions of professing Christians readily accept the subjective “revelations” of various leaders, or their own private experiences as being as valid as the written Word of God.

The Word of God is seen as not being the only guide for many Christians. It is not viewed as complete and totally sufficient when it comes to faith and practice. Many people are augmenting the Bible with extra-biblical data that is proclaimed as “new” revelations from the Holy Spirit through a host of roving self-proclaimed Apostles, Prophets and revivalists. Admittedly this is not a new problem; in fact the Apostle Paul spoke of people who were misplacing their faith in alleged mystical experience:

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not see, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col. 2:18,19

It seems that people have a propensity to be drawn away from the objective truth of God’s Word into their own fallen subjective experiences.

 Today we see this enthusiasm for experience over God’s Word vividly in the Charismatic movement. For example the recently departed Kenneth E. Hagin built a great portion of his SINistry on his alleged face-to-face encounters with our risen Lord. Many of these he wrote about in great detail in his book I believe In Visions.

 

Another widely followed heretic, Jesse Duplantis expanded his influence tremendously after publishing his farcical tale about going to heaven in his book Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind. Jesse regales his readers with not only a very detailed account of “heaven” but also shares about his visible experiences with angels, he and his car being teleported across the state of Louisiana and other bizarre experiences.

Mary K. Baxter wrote a book which plunged her into charismatic fame & fortune about her being taken to hell on forty (40!) consecutive evenings allegedly by Jesus Christ. The Divine Revelation of Hell has been reprinted several times and in over ten languages. The book is filled with graphic details of what awaits the damned soul and Baxter claims thousands of people have come to faith in Christ due to her book! If that was not enough she went on to write another spurious tome entitled The Divine Revelation of Heaven and then another book called The Divine Revelation of Glory.

Discernment Ministries International was among the first Apologetic ministry to expose the nonsense in Cho Thomas’ book Heaven Is So Real about her rapturous transport to heaven. Thomas reveals to us that there is death in heaven when Jesus takes her fishing and kills the fish and cooks it for her.

Every one of these books (and there are many more I could mention) has sold well over 100,000 copies each, and all of them are printed in foreign languages for wider consumption by the sign-seeking crowd (don’t forget there are videos, DVD’s, and cassettes of these accounts by authors for sale too). The authors go all over the world sharing their experiences with untold numbers of people.

These examples demonstrate my concern that people are leaving the sufficiency of the Scriptures to listen to someone’s latest experience. I can tell you that DMI receives a great deal of vitriolic email from devotees of these deluded heretics. Some of the gentler complainers say things like “don’t you believe God can take someone to heaven? Look at the Apostle Paul for example!”  Yes, let’s consider Paul for a moment:

I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Cor. 12:3-4

Virtually all commentators agree that Paul is writing about an experience he had being caught up to heaven. What is interesting about his account is that he does not share any of what he saw or heard.  Why not?  Today when someone says they were taken to heaven they create an entire “ministry” out of their experience. Paul did not relate any of his experience precisely because it was just that…his own “experience” and as such would not benefit others.

Here is what the NIV Commentary says about this part of Paul’s life:

What Paul head (and saw?), human words were inadequate to relate (v.4b). Furthermore, he was not permitted to try to share the content of the revelation, perhaps because it had been designed for him alone, to fortify him for future service and sufferings (Ac 9:16; Ro 8:18). Glimpses the NT does give of the coming glory are intended to strengthen faith and promote holiness (cf. 2 Pe 3:10-14;p 1Jn 3:2-3) not satisfy curiosity.

Nothing that Hagin, Duplantis, Cho or Baxter wrote about strengthens faith nor does it promote true holiness. What all those books do is to point to the human authors and imply that they are special vessels chosen for these last days to prepare the Church for the return of Christ. Nothing in their mythological writings do anything to encourage their readers to get into the Holy Bible and let God speak to them via its inerrant pages.

As I stated earlier this phenomenon of people promoting doctrines and practices that are based on their personal experiences is nothing new. During the Evangelical Reformation led by Martin Luther he constantly had arguments with various sects of what he termed “enthusiasts.”

Enthusiasm clings to Adam and his children from the beginning to the end of the world –fed and spread among them as poison by the old dragon. It is the source, power, and might of all the heresies, even that of the papacy and of Mohammed. Therefore, we should and must insist that God does not want to deal with us human beings, except by means of his external word and sacrament. Everything that boasts of being from the Spirit apart from such a word and sacrament is of the devil. (1)

The enthusiasts then as today looked within to feel something or to attempt to hear God speak to them directly and personally apart form the Holy Bible. This is exactly what is taking place on a massive scale within the charismatic movement. I’ve been involved in many meetings where the “Spirit” began to move in a mighty way so much so that the Word of God was never preached. These meetings were declared to be of the highest order! Various people “prophesied” the so-called word of the Lord, others were slain in the spirit, some danced in the aisles, others just sat and watched the show. 

One well accepted restored-prophet, Bill Hamon carries with him a 5 inch 3 ring binder filled with 100’s of “personal” prophecies that have been uttered over his life for the last 40 years. Obviously he takes these extemporaneous words to be true or why collect & carry them?

What does the Bible say?

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3

Yes God did speak through the prophets in the past. Yes God spoke in various ways, by dreams, visions and at times angels or through Theophanous. However, in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter knew of his impending death (2 Peter 1:13-15) so what he said was vitally important to him as a pastor. He reminds his readers that he was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and he actually heard the voice of God speak. Yet what does he then tell the Church?

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:19-21

Even though Peter was there in person to hear God’s voice he goes on to tell the Church that they have a more sure word of prophecy (the written Word) and they would do well to take heed to It a a light that shines in a dark place. Peter does not preach his experience but points to the Word of God and warns them to take heed of the Word.

Why this emphasis Peter, what is the big deal?

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

The problem today is that the “more sure word” is now deemed passé and there is a desire to seek what is termed “present day truth” (see 2 Peter 1:12) by the charismatic extremists. This is alleged truth that is arrived at through mystical or metaphysical means, i.e. subjective belief as opposed to the objective inerrant truth set out in the Bible.

One very popular charismatic heretic, Tommy Tenney, wrote a hugely popular book entitled The God Chasers. Tenney denigrates the written Word of God and expounds that people need to seek a direct encounter with God. Here are some of his comments regarding the Bible:

We just keep going through the motions, lighting the lamps and shuffling from dusty room to dusty room as God was still speaking to us. (2)

There’s no need for me to preach [the Word] if God shows up in His glory. (3)

They [the early disciples] walked and talked with Him in such a rich level of intimacy that it wasn’t necessary for them to pour over dusty love letters that were written long ago. (4)

Folks Tenney’s comments are the voice of millions enmeshed in charismatic extremism. Note the very low view of holy scripture—the books of the Bible are “dusty rooms” that we shuffle through with the mistaken belief that God is still speaking to us through these biblical letters! Tenney echo’s the statements of many of today’s revivalists by saying there is not even a need to preach the Word of God if “God” shows up, i.e. some paranormal manifestations or unchecked emotionalism breaks forth. Lastly, Tenney says that the early church members communed with God on an intimate one-on-one basis APART from pouring over the “dusty old love letters” that were written long ago. What does my book of dusty old love letters say in response to Mr. Tenney and the other heretics?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore, many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. Acts 17:11-12

The people in Berea heard Paul preach and then they went immediately to those dusty old love letters to validate by objective truth what Paul was proclaiming. What was the end result? MANY of them believed the gospel that Paul preached!  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Endnotes:

1. Oswald Bayer, Theology The Lutheran Way (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007, p. 53

2. Tommy Tenney, The God Chasers, (Shippensburg: Destiny Image, 1998) p. 31.

3. Bid. p. 44 Underlining and bolding added for emphasis

4. Bid. p. 74 Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.





Jerry Falwell Dies At 73 — Gone But Not Forgotten

27 10 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 6 – Jerry Falwell Dies At 73 -Gone But Not Forgotten – Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Jerry Falwell Dies At 73 —Gone But Not Forgotten

Tuesday May 17, 2007

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Although we do pray for his family in their time of loss, there are some other facts to remember concerning this late televangelist. Although the cartoons I’ve added are satirical, they do convey some very questionable actions on the part of the late Rev. Falwell. In the first picture we see him being embrace by a true antichrist in the form of “Rev.” Moon, who declared that Jesus appeared to him and told Moon to complete His mission because He (Jesus) failed by being crucified! Falwell spoke up for Moon (and so did some other evangelical ministers) when Moon was facing jail due to tax evasion. Some years later Moon came and bailed out Falwell’s Liberty University which was about to go under by paying off all the debts. Falwell should have let the school go under if God would not speak to the hearts of His people to support it. Falwell by accepting Moon’s money did nothing but help legitimize this abusive cult leaders name. Maybe Jerry justified taking Moon’s money under the umbrella of the “wealth of the wicked being stored up for the just.”

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When the Jim Bakker scandal was nearing its conclusion Rev. Falwell stepped in to “help” by offering to run PTL & Heritage Village in the event Jim Bakker went to jail. Falwell did not like the Bakker’s, in fact, he despised Jim and Tammy. All he was interested in was getting his hands on their television network (the largest Christian one at the time) and their lucrative mailing list. You can read about Falwell’s unethical activities in Tammy Faye’s book “Tammy Telling It May My Way.” This picture is of Jerry going down the famous PTL waterslide dressed in his suit because he would not “want to give offense.”

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Naturally who can forget the Tele-tubby debacle where Falwell pontificated that one of the characters was a homosexual in 1999 (Tinky Tinky “>Winky was seen carrying a purse!) Falwell was seen as a legalistic pietistic buffoon by the world due his strenuous declaration of the danger Tinky Winky posed to the preschoolers of America!

 

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Jerry’s foot in mouth aliment continued when he declared after the Twin Towers were destroyed that it was God’s “judgment” on America for our sins. He received, and rightly so, tremendous criticism for his statements and later retracted them.

 

 

 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Phil 1:27

  





Jesus Christ Is Back & Living “Large” in Houston!

20 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 4 – Jesus Christ Is Back & Living “Large” in Houston! – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Jesus Christ Is Back & Living “Large” in Houston !

I know this will comes as a shock to almost all of you, it was to me. Some how the Church has missed the return of Jesus Christ! Jesus is back on earth living a very prosperous life in Houston, Texas. Seems that now Joel Osteen has some real competition to run against.

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Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda claims to be the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh and destinies in his hands. Maybe I should begin with a little background on Jose:

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a 60 year-old former heroin addict and convict who believes that he is the living incarnation of “Jesus Christ, the Man… the second coming of Christ.” The Pueto Rican-born Miranda claims that in 1973 he had an “epiphany” — a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. He says that he doesn’t know why God picked him. Still, Miranda once believed that he was the reincarnation of the apostle Paul. Then two years later he proclaimed himself as Jesus Christ. “God merged with me [and]…the resurrected Jesus…integrated/infiltrated himself within me.” (1)

Jose seems a little confused; first he believes he is the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul, then a couple of years later he says that the “spirit” of Jesus merged with his spirit making him Jesus Christ (talk about upward mobility). He also readily admits to being a former drug addict, ex-convict, enjoys scotch whiskey and has been married twice (so far).

Miranda formed his own ministry in the mid-80s, Crescendio en Gracia (Growing in Grace Ministry’) or “God’s Government on Earth.” While currently headquartered in a Miami, Florida warehouse, Miranda travels with a security team of nine bodyguards. He claims that his followers, largely Hispanic, reside in more than 20 countries, primarily in Central and South America, as well as the United States. His people call him everything from apostle to Jesus Christ man, giving him their entire savings, cars, businesses, and estates, including a million-dollar home in a gated community. (2)

Naturally Miranda has a website where one can see various television interviews he has given and other televised testimonies from those who have been bewitched by him. Unfortunately, the website doe not provide any clear doctrinal statement. If those with computer/internet access desire to they can visit http://www.cegenglish.com  and tune in on Wednesday at 8 PM (EST) and hear Jose’s teaching live! The website makes the following claims regarding their savior:

As the last manifestation of God in the flesh, He has established the Government of God on earth as written in the Gospel and NEVER does telethons for his radio or TV programs.

He has promised that every religion including Catholics, Protestants, Jewish, Mormons, etc will end as their leaders are corrupt in teaching an expired doctrine.

Worldwide followers—The CHURCH—recognized and proclaimed him as the LORD, and revealed to all nations that HE IS GOD (Rom. 16:25).

Let’s consider these claims one by one. The first claim they make is that Jose is the “last” manifestation of God in the flesh. How many prior manifestations of God in the flesh have there been? I know of only one, the Lord Jesus Christ who conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, died on the cross, descended into hell and was raised from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven. He shall come again to judge the living and the dead and of whose kingdom there shall be no one.

Jose has established the government of God on earth as written in the Gospel? Oh really? Has Miranda begun to fulfill the sayings of the Biblical Jesus in Matthew 25:

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:32-33

Sorry Jose, you don’t fit the description of what the retuning King will do. Nor does he fulfill the word spoken by the holy angel to the disciples at the ascension of Jesus in Acts: “Men of Galilee” they said, “ why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.Acts 1:11

If words mean anything, then the real Jesus will come back to earth in the same manner in which He left. He will return and descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

The return of Jesus comes with a loud command and the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God Almighty. The dead in Christ rise first and then those believers living will also be caught up in the air to meet Jesus. Has any of this taken place yet? Obviously none of this has taken place and I have yet to find any explanation on Miranda’s part to answer why, if he is Christ, he has not fulfilled his own word?

Another aspect of “God’s government” is seen in the following judicial action on the part of the true Judge of all flesh:

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet,” 1 Corinthians 15:21-27

Has death been destroyed? Is Jose getting older each day (how can God age?). Whom has Miranda raised from the dead, since resurrection comes from the Second Adam? Answer—no one!

Next his duped disciples inform us that there will be no telethons for his radio and TV broadcast, I guess this is a swipe at the TBN and 700 Club leaders who continually pimp their followers via telethons.

Furthermore, Miranda ha promised to end all other religions, which since he is saying he is the return of Christ, would be natural. What is not stated is exactly how he is supposed to end all forms of the existing Church along with Judaism and the Mormons. The reason given for the need to end these groups is because all their leaders are corrupt and are teaching an “expired” doctrine. I certainly can find doctrinal error in all the groups he mentioned. However, I would like to know how a doctrine, which by definition is an expression of absolute truth, can become expired? If something is true then it is eternally true. Truth does not expire, nor grow old. It is either accepted humbly or rejected outright. Miranda opts for rejecting the truth outright; after all, the man is claiming to be the return of Christ as well as the antichrist at the same time.

His website has the following statement on the top of its main page. This is a quote from the newspaper La prensa of El Salvador;

With over 30 countries already reached, more than 350 educational centers, Now own radio and television satellite channels, 300+ radio and television programs, an entourage of over 300+ faithful pastors, and a ministry of over a million followers growing in numbers everyday…The nations are shaking as the man Christ Jesus is leading the biggest reform the world has ever seen. (3)

What nations are shaking? What is the “biggest” reform the world has ever seen? Since he claims to be the returned Jesus Christ that would make him the Prince of Peace also; is the world at Peace? Has the Arab/Israeli conflict ended? Is the war in Iraq over? If Miranda is God in the flesh, then he is supposed to be sitting on David’s throne ( in Jerusalem) and ruling the nations with a rod of iron:

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:15-16

My family and I have heard Jose “preach” live from his website and there was no “sharp sword” proceeding out of his mouth, in fact, he is probably the poorest preacher we have had to misfortune to listen to. He was not broadcasting from either the New Jerusalem or the old one; he was in Nicaragua (I think) speaking. This of course leads me to another question to ask this admitted antichrist — “where is the New Jerusalem??” When Jesus returns He comes back with the saints with Him from heaven. Where are they? I’m sure these are just little niggling details with which Miranda cannot be bothered, although I will submit them to his website in the hope the Word of God can be planted in the heart of whoever reads his email and God’s Spirit can use that Word to bring them to conviction and led them into the truth. This statement is followed by an even more outlandish and blasphemous declaration on the main page:

And now…The man Christ Jesus, Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, is coming to the USA! The King of kings and Lord of lords has arrived in America! (4)

I can find absolutely no information regarding Miranda’s educational background. By his own testimony he was in jail a a teenager, well let “Jesus” explain himself:

Do Jesus’ beginning was anything but grand. Born in Puerto Rico, de Jesus grew up poor, living in government housing. H stole for a living to pay for his teenage heroin addiction and admits to eight felony charges that put him behind bars for nine months. Like many, de Jesus says he was born again in prison. From there he moved to the United States, where he became involved in church youth groups, and eventually a minister in Boston. But it was a vision, de Jesus says, that turned him from man of God to being God. (5)

My point is simply this —when did this fraud obtain the requisite education in order to earn a doctoral degree? From what I have ascertained he has not even graduated from high school, let alone progressed onto college, then after successfully completing four years of college education and then at least two more years of post-graduate work (Masters degree level, I know of where I speak) then going onto two to four years of doctoral work is not proven by him, his website or anyone else. Where and when did he become “Dr.” Miranda? Even his degree is false!! He has no problem blaspheming God by declaring that he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. As I have shown you with just a few texts, he is not even close.

Why Do People Follow Him?

The $64,000 dollar question is how does an ex-con get a million people in ove twenty nations to believe he is really the return of Jesus Christ? I believe the answer is found in three area.

First, the majority of these initial dupes come from Latin America which means they most likely come from a rather strict form of Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism and possibly Santeria which is a form of voodoo mixed in with Roman Catholicism. In other words those following Miranda have no solid Biblical foundation. They were nominally “religious,” steeped in legalism, superstition and in many cases probably under educated. This is why being established in the truth of God’s Word is paramount. The only way to detect a lie is to know the truth. TRUTH MATTERS!

Secondly, a million plus people follow him because of what he teaches.

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 lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Miranda does not claim any miracle working power, no divine healing, no imparting of spiritual gifts to his followers, ergo, people must be buying into the beliefs he has set before them.

There is a possible third reason why people follow this obvious (to us) fraud and deceiver:

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

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In context, Paul is referring to the actual antichrist, as opposed to the “spirit of antichrist” which has beset the Church and world from the inception of the Church. However, since Miranda claims to also be the antichrist then let him take what is written about him to heart. His followers have no rue doctrinal foundation, nor when approached with the truth seem to have any openness to it, i.e. he and his followers do not love the truth. Due to their rejection of the truth of God (read Romans chapters 1-3) this allows them to believe a lie and the end result of believing a lie {regarding salvation} is damnation. I recognize that this may seem harsh, and it is, but it also demonstrates the holiness of God and the desperate need humanity has for the truth. The following is a brief synopsis of what he was offered as “doctrine” so far.

There Is No More Sin

Since Jesus died on the cross the problem of sin has been done away with. Since there is no more sin then people are free to live anyway they want (as long as they tithe to Miranda) without any concern of eternal consequence. Obviously, such a message is hugely popular to spiritually dead people who hate God, His Law and who love sin and lawlessness. Did Jesus destroy sin on the cross? Yes and no. Through the substitution atoning death of Jesus the consequence of sin and the power of sin were destroyed, but not the reality of sin. When a person comes to faith in Jesus the consequence of sin has been paid for by Jesus. His death and victorious resurrection have also freed us from the power of sin…yet sin still exists because we are still fallen people. The Apostle John states it very clearly when he says:

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.   1 John 1:5-10

Truly we have been made the righteous of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) but we still sin and thankfully we can confess our sins and our Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Anyone who proclaims a message of sinless perfection in this life or that sin does not even exist is a liar and strives to make our Lord a liar too.

What is interesting is that Miranda was asked in an interview if murder was a “sin.” He said it was not a sin, it might be a violation of man’s law and thus the person would be subject to the penalty of violating man’s law, but it was not a sin! Does anyone else see the logical disconnect in his position? If one violates the laws of man that person will face the judgment set forth by man for that broken law. Yet for some reason he fails to see (or won’t admit) that if one violates the holy law of God then that person will be held accountable to the eternal Judge who will sentence that person to eternal damnation. This is why Jesus came and died, to redeem us from the curse of the law by taking our place and receiving our punishment.

People love darkness and hate the light (read John 3:19) because their deeds are evil. Miranda’s sinless message appeals to the abundant evil in the hearts of the multitudes of the fallen.

There Is No Devil

The devil is just a mythical creation of false religious to keep people in line. I believe C.S. Lewis made the comment that the biggest trick the devil ever pulled was to get people to believe he did not exist. Logically if there is no sin and there is no devil or demons then there is no evil in the world. The Apostle Paul seemed to believe there was a literal devil:

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

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high placesEphesians 6:11-12

Peter believed in a literal devil that was still at work in the post resurrection days of Jesus:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

James also was deceived somehow into teaching that Satan exists

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:7-8

In this text James demolishes two of Miranda’s false teachings by proclaiming that the devil exists and that sin is a reality! This is a perfect verse to keep in mind when you come across a Mirandite.

There Is No Hell

This comes as no surprise since virtually every other Bible-based cult proclaims the same lie. The Mormons do not believe in eternal damnation nor do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Without going into great detail suffice it to say that we are warned about the reality of hell and eternal damnation if we do not place our complete trust in Jesus Christ.

There Is No Need to Pray

I assume that since Jesus Christ is here on earth there is no need to pray any longer. Even though the Apostle Paul said:

Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Colossians 1:9

It seems odd to me that an individual who initially claimed to be a reincarnation of the Apostle Paul would be so ignorant of what Paul taught. How can these things be? Our Lord gave us the “Lord’s Prayer,” which we considered last month. All the writers of the Epistles touch on prayer and yet the returned Jose says “prayer is unnecessary.” Make one want to say “hmmmmm.”

To those of us who have been brought to the true saving knowledge of Jesus Christ this man and his claims are ludicrous. Yet to a growing number of people he is being viewed as the savior. With a million followers Miranda can become very dangerous, oh not to the Church, even the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (read Matt. 16:18), but dangerous to the masses of unsaved people we’ve yet to reach.

Jim Jones only had a few hundred and we saw the end result of following this mad man. Miranda poses the same type of threat to his followers. The question boils down to whether this man is merely a con artist who is bilking those ignorant enough to follow him, or he is really convinced he is Jesus Christ. If he really believes what he says, then he is extremely dangerous because he is delusional and psychotic which could lead him to direct his followers to harm themselves or others. This is exactly the concern amng some theologians and counter-cult experts:

Miranda esteems himself above Jesus of Nazareth, His responses during interviews are startling: “I am greater than him…I teach better than him…I won’t die. Even if you tried to kill me! I wil be president of the biggest government that this earth has experienced. I’m going to change the whole world.”

These statements are both frightening and disturbing to authorities. Daniel Alvarez received his Masters Degree in Theology from Harvard Divinity School and serves as a Florida International University religion professor. Alvarez sees Crescendio en Gracia as having all the makings of a destructive cult with Miranda fitting into the classic mold of a cult leader who requires total submission by his followers. Cult authority, Rick Ross (Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey), agrees the Growing in Grace fit’s the basic profile of a dangerous cult which thrives on persuasion (brainwashing) and ultimately exploitation of its members. (7)

DMI is prepared to confront him if (when) he comes to the Detroit area. We have a very large Hispanic community and he no doubt wants to tap into this “cash cow.” We may expand this article and put it into another format to hand out to people who come to hear what he has to say. If he is coming to your area, DMI will be glad to send you copies or put the file on disk so you can print it out to distribute. In any event, please pray for those who have been deceived that God’s Word may break through to them and bring them to repentance. Also pray for the Church, that we as God’s ambassador’s of reconciliation would get outside of our four walls on Sunday and begin to aggressively speak the truth in love on every occasion that presents itself to us.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.allabourtcults.org/jose-luis-de-jesus-miranda.htm on 3-21-07. Underlining and bold type added.

2. Ibid

3. Ibid

4. Ibid

5. Obtained from http://www.abcnews-go.com/Primetime/story?id=2925021&page=1

6. I paraphrased that comment.

7. Obtained from http://www.allaboutcults.org/jose-luis-de-jesus-miranda.htm.





Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion

23 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters- November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 1 – Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow and Gary Hand

Discernment Ministries International

Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion

By Robert S. Liichow

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We were in the car driving to Church a couple of Sunday mornings ago and I turned to our local Public Broadcasting station hoping to hear some classical music. Instead of hearing Chopin, I heard a familiar voice, one I had not heard in many years, that of Pastor Carlton Pearson.

I have personally met and spoken with Carlton years ago when he spoke at Jubilee Christian Church in Detroit (back then he was a mere Word of Faith heretic). Now many years later I heard his voice again, this time applauded as a heretic of a different stripe. Sadly, like all error when left unchecked it grows worse and worse. Paul rightly states in 1 Cor. 5:6 that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, which is why truth so desperately matters. Pearson had gone from espousing the heresy of the Word of Faith cult to being the “poster child” of the false Gospel of Universalism. He has gone from being heretical in many areas of doctrine to being apostate from the One Holy and Apostolic Church.

The reason why this issue of Truth Matters is devoted to Mr. Pearson and his aberrant doctrine is because I believe that the stage is set spiritually for his deviant message to be embraced by a wide audience. Our era has been culturally prepared by Hollywood movies, television programs, radio talk shows, the music industry, liberal politicians, and even some seeker-sensitive leaders to accept Pearson’s revamped message of universal reconciliation. Pearson has a charismatic personality, he is well spoken, fairly well educated, and has a great deal of media exposure. He is currently being used as a force for the darkness of deception that cannot be ignored.

A Little Background on Pearson —

Carlton grew up in a Pentecostal family. On the radio interview, (1) he readily admitted that all his ministerial mentors had absolutely no theological training. He began his public ministry at the age of 16 and unlike his forebears he decided to attend college. Carlton attended Oral Roberts University, graduated from there, and later received an honorary doctorate from Oral. Oral considered Carlton to be his “black” son in the Gospel. At one point Carlton was a member of the Board of Regents at ORU, but was removed due to his aberrant beliefs (which is saying something when one considers the host of aberrant beliefs upheld by Roberts and his ilk). He also served on the College of Bishops of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches, which has also renounced him and his doctrines.

As a WOF heretic, Pearson built up a large following, eventually leading the Higher Dimensions Family Church (HDFC), a mega-church of close to 5,000 members, in Tulsa, OK for twenty years. He was a regular guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the 700 Club and was even a guest at the White House during the terms of both Bush Presidents. He is also a Grammy nominated singer and he authored a variety of books and booklets as well as a two-time Stellar Award-winning and Dove Award-nominated recording artist. In short, Pearson was a very big fish in the WOF/charismatic pond. He was influential in bringing T.D. Jakes into the limelight. (2) In all fairness to Mr. Jakes, he does not endorse Pearson today. “Bishop T.D. Jakes told Charisma Magazine that Pearson’s theology is wrong, false, misleading and an incorrect interpretation of the bible. (3)

Pearson also held annual revival conferences entitled “Azusa” at the Maybee Center on the ORU campus and marketed the music CD’s through Integrity Music, which has since pulled his contract and no longer publishes his songs. All the hoi polloi of charismatic stardom attended the Azusa conferences. The speakers included Mr. Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Bishop Earl Paulk, Marilyn Hickey and others. The Azusa annual conferences was A financial boom to Tulsa’s local economy by an estimated $10 million each year for the last 14 years. (4)

This man was literally the “golden boy” of Charismania. He had the backing of its elder statesman, Oral Roberts, he was bringing in millions of dollars per year through his congregation, recording and book sales. Pearson was an internationally sought after convention speaker, out-spoken conservative black Republican and a regular guest on TBN.

Yet, today all of this is nothing but a painful memory to Carlton and those who once adored him. Gone are the 5,000 members; he is now down to around 100-200 people in a rented hall. The bank foreclosed on the huge complex, Higher Dimensions Family Church. Gone are the recording and publishing contracts. Gone are the speaking engagements and close friendship he shared with Jakes, Hinn, Hickey, the Crouches and other charismatic glitterati. I seriously doubt that G.W. will be inviting Carlton to the next White House Prayer Breakfast.

What Happened?

Simply this Carlton Pearson stopped believing that God would send any people to hell. He denounced the doctrine of eternal damnation as a false teaching from the HDFC pulpit. News of his new doctrinal stance quickly spread and even after many of his charismatic ministry friends and associates tried to counsel Pearson and get him to recant his position he refused. His counselors, for all their doctrinal errors, knew Pearson was wrong on this point and so severely so they rightly broke fellowship with him. Instead of humbly submitting himself to the orthodox teachings of the Christian Church for two thousand years, Carlton, in a supreme act of pride said the Church has been wrong and that he will restore the “true” Gospel back to the Church!

Pearson states: “A careful study of early church history will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was the prevailing doctrine of the Primitive Christian Church.” History does not show that the doctrine of universalism was held by the Primitive Christian Church as he and others claim. It was Origen in the 3rd century who began to espouse this view as he held to a more allegorical interpretation of Scripture, but it was never held as an Orthodox Church view. (5)

Every cult leader has taken this posture. The entire Church is wrong and now God is restoring biblical truth through him or her.

One does not arrive at this position overnight and although Pearson does not go into great detail as to why he took this heterodox stance, I believe we have enough information to come to the reason why he departed from the faith.

Pearson started off as a member of a Pentecostal church, the Church of God in Christ, which is at best semi-pelegian doctrinally. They preach a form of “decision-theology” when it comes to Salvation. They are very works oriented. One works to get saved and then one must continue with various works in order to stay “saved.” From his childhood, through his time at ORU and then as a pastor he has been driven by works evangelism in the classic Charles Finney frame of mind. (6) Pearson admits as much in his radio interview. Here is a transcript of a portion of that interview:

…and it all came to a head one evening, in front of the television, when my little girl who will be nine next month, was an infant, returning from Rwanda to Uganda, and umm Peter Jennings was doing a piece on it, now Majesty was my little girl and I was watching these little kids with swollen bellies, and it looks like their skin is stretched across their little skeleton remains, their hair is kind of red from malnutrition, the babies are, they got flies in the corners of their eyes and mouths, and they reached for the mother’s breast and the mother’s breast are like pencils, there’s no milk, and I, my little fat faced baby with a plate full and a big screen television, and I said, “God I don’t know how you can call yourself a loving Son of God, and allow these people to suffer this way, and then just suck them right into hell,” which was my assumption, and then I heard a voice say within me, “So that’s what you think we’re doing?” and then I remember I didn’t say yes or no, I said, “that’s what I was taught, we’re sucking them into hell,” I said, “yes” well they need to get saved.” “and how will that happen” “someone needs to preach the gospel to them and get them saved” so if you think that that’s the only way to get saved is for someone to preach the gospel to them and we’re sucking them into hell, why don’t you put you’re little baby down and turn your big screen television, I’ll push your plate away, get on the first plane, well get them saved, um, and I remember this all broken up and in tears, I was very upset, I remember thinking, “God don’t pull that guilt on me, “I’ve given you the best forty years of my life, besides, I can’t save the whole world, I’m doing the best I can, I can’t save this whole world. And that’s when I remembered, I believe it was God saying precisely, “You can’t save this whole world, that’s what we did. Do you think we’re sucking them into hell? Can’t you see, they’re already there?” That’s hell. You keep creating and inventing that for yourselves, I’m taking them into my presence. (7)

Due to the impact of Finney’s Pelagianism, Carlton and multitudes of others within the Church believe they must do something in order to bring about the salvation of the lost. Pearson said further on in this interview that every time he sat down next to someone on a plane he felt compelled to open his Bible in front of them and challenge them regarding their faith (or lack thereof) in Christ. His goal, like that of Campus Crusade For Christ, was to get as many people as possible to repeat the “sinners prayer” with him. He felt guilt when he did not witness in this manner and he also felt guilt when he did witness and people did not respond to his invitation. Keep in mind according to Finney it is the job of the evangelist to compel the lost into the kingdom of Heaven using any means necessary. (8)

Let me state quite clearly, that I believe in the necessity of witnessing our faith to others. We are commanded by Jesus Christ to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). I have no problem with brothers and sisters passing out tracts, knocking on doors, and inviting people to their local church. However, we must keep first and foremost in our mind that salvation is of the Lord (read Psl. 37:39). God uses the foolishness of preaching to draw people to faith in Jesus (read 1 Cor. 1:21). The Bible clearly states that one man plants and another waters, but it is GOD who gives the increase (read 1 Cor. 3:7).

All Roads Lead to Heaven —

Pearson’s problem was that in spite of all his working to “get” people saved, multitudes were not saved. Instead of simply bowing his head and humbly submitting to a loving sovereign God, who although not obligated to saving anyone, is saving multitudes daily through the Gospel…he gets mad and accuses God of being unloving and unjust and allowing multitudes to suffer and in the end sending them to eternal damnation. In fact Pearson is on record making the following statement about God’s righteous judgment: “a God who eternally condemns non-Christians would be worse than Hitler. ‘Hitler killed six million [people], mostly Jews. He is the most despised man in the twentieth century. Is God worse than Hitler, who’s going to burn eternally, endlessly, billions of people?” (9)

Due to his lack of a biblical worldview (see Matt. 7: 26) when confronted by the sad realities of a fallen world Carlton makes the classic mistake and chooses one of God’s attributes, love specifically, over the other. He chooses to see God now only as a God of love and total reconciliation. Pearson states in an interview “I believe that most people on planet earth will go to heaven, because of Calvary, because of the unconditional love of God, and the redemptive work of the cross, which is already accomplished.” (10) In an interview he states:

“Jesus was not a Christian, He was a Jew. God, however, is Spirit and cannot be confined exclusively to any particular religion including Christianity. He’s not Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist; yet He is all of that if we want or need Him to be, while at the same time, none of it conclusively, because He can’t be and, in fact, is not limited to a person’s or culture’s perception of Him. He loves everybody, He understands everybody, and He has a covenant with everybody—again, whether they know it or not. (11)

He does this at the expense of God’s other attributes such as holiness (see Rev. 15:4); sovereignty (see Isa. 46:10); the wrath of God (see Deut. 32:39-41); the decrees of God (see Isa. 40:13,14; Eph 1:4; etc.). The point is simply this—always remember that our God is perfectly balanced in all His attributes. He is equally; loving, just, merciful, compassionate, righteous, holy, and vengeful of sin at the same time with no aspect of His Person being more pronounced than any other.

Paraphrasing Carlton’s words he states that he heard a voice which told him that we, the Church, were putting people into hell and that God on the other hand was bringing them into His presence. This voice told Carlton that these poor suffering souls were in hell now, while on earth.

It was on this basis of this experience that Carlton began to create a new version of an old heresy he calls “The Gospel of Inclusion.”

The Gospel of Inclusion

Pearson now believes that since God so loved the world and Jesus died for all the sins of the world, then the entire world is already saved. The following comments come from a brother who has written an excellent article on Mr. Pearson. This information is used with Gary Hand’s kind permission:

A. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection paid the price for all of humanity to have eternal life in heaven, without any requirement to repent of sins and receive salvation.

B. Belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for a person to go to heaven. Salvation is unconditional, granted by the grace of God to every human being.

C. It is presumed that all of humanity will have its destiny in heaven, whether they realize it or not.

D. All of humanity will go to heaven regardless of their religious affiliation, including those who believe in false religions or adopt any other form of religious persuasion, or who have no religious persuasion.

E. Only those who have “tasted of the fruits” of real intimacy with Christ and have “intentionally and consciously rejected” the grace of God will spend eternity separated from God.

F. There are persons in some type of hell, but the emphasis is “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter.”

The Nature of God

Carlton Pearson’s difficulty begins with a flawed concept of God in relation to man. In presenting aberrant doctrines, the attempt is always made to define the nature and character of God as less than who He is, and to raise the level of the nature and character of man to a position which he is not entitled. A wrong view of God leads to a wrong view of Jesus Christ, a wrong view of the Holy Spirit and eventually to a wrong view of the elements of salvation.

Through his claim that the God, traditionally believed by orthodox Christians, is a bitter God, Carlton Pearson sets up a “straw man” argument or a false premise, against which he argues and makes his claims. He does the same by defining the reason for God’s anger being bitterness on His part, which is a human characteristic but not one of god. He wishes to disassociate himself from those who he claims believe in this “bitter God” that he created, for sake of argument, “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter,” Choosing his words poorly, he intimates that he actually does believe in a “bitter” God, because to state that God is not “that bitter” is to assume that He is bitter to a lesser degree. Orthodox belief would deny that God is bitter and would state that a bitter God has never been a tenant of true Christian doctrine. In setting up his false argument, he makes a claim against orthodox belief that is not true, and at the same time places himself in a position where he affirms, by his own words, that he accepts a belief in a bitter god who is just not “that bitter.”

He seems to believe that God’s intolerance of sin and consequent anger expressed against it, an taught in the bible and found in orthodox belief, is equated with bitterness. By his acceptance of a bitter God himself, he assigns to God a deviant human characteristic which is the result of a fallen nature, and at the same time denigrates the character and integrity of God by assuming that He acts on the same level as human beings.

Carlton Pearson, by an ever-so-subtle method, begins to teach about a different God than is found in the Bible. He teaches about a God who is less than is His Holy nature, and by just a slight degree, is closer to the nature of humanity than the Bible reveals. So the character and nature of God is lessened by that small step which will lead to a greater lessening of the character and nature of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and a consequent vast change in the nature of salvation.

Jesus Christ

The question that is presented in Carlton Pearson’s doctrine, which has been discussed and answered many times, is, “For whom did Christ die?” Carlton Pearson would answer that He died for every person in the world that ever lived and will ever live. At the same time he would claim that the death of Christ was also efficacious (effective) for every person in the world that ever lived and will ever live. By that claim, he then states that all men are saved and going to heaven as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ, regardless of their religious view, even if they do not know or believe in Jesus Christ.

However, in his theology, the majority of human beings, who are saved and going to heaven, are second class persons in the heavenly scheme of things, because those who are a “Born Again Believer” and are the “sanctified” individuals through a specific belief in Jesus Christ, are also “set apart to and for special service, ranking and relationship both with and to The Lord Jesus Christ…,” which he claims is taught in 1 Corinthians 1:2. (This is strikingly similar to the Trip To Heaven dream that Jesse Duplantis claimed to have, in which there are two catagories of Christians, where the weaker ones must smell the leaves of the Tree of Life in order to get strength.) So, his theology becomes apparent: salvation is given to every human being, unconditionally through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, because, a personal relationship or faith in Jesus Christ is not necessary to obtain salvation. However, sanctification, or the setting apart to a higher ranking, is accomplished by a specific belief and relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the absolute reverse of orthodox belief. Since Carlton Pearson claims to have this belief and relationship with Jesus Christ, he presumes to be set apart, ranked higher and anointed to a higher level than the normal, every day person who is simply going to heaven on a scholarship.

Salvation

The difficulty in Carlton Pearson’s theology is that it turns salvation on its head. He claims that salvation is granted to every human being, unconditionally. This salvation is granted at birth, because the ultimate destination of every human being is presumed to be heaven. Even those who believe in another religion or another god are saved; they just don’t know it.

The death of Christ made it possible for God to accept sinful man, and that he has, in fact, done so. Consequently, whatever separation there is between man and the benefits of God’s grace is subjective in nature and exists only in man’s mind and unregenerate spirit. The message man needs to hear then, is not that he simply has a suggested opportunity for salvation, but that through Christ he has, in fact, already been redeemed to God and that he may enjoy the blessing that are already his through Christ.

Carlton Pearson, Jesus: The Savior of the World

Even though the Bible states that man is estranged from God and requires redemption through belief in Jesus Christ, John 3:18, Carlton Pearson claims that this estrangement is only in the mind of man and that all man needs to do is realize that he is already saved, rather than needing to be saved. As a result of this view, Carlton Pearson states that Romans 5:12-21 supports his belief, claiming that the apostle Paul taught the gospel of Universal Reconciliation. He then claims that faith in Jesus Christ does not accomplish salvation, but brings about sanctification or the setting apart of a person from the rest of the crowd who are going to heaven. So, the object of faith is still Jesus Christ, but the purpose is not to secure salvation but to obtain sanctification. He teaches that belief in Jesus Christ, or being “Born Again,” gives a person special status and an exalted position over other persons. This is a major difference between his belief and orthodox belief. It is at the point of salvation that Carlton Person departs from the faith and proceeds to define, on his own terms, the means by which salvation can be obtained. He says that salvation is granted by God through means of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to all human beings, even through they may not know or even care about the events. Salvation, in his theological system, is unknown to the majority of human beings, but they are saved just the same. He claims that those human beings who do learn about Jesus Christ and are consequently “Born Again,” receive sanctification and not salvation, because they have already been saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The salvation claimed by Carlton Pearson is simply a given entity. It is possessed by every human being without their knowledge. However, this is not what the Bible teaches. Salvation is not possessed by default, but is obtained in a specific manner, by a process which may be slow or quick, but it is a process of obtaining knowledge about Jesus Christ. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15. Apostle Paul “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ –that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:8-10. The apostle Paul teaches a different message regarding salvation than does Carlton Pearson. Paul did not preach a gospel of universal reconciliation applied to all, but a specific gospel to be universally preached to all. The difference is quite profound. The gospel of Universal Reconciliation is not the gospel taught by the apostle Paul. Salvation, according to the apostle Paul, is not automatically granted and is not possessed by people from birth.  Salvation must be found and it is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ. It is at the point of faith that it is granted, not by default or by inheritance. Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13

The apostle Paul was teaching a radically different gospel than that claimed by Carlson Pearson. The apostle Paul was teaching that those Christians, who were Gentiles, had formerly been separate from Christ, without hope and without God while in the world. They did not have salvation until they were brought near through the blood of Christ. The same view is taught by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:18. The gospel of Universal Reconciliation is not taught by the apostle Paul and the claim that he does teach such a doctrine is false.

What Carlton Pearson teaches is a difference means of salvation, provided in a different manner, than is found in traditional orthodox belief or in the Bible. The grace of God in salvation is redefined to be the granting of it to all human beings. Faith is redefined as applying to sanctification and not to salvation. Faith is not necessary to obtain salvation in his theological system because it is automatically provided by God to every human being. Everything changes in the gospel of Carlton Pearson. God is less than He is, grace is devalued, faith is not directed to the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and as such, the Jesus Christ of his theology is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, if Christ died for every person in the world that ever lived or that will ever live, then His death and resurrection must have been efficacious for all of those individuals. In other words, they were all saved at the point of His death and resurrection, when the penalty for their sins was paid. Since this must be the case, if Christ died for every person in the world, then what accounts for his claim that some who were saved when Christ died and rose from the dead for them, lose that salvation at a future date? He presumes that those who have “tasted of the fruits” of a real relationship and intimacy with Jesus Christ and have “Intentionally and consciously rejected” that relationship and grace, will spend eternity separated from God. The reality is, that in Carlton Pearson’s doctrine, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was not sufficient to secure salvation for every person in the world, and in fact, He died and rose again for people who have salvation for a time in their life, but reject it and will not be saved when all is said and done. So, by definition, they were not granted a universal salvation by God and were not saved, since they are separated from God at their death. Salvation is no salvation if it does not actually save. Carlton Pearson redefines and devalues salvation to mean simply going to heaven. In that context, it is easy to lose salvation since it is just the act of going to heaven. However, in orthodox belief, going to heaven is a fringe benefit of the act of salvation, which is a reconciliation of man to God. Salvation is much more than just going to heaven, and, as such salvation is truly what the term signifies; being kept secure by God Himself. It is a difficult concept to claim that Jesus Christ died for those who deliberately reject His placement of salvation on their lives. However, this goes very well with most charismatic belief, because it is a common thread in those doctrinal systems that salvation can be lost at any point. Just how a person is supposed to know at what specific point that occurs, is not specified.

In his theological system, human beings have no say or control over being ranted a universal salvation by God. It is given without their knowledge or consent. However, human beings obtain control over the possession of their salvation if they are told the gospel message (as Carlton Pearson define it) and reject it after having “tasted of the fruits” of a relationship with Jesus Christ, whatever that is defined to be. Fro the majority of people in Carlton Pearson’s theological system, God is sovereign in their salvation, in that they are going to heaven whether they know it or not, even if they might reject that destination if they were told. For the others, who have been told the gospel and “tasted of the fruits” of a relationship with Jesus Christ and rejected that message, they are able to break God’s sovereignty over their eternal destination and take from themselves the ability to determine their own destiny. The question must be asked, “Is God sovereign or is man sovereign? In Carlton Pearson’s theology, man is master and God becomes the victim. At one point, God grants salvation, but at another point that salvation has no effect and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is pointless, and is powerless to maintain the salvation given.

Even in his own theological system, it would be better if Carlton Pearson would stop preaching his gospel, because the person who does not hear his gospel will not have the opportunity to reject the message and be separated from God as the result. If they do not hear the gospel and reject it, they will go to heaven. Preaching Carlton Pearson’s gospel to a person is, in reality, doing that persona disfavor by presenting to them the option of choosing to be separated from God. Truly, in his theological system, ignorance is bliss, because to be without knowledge of Jesus Christ will assure a person of a place in heaven. Again, what Carlton Pearson claims is the opposite of orthodox belief and what the Bible actually says. Salvation, according to the Bible, is obtained by hearing the gospel and placing faith in Jesus Christ, while damnation is not to hear the gospel or reject the gospel.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, God grants salvation to every human being on an unconditional basis. The granting of sanctification is conditional, based on the choice of the individual. So, the major aspect, which is salvation is unconditional, which the minor aspect, sanctification, is conditional. In higher education, one spends the majority of time on their major, or the chief area of their study, and the minority of their time on their minor, or the secondary area of their study. In this theology, the major becomes the minor; the minor becomes the major and the individual majors on the minor element, which is sanctification. God and Jesus Christ have gone to the limit in order to provide salvation for humanity, but in this system it is simply granted, even to those who are ignorant of its provisions. But at the minor point of the issue, that of sanctification, the choice is given to continue in the belief or choose separation from God. The great work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection is relegated to an insignificant part of the life of a person, while the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about sanctification is elevated to the major portion of a person’s life to such a degree that a person’s decision on that more minor element determines whether a person will be separated from God or will go to heaven. This is a theological system turned upside down in which a person is forced to major on the minors and minor on the majors.

The glaring fault in Carlton Pearson’s teaching is that he creates two classes of people who are going to heaven. There are the ordinary people, who have never heard of Jesus Christ or have another religious belief, and there are the “sanctified” persons who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are set apart to a higher level. The difficulty is apparent, in that the first class of people is going to heaven in the same spiritual condition in which they live on this earth. Nothing has changed, because they are ignorant of Jesus Christ, believe in other false religious systems or have no religious belief at al. The Holy Spirit has never worked in their lives and they have never been spiritually changed in order to conform to the image of Jesus Christ.

Carlton Pearson has a gross misconception regarding the elements of salvation. Salvation is not about just going to heaven. If a person could obtain salvation without sanctification, then heaven would be filled with the same sinful, reprobate people in their same sinful reprobate condition, that inhabit this world, which is what his new theology allows.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, not only is the method by which salvation is obtained redefined, the nature and composition of salvation itself is redefined and the elements of that salvation are detached from each other. Carlton Pearson assumes that salvation is going to heaven, but there is much more to it than just going to a pleasant place when one dies. Even if there was no such place such as heaven, salvation would still be a necessity because the issue of salvation is about the reconciliation of human beings to God, from whom they are separated.  Reconciliation is not accomplished by going to heaven, but by means of the elements of salvation in which God demands accountability by man to the provision made by Jesus Christ by His death and resurrection, through faith, repentance, regeneration, justification, adoption and sanctification, those elements being accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit. These elements constitute the totality of salvation and cannot be separated. It is not possible to obtain salvation without salvation without accomplishing sanctification, just as it is not possible to enter heaven without all of the elements being accomplished in the life of the believer.

Salvation in the Scriptures, is granted as a result of faith; that faith being exercised toward the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. Faith has always been the means by which salvation was granted, even in the Old Testament, as Hebrews chapter 11 shows. To accept Carlton Pearson’s view of salvation is to conclude that one possesses salvation by virtue of simply being human. Presumably if one is born, one has salvation. That is the disaster in his theology. To presume that one has salvation when one does not, is to be lost and damned to an eternity in hell, without the presence of God. Heresy leads to damnation because to preach a wrong gospel about salvation is to preach a damning message to those who would believe it.

According to Carlton Pearson, the orthodox Christian church has gotten the salvation message all wrong for 1900 years and he has finally been the one to discover the truth and set everyone and everything straight. In a sense, he is maintaining the old apostasy theory that claims the early church believed one thing, but at some point that belief was changed and the church became apostate. He has now come along to end that system of apostasy and restore the truth of the real gospel as he has discovered it. The Apostle Paul, whose teachings were the first to be referred to as heresies in Acts 24:24, was the first to teach the message of Universal Reconciliation, as he tried to convince Jews and Jewish Christians that the Gospel was inclusive of all of Humankind and not confined to a so-called ‘faithful few.” Subtly trying to compare is situation with the apostle Paul, he intimates that the claims of heresy brought against his teachings are similar to those in Acts. However, he misrepresents the charges of heresy brought against Paul, because they were not charges from within the Christian community, but from the old Judaistic religious system that was abolished on the death of Jesus Christ.

“A careful study of early church history will show that the doctrine of universal reconciliation was the prevailing doctrine of the Primitive Christian Church.” It is clear from the Scripture that this was not the prevailing doctrine of the early church. To claim otherwise is simply a perversion of the Scriptural record and the historical record as well.   Carlton Pearson’s approach is mirrored by the claims of Joseph Smith in Mormonism, who is considered to be “The prophet of the restoration, “John Thomas of the Christadelphians and Charles Taze Russell of the Jahovah’s Witnesses, who all claim that the Christian Church has been wrong all along, but they and only they, by their own brilliance or by a revelation uniquely given to them, have discovered the truth. The absurdity of Carlton Pearson’s claim, according to its own system of theology, is, it does not matter what a person believes; they are going to heaven anyway. So, even if the orthodox church got the message wrong, everyone is still going to heaven. In point of fact, it is not even necessary for there to be preachers to give a message, a church to attend or a religious belief to hold, since all men are going to heaven regardless of what they may or may not believe. If Carlton Pearson were true to his theology, he would have to admit that his job as a pastor or evangelist is completely unnecessary.

Carlton Pearson wishes to preach about a kinder, gentler God than is actually revealed in the Scripture. He wishes to redefine God in a manner that suit’s the message that he wishes to preach, rather than reveal the true character and nature of God. He wishes to do the same with Jesus Christ, so he states, “It is my objective to simply represent Jesus in a softer and more loving way, being less excluding and more “inclusive” in His love, tolerance, acceptance, and glorious promise to all.”

Redefining God in the image of Carlton Pearson is his goal, in order to present a gospel that people want to hear. It is a gospel in which they can go to heaven just like they are. It is a gospel in which people are presumed to be worthy of heaven in the condition that they find themselves. It is a gospel in which they can excel to higher levels through the message of sanctification by faith, never dealing with the sin and depravity in their soul.

Carlton Pearson is adopting a gospel that is strangely reminiscent of Robert Schuller and his positive thinking theology. Robert Schuller took a survey and asked people what message they wanted to hear. They told him what it was, and he now preaches the comforting homilies of a positive self-image and high self-esteem. Salvation, according to Robert Schuller, is the adoption of a gospel of self-love, a positive self-image and high self-esteem that is sufficient to approach God. This is a gospel of arrogance, presuming that a person has the right to stand before God based on their own definition of adequacy. Claiming that the apostle Paul taught a negative message, Robert Schuller states that he does not preach the message of the apostle Paul. He takes upon himself the authority to determine what is important to preach from the Bible, and as such, he places himself in a greater position of authority than God, who is the author of all Scripture.

Carlton Pearson has adopted Robert Schuller’s popular approach, wishing to eliminate from his theology what he considers to be a negative message. The gospel message that repentance of sins and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior will deliver a person form the judgment of God, is hard to understand. However, when salvation is given to every human being at birth, there is not much of any other message that can be preached.

Placing himself in the position of authority over the message of the gospel established by God, he assumes that he has the power to redefine God, Jesus Christ, and salvation in the manner that best suits his true ultimate goal of extending the boundaries of his ministry. His new “doctrine” came about, not as a result of a desire to present doctrinal purity, but in order to extend the appeal of his ministry to a vast group of people who do not wish to hear or know about a gospel in which sin must be realized and confessed in their lives. As such, he teaches a gospel that says, “I’m ok. You’re ok. We’re all ok.” To that end, Carlton Pearson has created his own gospel, just as Robert Schuller has created his. He is taking a calculated risk, willing to lose some followers now in order to appeal to a greater number as time goes on.

Carlton Pearson wishes to see himself as the leader of a new theological approach, redefining God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, salvation and sanctification. He looks to himself as the head of the movement and to others in order to provide a foundation for his beliefs, pointing toward those who call themselves “Universal Reconciliationists,”  with similar views. He uses the trendy terminology, that is so overused in charismatic circles today, that is supposed to assign a high level of importance and intellectual credence to what is being stated, indicating that a “paradigm shift” in thinking identifies his theological system, hoping to convince other people that he is doing great and mighty things.

Paradigm shifts, no matter how they are defined by their proponents, must adhere to the teachings in the Scripture, otherwise, like Carlton Person’s “new” theology, they are simply the old heresies wrapped in another package.

Today, Mr. Pearson speaks in a rented hall, his mega-church property having gone into foreclosure. Seated before him are no long thousands of sign-seeking WOF cultists. Instead his “congregation” includes people dressed in Muslim clothing, openly homosexual people, some Unitarian cult members and just a handful of people from HDFC who sadly have been thus far deceived into believing the apostate Pearson’s seemingly kinder false gospel.

I cannot say whether or not Pearson was ever a genuine Christian, God only knows. I can say that one cannot deny the unique redemption that is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to be a member of Christ’s Body. On the following page I have cited just a few of the biblical texts that Mr. Pearson seems to have either forgotten or has attempted to redefine. Like we used to say “there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.”

A Few Biblical Verses to Share With Those Who Believe In Universal Atonement

Psalm 21:9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Matthew 3:21 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 23:23   Ye serpents ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matthew 25:33,41   And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on is right hand, but the goats on the left…Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Romans 12:2 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

1 Cor. 6:9-10  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

2 These 2:10-13 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 the should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  ♦

Copyright ©  2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. The interview is available on the internet on various web sites. The program is called “This American Life” hosted by Ira Glass. To hear it one can go to http://www.audible.com or other sites.

2. Mr. Jakes, as DMI and other ministries have been warning the Church, is an anti-Trinitarian and teaches a unique syncretism of WOF error, prosperity nonsense and feel-good psycho-babble. Mr. Jakes leads The Potters House in Dallas, TX. A congregation with over 15,000 members.

3. Obtained from http://www.evangelizeamerica.org/general/carlton%20pearson.htm.

4. Charisma magazine, Feb. 2000, People & Events section.

5. Obtained from an article on Pearson found at http://www.letusreason.org/Curren35.htm on 12-31-05

6. Charles Finney was a heretic who, unfortunately, has had a great impact on today’s so-called evangelical movement. Truth Matters has exposed him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and there are many web sites devoted to demonstrating that Finney was not a genuine Christian.

7. Transcribed from the audio version of This American Life by Dominique Liichow who labored long over her Christmas vacation to help with this edition of the newsletter.

8. We have Finney to thank for the concept of the anxious bench” and “altar calls.” According to Finney, man has totally free will to receive or reject Christ it is up to the skill of the evangelist to make the message as appealing or powerful as possible. I have seen coffins on the platform with people laying in them, a bugle is blown and only 1 man rises, and then the evangelist shouts “I’ll count to 10 and if you want to rise when Jesus returns like this man run to the alta…” Other evangelists will literally turn up the heat in the building as they preach about hell and the need for Christ. Such tactics leave no place for the true work of the Holy Spirit.

9. From This American Life radio interview and it can also be found at http://www.letusreason.org/Curren35.htm as of 12-30-05

10. http://www.evangelizeamerica.org/general/carlton%20pearson.htm obtained on 12-30-05.

11. http://www.beliefnet.com/story/127/story_12772_1.htm#cont  obtained on 12-30-05.





The Battle Rages On

21 09 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 1 – The Battle Rages On – Robert S. Liichow

The Battle Rages On

I guess it came as no big surprise when the hard drive on the ministry computer stopped working suddenly at the end of November. DMI had just committed itself before God to “tithe” to overseas ministries. The temptation to use the incoming portion of the December donations to get it repaired was very strong. After all, DMI really was not going to start our planned giving until January. However, the needs of our brother in Rwanda superceded our computer crisis. Instead, I moved the laser printer fro the office to the older system our daughter mainly uses in our living room and proceeded to print out the December issue of Truth Matters. Many of you probably received your December issue quite late. It was not because of the Christmas postal influx, it was mainly due to the loss of our main hard drive.

Due to some very generous gifts towards the end of December we were able to get the computer repaired. All of the data on that drive was lost. Fortunately, we’ve always used the older system and the trusty inkjet to print the mailing labels so our mailing list was not lost.

Brothers and sisters I am extremely excited about the upcoming year. I am especially excited to be sending DMI materials and Bibles overseas. It is a good way to fight back against the onslaught of error which is regularly exported from our nation.

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that almost all of the false teachers, false prophets, false apostles and major Bible-based cults have come and are currently coming from our nation? Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, The Way International, The Church of Scientology, Oneness Pentecostalism not to mention the Word of Faith cult and other aberrant groups all came from America. The majority of these groups, especially the charismatic extremists are very active in spreading their views globally. Groups holding heretical beliefs and practices virtually “own” Christian television and much of radio. Their leaders are well funded, many own private jets and their own printing and distribution companies to further their grasp on the minds of the doctrinally unstable.

Yet my friends, the battle for the spiritual welfare of the multitudes rages on. I am not discouraged at all. Why not? Because I know that God’s truth in the end will always win the day! Truth will always outlive a lie just as light always dispels darkness. Even a small seemingly insignificant flame pushes back all the darkness in a room. This is why I look forward to sending our books and materials along with Bibles overseas monthly. Please pray for the ministries we mention each month. Many of our brothers, such as in Nepal work for Christ at great personal risk. Pray that the shipments reach them and that fruit is born from their labor to the glory of God.

On our part, DMI is praying two specific prayers regarding this aspect of our mission: (1) That those of you who have been giving will continue to be as faithful in 2006 as you were in 2005. We are eternally grateful for each one who has supported our work for Christ. (2) That our Lord will speak to the hearts of many of you who are currently not financially supporting DMI, yet receive the newsletter. We are asking our Lord to raise up individuals, Christian business owners and congregations to begin to support DMI on a regular basis. In 2006 DMI will be sending those who financially support us quarterly statements reflecting their giving.

There is a tremendous spiritual battle taking place and each one of us who bear the name of “Christian” is engaged in it to one degree or another. Your donations enable us to expand our ability to Teach Truth and Expose Error. Your donation now will help us multiply our effectiveness by equipping ministers such as Benjamin and Samuel as they share God’s Word in their nations. You have both the opportunity and privilege to share in this important work, and on that great day we will see the fruits of our labors and say “to God be the glory for the great things He has done.”

May our gracious God guide you and your family throughout this new year. May you experience the joy that comes from the liberty you have in walking free in the light of Christ. Lastly, may you not forget the multitudes still in spiritual bondage through false doctrine and practice and work to free them. ♦

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

His servant and yours,

Rev. Robert S. Liichow





Tragedy in Uganda – The Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God

29 07 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – 2001 –  Tragedy in Uganda — As Many as 700 Dead & Murdered: The Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God –  (A Post-Catholic Movement) – by Robert S. Liichow

This issue has been devoted to explaining why the local church needs Apologetic Ministries built into their vision of ministry. Our local church, Grace Community Church, has gone to Uganda on two occasions to work with local evangelicals and teach some of their youths how to play baseball. Currently we have no idea if any of their friends or family were caught up in this latest bible-base cult group. The following information was gleaned from CNN and others on-line news sites.

The History of the Group—

This cult was started in the middle 1990’s by a woman name Cledonia Mwerinde, she was a former prostitute. She was assisted by a former Roman Catholic priest name Joseph Kibweteere.

At one point the group operated a school which housed almost 300 students. The school was closed in 1998 when the government investigated it and determined it did not meet adequate standards for food and housing.

Their Beliefs—

The members of the movement were commanded to communicate only by gestures. They were permitted to vocalize only when singing or preying.

It is currently believed that the mass deaths were a result of Kibweteere’s prediction that the world would end on December 31, 1999. This date was revised to 12-31-00 after the earlier date passed without event.

Kibweteere’s beliefs in the end of the world was allegedly based on a conversation he claims to have had with both Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Mary is suppose to have told him that the world was going to be destroyed because its people were not adhering to the Ten Commandments.

The End Results?—

The death count linked to a Christian doomsday sect climbed ever higher Wednesday—to nearly 700 — in what officials say is one of the largest mass murders in recent history. Authorities initially called the conflagration a mass suicide. But within days, investigators discovered six strangled, mutilated corpses in a pit latrine on the compound, triggering a murder investigation.

Days after the fire, 153 more decomposing bodies were found buried in a Buhunga village compound belonging to the sect. Then, on Friday, police discovered the first Rugazi mass grave when they came to inspect Kataribabo’s compound. Investigators found the bodies in the house after Kataribabo’s nephew, Bart Bainomukama, told them his uncle had said he was digging a pit for a refrigerator. A hole driven through the floor quickly revealed a human leg. That led to the discovery of the 81 additional corpses.

Three Other Incidents of Bible-Based Cults In Uganda

The Holy Spirit Movement—

A violent Christian cult led by “prophetess” Alice Lakwena, who led a failed uprising against the government from 1985 to 1996. Followers often died in suicidal attacks, convinced magic oil would protect them from bullets.

The Lord’s Resistance Army —

Led by Joseph Kony, its goal is to run Uganda according to the biblical Ten Commandments. It is notorious for kidnapping Children and using them and using them as soldiers and sexual slaves.

The World Message Last Warning —

This doomsday group was started by Wilson Bushara, it was disbanded by Ugandan police last September after the leaders were charged with rape, kidnapping, illegal confinement and murder.

The Future For Evangelism?

The internet is one of the fastest growing means that is reaching across man-made borders. The genuine gospel of Jesus Christ can be effectively shared in nations which do not permit evangelism. ICCDM is working towards increasing our influence in cyberspace. Will the Church lag behind in this arena too?





Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

11 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – June 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 6 – Sacred Cow Number Five – It is God’s Will to Always Heal – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

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Throughout this series I have been focusing on the major beliefs of the Word of Faith (WOF) cult. It is appropriate to delve into this topic due to the fact that the cult is also known as the “Health and Wealth” movement. This month I will consider their views on divine healing as oppose to what the Bible teaches and next month I will close this series out by exposing their twisting of biblical texts concerning God’s will and financial prosperity. But what good is money if you don’t have your health, eh?

It is vitally important for you to understand Discernment Ministries International (DMI) position regarding divine healing. DMI does not doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ still heals His people. Where orthodox Christians diverge from the WOF cult is that we believe that God heals people according to His sovereign good pleasure which is based upon His will for us as individuals. The Lord is the Healer and frankly, it may or may not be within His plan to heal an individual physically. I have often taught that God answers 100% of my prayers (yours too), however, the answers are not always what I want.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or sinful for Christians to pray for physical healing for themselves, family members, friends or others. It is doctrinally correct for the elders of a congregation to anoint the sick with oil and pray for their physical restoration (read James 5:14,15). Our Lord can and does heal through the proper reception of His grace when we come to the altar and celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

Those guilty of unworthy communion through non-discernment of the body and/or failure to examine themselves commit sacrilege against the most holy things, for which reason they are weak or sick or have even died (1 Cor. 11:27-31)…In the Large Catechism Luther confesses the other side of the coin presented by the Apostle in these verses. ‘We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is healed as well’ (LCV.68). Positive bodily benefit may accrue, even in this life, to those who worthily (I.e.., contritely and with faith) partake of the Holy Supper. For it may please Almighty God to hold back the progress or even to drive back the depredations of bodily and mental disease through the life-giving body and blood of Him “by [whose] wounds we are healed (Is 53:5c; 1 Pt 2:24) (1)

It is with these texts in mind that we know that our Lord can and does heal His people. DMI is not anti-healing, we are against any teaching which takes something God may graciously do for one of His children and turn that grace into a work wrought by man and thus available to anyone who knows how to work the work, which is essentially what the WOF cult has done.

The WOF Teaching on Divine Healing

The problem with the WOF view of divine healing is that it is based on false premises, shoddy exegesis and is being propagated in many cases by wolves masquerading as genuine Christians. Their belief promises healing to all yet provides healing to none. The only ones who truly benefit from this deadly error are the so-called healing evangelists, all of whom have gotten extremely wealthy from presenting false hopes to the hopeless and desperate. Let’s drive a stake into this particular darkness.

 F.F. Bosworth, an early “healing” evangelist, made the following statement and as you can read Gloria Copeland’s comment echoes Bosworth’s and is now parroted by every WOF SINister on television and in pulpits today:

We see, from almost every conceivable angle throughout the Scripture, that there is no doctrine more clearly taught than it is God’s will to all who have need of healing, and that they may fulfill the number of their days, according to His promise. (2)

The Word of God will establish, without a doubt, that it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time who will agree with Him. Agreeing with God puts you in a position to receive from God. (3)

There you have it folks, it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time, end of story. Obviously people who are not healed are (1) out of the will of God for their lives and (2) not in agreement with God. Bosworth moved to Zion, IL a city founded by faith healer John Alexander Dowie (who later claimed he was Elijah returned and died of a stroke). His initial education and training came from his association with Dowie, Parham and E.W. Kenyon. In her healing school tape series Gloria goes on pontificating regarding the condition of the early Church:

In the early Church, they had this revelation. Sickness was no problem to them. They knew how to resist Satan and command disease to leave. They depended on the power of God to put them over in everything. Satan did not control the early Church, the believers kept him under control. (4)

The early Church she is referring to is the Church from its inception to the Dark Ages. The revelation they had was that it was God’s will to always heal people of everything every time. “Sickness was no problem to them.” Oh, really? What does she base that statement on? Paul in 1 Cor. 11 warned the Corinthians about abuses concerning the Lord’s Supper. That due to those abuses many were (1) weak; (2) sickly and (3) some had died. This seems like a bit of a problem to me. If people were not sick then James would not have written about the sick people calling for the church elders. Nothing is written in Acts about the rank and file believer “commanding disease to leave.” Both of Copeland’s statements are unwarranted and in fact, potentially quite dangerous a fact I will address later in this article. This much is certain, at least according to the WOF doctrine— healing is the will of God for all His people.

The fallacy behind their belief is that they teach that physical healing was also obtained for all of God’s children in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. “God heals today because healing is in the atonement.” Tilton is merely quoting Dr. T.J. McCrossan who attempted to write a scholarly apologetic for physical healing in the atonement in his book (read and cited by almost every WOF SINister) Bodily Healing and the Atonement:

Again, all Christians should expect God to heal their bodies today, because Christ died to atone for our sicknesses as well as for our diseases. (6)

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Gloria Copeland in her “healing school” echoes this sentiment as well:

When He paid the price for sin, He paid the price for sickness and the chastisement of our peace (mental torment) for us…Forgiveness of sin belongs to you now. Healing of your body belongs to you now. Freedom from mental torment belongs to you now…When Jesus came out of hell, He brought us with Him. We are not bound by sin, sickness or disease anymore. (7)

Some WOF extremists teach that the 39 “stripes” which Jesus was lashed with by the Roman soldiers actually represent categories of disease. Each lash was a disease which is why Peter says that “by His stripes we are healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24).

I continued and said, ‘How many of you believe that Jesus took all our diseases on himself at Calvary? Every one of those 39 stripes he had on his back was a different disease…Can you imagine all the brain damage in the world on him? Can you see all the crippling disease on him? Millions of all kinds of diseases, all on Jesus at one time? (8)

He suffered in our stead because He did not want us to suffer disease. He took our specific diseases and infirmities upon His own sinless, perfect body in complete payment of the penalty of our sin. (9)

The Bible says in Isaiah, that on Calvary He was so disfigured, His body was so bent out of shape, His Spirit was so twisted, that He didn’t even look like a man any more. Sin had crushed Him in His Spirit; sickness and disease had taken hold of His body. He had cancer, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and everything else all at one time. All of this from the whole world, came on Him, and He took everybody’s sickness, everybody’s disease upon His own body. (10)

The obvious error here stems from their belief that Jesus literally became a sinner. He did not bear the penalty for our sin, but He actually became sin. Even so regarding our sicknesses; He was not punished for sickness (which is a result of sin) but actually bore/became literally plagued with all the illnesses of humanity past, present and future during His scourging.

Jesus our Lamb suffered in two ways. He shed His blood on the cross for our salvation from sin, and He bore the stripes on His BODY for our healing from sickness. In the intense spiritual and physical agony of Calvary, which Jesus suffered principally in His spirit…But in the excruciating physical agony of the Praetorium, where Jesus suffered in His BODY from the terrible Roman lash, He bare our sicknesses; for it was there by His stripes that He was made sick for us (Isaiah 53:10), and by His stripes we are healed. (11)

When Jesus bore away our sins, He also bore away our diseases. The cross pronounced a double cure for the ills of mankind. The church of Jesus Christ has been made as free from sickness as it has been made free from sin. A Christian may continue to sin after he has been born again, but he does not have to…A Christian may continue to be sick after he has been born again but he does not have to. He has been redeemed from sickness. The price has been paid for his healing. Sickness can no longer exert dominion over him unless he allows it. (12)

When the Bible talks about suffering, that doesn’t mean ‘sickness.’ We have no business suffering sickness and disease, because Jesus redeemed us from that…Yes, there is suffering, but not sickness and disease. Thank God you don’t have to suffer with that, because Jesus bore our infirmities. (13)

The reason I cited all of the above individuals is to show you (and anyone you may share this with) how widely this error is taught. No one can claim that DMI is setting up a straw man argument. On the contrary, I have in fact only referenced a few examples and could have easily added an additional twenty quotes from our library concerning divine healing.

It is the WOF cult’s contention that divine healing is part-n-parcel of our redemption. I have heard Kenneth Copeland on numerous occasions say that it is as easy to get healed as it is to get saved. It simply requires an individual to use the same force of faith for both. This only shows their ignorance concerning salvation, but since they are at best semi-Pelagian and at worst full blown Pelagians (as was Charles Finney) it is understandable. Let me remind you of what Dr. Martin Luther said regarding salvation in the Third Article on Becoming Holy in his Small Catechism:

A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit call me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, He generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. Yes, this is true!

Salvation is not by our own efforts it is by grace alone through faith and the faith to believe in Christ Jesus is a gift from God (read Eph. 2:8). This is in direct opposition to their view where they have the lost man making a decision to receive Christ and in the same manner to make a decision to be healed as well. Yet if salvation is the gift of God and physical healing is indeed included in the atoning death of Christ, then divine healing would have to equally be a gift. Naturally, they do not see it this way. In answering their claim of divine healing being in the atonement I will cite Dr. Crenshaw:

Is there healing in the atonement? Certainly, and in exactly the way Matthew used the Isaiah passage. From Isaiah we learn that Jesus definitively and once for all removed the cause of sickness by atonement in bearing sin. From Matthew we learn that He occasionally removed the effects of sin during His earthly ministry by miracles. We have already seen that He did miracles to demonstrate Who He was, and once this was done, there was no reason to expect them to continue. The purpose had been completed. Since the healing aspect of the Isaiah passage was “fulfilled” in the life of the Lord, why should we look for it to be fulfilled again today? (14)

Christ died because we were sinners in need of redemption, not because we were sick in need of healing. The focus of the atonement is our being made righteous before the Father by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Crenshaw goes on to say:

The Word of Faith leaders, however, make one of the fruits of His death, healing disease, the essence of the atonement. They miss the whole point of sin, judgment, and Jesus’ death, for God has not charged us with diseases but with sin, with disobedience to His moral laws. Diseases are the result of sin, not the sin itself, and Jesus bore our sin, not the result…While in this life though, we shall always have some sin and thus some sickness. It is only when we are glorified that we shall no longer sin (1 John 3:2). Just as we do not expect sinlessness in this life, neither should we expect perfect health.

One day we shall be sinless and free of sickness, and one day the curse from the earth shall be removed, all as a result of the atonement, but not now. (15)

In the April, 2005 edition of Truth Matters the article dealt with the WOF heresy concerning the atonement of Jesus and it is obvious to any genuine Christian that the leaders of this cult are totally ignorant of the biblical Jesus and the biblical account of His death for us on the cross. So it is no wonder they are equally confused regarding healing and the atonement. They all teach that sickness comes from Satan, they do not teach that we live in a fallen world, thusly much of our woes stem from this fact. They give far too much credit to Satan while ignoring texts such as—

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor. 4:16,17

If one reads the prior verses and the following ones the meaning becomes clear. Our body is dying, yet spiritually we are growing daily by the grace of God. The WOF leaders and their followers are dying physically daily, as are we all. Those who propagate faith healing ministries are no less prone to disease than anyone else in the Body of Christ.

The danger of this specific error is that those who hear these leaders actually believe what they proclaim and follow their so-called spiritual laws and principles often at the cost of their own lives. Meanwhile, the faith healers keep their own physical ailments out of the spotlight as long as possible and when they are sick they make use of the best medical facilities money can buy.

How Do We Tap Into God’s Healing Power?

(All you Need is Faith, Everybody Now, All You Need is Faith)   (16)

 This is really the $64,000 question the WOF pundits claim to have the answer to. But first allow me to give you a short history lesson. Prior to the formation of this cult (17) belief in faith healing was around for many years. Individuals traveled under the aegis of “healing evangelists.” Some of the more notable characters include: John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and Aimee Semple McPherson. These and other people laid the foundation for the so-called “healing revival” of Post World War II. The healers of the late 40’s and 50’s took their cues from the healers which proceeded them. In the Post War days healing evangelists roved the nation. Names like William Branham, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, O.L. Jaggers and Franklin Hall were (and are) commonplace in Pentecostalism and the early Charismatic renewal movement. There was extreme competition (18) among these healers and each one claimed a stronger “anointing” or more dramatic miracles in their meetings. From Dowie up to the present day those seeking divine healing were led to believe that they needed to be in the presence of the man or women especially anointed by God to heal the sick. These charlatans (as history has proven) usually laid hands upon the sick and commanded evil spirits (the cause of sickness they claimed) to leave the infirmed. All of these former faith healers obtained both fame and great fortunes from those in need.

Due to the tremendous wealth which these fake-healers accumulated it caused many others to take their place when death or exposure ended their time in the spotlight. Today we have a host of individuals who teach that Christians need to come to them specifically for healing, that they (the healers) are the mediators of God’s power for those who will but “believe.” People such as Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman (deceased), Benny Hinn, R.W. Schambach, Leroy Jenkins, Peter Popoff, Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant Jr., Jim Whittington, Don Stewart and other healing evangelists can be seen regularly on television. Hagin and his clones took a different and less risky route then the healing evangelists. It was the WOF cult that began to write and teach about divine healing apart from needing to go to the big tent, traveling healing revivalists which have dotted the spiritual landscape. Divine healing began to become codified into a guarantee from God if people simply applied the correct spiritual laws or principles.

During the great healing revival, evangelists would hold short meetings, and I’d come along behind them with longer meetings. By the time I got there, I often found people who had been healed in those meetings already had lost their healing. This happened in my meetings, too, but I learned how to get them healed and keep them healed. (19)

Even though Hagin attempted to lump himself in with the “big” healing revivalist he never was seen as one of them. In fact, Hagin is not known for even having a divine healing ministry per se. Hagin would show up after the “big-boys” had left town and hold smaller meetings in which he would pray for those who had lost their healing and teach the attendees how to receive divine healing. The important point to remember is that Hagin states he ’learned how to get them healed and keep them healed.” In essence he is saying that he is really more powerful than the huge tent revivalists in that he had the needed revelation of how one can remain healed. Before considering how to keep divine healing, let’s get down to brass tacks and see what is taught on how to receive it in the first place!

Faith healing is exactly what it says it is: you are healed by faith, and you keep your healing by faith…Miracles and healing happen through faith: so if it happens through faith, then we need to find out about faith. (20)

Everything within the WOF cult is predicated by their concept of faith, (21) which as we studied last month does not mean a believer’s simple reliance and trust in God, the object of our faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. To these people faith is a mystical force which when properly use according to set spiritual laws will create and change spiritual and physical reality, including physical health and healing. So the initial piece to the healing puzzle is that people receive healing by releasing the force of faith within them for healing.

Your faith will cause the power of God to be manifested in your life. His power is always present. It will do what you need it to do. (22)

Notice how depersonalized Copeland’s statement is; “your faith will cause….it will do what you need it to do.” God’s power is separated from Himself (something the Bible does not teach). The power of our faith, i.e. our ability to conceive in our spirits what we desire will cause this power to be activated. God’s power is at our command and is only limited by the strength of our faith. If a person believes this way about God and faith, then when they fail to receive their healing by “faith” it can have some very dire implications for that individual, or their families.

“If Christ is our Passover lamb, His blood was most assuredly shed to save us from the wrath of God through the forgiveness of our sins, and His flesh was bruised and broken for our physical benefits.’ The logical conclusion to such reasoning is that if one gets sick, he really has not had his sins forgiven. To evade this logic, they make a distinction between forgiveness and healing, which is the Gnostic dualism… (23)

The Copelands assert that the faith that saves is the same faith that heals. It is only logical to believe if one is not healed, then one must not be saved either. Admittedly, the WOF cult does not make this distinction, but then logic is not their strong suit.

Let’s consider just a few of the biblical examples of people who received divine healing from God apart from exercising faith on their part. How do they explain the FACT that ten lepers were healed by Jesus, yet only ONE had faith (read Luke 17:12-19). How much faith did Lazarus exercise when Jesus raised him from the dead, death after all is a permanent result of sin & sickness (read the crippled beggar in Acts 3:3-8 ? The cripple asked for money, Peter and John had none, instead the man got physically healed, something he obviously did not believe for! I could mention the case where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:31. Nothing is mentioned of her faith in Christ, yet Jesus healed her. Most of you are familiar with the case of the man who was born blind. Jesus healed him and in this case the man had faith in Jesus AFTER he was healed, not before (read John 4:16).

Failure to Receive Divine Healing

All failure to receive the promised blessings falls squarely on the shoulders of the individual believer. It is never the fault of the healer. In closing I will cite seven of the most common excuses used to attempt to explain away the lack of success in the healing business. Space does not permit me to give direct citations, but I will list works which detail what I am sharing in the end notes. (24)

#1. The individual only had head knowledge of God’s will for healing and not a revelation from the Spirit to their spirit. The individual only had mental assent, which will not heal anyone. Remember the only way you can know if you have a spirit versus soul revelation is by the manifestation of what you have believed for.

#2. Hidden sin in a person’s life can block the flow of divine healing. Naturally this excuse does not explain why God allegedly heals unbelievers and admitted sinners in healing revivals. This mystery is attested to by Kuhlman and Hinn.

#3. A lack of tithing (off the gross vs. the net) will open the door for demonic attack. God will rebuke the devourer (I.e. Satan & demons in the WOF cult) on the behalf of the faithful tither (read Mal. 3:11). This is a frequently twisted text used by SINisters to bilk money from God’s gullible and often desperate sheep.

#4. A lack of knowledge concerning divine healing is a major cause of sickness in the Church. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” in Hosea 4:6? How can one exercise faith for healing when one does not know it is God’s will to heal them?

#5. Sicknesses that come form unknown causes. This is a major source of confusion and depression among WOF cultists. Marilyn Hickey is well known for teaching that “the curse causeless shall not come” from Proverbs 26:2. So when sickness attacks the WOF devotee they immediately begin to search their lives and see if thee is any hidden sin, lack of giving or strife with others. There is always a cause for sickness and its root is to be found in Satan and the believer who has left the door open for him to attack them.

#6. An attack from Satan to hold back God’s plan. This excuse is usually reserved for the leaders in the movement itself. If the sheep get a disease, then it is obviously their fault in some way. If a leader gets a disease it is an attack from the Enemy to hinder the expansion of the Kingdom of God. For example, when Jan Crouch gets cancer it is because Satan wanted to stop her from giving donated toys to poor children in Haiti.

#7. The individual was healed, but lost their healing. This is a common excuse favored by the healing evangelists. They claim people were healed in their meetings and when they die later on, it is because they “lost” their healing. This is why so many books have been written on how to Keep your healing.

When you read the books published by individuals cited in this article do not be deceived by the testimonies they share. No information is ever given that will enable the reader to verify the claims being made. Anyone can write “ten people, born blind were healed in my Calcutta crusade’ or “Mrs. M. wrote us and said that after she sent in her last $100 God delivered her completely from the demon of stomach cancer.” Also, realize that the level of sickness and disease is as high, if not actually higher among the WOF leaders. The rate of cancer among their international leadership and their families is off the scale. One would expect to see a large (and growing larger) group of extremely healthy individuals and yet they are no better off than anyone else in the Church.

They promise much but they deliver nothing but false hopes and empty promises. I believe Jude must have know people like this in his day:

Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 1:11-13 ¨ ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Copeland (*But were Afraid to Ask By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

This Booklet is Only  Available from DMI – $15.00

 

 

 

 

 

End Notes

1. Stephenson, John R. The Lord’s Supper (Northville, SD: The Luther Academy), 2003 p. 200. Bold type added for emphasis.

2. God’s Word for Your Healing (Tulsa, Ok: Harrison House) 1993, p. 9 This comment is attributed to F.F. Bosworth by the unknown author of this book. F.F. Bosworth is best known today for his book Christ the Healer. The following comments were obtained from http://www.christianheroes.com/ev/ev014.asp: “Little is known of the early life of F.F. Bosworth. His family moved to Zion city whilst he was young and both he and his brother BB were to become preachers. FF Bosworth strongly influenced many of the early healing evangelists. This list includes Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, J.G. Lake and many others. His book ‘Christ the Healer is a tremendous book on the principles of healing through the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary. Bosworth worked with John Alexander Dowie for a number of years before starting his own healing ministry. Bosworth embraced Pentecostalism as a result of being influenced by Charles Parham in 1906. Bosworth was also influenced by E.W. Kenyon and his teachings on divine healing…In 1948Bosworth met William Branham. Bosworth supported Branham until his death. (Bosworth’s) in 1958” The underlining and bold type has been added.

3. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries), 1988, p. 5.

4. Ibid. p. 10

5. Tilton, Robert How to Receive & Keep Your Healing (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries) 1987, p. 22 bold type added.

6. McCrossan, T.J. Bodily Healing and the Atonement (Tulsa, OK. Rhema Bible Church). 1982 p. 10.

7. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries 1988 pp. 28,29,30

8. Hunter, Charles and Francis, How to Heal the Sick, Kingwood, TX: Hunter Books), 1981, 9.85.

8. Roberts, Oral How I know God Wants to Heal You, (Tulsa, OK ; Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association) 1970 p. 3 Underlining added.

9. Price, Frederick K. Is Healing For All, (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House) 1976, p. 119. Underlining added.

10. Osborn, T.L. Healing the Sick and Casting Out Devils, (Tulsa, OK; The voice of Faith Ministry), 1950, pp. 179, 180.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will For Your Healing, (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1972, p. 30

12. Hagin Kenneth E. Must Christians Suffer?, (Tulsa, OK Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1990 pp. 2, 41.

13. Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN; Footstool Publications), 1994 p. 139

14. Ibid p. 133

15. Hum this to yourself using the Beatles tune ‘All you need is Love”

In saying ‘formation’ I am referring to the establishment of actual Word of Faith congregations. This did not really begin to occur until Kenneth Hagin had graduated his first class from Rhema Bible Training Center outside of Tulsa, OK. In the late 1940’s up to this day there have been many formerly Pentecostal congregations which separated themselves from their denominations and became independent charismatic churches, many of which began to teach WOF concepts as they became popular. One of the largest and most enduring WOF “denominations” was started by Buddy Harrison, Hagin’s son-in-law called Faith Christian Fellowship which has 100’s of congregations throughout America and overseas.

16. For many years there was an ongoing “battle” between A.A. Allen and Jack Coe over who had the largest healing revival tent. Branham claimed to see an angel feel demons in his right hand, Roberts said God had anointed his right hand with healing power. Jack Coe would inflate the results of his meetings and make outlandish claims. Each healer tried to find a “nitch” market among the sick seekers.

17. Hagin, Kenneth, How to Keep Your Healing (Tulsa, OK. Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1989, p. 19

18. Tilton, Robert, How To Receive & Keep Your Healing, (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries ) 1987, p. 18 Underlining added.

In Last month’s Truth Matters (May 2005) I delved into the WOF concept regarding faith and it would be redundant to devote much space re-explaining it in this issue.

19. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1988 p. 4 underlining added.

20 Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN. Footstool Publication) 1994 p. 143. In the beginning of this citation Crenshaw is quoting from McCrossan’s book on healing and the atonement. Bold type added.

21. Here are some titles which cover these excuses and many others: T.L. Osborn. One Hundred Divine Healing Facts; Gordon Lindsey Twenty-Five Objections to divine healing and Bible answers; K. Neill Foster Twenty-three Reasons Why Some Are Not Healed.

22. I have mentioned in many previous articles and on our website the fact that the rate of cancer among WOF leaders and their families far exceeds that of other international Christian leaders and their families.





Sacred Cow Number Four – The Laws of Faith & Confession

6 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – May 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 5 – Sacred Cow Number Four – The Laws of Faith & Confession – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Four

The Laws of Faith & Confession

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“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart that is, the word of faith, which we preach.”    Romans 10:8

Using a little Aussie slang “let’s fire-up the Bar-b,” because we have another couple of Word of Faith (WOF) steaks to throw onto the flames! We began by considering some Christological errors propagated by the WOF preachers because they fall into the true category of heresy in that they deal specifically with the nature and work of Jesus Christ. How we shall begin to consider some other areas of error which cannot properly be considered heresies but fall into the category of false doctrine or as Paul calls them in his warning to his disciple Timothy—

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1 Timothy 4:1

Previously we have seen that there are only three sources of doctrine, the doctrine of God (Heb. 6:1); the doctrines of men (Col. 2:22); and lastly the docrines of devils as seen in the above text.

In this issue we will consider the WOF definition of faith and confession. After all, the cult is widely known as the “name-it-and-claim-it” movement. Some call it the “fake-it-till you make-it” movement, to others it is know as the “positive confession” movement. Regardless of what it is called, the real issue; is what they are teaching millions of people biblical or not?

The Word of Faith’s Concept of “Faith”

Since we are saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:5,8) and we know that it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6) it behooves us to properly understand what faith exactly is. Let us consider the words of the WOF cult’s true spiritual father, the heresiarch E.W. Kenyon:

Faith is giving substance to things hoped for. Faith is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality. Faith grows out of the Word of God. It is the warranty deed that the things for which you have fondly hoped is at last yours. It is the “evidence of things not seen. (1)

According to Kenyon  (and the myriad of drones who have followed his errors) faith is a literal force which when released will give substance to the thing the individual has been hoping for. Kenyon goes on in his book to delineate faith into two types. The first is natural sense-knowledge based faith and then the real faith which comes by revelation to the spirit of an individual and it is not based on what is seen or felt.

Here are two kinds of faith in contrast. One is Sense Knowledge Faith, which is based upon physical evidence. We see and believe. We hear and believe. Jesus speaks of another kind of faith where they do not see, nor feel, nor hear, yet they believe. (2)

The faith that “counts” produces the hoped for results, i.e. Rolex watches, mansions, divine health, the man or woman of ones dreams, is the second type which is a mystical revelation directly from God’s Holy Spirit to your spirit. Kenyon is inconsistent in the prior quote because in many other instances he cites that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17). Yet above he states that this biblical, supernatural faith does not hear! So which is it? Biblical faith comes hearing God’s Word ( DMI’s position) or does it come via supernatural means apart from hearing the Word of God? Kenneth E. Hagin (the Pretender to the WOF title of “father” of the cult) says:

Real faith in God—heart faith—believes the Word of God regardless of what the physical evidence may be. It’s believing with the inward man that causes it to be manifest in the outward man. (3)

We were taught that in order to obtain the results of what we believed for we had to receive a revelation of God’s Word from the Holy Spirit to our human spirits. From there our spirit man (the “real” us) had to renew our minds with this revealed knowledge which would eventually bring it to pass. The only way a person could know if they truly believed with their spirit versus mere mental assent was in obtaining the results. If a person received what they believed for, then they had exercised the second kind of faith, true biblical faith. If one failed to receive what they believed for, then either they had not yet renewed their mind sufficiently and the manifestation of their hope was in process, or they simply were using their soul and not their spirit. The important thing to remember is that results were the determining factor if one had faith or not.

The WOF cult makes a great dichotomy between the spirit of man and the physical body. In fact, they stress a belief that man is a tricheotomy, we are a spirit; we have a soul and live in a human body (which as we have already covered is what gives us authority in this earth realm). Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price (The “trinity” of the WOF cult) state this very plainly in what they teach regarding faith and the anthropology of man: Your body is not the real you, it is just the house you live in. If the body were you, Paul would have said, ‘I bring myself into subjection’ [Hagin is referring to 1 Cor. 9:27]. (4)

To be a powerful Christian your spirit, trained in the Word, must be in command of your mind and body. The chain of command is spirit (heart), soul (mind), body (flesh)…You are not bound to an ugly, sinful body and neither do you have two natures in you. God did not create you a spiritual schizophrenic. Your body is not you. Your spirit is you. You are a spirit, and you have a soul, and you live in a body. Do you have a human? No, you are a human. That body is not you. That body is where you live. If you will stand up on the inside, feed on the Word of God, and renew your mind, your stand up on the inside, feed on the Word of God, and renew your mind, your body will just tag along and do what it is told. (5)

God has created you a spirit being and it is only in the spirit that you can understand God. It is as your spirit is educated that your spirit can begin to educate your mind and your mind can learn how to act on God’s Word instead of acting on logic or human reasoning…God is a Spirit. Man is a spirit. He has a soul, and he lives in a body. God deals with man through his spirit nature… (6).

It is not heretical to believe man is a tri-part being, however, it’s a view that is not widely held by theologians today and has its origins in Platonic dogma and metaphysics. What is troubling about Hagin, Copeland and Price’s statements are that they do not view man as a totally integrated being.

Copeland adds that we do not have two natures in us, i.e. the WOF cult sees their followers as not possessing a sinful nature at all. They view themselves (wrongly) as becoming literally righteous in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). If the Christian still is not hindered by a fallen sinful nature then why does he still sin? How does Copeland explain   1 John 8-10?

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Also, how do they explain the text that urges Christians to cleanse ourselves of both the filthiness of the flesh AND spirit?

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

A.T. Robertson, the Greek scholar says the following concerning the above text:

2 Cor. 7:1These promises . So many and so precious (2 Pe 2:4; Heb 11:39f.) Let us cleanse ourselves. Old Greek used (in N.T. only in Joh 15:2, to prune). In koine occurs in inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 216f.) Paul includes himself in this volitive aorist subjunctive. From all defilement Ablative alone would have done, but with apo it is plainer as in Heb. 9:14. Is a late word meaning to stain (see on 1 Co 8:7). To pollute. In the LXX, Plutarch, Josephus. It includes all sorts of filthiness, physical, moral, mental, ceremonial, “of flesh and spirit.” Missionaries in China and India can appreciate the atmosphere of pollution in Corinth, for instance. Perfecting holiness. Not merely negative goodness (cleansing), but aggressive and progressive (present tense of holiness, not a sudden attainment of complete holiness, but a continuous process (1 Th 3:13; Ro. 1:4; 1:6)   (7)

If words mean anything (always keeping their context in mind) then it appears that the believer is not completely free from the fallen nature. We will consider their view of sinless perfection when we look into their doctrine of positive confession, which goes hand in hand with their beliefs about faith.

God is a faith God, we must always keep that in mind. We as Christians, are children of God. We are faith-children of a faith-God. We are not emotional children of an emotional God, but we are faith-children of a faith God. (8)

God has created certain spiritual laws by which His universe functions, laws that He himself is bound to. One of these laws is the “law of faith.” God uses the law of faith to created everything. According to WOF cosmology God created the universe by speaking (confessing) “faith-filled” words. God’s belief in His Words was complete and thus brought to pass exactly what He said. This argument is buttressed by many proof texts, I will cite just a few of them:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was lightAnd God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters…And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. Gen. 1:3,6,9

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Heb. 11:3

No true Christian doubts that God created the universe or that He literally spoke it into existence ex nihilo or out of nothing. Where the WOF cult errs is that they teach that God was using a spiritual law, the law of faith to create the universe. In fact I have heard WOF teachers say publicly that God did not create the universe out of nothing, He created out of faith and as we know faith is a “substance” (see Hebrews 11:1) it is tangible, it is something and not nothing.

Kenneth Copeland more cogently explains the WOF concept of spiritual law and the law of faith better than any other WOF teacher:

We need to realize that the spiritual world and its laws are more powerful than the physical world and its laws. Spiritual law gave birth to physical law. The world and the physical forces governing it were created by the power of faith— a spiritual force. God a Spirit, created all matter, and He created it with the force of faithFaith is a spiritual force, a spiritual energy, a spiritual power. It is this force of faith which makes the laws of the spirit world function. When the force of faith is put to work, these laws of the spirit function according to the way God says they will. (9)

However, I must give credit where credit is due, the above concept did not originate with Copeland, he is simply parroting his spiritual father, the now deceased, Kenneth E. Hagin who twisted Mark 11:22 to say “have the faith of God” versus what it does say “have faith in God.” There is a HUGE difference in those two little words. Admittedly, some Bibles do translate Mark 11:22 using “of” versus “in,” but as Crenshaw rightly points out “it is a well established idiom of Greek to use ‘faith of God’ to mean ‘faith in God.” (11) However, Hagin takes this one word and weaves a tapestry of error from it saying that we too, as God’s children are to operate using the same type of faith as God uses: “This is the kind of faith that spoke the world into existence.”  (12)

Well, how does one come to the place where they can operate and use the God kind of faith (for now, we’ll assume there is such a thing)? To learn how to do this we must turn to a man Copeland considers one of the greatest living theologians today, Charles Capps to gain insight into how we can begin to actualize who we really are, little gods:

“God’s Word conceived in the heart, then formed with the tongue and spoken out of the mouth becomes a spiritual force releasing the ability of God. (13)

Capps is totally convinced that this is the principle by which we are to release the ability of God. He mentions it in almost every book he has written (and DMI has almost all of them). We saw that this was how God became a man, nothing miraculous about it, just Mary enacting the law of faith:

It was an act of the God-kind of faith that caused the miraculous conception…Mary conceived the Word of God in her heart; then she went to Elisabeth’s house and told her, ‘He hath done great things’…The Lord said to me, ‘My Word will get people healed and filled with the Holy Ghost the same way that the miraculous conception took place! Any believer can conceive My Word concerning healing in their spirits, and healing will manifest in their physical bodies! They can conceive My Word concerning prosperity of finances, and prosperity will manifest itself in their business affairs…The miraculous conception came through the God-kind of faith. The faith of God rose in Mary’s heart, and she received the Word. She conceived it in her spirit, and it manifested itself in her physical body. (14)

Before we launch off into seeing how this “God-kind of faith” is put into operation, let’s take a quick review of what we’ve covered thus far concerning the WOF cult teaching about faith.

1. God must use faith in order to create.

2. God has created us in His likeness and image, so we too must use the same spiritual law of faith in order to obtain God’s promises.

3. Faith is a literal force, a spiritual substance and a spiritual power.

4. The God-kind of faith only comes into manifestation when it has been conceived in the human spirit versus the human mind. The God-kind of faith never fails to produce the desired results.

5. The God-kind of faith must always be verbally expressed.

With these concepts in mind how do these pundits of power explain the following? Buddy Harrison  (Kenneth E. Hagin’s son-in-law) died of cancer. Buddy taught and practiced for over twenty years the WOF dogmas regarding faith, why wasn’t he healed? Mack Timberlake, another WOF televangelist got cancer and he died. Peggy Capps, Charles Capps wife got cancer and survived due to medical treatment (and God’s gracious mercy). Betty Price, Fred Prices wife, got cancer was medically treated and survived. Joyce Meyer, another WOF “maven” revealed on a televised broadcast that she had breast cancer and was going to believe God for her healing but her family urged her to obtain medical help and she did, she is cancer-free today. We all know of Jan Crouch and her bout with cancer (and medical treatment). Yet she is a very close friend of both Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, two of the most widely acknowledged men who are allegedly used by God to heal multitudes, yet neither Benny or Oral could help Jan or any of the others I’ve mentioned. Tammy-Faye Bakker Mesner is well known for her various bouts with cancer and her medical treatment, successful thus far. None of the WOF leaders acknowledge that the true “father” of their cult, E.W. Kenyon  died of a cancerous tumor. (15) I could mention T.L. Osborn’s wife Daisy and her death from cancer. T.L. was one of my instructor’s at Tilton’s Bible School. All WOF preachers proclaim that the law of faith only works when the force of love is also enacted. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that “faith worketh by love” (see Gal. 5:6)? Tilton even wrote a book entitled “God’s Royal Law of Love.” (16) In his book he shares various anecdotes on what happens when we operate in the God-kind of love and all the miracles of faith that transpire because of the power of love. He is on television today proclaiming himself a “prophet” of God and a man whose faith is so strong he can obtain whatever you need from God. Yet how can this be true when he has been divorced twice and is currently married to his third wife? If the law of faith is enacted by the law of love, then Tilton’s faith must not be active at all or he would not have gotten divorced from his first wife!!

It is shameless that these ministers teach a doctrine concerning faith and love that does not even work in their own lives! Not one of the people I mentioned (and I could mention many more) have received a manifestation of healing for themselves or their family members through using these so-called spiritual laws concerning the “God-kind of faith. It boggles my mind in the face of such as abysmal track record that people listen to them at all. If what they teach does not even work in their own lives and some of these people have been teaching these spiritual laws for over twenty-five years then what hope does the mere devotee have of obtaining the proffered results? NONE!

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 The little dirty secret is that these folks know what they are spewing forth does not really work. How can I say such a thing? Simple!  Because by now Copeland, Capps, Tilton, Price, Hinn, and all the other teachers should be giants of faith and power and yet they are not. Well, you might ask “why do they continue to teach things they know not to work or even be true?”  That is a bit harder to answer because it goes to motive, which really only God knows for sure. Yet there are some Scriptures that might indicate why they continue along this destructive path:

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 lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1 Timothy 4:1,2

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

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Tim. 3:13

The Church has always been plagued with false teachers and sadly, large numbers “polus” will follow them. These false teachers simply make merchandise of God’s gullible people for their own personal gain. One thing is certain, all WOF teachers are very wealthy and they got that way by appealing to their followers carnal desires for power and wealth in their own lives. So without a doubt some, not all, but some WOF leaders are in it merely for the money. Others have had their own consciences seared, burned shut to the truth of God’s Word because they have taught lies in hypocrisy, i.e. they knew what they taught was not the truth. It becomes a vicious circle as they deceive others they themselves fall further into deception. I am willing to admit that some of these folks may have started out really believing what they taught was the truth. Yet after the years of obvious failure in their lives and those of their followers it becomes very hard to reconcile that these people genuinely believe what they proclaim. At best they are deceived and at worst they are frauds. In either case God’s people are lead astray and further from the Lord and not closer to Him. This is evident in the manner in which they even have defined biblical faith!

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What all of the WOF teachers miss is the simple biblical definition of what faith is really all about. In the Greek the word for faith is “pistis”, which means a confident reliance upon God. The WOF cult is not concerned with the object of our faith, God; they have turned faith into a spiritual law independent of God. Crenshaw sums it up in a neat package in the following statement:

Man controls, not God. (There is no providence, according to them.) Faith, therefore, according to the Word of Faith leaders originates within man; its nature is metaphysical; its object is the metaphysical laws to manipulate the ‘force’ for one’s desires; and its purpose is for selfish ends. In Scripture faith is created within by God (Phil 1:29; Acts 13:48; 16:14; 18:27), its nature is moral and submissive, its object is the Triune God, and its purpose is to glorify God and to serve Him. We could not have more contradictory concepts of faith.   (17)

Crenshaw is absolutely correct in his assessment. For example, Kenneth Hagin wrote a book entitled “Have Faith in Your Faith”:

Did you ever stop to think about having faith in your own faith? Evidently Jesus had faith in His faith, because He spoke to the fig tree, and what He said came to pass. In other words, having faith in your words is having faith in your faith. That’s what you’ve got to learn to do to get things from God: Have faith in your faith. (18)

Hagin does not say “have faith in God” or even “trust in God’s Word.” On the contrary, he tells us to have faith in ourselves and our abilities and the power of our spoken words. If we, like Jesus, who as we learned two months ago, ministered only as a man, spoke to the fig tree and did not doubt His words would come to pass and presto they did! We too can possess whatever we confess (if it has been conceived in our spirit first). This leads us to the other portion of the sacred cow of “faith.”

Positive Confession Brings Possession

A person is literally what he thinks and believes. His personality is the sum total of his thoughts. You are today what your thoughts, beliefs, and convictions have made you…. Our confession is, in the final analysis merely the vocal expression of what we think and believe. (19)

According to the cult your life consists of exactly what you have spoken into existence either through “faith-filled” words or “fear-filled” words. What you really believe is what you will speak forth and since you really believe those words (have faith in them) as one created in the “God-class” of being, like God your words will create reality for the better or worse. It is due to this belief that the cult is often referred to as the “Positive Confession “ movement.

What is especially troubling to me about the above citation, apart from it being patently false; is that it was written by Dr. Hobart Freeman, who at one point was an esteemed theologian and Professor at Grace Theological Seminary. Somehow he got spiritually off tract and became a true believer  (21)  in many of the WOF doctrines. What he stated is the WOF position to this day. Theologically such beliefs would fall into the category of a “theology of glory. The question is how does a person get to the place of walking in victory over all the circumstances of living in a fallen world every day? Although, not specifically mentioned, logically this implies that WOF practitioners must include victory over their inherent sinfulness in order to achieve this type of living.

The spirit world is controlled by the Word of God. The natural world is to be controlled by must speaking God’s Words. The spoken Word of God is creative power…God’s Word is just as powerful today as it was the day He spake it.  Not one bit of power has left God’s Word. God’s creative power is still in His Word…This is the thing I want you to see. YOU CAN SPEAK GOD’S WORDS AFTER HIM AND THEY WILL WORK FOR YOU. But, they must be formed in your spirit. They must become a part of you. They must abide in you continually. (22)

Our confession will either imprison us or set us free. Our confession is the result of our believing, and our believing is the result of our right or wrong thinking… It is our confession….that creates the reality, and then it becomes real in our lives. (23)

Although different WOF leaders teach a variety of principles regarding how to manipulate the spiritual laws which govern the universe (which can prove quite frustrating to the devotee who is desperately trying to gain mastery over his life’s circumstances) the most commonly accepted method is the one I was taught years ago.

Since we now have the nature of God we are to begin to act like Him and do what He did, after all, Jesus said we would do even greater works than He did, right? Jesus went around speaking to fig trees,  speaking to dead bodies, speaking to the weather and He got exactly what He said. Not because He was God, but because as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit He operated the spiritual law of faith perfectly. When He spoke He believed what He said would come to pass and immediately it did. Out of the abundance of His heart (not His mind) His mouth spoke and it came to pass (see Luke 6:45).

We know Jesus was a Rabbi, and that from His youth He had been planting the Word of God into His spirit and (the “real” Jesus, remember we are not our bodies, nor our minds). We know that by the age of twelve (see Luke 2:47) He was astounding the doctors of the law with His answers.

Ergo, to begin to obtain the same results Jesus did as an anointed man, then we too must begin to plant the Word of God down into our spirits. This is accomplished via several avenues

(1) MEDITATION. Meditating on the Word of God, which according to Hagin and others means to ponder and mutter (confess) to the promises being studied. Keep in mind if you need money you mediate on financial promises. If healing, then mediate/plant healing verses into the soil of your spirit.

(2) VISUALIZATION   We learned firsthand from Paul Cho   (24)   that we must begin to see ourselves as possessing what we have been meditating on. Our congregation avidly studied his book “The Fourth Dimension” which goes into great detail concerning visualization and the power of dreaming.

(3) PRAYER “Never pray your problem.”  If you pray the problem, it will get worse.” (25)   We were taught to pray/verbalize to God only His Word and the desire result. For example, I would not pray, “Lord I have the flu, please be merciful and heal me.” Instead, I would declare boldly to the Lord “Your Word says that by His stripes I am healed and I confess that I am healed and I command my body to get in line with the Word of God. I command this sickness to leave me in the name of Jesus and I bind the powers of the evil one in Jesus name!.”  If someone came up to me and told me I did not look well or how was I feeling I would say something like “it doesn’t matter how I may look or how I fee, all that matters is what God says about me and He says I am healed and so I agree with Him.” Another very important ingredient in obtaining strong Christ-like faith and effectiveness is exercising (4) PATIENCE Remember we are in the process of planting the incorruptible seed God (see 1 Peter 1:23) You do not plant a tomato seed on Monday and get a harvest on Tuesday. It is through “faith and patience” that we inherit the promises of God (see Hebrews 6:12). The problem is that many of us undisciplined WOF’ers were constantly digging up the seeds we had planted by making negative confessions!  We planted confessed/visualized healing but one day after we had begun the process we’d slip up and say something like “I don’t feel very well,” or maybe even call into work “sick.” In doing this we nullified all our previous efforts and had to go back to the drawing board and start to re-plant the seeds.

….I have just planted a field of cotton. Now wouldn’t it be foolish if I went out the next morning and said, ‘Man, something is wrong. This cotton is not coming up. Let’s plow it up and plant it again.’ Then the next day the same thing happened. If I kept doing that, I could plant 365 days and still not produce any cotton. We need to become as smart in the spiritual realm as we are in the natural…Our prayers many times have held us in bondage, causing spiritual bankruptcy. No one would dare plant a garden and the next morning dig it up. It takes time for these things to happen. (26)

Can you see how much true bondage we were in because of this false doctrine?  Even though we were taught that fear cancels out faith, we were (we’d never admit it) afraid of saying the wrong words. We were held in captivity by our confessions.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

That being said it is easy to see the “out” the WOF teachers give themselves when what their followers confession does not come to pass in their lives. The answer is obvious, either they “dug up their seed” by speaking words contrary to what they had been confessing. Or, the promises they’d been endeavoring to manifest in their lives had never gotten past their minds and they only ere at the head knowledge plane and the Word had yet to get into their spirits and germinate. Never forget the only way any WOF person knows that the Word of God has gotten into their spirit is that when they confess that promise it comes to pass in their lives.

If what you believe for is not manifesting then it is YOUR fault. If you are sick, you confess healing verses and die…it was your fault (or maybe those around you had weakened your faith through their own unbelief). If you follow all the steps, principles and spiritual laws given to you and still fail to obtain the goal ( total victory over al the circumstances in life according to Dr. Freeman), guess what?  You are the one to blame.  As I have heard Kenneth Copeland say on many occasions “if you play the game right you will.” In other words, you work God’s laws properly and they will always produce the desire results. In this article I made passing mention of all the WOF giants and many times their wives got cancer and died. I guess Kenny these folks did not “play the game right.”

This brings me another favorite excuse we were taught concerning faith failures, the parallel between our faith and human muscles. It goes something like this: imagine coming up to a four hundred pound weight, and you, who’ve had no prior weight training attempts to bench pres it. What will happen? You will not be able to lift the weight. Why not? Because you muscles are not sufficiently developed to handle lifting that much weight. The same can be said of our faith, which like our muscles must be developed. If you go to the doctor and he says “ you have cancer” and you begin to immediately confess healing verses you may in fact be trying to lift the four hundred pound weight when you can only lift a fifteen pound barbell ! Fred Price uses this analogy often and even wrote a book which I’ve previously cited How to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles). In this book Fred details that there are many levels or degrees of faith, he mentions “weak faith”; “little faith”; “strong faith”; “unfeigned faith”; and “shipwrecked faith”. (27)

According to the WOF cult the key to obtaining victory is to begin to plant the seed of God’s Word deep in your spirit BEFORE the need for healing, a good marriage, blessed children and finances even arises. This planting is done through the power released when we speak God’s Word from our spirits and not our minds. Fred explains the problem with most Christians and why the vast majority of us (at least in the WOF cult’s eyes) are low wattage believers:

Too many Christians are trying to educate their minds first, and then let their minds educate their spirits. That is not the way God works. God works through the spirit of man. When man’s spirit is fed properly on the Word of God, then man’s spirit will educate man’s mind and man’s mind will bring man’s body into subjection to the will of God. (28)

Confused? You ought to be. Fred does not explain how God bypasses the human mind in order to get His Word directly into the spirit of man. Again, I ask rhetorically the question how does one know if he is hearing with his spirit man or his mind?  We know that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).  There is absolutely nothing in the Greek text which implies a spiritual hearing of the spoken Word of God as opposed to a normal sense of hearing anything spoken to us, i.e. we think about it with our minds!

Let me close down the grill by way of a short summation. According to this dangerous and very popular cult:

(1) faith is a spiritual force, one that even God Himself must use.

(2) Since faith is a spiritual force, man who is created in the image of God, must in essence by a spirit being who has a mind and lives in a body.

(3)  In order to properly use the spiritual law of faith it must come from our spirits and not our minds.

(4) Somehow our spirits are to educate our minds, which in turn will control our bodies.

(5) Basically this process is done through enacting another spiritual law, that of confession.

(6) Through mediation/muttering/confessing  God’s Word concerning many areas of our lives His Word mystically gets down into our spirits. Once we plant the seed, we water it by continued confession, visualization, dreaming about the end result we desire, confessing it to others and by being patient.

(7)  We will only know if we have genuinely believed with our hearts versus our heads when what we confess becomes a reality in our lives. We confess healing and the cancer leaves. We confess for a mate and we receive one. We confess increased finances and presto new jobs, raises at work, inheritances come our way. The proof is in the pudding as the old adage goes.

What’s wrong With This Picture?

I have already cited some errors regarding their concept of faith previously. Quite simply, biblical faith is a GIFT given by God upon redemption (see Eph. 2:8). As previously cited our faith is in God not in ourselves.  Our trust and complete reliance is in Christ Jesus and what He did for us. We look to Him and not our own alleged spiritual power.

Nowhere in the Bible is faith ever referred to as a “force” or a tangible spiritual substance by which we create and direct reality. WOF cultists love to cite Hebrews 11 and the many examples of what happened when individuals trusted in God (not the power of their own faith).  Yet they usually stop reading at the following point because it does not line up with their paradigm of victory:

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourging, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy: ) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:36-38.

Today’s WOF SINisters would say these people lacked sufficient faith and did not understand how the laws of the spirit realm operate.  Obviously, they were confessing the problem and not the answer! Isn’t it funny how the Holy Spirit says that the world was not worthy of these apparent “losers.” In fact God says in v. 39 “And these all having obtained a good report through faith…” The issue was not whether some had stronger faith and received miracles and that others had weaker faith and were sawn asunder. All of those mentioned in the chapter had faith in God period. They looked to Him and trusted in Him to move in their lives according to the good pleasure of His will.

As to their view on confessing things into existence; it is nothing short of witchcraft which simply defined is manipulating reality through the use of spiritual power. The president of my first “Bible” School, Robert Tilton goes as far as to say that “You can tell God on the authority of His Word what we would like Him to do.” (29)  I distinctly remember Copeland telling us in a convention that God expected His children to tell Him what to do for us and even buttressed his statement with the following proof text ‘thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me” (Isa. 45:11)!   Copeland totally ignores the context of the chapter which has to do with the deliverance by Cyrus and he has not done any research into the source language. If he had he would have discovered that God is not actually telling us to command Him at all, quite the contrary.

MAURER translates, instead of “command,” Leave it to Me, in My dealings concerning My sons and concerning the work of My hands, to do what I will with My own. LOWTH reads it interrogatively, Do ye presume to question Me and dictate to Me (see Isa. 45:9,10) ? (30)

This gives a totally different understanding of the text than the one Copeland spews forth. That is the major problem with this whole issue of positive confession.; it takes away the sovereignty of God and makes man the determiner of his destiny.  God is reduced to merely being an errand boy whose role is to make sure the WOF cultist gets all the goodies they have confessed.

My dear brothers and sisters the WOF concept of “faith” is aberrant and non-biblical; its companion “positive confession” does not come from the Bible but from various non-Christian metaphysical cults.

Sadly there are millions of people who are deceived by this cult. Multitudes are desperately trying to build up the faith muscles and create better lives for themselves through the manipulation of spiritual laws and positive words. They are all headed away from God, because they are not trusting in Him and the work of His Son. Instead they are building their spiritual houses on the doctrinal quicksand of false teachers. Jesus said when the storm beats against their house (and it surely will) great will be the ruin thereof. I know, I write this from my own personal experience and I have watched people literally die before my eyes confessing they were healed! Pray that our merciful High Priest will open their eyes and lead them out of the bondage of error.

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Copeland (*But were Afraid to Ask) By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

This booket is Available Only from DMI Ministries – $15.00.

 

 

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Our God has always taken a very dim view (to say the least) of anyone who practices any form of witchcraft. Yet today, many internationally know charismatic leaders are practicing a form of witchcraft called “sympathetic magick,”

In this powerful radio interview names are “named” and the truth behind the use of point-of-contact items is revealed for what it really is,  a simple money-making scheme used by people who are seeking only to enrich themselves at the expense of God’s gullible saints.  This is a lively and very informative program!  (Available from DMI ministry)

End Notes:

1. Kenyon E.W., the Two Kinds of Faith (Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society, 1969), p. 7

2. Ibid. pp. 11,12 Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Hagin, Kenneth, The Real Faith (Tulsa, OK : Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1978). p. 13 Underlining added.

4. Ibid. p. 14 ‘

5. Copeland, Kenneth, The Force of Faith (Fort Worth, TX : KC Publications. 1983); pp.2,4 Underlining added.

6 Price, Frederick, How to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles) Tulsa, OK; Harrison House, 1977) p.28 Underlining added.

7. Robertson A.T. Word Pictures of the New Testament (BibleWorks ver. 4.0.035 1995)

8. Price, Frederick, How to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles) Tulsa, OK; Harrison House 1977) p. 28 Underlining added

9. In the cult we were told that this verse meant that God created the worlds through faith. The proper understanding is that it is we who believe God creted the worlds, we the creature are the ones exercising “faith” and not God.

10. Copeland, Kenneth, The Laws of Properity (Forth Worth, TX: KCP, 1974), pp. 18-19 Bold type and underlining added.

11. Crenshaw, Curtis I, Man as God the Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN: Footstool Publishers, 1994) p. 205

12 Kenneth E. Hagin, Faith Edition Bible (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1990) pp.lxxiv,lxxv.

13. Capps, Charles, The Dynamics of Faith & Confession (Tulsa OK: Harrison House 1987) p. 33

14. Capps, Charles, Authority Special Edition, Word of Faith Bible School (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1984), pp. 80-84. This “special Edition” was one of my text books as a student at Robert Tilton’s Word of Faith Bible School in the mid 1980’s. Underlining added.

15. Kenneth Hagin used to tell a story how Kenyon ate lunch, went into his living room, sat in his rocking chair, his daughter walked in and Kenyon exclaimed “there’s Jesus good-bye” and entered into heaven. However, DMI obtained a previously unpublished thesis by Geir Lie, a Norwegian, on Mr. Kenyon which detailed his death, proving Mr. Hagin a liar and Kenyon’s concept of faith false and non-workable in his own life.

16. Tilton, Robert, God’s Royal Law of Love (Dallas,TX; Robert Tilton Ministries, 1989

17. Crenshaw, Curtis, I, Man as God the Word of Faith Movement (Memphis TN: Footstool Publication, 1994), p.73 Bold type added.

18. Hagin, Kenneth, Have Faith in Your Faith (Tulsa, OK; Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1988) pp. 4-5 Underlining added

19. Freeman, Hobart, Positive Thinking and Confession (Warsaw, IN : Faith Publication), p.8 underlining added.

20. Ibid. p.7

21. I say “true believers” because Dr. Freeman actually believed the lies of the WOF cult. He did not teach one thing and live another. For example he did not preach divine healing and then make use of doctors and medicine of any kind. Over 90 people died in his church because of the fact he really believed the WOF doctrines concerning faith and divine healing.  In the end, he died also from an easily treatable aliment. He established several congregations, some of which still exist today and they still adhere to his aberrant beliefs. I must admit out of all these heretics, I respect Freeman, to a degree because he had a genuine conviction of what he taught. DMI has several of his books and many of his tapes.

22. Capps, Charles, The Tongue A Creative Force (Tulsa, OK; Harrison House, 1976), pp.9,12

23. Hagin, Kenneth, Right and Wrong Thinking (Tulsa, OK; Kenneth Hagin Ministries 1989) p.7

24. Paul Cho is the pastor of the largest church in the world of close to a million people. He is a giant within the WOF cult. I mention this because I want you, the reader, to understand that what DMI and other ministries are combating is a vast global plague of error and blasphemy which is spreading rapidly and is impacting the spiritual lives of millions of people.

25. Capps, Charles, Releasing the Ability of God through Prayer (Tulsa, OK; Harrison House, 1978), p.39

26. Ibid. p.41

27. Price, Fredrick, Ho to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles) Tulsa, OK; Harrison House 1977) p.27

28. Ibid. p.9 Underlining added.

29. Tilton, Robert, God’s Miracle Plan for Man (Tulsa, OK; Robert Tilton Ministries 1989) p.36

30. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, obtained from http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries  on 05-03-05.





Sola Scriptura

17 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – December 2004 – Sola Scriptura – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The Cambridge Declaration

THESIS ONE: SOLA SCRIPTURAscantri20040001

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

The above statement is a good reaffirmation of what was originally voiced by Dr. Martin Luther when he, as a Roman Catholic monk, stood before the governing authorities of the Church. The following is a brief summation of that encounter:

Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church and father of the Protestant reformation, was publicly rebuking the Catholic Church for its unbiblical teachings. The Catholic Church threatened Martin Luther with excommunication (and death) if he did not recant. Martin Luther’s reply was “Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning – unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, – and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!” (1)

What Luther and the reformers who followed his lead were saying was that Holy Scripture alone was the only true and infallible guide for all Christian’s faith and practice. Furthermore, that any traditions within the Church had to have their basis within the context of the Scriptures. Traditions are valid only when they are based on Scripture and are in full agreement with Scripture. Tradition that are in contradiction with the Bible are not of God and are not a valid aspect of the Christian faith. (2)

The Reformation was at its core a fight to get back to the Bible and discard a plethora of manmade doctrines and traditions which had been increasing over the years in the Church. At this point it is helpful to begin by defining our terms so that we understand how the following term “doctrine” is being used.

The word “doctrine” in the Greek is: {did-akh-ay’} Meaning 1) teaching 1a) that which is taught 1b) doctrine, teaching, concerning something 2) the act of teaching instruction 2a) in religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching, in distinction from other modes of speaking in public. (3)

Doctrine simply means “teaching.”  The question before us is what is the source of the teaching we are adhering to? It is important for us to always remember that according to the Bible there are only three sources of doctrine impacting our lives at any time. Hopefully we are building our lives on the doctrine of God.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. Mark 1:22

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection: not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,   Hebrew 6:1

Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Titus 2:10

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:9

The Bible speaks much of the doctrine of God and of Christ (who is God) and this doctrine is found only within the pages of the Bible, it is not found outside of the Scriptures themselves. As Christians we have no other authoritative source that we can point to and say “this is the Word of the Lord.” The Bible also speaks of the doctrine of men. In the following citation we read of our Lord rebuking the religious leaders of His day:

For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [it is] a gift, by whatsoever ever thou mightiest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:4-9

Manmade religious tradition will always supersede the authority of God’s commandments, it is simply part of our fallen nature to attempt to exalt ourselves above God. Manmade teachings and practices may seem religious and appear to promote the worship of God but this is simply not the case. Jesus reminds the religious leaders and the crowd surrounding him of what the prophet Isaiah said regarding people who attempt to draw near to God with their mouths and endeavor to honor God with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Him! The Apostle Paul addressed the same issue of the danger of false manmade doctrine in his letter to the Church at Colosse:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ… Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Colossians 2:8, 20-22

From the inception of the Church, various false teachers, false prophets and false apostles have tried to supplant the authority of Scripture by adding their own teachings and practices in an attempt to gain power over the spiritual lives of God’s people and to destroy the foundational doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

There is yet one more source of doctrine, which must also be considered and that is the doctrines of devils. This one in particular is often the source of the false doctrines of men:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their consciences seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 1 Timothy 4:1-6

Expressly is used only once in the entire New Testament and here we read of the Holy Spirit stating unequivocally that in the latter times some people shall depart or fall away from the true faith in Christ and His work alone. What causes this apostasy? These individuals give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, that word can also be translated as demons.

How do demons teach? Obviously they speak through people who are open to them.  The examples that Paul cites specifically are doctrines of devils. The first one is the doctrine which forbids marriage. To this day the Roman Catholic Church forbids both its priests and nuns to enter into marriage. The Shaker cult forbade their members to marry and demanded people get divorced who joined their ranks. Other sundry cults and sects have also forbidden marriage among its members. The Bible clearly denotes this as a doctrine of devils. The other area Paul cites concerns dietary regulations. For many years the Roman Catholic Church forbid people to eat meat on Friday (I am not sure if this practice is still being enforced). Many other groups demand strict vegetarianism and some “Hebrew” roots cults demand strict dietary adherence. Obviously, Hasidic and Orthodox Jews still keep the Old Covenant dietary laws too. Any group that demands that their members abstain from eating anything that God has created to be enjoyed is promulgating a doctrine of devils.

The sign of a “good minister” is one who puts his portion of Christ’s flock in remembrance of what the Bible has taught, nourishing or feeding the flock in the words of faith and good doctrine. In verse 13 Paul exhorts Timothy to give himself over to reading, to exhortation and doctrine. Verse 16 he warns this young Pastor to “take heed” of his spiritual well being, the doctrine entrusted to him and to continue in them! I like Robertson’s commentary on this verse:  1 Tim 4:16(6)

Thus we see that according to the Scriptures there are three sources of teaching; God; man; and devils. The realization that Luther came to was that much of what was being presented as the doctrine of God was in fact nothing more than the commandments of men and doctrines of devils. He came to decry the fact that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) had elevated its own traditions to a position of either equaling the authority of the Bible or even superseding it. The next quote is from a Roman Catholic web site giving their view of Martin Luther:

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) is to be given the credit for inventing the false doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Bible Only or Bible Sufficiency). He had separated himself from the authority of the Papacy and the Magisterium, and thereby so doing lost all authority regarding Church matters. He then turned to the Bible, a book as the sole source of authority. Can a book ever be a sole source of authority?

The above Roman Catholic apologist considers Sola Scriptura a false doctrine and that Luther had the audacity to turn from the traditional authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic traditions and look to the confines of the bible, “a book” the author says, “as the sole source of authority.”  (7)

This article is not about Martin Luther nor is it a polemic against Roman Catholicism (RC) as a religion. What is important to notice is that even to this day RC upholds its traditions as equal in authority with the bible and when the Bible and tradition do not agree it seems that manmade doctrines and those of demons prevail. Let me cite just a few extra-biblical traditions concerning the Virgin Mary within the R.C.C. These are taken directly from their own catechism in use today.

The most blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue and merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (CCC491) (8)

 The Bible never teaches any such thing! Mary was chosen by God to be His vessel through whom our Lord was born, but she too was born in sin and shaped in iniquity (see Psl. 51:5).  She needed to have her sins washed away by the blood of Christ just as all who would be saved. By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. (CCC493) (9)

No, Mary was a sinner as we all are. If she did not, then the Apostle John is a liar when he says in 1 john 1:10  “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” They teach at the time of her death Mary was taken spiritually and physically into heaven:

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven… (CCC974) (10)

There is nothing scripturally to base this claim upon. The Bible speaks of Enoch being taken up and Elijah riding off to heaven in a chariot of fire but no mention is made concerning much at all about the life or death of Mary after the resurrection of Jesus.

…the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix (CCC969) (11)

Mary is prayed to which contradicts the plain teaching of the bible when we are told by the Apostle Paul to Timothy in his first letter to him:

For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5,6

In fact, within the R.C.C. there is a strong movement afoot to see to it that Mary is elevated to an even higher status, to that of being the Co-redemptrix:

The Blessed Virgin Mary is to be called Queen not only on account of her divine motherhood but also because by the will of God she had a great part in the work of our salvation…..In this work of redemption the blessed Virgin Mary was closely associated with her Christ…Just as Christ, because he redeemed us, is by a special title our King and Lord, so too is Blessed Mary, our Queen and our Mistress, because of the unique way in which she co-operated in our redemption. She provided her very substance for his body, she offered him willingly for us, and she took a unique part in our salvation by desiring it, praying for it, and so obtaining it…–Ad Coeli Reginam. (12)

The entire cult of Mary within the R.C.C. is an abomination and a blasphemy. These are not minor issues that we can agree to disagree about. Teaching that Mary played a vital role in our redemption is teaching a doctrine of devils; one which reduces the centrality of Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God who alone bore the sin of the world.

These are only some examples of non-biblical traditions that the R.C.C. practices, such as the infallibility of the Pope when he makes declarations from “Peters” seat in the Vatican. Or the belief in purgatory where the partially saved sinner goes to have the rest of their sins purged away by fire. Not the mention the practice of indulgences which are still being given.

It is easy to understand why the R.C.C. took such a violent stance against Luther and all those reformers who followed him. The R.C.C. knew that if the Bible ever got into the hands of the “common man” in a language they could read and understand that the R.C.C. would lose the stranglehold it had on the souls of millions of people.

The printing of the Bible by Guttenberg in German and Luther pointing people to the Bible as the only rule for faith and practice shook the very foundations of the R.C.C.

The medieval church assumed that Scripture, the church’s tradition, and scholastic theology were identical in content. Any tensions between Scripture and tradition were resolved by the use of the Quadriga, the medieval system of biblical interpretation which recognized four levels to the truth of Scripture: literal, topological, allegorical and anagogical. Great respect for the authority and content of the Scripture could thus coexist with a theology and practice quite different from the Scriptures…When the authorities refused to acknowledge the authority of the apostolic tradition in Scripture over the ecclesiastical tradition, the Reformers loyally continued to assert the apostolic tradition against those who claimed apostolic succession. (13)

In other words when the R.C.C. was faced with their own human traditions which did not agree with a plenary reading of the Scripture they created a system by which they could make the Bible agree (more or less) with their manmade doctrines. The Reformers refused to accept this and stood with Luther asserting that the Scriptures Alone, Sola Scriptura was the only authority to be submitted to when it came to faith and practice within God’s Church. One of the most succinct statements of the sufficiency of Scripture is found in the introduction of the Formula of Concord:

Thus understanding of the significance of the confession is also stated explicitly in the introduction of the Epitome of the Formula of Concord. ‘In this way the distinction between the Holy Scriptures of Old and New Testaments and all other writings is maintained, and Holy Scripture remains the only judge, rule, and norm, according to which as the only touchstone all doctrines should and must be understood and judged as good or evil, right or wrong.” (14)

Today as Evangelicals and Protestants in reading the above statement we might respond, “So what’s the big deal? Of course, the Bible is our only guide.” After all, don’t all Evangelicals and Protestants agree with Paul’s statement to Timothy in:

All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  2 Timothy 3:16

God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and He has given us the Bible as the only concrete source by which we are to measure every spiritual experience, doctrine and practice. The Word of god is an unwavering arbiter on all matters concerning the life of faith.

…the knowledge of god is not therefore at the mercy of human forgetfulness or mystical notions of spirituality. God has given Scripture and the church to connect the once-for-all act in Jesus Christ with the present act of the Holy Spirit, who is the presence and power of the risen Lord. God calls His church into being by the word of the gospel and by His presence as the Holy Spirit equips and empowers His people for His service. To His church He entrusts the Scriptures, the prophetic and apostolic witness to Jesus Christ, the bearer of His word. (15)

In 1860, Charles A. Hodge wrote an article on the value of Sola Scriptura in his book Outlines of Theology, the following comments come from the chapter heading “The Rule of Faith & Practice.” this chapter is written in somewhat of a catechism format with a question stated and then answered. The following citation is from question six and fifteen:

6. What argument do the Scriptures themselves afford in favor of the doctrine that they are the only infallible rule of faith?

1st. The Scriptures always speak in the name of God, and command faith and obedience.

2nd Christ and his apostles always refer to the written Scriptures, then existing, as authority, and to no other rule of faith whatsoever. (Luke 16:29; 10:26; John 5:39; Rom. 4:3; 2Tim 3:15).

3rd The Bereans are commended for bringing all questions, even apostolic teaching, to this test. (Acts 17:11; see also Isa. 8:16).

4th. Christ rebukes the Pharisees for adding to and perverting the Scriptures  (Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:5-8; see also Rev. 22:18, 19, and Deut. 4:2; 12:32 Josh 1:7.

15. What is meant by saying that the Scriptures are the Judge as well as the rule in questions of faith?

‘A rule is a standard of Judgment; a judge is the expounder and applier of that rule to the decision of particular cases,’ The Protestant doctrine is –

1st That the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

2nd  (1) Negatively. That there is no body of men who are either qualified, or authorized, to interpret the Scriptures, or apply their principles to the decision of particular questions, in a sense binding upon the faith of their fellow Christians.

(2) Positively. That Scripture is the only infallible voice in the church, and is to be interpreted, in its own light, and with the gracious help of the Holy Ghost, who is promised to every Christian (1 John 2:20-27), by each individual himself; with the assistance, though not by the authority, of his fellow Christians. Creeds and confessions, as a form, bind only those who voluntarily profess them, and as to matter, they bid only so far as they affirm truly what the Bible teaches, and because the Bible does so teach. (16)

The battle regarding trusting in the sole authority of the scriptures has been going on ever since God’s Word was written down as an eternal record of His truth. This explains the stern warning given in the Bible concerning tampering with its contents:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD.”  Deut. 4:2

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deut. 12:32

Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Prov. 30:5-6

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book. Rev. 22:18,19

Not only is the R.C.C. (and some mainline Protestant denomination) guilty of violating the above texts so is every “Bible-based” cult. Many within the charismatic movement directly violate the above Scriptures also. I have already mentioned several examples in the R.C.C. so I will briefly mention some examples in a few of the cult groups.

The Unification Church of the Holy Spirit, aka the “Moonies” have supplanted the bible with Mr. Moon’s revelation called “The Divine Principle.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka The Mormons, although using the Bible, their main focus of faith and practice is found in “The Book of Mormon,” “The Pearl of Great Price” and “Doctrines and Covenants.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own perversion of the Bible called “The New World Translation” which has been highly redacted to support their ungodly beliefs. The Children of God (now called the Family of Love) uses the “Mo Letters” as their guide. The Church of Christ Science, aka Christian Science, uses Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures.” The Christadelphians use “Key to Understanding the Bible.” All of these cults use the Bible but in reality have placed it below the interpretation and/or further revelations of the founders of the cult. The Bible is in no way the sole authority in any of these cult members lives.

I mentioned some mainline Protestant denominations. As many of our readers know there has been an ongoing battle over the use of “inclusive” language in newer translations of the Bible. This inclusive language is nothing less than deleting certain words and phrases from the original manuscript evidence the church has in its possession. Not only are these apostates subtracting words from the original Greek and Hebrew text, they are adding their own words to these newer paraphrases of what cannot really be considered the Word of God. The United

Methodist Church is one such mainline historic Protestant denominations who seek to be more politically correct and culturally relevant will also join the chorus of those whose fidelity is not to God but to the approval of fallen humanity. This “new” translation of the Bible is called “Today’s New International Version (TNIV) and is being published by the International Bible Society and is a revision of the NIV.

The 26 scholars’ statement was released Feb. 1. Meanwhile, a list of more than 100 “inaccuracies” in the TNIV was compiled by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in a daylong review of the TNIV Jan. 31. A 25-page document listing the translation objections is posted at the organization’s Internet site, www.cbmw.org   (17)

The scholars (18) who examined this latest perversion of God’s Word were no spiritual lightweights nor were they supporters of the “King James Only” debate. Sola Scriptura implies having an accurate translation of the Scripture to begin with! This changing of God’s Word is very dangerous because it will mislead some people into thinking they are standing by the principle of Sola Scriptura, when it is not God’s Word, but man’s they are standing upon. The result will be disastrous for these peoples spiritual lives because they will discover that they have built their spiritual house upon sand and not the true rock of Jesus Christ, the Living Word (see Matthew 7:24-27).

Earlier I mentioned just a few examples of R.C. traditions and doctrines which have taken away from the rightful authority of God’s Word, but within the Protestant Church there are many traditions and practices that also do not bow their knee to God’s Word as final arbiter either.

I will cite just a few that I am personally knowledgeable with the fast growing and pervasive sign-gift movement.

Although Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations pay lip service to adhering to Sola Scriptura in reality they do not. For example, virtually every Pentecostal and Charismatic Church teaches as dogma the experience of being slain in the spirit. (20) There is neither contextual biblical support for this teaching nor any valid biblical example for the experience. This teaching and practice is completely manmade. The same can be said of their definitions for the gift of the word of Knowledge and the gift of the word of wisdom (see 1 Cor. 12:8). The Bible never explains what these gifts were or how they manifested themselves in the life of the early church. The definition for these two gifts were restored to the Church by a man named Howard Carter, a Pentecostal evangelist who claimed God revealed them to him while he was in prison! (21) Mr. Carter also claimed to possess all nine of the sign-gifts. His definitions have become the accepted Pentecostal definitions from the sign-gifts. Over a million professing Christians flew into Toronto to receive the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit in the form of holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, prophetic animal sounds and movements. (22) These so-called manifestations of the Holy Spirit spread rapidly around the world and are generally accepted as being valid demonstrations of God’s power in the midst of His people, Even though there is not one shred of biblical support for any of these spiritual enthusiasms.

When I have confronted those who endorse these practices and ask them to show me in the Bible where they can be found their only response is—”Well, brother you know what the Bible teaches don’t you? And they proceed to cite the following text as support:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25   scanbook0001

There answer is that what is occurring now in their revivals (I also failed to mention the alleged manifestations of gold teeth, gold dust, angel feathers and jewels  being manifested in revival services) are simply part of what Jesus did in His earthly ministry but are not recorded in the biblical text. That response is extremely troubling because if one takes that approach to the Bible then you can allow anything to take place and point to John 21:25 as ones biblical support.

This type of response impugns the sufficiency of Scripture. To hold to such a position is to say that God left out things (such as these manifestations) which are needful for Christian growth and a closer more dynamic fellowship with God.

The secondary response given is “look at the good fruit being brought forth in the individuals lives.” Having been totally enmeshed in charismatic extremism for many years I can honestly say that I have yet to see any benefits from these practices in individuals’ lives or that of congregations that have embraced such practices. In fact, I’ve noted quite the opposite in those participating in practices not endorsed by God’s Word. Our ministry produced a book entitled “Fruit Proof,” which is over 100 pages long and consists of eyewitness accounts given by Pentecostal and sign-gift believers who went to revival services to get the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit and instead left oppressed and disheartened. Many congregations have literally been split and the sheep scattered when the local church leaders brought in these new gifts, which turned out to be curses. Good fruit is at best subjective. The Moonie, Mormon or Mohammedan can point to members in their groups whose lives have been transformed by their embracing of the cult or false religions demands.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 3:13,14.

Paul reminds this young pastor to stick to the scriptures which can make one wise unto salvation which is by faith alone in Jesus Christ. He declares that all scripture is given by God and is profitable for (1) doctrine, (2) reproof, (3) correction and (4) instruction in righteousness. That by the faithful proclamation of the Bible those who hear and obey will grow spiritually and be equipped for good works. Then he solemnly charges Timothy before God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ to “preach the word.”  I believe Paul is warning this pastor not to get caught up in the latest fad or gables. (he warned Timothy earlier of this in 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; and then again in 2 Tim. 4:4). Why? Because Paul knew by the Spirit that the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine. Robertson says the following about this text:

2 Ti 4:3 – A time when . One of the (out of season) times. Will not endure ( ). Future middle direct) of ( ). “Will not hold themselves back from” (Col. 3:13). Having itching ears ( ). Present middle (causative) participle of ( ), late and rare form of the Attic ( ) to scratch, to tickle, here only in N.T. “Getting the ears (the hearing, ticked.” The Vulgate: has . Cf. the Athenians (Ac 17:21). Clement of Alexandria tells of speakers tickling the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely “popular” preacher, to furnish the latest tickle. (23)

These words of the bible fit so many of today’s Christians. They run from conference to conference, from fad to fad. As a former charismatic extremist I saw this firsthand and was guilty of it too. People went from Toronto to Pensacola seeking the new wind of the Spirit. After that they became “God Chasers” (24) from there they tried implementing the “Prayer of Jabez.” Once Jebez’s prayer grew stale the herd moved onto trying out “Cat and Dog Theology” (I kid you not) and after that failed to satisfy their itch they are now becoming “Purpose Driven”. (25)

The largest church in America is the Lakewood Church in Dallas led by Joel Osteen (you might remember him from a couple of issues ago). Joel stated in the article in Charisma magazine that people are not interested in theology…the knowledge of God. Thirty thousand people with itching ears and a “pastor” who can’t wait to scratch them.

Not only does the Apostle Paul warn the Church about the danger of being carried away from the sure anchor of our souls, the Word of God, the Apostle Peter also warns us:

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

Teachers abound on both radio and television proclaiming damnable heresies and due to the biblical illiteracy of believers in the Church “many” follow their heretical teachings. Due to the heretics and those who follow them true orthodox Christianity will be (and is) spoken evil of by those outside the faith. All one must do is look back to the scandals of the 1980’s when the PTL scandal was revealed and Jim Bakker was shown to be immoral, then came revelations about Mr. Robert Tilton, Peter Popoff, Larry Lea, Jimmy Swaggart and W.V. Grant. Now recently we learned that Paul Cain is a homosexual and alcoholic and that Paul Crouch, President of TBN, may also have been engaged in homosexual activity. The various healing frauds, often lead to the death of their followers. They have perpetrated false promises on God’s gullible sheep. Over the years, people like Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, A.A. Allen, Hobart Freeman, Jack Coe, William Branham and of course, Mr. Benny Hinn have peddled false hopes and produced no documented miracles.  All of these people have literally made merchandise out of the people of God and over the years bilking them out of over a billion dollars!

Some may say that I have set up a straw-man argument by citing the more notorious peddlers of God’s Word, but this is not the case. All of the above mentioned individual are (or were) leaders within Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Renewal. These people are the “giants’ of this brand of belief and trust me when I say the fruit does not fall from the tree regarding these leaders.

How and why is this occurring today?   The answer is very simple; people have departed from looking to and relying upon the Scriptures alone. The Bible is no longer enough to satisfy their souls. Multitudes want to experience something mystical; they want to receive an impartation of power; they want a personal word from “God” through one of the multitudes of restored prophets and prophetesses. The simple exposition of Scriptures is not enough for this generation which Jesus referred to in His own day (and applies to ours):

“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Matthew 12:39

In the latest issue of the Issues Etc. Journal, Pastor Todd Wilkins authored an article entitled “The Fad Driven Church” in which he gave the following example of a pastor being purposed driven versus biblically led:

Mark Jones has been a pastor at Metropolitan Family Fellowship in Ventura since 2004. ’I feel a little betrayed. I mean, I’ve pretty much based my entire ministry on Warren and Hybel’s stuff, I don’t know what I’m going to do now. And I can’t imagine what I’m going to tell my congregation. It’s not like my congregation is going to put up with just interpreting Scripture every Sunday. That’ll hold their interest for about two seconds. (26)

Many pastors have departed from teaching biblical messages and are relying instead on whatever the latest church growth guru is peddling. Whenever anyone teaches or believes things which are not scripturally sound, i.e. doctrines based upon the context of the scripture they are headed for deceptions. Several very popular preachers have based their ministries outside of the godly confines of the Bible. These people are claiming to have been taken to heaven and/or hell. The Bible warns us of such people:

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshy mind, {beguile…: Col. 2:18

Mary K. Baxter initially wrote The Divine Revelation of Hell in which she says that Jesus took her on a personal tour of hell for 40 days. That book sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is now in several languages. People bought into her folly to such a degree Mrs. Baxter went on to pen The Divine Revelation of Heaven and most recently The Divine Revelation of Glory. These books are filled not only with outright lies but they contradict the Bible numerous times. Yet because of her alleged vision and experience she has gained an international following and is seen by many as an expert of the heavenly and hellish realms.

Jessie Duplantis wrote Heaven, Close Encounters of the god Kind, another international best selling book, available in 99% of the Christian bookstores. In his book Jessie denies he complete atoning work of the cross (we have to do some additional works when we get to heaven in order to perfect ourselves). He denies the sufficiency of Scripture and denies its infallibility not to mention teaching pre-incarnation human souls, heaven as a literal planet and a whole host of error and even blasphemy. Yet Mr. Duplantis is a regular teacher on TBN and travels world ide sharing his vision and other Word of Faith heresies.

These are just two examples of people who’ve based much of their ministry on their alleged encounters in the unseen realm; I could cite a dozen more people. My point is simply to demonstrate what occurs when people place their faith in anything or anyone, no matter how persuasive they may be, outside of the Bible.

God’s Word and His Word alone is our only guide for faith and practice. Any dream, vision, doctrine, manifestation or practice must be validated ithin the context of the Bible. If it fails this test than such matters must be avoided, those teaching/practicing them warned and if they persist in them, then it must be taken to the Church and God’s people made aware of the leaven in their midst. ♦

“IT IS WRITTEN”

Sola Scriptura,  Scripture Alone

scansolascroll0001

Copyright © 2004   Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. You can read the entire Cambridge Declaration written on April 20, 1996 by visiting the following web site http://www.reformed.org/documents/cambridge.html

2. Obtained from http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-scriptura.html December 3, 2004 Bold type and underlining added for emphasis

3. White, James R. Scripture Alone Bethany House Publishers 2004

4. Reference obtained from BibleWorks for Windows, release version 4.0.035p 1999 software

5. Liichow, Robert Blessing or Judgment goes into great detail examining the charismatic Shaker cult and is an excellent resource for any Christian to have who is interested in knowing the origin of today’s revival manifestations.

6. Robertson’s word picture reference obtained from BibleWorks for Windows, release version 4.0.035p. 1999 software

7. Stanley, Bob, May 1, 1999. Obtained from http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/sorigin.htm on December 1, 2004

8. Obtained from http://www.reachouttrust.org/article/world/catholic.htm Underlining added for emphasis

9. Ibid. 10. Ibid 11. Ibid

12. Pope Pius XII, Ad Coeli Reginam Underlining added for emphasis.

13. Uanbeck, Warren A. Marburg Revised, A Reexamination of Lutheran and Reformed Tradition. Augsburg Publishing Home, 1966, pg. 16 Underlining added for emphasis

14. Ibid p. 17 Underlining added for emphasis.

15. Ibid p. 19

16. A.A. Hodge Outlines of Theology. Electronic edition obtained from http://www.homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/aahsolascrp.htm

Underlining added for emphasis

17. Obtained from http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=12653 on 12/13/04

18. The 26 scholars who have stated their refusal to endorse the TNIV include two Southern Baptist Convention seminary presidents. R. Albert Mohler. Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Semiary and Paige Patterson of South-eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, along with Wayne Grudem of Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Ariz, and a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society; Harold O.J. Brown of Reformed Theological Seminary; R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries; John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and Raymond C. Orlund Jr. of First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Ga.

19. I prefer to use the term “sign-gift movement” versus the more common phrase “charismatic movement,” when referring to the larger group because all of God’s people are charismatic in that we have all been gifted by the Holy Spirit with differing gifts.

20. DMI offers the only book in print (to our knowledge) that deals exclusively with this and the other practices cited in this article. These books can be purchased from our web site.

21. Truth Matters has dealt with Mr. Carter in past issues. To learn more about this man you can purchase his book entitled “Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts

22. These are all historically detailed and biblically refuted in our two books: The two Roots of Today’s Revival” and “Blessing or Judgment.”

23. Robertson’s Word Pictures reference obtained from Bibleworks for windows, release ver. 1999 software.

24. Tommy Tenney wrote the “God Chasers” which became a small industry with follow-up books, tapes, tee-shirts, devotional guides, etc. Few Christians seemed to mind that Tenney is a Oneness Pentecostal who denies the Trinity, believes in salvation through water Baptism in Jesus name only. He can be seen on a regular basis on TBN.

25. Rick Warren has written several books around the theme of being “purpose driven” and these books have also spawned an industry around them. Many struggling churches think using his curriculum will be their salvation and result in a population explosion.

26. Wilkins, Todd Issues, Etc. Journal Vol. 3, No. 3, 2004, p. 4 underlining added for emphasis.

 

 

 

 

 





Paul Crouch’s Possible Peccadillo

10 06 2009

 

Truth Matters Newsletter – Oct 2004 – Vol 8 Issue 10 – Paul Crouch’s Possible Peccadillo by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

To my knowledge our ministry is the only one to have put together a book on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and their founders Paul and Jan Crouch. DMI has been keeping our eyes peeled on the Crouches and the goings on at TBN and so it came as no big shock to me when we began to receive reports about Mr. Crouch’s possible homosexual activities. The reason I was not shocked by the reports was because I remember years ago when Paul used to come out from behind the curtain dressed in clothing that must have been purchased from the same tailor Liberace used. This combined with the sad fact that the other “Christian” superstars of the cathode ray tube all fell into some form of immorality or another. The Church has had to suffer the shame of the sexual escapades of Jimmy Baker and Jessica Hahn, if you will remember men came forward and spoke that Mr. Bakker had also made homosexual advances to them as well. (see http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/fridaynews/fridaynews030606.html ). Who can forget the saga of Jimmy Swaggart with the prostitute Desiree Dupree. America watched Jimmy’s tearful confession (only later to be caught again soliciting) and the Church saw another megastar bite the dust. Of Course before Swaggart was forced to confess his sin, it was not voluntary, he expose a fellow minister, Martin Gorman:

Swaggart that Marvin Gorman had been having extramarital affairs. Swaggart saw Gorman’s small but growing ministry as a threat to his own and made Gorman’s indiscretions public. This led to Gorman’s downfall and subsequent defrocking by the Assemblies of God… Swaggart, who initiated the complaints against Gorman, had the favor returned when Gorman hired a private detective to follow Swaggart and caught him on film leaving a cheap motel with a prostitute outside of New Orleans. Although the Assemblies of God voted to put him in therapy and relieve him of his ministry for one year, Swaggart refused this directive and demonstrated his staying power by continuing his ministry, claiming to retain his international audiences as well.

Robert Tilton’s  fall from grace occurred at about the same time as these other highly anointed men of faith & power began to fall. Currently Mr. Tilton is on wife number three. Time does not permit us to delve into Mr. W. V. Grant’s jail time or Larry Lea’s downfall all three of which were exposed nationally on Prime Time hosted by Diane Sawyer. When we consider the sordid past of charismatic religious leaders with great wealth, large viewing audiences, multitudes of devoted followers and little or no personal accountability we see the old adage coming true “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It seems that history may be repeating itself in the life of Paul Crouch, the “last-man-standing” in the fight for televised glory. The following is taken from the Los Angles Times:

Televangelist Paul Crouch Attempts to Keep Accuser Quiet-

By William Lobdell LA Times Staff Writer

Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of the world’s largest Christian Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network, has waged a fierce legal battle to prevent a former employee from publicizing allegations that he and Crouch had a sexual encounter eight years ago.

Crouch, 70 is the president of Trinity Broadcasting Network, based in Orange County, whose Christian programming reaches millions of viewers around the world via satellite, cable and broadcast stations. The source of the allegations against him is Enoch Lonnie Ford, who met Crouch at a TBN-affiliated drug treatment center in 1091 and later went to work for the ministry.

After Ford threatened to sue TBN in 1998, claiming that he had been unjustly fired, Crouch reached a $425,000 settlement with him. In return, Ford agreed, among other things, not to discuss his claim about a sexual encounter with the TV preacher.

But in the last year, Ford has threatened to go public with his story, prompting a flurry of legal maneuvers–conducted in closed court hearings, sealed pleadings and private arbitration.

In court pagers, Crouch has denied the allegations, and ministry officials have described Ford–who has a history of drug problems and has served time for a sex offense–as a liar and an extortionist. At stake are the public image of one of the world’s most successful televangelists and, potentially, the fortunes of the broadcasting empire that Crouch and his wife, Jan, built over the last 31 years. TBN and Crouch went on the legal offensive after they learned that Ford had written a book manuscript that included an account of the alleged sexual encounter.

In a dramatic flourish, Ford had appeared at a TBN broadcast studio in Costa Mesa, minutes before the start of a “Praise-a-thon” fundraiser, and without comment, handed Crouch a copy of the manuscript.

Ford’s lawyer later told ministry officials that they could keep the work out of public view by buying the rights. After some discussion, he suggested that $10 million might be a reasonable price.

While negotiations continued, Crouch sued to enforce the 1998 secrecy agreement and obtained a restraining order barring Ford from seeking a publisher for his book.

Orange County Superior Court Judge John M. Watson also granted Crouch’s request to conduct the case in secret, sealing all documents and expunging any mention of the suit from public court records. Both side eventually agreed to let a private arbitrator decide the matter. In June, the arbitrator ruled that Ford could not publish the manuscript without violating the 1998 settlement – an act that could subject him to monetary damages.

This account of the controversy is drawn from interviews with friends of Ford’s unsealed court records, correspondence among TBN lawyers and a copy of the arbitrator’s confidential ruling. The arbitrator’s decision contains details about the 1998 settlement and Ford’s manuscript – both of which are under seal. Records and interviews show that even as they battled to keep Ford’s story from leaking, TBN lawyers worried that details would eventually come out.

I am absolutely amazed that Lonnie hasn’t gone to Penthouse or Dianne [sic] Sawyer with his manuscript, notwithstanding the [judge’s] injunction, “TBN attorney Dennis G. Brewer Sr. wrote in a March letter to the network’s other lawyers.

In a subsequent letter in May, Brewer mentioned the anguish that Ford’s accusations had caused Crouch’s youngest son, Matt, when he learned of them in 1998. Brewer wrote that the younger Crouch had told his then-law partner, David Middlebrook: “I am devastated; I am confronted with having to face the fact that my father is a homosexual.” Middlebrook and Matt Crouch have denied that there was such a conversation.

Millions of Viewers

Paul and Jan Crouch started TBN in 1973, using a rented studio in Santa Ana. Over the next three decades, they built a worldwide broadcasting network by buying TV stations and negotiating deals with cable systems and satelite companies. Today, TBN’s 24-hour-a-day menu of sermons, faith healing, inspirational moves and other Christian fare reaches millions of viewers from Spain to the Solomon Islands.

Paul Crouch is the driving entrepreneurial force behind the network and one of its most popular on-air personalities. He and Jan, his wife of 46 years, have cultivated a folksy on-screen image as a devoted couple. TBN officials have long been concerned about how Ford’s allegations could affect the network, which relies heavily on donations from viewers. Officials said they were particularly worried about possible comparisons to the scandal that brought down televangelist Jim Bakker in 1987.

Bakker resigned from his PTL Ministries in 1987 after admitting to paying a secretary $265.000 in ministry funds to be silent about an earlier affair. Bakker later went to prison for bilking donors.

TBN officials said they were careful not to pay Ford with ministry funds in 1998. They declined to say whether the money came from an insurer, Crouch personally or some other source.  Ford 41, said he could not discuss his manuscript or his allegations against Crouch but he did provide basic facts about his background and his time at TBN.

Ford, whose father and grandfather were ministers, grew up in Fairfax County, VA., moved to California in 1989 and worked in a string of jobs that included jewelry salesman, produce clerk and gas station attendant. For years, he struggled to kick a cocaine habit.

In 1991, he checked into a Christian drug treatment program in Colleyville, Texas, on a TBN-owned ranch. It was there that Ford met Crouch. In 1992 the network hired him to work on a phone bank in Orange County. Ford said he also ran errands for the Crouches and drove Paul Crouch to appointments.

Ford repeatedly ran into trouble with the law, but TBN stood behind him. In 1994, he pleaded no contest in San Bernardino County to having sex with a 17-year-old boy and served six months in jail, according to court records. TBN took him back after his release. In 1995, he pleaded guilty in Orange County to possession of cocaine and served about 30 days in County Jail. Again, TBN took him back.

Lake Arrowhead Cabin

The Alleged sexual encounter between Ford and Crouch occurred in the fall of 1996, according to Sandi Mahlow, a Tustin housewife who met Ford in a Fullerton church 10 years ago and became a close friend. Mahlow, 50, who helped Ford write his manuscript, said he broke down in tears after returning from a weekend spent alone with Crouch at a TBN-owned cabin near Lake Arrowhead. Mahlow said Ford told her that he and Crouch had engaged in sexual acts.

Lonnie had a lot of bad traits; one thing he isn’t, and that’s a liar,” Mahlow said. She said she helped Ford with his manuscript for no pay, as a favor to a friend, and has no financial interest in the book. After the alleged encounter, Ford continued to work at TBN. For a time, he lived rent-free in an apartment at the network’s Tustin headquarters, according to Mahlow and another friend of Ford’s, Diane Benson, who met him at an Anaheim church 14 years ago.

A third friend of Ford’s said that in October 1996, about the time of the alleged Arrowhead encounter, ministry officials gave her a $12,000 check to pay back money Ford owned her. The woman spoke on condition that she not be named, saying she feared retaliation.

TBN officials acknowledged that the ministry paid some of Ford’s debts. They said the network commonly extends such generosity to employees in financial trouble. Within weeks of the Arrowhead trip, Ford tested positive for drug use and was arrested for violating terms of his probation. While Ford awaited sentencing, the ministry again came to his support, urging the judge not to impose more prison time.

Ford “has continuously shown a very positive attitude regarding whatever we have asked him to do,” wrote Ruth M. Brown, Paul Crouch’s sister and TBN’s director of personnel. “He carried out his duties cheerfully and always tries to do more than asked.”

The judge sent Ford to the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, a drug treatment facility in the state prison system.

In August 1997, Jay Jones, TBN’s director of telephone ministry, wrote prison officials that Ford would have a job with the network after he got out, despite his “extended leave of absence.” But Ford said that after he was released in February 1998, he was told he no longer had a position at TBN. “There comes a point in time when you have to say, ’Enough is enough,” said John Casoria, a TBN layer who is a nephew of the Crouches.

Ford responded with his threat to sue. The settlement followed.

Despite TBN’s efforts to keep Ford’s charges secret, they surfaced in an unrelated 1998 lawsuit. A former bodyguard for TBN personality Benny Hinn testified in a deposition that during a European bus tour that year, Hinn had told a group of associates about a sexual relationship that Paul Crouch had with his chauffeur.”

The witness, Mario C. Licciardello, quoted Hinn as saying: “Paul’s defense was that he was drunk.” Hinn and six others mentioned by Licciardello, who died in 2000, told The Times that Hinn never made such remarks. However, Rick Jones, a retired police officer and ordained minister who worked for Hinn, said he heard Hinn talk about Crouch’s alleged homosexual relationship on that bus.  Jones said he was disgusted by the talk and “got up and walked away. I didn’t want to hear gossip.”

Asking $10 Million

Meanwhile, Ford began to have second thoughts about keeping silent. Last year, with Mahlow’s help, he wrote his manuscript, titled “Arrowhead.” Friends said Ford wanted to expose what he viewed as Crouch’s hypocrisy.  They said he also needed money and hoped to earn some by selling the manuscript. It’s unclear how Ford spent his 1998 settlement, but today he leads a modest existence, living in a room of a Lake Forest home and working as a mortgage salesman.

Ministry officials learned of the book in April 2003, when Ford walked onto the set of TBN’s Costa Mesa, broadcast studio and handed a copy of the manuscript to Crouch.

Ford’s attorney, Eugene Zech, said that Brewer, the TBN lawyer, called him the next business day. In court papers, Zech said that Brewer asked “if Ford might be willing to accept $1 million in exchange for the manuscript.”

Zech said in the court filing that he suggested $10 million. When the parties went to arbitration, Crouch’s lawyers argued that publication would violate the 1998 settlement and cause irreparable damage to Crouch’s reputation. Ford’s lawyers argued that the secrecy agreement was overly broad and violated his free-speech rights. Arbitrator Robert J. Neill ruled that Ford’s right to make his allegations public “was sold to [Crouch] for $425,000.” Ford “bargained away his right to speak on certain matters and now suggests that his right to free speech trumps that bargain…[His] right to discuss these matters was bought and paid for. He relinquished that right.” Paul Crouch Jr. , a TBN executive and the televangelist’s oldest son, said that despite the favorable ruling, he wished his father had never entered into the settlement with Ford. Crouch said advisors persuaded his father that it would be cheaper to settle than to litigate. He said TBN was particularly anxious to avoid negative publicity because the ministry was celebrating its 25th anniversary that year. “In hindsight, we should have fought Lonnie tooth and nail, “the son said in an interview. “We should have drawn the battle lines right there.”

Upon receiving this article I contacted TBN with some questions. I wanted a clearer explanation as to why TBN would pay $425,000 to “a liar.”? I have trouble accepting the TBN version that it was their 25th anniversary and they did not want any bad publicity. If Mr. Ford is lying then TBN has a whole team of lawyers with which to nail his blackmailing behind to the door, so to speak, so why didn’t they do it? After all, Paul merely has to tell his devoted fans that this is just another of a series of attacks by the devil against the mightiest tool in God’s arsenal, i.e. TBN and himself as the captain of the ship. Also, why did TBN continue to rehire Mr. Ford who in the words of the TBN ministry officials have described Ford–who has a history of drug problems and has served time for a sex offense–”as a liar and an extortionist.” Also, why did TBN pay off a $12,000 debt that Ford owed? TBN responded that it “commonly extends such generosity to its employees.”  Oh really?  I have read every written article about the Crouches and TBN and I have never come across anyone else who has experienced this largess TBN!

In my letter to TBN I also asked them about the comments attributed to Mr. Hinn, First, I wanted to know how Benny leaned of the incident. Did Paul “confess” his fault to him? If so, then why did Hinn break his oath as a pastor and tell others what was confessed to him? Or were Paul’s homosexual dalliances common knowledge among the upper echelon at TBN? Worse yet how do they answer Mr. Hinn’s charge of Crouch being “drunk,” as if it was an acceptable excuse for this moral slip? It is well documented that the latest and biggest of the 30 homes owned by TBN comes complete with a temperature controlled wine cellar. Why would any self-respecting Pentecostal have a wine cellar? There is no known Pentecostal denomination that approves of the use of alcohol even when celebrating the Lord’s Support!

Lastly, I find it curious indeed that the TBN lawyer offers Ford a million dollars for the manuscript, his attorney seemed to think it was worth closer to 10 million and off to court they went.

In all fairness to Mr. Crouch, he is innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on the accuser. Yet if I were in his shoes, which I thank God I am not, I would have never agreed to pay a blackmailer. I’d demand my day in court and turn around and sue the accuser for slander. The fact that Crouch did not respond in this manner makes me believe there is more than a modicum of truth to Mr. Ford’s story. It has long been rumored that the Crouches do not sleep in the same bed and often not in the same house. In the September issue of  Truth Matters  you might have wondered why Paul was not awakened when Jan was being mystically levitated in her bed. She did not even make mention of Paul being there in bed asleep next to her.

We heard a saying in seminary “bad theology makes for a bad doxology,” which simply means bad doctrine leads to bad lifestyle and even worse endings. I end this article by directing you to http://www.google.com  where you can find and read the TBN response. You are free to come to your own conclusions regarding Mr. Crouch. For me and my house, we would not trust Crouch as far as we could throw him.  ♦

The YouTube video has been removed, but you can still see the video here:  http://www.archive.org/details/Fox4InvestigatesTrinityBroadcastNetworksPaulCrouch

See YouTube video report on the Scandal here:

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthis/hi/dates/stories/february/21/newsid/_2565000/2565197.stm

2. Obtained from http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/Televangelism.htm

3. Obtained from http://www.wchstv.com/abc/primetimethursday/dianesawyer.shtml

4. Taken from the Yahoo News at http://www.yahoo.com  Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

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The Deadly Results of “Divine” Healing

1 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter- Vol. 8 Issue 8 – The Deadly Results of “Divine” Healing

Without a doubt we know that Jesus Christ does heal His people. Yet many people within charismatic extremism have taken a presumptuous view of God by reducing His healing grace to sets of formulas, spiritual laws or principles which will always work when properly applied. Here are just a few cases taken from various reports concerning the tragic results of being presumptuous regarding the grace of God in the area of healing.

The following information was obtained from Cases of Childhood Deaths Due to Parental Religious Objections to Necessary Medical Care. The entire article can be obtained at http://www.masskids.org/jel/jel_6appendix.html?FACTNet

Faith Tabernacle:  The Faith Tabernacle Congregational was founded in 1987 in Philadelphia during a religious revival. The Church doctrine claimed that the Bible opposes “all medical and surgical practice whatever,” Presently, the Church has about 18,000  members, mostly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Justin Barnhart, age two, died September 1981, in Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania of a Wilm’s tumor which grew larger then a volleyball in the child’s abdomen. The parents, William and Linda Barnhart, withheld medical care from their son because of their religious beliefs. With early medical intervention, this form of childhood cancer has a better then 90 percent cure rate. The parents were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1982 by the county court.

Five children of the Winterbourne family of suburban Philadelphia died of pneumonia between 1971 and 1980 without receiving medical attention. Roger Winterbourne, the father, stated: “When you believe in something, you have to believe it all the way. If you only believe in it part way, it’s not a true belief.”

In early 1991, six children died in the Philadelphia area of measles. Five of the children’s parents belonged to the Faith Tabernacle and had religious objections to vaccinations. (The sixth child’s parents belongs to the First Century Gospel Church which also objects to medical care.)

End Time Ministries: End Time Ministries, led by Reverend Charles Meade, has been active in South Dakota, Montana, and the Midwest. Several hundred believers have migrated to Lake City, Florida. The sect lost five babies in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, during home deliveries that were not attended by licensed health care providers. Illness is viewed by members as a work of Satan, a member’s lack of faith, or an unconfused sin.

Michael David Boehmer, four days old, died March 15, 1990, in Lake City, Florida, of a pulmonary hemorrhage. The parents did not obtain medical attention for their son, stating that they he believed doctors should be avoided. They relied on prayer to heal their baby.

Church of the First Born: This sect is primarily active in Colorado and Oklahoma. Jason Lockhart, age nine, of Enid Oklahoma, died of a ruptured appendix due to parental religious beliefs. Parents, Dean an Patsy Lockhart, in December 1982, were acquitted of first degree manslaughter because of Oklahoma’s religious exemption law.

Desiree Camren, age three, of Cushing, Oklahoma, died February 1987 after a week’s illness due to lack of medical care. The medical examiner said that medical treatment could have saved the child’s life. Dean and Sheila Camren, the parents, claimed their religious beliefs prevented them from seeking medical help for Desiree. Testimony at the trial indicated that the Camrens knew the child was dying but believed her death was punishment from God because the father had not been attending church. The parents were sentenced to prison in May 1989 for second degree manslaughter.

Jordan Northrup, age four months, died January 1991 in Redding, California, of meningitis and pneumonia. His parents, Earl Joe and Catherine Northrup, attempted to heal their son through prayers alone during his six day illness. On September 19, 1991, they were charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

Faith Assembly: The church is active in Ohio and Indiana. According to the research of CHILD, Inc. there have been over 100 unnecessary deaths since 1973 caused by the teachings of the Faith assembly against medical care. The majority of these deaths have been of children or mothers in childbirth. Faith Assembly death rates from 1975-1982 were studied by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana Department of Health. Death rates among Faith Assembly women in childbirth were 870 percent higher then among Indiana women in general; death rates among their infants were 270 percent higher than death rates among their infants were 270 percent higher than the statewide average. This sect was started by Dr. Hobart Freeman, who himself died of an easily treatable leg ulcer. Freeman was a staunch believer in divine healing as taught by the Word of Faith cult.

False doctrine inevitably leads people astray and often into tragic situations. Many times people do seek out medical treatment but by the time they go to the doctor they are beyond medical help. Also, many deaths simply go unreported.

To us it is the height of cruelty and hypocrisy when these “faith-filled” men and women teach one thing, such as “all you need is faith in God, “ and yet seek for themselves the best medical treatment money can buy.

These articles were made possible by those who believe in what we are doing. Thank you for helping DMI Teach Truth & Expose Error through your financial support. ♦

Copyright © 2004  Robert Liichow




The “Cruelty” of the Word of Faith Movement –

31 05 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – August 2004 – Vol 8. Issue 8 – The “Cruelty” of the Word of Faith Movement – by Robert S. Liichow

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One of the spiritual truths that have been “restored” to me since being involved in this aspect of Christ’s ministry is the value of people, real people with needs, hurts, joys and wisdom. We are all members of one body and we all have equal value in the eyes of God and none of us is unimportant or unnecessary to the furthering of God’s will in the earth.

In this article I will focus on three aspects which are particularly cruel and abusive which are commonplace in the majority of congregations or ministries within this “movement.”

                            Lords and Not Leaders

Being set free from the miasma of spiritual bondage and heresy I now see very clearly how many times God’s people were (and are) viewed as merely a means to an end by various abusive leaders. I can attest to the fact that within the Word of Faith Movement (WOF) people are often treated as objects, as names without faces on a mailing list whose role is to further the ambitions of the leader of that specific ministry. One former restored “apostle” Ellis Smith stood up before the congregation one Sunday and declared “God doesn’t care about you, He cares about His purpose.”  The congregants were reduced to being pieces on a cosmic chessboard to be moved around according to the divine purpose as revealed to the apostle Smith.

Every WOF ministry and church is ultimately run by one individual. These men and women may carry various titles such as Apostle, Prophet, Pastor or Bishop and they are always at the top of the food-chain and everyone else is subservient to them. If he or she has a church they may have elders and even some deacons, but the ultimate decision maker is going to be the Pastor/Prophet/Apostle, etc.

scan2004fm0001Having served both as a teaching elder and pastor in a couple of WOF congregations I remember a visit we had from a so-called “prophet” who also served as a pastor over a very young college-age congregation. In an elders meeting, he told us the following: “whenever I meet with my elders whoever hears something different from God than what I’ve heard is wrong.”  (1) In other words, even though God had raised up individuals as elders in his local church his insights were the only ones of consequence.

The pastor within any WOF congregation is the supreme potentate. His role is to “hear” from God, cast the vision for the church and direct the people to bring it to pass. These pastors perfectly fit the warnings given through Jeremiah and Ezekiel to the shepherds of Israel in the Old Testament:

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. Jerm 23:1,2  (KJV)

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.  And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].   Exek. 34:2-6 (KJV)

Anyone reading this article with a WOF background knows from their own personal experience how many times people (God’s sheep) were driven out of a congregation because they questioned the pastor. Every WOF pastor is certainly numbered among the wealthiest in their congregation. These men and women literally take care of themselves and their families first and foremost. They sacrifice very little for the sake of their congregations.

In fact the same pastor/prophet told us in the same series of meetings he held at our former church that now since our pastor, Ellis Smith, had been elevated to the role of an “Apostle” we should not expect him to visit the sick in the hospital nor expect him to give people a lift to church who need a ride. His role from now on was simply to get into the Word and fast and pray (see Acts 6:4). Those mundane tasks were for the elders to handle and let the Apostle, do the serious spiritual work!

It was about at this same time, early 1990’s, that a new ministry was being “restored” back to the Church, that of the Armor Bearer. Books began to be published on this topic, and seminars given on how to enter into this exciting role. (2) Some of you reading this may have never heard of such a ministry and maybe some of you who are students of Church History may wonder when such a “ministry” existed within the Church. Allow me to give you a brief description of the role of the armor bearer, according to the blurb on Nance’s second book:

Basically, the theme of this book is to be content to be an faithful “behind the scenes” person, pay your dues, and in God’s time you will be promoted to increased visibility and responsibility. Nance uses the armor bearer analogy to make his point.   (3)

Regarding Nance’s book, Bishop T.D. Jakes says the following:

God’s Armor Bearer is an insightful book at a neglected ministry that needs desperately to be rekindled in the kingdom. I believe it is essential for every sincere Christian to read and apply. That is the reason that I purchased 5,000 of the books for use at our church. The Potter’s House. I would simply be afraid to command any troops into battle that had not read it. (4)

An armor bearer is the person who serves the needs of the pastor/leader. In our former church that included “guarding” the outside door to the pastors office and “vetting” anyone who wanted to inquire of the man-of-God. The armor bearer carried the pastor’s Bible before him as he entered the sanctuary, walked him off the platform (sort of like a body guard) so the people would not drain his anointing (I kid you not). Sometimes the armor bearer drove the pastor’s wife home pre-heated their car in the winter and ran the air conditioning for them in the summer.

Note that the quote states that one must “pay your dues.” In other words, do this menial task and faithfully serve the person of “God” and one day in Gods time you will get spiritually promoted and have someone else serve you.

Within charismatic extremism this role is a coveted one for several reasons. First,  The armor bearer has access to the “anointed” one and has the power to somewhat decide who can or cannot have an audience with the august personage. Secondly, the carrot on the stick is that one day enough of the godly ones anointing will rub off on you that you can launch out into your own ministry! You learn the tricks of the trade so to speak by serving as chauffer, coat holder, Bible bearer, etc…

However, there are problems with this “ministry.” First of all it is not found within the New Testament or the history of the Church. Armor bearers are mentioned briefly in the Old Testament and when it is spoken of it has no spiritual significance. More importantly it violates one of the main teachings of our Lord Jesus regarding leadership in the Church by elevating the slave to the position of being the absolute dictator:

“But Jesus called them [to him], and saith unto them Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45 KJV).

Jesus outlines very dynamically the foremost quality of a biblical leader–that of a servant. The world (Gentiles) exercise lordship over those they lead, “But so shall it not be among you.”  What we have in the WOF cult and other forms of charismatic extremist groups and ministries is exactly the opposite of the commandment given by Jesus. In all honest I cannot say I have ever met a genuine servant-leader while a part of the charismatic movement. Al the pastors/prophets/apostles either had an exalted view of themselves and/or their calling, When they got big enough incorporated “armor bearers” around them to shield them from having much real contact at all with those they say they minister to. For example, try to approach Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, or Fred Price either after a convention meeting or in their church and see how close you can get to these “servants” of Christ. I can assure you the pastors of large WOF congregations do not perform marriages, funerals, visit the sick in the hospitals, clean toilets or take out the trash. There is one exception to this statement; they will marry or bury someone who has been either a big giver (those who give the most always have access to the pastor, whereas others do not) or is a prominent member of the community.

The majority of WOF pastors rule their congregations by spiritual coercion i.e. they misinterpret biblical texts and by doing so place their people in spiritual bondage. (5) These ministers do not allow anyone to question their beliefs, teachings or even their lifestyles. My wife and I have heard countless sermons about the great danger inherent in touching God’s “anointed” after all 1 Ch. 16:22 says: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” This was always interpreted to mean that no one was to ever question the doctrine or direction of our leader(s). We were often reminded of what happened to those who came against Moses. Anyone who was beneath the pastor had one role to fill—simply obey the leader without any questions and in the words of Kenneth Hagin Sr. we were told to “doubt our doubts.”

It has been a longstanding teaching within the WOF cult that as a pastor one cannot allow the sheep to get too close to you as a leader. Mark Barclay, one of the more controlling “Apostles” in Michigan has written many books on this topic including one we had to read titled; “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Familiarity.” So not only were future pastors taught not to allow their congregation to get too close to them as pastors, but the people are also taught not to fall into the sin of becoming too familiar with our pastor! The end result is an exalted view of the ministry of the pastor, a view that is unbiblical and one that lends itself to spiritual abuse. Never forget the old adage : “the best of men are men at best.”

Cruel Confessions

Probably one of the cruelest elements of any aberrant system is rooted in false doctrines. In the case of any charismatic extremist group, their scripture twisting deludes their followers into thinking they will be brought nearer to the Lord through their practice, when in reality the practitioner is carried further from the One whom they seek to know.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:31-32 (KJV)

Just as continuing in the Word of the Lord (i.e. when it is properly taught and understood) proves that one is a disciple of Jesus and the Word rightly taught and understood liberated the one who hears and does the Word. The opposite is just as true. The Word of God taught incorrectly and then misapplied will place people in spiritual bondage, which is what happens to those enmeshed in the WOF cult.

In the cult we were taught that our words had the power to create or destroy, it was up to us. The condition a person was in whether it was financial, martial, physical was generally brought back to their negative words or if things were going well, then to their faith-filled words.

On a pastoral level I could never be sure where someone was in their spiritual walk because we had been programmed to confess only the positive promises found in the Bible. So when I’d ask someone “how are you doing my brother?” The scripted response would be something like “I’m blessed brother, God is good all the time and the devil is a liar!” In reality that individual may have been headed to bankruptcy or divorce court but they could not share this because it would somehow give power to the devil to transmute these negative words into reality.

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Proverbs 6:2 (KJV) Peasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 (KJV).

See! Its right there in the Holy Bible—people are snared by their words and are even taken captive by the devil by their words. On the other had, pleasant words are sweet and can even provide health to our very bones.

WOF people are afraid to speak negative words, their efforts to speak only the positive desired result is really motivated by fear (which as we all know is the opposite of faith) of what will happen to them if they slip up. Can you see how just this one area of false doctrine (which is huge) places people into spiritual bondage? Also, the strain of denying reality by declaring a “greater” spiritual reality into existence is at its very core a doctrine of works and not of grace.

Congregational members do not have the freedom to speak openly and honestly with their pastor (because he will rebuke them, nor can they be honest with others around them (lest they seem less spiritual) and n the end many people end u on the spiritual junk heap due to the strain of being positive in the midst of their pain.

Our words (confession) will either put us over or put us under. Let’s quote Kenneth Copeland, the heir of the WOF throne since the death of Kenneth Hagin Sr.:

“When you discover who you are in Jesus, your entire existence—your health, your financial life your social life—will take on a new meaning. The storms of lie will be stopped a you exert pressure on them with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. You are to reign as a king under your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Hallelujah! God sees you this way. He expects you to take your rightful place and live this kind of life above the beggarly elements of the world… As a born-again child of God, you are to be a superman in the eyes of the world, holding forth the Word of Life! When you cross the rough spots, you won’t knuckle under—you will stand tall and triumph over-them. You will walk hand in hand with Jesus through the storms of life and come out victoriously!  (6)

Every person we knew, including ourselves, was striving to be exactly what Mr. Copeland described in the above passage. Every problem we faced was to be dealt a defeating blow as we boldly declared the promises of God in the power of the Spirit. We were working hard to reign in this life as literal kings! To do any less was to fall far short of our heavenly Father’s expectation for us. To be (or remain) poor or sick was displeasing to God. Nothing less than complete triumph over the storms of life was acceptable to God and our leaders.

Sadly, millions of professing Christians are on the treadmill of works, striving to attain “mastery” over all the beggarly elements of this fallen world through implementing the various sets of spiritual laws and principles taught by Copeland, Price, Duplantis, Meyer, Dollar, Tilton, Capps, Savelle, Hayes, et al.

What is tragic and cruel is that no matter how hard people strive, how many confessions they make, regardless of how much money they give…what they are trying to accomplish simply will not come to fruition because it is all based on a wrong interpretation of the Bible.

The Harm Caused by the WOF View of Divine Healing

My wife has a cousin who is dying of cancer.  Certainly we believe that Jesus still heals His people but today we know that He does so according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will. We may ask for His healing touch, but we must also be humble enough to accept the fact that we do not always receive what we ask for. Sometimes physical healing is not His will in every case. What is cruel is that Chuck, Tracy’s cousin, is surrounded by positive confession friends and family members who are doing nothing but speaking positive affirmations around him. Giving someone a false hope is cruel. Not ministering to a person in real pain with the comfort given to us in the scriptures is cruel. Having an individual question themselves regarding any past or “hidden” sins is cruel. I remember Copeland saying in one of his meetings  “if you play the game right you win.” Sick people are not playing the game correctly! Marilyn Hickey taught me in Robert Tilton’s Bible School that according to Proverbs 26:2 “As the bird by wandering as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.”

Whenever someone is sick there is a cause and the cause is usually found within the sick individual. They sinned, they spoke against God’s anointed, they failed to tithe, they spoke negative fear-filled words and Satan brought them to pass in their life or they just had “head Knowledge” of God’s healing promises versus obtaining “revelation Knowledge.” The burden for obtaining the promised results was (and is) always placed squarely at the feet of the one who is at their weakest point. Fred Price, an internationally know WOF pastor says the following:

“But if I walk rightly, and if I walk in line with the Word of God, I am thoroughly convinced I can be free from sickness and disease. (7)

According to Mr. Price healing is the will of God for all of God’s children, but it is dependent upon them walking “in line” with the Word of God. Thus if one is sick, it is obvious that they have not been walking in line with God’s Word. Further on in the same book Mr. Price makes this declaration:

“If Jesus didn’t want sickness in His boy then, He doesn’t want sickness in His body now. That ought to tell you that it’s not possible that God could want anybody sick. NOT IN HIS BODY! (8)

Price makes the mistake of teaching that we are the literal “body of Christ”. That Jesus is the Head, and we in the Church are His actual body. This view is aberrant and it has never been the view of the Church from its inception. We are no more the literal body of Christ then we are literal branches and Jesus is the literal Vine (see John 15:1-4) The onus of sickness in the body is placed at the feet of the sick person by Price.

“You need to know that Satan can’t put them {sick/disease} on you unless you’re willing to receive them. What Satan does is give you a symptom, then you go to talking. “I guess I’m going to be sick.” When you say that you just “signed for the package.” It’s yours now, “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth… (9)

According to Price, when a person is stricken with any sickness or disease it is because they have accepted the “package” that Satan has delivered by confessing into existence the reality of their symptoms.

I often wonder how Mr. Price explains how it is that his own wife was stricken with cancer. Betty Price has been listening to and confessing the “Word” according to the WOF cult and yet she became sick and even wrote a book about it! (10) Fred’s wife did not receive a divine healing miracle for her pelvic cancer but obtained the best medical care money can afford. Her cancer is in remission, for that we rejoice. However, if what her husband taught was in fact true, then why did his wife Betty “receive the package” {cancer} sent by Satan? Why didn’t she just confess it away from her in Jesus name?

Seriously folks, if what the WOF cult teaches regarding divine healing is true, then those who teach it, hear it, devote their every waking moment to it—ought to be the ones manifesting what has been promised. Yet here we have Betty Price unable to confess away the attack of Satan! Obviously neither could Joyce Meyer when she was treated for breast cancer. Peggy Capps, Charles Capps wife, also could not exert mastery over the beggarly element of liver cancer apart from medical treatment. Mack Timberlake succumbed to disease as did Hagin’s son-in-law Buddy Harrison who also died of cancer despite teaching the WOF doctrine on healing for close to twenty years!

Healing for the WOF devotee is always dependent upon the person’s knowledge (of God’s promises). And /or works (positive confession of these promises). Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Copeland’s wife says the following regarding divine healing:

“You must know that it is God’s will to heal you. Until this fact is settled in your mind and spirit, you cannot approach healing without being double minded and wavering. The Scripture states that the double minded man will receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:6-8). (11)

A person has to receive the gnosis that it is God’s will to heal His children every time and all the time they are sick in order to be healed. If you lack this certainty then you cannot be healed. Again, notice that the burden is placed on the sick person. They are responsible to allowing Satan to afflict them in the first place and since this is so (according to Price) they probably lack the knowledge of God’s will to heal them too. In short, these folks are doomed.

“Many try to reap the healing harvest without first planting the seed. ‘Until the person seeking healing is sure from God’s Word that it is God’s will to heal him, he is trying to reap a harvest where there is no seed planted. “ (12)

According to WOF doctrine, we all reap what we sow. If we sow the healing verses into our heart by confessing them, when Satan brings his symptoms of sickness, we will immediately reject them and confess that we are healed by the stripes of Jesus and we will be. It is that simple according to Copeland and John Osteen (and 100,000’s that follow their false doctrines):

In your heart of hearts, picture yourself completely delivered from sickness, suffering and all trouble. YOU ARE!! Now, take God’s promises without fear and boldly confess them day and night. When people ask you how you feel don’t tell them. TELL THEM WHAT GOD SAYD SNOUY YOU VSDR!! TELL THEM ABOUT THE PROMISES OF GOD!! TELL THEM YOU DON’T GO BY FEELINGS BUT BY WHAT GOD SAYS!!! (13)

I wonder how well this worked for Pastor Osteen, while he was lying in his hospital bed dying of heart problems and other conditions, Did confessing God’s “promises” work when his wife, Dodie, got liver cancer?  Reality has a rude way of bumping into people’s fantasies.

If someone attends a Benny Hinn crusade and does not receive their healing what is Benny’s answer “well you know I am not the healer.” (14) If someone manages to show any improvement then naturally Benny puts it goes on television, when nothing happens and the people later die, as has been proven multiple times, then nothing is said about it.

Tracy and I took a friend, Madelyn who had AIDS to a Hinn miracle crusade, she ended up sitting in the overflow area and to her dying day believed that if she could have only gotten closer to Benny she would have been healed! Talk about cruel!

The reality of living in a fallen world, in bodies that the Apostle Paul says is decaying daily (see 2Cor. 4:16) is ignored by WOF’ers. They want to see nothing but victory, overcoming every obstacle in life by the power of your faith is victory. Anything that might cause their followers to question the validity of their stance must be denied, denigrated, despised and rejected.

Those facing death in the WOF cult are not prepared to die, are not comforted by the promises of God regarding heaven, the work Jesus did on their behalf and that they can rest in His finished work. They are not told to trust in Christ Jesus alone, but are kept on the treadmill of works to their dying breath. No WOF pastor is going to come into the hospital and say “Chuck you are going to die, have you been seeing to the affairs of your life?” To confess he is going to die is to make it a fact! Can you see why I consider this cruelty and a perversion of the Christian faith my brothers and sister?  ♦

Copyright © 2004 by Robert Liichow

End Notes

1. This man’s name was Keith Grayton, he later died from a complication due to having AIDS. Fortunately by the time he came to our congregation my wife and I had just begun to attend seminary and we were on our way out of deception and recognized immediately that this was a dangerous individual to follow and his teaching while visiting our former church were instrumental in hastening our exit.

2. Nance, Terry Gods Armor Bearer (Gods Armorbear), 1980.

3. Ibid, God’s Armor Bearer book ll Shippensburg, PA Destiny Image Publications, 1994. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

4. Charisma magazine, August 2004. P. 95

5. I have dealt with some of the tactics used in our book entitled “Defending the Indefensible.’ which is available through our ministry for the cost.

6. Copeland, Kenneth The Force of Righteousness Forth Worth, TX KCP Publication, p. 16 1992. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

7. Price, Frederick Is Healing For All Tulsa, OK Harrison House Publishing. P. 8 1976.

8. Ibid pg. 31

9. Ibid p. 32.

10. Williford, Stanley O. Through the Fire and Through the Water, How Dr. Betty Price Conquered Cancer. Web site, http://faithdome.org/.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will for Your Healing. Fort Worth, TX. Kenneth Copeland Ministries, p., 3 1972

12. Copeland, Gloria God’s Will For Your Healing. Forth Worth, TX Kenneth Copeland Ministries, p. 8 1972.

13. Osteen, John. There Is A Miracle in Your Mouth. Houston, TX . John Osteen Publications. Pp. 17-18, 1972

14. There are two excellent resources to consider when looking into the world of Mr. Hinn, the first is the book “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn.’ available at http://www.pfo.org or ‘The many faces of Benny Hinn’ video available through the Trinity Foundation.