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

22 06 2012

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

 Discernment Ministries International

Sons of Thunder? (Part Two)

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

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gain A Historical Grid of Miracles & Mystics

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

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

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

Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel

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

The Seer Realm:

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

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

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

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

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (18) Col. 2:18-20

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

Prophecy

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

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

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

Spirit Travel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Receive Open Heavens & Revelatory Understanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The point is this:

FULL SPEED AHEAD WITH DISCERNMENT MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL!

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

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

By Keith Gibson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Issues and Concern

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

 The Scriptures

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

 Inspiration and Inerrancy

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

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

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

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

 Sufficiency

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

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

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

 Perspicuity

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

 The Decline of Doctrine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Nature of God and the Person of Christ

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

 The Weak God

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

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

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

 The Nature of Christ

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

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

 Conclusion

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

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

 

Copyright © 2012 Keith Gibson

 

End Notes

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

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

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

4. Op. Cit. Hamon page 57

5. Ibid page 59

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

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

9. Ibid page 153

10. Ibid page 177

11. Ibid page 124

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

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

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

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

16. Ibid page 63

17. Ibid page 77

18. Op. Cit Bolz page 73

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

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

__________________________________________________

About the Author

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

 Solid Ground Christian Books 6749 Remington Circle Pelham, Alabama 35124

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

 





THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11

31 12 2011

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11

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

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

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

 A Little History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Meeting Itself

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

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

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

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

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

 STATEWIDE GOALS THAT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

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

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

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

4. Ibid

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

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

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

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

10. Lutherans will get the ‘vest’ comment.

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

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

 

 

 





Matthew 13:24-30

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

Discernment Ministries International

Matthew 13:24-30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Rights Reserved

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

 





Reformation Sunday Sermon

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

Discernment Ministries International

Reformation Sunday Sermon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Copyright ©2010





ORAL ROBERTS DEAD & DAMAGE DONE

29 04 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 1 – Oral Roberts Dead & Damage Done – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

ORAL ROBERTS DEAD & DAMAGE DONE

By Rev. Robert Liichow

Another giant has fallen. One of the veritable “Generals” of Pentecostalism has assumed room temperature and now faces the judgment of the Just Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ (read Hebrews 9:27).

We all have heard the old adage “don’t speak ill of the dead” but as a good liturgical. Confessional, evangelical Lutheran I must ask “what does this adage mean?” We speak ill of the dead all the time. Seen any positive documentaries on Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, or Joe Stalin lately?

DMI rebuked Oral Roberts and exposed him as a fraud during his life and we surely do not want to see Pentecostal myths gain a foothold now that Oral is dead. Certainly DMI prayed for the family asking God to comfort them in their loss but that does not change the facts regarding Mr. Roberts SINistry of over fifty years.

Let’s begin with a statement made by Richard Roberts, Oral surviving son, I say “surviving” son because Oral’s other boy committed suicide (something few people even know.)

Richard Roberts called his father “the greatest man of God I’ve ever known.” A modern-day apostle of the healing ministry, an author, educator, evangelist, prophet, and innovator,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “He was the only man of his generation to build a worldwide ministry, an accredited university, and a medical school.”

Admittedly, most men think the world of their fathers, I know I do. It is human nature to want to make them larger-then-life especially in a memorial statement. Unfortunately Richard uttered some outright whoppers (lies, prevarications, story’s deceptions, and myths) in his comments.

The first lie about Oral (let’s not start myth making before he is even in the ground Richard!) is that he was the only man in his generation (1918-2009) to build a worldwide ministry. Oh really? Oral did not even begin to broadcast until 1954.

If Richard is correct about Oral having the only worldwide ministry in his generation how does he explain?

Dr. Daisy Washburn Osborn, they established their headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1949. Together they proclaimed the Gospel to millions of unreached people in over 80 nations for well over half a century of world-changing missionary-evangelism, preaching daily to multitudes from 20,000 to 300,000 people with God confirming his word by many astounding miracles.

Roberts without a doubt cashed in BIG TIME on the post World War II so called “healing revival.” Although Oral was to become the biggest and one of the longest surviving members of those halcyon days of casting demons into jars, putting up huge tents and raking in the millions he still was not the first nor the innovator that Richard wants people to believe.

William Branham is usually cited as the founder of the post WWII healing revival. Branham, a man whose life I have studied in-depth began his healing revivals as early as 1941 was well known for his international ministry. Sadly Branham was a heretic and false prophet and today there are over 123,000 web sites DEVOTED to this man’s false teachings, false prophecies and failed visions. Branham is vastly more popular today, over thirty (30) years after his death in 1965 when he was killed by a drunk driver. What’s my point? My point is, just because a false leader dies does not mean that their influence is over at the time of their transition from time to eternity. Branham’s errors continue to mislead multitudes and Robert’s errors and legacy may also mushroom and mislead even more people after his death than he influenced in his lifetime here on earth.

Roberts Was No “Saint”

Please allow me to clarify the above comment; DMI is not stating that Mr. Roberts did not go to heaven or that he was not a saint in the generally understood use of the term by evangelical Christians. What is meant ins that Oral Roberts was no genuine super-saint or highly anointed healer according to charismatic lingo and his own press. Although Oral is known for his alleged healing ministry his main emphasis was financial prosperity:

But Oral Roberts, who has died aged 91 of complications from pneumonia, always devoted himself to money – and, occasionally, God. He even justified his love of wealth with a biblical source. At the age of 29, he was a struggling part-time preacher with church pastorates in Oklahoma, and his college studies had not brought him a degree. He told the story of how he picked up his bible and it fell open at the Third Epistle of John. His eye caught verse two, which read: “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as they soul prospereth.” He had not heard this verse before and neither had his schoolteacher wife Evelyn, though both were the offspring of preachers. Roberts decided immediately that it was all right to be rich. The next day he brought a Buick and God appeared, he said, telling him to heal people. Roberts then added this aspect to his tent revival meetings and a month later in Enid, Oklahoma, he cured, he said, a woman the use of whose hand had been impaired for 38 years.

The above reporter used an interesting phrase when he said Oral “devoted himself to money.” Dr. H. Wayne House, a personal friend and mentor told my wife and I that he personally heard Oral Roberts telling the teachers of ORU in a meeting that He, Oral, and I quote, “I love money, money, money, money.”

That comment also mirrors Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street when he shouted “greed is good.” Oral is reported to have said that God told him to avoid three things if he wanted his healing ministry to succeed. Oral was supposedly commanded to — (1) touch not the gold; (2) touch not the glory and (3) touch not the girls.

Now one would imagine that if Almighty God, the Ancient of Days, Might Jah who rides on the clouds — audibly spoke to you, and you knew it was indeed God, then one would imagine obedience would follow His directives, right?

Obviously, Oral failed the Lord’s test, this we know from the observable facts of his life. Oral failed regarding the “gold.” If anyone hammered the false doctrine that God wants all of His children RICH it was initially Mr. Roberts. He died a multi-millionaire in his own right with a ministry machine worth tens of millions, to own a copy of his mailing list alone is the stuff lesser televangelists and Gospel pimps dream about. No Oral died stinking filthy rich and he did so at the expense of the poor, widows, and people on fixed incomes (plus one very wealthy dog track ownerThe 79-year-old entrepreneur wrote a $1.3 million check to get Roberts down from his prayer tower and finance Roberts’ medical scholarships. He’ll deliver the check today at a country club luncheon with Richard Roberts, whose father appears to be saved by the sizable donation).”

Oral equally failed when it came to touching the “glory.” In Pentecostal thought touching the glory of God is to take credit for something that God did. Everything Oral touched he named after himself! [As an aside beware anyone who names the ministry after themselves]. God’s direction for a school became “Oral Roberts University.” Even his overall outreach was called “Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.” It might have been acceptable to name something after Oral once he was dead, but he had the audacity to name things after himself while he was still in our midst. Talk about touching the glory…tisk, tisk, tisk, Oral!!

As far as we know Oral was faithful to his wife of many years and I do not doubt this. However two misses out of three is abysmal! Perhaps this explains why Oral Roberts could never prove to everyone’s satisfaction that God had used him to heal anyone at all. Roberts, like all the fake-healers would simply point to the individual claiming healing and say “ask them.”

I don’t try to prove [that] multiplied thousands [are being healed]. I just say, “There’s the person. Let him tell you” [This is enough] to me and the person…I can’t prove that any person who ever came to me was healed, that is I can’t prove it to the satisfaction of everyone.

Just because a person feels good after the “anointed” evangelist prays over them does not mean they have been healed. My mother-in-law was prayed for by Benny Hinn personally. Immediately after prayer she declared she was healed, based on how she felt. Within 12 hours her “healed” condition had returned. To her dying day she believed she was really healed by Benny, but lost her healing due to her own lack of spiritual fortitude! What a shame and what a burden to live under. How many multitudes also “lost” their healing shortly after Oral Roberts left town with their best seed-faith offering.

Rest assured, not many if any people “lost” any healing they received at the hands of Oral. Let’s do the math: Oral was laying hands on the sick from say approximately 1948 thru 2008 about sixty (60) years. Out of all those multitudes of people over the years statistically one would imagine that there would be quite a catalog of independently verified physical healings and miracles….but there are not. Just a 5% success rate would have given Roberts 50,000 verified miraculous testimonies; a mere 2.5? Would be 25,000 stories to use to bilk the non-healed seekers! The truth of the matter is that Oral Roberts was a fake-healer. People simply did not get healed at his crusades as he said they did. He lied, either intentionally or unintentionally, he did not speak truthfully about miracles and healings regarding his own work.

Oral a Grandiose Failure

Virtually everything Oral did regarding his ministry machine was done under the egis of the “Lord” telling him to bring to pass whatever his vision was. The “Lord” told him to build a university and so Oral made it so (with the help of millions of donated dollars). Unlike other Christian colleges Oral Roberts University (ORU) and campus was going to be a paradise on earth of holy living college kids. From there the Lord directed Roberts to build a law school and later on most spectacular of all is when God announced that Oral was to build for Him a hospital!

“He said to me: ‘Son, you cannot put the vision I have given you into a place where My full healing power is not freely accepted. It must be in a place defeated by lack of faith in My miraculous power. You must build a new and different medical center for Me. The healing steams of prayer and medicine must merge through what I will have you build…”There rising before me were the details of the buildings. Immediately I was led to read the two chapters in the Bible, Revelation 21,22. There I saw the City of God, the New Jerusalem, with its River of Life and its broad avenues. ….”I saw the City of god as a reflection of God himself bringing healing and health to those who entered there. Suddenly God gave me a new name for the Health Care and Research Center I am to build in His name. “You shall call it the City of Faith.’ I thought my heart would burst with joy. The City of Faith. What a name! I knew God could give a name like that to the Health Care and Research Center He wanted to build.” (p.333) By late 1984 Oral’s City of Faith projected figure of 777 operational beds seemed a remote goal (p.391). “In a dramatic announcement in July 1984, he reported that Jesus had once again visited him and an ‘angel of the Lord’ had been placed at his disposal. Oral ‘dispatched’ the angel to bring the ‘poor, needy and the sick’ to the City of Faith, opening the hospital to indigent patients. In the fall of 1984, the occupancy rate at the hospital seemed to be rising” (p.391). [The rise in the rate of occupancy at the City of Faith was only temporary.]

Before taking one step further does it strike anyone as strange that The Ancient of Days would first give a man a divine capacity to heal the sick and then after praying for a few million folks tell the man that now He wants him to build a hospital for Him? Isn’t it easier and cheaper to have Oral continue to heal folks as opposed to them having to go to a doctor, spend serious money and time getting medically treated? With Oral, no matter what your problem is, blammo a healing hand on you and *PRESTO* away goes your problem, easy-peasy and all for the cost of a donation in to the KFC bucket!!

The fact that Roberts could raise the millions to build the “City of Faith” is testimony to the man’s shear charisma (and I ain’t speaking of the Holy Spirit here) and ability to talk people out of their money.

Most people know the story of how God appeared to Oral in the form of a 900 foot Jesus. This apparition told Oral to build the City of Faith and He, God, would reveal to Oral the medical cure for cancer. “In the letter, Roberts told his partners, ‘I felt an overwhelming holy presence all around me. When I opened my eyes, there He stood…some 900 feet tall, looking at me; His eyes…Oh! His eyes! He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600 foot tall City of Faith.’ Well that appeal letter tugged at the heart and purse strings of the devoted and the City of Faith Hospital and Doctor’s College came into being.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain — In 1989, only eight years after it opened, the City of Faith was $25 million in debt and Roberts closed the hospital (the last patient left on 16 October). No medical cure for cancer and now no school. Did Oral Roberts ever admit that he was wrong? NO. Did anyone charismatic leader call Oral to account for his statements and actions? NO. The City of faith is bankrupt today and the Law School is also closed, along with the medical school. The undergraduate and graduate school of ORU are still limping along but the university has been undergoing severe financial problems over the last several years. Without Oral to pull in the serious money the school will eventually close.

Oral’s Legacy

What can be said about his legacy? Sadly, I cannot find too many good things to say regarding Mr. Robert’s SINistry. He popularized the false concept of “seed-faith.” An entire edition could be devoted to this CONcept which due to Roberts, has inundated almost every corner of the Church. It is the false teaching of giving to get which Roberts tries to valiantly defend in several of his books.

Remember the “Holy Laughter” revival brought to us by Rodney Howard Brown, the Holy Ghost bartender? Due to Richard and Oral bring Rodney from a low wattage church to Tulsa from there this latest non-charismatic gift went global. From Tulsa RHB took off and the rest is Pentecostal history, again due much in part to Roberts.

Lastly, Oral is known by many as this generation’s pioneer of so-called televised “healing evangelism.” Even though the bible denotes no such ministry Pentecostals have created a specific breed of evangelist, the healing type. Again, the problem here is that he cannot demonstrate, nor are multitudes lining up to verify they have received healing via Mr. Roberts. Because of his television success Roberts breed another generation of hucksters to follow in his wake. We can thank Oral Roberts for helping promote the SINistries of people like Kenneth (Oral’s former pilot) & Gloria Copeland, Fred Price, Carleton Pierson (now a universalist heretic) and many others.

So he has a legacy of twisting the Scriptures and thus biblically deceiving multitudes especially in the area of financial prosperity and physical healing. He has a legacy of empty buildings in Tulsa, all of which scream out in derision “another religious flake” to the Church’s shame. Oral leaves a legacy of helping to spread a mass delusion flowing under the guise of holy laughter and spiritual drunkenness which has globally infected multitudes who’ve been led into deeper delusions.

Did Roberts do any good? DMI would not say that some people probably did come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ at some of his meetings and possibly even via the television. God uses the foolishness of preaching (see 1 Cor. 1:21) to draw those who will believe. Without doubt God certainly uses preachers who from time to time act foolishly; He certainly still uses me in spite of myself. Many students have graduated from ORU with a fairly good Bible-based undergraduate education. While the Medical & Law schools were functioning they both managed to matriculate some fine students. Dr. Wayne House earned his Law degree at ORU’s Law School; he reported having very fine teachers.

While the above works are certainly laudable they do not exculpate Roberts regarding the spiritual damage that he is responsible for. What can be done? To begin with his son, Richard, could pull all of the books, tapes, videos and dvd’s by his father on divine healing, financial prosperity, seed-faith, etc. and apologize to the Body of Christ for his father’s error’s. Obviously, this will never happen in our lives.

What you and I can do is not allow our Pentecostal and sign-gift friends and family to believe that Mr. Roberts was a great healer and prophet to his generation when the facts prove he was anything but those things.  ♦

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

END NOTES

1. Obtained from http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2009/December/Oral-Roberts-Hospitialized-After-Fall/ underlining added for emphasis.

2. Schneider, Keith (December 15,2009). “Oral Roberts, Fiery Preacher, Dies at 91”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/us/16roberts.html

3. Obtained from http://www.osborn.org/site/sections/12   on 01-08-10. Bold type added for emphasis.

4. Anderson, A., An Introduction to Pentecostalism (Cambridge University Press, 2004) p. 58

5. Obtained from At Totten’s Ford, Believers News, April 1998 this is a PDF article.

6. Head-On Collision Kills 1, Injures 6, Friona Stare, December 1965

7. Obtained from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2w009/dec/15/oral-roberts-obituary on 01-08-10.

8. Obtained from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/P2-3816636.html on 01-08-10

9. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books, 1987, p. 193, underlining added.

10. Obtained from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Tulsa-3039/Oral-Roberts-University.htm on 01-08-10

11. Obtained from http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleid=20080326_222_67873 on -1-08-10

12. Just because the Law and Medical School went defunct is not to imply that the teachers or professors were substandard. The faculty from all I have learned were (and are) fine, godly men and women.

13. http://en.wkipedia.org/wiki/CityPlex_Towers





Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 2 of 3

22 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 11 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 2 of 3 – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 2 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The “Ministry” of the Catchers

This phenomena has caused the need to develop a “new” ministry within the church, that of the Catcher. No matter where you go, whether it is to a revival service at Toronto, Pensacola or a Vineyard Fellowship you will encounter the ministry of the Catchers. This is an actual “ministry” within charismatic fellowships and people are trained in how to fulfill this duty (it is often done by the ushers within a local assembly).

A catcher is a man who stands behind those receiving prayer. Their job is to “catch” the people who are being slain in the spirit. The catchers job is to make sure the person being “blessed” does no harm to themselves or those around them. Charismatic congregations even have written guidelines for catchers:

Tips For Catching People:

1. Do not touch the person being prayed for, but reassure them that there is someone behind them.

2. You don’t have to take a hold of their shoulders as if you are going to help God.

3. As the person moves down, move back and then facilitate their move.

4. Men- be careful when touching women.

5. Get them to fall back, not forward.

6. Catchers – ONLY catch, do not pray. Do not wave your hands only stand and be ready to catch.

7. Please do not push or pull anyone over. God does not need any help and it will ultimately backfire.

8. Do not hold anyone up by grabbing their shoulders or upper back.

Let me begin by asking a rhetorical question. If the power of God is knocking people down and placing them in an altered state of consciousness for the purpose of spiritually blessing them, then why do these churches employ the use of catchers?

The answer is quite simple —- if people are falling flat on their backs from an upright position they are very liable to hurt themselves or others.

We previously read that extremists explain this manifestation as being the result of encountering the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. If this is so, He is not mighty enough to see to it that those He sovereignty knocks down are unhurt by His blessing?

These churches employ catchers because: (1) they know people fake being slain many times. (2) They lack faith in their own stated beliefs. Obviously God is not big enough to safeguard His people.

In our former church along with the male catchers we had sisters who came along beside or behind the catchers with large sheets of material. Their ministry was to place these sheets over the women’s legs and bodies. Why? Because many times when women would be slain in the spirit they would fall in very immodest positions.

We had events where when some unfortunate women fell their dresses would be hiked up their bodies quite a bit, and their legs would be splayed out at inappropriate angles. When the Lord choose to embarrass His daughters in this manner we had to be there to quickly cover up their shame. Does this really sound like something the Lord God would do to His daughters?

Not only can being slain in the spirit prove to be embarrassing to a woman, it can prove deadly as well. Mrs. Ella Peppard died as a result of someone falling on her who had been slain in the spirit.

The ushers quickly pulled her off the stage and sat her in a pew where she cried out in pain for 20 minutes….The woman’s family alleged the ushers refused to call an ambulance because an ambulance would not look good at a miracle service. A lawsuit was settled out of court. Hinn says he never knew the woman was injured or he would have sought medical help.

According to charismatic theology the Holy Spirit will place women in morally embarrassing positions, and at times allow some people to be hurt and/or killed.

I know from past experience (I used to be a catcher) that when there was no one standing behind a saint receiving prayer nine times out of ten they would not fall down. This alone is proof to me that what is taking place is not a sovereign move of the power of God. There is a power involved at times but it is not of God.

3

The Historical Roots of the Phenomenon

I began by citing Stanley Burgess’s definition in the first chapter and it is a good one except for one point – he says it is a relatively “modern” expression. His statement is not correct. People have been allegedly falling under the power in the United States since the early 1760’s. It was a common expression among the Shakers. There were groups before the Shakers in Europe, which had this same manifestation:

The Convolutionaries

The extreme exercises of the “convolution Aries” startled Belgium and France. The grave of a young Jansenist clergyman, Francois de Paris, in the cemetery of Saint-Medard in Paris, because the scene of reputed marvelous cures. Multitudes flocked thither for healing. Strange bodily agitations seized the devotees. They fell in shakings and convulsions, threw themselves about on the ground, screamed, and assumed unusual and often unseemly postures.

The Shaker’s

Later on in the mid seventeen hundreds in America the Shaker cult also had people falling under the power. Their bodily agitations or exercise were various and called by various names, as the falling exercise…The falling exercise was very common…The subject of this exercise would, generally with a piercing scream, fall like a log on the floor, earth, or mud, and appear as dead.

The Shakers were a cult group led by a woman named Ann Lee. Many of the manifestations which are common to charismatic extremism, were first practiced by the Shakers. Since the Shakers were a pagan cult the source of their manifestations could not have been the Holy Spirit.

The Shakers were very evangelistic in their zeal to propagate their false doctrines & practices. Shaker evangelists were involved with the Cane Ridge “Revival,” and brought their manifestations (which they called “signs”) with them and infected the meetings.

People Were “Slain” During the Cane Ridge Revival

It was during the Cane Ridge meetings that we see more examples of the manifestation of being slain in the spirit. The underlining is added for emphasis:

The scene to me was new and passing strange…Many, very many fell down, as men slain in battle, and continued for hours together in an apparently breathless and motionless state sometimes for a few moments reviving, and exhibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan, or piercing shriek, or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered…Then the woman who had first stated shouting let out a shrill of anguish. Methodist John McGee, seemingly entranced, made his way to comfort her. Someone (probably his Presbyterian brother) reminded him this was a Presbyterian church; the congregation would not condone emotionalism! Later John recalled, “I turned to go back and was near falling; the power of God was strong upon me. I turned again and, losing sight of the fear of man, I went through the house shouting and exhorting with all possible ecstasy and energy, and the floor was soon covered with the slain” people were falling in ecstasy.

This eyewitness of the Cane Ridge excess described the people falling in “ecstasy,” but is this necessarily a good thing? Pagan religion has long been given over to ecstatic forms of worship (see 1 Kings 18:28). The Oracle at Delphi breathed in the fumes which rose from the ground and in an ecstatic state uttered prophecies which directed the lives of many people.

ECSTASY The state of being in a trance, especially a mystic or prophetic trance. The derivation of our word “ecstasy” (from the Greek ek, out plus stasis, state) suggests an out of body state (2 Cor. 12:2,3) or the state of being out of control.

From what I have personally witnessed and experienced being slain in the spirit is a condition in which the individual’s normal rational mental state is suspended, and that person is for a period of time literally out of control. During the Shaker meetings and at Cane Ridge we find multitudes of people capitulating their volitional sensibilities over to an experience which was so great it physically overwhelmed them. However, it was also noted by the orthodox Reformed ministers at Cane Ridge, that a person simply getting slain was not a true indicator of spiritual regeneration, “They noted that some who “fell” had within six months gone back to the world.”

The Ministry of Charles Finney

After the Cane Ridge revival the experience of being slain in the spirit became common in many revival meetings. One evangelist in particular whose revival meetings were patterned after the emotional excesses of Cane Ridge was Charles Finney. In many of his meetings people were slain in the spirit:

Before the week was out I learned that some of them, when they would attempt to observe this season of prayer, would lose all of their strength and be unable to rise to their feet, or even stand upon their knees in their closets.

The congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction, and cried for mercy. If I had had a sword in each hand, I could not have cut them off their seats as fast as they fell

Finney was not particularly concerned with scriptural precedent, he was interested in getting result and fostered the belief that revival was not a sovereign move of God’s Spirit, but that revivals could be planned and worked up by the use of what he called new measures.

The Ministry of Maria Woodworth Etter

Being slain in the spirit was one of the ordinary signs in the ministry of Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924) the trance evangelist.

Yesterday during the afternoon meeting the Lord Jesus bowed the heaven and came down. Many went under the power. Two women and a girl were struck down unconscious, and lay on the floor…The second woman lay unconscious for about two and one-half hours, with both arms raised to heaven. When she was recovering she sang praises unto God in the spirit.”

Her ministry manifestations began in 1885, 21 years before the Azusa “revival.” She received a spiritual renewal at a Friends meeting in 1879. Here is a woman, who received some type of spiritual power from a Quaker meeting. Keep in mind that the Society of Friends, the Quakers, were originally a non-Christian group (although many people unknowingly lump them in with Christian groups).

Maria would go into trances, people came to her while she was in a trance state and allegedly got “saved.” She would lay hands on others and place them in a similar trance-state.

The Ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson

The practice of people being slain was not widespread in Pentecostal circles after Etter’s death. It became more commonplace through the ministry of another woman minister named Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). Sister Aimee was also a traveling evangelist and she too had people fall out under the power in her ministry—

One of these was a Sunday school teacher at the city’s largest Protestant church. After Aimee touched him, he dropped to the floor trembling and speaking in tongues. The next day, the wife of a leading citizen had a similar experience, and scores of people came to the altar for counseling. The day after that, “Three were slain under the power and through speaking in tongues,” Aimee said.

Aimee was very controversial to say the least. She is the Founder of the Foursquare Gospel denomination. She later died of a barbiturate overdose in 1944. To this day charismatic believers ignore the fact that she was a divorcee and most likely faked her own kidnapping in order to spend time in an adulterous liaison in 1926. Yet the power of God is supposed to have flowed mightily through during her life!

The Ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman

The next major figure whose ministry is responsible for making the practice of being slain in the spirit part-and-parcel of charismatic healing and miracles services was Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976).

Kathryn committed adultery with a married man, who left his wife and children to marry Kathryn. A few years later Kathryn divorced him and never remarried. She died of heart disease in 1976. I bring these distasteful facets up because it show some of the character of these mighty Pentecostal/Charismatic giants of the faith. I am not saying these people were not saved, nor that they did not sincerely repent of their sins. However, character does matter in ministry.

Apart from the well-documented healings, the most sensational phenomena associated with Kuhlman was “going under the power” (sometimes referred to as “slain in the Spirit”) as people fell when she prayed for them. This sometimes happened to dozens at a time and occasionally hundreds.

Her ministry was international in scope. Well received by many Pentecostal’s and the fledgling charismatic renewal movement of the 1960’s.

I have witnessed Mr. Kenneth Hagin have a long line of people hold hands and he lay hands on the head of the first person and then the entire line fall down. I have personally seen Benny Hinn whirl around and “throw” a wave of anointing in his meetings and multitudes have fallen, as if shot on several occasions. As recently as August 1, 1997 my wife and I were at the Toronto Airport Church and we witnessed multitudes being slain in the spirit as John and Carol Arnott laid hands on people.

The Phenomenon Is Universally Accepted By Charismatic Christians Today

This experience is almost universal to all charismatic’s. If you know any, ask them if they have ever been slain in the spirit and what it was like.

This practice and manifestation is accepted de facto due in large part to the following:

  • The long history behind it, i.e. God has always done this.
  • Their own subjective experience of it, they got “blessed.”
  • They have been taught that the Bible clearly teaches this is a legitimate experience of what takes place when God’s power comes on an individual.

Slain- Carol Arnott

As with holy laughter today’s revivalists strongest case is that of historical precedent. Yet when anyone takes an honest look at the history of this manifestation, they see a historical background of occultism (with the Shakers), aberrant mystics like Maria Woodworth-Etter, and ministers of dubious character such as Aimee McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman. The historical case is not sufficient, nor will it ever be, to overrule the plain teachings of the Bible.

From an exegetical view point the revivalist have even less support. None of the texts they cite as “proof” for this practice can be legitimately applied. All of the texts have to do with divine encounters which were extremely important to the plan of God either for Israel as a nation or for the Church. It is not enough to locate texts which denote someone falling and then interpret them to refer to being slain in the spirit. All of their comparisons are at best apples-to-apples. None of the writings of the Early Church Fathers indicate any such manifestation as part-and-parcel of normal Christian experience, in fact, they never mention it at all. One would think that these writers would have recorded some evidence of this manifestation in their writings if it was a genuine experience given by the Holy Spirit, especially one that alleges to bestow ministry calls, visions of the Lord, emotional and physical healing. Yet the historic record of the Church for almost 1,700 years is totally silent on this matter.

As I have already stated the history behind this practice is extremely questionable at best. The earliest references we have of it in America come from the Shakers, a non-Christian cult of necromancers. The familiar spirits (demons) told the Shakers at the same time in their various communes that they, the spirits, were leaving the Shakers and going to visit the “world’s people,” and would do so by various manifestations. This did occur and many Christian sects, unsound in doctrine were open to such forms of enthusiasms, and this deception continues to this day. The practice of being slain in the spirit is less than four hundred years old, and has had only marginal acceptance at best in the past. However, this has changed in our time.

Now with rapid growth of neo-Montanism with the Church this practice is now a common, sometimes weekly experience for literally millions of people professing the name of Jesus Christ.

The sheer numbers of people submitting to an experience does not validate it as biblical. Truth is not determined by consensus. Truth is revealed to us by the written Word of God. The Westminster Confession of Faith states what the Christian’s relationship to the Bible ought to be:

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:

God’s Word along is the standard by which we live. His Word contains all things necessary for salvation, faith and life. These things are expressly set down in the Bible, or “by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.” This deduction however is not accomplished by violating the principles of hermeneutics and wresting the texts from their context in order to attempt to make them fit one’s experience.

This is exactly what today’s revivalists have done regarding being slain in the spirit. This experience is not mentioned once contextually in the entire Bible. Every text the revivalists site as proof of their non-biblical practice has been taken from it context and misapplied.

The revivalists have failed both historically and biblically to make their case that this manifestation is the result of the Holy Spirit or the glory of God coming upon an individual to such a degree their physical bodies cannot withstand it. And thus fall to the ground in some form of a trance-like condition. With this in mind we must seek other explanations.

Learned Behavior

There is an undeniable element of learned behavior with this phenomena. A minister gets up and preaches, towards the end of the message he or she will begin to make allusions to what people may see or experience while being prayed for. Often some of the texts we have considered will be sited to validate what the congregation will see or personally experience. The catchers are called forward and then an alter call is given. The first people are lined up with catchers behind them. Hands are laid on the people and some of them begin to fall into the arms of the catchers. The other people are observing this behavior. When their turn comes, they too fall down.

This is the basic pattern of ministry I have personally observed for over fifteen years, it was the pattern I also used while in full-time charismatic ministry. Although not done consciously, I and other ministers, were setting the state by psychologically preparing the people in advance. On the part of the people, they wanted to get blessed, they wanted a stronger “anointing” or deeper walk with Christ. Seeing others fall, they too fell. Many times I knew as a minister that people were simply “faking it.” How? When people came up for prayer I would notice them quickly look behind them to make sure there was a catcher there to “catch” them when they fell. These fakers, came knowing in advance that they were going to fall, and they wanted assurance they would be caught. 

(TO BE COMPLETED NEXT MONTH!)

Copyright 2009 Robert S. Liichow

* Color-highlight and some bolding are not in the original book by Robert S. Liichow.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part I

18 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 9 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 1 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Sorry for the delay, but I am seeking to give back to our readers and supporters for their faithful support. So for the next few issues I will be reprinting some of our books in the newsletters, i.e. keep the next couple of newsletters and you will end up with one of our books to share or give to others! I am starting with some of the fundamental “doctrines” of modern neo-Montanism, aka the charismatic movement of today. This first installment deals with the dogma of being slain in the spirit. It is a phenomena common to virtually all sign-gift believers and thus this information is of vital importance in your reference libraries. Please share this information with your friends and family!

Introduction

This booklet will set forth the charismatic attempt to prove Biblically that the manifestation of being “slain in the spirit” is in fact Scriptural. However, it will become evident to the reader that what they have done is to twist the Scripture, wrest it from its context, in a vain attempt to validate the emergence of fleshly and demonic activity in their midst.

To those who have not ever been to a charismatic service the terminology may be unfamiliar so I will begin by defining the terms. Then we will examine their apologetic, the historical background of this manifestation, and consider what the Bible actually teaches regarding the issue at hand.

Chapter 1

Being “Slain in the spirit”  The Phenomena Defined

Being slain in the spirit denotes the phenomena that occurs when hands are laid on an individual and they swoon or fall to the ground in an altered state of consciousness. One can be slain without hands being physically applied, but that is more the exception than the rule. Generally people “fall out” due to direct ministry of another, either individually or in a group. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements defines the experience this way:

A relatively modern expression denoting a religious phenomenon in which an individual falls down; the cause of this is attributed to the Holy Spirit. The phenomenon is known within modern Pentecostalism and charismatic renewal under various names including “falling under the power,” “overcome by the Spirit,” and “resting in the Spirit.” Within the discipline of the sociology of religion “slain in the spirit” might fall under the general rubric of possession trance.”   (1)

As a former charismatic pastor and teacher I can personally testify that in the course of ministry my wife and I have laid hands on over 1,000 people for various reasons. Many times when praying for people’s physical healing we would lay hands on them and they would fall down on the ground for a period of time and then regain their senses, stand up and return to their seats.

I can further testify when many times when people fall it is due to a genuine power entering into them or at least affecting their body to the degree they cannot stand. I have fallen down many times and I was not “faking” it. I felt a power, a tingling, something akin to electricity flow into me and upon yielding to this power I would fall down.

How is this explained?  There are a variety of ways to explain this manifestation. We will examine these possible answers towards the end of this book. I believe it is only fair to allow our sign-gift brethren to give their explanation first.

Chapter 2

TACF’S Apologetic

The Toronto Airport Church Explanation

The Toronto Airport Church Fellowship (TACF) says this occurs when God’s presence comes on the human body. The body simply cannot stand the weight of God’s presence and thus fall.    (2)

Falls are commonly much less violent and may be backward (common) or forward (less common and in my observation more frequent in pastors and ministers). Falls may be associated with further violent movements, with head-banging, tremors, movements suggestive of epilepsy, but commonly with a total absence of movement. Subject may have no experience beyond a pleasant sense of calm, may experience visions, or may feel they are being crushed. One man told me he felt as though a massive weight was crushing the life out of him, making it impossible for him to breath…Many people may be affected simultaneously. When this is so, the precise timing suggest supernatural choreography rather than mass hysteria.    (3)

Toronto’s answer is that when a person is slain in the spirit it is simply a physical response to the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the individual. What does the Pensacola vortex of revival have to say about this matter?

There are several incidents in the Bible which demonstrate that the immediate presence of God is more than the human body can physically stand. One of the most significant examples is John 18:4-6, where we read of Jesus’ arrest. When Jesus identified Himself to the soldiers who were arresting Him, we’re told they “drew back and fell to the ground.” These troops (who were pagan unbelievers and only view Jesus as another criminal to arrest) were involuntarily smitten by His moment unleashing of His inherent power as God. Even these ungodly men could not physically stand up in the presence of His holiness and glory. (4)

Again, we read of the “fact” that the human body just cannot stand the presence of God and so human bodies fall down. Let me ask two questions:   (1). if this is true then why don’t those laying hands on people fall too? If God’s presence is manifest why doesn’t everybody fall? (2). In the account in John, Jesus, the completely unique One, did unveil His glory by stating “I am.” The sinners did fall down backwards (keep this fact in mind for later on). However, the account does not say the believers fell down, it is remarkably silent about anyone else being slain in the spirit.

The Toronto Blessing FAQ (5)

Revised April 1997

Scriptures quoted from King James Version unless otherwise stated

FALLING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – this is when we fall to the ground because we can no longer remain standing when the power of God is on us!!! Sometimes we remain on the ground from several minutes up to several hours, our body simply cannot move very much because our flesh is corrupt and cannot stand in God’s full presence!!

II CHRONICLES 5:11-14: And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place]: (for all the priests [that were] present were sanctified, [and] did not [then] wait by course: Also the Levites [which were] the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Herman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, [being] arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up [their] voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: that [then] the house was filled with a cloud, [even] the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.

MATTHEW 17:5-7: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

JOHN 18:5-6 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.

ACTS 9:3-4: And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?

 

A Biblical Examination of the Revivalists Argument

To begin with whenever you make comparisons for them to be honest correlations you must compare “apples to apples.” None of these texts resemble anything remotely close to what happens when believers are slain in the spirit today. My wife and I have observed less then 10 people fall under the power with no human intervention of some variety in 30 years of combined charismatic experience. When people get slain it is due to the direct ministry of another person, not a sovereign act of God.

Invariably, charismatic people fall down when hands are laid on them. There are no examples of people falling down when hands were laid on them in the Bible.

In 2 Chronicles 5:11 we read of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. In that dispensation God manifested His presence in a tangible manner to His covenant people Israel.

This case was no exception, God manifested His presence to demonstrate His approval of the Temple. After that initial service, His presence was confined to residing above the ark of the covenant.

Note also that the priests were outside of the temple when God’s glory filled it. There is nothing stated which indicates that the priest fell down at all.

Matthew 17 gives us the incident where Jesus took Peter, John and James up to the mountain top where He was transfigured before them. There is nothing in the text which indicates that God slayed them in the spirit. The text states “they fell on their face, sore afraid” it does not saythe presence of God was so strong they could not stand,” nor does it say, “the power of the Holy Spirit knocked them on their faces.” It says “They fell,” Peter, John, and James chose to fall.  Why?  They were afraid! It was a voluntary act on their part, not a sovereign act of God upon their bodies. Please note also, that at no time were they unaware of their surroundings, i.e. they did not loose consciousness, which is common with today’s manifestation.

Also, in Mark and Luke’s account we read of Peter seeing Moses, Elijah and Jesus and then Peter speaking with Jesus. These two accounts do not even mention them falling down at all. It does mention them being afraid, but no falling. It is textually impossible to validate what happens in charismatic services today from Matthews account.

The last text they use to shore up their doctrine is the account of Paul encountering the Lord on the road to Damascus. What is interesting in the Acts 9 account is that only Paul is slain, i.e. falls off of his horse. The men with Paul, were (1) speechless, (2) heard a voice, (3) saw no one, and (4) did not fall down. Another facet of this account is the fact that this extraordinary manifestation is Paul’s call into apostleship. This text cannot legitimately be used to prove the machinations taking place in charismatic circles. No one laid hands on Paul and caused him to be slain. According to the Biblical record this was not a regular occurrence in his life or ministry. Paul himself never testifies to laying hands on anyone and having them slain in the spirit, nor do any of the other writers of the New Testament, or Old Testament for that matter. Paul never lost consciousness, his faculties were very sharp, he was able to speak, he rationally answered the Lord.

On the following page John White uses the following two verses in his book When The Spirit Comes With Power to justify falling down under the Holy Spirit’s power:

Daniel 10:9-10 But the sound of his words came to my ears, and on hearing his voice I went into a deep sleep with my face to the earth. Then a hand gave me a touch, awaking me, and putting me on my knees and my hands.

Rev. 1:17 – And when I saw him, I went down on my face at his feet as one dead. And he put his right hand on me, saying, Have no fear; I am the first and the last and the Living one;

In the event in Daniel chapter 10, we encounter the writing prophet at the banks of the Tigris. He alone sees the angelic being who has come to deliver to Daniel a sweeping revelation concerning the prophetic economy of God. This Old Testament account is totally devoid of any comparison of what takes place in Pentecostalism. First, Daniel was a writing prophet and as such the Lord manifested His Word to those prophets in various ways (dreams, visions, divine appearances, etc). Secondly, Daniel’s experience was unexpected, whereas today people fully expect to be slain in the spirit. The purpose of the angelic appearance was to reveal a significant prophetic word to God’s prophet, Daniel’s falling down had nothing to do with the divine message, it was at best a tangential response on Daniel’s part.

Next, while Daniel was overcome the angel touched him and gave him strength. This is something we do not see in today’s services. I have seen multitudes fall, but none receiving supernatural strength. Note also that Daniel fell face forward, almost one hundred percent of charismatic’s who are slain fall backward, thus the reason for catchers (more on the ministry of catchers in a later chapter).

There simply is no legitimate manner in which this verse can be used to shore up a doctrine of being slain in the spirit.

The text in Revelation 1:17 also fails to meet the test when examined. John the beloved was an apostle of the Lamb. Fist of all, there are no more apostles today. Secondly, John saw the resurrected Lord which was the reason he fell. The purpose for the Lord Jesus appearing to John was to give him the final installment of the canon of Scripture. John was given a revelation of immense importance. Please note that John never lost consciousness and that he also fell face forward.

Comparison Chart

The falling of people in today’s services, especially in this latest revival has no relationship whatsoever to the few Biblical accounts they attempt to use to prove their beliefs. Every text they have tried to use is taken completely out of its context and these leaders are guilty of wresting the Scriptures in a vain attempt to validate their practices.

The leaders of the Holy Laughter movement prove nothing by the Scriptures they use except that they do not know how to properly interpret the Scriptures. They are attempting to compare apples-to-oranges and not apples-to-apples. The simple fact of the matter is that they have no biblical context to prove what is happening is in fact the manner in which God moves by His Spirit. Try as they might the best they can do is to twist the Scriptures in an attempt to make “a round peg fit into a square hole.” The Biblical accounts and what transpires today simply do not compare with one another.

Pastor John Arnott said the following during a revival meeting we attended at TACF (paraphrased) regarding people laying on the floor (after being slain in the spirit) who were screaming aloud:

1. The Holy Spirit could be expelling demons from the person, so we say “more Lord.”

2. The Holy Spirit is bringing back past painful memories to heal them, and the person is screaming out in agony, so we say “more Lord.”

3. The Holy Spirit is blessing the individual so tremendously they are screaming out under His power, we don’t want to stop that do we?

4. The person is simply faking it to fit in.

5. The Holy Spirit is doing a prophetic work in the person’s life & we do not want to interfere with that do we? (6)

The only problem with John’s definitions was that he used absolutely no Scriptures to validate any of his five points. In fact he contradicted himself on the video when he said that upon asking people what was happening to them while on the floor the people responded “we don’t now, but we know the Lord was doing something.” If individuals who have been slain in the spirit did not know what was taking place how in the world does John Arnott?

The following apologetic for being slain in the spirit is taken from the following web page on August 25, 1997: http://www.revivaltimes.com/manifest.htm– they use the same proof texts as TACF and other extremists, this shows the paucity of their argument.

Falling

People are skeptical when they see a person falling on the floor. This is really not hard to understand, as so many have been pushed over. Hands were laid so hard on them, that they either had to walk back or fall over. Others have come to think that unless you fall down, you have not received. This is not true. The Holy Spirit can minister to you anywhere, and in any way He pleases. I purposely lay my hand very lightly on peoples heads. If they fall, they will know that I did not push them over. It had to be the Holy Spirit or themselves.

Why do people fall?

Well, evidently they found it was impossible to stand up any longer. They just felt their knees become weak and fell down. Sometimes the glory of God is so great that we are overwhelmed and consequently fall prostate before the Lord.

Is Falling in the Spirit scriptural?

There is no direct reference to what we have termed being slain in the Spirit; However, there are references in the Bible of people who could not stand for the glory of God

1 King 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Another indication of falling in the Spirit is when Saul of Tarsus had the encounter with God on the road to Damascus. When the light shone on him, he fell to the ground and lay there until God had finished talking to him.

Acts 9:3-4 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?

The author gets an “A” for honesty, he admitted there are no direct references to the man-made doctrine of being slain in the spirit. What is puzzling is that he (and multitudes) of others are willing to submit themselves to highly questionable practices which have no Scriptural basis and attribute them to God. They have no Scriptural method by which to judge the origin of their experience, and assume it must be the Holy Spirit.  On what basis?  Because it happens in a church service? Because a minister lays their hands on them? Because they have seen others do it? Or because they have been told this is of God by leaders? These are not the criteria by which we judge our spiritual lives and practice. We are to look to the Word of God alone as the first and final court of appeal.

Revival Glory’s Explanation of the Experience (7)

In revival people often fall on the floor. Termed “slain in the Spirit” by some, and “falling under the power” or resting in the Lord” by others, one does not have to look long to see that something is happening inside those “horizontal before the Lord.” Such was the response of people like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28; 3:23), Daniel (Daniel 10:9), and John (Revelation 1:17). After the ark was brought into Solomon’s temple, “the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filed the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:14), perhaps indicating that these priests had “fallen under the power” of God. The Holy Spirit seems to do a wide variety of things in a person’s life during this time: a renewed understanding of God’s holiness, an inward healing of emotions, anointing for ministry, a giving of direction for life, a refreshing of God’s love, and in limited cases, the giving of a vision from God. [Bold type and underlining added for emphasis].

Revival Glory’s definition adds that the Holy Spirit seems to do a wide variety of spiritual works in the slain person’s life. Six things are cited, but not one verse is given to substantiate these claims. Five of the works attributed to being slain in the spirit are found within the context of scripture apart from any paranormal experience. All six, minus the vision from God, come to any believer through a reverent study of God’s Word, no more no less! To the extremist simple Bible study is not as “sexy” as having a power encounter or becoming the center of attention by laying front of the congregation in some form of enthusiasm and/or alleged spiritual rapture.

A person “overcome” by something, but it is not the Holy Spirit!

Rev. Liichow’s book  will be continued in the next issue.

Copyright © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

* (color highlight, some bolding and underlining are added for emphasis, and do not appear in the original book by Robert S. Liichow)

 





The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man

12 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – Sept 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 9 – The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

I once heard a preacher say that “It doesn’t matter what you are right about, if you are wrong abut Jesus.” This is a true statement. One can be orthodox in every sense, yet if he or she is wrong about the person of Jesus Christ, then all of their otherwise orthodox views are tainted and unacceptable.

I have been calling the Word of Faith (WOF) movement a cult for many years now and still DMI receives questions regarding whether or not it is really a cult or possibly just a “sect” within the Christian Church. In some ways this can be a difficult issue to answer because on the surface many of the people currently enmeshed within the WOF are sincere Christians, yet if we consider the actual teachings of the WOF leaders then we must conclude they are in fact a non-biblical cult. To help shed some light on why the WOF is a cult I am going to be presenting some articles proving why they have placed themselves outside of the Christian Church by their false doctrines.

There are area of doctrine which are not central to what the Church has confessed as the “holy, catholic and apostolic faith” from the beginning of Christianity. Areas that as Christians we can agree to disagree. Such areas might include how often one receives Holy Communion, the wearing of liturgical garments by the pastor, worshipping on Saturday or Sunday or perhaps even the mode of water baptism. Such things are called “adiaphora” by Lutherans, meaning things that do not matter especially regarding salvation. Other doctrinal issues cannot be given up to discussion such as the Person and work of Jesus Christ. This is where the WOF departs from Christianity and embraces heretical teachings, so much so that anyone who believes their (WOF) doctrines has placed themselves outside of the One True Church (una sancta.)

Jesus Ministered As Only A Man Never As God

One of the central fallacies taught by the WOF cult is that our Lord Jesus Christ stripped Himself of every vestige of divinity and ministered while on earth only as a man. The fact that Jesus was born a sinless man really does not figure into their mythology. They would certainly acknowledge it as a fact, but it does not matter when it comes to WOF Christology. Being virgin born and inherently sinless has no effect on how Jesus ministered [keep this fact in mind as you read on].

The WOF dogma goes like this: Jesus did not until He was baptized with the Holy Spirit in the river Jordan  (see Matt 3:16).  Only after He was endued with power from on high did He begin His miraculous ministry, starting with the changing of water into wine (see Jh. 2:11).

The following are two statements from the late Kenneth Hagin regarding this novel concept.

Of course, Jesus stands in a class by Himself, personally, and as Deity. But when it comes to ministry, Jesus does not stand in a class by Himself…Even though Jesus was the Son of God, and divine blood flowed through His veins, yet He was ministering on earth as a human being—a prophet anointed with the Holy Spirit.  (1)

Jesus id not minister with His divine attributes while He was on earth. He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. ….The Bible says that Jesus voluntarily laid aside His power and glory as the Son of God (Phil 2:6-8) and ministered as a man filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit—the same way we are to minister.  (2)

Mr. Hagin is not the only one who spouted such nonsense, all of his clones, like leaven spreading throughout a loaf of bread, parrot his false teachings.

He hadn’t come to earth as God, He’d come as man. He’d set aside His divine power. (3)

Citing Philippians 2:5-7, he states that the incarnate Christ “had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit.

The heir to Mr. Hagin’s empire of error is Kenneth Copeland. He has taken Hagin’s errors and globally spread through his multi-faceted SINistry.

[Most Christians] mistakenly believe that Jesus was able to work wonders, to perform miracles, and to live above sin because He had divine power that we don’t have. Thus, they’ve never really aspired to live like He lives. They don’t realize that when Jesus came to earth, He voluntarily gave up that advantage, living His life here not as God, but as a man. He had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit as recorded in Luke 3:22, He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. (4)

I’ve come to realize that none of the WOF cult leaders, i.e. Hagin(s), Copeland(s), Price, Dollar, Meyer, Duplantis, Capps, Hickey, Tilton, Hinn, Savelle, et all have an original thought in their heads.

Here is what Charles Capps has to say about the Person of Christ:

Now if there was any doubt about WHO has greater authority here, that should settle it! “Jesus was operating as a man, anointed with the Holy Ghost.”  (5)

All of these heretics stress that Jesus never operated as God only as a Spirit-filled man. According to their mythology, only human beings with physical bodies have nay authority in this earth realm. Adam was given authority over the planet, he committed “high treason” (in WOF terms) when he sinned and Satan took Adam’s authority when Adam’s nature became satanic. According to the WOF cult this is why demons must have people to operate through, they cannot operate apart from human bodies in the earth.

Allow Mr. Capps own words to “demote” Jesus Christ from God to man:

Jesus Christ was a man anointing with the Holy Spirit. Someone said, ‘I don’t understand why Jesus had to be born on earth. Why didn’t God just come down here, and destroy the devil? He couldn’t do that. It was illegal, because God had given dominion of the earth to man, Jesus must come in the form of a man, with the body of a man, with the feelings and ability of a man. He must approach the devil as a man. This makes it perfectly legal for Jesus to destroy the works of the devil. (6)

There is a significant problem that the WOF cult cannot explain regarding the fall of mankind. WOF teaches that through Adam’s sin spiritual and physical death passed to all mankind, so far so good. Since Adam’s “high treason” all humanity became spiritually dead and owned by Satan who had now become the “god” of this world (see 2 Cor. 4:4). God was on the outside looking in so to speak. He had lost any legal right to intervene in human affairs because man no longer belonged to Him and God had no human bodies to operate through or with. God eventually finds Abraham through whom He makes a covenant which allows God egress back into the world He created!

The significant problem with such drivel is where did God find someone who was not spiritually dead and enslaved to Satan to work with? Abraham was as dead as anyone else; he too belonged to Satan (according to WOF mythology). So how can a spiritually dead man make a decision to serve the living God? He can’t! This flaw is never addressed by any of the WOF teachers.

Leaving my question aside, they posit that because of Abraham’s obedience in offering Isaac up as a sacrifice (see Gen 22:2) God was legally able to bring His Son into the earth, born of a woman — thus having legal authority to operate on the earth. So Mary provided the physical body for Jesus and the Holy Spirit provided the anointing or spiritual power to do all that Jesus did in His ministry. But keep in mind that Jesus never operated as God the Son, only as the Son of God! “If Jesus healed the sick because of His divine power, then WHY did God anoint Him?” (7) Capps (and all WOF heretics) demote Jesus and EXALT man—

Yes—Jesus was the Son of God. Yes—He was deity in this earth. But He did not operate in divine power. He performed miracles by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. THAT SAME HOLY GHOST IS AVAILABLE TO YOU AND ME—TODAY!   (8)

When you accept this as truth then it is a very short jump (which all these false teachers make) to point out that we as born-again Spirit-filled people are to be doing exactly what Jesus did. After all, didn’t Jesus say “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (Jh. 14:12). Since Jesus ministered only as a Spirit-filled man then we as Spirit-filled men ought to do the same works!

These liars take this one verse and jump off with it promulgating a wide variety of false doctrines. The whole falsity of Christians being “little gods” comes from this error. Blasphemous teachings regarding the atoning death of Christ also flow from this polluted spout. Erroneous beliefs regarding the anointing and errant views of the Holy Spirit are also fruit of this poisonous tree.

If we ever wake up and realize who we are, we’ll start doing the work we’re supposed to do. Because the church hasn’t realized that they are Christ. That’s who they are. They are Christ. (9)  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.   (10)

It is easy to see how Jesus is demoted and man is exalted in WOF theology. We are not like Jesus, we are not equal to Him. His incarnation was totally miraculous; in His birth He was and is totally sinless. He is totally sinless. He was and is God and has never ceased to be God. He ministered as 100% God and 100% perfect man. You and I will never be “God” in any sense of the word other than being adopted into His family and united to Him in Christ Jesus…Our only claim to fame, well is that we don’t have any claim to make apart from being miserable sinners in need of the Savior.

If the WOF concept is correct then why hasn’t anyone done exactly or even come approximately close to doing the works that Jesus did? Surely Peter, James and John —men who were personally taught and who received the Holy Spirit, the breath of God if you will from the lips of Christ Himself (see Jh. 20:22), who heard Jesus say “greater works” and yet we have no record of them doing the astounding works of Christ in anywhere near the same measure as Jesus. What about the Apostle Paul who wrote almost two thirds of the New Testament. Certainly he was used by God to work signs and wonders (see 2 Cor. 12:12) but nowhere is it recorded that he did “greater works” in his ministry.

WOF would have people believe that Jesus was just ministering as an anointed prophet and that we too are to minister in the same manner. Well, if so, show us someone who either has or is doing so. Is Benny Hinn doing the works of Jesus? The answer is a solid NO! Has Copeland raised even one person from the dead? No. Has Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Charles Capps ever had multitudes in their meetings healed? Not one of them ever as had such success.

If these liars are as much as incarnation of Christ as Jesus was, then how do they explain the blatant sin in their own ranks? Jim Bakker, an adulterer, Robert Tilton a proven liar, swindler and adulterer. The “prophet” Paul Cain, an admitted homosexual and alcoholic. How about “healing” evangelist Leroy Jenkins, a convicted arsonist and drug abuser. Benny Hinn, a proven liar, false prophet, fake healer and dispenser of false hope and the list goes on and on If anything the people promoting this false doctrine of exalted man and demoted Christ are more egregious sinners than other partly because they refuse to acknowledge their inherent sinfulness.

Brothers and sisters I call the WOF movement a “cult” because they are one. At best they have to be considered a biblically-based cult and ranked in the same category as The Way International (11), The Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Mormons, The Moonies, The Children of God and all other groups that claim to believe the Bible and have some concept of Jesus Christ as some sort of Savior.

The next article of the newsletter is a copy of the Athanasian Creed which is one of the most concise expression of our orthodox Christian faith regarding the Trinity of the Godhead. Read it out loud slowly to yourself and then ask yourself does the WOF cult agree with the creed’s statements regarding the Person of Christ or do they confuse His essence and substance? I will give you a hint, they fail to pass the “smell” test when it comes to this creedal statement of faith and in doing so place themselves outside of the true Church.

I close by restating that there are many genuine Christians who are members of WOF congregations, people who do love Jesus but are ignorant doctrinally and have little to no true biblical discernment. I urge that we pray for those who wallow in doctrinal darkness and ask our gracious Lord to open their eyes and free them from spiritual bondage. I also ask that we pray for the leaders of this persuasive and beguiling cult that they will be brought to repentance and publicly renounce their errors even as I, by the grace of God, have done. ♦

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Hagin, Kenneth Hear and Be Healed. Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1987, p. 8

2. Hagin, Kenneth, Jr. God’s Irresistible Word, Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1989, p.36 Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Kenneth Copeland, “Question & Answer,” Believer’s Voice of Victory, August 1988, 8

4. On Jesus’ self-witness, see Robert L. Raymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah (Phillipburg, NJ; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1990), 44-126

5. Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (August 8,1988) p. 8

6. Capps, Charles, Authority in Three Worlds. Tulsa, Ok. Harrison House, 1980 p. 111.

7. Ibid. p.85

8. ibid. p.89 Bolding and underlining added for emphasis

9. Ibid. p.98. Underlining added for emphasis

10. Hagin, Kenneth, “As Christ Is, So Are We” (Tulsa: Rhema), a cassette tape #44H06. Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

11. Kenyon, E.W. The Father and His Family, Kenyon Publishing House 1968, p.100. Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

12. The Way International is a charismatic, i.e. sign-gift practicing group that says it believes the Bible, promotes speaking in other tongues, divine healing, etc…Yet they deny the deity of Christ, the Trinity of the Godhead, etc.





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

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

Discernment Ministries International

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

(Ok, but how?)

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seven Major Hebrew Words for Praise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise ( I Chronicles 16:4, 36)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saying Amen (1 Chronicles 16:36)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

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

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





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 Birth of God the Son – According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics

11 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2008 – Vol. 13 Issue 12 – The Birth of God the Son – According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Birth of God the Son

According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics

Ah Christmas where we lower wattage Christians (i.e. non “Spirit-filled”) lower our heads in humility while contemplating the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God the Son and Redeemer of the lost from sin, death and the grave.

Meanwhile, millions of other professing Christians see no mystery at all regarding the incarnation. Quite the opposite, the birth of Jesus was simply a result of enacting the spiritual law that control the spiritual realm. After all, the birth of Jesus was merely the end product of over a thousand years of positive confession.

The Word of Faith cult teaches that the prophets began to form Christ through their words over a thousand years ago. They spoke about where He would be born (Micah 5:1-2); that He would be the Son of God (Psl. 2:7, Pro. 30:4); He would be anointed with the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2, 61:1, Psl. 45:7-8); He would serve as a Prophet (Deut. 18:15,18), a Priest (Psl. 110:4) and a King (Psl. 2:6). In fact, there are a little over 300 Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His earthly ministry. All of these “faith-filled” words culminated in God being allowed to manifest what they said in the form of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Let me go on to allow Mr. Charles Capps explain it for us in the following article:

The exact process by which God the Son became flesh is not spelled out for us in the scriptures in any great detail. The most familiar passage of text regarding the incarnation is cited below:

Luke 1:35-38

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee: and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord;

(KJV, bold type & underlining added for emphasis).

All that we know from the Bible is that the conception and birth of Jesus Christ were miraculous from start to finish. We know that Mary was a virgin at this time (read Isa. 7:14) and that the Person of the Holy Spirit was the divine “agent” in bringing this miraculous conception about.

After almost 2,000 years of theological silence on the actual mechanics on how this miracle occurred has been finally answered once and for all. Even though the Bible itself is silent, God, through His chosen vessel, Mr. Charles Capps, has chosen to reveal to the Church exactly how this miraculous event transpired. As we shall see, it really was not so miraculous at all!

It was an act of the God-kind of faith that caused the miraculous conception. It was the Word of God in her heart; then she went to Elisabeth’s house and told her, “He hath done great things.” (Luke 1:49). How did she know? Because the angel of the Lord had told her, and she receive that Word….She had conceived the Word of God in her spirit. Here is what the Spirit of God said to me about that situation: “Mary conceived the Word sent to her by the angel (God’s Word) and conceived it in the womb of her spirit, it manifested itself in her physical body. She received and conceived the Word of Go in her spirit.” (Authority, Charles Capps, Harrison House, 1984, pp. 76-80, bold & italicized type added)

All that took place was simply this: Mary used the “God-kind of faith” and through her use of this spiritual law, the law of faith, the miraculous conception took place. According to Faith teachers, there really was nothing so miraculous about the whole event. Mary merely put into action certain cosmic principles and received the desired results, in this case, God being born as a man.

Please do not skip over the importance of the claim Mr. Capps is setting forth in his statement. Note that it was the Holy Spirit Himself who revealed what happened to Mr. Charles. Capps even places His words in italics so the reader knows when God is addressing him. Immediately we all should clip out this statement and add it to the back of our Bibles. If God actually made these statements then they must be accepted as God-breathed by all the true Church. The Holy Spirit’s revelation can be broken down into 3 simple steps:

  • Mary conceived (or received) the Word brought to her by the angel.
  • She conceived the Word in the womb of her spirit;
  • 9 months later it manifested in her physical body.

As anyone can see, there is no big mystery as to how a virgin gave birth to God the Son….all that transpired was a simple application of the God-kind-of-faith or to state it another way—Mary used faith in the same way God uses it. Capps states “If she had said, ‘Forget it, it won’t work,’ God would have had to find another woman”  (pg. 82).  Mary was in control not God.

Never forget that the version of God the Faith movement presents is not the same God revealed in the Bible. God does not use or need “faith.” Only contingent beings need faith. God by definition knows everything, has all power and all wisdom to bring about whatsoever He has decreed. What does God need to believe in or for? Absolutely nothing! (See our books on page 12 to learn more about the Word of Faith Movement’s leaders). Capps continues to serve as a conduit for divine revelation:

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. If they will conceive My Word concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it will manifest itself in their spirits  (ibid. p. 83, italics added).

In this astounding statement we learn that “any believer can conceive My Word.” So we like Mary, need only to apply the steps divinely revealed to Mr. Capps (similar concepts have also been revealed to E.W. Kenyon, Ken Hagin, Copeland, Price, Cho, and others) and we too can have our own miraculous conceptions.

I must only wonder if what Capps says is true (remember to add this portion of text also to the back of your Bible, probably below the other portion, entitle it “First Capps”) then why isn’t it working in the lives of those who subscribe to such beliefs?

E.W. Kenyon died of a tumor. Buddy Harrison, the son-in-law of Ken Hagin and the Publisher of Charles’s book died of cancer in December of 1998. T.L. Osborn’s wife, Daisy, died of cancer. Capps own wife, Peggy, had cancer and received medical treatment for it. Betty Price, Fred Price’s wife also had cancer and was medically treated. Joyce Meyer admitted she had breast cancer and only received medical treatment because her family urged her to! How come Tammy-Faye Bakker Mesner didn’t conceive/receive her divine healing from the cancer that untimely killed her? Why on earth did Jan Crouch even get cancer in the first place? Why didn’t these people simply conceive the promises of divine health & healing in the “womb” of their spirits and receive the miraculous fruit of divine health in their bodies? (Consider buying our message “The Sick Healers”).

The answer is simple —- Mr. Capps received no such revelation from God. It is a false teaching which does not produce the results Capps and others promise. Their doctrine does not even work in their own lives. What is miraculous is that so many people willingly follow these cunningly devised fables and doctrines of demons. Please pray for Mr. Capps and those who follow him.

 





“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

 





Flying High on the Widow’s Mite

10 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 1 – Flying High on the Widow’s Mite – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Flying High on the Widow’s Mite

By Robert S. Liichow

With Senator Grassley looking into a mere six SINisters and their money making machine, I thought it would be good to take a brief look at who is flying high on the donors dime (maybe Senator Grassley can expand the scope of his investigation).

“Dr.” Jesse the “Raging Cajun” Duplantis: A Cessna Citation 500 a mere $1.25 million. It burns approximately 1,700+pounds of fuel per hour (jet fuel costs more than gasoline).

Jerry Savelle: Another Copeland “clone” also fly’s a Cessna Citation 500 {they are the poorer relatives in the WOF cult-club}.

Mark Bishop: A wannabe player with the big boys is also at the starter private jet level of the Cessna Citation 500.

Joyce Meyer: Bombardier Challenger 604 a whopping $4.5 million. The Chalenger burns 1,192 pounds of fuel per hour and it takes 18,144 pounds of jet fuel to fill its tank. Obtained from www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/Challenger604/specs.html

Benny the “Healer” Hinn: Not to be outdone by anyone, Hinn fly’s very high in his Grumann Gulfstream II at the stratospheric cost of $4.5 million. It holds 28,300 pounds of jet fuel and can seat 12 “yes” men or shills. It costs $1,939.28 per hour to operate (not including the cost of the 2 pilots). Information obtained from www.jetsales.com/comp/planes/Irgjetcost.html

“Dr.” Fred Price: He also flys a Gulfstream II (drives a Rolls Royce when on the ground).

Paul & Jan Crouch: TBN has been good to these two hicks — they fly a Bombardier Challenger 604 at the heavenly cost of $16.5 million! 19 toadies can hitch a ride to Maui with Paul and Jan in supersonic style.

“SkyKing” Kenny Copeland: He started off as a co-pilot with the Oral Roberts Evangelical Ministry years ago and now owns several planes. But his daily ride is a Citation X which runs a modest $10 million. When you add Gloria’s Citation X that brings the total to $20 million! Here is a listing of the planes owned by Mr. Copeland and /or his SINistry:

1944 Boeing B75N1 “Stearman” Value: 70,000 to $140,000.

1953 North American T-28B “Trojan“, Value: $59,000 to $325,000.

1976 Beech E-55 “Baron”, Value: $144,000,

1947 Republic RC-3 “Seabee”, Value: One is listed online for $40,000.

1962 Beech H-18 “Twin Beech” * Value: $96,000.

1973 Cessna 421B “Golden Eagle” or “Executive Commuter” Value: $220,000

1975 Cessna 500 “Citation” Value: $850,000.

1998 Cessna 550 “Citation Bravo” Value: $3.4 million

2005 Cessna 750 “Citation X” Value: $17.5 million.

All make and model information is based on Federal Aviation Administration records. The church said that its Beech H-18 is a 1963 model. Sources: Cessna; www.aircraftbluebook.com; FAA: Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation; Doug Jeanes of Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison; Pete Lane, a retired University of North Texas faculty member; www.nasa.govere

Creflo “Cashflow” Dollar: A Gates Learjet (a small jet only seats 4 passengers) & a Gulfstream-3 which costs $37 million if purchased new.

The cost of owning a plane is only one of the costs involved. Other costs must be factored in, such as the cost of jet fuel, storing your jet in a hanger (unless you are Mr. Copeland who purchased a defunct airbase many years ago), paying the salary of one or two pilots depending on the size of your plane. These pilots have to be available 24/7 due to speaking schedules of their employers. Also airplanes must be maintained on a regular basis by highly skilled mechanics. Owning a private jet is an extremely expensive proposition. The question I have is simply this—do these people need to have their own jet(s)? Are they really being used to further the Gospel, or are they a means to “get out of Dodge” quick and to zip off to a country without an extradition treaty with the USA?

Sadly, all the people cited in this short article teach false doctrine and are misleading multitudes of people. What is equally sad is that those who follow their false teachings actually believe these SINisters have a right to fly anywhere on their dime!

Perhaps they don’t realize that they are paying over $1,000 per hour of flight time just so these charismatic superstars don’t have to associate with the hoi polloi sitting next to them on Delta.

To the best of my knowledge none of these people use their planes for philanthropic reasons. Their planes are used for their own personal needs. The only charismatic minister who purchased a plane for the right reasons was Lester Sumrall (deceased). He bought a Hercules jumbo cargo jet. He used his plane solely for the purpose of taking food and medicine to people in need around the world (Lester also never owned a car, he always drove a leased car) nor did he live in a “mansion.” His sons are running his ministry and continue to use the plane for world missions.

In light of the jets, mansions, luxury cars is it little wonder why Senator Grassley’s Senate Committee is taking a close look at some ways the money they receive as “non-profits” is being spent. It is a shame that the Church has not taken a stance against such opulence within Its own ranks and that God must use the government (sometimes newspapers, ask Jim Bakker) to clean house.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

The Gulfstream III is for those at the top of the heap





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?

 





A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood

2 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood Joel & Victoria Osteen – On Larry King Live 10-16-07 – By Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood

Joel & Victoria Osteen – On Larry King Live 10-16-07

By Rev. Bob Liichow

 Wednesday evening I received a phone call from some good friends (hi Doug & Sherry) telling me that Larry King had quoted me on his program in talking to Joel & Victoria Osteen. Your humble heresy-hunter got a “global” mention! Our friends sent me a video of the program which I watched with great interest.

Frankly, I was hoping that Joel would do a better job this time in exalting our Lord Jesus Christ but again I was sadly disappointed. In the entire interview Joel mentioned Jesus exactly twice. Her is one of the two times he does mention Jesus:

KING: How do you feel about Mitt Romney and being a Mormon? Would that affect whether you vote for him or not?

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what? I look at people, their character, their values, what they stand for. And I know only Mitt from watching him on your program and reading a couple of articles about him. And I don’t think that that would affect me. I’ve heard him say that he believes Jesus is his savior, just like I do. I’ve studied it deeply, and maybe people don’t agree with me, but I like to look at a person’s values and what they stand for. (1)

I almost fell out of my chair when Joel said that Romney believes that Jesus is his savior “just like I do.” Joel obviously does not even know the rudimentary facts concerning the Mormon cult. If he did then he would have known that Romney’s Jesus is really the spirit brother of Lucifer and that to the Mormons Jesus did not secure redemption for anyone per se. If Joel had some basic theological training he would probably know that Mormons consider themselves the only true Church. I am not sure what Joel is referring to when he says “I’ve studied it deeply” but it surely is not the beliefs of Mormonism.

This was the perfect time for Osteen to say something powerful to Larry about the biblical Jesus. He could have said “well Larry, the Mormon version of Jesus is not the biblical view. Mr. Romney and I do not believe in the same Jesus.” That would have no doubt piqued King’s interest and hopefully Joel could have then shared the biblical Jesus as Savior of sinners with Larry.

Osteen’s congregation has grown since I initially wrote about his first appearance on Larry King Live. At that time Lakewood Church was around 30,000 people in attendance, now it is close to 50,000 people each Sunday. The “sanctuary” holds 16,000 people and they hold 3 services on Sunday, including a fourth one in Spanish. One would imagine that with all those people coming out to listen to Joel preach that he would be continually striving to improve his biblical knowledge so he could adequately feed the souls of the hungry.

KING: Well, you’ve obviously affected a lot of people. The lack of formal biblical study, you did a brief stint at Oral Roberts University, right?

J. OSTEEN: Yes, sir.

KING: All right, a critic — this quote to — from Reverend Robert Liichow: “Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor. Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt that he should be called a surgeon?”

J. OSTEEN: Well, I would think two things, Larry. One, I spent — I grew up in a preacher’s home. I spent 17 years working with my father. The second thing is the disciples that Jesus chose — his main 12 — one was a fisherman, a tax collector. They didn’t have any formal training, as well. The bible says that God chooses people that, you know, are not the most educated or the smartest, to confound other people. So I don’t know, It’s interesting to me that…

KING: So you are not reverend?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I am reverend. I am reverend. You don’t have to necessarily be — go into seminary to be a reverend. But I am — I’m a reverend from our church. But, I am.

KING: OK. No crosses on display at your church.

J. OSTEEN: Yes….

KING: The only church that I know — the Mormons don’t display crosses. (2)

Joel looked like a deer in headlights when Larry mentioned my name to him, he honestly looked like he was going to cry (I think my comments about his lack of education really bothers Joel—Goood!).

It is true that Joel did attend O.R.U., but what he studied was communications and not theology. In my previous article I made the case that it is not enough to be “called” to serve as a pastor. One may be called to a vocation of a doctor or architect, but that person has to develop that calling by gaining the required knowledge to fulfill their vocation.

How does Joel respond to my challenge? He gives two reasons why he believes he does not need any theological education. First, he grew up in the household of a famous charismatic extremist, John Osteen. He spent 17 years working with his father behind the scenes. If Joel’s father had been an airplane pilot are we to assume that Joel would know how to fly a jet? I guess this is theological education b osmosis! What is sad is because Joel does not have any formal biblical education he does not even know that much of what his father taught was false doctrine and in places rank heresy. All of Joel’s life he listened to spiritual poison, I know what I am saying since I come from the same background as his father and was schooled in and later taught the same garbage that John Osteen taught. Unfortunately, the doctrines he did learn from being around his dadf are aberrant.

His next defense is the tired old excuse of pointing to Jesus’ disciples and using them as examples of men without formal training. I beg to differ most strenuously with this type of thinking. Let’s consider the facts: (1) the 12 were handpicked by Jesus. Jesus did not just “call” these 12, they left everything and followed Jesus. (2) These men received hands on training from God the Son in person. From sun-up till they went to sleep, seven days a week (no Christmas or Easter break back then) these men lived with Jesus and were taught by Him. There is no seminary education that can compare with what the original disciples learned firsthand.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.   Acts 4:13

The religious leaders scoffed at Peter and John because they were not from the priestly tribe but they did take not that they had been with Jesus who was accepted as a peripatetic rabbi, i.e. a rabbi who taught as He walked along life’s way. Joel is correct to say that when Jesus initially chose the 12 they did not have formal training but when He breathed the Holy Spirit upon them (see John 20:22) three and a half years later they had the best theological training ever given to mankind!

Lastly Joel tries to make a case for biblical ignorance by saying “hey God chooses us ignorant folk to confound the educated one!” {my paraphrase}. Actually what the Bible says is:

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 1 Cor. 1:26

Paul is telling the Corinthians to think of what they were when God called them. According to the world’s standards they were nothing, yet it is the glory of God to take “nothing” and make something wonderful out of it.

Instead, God has chosen from the world those who seem foolish, weak, and helpless so that he might put to shame the wise and powerful by showing how temporary and insignificant to salvation their achievements are. In his grace he has showered his mercy on them and made them strong and wise in Christ. (3)

In the words of one of Joel’s father’s good friends, Kenneth Copeland “that dog won’t hunt.” Joel’s excuses are just that excuses. Here is a man worth millions of dollars, who is well paid by his “church” and espouses a belief in continual improvement…yet personally refuses to gain any further training for his vocation, it boggles my mind! Joel could easily afford a private personal tutor to educate him in the basics of theology, hermeneutics, Church history, biblical Greek, etc…Yet for some reason he has not yet done so. I know Joel must have read the following text:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.   James 3:1

Doesn’t Joel realize that when he stands before 46,000 people in Houston and untold thousands more through television that his every word is being measured by a holy God? That one day he will have to give an account of what he has said (see Matt 12:36). How can Joel lead people into a biblical knowledge of Christ Jesus if he himself does not have such knowledge? The answer is — he cannot do so. When the blind lead the blind what happens? They all end up in the ditch of doctrinal ignorance and bondage (see Matt. 15:14).

In closing I repeat, I do not think that Joel is an “evil” person. I believe he is sincere, but like the Jews of old, his zeal is without knowledge (see Rom. 10:2) and the end result, as well intentioned as it might be, is not a good one. People must build their lives on solid biblical doctrine and not sand (see Matt. 7:24-27) in order to survive the storms of life which our enemy throws at us all.

I pray for him and I am sure he would make a fine neighbor {if I lived in a secured gated community of the ultra-wealthy as he & his family do}. Currently he is one of the most visible “preachers” in the world and he is in a position to do great good for the Kingdom of God. Possibly Satan has placed him in his exalted status in order to drag him down later and bring shame to the name of our Lord. Let us all pray for Joel that he will see the seriousness of being a pastor and that in seeing this, he will obtain a sound biblical base upon which to minister to God’s people.    Selah.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. CNN LARRY KING LIVE Interview with Joel and Victoria Osteen Aired – October 16,2007 – 21:00 CNN.com – Transcripts

2. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from the NIV Bible Commentary on the Zondervan Reference CD Rom. Underlining added.





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.





The Coming Great Awakening

23 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2007 -Vol. 12 Issue 8 – The Coming Great Awakening – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Coming Great Awakening

By Robert S. Liichow

“IT IS TRUE THAT AMERICA IS IN A DESPERATE SPIRITUAL CRISIS. BUT, I HAVE ASSURANCE THAT WE ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH GOD’S REVIVAL POWER.”

RODNEY H. BROWNE

In May 2007 I wrote about Steve Hill’s claim that the greatest outpouring of all times was about to occur…this revelation was based on nothing more than his own opinion. Now Charisma magazine is touting Rodney Howard Browne’s (RHB) assertion that America is on the verge of a third “Great Awakening.” Unlike Hill’s proclamation, Browne bases his belief on a “higher” authority, i.e. some comments President George Bush made at a luncheon back in September o 2006. President Bush said that he felt that America was on the brink of a third great awakening.

In my days as a former charismatic extremist we would often be told that spiritual experiences, be they prophetic words, dreams, visions or new revelations must be authenticated/established by at least two witnesses, preferably three. We got this concept from the following text:

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deut. 19:15

With Steve Hill’s declaration of the coming “greatest” revival and now Rodney Howard-Browne’s assertion of a third “great awakening” many charismatic sign-gift folks are beginning to salivate over the coming next great move of the Spirit. Using the charismatic paradigm I guess it is going to happen. Or is it? What if your witnesses are proven liars? What would two liars establish other than more lies? Why should anyone believe these two SINisters in particular especially in light of their forays into deception and well documented money-grubbing in the 1990’s?

Consider the Source

Rodney Howard-Browne aka “the Holy Ghost Bartender” is the individual who popularized the anti-biblical manifestation commonly known as holy laughter. RHB came to America from South Africa in 1989. He began as an itinerate preacher and as he was preaching about hell in Albany, New York in April, 1989 people began to spontaneously break out into uncontrollable laughter (some people cried as well). The harder RHB preached about eternal damnation the more people began to laugh. Without going any further one would think that if people responded with uproarious laughter at the topic of hell and damnation that surely Satan was at work and not the Holy Spirit.

Yet RHB was not as surprised as he would like us to believe. DMI has in its film archive a clip of Benny Hinn ministering in South Africa in the mid 1980’s People are laughing and Benny is seen & heard declaring “this is holy laughter, holy laughter.” RHB is not seen in the clip, but it is extremely likely that he was there because not long after his meetings in New York RHB took his show on the road down south to Florida, starting off with a meeting at Hinn’s former Orlando Christian Center in 1992. (1) From there RHB moved to Carl Straders “Carpenter’s House Church” in Lakeland, FL. And there RHB held “revival” meetings from 1993-94.

By RHB had incorporated his fledgling SINistry (after all the donations were on the rise) and a good thing too because at Lakeland RHB and his new “move” of the Spirit caught the eye and ear of Oral and Richard Roberts. They came to the meetings, received the “new wine” and prevailed upon RHB to come back to Tulsa with them. It was during the Tulsa meetings that Vineyard Pastor Randy Clarke who admitted he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Clarke got the “blessing” and took the highly portable and contagious delusion with him up to another Vineyard pastor friend’s church in Toronto. Once holy laughter broke out at the Toronto Vineyard church it morphed into what became known as the “Toronto Blessing” and the rest is charismatic extremist history.

RHB had initially claimed that he was a former associate pastor of a Rhema Church (aka Kenneth E. Hagin/Word of Faith cult congregation) in South Africa; this lie can be seen in his earlier book publications.

It is to be noted that Howard-Browne’s standard biography claims he once served as an associate pastor at Rhema. But according to Rhema church officials contacted, Howard-Browne was never an associate pastor-nor did he ever hold any pastoral credentials or responsibilities. Said Kelmeyer “Rodney was never an associate pastor here. He was an ordained minister by the state and a lecturer at our Bible school, but was not involved in any form of pastoral work.” (2)

When the truth came to light RHB became to change his rhetoric regarding his past “ministry” in South Africa. Today his statement is as follows:

In 1983 they pioneered a church in the Northeastern Cape and pastured there for two years. After that, Rodney taught classes in a leading Bible School for another two years. (3)

Like most leaders in the charismatic movement when challenged with an uncomfortable truth, he simply ignores all inquires and moves on.

At some point in the mid 1990’s Rodney began to refer to himself as “Dr.” Rodney Howard-Browne. This was also a complete fabrication. To begin with there is no evidence that Mr. Browne ever graduated from an undergraduate college, nor is there any proof that he earned a Master’s degree and then went on to speed two or three years earning his doctorate. The fact is that he obtained his degree from a diploma mill:

Howard-Browne also claimed a “doctorate of ministry degree” from an obscure San Jacinto, California correspondence institution called “The School of Bible Theology.” A state Department of Education employee contacted likened the tiny school, which bills itself as “The Seminary to the World” and has no faculty, to a “diploma mill. (4)

Why does this matter? It points to his willingness to deceive people by attempting to give himself a veneer of theological education and training which he simply does not have. Personally, I have always been amazed at how often people like the deceased Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and RHB have always discounted seminary educations (since they had/have none), yet, they all accept the title “Dr.” in front of their names and are always referred to as “Dr.” in conferences, books and televised programs. RHB wrote about knowing a man who was formerly “anointed” until he attended seminary, then, according to RHB, he graduated totally bereft of any “anointing” (SEE “The Apostles Are Coming”).

As a personal eyewitness I saw that Mr. Browne is in ministry to transfer as many dollars fro those in front of him as possible. In Toronto my wife and I personally witnessed RHB berate people who dared to get up and leave during his impassioned plea for money. He publicly ridiculed those who left the auditorium, it was a sad and pathetic scene. I bring this up because of the comments he made in the article on the “Coming Great Awakening.” I guess if I was in a court of law I would declare to the Judge that my remarks go to “character” (or lack there of).

Revival, Oh Really?

It goes beyond the scope of this small article to detail the history of revivalism in America but suffice it to say that Pentecostalism (and all its sign-gift offshoots) owes its very inception to the concept of spiritual revival beginning with the Azusa Street “revival” of 1906. From there Pentecostalism split apart and formed into several denominations. Approximately forty years later we encounter the Post WWII revival called “The New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR). The next eruption came in the form of Charismatic Renewal movement/revival where tongues, prophecy and other “signs and wonders” bled over into established mainstream denominations. The date given for this “revival” varies depending upon who you ask. Some say 1950, others 1960 in Van Nuys, CA and others look to 1967 an the formal start of the Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement at the University of Notre Dame then moving over to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where I encountered it via the Word of God Community.

Nothing “revival-like” occurred between 1967 and 1994 until Mr. Browne popularized the alleged “new wine” of the Holy Spirit in the form of so-called holy laughter. This lasted for approximately eight years in full force and now it has pretty much petered out, leaving the masses of sign-seekers anxious and hungry for the next spiritual “high”.

What is important to understand is that Pentecostal/charismatic believers are hardwired into the belief that God sends revivals to the Church. The overall purpose of these revivals is to impart spiritual power to hungry people in order to help hasten the return of Jesus Christ. They base their belief on the following text:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3: 19-21

RHB is a product of charismania and knows which hot buttons to push and one of the major ones is “revival.” Obviously the “Gospel-giggles” was not the be-all and end-all consummation of the ages, ergo God must have something else in store for the Church. Since He (in some peoples deluded minds) used RHB before, He will no doubt use him again (RHB is banking on his past revival record to draw the crowds). So now we have RHB touting the “coming great awakening.” What does he base this on? Apart from President’s Bush’s non-binding statement in his own words he says:

It’s also very much needed. Although we have hundreds of thousands of churches in America and thousands of Christian radio and TV stations, America’s moral fabric is being torn apart–not just in the streets but also in the pulpits. People no longer have the fear of God, prayer and the Bible have been removed from our schools; the Ten Commandments have been removed from our courthouses and abortion, divorce, sexual perversion, sexual abuse and same-sex marriages are rampant. (5)

RHB cites the standard litany of woes our culture is facing as proof that America needs “revival.” As bad as the lack of morality is in America it is far worse in other nations, especially in Europe, yet for some reason RHB does not say anything about the need for revival in those nations. For example in the Netherlands prostitution is legal, homosexuality is totally accepted, and people come from all over the world to legally get “high” in Amsterdam because soft drug use is accepted. (6) Not to mention euthanasia and abortion as being perfectly visible “choices.” One might add the state of the Christian Church throughout Europe is atrocious. Rodney also seems to have forgotten that as bad and as rampant as sin is the grace of God does even more abound (see Romans 5:20).

As Christians we are to combat the decay around us by simply being who we are in Christ, i.e. salt (see Matt. 5:13) and light of the world (see Matt 5:14). This does not come about by a supernatural outpouring of power in a 3 day meeting. Christianity that impacts society comes about through the faithful preaching of Law & Gospel from pulpits. Societal change comes when God’s people after being equipped in Church go into the world and LIVE the Word the have received by the grace of God. The Church does not need “revival” we need faithful pastors and obedient congregations – it is just that simple.

It is important to ask the question of whether or not the very concept of revival is a biblical one. The word is not used in the New Testament at all and only four times in the Old in the form of “revive.” Some people mistakenly point to Peter’s preaching and the three thousand men that were brought to faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:14) as “revival.” That was not revival at all! That was evangelism, those coming to Christ were not “revived” they were brought from spiritual death to newness of life in Christ Jesus. There is not one example of the Church being “revived” in the New Testament. In fact, the concept of “revival” does not even come into play in Church parlance until the mid 1700’s. For 1700 years the Church never considered such an event, it is very simply – an invention of man.

In the First Great Awakening what we saw were ministers, initially Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield (an associate of John Wesley) primarily preaching to Christians who had grown lax in the Christian walk. Upon hearing “law” being preached to them they became afraid and felt condemned, which is exactly what the preaching of “law” does, it shows us our failure in light of a perfectly holy and righteous God. However, preaching the “law” does not bring about repentance or salvation that comes through the proclaiming of God’s grace in Christ as evidence by the cross and His resurrection. The first great awakening devolved fairly rapidly into rampant emotionalism, pietistic experientialism (mainly due to Wesley, Whitfield, Samuel Davies and others) and ungodly enthusiasm. There were good things that also transpired during this time period as well. In the minds of many people who looked back at the Great Awakening, it seemed to them to be the pattern in which God “moved” to further His kingdom. So if there was a “first” awakening, then naturally there had to be a “second” awakening!

The Second Great Awakening which started around 1800 through the 1830’s was even more overrun by emotionalism, false doctrine and aberrant practices. The most recognizable name involved with the second awakening was Charles G. Finney, who was a total heretic and not a Christian. This second move of excess also helped give rise to Mormonism, Millerism (and later its offshoot the Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Seventh Day Adventism. The first awakening was primarily Calvinistic in theological tone, the second awakening was decidedly Arminian at best. The teachings of Finney have held sway on much of what is considered “evangelicalism” in America, I.e. decision theology, faith proceeded salvation, alter calls, etc…

The next “revival” was that of Azusa Street in 1906, which as I have written extensively about, was almost total chaos, occultism, excited ignorance and doctrinal error. Every other subsequent revival has spiraled down even farther into doctrinal darkness and bizarre practices (much of which can be laid at the feet of RHB for popularizing it and calling it the work of the Holy Spirit).

This meander through Church history brings us back to the present and Browne’s declaration of the next “great awakening.” He goes on to say in his article:

We don’t need more life coaches and success motivators, running the same circuits, with messages that all sound exactly the same. We don’t need more people who treat ministry as a moneymaking business, publishing books that have a form of godliness but no power in them, and producing albums with wishy-washy lyrics void of the anointing. (7)

Well I have to agree with Browne there, he is right we do not need any of the above. However, he is more than a little disingenuous when he makes his statement considering he is friends with Paula White (a life coach), Joyce Meyer (a success motivator) and of course Joel Osteen. He is guilty of treating ministry as a moneymaking venture. RHB has incorporated yet another non-profit corporation, this one is called “Revival Ministries International,” he has another organization called “River Bible Institute” his own non-accredited “Bible school, and he also has “The River Church,” where he is the senior pastor (how he can be a pastor and travel weekly is beyond me). He is currently going around America on what he is calling his “2007 Great Awakening Tour,” (8) and it is evident to me that RHB is not missing any chances to wrest a dollar from the unwary sign-seeker!

RHB tells us what to expect during this next great move of the Spirit:

The move of the Spirit in and through every believer, will result in signs and wonders taking place outside of the four walls of the church…God’s power will be demonstrated in all these places, resulting in mass conversions and whole regions begin shaken by the power of God!…The economy will be impacted; the educational system and the media will be transformed. (9)

Does he base any of his statements on the Bible? No, he does not cite any text to buttress his argument for this alleged “great awakening.” The reason why he does not is simple, he CANNOT. There is absolutely not a shred of scripture to back up any of his assertions.

The Biblical Witness of the “End Times”

I have returned to a very simple worldview, if someone is proclaiming anything that is not founded within the context of the Holy Scriptures, then I personally do not care what is said by that individual, period. Here is the biblical picture of what the “last days” (keep in mind these last days have been going on for 2,000 years):

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive , but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.   Matthew 24:4-25

Just consider how Jesus responds to His disciples asking Him about the consummation of the ages. Our Master begins by saying (1) watch out that NO ONE deceive you. Deceive us how? (2) By coming in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christ (or in charismatic extremist terms “I am Anointed” ) and WILL deceive many. Jesus goes on to say that in these very last of days that (3) MANY will turn away from the faith and hate each other. (4) MANY false prophets will appear and deceive MANY people. Due to all these things (5) the love of MOST will grow cold. He goes on to warn us that both false Christs and false prophets will appear and work GREAT SIGNS and MIRACLES to deceive even the elect if possible! He ends by saying “see, I have told you ahead of time.”

What is missing from Jesus’ comments? He is warning His followers to be on the alert and to watch out for the very real possibility of being deceived. He says just because people come using His name does not mean that He sent them and the undiscerning (many people) will be deceived by these frauds. Jesus does not say “oh there will be great revivals and nations will be swept into My kingdom.” On the contrary, He says that MANY will become apostate and defect from biblical Christianity. Bill Hamon wrote in the 1980’s that “God” showed him that God was releasing 10,000 prophets into the earth. (10) Bookstores are filled with books by self-proclaimed prophets and alleged “anointed” ones. Sounds like a fulfillment of “Many false prophets” deceiving MANY. He closes by warning that some of these false Christs and false prophets will work lying signs and wonders of such a compelling nature that if it were possible they could mislead even the elect of God! Compare the words of Jesus with those of RHB. RHB contradicts everything Jesus plainly said about the end times, now who will you believe?

What about the Holy Spirit’s warning through Paul to the Thessalonians?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul does not seem to be proclaiming revival or great awakening either in the last of days. He warns Timothy of the following:

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

But mark this — in the last days there will be great times of mass conversions, all of God’s people working signs and wonders so much so that the government and media will be transformed! No, we read exactly the opposite. I really have to wonder what translation of the Bible RHB and his followers are reading.

Near the end of his ministry the Apostle Peter warns his reads (and us) about what to be on guard against:

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

This has ever been true, but how much truer it seems in our day! False teachers proclaiming every brand of heresy are on television, holding conferences, traveling the globe (in their private jets). Literally millions of people gladly follow these liars. How many people have been exploited by the likes of Mary K. Baxter, Jesse Duplantis, Cho Thomas and others regarding their alleged trips to heaven and hell? Countless others build their SINistries on personal encounters with Jesus (Kenneth E. Hagin) or meeting with angels (Roland Buck, Cindy Jacobs, etc.). Why doesn’t Peter tell us of the coming great wave of power and glory? Why is he so negative? I don’t see any of these statements as either positive or negative, they are simply statements of truth that we would do well to listen to. There are many other verses I could cite that deal with the dangers from false apostles and false brethren, but I think I have cited enough to demonstrate that what Mr. Browne is proclaiming is a lie.

Please understand I am not some doom-and-gloom person, I have read the end of the Book and Jesus Christ returns and every knee bows to Him and He established everlasting righteousness on the earth and we His people are with Him! I am in total agreement with all legitimate forms of evangelism where God’s Word is accurately presented and the Holy Spirit is allowed to draw whom He will to faith. But do not be deceived by anyone who proclaims some tremendous “move” of the Spirit ( always just on the horizon) and cities and countries being swept into the kingdom of God by last day/end time super anointed spiritual warriors. Anyone who teaches such things is at best biblically ignorant and at worst is a person saying what he or she knows will “sell” even through they don’t believe it themselves.

Make no mistake Rodney Howard-Browne is that type of calculating individual who is simply pandering something he knows will not come to pass, but he is willing to make money from God’s gullible saints who are looking for something beyond Word and sacrament.  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Date obtained from an Ives Brault article for PFO. This article is located at : http://www.pfo.org/intoxic.htm

2. Ibid

3. Obtained from RHB’s officla website http://www.revival.com/www/r.aspx?p=54.

4. Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/lewd.html.

5. Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 53

6. “Soft-drugs” are not considered to be a problem by the Dutch this includes marijuana hashish, and basically anything other than heroin and cocaine.

7. Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 53 Underlining added for emphasis.

8. All of these organization are cited on his official website found at http://www.revival.com Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 55.

9. Charisma, July 2007, the Coming Great Awakening, 0p. 55.

10. Hamon, Bill

The very corpulent king of “gospel giggles” is smiling all the way to the bank.

As he preached about hell and eternal damnation the people laughed and RHB called it “revival.”

Admittedly, Browne is not the “great apostasy” but he is indicative of it.

 





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





Do Miracles, Signs & Wonders Create Faith?

17 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – September 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 9 – Do Miracles, Signs & Wonders Create Faith? – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Do Miracles, Signs & Wonders Create Faith? 

By Robert S. Liichow

 

Bonnke claims that “miracles are proof of the presence of the power of God (1) Bonnke emphasized the date of June 1scanMIRACLEBOOK00011 separately, at which time Christ would in a special way point Himself. In Bonnke’s Language this announcement meant that Christ would evidence Himself by unusually numerous miracles during the service. (2) The supernatural will occur differently; maybe out in public is valid. I believe it can be kind of God’s calling card. (3)

slaintacf99

In the past as a charismatic extremist if I heard this statement once I heard it a hundred times, “miracles are God’s calling card.” We heard this uttered in person at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship by John Arnott, former senior a few years ago.

 

drsumrall

What is meant by this statement and other similar statements is that the Lord is supposed to be working miracles through His anointed vessels as a means to bring people to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. Lester Sumrall, now deceased made the following statement in his book Miracles Don’t Just Happen:

In the Acts of the Apostles we read of ‘all that Jesus began both to do and to teach.’ His doing preceded His teaching.

Every sermon that Christ preached was prefaced by a model miracle. We are going to follow His example. (4)

To begin with Lester makes the assumption that the “doing” of Jesus was always a miraculous event which was then followed up with His proclaiming of the Gospel, ergo we should expect to work miracles first and then preach the Word. Sumrall is reading into this text more than there is, he is guilty of eisegesis versus exegesis.

There are a great many sermons where Jesus did not perform miracles “first” and then proceed to teach the people. Frankly, just about anytime Jesus spoke it was a sermon of one type or another. Here are a few examples:

Matthew 7:28-29 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.

Here Jesus preached first then we read of Him healing several people, the leper (8:2), the centurion’s servant (8:7), Peter’s mother-in-law (8:15). In all of these cases we find examples of healing and not miracles. In fact, these texts in places state “and I will come and heal him” (8:7). We read in Mark 1:39 “And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” Jesus again is shown preaching the Gospel then performing signs and wonders.

Mr. Sumrall was simply wrong in his teachings about miracles. Unfortunately his views have been part-n-parcel of early Pentecostalism and today’s Charismatic movement. Almost every major sign-gift SINister has written books or produced tapes or videos on how to become a miracle worker or how to receive a miracle. * Here are just a few examples:

Oral RobertsExpect A Miracle / and Still Expecting Miracles (2 tapes)

Kenneth CopelandWalking in the Realm of the Miraculous

Benny HinnMiracles DVD

Steve HillOperating in the Miraculous (God wants to use you in his miraculous!)

Marilyn HickeyYour Miracle Source

Charles & Francis HunterImpossible Miracles

Kenneth E. HaginMiracles of Healing (tape series)

Kathryn KuhlmanI Believe in Miracles

Robert TiltonFaith Aid Miracle Healing Kit

Prophet T.B. JoshuaDivine Miracles (DVD)

Don Stewart — Miracle Seeds for Success and Prosperity

John Wimber Power Evangelism, Signs & Wonders Today

Signs and Wonders and Church Growth

Pat RobertsonMiracles Can Be Yours Today

Paul F. Crouch and R.W. SchambachMiracles II “Greater Miracles

R.W. Schambach Miracles: Eyewitness to the Miraculous

The Price of God’s Miracle-Working Power

T.L. OsbornReceive Miracle Healing

How to Receive Miracle Healing

Modern Miracles in Mombasa

Ruth HeflinMiracles that I have Seen

WHEN THE MIRACULOUS BECOMES COMMONPLACE IT CEASES TO BE “MIRACULOUS”

These are just a few of the better known authors of books about how to obtain a miracle, how to develop spiritually to work miracles, etc. All of the books that have been cited are available on the Internet by simple googling the name of the author. Most of these books and many others are available in almost all “Christian” bookstores too.

It is one thing to write about miracles, but it is quite another to proclaim yourself a miracle-worker as many SINisters do today. Mr. David Hogan is possibly a bigger prevaricator than Benny Hinn. The following is a direct statement from his website:

The ministry has become known for some amazing miracles through the Holy Spirit. They report to have witnessed over 200 people being raised from the dead! When David is not in Mexico he ministers under a strong anointing for preaching and healing. (5)

On his website you can watch a series of videos entitled “Faith to Raise the Dead.” The Statement made before the links to these videos says “These videos may be some of the most viewed and listened to around the earth in our time.” This is simply not true, in fact, I’ll wager that the majority of Christians have never even heard of Mr. Hogan. Hogan has never brought one person forward to be examined or interviewed who he is supposed to have raised form the dead. One would think that TBN or the 700 Club would love to have an “exclusive” interview with one such person. Surely out of over 200 people Hogan could produce one or two resurrected folks….who no doubt could write books on what they experienced while dead.

Popoff_Peter_2

Peter Popoff is another proven fraud and liar. His website’s front page says “Peter Popoff Miracle Ministry.” (6) His site is filled with unsubstantiated testimonies of alleged miracles due to Mr. Popoff’s direct connection with God. Unfortunately his video clips of his healing services are not working on his site, so you’ll just have to take his word about what God is doing through him. You can order free “miracle spring water,” which I encourage all our readers to do and get on his mailing list as well so you can receive monthly point-of-contact fetish items each month!

The best known miracle-man today is naturally Mr. Benny Hinn. Here is a copy of a ticket I received from him:

scanTicket20060001

Hinn knows in advance that “God’ will be working miracles through him; he also is an astute observer of the desperate plight of multitudes of people who are willing to drive hundreds of miles, wait in long lines for hours, and donate money they can’t afford to give; yet do so in the hope that God is indeed working miracles through Hinn and that they will be the recipient of God’s miraculous power.

It is the height of presumption and hubris to declare God will be working miracles tonight or that He will be healing the sick during this revival. Yet even with his abysmal track record of healing failures, i.e. people who his ministry declared “healed” who died either a few weeks, or months later multitudes still flock to this man’s so-called “Miracle Crusades” all over the world. (7) After close to twenty years of miracle crusades one would imagine that the offices of the Benny Hinn Ministries (BHM) would be overflowing with medical records, legal affidavits, and notarized statements from thousands of people who have either received divine healing or a genuine creative miracle. Yet BHM cannot produce any such proof of the bold claims Hinn makes.

My wife and I participated in several of Mr. Hinn’s crusades. At first we went as part of the mob, later we became part of the mass choirs (that got us closer to the “anointing”).

hinnstage

The flow of the services go something like this: the song leader would lead the crowd in a few songs, then we’d sing “How Great Thou Art” and it was always during the singing of this song that Mr. Hinn, usually in a bright white suit, would appear on the platform with a spotlight on him. Folks, it was no accident that we were singing about how great God was, but Benny knew psychologically that the mob was there because they believed he, Hinn himself, was “great” too, certainly greater and closer to the Lord than they were.

Then Hinn would cite a few healing texts, reminding people that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He would proclaim how he felt a strong anointing or how he had been told by God in prayer that many miracles and healings would take place during that specific crusade. All that the people had to do was to have faith in God. Hinn never preached the Gospel in any of the crusades we attended; he simply cited texts on healing and especially on the blessings of giving.

How better to show ones faith than to put it into action by making as generous a donation as possible? The people were encouraged to “sow” a financial seed into BHM thus proving to God and themselves that they really believed. Hinn would pray God’s blessings on those who gave. Ushers mystically appeared with buckets which looked like the large family sized KFC buckets. Then with the precision of a Rolex ® watch and the speed of a Japanese bullet train thousands of sheep were sheared of their money.

scancartoonmiracles0001

Once the money was collected then the real show began. Hinn would lead the choir in some simple songs, often having us sing the refrains over and over. Then he would suddenly stop and point out into the crowds (nonspecifically) and begin to declare that God was healing someone with cancer in the balcony or He was healing backs etc…Then a chosen, vetted few, would be allowed onto the platform where Hinn would either blow on them, hit them with his suit coat or lay hands on them and like domino’s they would all fall down. At times Hinn would knock down the same person several times saying “pick him up,” and laugh at them as they lay spastic at his feet.

Those lucky enough to be interviewed by Hinn always reported they were healed or received a miracle of a type which was non-verifiable. In other words, no arms grew back, the twisted bodies of the people in the “wheelchair section” remained as twisted. No visible tumors dropped off in front of the cameras. Then a few more songs would be sung while Hinn was led away by his henchmen. The MC for the evening would exhort people to not give up if they did not receive their miracle that evening, because tomorrow evening there would be another “miracle” service. They were also encouraged to purchase the “faith building” materials at all of the tables surrounding the arenas.

On Friday night the people got to see and some believed they felt the power of “God.” On Saturday morning (at least at the last crusade we sang in) an aging Rex Humbard toddled out onto the platform and gave the standard decision-based Gospel appeal to those faithful few who got up early enough to come back to the arena.

What I want to emphasize is the formula Hinn and basically all the other so-called healing evangelists and miracle workers use —perform the signs & wonders shtick, then make an appeal to the unconverted to answer the altar call and make a decision to receive Christ. Is this the biblical pattern for salvation? This is the position that needs to be rebutted biblically in order for us to come to the biblical truth.

Has God Appointed Modern Miracle Workers Today?

healer

It is important for you to understand clearly that DMI firmly believes that our Lord Jesus Christ does still heal His people. However, He does so according to the good pleasure of His will. There are no steps, laws, or principles that we can enact in order to cause our Lord to heal anyone.

The belief in the so-called ministry of the Healing Evangelist aka Miracle-worker came about in the mid 1800’s with the holiness movement and got firmly rooted in many Christian’s minds after 1906 after the neo-Montanist revival at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California.

The reason the Church has been plagued by people such as Maria Woodworth-Etter (the trance evangelist), Smith Wigglesworth, F.F. Bosworth, Aimee Semple McPhearson, A.A. Allen, Kathryn Kuhlman, Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, William Branham, Robert Tilton, Leroy Jenkins, Peter Popoff, Benny Hinn, Jim Wittington and a host of others is because their initial presuppositions were wrong.

Once people began to believe that God had “restored” the gift of other tongues supernaturally then it logically followed that they would also believe the other supernatural gifts either were restored or in the process of being restored, including the gift of the working of miracles (1 Cor. 12:10). It did not take the fledgling neo-Montanist movement long to continue down their slippery slope by believing that since “God” had restored the sign-gifts to the Church He is also restoring the office of the Prophet and the Apostle. To them the Book of Acts became a blueprint for how the Church is supposed to be organized and that miraculous signs and wonders are to be normative in local congregations.

A new magazine came to our office entitled The Voice of the Prophetic and it is filled with nuts, fruits and flakes to be perfectly blunt about it. Here is a quote from a “restored” prophetess by the name of Patricia King:

His voice repeatedly speaks to my heart, ‘I am waiting for My church to move in My authority, to conquer the works of darkness that are manifesting unrestrained. I am waiting for My mature sons and daughters to manifest My glory and My authority. All creation is waiting; all creation is groaning. (7)

Obviously, Ms. King does not place value on the work of Christ Jesus on the cross where He defeated Satan:

Col 2:13-15: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

I am not denying that there is legitimate spiritual warfare and conflict with Satan and his demons. Yet today’s extremists hold to a view that Satan and demons operate freely in this world unless the Church uses its divine authority to bind the devil and his imps up. I have personally heard the late Kenneth Hagin share how the Lord Jesus appeared to him but an evil spirit jumped up between them and Hagin could not hear Jesus. Hagin waited patiently for Jesus to do something (you see the cross was not enough). Then Hagin finally got angry and rebuked the demonic imp in Jesus name and it scampered away. Hagin asked Jesus why He didn’t do something about the evil spirit. Hagin’s Jesus said He couldn’t because He had given His authority to the Church and unless we do something about Satan and his works, well then, they just won’t get done! You can read about this encounter in Hagin’s book I Believe In Visions.

In the minds of the extremists today it is the mature believers within the Church who wield the true spiritual authority over the devil and demons, not Jesus Christ. Patricia King also misspeaks when her voice tells her that dark works are “manifesting unrestrained.” Yet again the Bible plainly teaches in Second Thessalonians:

2 Thess. 2:2-6: not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

The evil one is currently under divine restraint and always will be. He is not manifesting anything in an unrestrained mode of operation at all. Satan is a created being who, although rebellious, is still completely subject to the sovereignty of God. He and his minions can do only what the Lord allows them to do. This is clearly seen in Job 1:10-12 or when the demons asked Jesus to allow them to enter into the swine (read Matt. 8:31-32).

Yet King rattles on in her article buttressing Hagin’s heterodox teaching by saying:

He is asking us to take up the authority He won back for us on the cross and move in His supernatural power to confront the powers of darkness, turning the attention of the people back to the One True God. (8)

NEWSFLASH !

Ms. King the world has never been focused on the One True God since the fall of Adam. The example she cites is that of Moses standing up against the Pharaoh’s magicians. The signs and wonders God wrought through Moses did not make the Egyptians believe, in fact, God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh as opposed to giving him faith. Through His work on the cross Jesus did not win back for us the “lost” power to move in the miraculous. He did give us a method to confront the powers of darkness, but that power comes in a completely different form then that which was given to Moses. The entire philosophy of those practicing what is called “strategic level spiritual warfare” is based upon the belief that we, the Church, must enforce Satan’s defeat and take back cities and even nations he has “owned.” This is why people like Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Schultz and others go to places like Ephesus and march around casting down the “spirit” of Diana which they had discerned had ruled over that area for centuries! (9)

Once a neighborhood or city has had the principalities and powers cast down and bound up by the mature saints…then there is what they call an “open heaven” where their prayers are unhindered and revival can come. Once these warriors have done their work people’s ears are now free from demonic blockage and they can and will receive Christ as Savior. In their view people cannot come to faith in Christ until the demonic forces are driven out or bound up by human agents! This is a blasphemous doctrine because it places both Satan and sinful man as ultimately in control of individuals eternal state before God. It is no longer God who draws, nor is it the Spirit who calls, but men.

This magazine goes on to state in another article concerning how the glory realm is getting thinner, i.e. nearer and more accessible to us. This article is written by Cindy McGill who says:

Already, we are experiencing manifestations of gold, jewels, instant miraculous healings and deliverances. God is flooding lives as He has given the invitation to come in and take over. These things are only the beginning of unbelievable things we are about to see. (10)

goldtooth5

DMI was among the first Apologetic Ministry to debunk the myth of gold teeth and gold dust, in fact, we may have the only book in circulation exposing this alleged phenomena. Most importantly, note how “God” through these miraculous signs & wonders is inviting us to come in and take over! The role of the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, nor the proclamation of the Gospel. Just non-biblical signs &wonders and presto the Church is just supposed to come in and take over. Take over what? Why the world of course. The Prophetic/Apostolic movement is almost exclusively one of Christian Dominion or what is also-called Kingdom Now Theology.

Moving in the miraculous is the new wave of evangelismStacey Campbell says in her article: Prophecy is for Unbelievers:

Of all the evangelism I have ever done—from surveys, to door-to-door, to street preaching, to church dinner, to friendship evangelism—prophetic evangelism is by far the most effective form of evangelism I have ever engaged in. (11)

Stacey seems to have literally been around the block when it comes to sharing the Christian faith. Yet out of all the methods she has tried what has proved most successful? Not the foolishness of preaching (read 1 Cor. 1:21) the Law & Gospel to the lost. Even though the Apostle Paul himself told the sign-saturated Corinthians—-

1 Co. 2:2: For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

The Bible is completely silent about this so-called miraculous prophetic evangelism. Nowhere are God’s people exhorted to go out and win the lost via the use of the spiritual gifts (which we all possess in some fashion) given by the Holy Spirit. This concept is merely an outgrowth from what has become known as the “Third Wave” with Dr. C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber as its fountainhead. Wimber’s book Power Evangelism is where much of this unbiblical nonsense gained a foothold in the sign-gift movement. In his confused mind the simple preaching of the Gospel was not getting the job done. He believed and taught that people needed to see some demonstration(s) of wonder-working power before they would believe the message {according to Wimber and his followers}. In Wimber’s theology “seeing was believing,” yet is this the teaching of the Bible? Does God use miracles/miracle-workers to bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

Probably one of the strongest biblical proofs from the Old Testament that signs and wonders do not create faith is seen in the lives of the Jews following Moses in the desert. They were brought out of Egypt through a series of miracles and the Lord sustained them for forty years by providing manna and quail for them. Yet what does the Bible have to say about this generation of sign-seeking people?

Heb 3:1-19 But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whom carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

After a lifetime of seeing miracles these people were unable to enter into the land God has promised to give them because of their unbelief. Signs & wonders did not cause them to believe; it did not engender faith in their hearts at all.

Another instance is that of Nebuchadnezzar. He personally saw miracles (read Dan. 3:14-25, Dan. 6:22) yet these demonstrations of God’s power did not bring him to a saving faith in the God of Israel. Later on in the book of Daniel the miraculous hand that wrote on the wall (read Dan. 5:22) to Belshazzar did not bring him to repentance. The wondrous sign was in fact his death warrant, much as was the last great sign in Egypt, the slaying of all the firstborn makes. Or, how about the time when the ark was taken captive by the Philistines and placed in the temple of their god Dagon (read 1 Sam. 5:2)? After finding their god on his face, broken before the ark of the Lord, they decided they’d better send it back to Israel (1 Sam. 6:6-15). The signs God worked among the Philistines did not bring them to cast aside their false gods and embrace the true God in spite of His judgments upon them as long as they had the ark. The uniform testimony of the Old Testament proves that signs and wonders do not cause people to believe in the Living God. What about in the New Testament?

Maybe here we will find evidence of God moving in a new dispensation, one of signs and wonders to produce saving faith in people who witness or experience them.

In John chapter six our Lord feeds thousands in a miraculous way. The multitude wanted to immediately make Him their King and some did declare He was a prophet (see John 6:14). Jesus knew what was in their hearts and left by boat, yet the crowd followed Him and He rebuked them by saying:

John 6:26-27: Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

The miracles of the loaves and fishes did not cause the people to believe He was the Savior. Some did think He was a prophet, others thought He’d make a good King, after all, He could feed them with little of their own labor,. So this great miracle did not produce saving faith. The people did want to know how they too could “work” the works (miracles) of God. Jesus’ response is very telling to our brethren who are besotted with so-called signs & wonders today:

John 6:28-29: Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Sorry folks, Jesus did not give the crowd three steps to miracle working power, nor did He provide six keys to the supernatural realm. Instead He pointed to His Father and said “this is the work of (from) God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Our Master refocused the people AWAY from the signs & wonders (food that perishes) and said that it was God who would do the work and that work was to draw whomever He would to faith in Hs Son. Jesus had a poor view of those who ran after Him seeking signs and wonders:

Matt 12:38-39: Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 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:

Today’s sign seekers are an equally evil and adulterous in my opinion because they have misplaced their faith. Their faith is resting in what they can see or in some cases what type of “power” they can manifest and not in the Word of God first and foremost. In the account of the rich man who went to hell Jesus again warns that a miracle will not create saving faith, whereas God’s Word will:

Luke 16:29-31: Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Note the emphasis placed on hearing the Word of God and not seeing the powerful miracle of one being raised from the dead. The point is — if people will not receive the Word of God, then miracles will be of no help to them. So I repeat myself and state that miracles do not produce saving faith.

The extremist movement is hungry for spiritual power, yet seems to have little appetite for the simple teaching of the Bible. The Apostle Paul makes it very plain where the true power is when he writes:

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The accurate proclaiming of the Law & Gospel is the power of God unto salvation; not signs and wonders. The Gospel of John shows this power in operation:

John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Many of our brothers and sisters around the world have become fascinated concerning the signs, wonders, and miracles. Let us be cautious of many of the claims being made. The Bible warns us in several places about lying signs and wonders whose only goal is to deceive people and lead them AWAY from Jesus, not bring them to a saving faith in Him!

Matthew 24:11: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

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

2 Thess. 2:9-12 [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.

The Church has been warned repeatedly to be on guard against people who come saying they have the “power” of God. Those who are not grounded on a solid doctrinal foundation may be deceived by these clever counterfeits. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians seems to indicate that people will love the lying signs and wonders which will lead them to NOT love the truth (“They word is truth” Jh 17:17).

Obviously, these miracles did not and will not bring people to faith in Jesus Christ…no miracle ever has apart from the sovereign working of God in the hearts of those He draws unto Himself.

On closing one of the most frightening warnings given by Christ in the Bible, at least to me when I was a former charismatic extremist myself is the following

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

Working or possessing supernatural (often confused with paranormal powers) gifts and using them in “Jesus” name is not the guarantee to enter into heaven. Jesus states quite emphatically in the Greek that He never at any time knew these people. What is the work God finds acceptable?

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

The “work” is faith in God the Son and this work is really not ours per se. Faith to believe is a gift from God and it comes to us by grace alone (read Eph. 2:8). All the power the Church needs is found in the Gospel. It has the power to literally take people and translate them from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son. The Gospel makes the spiritually dead alive with life eternal and grants them an inheritance which is unfading.

Please pray for all of those who’ve been misled, often by well intentioned but ignorant leaders. Millions are seeking for God in all the wrong places chasing after the latest reported sign, wonder or revival…when all the time God’s true power, His Word sits gathering dust in their homes. Selah.

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Simpson, Sandy. Reinhard Bonnke Out of Sight Out of Mind 04-24-01.

2. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from http://desertpastor.typepad.com/paradoxology/2006/signs_and_wonder.html on (08-20-06)

4. Sumrall, Lester, Miracles Don’t Just Happen, Plainfield, N.J. Logos International, 1979, p. 15

5. Obtained from http://www.fathersglory.com/insp/David_Hogan-1.htm. Underlining, italics and bold type added for emphasis.

6. Obtained from http://www.peterpopoff.org/

7. These “failures” have been well documented by the television exposes on Mr. Hinn, not to mention the research done by the Trinity Foundation and Personal Freedom Outreach.

8. King, Patricia, The Voice of the Prophetic, The Clash of Kingdoms by Patricia King, Oct. 2006, p.9 Underlining added for emphasis.

9. Ibid. p. 35 Underlining added.

10. The whole aspect of spiritual warfare as taught by Wagner, Jacobs and others is nothing but an attempt to justify their own theological views of Kingdom Now.

11. McGill, Cindy, The Voice of the Prophetic. Eye Has Not Seen, Nor Ear Heard the Veil to the Glory Realm in Getting Thinner, Oct. 2006, p. 23. Underlining added.

12. Ibid, p. 27. Underlining added.

13. John Wimber who died at age 65. John Wimber said that he picked up a “Chinese cancer spirit” while visiting China. Apparently he and his elders lacked the miracle working power and could not either cast out this cancer spirit or bind it up. Eventually he succumbed to it. This, sad as anyone’s death is, has always stuck me as rather strange, especially in light of the fact that he also penned a book entitled Power Healing!

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God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings

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

Discernment Ministries International

God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Old Testament Witness Against False Ministries and Their Teachings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Witness of Jesus Against False Prophets and Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Apostolic Witness Regarding False Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are told to expect the advent of false teachers bringing in damnable (tisk tisk Peter, not to judge) heresies and many (pollus, a whole bunch of folks in the Greek) shall follow them. Because of these SINisters the “way of truth,” Christianity, will be spoken evil of. People like Mr. Tilton, Benny Hinn, Jim & Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Earl Paulk cause the world to speak evil of the Church. These false teachers covet followers and most importantly covet their money. Through their false doctrine (such as the false prosperity message) they reduce their followers to nothing more than giving units. Paul in his closing remarks in his letter to the Romans echoes Peter’s warning:

Roman 16:17,18  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

God commands that we identify those who cause divisions or schisms within the Church by teaching doctrines which are against the true teaching of Scripture. What is more we are to avoid them. Why? Because they are not servants of Christ but of their own desires and they will use the same language of the Church to deceive those with no sound doctrinal foundation for their spiritual lives. Jude exhorts his readers and us today of the necessity of contending for the faith:

Jude 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend (epigone,zesqai) for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The KJV is more accurate than many other translations when it says “earnestly contend” for the faith because it is truer to the Greek word. We are in a battle and the Church has to fight to keep the truth of God. This battle has been raging ever since Satan said “hath God said” to Eve back in the garden of Eden (see Gen 3:1).

The Witness of the Early Church Fathers & Reformers

In the Preface of his stellar work Against Heresies our Patron Saint, (8) Irenaeus stated the following:

Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. One far superior to me has well said in reference to this point, “A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some), unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit. Or, again, what inexperienced person can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up with silver?” Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the true character of these men, —because they outwardly are covered with sheep’s clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined us to be on our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different…I do this, in order that thou, obtaining an acquaintance with these things, mayest in turn explain them to all those with whom thou art connected, and exhort them to avoid such an abyss of madness and of blasphemy against Christ. (9)

Irenaeus was not being mean spirited, spiteful nor was he causing division an strife by exposing the false teachers of his day. Quite the contrary, his goal was to be a faithful under shepherd and warn God’s people of the wolves in their very midst. He noted how these false brethren looked like sheep, spake God-talk but that the meaning behind their words were (and are to this day) vastly different from those of orthodox Christianity. For example, words like “faith, anointing, Christ, prosperity” are biblical terms yet in the mouth of Mr. Copeland, Hinn, Dollar or Crouch have vastly different interpretations than what they truly mean. Irenaeus wrote so that his reader(s) could in turn warn others. THIS IS THE EXACT SAME REASON DMI PUBLISHES TRUTH MATTERS EACH MONTH. Our hope is that you, our readers, will share what you learn with others.

In chapter VII of The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Polycarp who was one of the Apostle John’s disciples wrote the following exhortation:

For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist,” and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning; “watching unto prayer,” and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplication the all-seeing God “not to lead us into temptation” as the Lord has said: “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. (10)

Polycarp urges Christians to forsake the vanity of many and their false doctrines and to return to the word that was handed down to the Church from the beginning. At the very early stages of the Church false doctrines and false practices ran rampant. Is it any surprise then, now at the end of the age the Church still must be exhorted to return to the faith once delivered unto the saints? Clement wrote in Chapter XVI of his Epistle to the Corinthians of the fact that it was those who were unstable in the faith and taught false doctrine who were the cause of strife and tumult…not those who exposed them!

It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclination of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. (11)

Martin Luther in writing about the Second Commandment made the following bold statement:

It also belongs to this work to resist all false, seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines, every misuse of spiritual power. Now this is much higher, for these use the holy Name of God itself to fight against the Name of God. For this reason it seems a great thing and a dangerous to resist them, because they assert that he who resists them resists God and all His saints, in whose place they sit and whose power they use, saying that Christ said of them, “ He that heareth you, heareth Me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.” On which words they lean heavily, become insolent and bold to say, to do, and to leave undone what they please; put to the ban, accurse, rob, murder, and practice all their wickedness, in whatever way they please and can invent, without any hindrance. Now Christ did not mean that we should listen to them in everything they might say and do, but only then when they present to us His Word, the Gospel, not their word, His work, and not their work. (12)

In keeping God’s name holy we are to resist ALL false, seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines and EVERY misuse of spiritual power. To sit idly by and blithely say “no one is perfect” in the fact of known error is to defame God and sin against His holy name. I love the following quote from John Calvin “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

Those few of us who dare to speak out against heresy and heretics – are held generally in very low esteem by the majority in the Church. Yet as I have shown from the O.T. through the Reformation that it is the uniform testimony of God that we ARE to speak out against error wherever it is found, regardless of who is speaking it.

Yes we are to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) , but we are to still speak it. Without doubt we are to correct others with humbleness of heart, knowing that we too may fall (Gal. 6:1), yet we still seek to restore our fallen brother. We are not exempt from rebuking those who sin before all (1 Tim 5:20) again with the hope of restoration, but also as a warning to others who may be wavering.

Like Irenaeus, according to my meager abilities and the grace of our Lord I am going to strive to be bolder in Teaching Truth and Exposing Error than I ever have before. I thank God for each and every one of you who supports our portion of His ministry and urge those of you who do not support us to join with us in this battle for the truth. What we and other Apologetic ministries do is totally in keeping with the will of God as I have shown in this short article. Our ability to engage the father of lies depends on the support we receive.

May our gracious Lord keep us all steadfast in His Word and may He continue to grant us grace to swim against the violent currents of blasphemy and doctrinal error that are sweeping so many of our brethren downstream. May we be empowered by the Spirit of Truth to reach out and rescue as many as we can from the spiritual bondage they see as liberty. In Jesus name, amen and amen. ♦

Copyright © 2006  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Gill, John A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 1 Chapter 22. Available online at the Dr. John Gill achieves http://www.phministries.org/books/gill/octrinal_Divinity/Book_1/book1_22.htm Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. I readily admit that many people DMI often takes to task for their propagation of false doctrine deception is just as spiritually harmful to the individual as intentional deception. The result is the same, God’s people are misled.

3. Harris, Archer, Watke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody Press, Chicago, Il. 1980, p.946.

4. http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/4/1138124504.html

5. Please understand my use of hyperbole here. I support modest dress and enjoy using the KJV, however I would not endorse Scofield or Dake as study Bibles due to the many errors in their notes.

6. Jamieson, Robert; A.R. Fausset; and David Brown. “The Gospel According to Luke” Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Blue Letter Bible. 19 Feb 2000. 25 Jan 2006.

7. Obtained from http://www.blueletterbible.org/mp_dir/words/3/1138394516-7859.html.

8. The International Order of Heresy Hunters of which this author is the Grand Pooh-bah has taken Irenaeus as our “Patron” saint…we don’t pray to him or burn candles in his honor, but we think he was an expert at ferreting out the tares from among the wheat.

9. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.ii.I.html. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

10. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ecel/schaff/an01.iv.ii.vii.html underlining and bold type and italics added.

11. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xiv.html emphasis added.

12. Obtained from http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/luther/works03.asc





The Dreaded Curse of the charismaniac

30 07 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 12 – The Dreaded Curse of the Charismaniac – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International 

The Dreaded Curse of the charismaniac

The content of several recent e-mails to our ministry expose an untaughscanMEANFACE20050001t but often practiced doctrine within the charismatic extremist movement from which I was delivered, the dire practice of “cursing” those who oppose charismania for one reason or another.

Cursing someone is basically invoking the name of a deity or using supernatural power to cause destruction, harm or calamity to another person. Normally one associates cursing with voodoo, Santeria (1) or some other form of witchcraft and not with Christianity, especially not with folks who claim to have a higher “dose” of the Holy Ghost whose love is alleged to be shed abroad in their hearts. (see Romans 5:5) !

What is sad is that some professing Christians couch their curses in the name of our Lord Jesus. The usual manner for curses to be unleashed by charismaniacs (2) occurs in two basic ways. First, curses are proclaimed as an alleged prophetic directive from the Lord. The example I will shortly site from Mr. Hinn is a manifestation of this type of curse. Secondly, curses are uttered in the name of the Lord against those who disagree with someone, usually over doctrinal issues or against those who call into question not only the biblical teachings of someone but also their lifestyle. This second form is often simply unmasked anger or hatred for someone, but done in the name of Jesus to sanctify it. This variety is seen by the Charismaniac as a legitimate form of righteous anger as typified by Jesus overturning the tables in the temple (see Matthew 21:12) or His verbal excoriation of the Scribes and Pharisees (see Matthew 23:27). My first example is of the second type and was uttered by Mr. Paul Crouch, the Founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) against all the Christian Apologists who dared question Mr. Crouch and his cronies about doctrinal issues being transmitted globally via TBN.

That old rotten Sanhedrin crowd, twice dead, plucked up by the roots…they’re damned and on their way to hell and I don’t think there’s any redemption for them…the hypocrites, the heresy hunters, that want to find a little mote of illegal doctrine in some Christian’s eyes…when they’ve got a whole forest in their own lives…” I say, to hell with you! Get out of my life! Get out of the way! Quit blockin’ God’s bridges! I’m tired of this!…This is my spirit. Oh, hallelujah!” …There’s a spiritual application here….I want to say to all you scribes, Pharisees, heresy-hunters, all of you that are around pickin’ little bits of doctrinal error out of everybody’s eyes and dividin’ the Body of Christ…get out of God’s way, stop blockin’ God’s bridges, or God’s goin’ to shoot you if I don’t… let Him sort out all this doctrinal doodoo!….I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there! Don’t even call me if you want to argue doctrine, if you want to straighten somebody out…criticize Ken Copeland…or Dad Hagin. Get out of my life! I don’t ever want to talk to you…I don’t want to see your ugly face! (3)

See a Video here :

According to my research Mr. Crouch has never recanted or repented for such hatred and anger. Crouch says that those of us who question him regarding doctrinal issues are “damned and on their way to hell.” Obviously, Crouch has become the one who holds the eternal life and knows who is damned and on their way to hell (and he is not even a Calvinist!!). “There is no redemption for them,” my Bible says that God so loved the world that He sent His Son to die for sinners (read John 3:16) and in another place the Holy Writ says that our Father desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (read 1 timothy 2:4). So how can there be “no redemption” for us po’ heresy-hunters? “To hell with you…” when was the last time you pointed your finger at Christian brothers and sisters (or even outright sinners) and said “go to hell”? Hopefully never, but Mr. Crouch is on a higher spiritual plane than the rest of us and so the following dictum does not pertain to him:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. But that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Eph. 4:29

Crouch brings God into his tirade by declaring that those of us with legitimate doctrinal concerns regarding orthodox Christian dogma are blocking God’s bridges (aka TBN) and says we are guilty of dividing the Body of Christ. What is more if we do not stop challenging Crouch, Copeland, Hagin and others then “God’s gonin’ shoot” us if Crouch does not first.

See Video here – Paul Crouch: God’s gonna shot you if I don’t:

It seems various Christian Apologists were contacting TBN and contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints (read Jude 3) and Crouch was fed up with our calls, letters and e-mails. I say this because he mentions doctrine four times in his curse along with Copeland, Hagin, two unabashed heretics.

To the charismatic extremist the battle cry is “doctrine divides.” As long as one calls Jesus his Lord and believes He ascended back to heaven is all the doctrine one needs to inspect. Crouch is not upset by a little illegal doctrine in a Christian’s life, but he is upset by anyone who would dare to try to lovingly correct those who are in error. Crouch has obviously lost sight of what Jesus warned when He said

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees…How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 16:6,11-12

No one has perfect doctrine and no one in the Apologetic arena of ministry I know has ever made such a claim. Speaking for myself, the more I study God’s Word the more I learn how little I do know. However, there are cardinal doctrines which must be universally agreed upon in order to be considered a genuine Christian. These are the issues we are chiefly concerned about.

Jesus warns His disciples about the danger of false doctrine and we echo His warnings today to our brothers and sisters. There is no such thing as harmless false (illegal) doctrine. True, none of us is 100% doctrinally pure, but it is one thing to lack understanding concerning some facet of biblical truth and quite another to embrace something that is erroneous. The Apostle Paul rebukes the Galatians who were being bewitched by legalism. He reminds them—

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

Crouch is very willing to “wink” at a little leaven (illegal doctrine), DMI is not. Truth Matters to God and His truth is worth fighting for. When you know God’s truth in a certain area and keep silent knowing your brethren believes a lie how are you walking in love towards them? Paul understood that everything produces after its own kind and thus he knew the danger of allowing the Galatians to cling to anything, no matter how small that was unsound biblically.

The following is another example of this type of curse directed at me personally in a recent missive of “love” from an alleged brother in Christ. Note the tone and language. Not only does this misguided soul violate the Holy Scriptures, he does not even take time to use his spell and grammar checker! Nor does he cite any specific examples of where our ministry has misrepresented Mr. Hagin. We stand by the well documented fact that he stole intellectually from E.W. Kenyon Finis Dake and other authors. We also do not recant that he was a false teacher and false prophet, all of which is well documented on our website and other websites and books if anyone cares to take the time to research. So enjoy the following e-mail and I believe it speaks for itself and helps answer why I am glad to consider myself an “X-charismaniac.” (Bold type and underlining are added for emphasis on my part- spelling corrected).

“Dear Robert, I just read your article on the web. It’s great that you are investigating religion, but you got the Kenneth Hagin situation wrong. I’m a born again Christian and realize that some people do not understand Kenneth’s ministry. I have an organization speaking against you since you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about.  He is not a false prophet at all. These things were revealed to him. No I will not argue with you, there are plenty of people on the forum who already think you have this all wrong. He was not a part of TV or TBN after the 80 since he was told not to go on TV by the LORD JESUS CHRIST. Your judgment is coming as well and you who don’t really know what you’re talking about. You have started a war—- but not with sweet innocent children but ones that can go into the spirit realm and destroy you. Think about it Jesus Christ won’t help you once the curse is upon you. PS we are born again Christians too.

This e-mail would be funny if this guy was not trying to be serious. It appears this man has an entire organization “speaking against me” (keep in mind curses are generally verbalized in order to be effective). It seems my judgment is coming due to the powerful curses released by these unsweetened negative nabobs of doom, despair and agony. Gee whatever happened to being harmless as doves (read Matthew 10:16) ?

Due to our exposure of Mr. Hagin we have started a “war” with bitter (as opposed to sweet), guilty (as opposed to innocent) Christians who can ascend into the spirit realm and destroy me.

Let me address his first accusation regarding my not understanding Mr. Hagin’s SINistry. Oh really?  We have almost every one of his books, untold numbers of his cassettes, videos and I have seen him in person, up close and personal, even been in prayer lines where he was imparting his special ‘anointing” so special it is not even mentioned in the Bible! No, quite the contrary, as a former Word of Faith Pastor/teacher I am extremely familiar with his doctrine and it is unsound biblically. His so-called visions and out-of-body experiences with Jesus are farcical.

What kind of a dolt is this guy?  Doesn’t he realize that after Crouch, and as you will shortly read ‘Benny the healer Hinn’ have cursed you…you’ve been cursed?  All I can say is, “hey take your best shot pal.”

I wish I had a dime for every time somebody was going to go up to the spirit realm (he must have been reading too much Mary K. Baxter or Howard Pittman) and destroy me, my family and marriage. Sounds more like witchcraft versus the character of Christ Jesus, who commanded us to turn the other check when struck (read Matthew 5:39). Golly, even Jesus Christ, God the Son Himself won’t help me (and by inference others) who dare to speak out against what we know to be false doctrine. I guess since “dad” Hagin assumed room temperature, speaking out against him has been elevated to the status of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (I think not).

I on the other hand must and do bless these misguided souls. We pray for all of them as well as the remaining Hagin family that our gracious Lord Jesus Christ will open their eyes to the truth of the Gospel and they will recant their false doctrines and pull the books that contain them from the shelves.

I wrote this man back and here is the less than godly response from our so-called brother. His language and hatred betray him. Read with sadness the following:

“We are human Christians not sweet get your –ass –kicked –by —religion–and the — Gov’t don’t care what you write about us. GET IT? And we still gave our lives to Jesus Christ. Even the devil was mad for the day of vengence, write more and get destroyed more. We do not accept your fake ass apology as PS ask the Lord Jesus Christ if we are not of HIM? You’ll be more than surprised and ‘17 million of us know you will not reveal when He truly answers you.’ Some people need to keep their mouth shut and their websites. The demonic attacks are ones you and your church can’t fight off,  judgment starts in the house of the LORD “

Uh, what planet is this guy from? I guess we counter-cult apologists, myself in particular, are sweet non-human Christians [sic] who get our “ass kicked by religion.” I readily admit that I am sweet, which beats being sour and bitter. I also confess that I am an alien and pilgrim on this planet (read Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11). I guess he did not read about the Apostle Paul getting his “ass kicked” by religion—

I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? So [am] I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods. Once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; [in] journeying often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, in perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:21-28

Paul must have been too sweet, innocent and passive when faced with such opposition. Why didn’t he go into the spirit realm and hurl down curses on those who withstood him? Maybe Paul was emulating the faith of those we read about in the following text:

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 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 11:35-38

Could it be that Paul had heard James or John recount their experience with the Samaritan villages who rejected Jesus?

And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw [this], they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save [them]. And they went to another village. Luke 9:53-56

Mr. Crouch and others who proclaim curses desiring the destruction of their enemies do not know what spirit they are of. These folks have lost sight of the mission of Jesus which is salvation and not destruction.

Back to the e-mailed curse! In our response DMI did not apologize for anything we have written regarding the false prophet Kenneth Hagin Sr. What we did say was that we would “bless” him, and we did in our prayer time, I guess those coals get pretty hot when they get heaped on his head, ergo the vitriolic response. I need not ask our Lord if he is “of Him,” his fruit speaks loudly enough so we have no need to bother the Ancient of Days with such a question. If he wants to reject our prayers and blessings that is his right, but the bible says that “love believes the best” and obviously he is not walking in love because he doubts our sincerity. Again, pray for this misguided soul and may God have mercy upon him and those caught up in calling darkness light and light darkness. I pray God has mercy on the individual who sent the above email to us. Feel free to express your love to him; it seems he really needs a hug or something! His email address is atiragepro@gmail.com.

Let’s consider the type of curse that is given in the quasi-prophetic form. This one is very popular among the so-called restored prophets for obvious reasons. I will cite an example given by Mr. Hinn since he is one of the most widely known and accepted false prophets plaguing the church today. The following curse was literally growled by Mr. Hinn at a miracle crusade held in Denver, Co.

“Yes Lord I’ll do it! I place a curse on every man and woman that will stretch his hand against this anointing I curse that man who dares to speak a word against this ministry.”   (4)

See Video Here: Benny Hinn puts a curse on people:

Hinn would want us to believe that our Lord (the One who came to not destroy but save, the One who on the cross said :Father forgive them”) told him to curse every man and woman who comes against Benny’s alleged anointing and ministry! It is sad to think that people actually believe that Hinn has been sanctioned to curse people and since God is no respecter of persons other lesser “lights” in the extremist movement have taken to placing curses on those who disagree with them. This is a perfect example of the “little leaven“, (cursing in this case,) spreads to others in the Body if it is not dealt with biblically.

The Biblical Attitude Regarding Cursing

The Bible does have quite a bit to say regarding the matter of cursing our enemies. We read the following comment from the lips of Job:

If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. Job 31:29-30

We all know what happened when Balak tried to pay Balaam to curse God’s people:

…Balak the King of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel, How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? Or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? Num. 23:7-8

Furthermore, we are commanded by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:14 to “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Mr. Crouch, Hinn, the e-mailer and others are in direct violation of God’s Word when they attempt to proclaim and place curses on others. In Luke 5:44  Jesus commands us to “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,”

What a shame that many in the sign-gift movement have spiraled down to this level of unbiblical diatribe and unwillingness to admit that many of their leaders have feet of clay and sinful hearts, like the rest of us. They too are in continual need of God’s forgiveness and mercy.  ♦

Copyright © 2005 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Santeria is one of the many syncretic religions created in the New World. It is based on the West African religions brought to the new world by slaves imported to the Caribbean to work the sugar plantations. These slaves carried their own religious traditions, including a tradition of possession trance for communications with the ancestors and deities, the use of animal sacrifice and the practice of sacred drumming and dance. Obtained from http://sparta.rice.edu/~maryc/Santeria.

2. Charismaniac, a term I believe I coined but I could be wrong is meant to refer only to those people who embrace the latest pseudo-spiritual beliefs and practices such as holy laughter, strategic level spiritual warfare, being druck in the spirit, the heresies of the Word of Faith cult, aberrant faith healing practices and the like. DMI is not lumping all Pentecostals and charismatic/sign-gift believers into this category. DMI works with both Pentecostal and biblically sound sign/gift people who have not been carried away by the prevailing winds of false doctrine swirling around in their circles.

3. This is only a portion of a rather long rant by Mr. Crouch one can view him in action on various websites and videos. Transcripts of all he said zre also widely distributed on the internet. This portion was obtained from http://cnview.com/on_line_resources/paul_crouch_curses_those_who_contend_for_sound_doctrine.htm.

4. Obtained from http://www.christian-witness.org/archives/cetf1999/bhinnlower.html. There are many websites which show the actual video clips in which Mr. Hinn’s demeanor changes, his voice changes and he hurls his “Spirit-led” curse at those who oppose him and his ministry. The underlining has been added for emphasis.





The Fivefold Fallacy

22 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – Oct. 2005   Vol. 10 Issue 10 – The Fivefold Fallacy – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Fivefold Fallacy

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One of our primary ministry objectives is to equip our readers with enough accurate biblical information so they can defend the truth of God’s Word when confronted with the various biblical errors and heresies that are swamping the Church.

Defeating heresy requires going to the root and laying the axe there first, once the root has been severed the various limbs lose the source of their strength and wither and die. This is why DMI spent six months dealing with the core doctrines of the Word of Faith cult. Once a person sees the biblical fallacies within the central tenants of their belief system the truth of God’s Word will indeed set them free to begin to worship and follow Christ in spirit and in truth.

In my former ignorance as a charismatic extremist I studied the history of Pentecostalism and their leaders and began back then collecting original source materials from as many of these leaders as I could, the bulk of which now serves as the DMI archive. I was an active extremist when the “prophetic” became a movement in the early 1980’s according to its farcical father “Dr.”, “Bishop,” “Apostle,” Bill Hamon who is on record making the following statement:

That company of prophetess is being raised up in the 1980’s, God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent alone being prepared to be released within the Church. (1)

The fact that today virtually every Pentecostal and sign-gift charismatic believes that God has indeed restored prophets and apostles to the Church (2) are merely branches from the poisonous tree whose tap root is found in the false doctrine commonly referred to as the fivefold ministry.

Before we dive into the murky depths of this doctrine of men you must understand a key term of “restoration.” All of Pentecostalism from Montanus in 170 AD (3) to Edward Irving in the 1800’s to the so called Azusa revival and then later on the “Healing” revival of Post World War Two have seen themselves as a divine movement of restoration by God. Initially the belief in restoration was confined to divine healing, then later it included the sign-gifts, especially the alleged ability to speak in other tongues (4) and a general restoring of supernatural miracle power to the Church.

According to the extremist leaders (past and present) the Church somehow lost a great deal of its biblical knowledge, truth, insight and power. Obviously, this means somewhere down the line our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church (read Eph. 1:22) dropped the ball and allowed great truths to be forgotten or lie dormant until He could get through to certain anointed individuals to “restore” them back to the Church and bring us back on track. Hamon, a firm believer in dispensational demarcations gives us the following “chart” of divine restoration of the Church:

Hamon, Bill. Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, p.20, 1987. This statement is from vol. one of a three vol. set on the Prophetic Movement.

Obviously, there are some exceptions. Some of the traditional Pentecostal denominations and other independent charismatic congregations do not believe God has set apostles and prophets back into the Church. However, these groups are in the minority. It is fair to say that easily 90% + people involved with some form of Pentecostalism endorse the reality of prophets and apostles today.

According to historic Pentecostalism, the gift of tongues was given for missionary purposes because the leaders of that time firmly believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon and the Gospel needed to be preached throughout the World. There was simply no time to go to a mission school and learn foreign language. They believed God was restoring this gift to get the “Word” out. It was not until almost 50 years later when the fledgling charismatic movement was started that the concept of having a personal private prayer language became popular, that was not the original belief of Pentecostalism.

Year        Restoration Movement               Major Truth Restored
1500                  Protestant (5)                               Salvation thru grace thru faith
1600                     Puritan                       Water Baptism, separation of Church and state
1700                    Holiness                 Sanctification, the Church set apart from the world.
1800               Faith-Healing                      Divine healing for the physical body
1900         Pentecostal movement         Holy Spirit Baptism and speaking in tongues
1950      Latter Rain Movement              Prophetic presbytery, praise and worship
1960            Charismatic                                        Renewal of all restored truth
1970          Word of Faith                                      Faith confessions, prosperity
1980             Prophetic                              Prophets and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (6)

 

Four Major Movements

All Christians who have received God’s present truth (7) accept the last four groups —Protestant, Holiness/Evangelical, Classical Pentecostal and Latter Rain/Charismatic — as movements that were Holy Spirit directed and established by God. They are called major movements because each one restored one of the seven doctrines of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1,2.   (8)

Present Truth or Present Day Truth is extremist code and it refers to the new revelations being given by the accepted restored prophets and apostles to the Church. These may be doctrines previously unknown and untaught in the history of the Church, they are “new” and must be accepted by faith in the one delivering the new revelation.

Doctrine of Christ                          Approx. Date            Restoration Movement
1. Repentance from dead works               1500         ……….        Protestant
2. Faith toward God                                        1800         ……….        Holiness/Evangelical
3. Doctrine of Baptism                                 1900          ……….         Classic Pentecostal
4. Laying on of Hands                                   1950          ……….         Latter Rain/Charismatic
5. Resurrection of Dead                                  ?                                             ?
6. Eternal Judgment                                       ?                                             ?
7. Ultimate Perfection                                   ?                                             ?

 

Hebrews 6:1,2 are not dispensational. The author gives no indication that he is referring to anything more than foundational doctrines that comprise orthodox Christianity. The writer is in a way unbraiding these Christians because they ought to be well established in these truths. In the prior verses he bemoans the fact that they ought to be teachers (Heb. 5:12) but are still only fit for the milk of God’s Word and not the weightier matters. According to Hamon and the other Latter Rain adherents it has taken God something like 450 years just to “restore” these doctrines to the Church, teachings that any well equipped pastor is transmitting to his flock to his Sunday school classes or from the pulpit.

Yet it is crucial that people buy into the concept of God continuing to “restore” lost truths and give new revelations to empower the Church for the last great world-wide revival which will Christianize the world and prepare it to be a suitable place for Jesus to return to. (10) If one is willing to believe that God has been in a process of restoring the Church then they are in perfect position to accept the next major fallacy which is the foundation of today’s so-called Prophetic/Apostolic movement.

The Fivefold Ministry

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heaven, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: Eph. 4:10-13

This is the text that has been used since the mid 1940’s to make the case that the Church needs to have, in the words of the Latter Rain extremists, all five ascension gifts active in the Church for it to be brought to the full stature of Christ.

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What gave strength to the false belief that the Church needed all five of the ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4 was the advent of the ministry of William Branham. Without going into detail Mr. Branham was a unique individual, whose life was marked by many paranormal events. He grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky in 1909 and was virtually uneducated. Around 1946 he began a major thrust of his divine healing ministry.

He was supposed to be able to reveal to the individuals standing before him their names, what was wrong with them, where they lived, etc… Often before he would pray for them he would say “do you believe I am the Lord’s prophet?” the person would respond “yes” and he would say, “then go on your way your faith has healed you.” Branham attributed his ability to discern the thoughts and intents of people’s hearts as a gift from God who has appeared to Branham an told him He would bestow these two signs to him. (11) Due to Branham’s unique ministry and his own claims to be God’s prophet he drew a huge following. His ministry combined with some of the writings of Franklin Hall (12) was the impetus behind the formation of a new revival called “The New Order of the Latter Rain.”

There is some confusion over this aspect of Branham’s ministry, because on some of his audio tapes in the DMI archive he admits that he is helpless until his “angel” appears on the platform and that it was this being who actually revealed people’s lives to Branham. Once he was asked if what he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said “no it was his angel.” Also it is well documented on tape and video that Branham used prayer cards that people filled out, and although uneducated, he may well have had a photographic memory which gave him to appearance of knowing these facts about people.

Franklin Hall wrote a book which became somewhat of a manual for this next “great’ move of God entitled “Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting.” This book is out of print today but it along with other out-of-print resource materials is available on a DMI CD entitled: The New Order of the Latter Rain for $15.00. Hall was a complete nut who wrote about how to levitate, how to achieve physical immortality and how to raise the dead. Hs writings were crucial to a sub-group within the NOLR called “The Manifest Sons of God.”

What has always amazed me about Mr. Branham’s ministry is that even though he was acknowledged as a false teach by other charismatic ministers he was accepted as a genuine prophet by them. He denied the Trinity of God, he taught that belonging to any denomination was a sign of the beast and would damn a person to hell. This teaching alone was primarily responsible for the mass exodus of pastors from the Assembly of God denomination, which came out with a statement against the New Order of the Latter Rain in 1949. It was also the reason behind the creation of all the independent charismatic congregations we have today. Not to mention the various false and unfulfilled “prophetic” words Mr. Branham is on record of spouting.

Some Canadians who attended some of Branham’s meetings took their enthusiasm back to their Bible school in North Battleford. It seems that from this seedbed the concept of a restored “Fivefold” ministry was birthed:

One of the points of controversy between the North Battleford brethren and the established Pentecostal denominations was the belief of the leaders at Sharon that the church had present-day apostles and prophets. Some of the first indications of controversy along these lines are in the June 1948 issue of The Sharon Star. According to George Hawtin: When one starts talking about prophets and apostles being in the Church in our day, the poor saints are shocked half to death. They raise their hands in holy terror and cry, “heresy! Heresy!” Now MY BIBLE SAYS: “GOD HATH SET SOME in the church, FIRST APOSTLES, SECONDAIRLY PROPHETS, THIRDLY TEACHERS, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, etc. (13)

The movement became associated in people’s minds with the brethren in North Battleford who played a large part in initially spreading the revival. It also became associated with the practices of these brethren, including the laying on of hands and acceptance of present-day apostles and prophets. (14)

Mr. Hamon received his ”call” into ministry in October 1953 in one of the fledgling break away Latter Rain congregations. (15) from one of the restored prophets, which made an indelible impression theologically on the rest of his life. This initial false teaching of a restored fivefold ministry, like yeast in bread has spread throughout all of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement and today it is not even questioned as valid.

One of the hallmarks of the New Order of the Latter Rain (LRM) and subsequently the Charismatic Renewal Movement is a doctrine of imparting the Holy Spirit and His gifts through the laying on of hands. In response to this error let me simply cite Dr. Martin Luther in his Smalcald Articles:

In these matters, which concern the external, spoken Word, we must hold firmly to the conviction that God gives no one his Spirit or grace except through or with the external Word which comes before. Thus we shall be protected from the enthusiasts—that is, from the spiritualists who boast that they possess the Spirit without and before the Word and who therefore judge, interpret, and twist the Scriptures or spoken Word according to their pleasure…Even so, the enthusiasts of our day condemn the external Word, yet they do not remain silent but fill the world with their chattering and scribbling, as if the Spirit could not come through the Scriptures or the spoken word of the apostles but must come through their own writings and words.

In short, enthusiasm clings to Adam and his descendants from the beginning to the end of the world. It is a poison implanted and inoculated in man by the old dragon, and it is the source, strength, and power of all heresy… Accordingly, we should and must constantly maintain that God will not deal with us except through his external Word and sacrament. Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word and sacrament is of the devil. Luther, in dealing with the extremists of his day simply said that God does not give the Holy Spirit apart from His Word and sacraments. Whatever people want to attribute to the Spirit apart from the external word of God and sacraments is from the devil. (16)

This relegates the belief that one can bestow the Holy Spirit and His gifts (as if He was some commodity) through the laying on of hands as being of the devil and I agree with Luther on this matter. Like all error unless it is biblically excised from the Body it will spread. So the LRM enthusiasts took their initial error further and teach that not only is the Spirit given through their hands, but now also ministry offices are imparted (or activated) through their hands as well.

What is the role of these restored ascension gifts of apostle and prophet in the Church according to the extremists today?

The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. (17)

According to Hamon and may others in this movement, they see their role as being pivotal in bringing the Church to a place of completion thus enabling Jesus Christ to return. They base this belief on the following proof-text:

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

They interpret this text to mean that Jesus must stay in heaven until the times of restitution (restoration in some translations) of all things, which, obviously, has to include the ministry of both the apostles and prophets. Without all the five ascension gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 being active with the apostle and prophet having the preeminent roles in activating (18) the other ministries the church will remain out of divine order, in disarray, impure and immature.

Hamon and others see the restored fivefold ministries as a divine hierarchy, with the apostle being at the top and the prophet either next to or directly beneath him or her (depending on whose book you read). Everybody else is beneath them. The restored apostles and prophets are to give divine direction to the Church. These heretics have set themselves up not only to be the judges of doctrine but also the formulators of new doctrines.

Please understand that the stated goal of this movement is to demolish every denominational distinction and to enforce spiritual unity through the use of supernatural power. They foresee the day when every city will have one Church with many pastors, but each city will be led by a group of apostles and prophets, who will hear from God and give direction for the Church without walls. Hamon has gone so far as to explain how the fivefold “mafia” will work within the “city church.”

When the fivefold ministers come together to consider doctrines and practices this way, they will need to keep in mind several areas of insight; (1) the claimed revelation from God; (2) the fruit of the ministry among those who have received the doctrine or practice; (3) the supernatural working of God accompanying it; (4) the Logos and rhema word of God application and authority for the doctrine or practice; and (5) the witness of the Spirit and the unified consent of those present. (19)

All five of these principles for establishing doctrine, as Hamon calls them, are completely subjective. Let me break omerta and decode the lingo in Hamon’s directive. The claimed revelation from God refers to the belief that God is giving forth-new revelation to/through His restored prophets and apostles. Then they look at the subjective experiential fruit among the people espousing the latest revealed truth. Are the people happy? Is it causing numerical growth and financial giving, are people reporting a deeper walk with Christ in a pietistic sense? Number three, we have to check out the signs and wonders, after all, God confirms His word with signs following (mark 16:20). Any new doctrine or practice must have some variety of paranormal activity validating its divine origin. These signs do not have to have a biblical precedent (see rule number 4), thus just have to be accepted as coming from God and can easily fall under the aegis of being “new wine” of the Holy Spirit such as was seen in the Toronto Blessing experience. Fourthly, the Word of God must be considered. Not to worry, if what is currently being proposed as new doctrine or practice, even if hitherto unknown in the 2,000 years of recorded Church history, cannot be found within the context of Scripture there are tow fall-back positions. (1) What is being taught and experienced is present day truth (read 2 Peter 1:12). (2) What is being taught and/or experienced is part of something Jesus did, but it is not recorded in the Bible (read John 21:25). (20)  These two arguments are commonly cited today. They are used as a means to get away from the absolute authority of God’s external word, the Bible. Lastly, we have the subjective “witness” of the spirit by the restored fivefold ministry. In other words, this means that the gathered group of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers all sit around and say “yup seems ok to me.” It is very apparent that the Word of God is not central in their thinking, It no longer serves as the sole source of all faith and practice.  Please keep in mind, this aspect of the charismatic movement is growing very rapidly and almost universally endorsed within the movement overall.

Does The Fivefold Ministry Exist Today?

In a word, no it does not exist today. The LRM has twisted this text, like so many others, and have tried to make it say something that it does not say at all. To begin with we have to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture and even that must be done within the context of the verses examined.

Jesus said “I will build my church”  (read Matt 16:18)  so we know that the Church is being constructed by no less than God the Son. Furthermore we see in the Scriptures that Jesus is referred to twice as the “Head of the Body” (read Eph. 5:23 and Col. 2:19). What is more He is also referred to as “being the chief corner [stone];“ Eph. 2:20.

Most theologians would agree that The Lord Jesus Christ began to build His Church on the Day of Pentecost. By that time He had already chosen who would be His Apostles and they had received the Holy Spirit (read John 20:22). (21) For simplicity’s sake let me just say that the foundation of the Church was laid in the beginning and is detailed for us in the Book of Acts.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord; In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph. 2:20-22.

When you build a house you first lay the foundation. The foundation of the Church was laid by the genuine Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief corner stone. Once the foundation has been laid the master builder proceeds to erect the superstructure.

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; …1 Cor. 3:10-12

This is exactly what the Apostle Paul stated in the text above. He has laid (past tense) the foundation and others build on that foundation. There is no other foundation which can or needs to be laid than that which has already been laid, which is Christ Jesus! Then Paul goes back to commenting on how one may build on that original foundation.

Brothers and sisters Jesus Christ is not asleep at the right hand of the Father, but is active and alive among us today. He has been superintending His Church since its inception. He has been building upon the original foundation laid by the original genuine Apostles and Prophets through the faithful ministry of the proclamation of the Gospel and sacraments carried out by evangelists and pastors. I might as well add at this point that the Greek text does not divide pastors and teachers as two gifts but is better-translated pastor-teachers. I acknowledge that in other places teachers are mentioned apart from pastors, but this text, which the heretics abuse does not even hold forth the concept of a fivefold ministry linguistically! At best, if they wanted to be honest with the text they would have to say God is restoring a fourfold ministry.

God does not need to “restore” apostles and prophets to the Church in order to bring us to perfection. No one apart from the lunatic fringe has ever claimed such a thing until the advent of the neo-Montanist movement. They laid the foundation, they received the Word of God and the canon is closed. The Scriptures are all we need as our guide for faith and practice and anything which is not in accord with the context of the Bible is to be rejected as false doctrine and false practice. These deceivers insult the authority of the Scriptures by their claim to additional revelation and restoration and what is worse they insult the Author of the Scripture and the Holy Spirit Himself. The so-called restored apostles and prophets are on very dangerous ground indeed and the Church needs to mark them and sound a warning to our brothers and sisters not to be led astray by such people.

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

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Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Hamon, Bill    Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today.   Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, p. 20, 1987. This statement is from vol. one of a three vol. set on the Prophetic Movement.

2. Obviously, there are some exceptions. Some of the traditional Pentecostal denominations and other independent charismatic congregations do not believe God has set apostles and prophets back into the Church. However, these groups are in the minority. It is fair to say that easily 99% + people involved with some form of Pentecostalism endorse the reality of prophets and apostles today.

3. DMI has one of the few books in publication on Montanus entitled Montanus, Father of Charismatic Extremism. It can be ordered for 8.00

4. According to historic Pentecostalism, the gift of tongues was given for missionary purposes because the leaders of that time firmly believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon and the Gospel needed to be preached throughout the world. There was simply no time to go to a mission school and learn a foreign language. They believed God was restoring this gift to get the “Word” out. It was not until almost 50 years later when the fledgling charismatic movement was started that the concept of having a personal private prayer language became popular, that was not the original belief of Pentecostalism.

5. I will not be too exacting regarding Mr. Hamon’s inaccurate assessment of Church history, however he is referring to Martin Luther (as he does later in his book). Luther and Lutheranism are not part of the Protestant Reformation, nor are Lutherans Protestants denominationally; we are original “Evangelicals”.

6. Hamon, Bill,   Prophets and the Prophetic Movement God’s Prophetic Move Today.  Shippensburg, Pa; Destiny Image, p. 24, 1987.

7. Present Day Truth is extremist code and it refers to the new revelations being given by the accepted restored prophets and apostles to the Church. These may be doctrines previously unknown and untaught in the history of the Church, they are “new” and must be accepted by faith in the one delivering the new revelation.

8. Hamon, Bill,   Prophets and the Prophetic Movement God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, Pa; Destiny Image, p. 37, 1987.

9. Ibid. p. 38

10. The New Order of the Latter Rain which has its beginning in the mid 1940’s differed from classic dispensational systems in that it taught that the goal of restoration was to enable the Church to take complete dominion over the entire world (often referred to as Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology). The leaders of the prophetic/apostolic movement do not teach in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church which is common among mainline Pentecostal groups, most Baptists, and even the Word of Faith cult.

11. There is some confusion over this aspect of Branham’s ministry because on some of his audio tapes in the DMI archive he admits that he is helpless until his “angel” appears on the platform and that it was this being who actually revealed people’s lives to Branham. Once he was asked if what he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said “no it was his angel.” Also it is well documented on tape and video that Branham used prayer cards that people filled out, and although uneducated, he may well have had a photographic memory which gave him to appearance of knowing these facts about people.

12. Franklin Hall wrote a book which became somewhat of a manual for this next “great” move of God entitled “Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting.” This book is out of print today but it along with other out-of-print resource materials is available on a DMI entitled The New Order of the Latter Rain for $15.00. Hall was a complete nut who wrote abut how to levitate, how to achieve physical immortality and how to raise the dead. His writings were crucial to a sub-group within the NOLR called “The Manifest Sons of God.”

13. Riss, Richard.  Latter Rain,  Etobicoke, Ontario; Honeycomb Products, p. 71, 1983.

14. Ibid p. 76. Underlining added for emphasis.

15. Hamon, Bill   Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today.  Shippensburg, PA. p.2 1987

16. Tappert, Theodore  The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA Fortress Press, pp. 312,313. 1959. Underlining added for emphasis.

17. Hamon, Bill. Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, PA. , p59 1987.

18. The term “activate” is a term used within the prophetic/apostolic movement to refer to the alleged ability to not only impart the Holy Spirit and His gifts, but also to anoint and empower men and women into every ministry field including that of apostle and prophet. The concept of activation is central to Latter Rain Theology because God only uses these restored apostles and prophets to genuinely impart ministry gifts to God’s people.

19. Hamon, Bill.  Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, PA. , p 180 1987.

20. This is an especially dangerous position that the charismatic movement has taken regarding judging so called new doctrines and experiences. When questions about the total lack of biblical precedent regarding being slain in the spirit, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness or other novelties, they simply respond that they were no doubt found in Jesus’ ministry but not recorded in the Bible. We are then required to take it on “faith” when the restored leaders tell us that this is indeed proof of a new “move” of God. Every bible-based cult group took this approach when they attempted to support their views, eventually the cult group took this approach when they attempted to support their views, eventually the bible is always cast aside the writings of the cult leader or becomes interpreted by the cult leaders insights.

21. A careful reading of the Book of Acts will demonstrate that only the Apostles were authorized to “impart” spiritual gifts. Those who were empowered by God through these genuine Apostles are never shown bestowing the Holy Spirit or His gifts to others. Throughout Church history it is only people captivated by spiritual enthusiasm or who are heretics that have believed/taught that they had the authority and power to give the Spirit to others.





OSTEEN’S IGNORANCE

13 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 8 – Osteen’s Ignorance by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

OSTEEN’S IGNORANCE

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If there has been one article on our website which has drawn the most criticism is the reprint of “The Leaven of Lakewood.” DMI has received numerous emails from people who believe Joel Osteen is truly one of God’s most anointed servants and a force for good within the Church and world.

Almost all of the complaints and demands for us to take down that article seem to focus on my concern over his lack of theological training. Many people simply cannot see the need to go to seminary in order to be a pastor of a church. The following comments are taken from an interview given on Larry King June 20, 2005. I will let Joel speak for himself and you, the reader, be the Judge whether or not a formal biblical education is of benefit to someone who serves as “pastor” of the largest congregation in America. My comments will be in (Blue) King and Osteen’s will be in (Black type) I have tried to tie the salient points of the interview together, which at best can be described as a stream of consciousness on both King’s and Osteen’s part.

Regarding Sacred Ministry

On Preaching/Pastoring

King: Why are you a Preacher?

Osteen….He tried to get me to minister, I didn’t have it in me…But when my father died, I knew—-I don’t know how to explain it, it sounds kind of odd, but I just knew down in here I was supposed to step up to the plate and pastor the church. And it was odd because I had never preached before.

I do not doubt that one can have a second calling in life and become a pastor after having a career in some other field. However, most men who are engaged in pastoral ministry will almost universally tell you that they always “know” serving as a pastor was what God had for them. In his Charisma interview Joel told the readers that he never wanted to be a pastor/preacher. In fact when his father told him to preach his first message on a Sunday evening, Joel refused at first, then eventually got up and told some stories and found out he liked it and off he went.

Regarding Seminary

King: You didn’t go to seminary?

Osteen: No sir, I didn’t

King: They can just make you a minister?

Osteen: You can, You can.

King: That’s kind of an easy way in.

Osteen: Yeah, but I think it happens more than you think. But I didn’t go to seminary. I have a lot of great friends that did. But I didn’t. But I did study 17 years under my dad.

Sadly, Joel is correct when he says “it happens more then you think.” regarding people leading congregations without any formal education or training whatsoever. Almost every independent charismatic congregation’s pulpit is filled with a man or woman who has little or no accredited biblical education.

The extent of Joel’s education consists of what he was able to gleam from his father’s heretical Word of Faith cultic teachings and those of the other WOF heretics John Osteen had as regular guests in the pulpit at Lakewood Church. Joel has little or no concept of Church History; Systematic Theology; Hermeneutics; Expository Preaching; the Greek and Hebrew languages; Pastoral Counseling, etc…I refer back to his interview in Charisma when he stated that he does not teach theology because the people are really not interested in it! He is the epitome of the blind leading the blind. What little he knows comes from a polluted stream of charismatic extremism, theosophy, and positive thinking. What is sad is that the people who come to hear him do not demand more than pleasant platitudes. The mob welcomes his feel-good message since it in no way points out their shortcomings before a holy God.

Law and Gospel

Regarding Theology

King:….But when the people call you cotton candy theology. Someone said you’re very good but there is no spiritual nourishment. I don’t know what that means….,

Osteen: I think I hear it meaning a lot of different things. One I think a lot of it is that I’m not condemning people

I could have told Larry King what people (like me and others) mean by that statement. We mean that Joel offers people no genuine spiritual “meat” but only gives them spiritual Twinkies. Yes, Joel is engaging; he smiles a lot and is upbeat. Those are good characteristics to have as a public speaker; however they have absolutely nothing to do with the truth of God’s Word.

Joel equates the criticism he receives regarding the abysmal lack of theological content in his message from other ministers to the fact that he is not “condemning people.” This means that Joel does not present the law of God to the people in his messages. The law magnifies God’s perfection, shows forth His righteous standard, and convicts us all of our lack of ability in and of ourselves to fulfill His requirements. This is called the second use of the Law in Evangelical theology “God’s law exposes the really of human sinfulness.

In Latin that was ‘usus theologicus,’ the law’s role in ‘driving us to Christ.” (1) In Joel’s mind he is taking the moral high ground by not “condemning” people. The reality is just the opposite. He is failing to carry out his sacred trust as a pastor by not showing them their desperately sinful condition by presenting the fullness of God’s Word to them. He is doing a grave disservice to the 30,000 people who listen to him at Lakewood and untold multitudes that hear him on television or read his best selling books.

Because Osteen refuses to preach the Law his presentation of the Gospel is anemic at best and not a gospel message at all at its worst. Any sound preaching will present both Law and Gospel in its content.

This difference between the Law and the Gospel is the height of knowledge in Christendom. Every person and all persons who assume or glory in the name of Christian should know and be able to state this difference. If this ability is lacking one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew, of such supreme importance is this differentiation. This is why St. Paul so strongly insists on a clean-cut and proper differentiating of these two doctrines. (2)

The other word of God is not Law or commandment, nor does it require anything of us; but after the first Word, that of the Law, has done this work and distressful misery and poverty have been produced in the heart, God comes and offers his lovely living Word, and promises, pledges, and obligates himself to give grace and help, that we may get out of this misery and that all sins not only be forgiven but also blotted out and that love and delight to fulfill the law may be given besides. See, this divine promise of his grace and of the forgiveness of his is properly called Gospel. And I say again and yet again that you should never understand Gospel to mean anything but the divine promise of his grace and of the forgiveness of sin. For this is why hitherto St. Paul’s epistles were not understood and cannot be understood by our adversaries even now, they do not know what Law and Gospel really are. For they consider Christ a Legislator and the Gospel nothing but the teaching of new laws. This is nothing else but locking up the gospel and obscuring everything. For “Gospel” is Greek and means, “good news,” because in it is proclaimed the saving doctrine of life, of the divine promise, and grace and the forgiveness of sins are offered. Therefore works do not belong to the gospel; for it is not laws but faith alone, because it is nothing whatever but the promise and offer of divine grace. He then, who believes the Gospel and receives grace and the Holy Spirit. Thereby the heart becomes glad and joyful in God and then keeps the Law gladly and freely, without the fear of punishment and without the expectation of reward; for it is sated and satisfied with that grace of God by which the law has been satisfied. (3)

Joel Is A Confused Semi-Pelagian

King: Don’t you ever doubt?

Osteen: No I don’t —- I wouldn’t say that I do. I guess I do and don’t think about it too much.

I’m not trying to be too nit-picky but Joel throughout the interview is constantly contradicting himself. King asks if he ever has doubts regarding spiritual matters. Joel immediately says “no” I don’t “ then he contradicts himself in his next sentence by saying that he guesses he does have doubts at times but that he does not think about it too much.

In the real world it is perfectly normal to have some doubts and questions regarding God’s plan at times. These doubts and questions are part of our fallen nature and they should drive us deeper into God’s Word to seek answers for them. But in the fantasy world of the Word of Faith cult we (and Joel) were taught to  in Kenneth Hagin’s words “doubt our doubts.” Doubt to the cultist is a sign of a lack of faith versus a lack of understanding and any doubt will cut off the blesings of God in their minds.

King:   Well, 9/11

Osteen: Well, yeah,

King:  Didn’t you say what? Why?

Osteen:  You do. You definitely do.

King: And how do you answer?

Osteen: To me it comes back and God’s given us all our own free will. And it’s a shame but people choose….

King: The people in the building didn’t have free will.

Osteen: But the thing is, people can choose to do evil with that will. And that’s unfortunate. But you know, of course you always doubt, I mean, you have to override it.

Since 9/11 Larry King has asked this type of question to every preacher he has had on his show. Billy Graham gave about the same response as Osteen did. King’s real issue is that of the problem of the existence of evil and why do people sin. This is very obvious when you consider his interviews with Graham, Pat Boone, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Robert Schuller, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, etc. None of these people have given King a solid biblical answer. The question has a “simple” answer with exceedingly deep ramifications. The answer is: Due to Adam and Eve’s sin all humanity exists in a fallen condition. We are by nature sinners who love the darkness and hate the light. In the language of the Reformers, we are totally depraved. (4)

Due to Joel’s lack of a biblical education he does not understand that mankind does not have ‘free will’ in the way he conceives of it. Man is not totally free in his choices (to believe humanity is totally free is to follow the heresy of Pelagius). After the fall his will is bound to sin (read all of Romans Chapter 7). A great book to read on this subject is Dr. Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the Will. Joel fails to understand that man is indeed free to choose evil, but he is not equally free to choose to do God’s will apart from the enabling grace of God given through Christ Jesus. Note that Joel slips up and admits (again) that “you always doubt,” but he quickly recovered by saying “I mean, you have to override it.”

On Moral Issues

King: How about issues that the Church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?

Osteen: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just….

King: You have thoughts, though.

Osteen:  I have thoughts. I just you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open to everybody.

Even though the Bible speaks very plainly about these two issues and condemns them as sinful Mr. Osteen simply does not go there when he addresses his congregation and the multitudes on television. Personally he does not believe that same-sex marriage the plan for God, but he apparently lacks sufficient conviction to share his beliefs, which I hope are based on a biblical world-view with his followers. He lacks the same moral fiber concerning abortion. It is poor leadership not to biblically address the tough moral problems in our society. Frankly, we are in the condition we are in because good men kept silent while the plague of immorality grew in our midst.

I agree with Osteen that our role as pastors and Christians is not to condemn people who are homosexuals or women who have had abortions. We are however, to make them acutely aware of what God position is on these issues and the pardon He offers by grace alone in His Son.

King: You don’t call them sinners?

Osteen: I don’t use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don’t ….So I don’t go down the road of condemning.

Jesus called people sinners and taught a great deal about sin. He used the word and concept quite a bit (as do all the biblical writers). Calling someone a “sinner” is not condemning them necessarily it is a statement of fact. We are all sinners in need of the free grace of God in Christ Jesus. To neglect to tell the lost of their condition before God is to send them happily on their way to hell. One caller did challenge Joel regarding salvation by asking if Joel believed that Jesus Christ was the only way to the father. Osteen replied “Yes I would agree with her.” (I’ve combined Osteen’s comments regarding salvation).

King: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

Osteen: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody’s heart, and so— I don’t know. To me, It’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ.

King: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept at all?

Osteen: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven, I don’t know…

King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

Osteen: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong…I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

I hope from these statements you can see the dire need for a sound seminary education. Here Osteen is on a global television show and he either cannot, because he does not know, or will not give a clear message regarding salvation in Christ and in Him alone.

Joel cannot have it both ways. Either Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Him or He isn’t the only way. This is a very confused young man with seemingly no convictions concerning the unique claims that Christ made concerning Himself. All Joel had to do was quote for Mr. King the following text and let the chips fall where they may.

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.   John 3:15-18

Osteen: “But I know they love God.”

Oh really, then I guess the Holy Spirit was wrong when He had Paul cite Isaiah. 41: 6 in his letter to the Romans. As it is written, There is none righteous, no ont one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood ; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace have they not known; There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18

Love God, the natural unconverted man is at enmity with the God of the Bible, which Joel should know and not be ashamed to state clearly. Joel sounds very much like a man who is actually ashamed of the Gospel. When he could be speaking words of life to untold millions of viewers, he balks and refuses to stand up for the truth for the sake of the approval of fallen men. What a shame indeed.

Giving

King: I love to give.

Osteen: I know.

King: Giving is selfish. You get a great reward.

Osteen: I know, you really do. That’s what life is all about. We were not made to be ingrown. I believe, maybe I’m off.

King does give to many charitable works and stated in the interview that according to the Talmud giving is the greatest thing. King admits that he gives out of a selfish motivation, in giving he receives a great reward. Osteen agrees that giving is selfish! There are blessings in giving true enough. I will go as far as to say God does indeed reward our giving, but not in the manner the prosperity pimps teach. Joel did correctly state a little earlier in the interview that giving is the “whole spirit of Christianity.” Please keep in mind that Mr. Osteen is a multi-millionaire and that Lakewood Church receives millions of dollars a year in offerings. Osteen would agree that we “live to give” and with his millions of dollars personally and congregationally the next comments strike me as particularly troubling:

“Fontana, California Hello: Caller: Yes — Joel?

Osteen: Yes.

Caller: I have a question for you. We’re a small congregational church here and we’d like to come and see you next month, but you charge to get in and we’re a very poor congregation. Why do you charge to get in to your appearances?

Osteen: Yes. The only reason we charge—- I hated to charge. The only we charge….

King: Do you charge at the church?

Osteen: No, no never. Never.

King: When you travel?

Osteen: Yes. The only reason we did it is because when we went to New York Madison Square Garden they wouldn’t let us do an event without doing a ticketed event because of the crowds. We sold it out two nights and we turned so many people away in Anaheim and Atlanta, it was just a shame to do that.

When I was viewing the interview I had the exact same question. Osteen’s response was very feeble and dishonest. Billy Graham has held crusades at Madison Square Garden and never charged an admission, how come they “made” Joel charge one? All that Osteen had to do was simply pay the rental fee for the Garden and give away the tickets until the venue was filled. Even Benny Hinn, as money grubbing as he is has never charged for a miracle crusade! What is more after people pay the fee to listen to Joel he has a multitude of tables set up inside of each venue selling his books, tapes and CD’s. So Joel is not only guaranteed a dollar amount per seat, he makes additional money from the sales of his materials on top of it. Whatever happened to holding an event and asking for a donation from those in attendance? If they wish to purchase his materials on the way out then fine and dandy. (5)

Joel:  Hey, you know, you need to write the church, because we’ll make a way that anybody can get in to those events. I don’t like charging.

King: What do you charge?

Osteen: $10.00

I am glad to hear that if one writes Lakewood Church Joel has promised to make a way for anybody to get in. I plan to write them because he is coming to Detroit and I will not pay a cent to hear him or anyone preachMy question is if Joel does not like charging, then why does he do it? Who is running the ship? It is not a question of money, he has enough money personally to bankroll the events and charge nothing at all. I am also curious to know where the proceeds go. Does the profit go to Osteen personally? Does it go to Lakewood Church?

The arena at Madison Square Garden seats 19, 522 people, at $10.00 a person that equals $195,220 per evening. Multiply this by two sold-out evenings you have $390,440, plus add in additional merchandise revenue. So in two evenings Osteen took in around half a million dollars. When he comes to the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mi. we have a seating capacity of 22,076, assuming he sells out this venue (minus the cost of my ticket) he will make a little over a quarter of a million dollars. He has 20 events scheduled for 2005. At a minimum Osteen will take in somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million dollars in appearances alone. When you add this amount to his undoubtedly large salary as senior pastor at Lakewood, plus the income from his best selling books along with the accompanying ‘Journal’ you can understand why Joel is always smiling… smiling all the way to the bank.

I would like to believe Joel is sincere and as down to earth as he attempts to be on television. Yet I am beginning to have my doubts about his sincerity as I begin to do the math and see the marketing. I have always been concerned over his lack of a sound biblical message, but now I am beginning to believe he is just another charismatic star, getting as much money out of sign-seeking people as fast as he can before the next superstar eclipses him. He is a young man and there is time for him to repent and obtain the pastoral training he so desperately needs. He might even wake up one day and see the poverty and suffering of his brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and begin to divest himself of his millions and actually live to give to those in need. Well at least that is my prayer for Mr. Osteen. I will keep you apprised of what happens regarding my ticket request or any other insights regarding the man with America’s largest congregation. ♦ 

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.crossings.org/thursday/Thur121803.htm

2. Luther, Martin, sermon on Galatians in 1532. Underlining added.

3. Luther, Martin, Luther’s Works, Saint Louis edition, 11:81ff. Underlining added.

4. DMI offers a very good CD entitled “Total Depravity” taught by Rev. Liichow and it is available from DMI for $5.00 plus 1.00 for shipping and handling.

5. DMI has no problem with Joel or anyone selling their books or materials at a fair price. There are legitimate costs in production, time and marketing. It is completely another issue to “charge” people to hear one “preach” a message.

As of 08-0105 you could obtain the entire transcript of Osteen’s interview at

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/1k1.01