Truth Matters Newsletter Sept 2013 Extra Article

8 10 2013

Measles Outbreak in Copeland’s Congregation. How Can These Things Be?
By the Rev. Robert S. Liichow
Heresy Hunter, Master Sniper First Class
Dr. of Doctrine, Founder of The I.O.H.H.
Grand Pooh-bah, Humble Slave
Forgiven Sinner

Measles Cases Put Texas Megachurch Under the Microscope http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/measles-cases-put-texas-megachurch-under-scrutiny/image_8cba3753-386f-5843-92b9-47b745014c5f.html

This Aug. 27, 2013, photo shows a sign at the entrance of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries Eagle Mountain Church, in Newark, Texas. The Texas megachurch is linked to at least 21 cases of measles and has been trying to contain the outbreak by hosting vaccination clinics, officials said. (AP Photo/LM Otero): The teachings of televangelist Kenneth Copeland and his family focusing on the virtues of trusting God to keep healthy are under scrutiny after a cluster of measles cases linked to his family’s North Texas megachurch revealed many congregants hadn’t been vaccinated against this highly contagious disease. (1)

On September 3, 2013 I was honored to speak on the nationally syndicated radio program Issues, Etc. regarding the very recent outbreak of the highly contagious disease, measles in the pseudo-Church called “Eagle Mountain.”

In the Word of Faith (WOF) cult, the worldview they present is MECHANISTIC —- the universe operates on SPIRITUAL LAWS. If one understands these spiritual laws and principles, then one can live a life of health, financial prosperity and victory. In the past I have personally heard Mr. Copeland say “if you play the game right you win” —- this was in reference to properly working the spiritual laws that govern this life. Obviously, with over twenty people sick with the measles Copeland’s people are not “winning” the battle over disease.

According to their doctrine sickness is a result of the curse that came upon the earth due to Adam’s sin. Jesus came and destroyed the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) and thus they believe it is the will of God that all of His children walk free from the ravages of the curse in this life. This freedom is not ours automatically upon regeneration; we have been given the spiritual force
of faith which is the “key” to unlock the treasures of heaven, to move mountains, to literally create reality.

Sickness is not viewed as a result of simply living in a fallen world due to sin. Everything we experience is more or less “causative” in nature. All good and evil experienced (blessing or curse) has a reason or cause for being, either God, man or the devil. Marilyn Hickey, the aging WOF docent of deceivers taught us in Robert Tilton’s Satellite Bible School in the 1980’s a “bedrock” Bible text proving what I have just restated:

As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, So the curse causeless shall not come. Proverbs 26:2

There is always a cause for a curse and sickness is a curse, therefore there must be: (1) a cause and (2) a solution. The Bible tells us that we are not to give the devil any place (see Eph. 4:27). Satan cannot simply come into our lives and “do” things to us; we must give him the permission to do so. Copeland and the others of his ilk teach that we give the devil permission either through passive acceptance of whatever comes our way or through speaking the wrong negative words.

Here are some of the usual reasons cited for “faith failures” and all of these reasons can be equally applied to any area in which faith was exercised and the desired result was not obtained.

Shots Are For the Weak in Faith

Vaccinated? According to the article many people at Copeland’s church had never been vaccinated at all and the reason why is because their leader, Mr. Copeland is on record as being against getting vaccinated. Why? The WOF cult teaches that people get vaccinated out of fear. Those who get the shots do so because (1) they have been misinformed so they passively do whatever they are told to do and (2) others are afraid of getting whatever the disease the shot(s) is created to resist.

Fear is the direct opposite force from faith. Fear, doubt and unbelief unleash Satan and his demons and our lack of faith is like a huge “come and dine” sign over our heads somehow in the spirit realm. Getting a shot is tantamount to saying “I don’t trust God to keep me safe from the measles.” Getting a shot is saying “I am afraid.” We all know what happened to Job, right?

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, And that which I was afraid of is come unto me. Job 3:25

The result of his fear was that the very thing he was afraid of came upon him. Thus (implied without having to actually say it) if one, say gets a shot, then the odds are pretty good they might get sick. (2) How is that for cultic logic?

The end result is a congregation filled tightly with people who have never been vaccinated at all and others who’ve let their booster shots lapse. To those of us who live in “Realville” (a little Rush Limbaugh lingo) this would seem to be the optimal place for an outbreak to occur!

Without knowing any of the sick people involved I can assure you how this outbreak took place. First “Patient Zero” (could be an adult or child) begins by feeling some of the symptoms of being sick (in this case with the measles). In the WOF when you do not feel something is right REBUKE IT immediately in Jesus name. As a child of God, a member of the Kingdom of God, priest and a king sickness has no place in you.

As to the symptoms, why “dad” Hagin told us many times that “the shadow of a dog never bit anyone,” this was in reference to his having had “symptoms” of a headache but had not had an actual headache in over thirty years. The point is simply this — having the symptoms of an illness ARE NOT the same as having the illness itself in their thinking. Thus just feeling sick and having some symptoms are no reason to stay home, in fact, which is what the devil wants you to do, stay away from church!

Patient Zero rebukes the symptoms, is unmoved by the way he or she feels and bless God goes to church. Patient Zero is unconcerned about hugging a bunch of folks because he is the “healed” whom Satan is trying to convince is sick. Over the next few hours Patient Zero sits tightly packed with a multitude of others like a sardine and afterwards maybe share a crumpet and coffee in the fellowship room. Is there really any mystery how 21 people came down with measles?

Know Your Limitations

Faith grows as it is used. How does a person of faith get sick? We were taught that faith was like a muscle; it develops and grows stronger through use. This is why the first thing people learn to do in WOF circles is to speak only positive “faith-filled” words over every circumstance in life. You begin by confessing for a “good day” or a “parking space” in the mall and as you receive the result(s) of your free exercise of your faith your faith grows stronger. In the gym you do not begin by bench pressing 300 pounds, you begin with a 5 lb. dumb bell and grow to where you can easily lift the 300 pound weights. Even so with the force of faith. Their view is NO DIFFERENT than young Luke Skywalker starting by lifting a small rock and then after some additional Jedi training Luke is able to lift his entire fighter out of the primordial goo! Thus if a WOF’er has not been faithfully expressing their faith in words and corresponding actions they will be unable to “lift” the weight of the illness attacking them. If you do not know how to get “victory” over a headache, then forget battling measles or cancer!

It’s All in Your Head

Head knowledge will not get one healed. Obviously (to the WOF adept, such as myself) these people got measles because they possessed only a head knowledge regarding divine healing, divine health and divine life. This is a bit confusing so stick with me here — we must renews our minds (Rom. 12:1-3) but in the WOF cult, this is but a part of the process. WOF’ cultists all begin by “faking it till they make it.” Everyone begins by feeding new biblical data into their brains. This is done by hearing the Word taught and by confessing it ourselves. From our minds the Word eventually makes its way down (up?) into our re-born spirits. Then when it is confessed from our spirits NOT our minds it comes out with divine power and produces the result confessed. How does the person know if they have a genuine spiritual revelation or merely a head-knowledge? The proof is in the pudding, i.e. results demonstrate the validity of the faith confessed. One person confesses divine healing and is healed — he had the revelation, the person next to him confesses the same thing and remains sick — she had only head knowledge. The formula for success is really very simple: (1) Confess what you want, (2) speak to the mountain, (3) doubt not and (4) believe that you have received what you confessed and you shall have it (assuming you do not violate any of the spiritual laws I am writing about in their article) and this dogma comes via Mark 11:24.

Sickness a Result of Personal Sin

Unconfessed sin in the life of a believer will immediately STOP the power of God from flowing.

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

I remember getting food poisoning while a student at the University of Michigan, at the time I was attending a small Pentecostal Church of God in Ann Arbor. The pastor’s son, Timmy, used to pick me up for church and that morning I told him I was sick as a dog. His first question was “is there any sin in your life?” I thought about it for a moment, but realizing that now I am “the righteousness of God in Christ” (see 2 Cor. 5:21) and that I used to be a sinner, but now I am saved, thus sin could only be a remote possibility. So I told Timmy “no” not to my knowledge, and he dragged me off to worship service.

This is an area that is very lightly considered, because WOF people do not see themselves as sinners any longer. Sin is in the past, they are children of God now period. When a WOF’er falls into sin it is because of a lack of mental renewal in that specific area (more data will usually correct the problem) versus something inherent within them, i.e. the old man. For the WOF devotee to confess that they are “sinful and unclean” is an impossibility. They simply do not believe this to be true of a Christian.

I See You Devil

Satanic attack by the devil himself or his demons is a very real possibility. What was very sad in looking back was how we in the SINistry viewed the congregant’s sickness as evidence of the above causes (I could have thrown in lack of tithing on the gross too) but any attack on SINisters was viewed as a demonic assault. When leaders got sick it was due to them being highly anointed and pivotal soldiers in God’s army. When leaders got attacked the entire congregation would fast, pray (sometimes this same care was shown towards others in distress, but always for the leaders) and rebuke the enemy. Any problems in the lives of our leaders were a sign that the followers had wittingly or unwittingly let down the hedge of protection (a little Job 3:23 lingo) around this valuable spiritual commodity.

These are some of the usually responses trotted out by the various sign-gift enthusiasts to help explain away the obvious “faith-failures.” In the case of Mr. Copeland, we simply see what happens when a large group of people ignore common sense. Why not get vaccinated and trust the Lord to keep you safe from anything harmful in the vaccine? I can assure you that those people who did get sick took medicine; some went to the hospitals for treatment and now clinics are being held in the Eagle Mountain facility (I cannot call it a church in good conscience) which has to be an affront to Mr. Copeland’s great faith. Please remember the people involved in this incident. I know that many of them have had their understanding of faith, divine healing, and themselves rocked by this outbreak (thanks be to God) let us pray that our Lord uses this to wake up His people to the error of their ways.

Why didn’t Kenneth Copeland heal those sickened in his midst? He stated on television 9/8/13 that “we are as much like God as Jesus is,” the Jesus I serve healed them all (Luke 4:40; 4:19) and Mr. Copeland has healed no one ever. Frankly, I seriously doubt Mr. Copeland laid hands on any of the infected, and if he did where are the results?

Thankfully only 21 people were infected and none of them has died as a result of their lack of wisdom. Time does not permit me to share the many reports of people who DIED because they “stood in faith” trusting a manmade doctrine regarding their healing, a doctrine God did not and does not honor. I personally hope that our Lord uses this “chastisement” of the flesh to cause those in error to turn back to the ancient and narrow road of orthodox Christianity.

ENDNOTES:
1. Obtained from http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/measles-cases-put-texas-megachurch-under-scrutiny/image_8cba3753-386f-5843-92b9-47b745014c5f.html
2. Here is the cold reality. If one is consistent in practicing the WOF doctrine regarding divine healing then one would not have any health insurance, no medicines of any variety in their homes and they would have their children at home as well. 99% of most divine healing professors are not really “trusting God” as they proclaim to others because they do use doctors, do take medicine and generally have their children in hospitals. I know of only a few sign-gift groups that are truly considered “full-faith” (as my wife and I were for a time) and what became known as “hyper-faith” by the detractors




BE AWARE

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 BE AWARE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

Che Ahn — prophetic movement, signs and wonders devotee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stacy & Wesley Campbell — false prophet & prophetess

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

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

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

Kim Clement — false prophet, teacher, TBN darling

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

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

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

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

Jesse Duplantis —WOF heretic, false prophet, false teacher

Francis Frangipane — Latter Rain dominionist heretic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joyce Meyer — WOF heretic, false teacher

Copyright ©2012 Robert S. Liichow





THE 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.

 





Christological Confusions

21 01 2011

Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 1 – Christological Confusions – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Christological Confusions

Rev. Bob Liichow

 In the last few weeks Discernment Ministries International has received emails expressing concern over our belief in the Trinity of God. One would think that after two thousand years of biblical study and scholarly debate questions about the nature of the godhead would have been satisfactorily answered. The truth is they have been. The Church Catholic (universal) has been united in the following belief:

Whoever wills to be in a state of salvation, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith, which except everyone shall have kept whole and undefiled without doubt he will perish eternally. Now the Catholic Faith is that we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is One, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. (1)

The orthodox Christian Church worships one God in Three Persons. I italicized the word person because our finite human language breaks down in many of our attempts to express eternal and timeless truth. Nonetheless, “person” is an adequate term to use because the word “person” is used to describe the three members of the Godhead because the word “person” is appropriate. A person is self-aware, can speak, love, hate, say “you,” yours,” “me,” “mine,” etc.

Each of the three persons in the Trinity demonstrate these qualities throughout the scriptures. The Bible is very clear concerning the fact that there is but One God yet is seen operating as Three within the One. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as the Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are the one God.

One of the recent emails excoriating DMI was regarding our declaring Mr. William M. Branham a heretic and telling people that he was a “Oneness” believer. The person writing us was partially correct in their diatribe by stating that Branham was not a member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the WORLD (PAW) or the Apostolic Pentecostal Church; both Oneness denominations. They were correct in that Mr. Branham denounced all denominations as being of the great whore Babylon and was a member of none. However, Mr. Branham and all his followers deny the reality of the Trinity. A fellow truth-teller and Apologist Eric Pement wrote the following concerning Branham’s view on the godhead:

From his earliest days, Branham rejected the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He thundered, “Trinitarianism is of the Devil! I say that THUS SAITH THE LORD.” Branham insisted that the Trinity doctrine originated with Satan, and that it taught there were “three gods.” Therefore he directed that any believer who was baptized according to the triune formula given in Matthew 28:19 should be rebaptized “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Branham generally described the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as being three “titles,” offices,” attributes,” or “merits” of God. The problem with this explanation is that titles, offices, attributes, or merits cannot relate to one another on a personal level. (2)

I have written many articles about Mr. Branham and they can be read on our website or by visiting our BLOG which has all of the extant Truth Matters for your viewing pleasure. This being the case let me just mention Branham again briefly for those who are newer readers and may be unfamiliar with some of the background of this Arch-heretic.

Branham is probably one of the most widely followed revivalists of our era. He was killed by a drunk driver in the mid 1960’s. At the time of his death Branham’s popularity had taken a huge downward spiral. He had taught too many bizarre teachings and uttered various strange prophetic words that were simply too much for the mainstream Pentecostals to swallow. So at the end of his life, his revival meetings dwindled in size. Sadly, Branham was one of the first men to really utilize technology in his meetings. The result was that we have virtually all of his revival sermons on audio and many hours on 16mm tape. Branham is almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of the ten thousand plus independent charismatic congregations.

Branham’s warning to leave denominationalism almost destroyed the Assemblies of God (AOG) denomination due to the fact they lost of many of their pastors! After his death he became mythic in stature largely in part due to the other revivalists who tried to raise him from the dead for several days after his car accident! Men like Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, A.A Allen, Gordon Lindsey lauded and praised this man at his funeral as the greatest prophet of their generation. The end result? Today there are over 20,000 web sites dealing with this heretic. Hundreds of Branhamite congregations (aka groups) which do nothing but listen to his past sermons, watch him on video and read about him and spread his message!

Naturally, this Bran Amite (3) felt led to correct my views both on Mr. Branham and the Trinity of God. He failed in both arenas because there was nothing to correct regarding my understanding of both topics.

What Did Branham Believe About the godhead?

In a nutshell Branham believed nothing unique or new about God, in fact, he bought in an ancient heresy (unbeknown to him, Branham had less than an eighth grad education). Branham and the Oneness Pentecostals believe in “Jesus only.” Their churches are known among other Trinitarian Pentecostals as Jesus Only churches. Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son and Jesus is the Holy Spirit, there is no God but Jesus Christ, He is the One God.

Even though this ancient heresy was soundly rebuked, defeated and anathematized (declared a soul damning heresy) time and time again by The Church it still has persisted. Without going over eras of church history suffice it to say this heresy was virtually dead until 1913.

The Azusa revival of 1906 was already slowing down by 1913 and it was during a revival meeting in Los Angeles in 1913 that whipped things up again. This time a Canadian man named R.E. McAlister began to re-baptize converts in Jesus name only. This initially brought some confusion and debate. McAlister and his followers broke off from their fledgling Pentecostal brethren and took steps to formalize their doctrinal stance. The result was that today the fastest growing Pentecostal denominations are the Oneness Pentecostals which include the following organized groups: United Pentecostal Church International (UPC), Apostolic World Christian Federation, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). (4)

Within two years this reincarnation of ancient heresy was solidified into specific beliefs. Some of these beliefs included the need to be baptized by immersion in Jesus name only. This is a prerequisite to salvation, you must be baptized in Jesus name. What is more you must speak in other tongues as proof of having obtained full salvation. Thrown into the mix is a mishmash of Wesleyan holiness (works) and a firm belief that they are the only true Church.

Their Ancient Error

Several heretics arose in the early Church (there really are no “new” heresies per se). The “Jesus only” heresy is attributed to Sabellius, who taught a form of this doctrine in Rome in the third century. The Lord raised up as the chief opponent of Sabellianism a man named Tertullian, who labeled the movement “Patripassianism,” from the Latin words patris for “father”, and passus for “to suffer” because it implied that the Father suffered on the Cross. Sabellius, Praxeas, Noetus all fell into the error of “modalism” which simply means God takes upon Himself “modes” or simply appears in different forms but is the same and One God.

The Monarchians properly so-called (Modalists) exaggerated the oneness of the Father and the Son so as to make them but one Person; thus the distinctions in the Holy Trinity are energies or modes, not Persons; God the Father appears on earth as Son; hence it seemed to their opponents that Monarchians made the Father suffer and die. In the West they were called Patripassians, whereas in the East they are usually called Sabellians. The first to visit Rome was probably Praxeas, who went on to Carthage some time before 206-208; but he was apparently not in reality a heresiarch, and the arguments refuted by Tertullian somewhat later in his book “Adversus Praxean” are doubtless those of the Roman Monarchians. (5)

This error denies the individuality within the godhead and no doubt came about in an attempt to secure the place of deity for Jesus Christ. However in their attempt “making” Jesus to be God they veered off into error.

I asked the writer several simple valid questions which he refused to answer. In fact, when you encounter a Oneness dupe I would urge you to consider asking some of these same questions found on the following page.

 

Some challenging Questions To Ask The Arians at Your Doorstep and other Places

1. Is Jesus His own Father?

2. If Jesus’ will and the Father’s will were identical, then why did Jesus express the desire to escape the cup but resigns Himself not to His own will, but the will of the Father? See my article on this.

3. Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane? If so, why?

4. If Jesus was praying to the divine side of Himself, then isn’t He still praying to Himself?

5. Why was Jesus not saying, “Not My will, but MY will be done?” if there is only one person and one will involved when He was praying in Luke 22:42 & Matt. 26:39 ?

6. If baptism is essential for salvation, then what happens to someone who repents of sin, accepts Jesus as Savior, walks across the street to get baptized but is killed by a car. Does he go to heaven or hell?

A. If he goes to heaven, then baptism isn’t a requirement is it?

B. If he goes to hell, then faith in Christ isn’t sufficient to save him is it?

7. If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” If God is only one person, why does Jesus say, “we”?

They have no adequate biblical response in attempting to answer these questions. Within Pentecostalism there has been a debate as to whether or not their Oneness compatriots are in fact Christians. I can answer that question very easily no debate necessary.  NO!   These people are guilty of preaching another Gospel [see 2 Cor. 11:4]. They present a system of works righteousness from the beginning to the end. Obviously they proclaim another Christ [see 2 Cor. 11:4] and if you are wrong regarding the Person and work of Jesus, then frankly, it matters not what one is right about. Lastly, they advance another spirit [see 2 Cor. 11:4] who is not the Holy Spirit as revealed in Scripture. How sad to go to church and worship someone you really do not know, and more importantly does not know you!

The second type of email to challenge DMI’s Trinitarian stance came from the other side of the heretical Christological morass of delusion, i.e. that Jesus is not God at all.

There were several heretics involved in attempting to mislead the church, time and space permit only touching on a few of the “bigs.” The following people taught more or less the same error with some subtle nuances that are unimportant to this discussion. These deceived deceivers taught that Jesus was the first created being by the Father. Thus in their system the godhead consists of God the Father period. Jesus is His first and greatest creation and the Holy Spirit is simply the spirit of the Father God. To them Jesus is not God, nor is the Holy Spirit.

Arius is probably one of the best documented of the heretics of this stripe. His beliefs can be boiled down to the following statement:

Using Greek terms, it denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is not consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and therefore not like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real sphere of Deity. (6)

The views of Arius were sounded defeated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Almost 1,200 years later another somewhat similar error erupted in the 1500’s called “Socinianism” so named after the two brothers whom espoused this aberrant doctrine. They taught the following:

Socinianism denies the doctrine of the Trinity claiming it denies the simplicity of God’s unity. Instead, God is a single person with the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Since it emphasizes the unity of God, there could be no divine and human union in a single person as Christ. Therefore, Socinianism denies the incarnation and deity of Christ as well as Christ’s pre-existence…Since Jesus is not divine by nature, His sacrifice was not efficacious; that is, it did not result in the redemption of people who would trust in it, it teaches that Jesus was only a man.   (7)

Socinianism furthermore denies the efficacy of infant baptism, the reality of eternal damnation in hell, opting for annihilation of the wicked. To these people the Bible is only authoritative as properly understood [rationalism] by themselves.

Monophysitism was another heretical attempt to wrest Christ from the godhead. Monophysitism is heretical because of its erroneous assertions that the nature of Christ had only one nature, not two as is taught in the correct doctrine of the hypostatic union (Jesus is both fully God and fully man). The problem here is the same as concerning the above views:

The denial of the human nature of Christ is a denial of the true incarnation of the Word as a man. Without a true incarnation there can be no atonement of sin for mankind since it was not then a true man who died for our sins. (8)

Fortunately, this view was defeated at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680-681 A.D. Even though it was defeated by the Church and shown to be a heretical view it still exists today. What is more is that you have probably encountered the descendants of Arius and the Socinian brothers!

Today the most vocal voice spewing Arian heresy is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Within the first few minutes of conversation they will deny that the Trinity exists, they will deny that Jesus is God the Son from all eternity. They will tell you that Jesus is the first and highest creation of Jehovah, as such He is referred to as a “son” but He is a created being. There is a vast amount of research material available free of charge on our website and the internet on how to answer the J.W.’s when they come knocking on your door.

Another popular group in America which holds forth Arianism along with other cultic beliefs is the Unitarian Universalist Church. Sadly, a purely American invention. Fortunately one that does not have a tremendous impact, unlike the J.W.’s who are very busy (after all their salvation depends on it).

Within the same week DMI received emails espousing these two heretical views of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is apparent that people outside the major cult groups (J.W.’s etc.) are beset with damnable ignorance about the biblical Jesus. This is ignorance the Church banished hundreds of years ago!

People historically have erred concerning whether Jesus was divine or not. Some exalt Him to being the only True God, others say He is n o God at all. If this was not confusing enough there is another category of error DMI has yet to be asked about, that being, the heresy regarding the two natures of Christ.

Monothelitism attempted to avoid the apparently unsolvable question of whether Christ had two natures, one human and one divine, or only one nature. Rather it placed the focus on stating that the nature(s) had only one will and one operation, although, still Christ was defined to have two natures. Nestorius, a priest is often sited as an originator of this error. By the Third Council of Constantinople, where the idea of Monothelitism was debated ended with declaring Christ with two wills and two operations, both together in the body of Christ.

Eutychianism is similar to Monophycitism. It states that Christ’s natures were so thoroughly combined — in a sense scrambled together — that the result was that Christ was not really truly able to relate to us as humans. The problem is this implies that Jesus was not truly God nor man. Therefore, He would be unable to act as mediator and unable to truly atone for our sins. (9) We don’t encounter many folks like this proclaiming to be Christians today. This mis-belief is an ancient one that the Apostles encountered taught by the Docetists. They taught that Jesus only “appeared” to be a man, that He was really God and thus His sufferings were just an illusion, etc…

Tritheism is what the Orthodox Church is accused of by the ignorant and unlearned. This is the concept of three gods, distinct, yet in union. All the cults and Islam in particular declare we worship a three-headed god or worse yet, three distinct gods.

Jesse Duplantis in his book Heaven, Close Encounters of the God Kind, which book DMI has thoroughly debunked and proven this work to be both plagiarized and a blasphemous document [AGAIN CHECK OUR BLOG FOR THESE ARTICLES ON DUPLANTIS & HIS LIES].

While allegedly in the throne room of heaven, Jesse on his face just takes a quick peek into the events before his eyes! He declares to his angel guide that He saw the father’s feet (no man can see God and live, right?), he saw Jesus preaching in the throne room (hmmm isn’t Jesus “God” saw him and lived). Then Jesse says to his angel guide “I see the Father, I see Jesus, but where is the Holy Spirit?” His angelic guide “oh Jesse, He is on earth!” Immediately Jesse said he felt so stupid for even asking the question!!! This man is followed by millions! His book is in many languages and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies! Yet he is a liar, false teacher, thief, and a deceiver who does not know the God of the Bible.

It is easy to see how the unregenerate can fall into accusing us of worshipping three gods especially when we tell them that the Father is God, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God, these three are the One God — their minds go TILT. Three persons, each “God” how can that not be three gods? The answer is simple — because God has given us His Word and in it we clearly see three divine persons and yet a uniform testimony of the fact that here is but One God.

Can we fully understand the nature of the godhead? No, and honestly, I doubt we ever will fully understand everything about God a billion years from now. What I do have is God’s Word and my role as a disciple is to bow my pride and hugely vast intellect [lol] to the authority of His Word and renew my mind to its sublime truths and to teach others the truths contained therein by example and rhetoric.

In closing I would urge our readers to consider beginning the new year off by boning up on some of the foundational doctrines of our faith because it is here, at the foundation, that the cultists attack. Here are a few good books to consider for your library. As always, I advise anyone to go to www.abebooks.com and try to buy these tomes used.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

Some Titles to Consider

1. A Summary of Christian Doctrine Edward W.A. Koehler

2. Know What You Believe, Paul E. Little

3. How to read the Bible For All It is Worth Dr. Gordon Fee

4. Systematic Theology, Millard Ericson

End Notes

1. The Athanasian Creed, underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

 2. Obtained from http://www.midwestoutreach.org/journals/branham_tree.html on 01-06-11

3. DMI over the years have received several emails regarding Mr. Branham. It seems part of his followers ministry is to scour the internet and challenge all who dare doubt “prophet” Branham.

4. What is amazing and telling about the history of American Pentecostalism is that after the Azusa revival 4 main divisions fissured almost immediately. The AOG & COGIC (Church of God in Christ) are Trinitarian in doctrine, but split over racism. The AOG being virtually all white and COGIC being all black. Then within the heretic modalist group also split into 2 branches, again based on race and not doctrine. So much for “Holy Ghost love” and “union.”

5. Obtained from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10448a.htm on 01-06-2011

6. Obtained from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01707c.htm.

7. Obtained from http://carm.org/socinianism on 01-07-2011

8. Ibid

9. Obtained from http://www.experiencefestival.com/





Liar Liar Pants on Fire – Jesse Duplantis Stands by His Tall Tale of Heaven

11 05 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 2 – Liar Liar Pants on Fire – Jesse Duplantis Stands by His Tall Tale of Heaven – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Jesse Duplantis Stands by His Tall Tale of Heaven

By Rev. Robert Liichow

"Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies" lyric from 'The Undisputed Truth"

Last month DMI dealt specifically with Oral Roberts and his very questionable legacy. I, like most people, do not want to see a man who told straight faced lies (or was so deeply deceived he really thought he was telling the truth) to God’s people in God’s name. It is simply outrageous that no one within Pentecostalism ever publicly took Oral Roberts to task. There has never been a time when Pentecostalism was a unified front in America and has never had any real overall structural leadership. This allows all their ministers to basically oversee themselves and account to no one, accept possibly their Board of Directors which often consists of family members and/or close personal friends who subsist off the fortunes of the SINistry.

Brothers and sisters Truth Matters. One of the immutable characteristics of God is His verity or inherent truthfulness. Since God’s nature is unchanging He is eternally truthful everything He does and we being created in His image He demands truthfulness from all creation. The Bible is filled with commands for us to be truthful in all our deeds: We are told not to bear false witness against our neighbor (see Ex. 20:19) or even more seriously lying in the name of our Lord (see Ex. 20:7). Here alone 20% of the 10 commandments demand truthfulness in our dealings with God and man. Two of the 7 things the Lord hates are (Prov. 6:17-19). (1) A lying witness who bears false testimony and (2) A lying tongue. Here 33% of the emphasis here is further insight into how much God hates the telling of lies. ‘These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates” ( read Zechariah 8:16). The Bible ends with a somber warning in Rev. 21:8 “…all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” What does this mean (a good Lutheran question)? It means, obviously, that God places a very strong emphasis on trustworthiness of our words and actions.

My dear brothers and sisters we must never lose sight of the fact that we are representatives, ambassadors for Christ in this world (read 2 Cor. 5:20). God Himself calls and sees us as living epistles know and read of all men (see 2 Cor. 3:2). By lying we can never represent our God in any form or fashion. There is no darkness in Him, there is no crookedness in His dealings and as His ambassadors there ought not be any dishonesty in our representation of Him.

With the aforementioned in mind let us again reconsider some of the claims of Mr. Duplantis and his alleged trip to heaven and compare it with the Word of God which we know is holy and inerrant in Its testimony.

Mr. Duplantis has built his SINistry in large part on sharing many alleged supernatural experiences the most detailed and widely shared is his account of going to heaven including a visit to the throne of Almighty God. The following citations are taken from Mr. Duplantis book entitled “Heaven, Close Encounters of the God Kind.”

In August 1988 Rev. Duplantis was preaching a revival in Magnolia Arkansas. He feels impressed to go back to his hotel room and pray about the service that evening. He notices the clock (again) it was one minute before one o’clock. He gets down on his knees and gets ready to pray then

“Suddenly I felt a suction as if I was being pulled up out of the room…I heard a sound Whoose! And I was pulled up out of the room…I didn’t know I had left the room and I was zooming along at a phenomenal rate of speed…in something like a cable car…Then I looked up. There stood another being I realized that it was the blond-headed angel who had visited me…”You have an appointment with the Lord God Jehovah.” (1)

Jesse has an out-of-body experience and finds himself in an angelic cable car with the same angel who told him to get some sleep. This time we are told why this is happening, Jesse has an appointment with the Lord God Jehovah!

“As I stepped out of the chariot, everything I saw was so beautiful. I had always thought that when I went to heaven I would see only a city. But the first place I saw was Paradise; it hadn’t been destroyed. Paradise is a big place, completely surrounding the Holy City. It is like being on another planet.”  (2)

We are now informed that Paradise has (1) not been destroyed, (2) paradise is a big place, and (3) paradise completely surrounds the Holy City. Not only is this without any Biblical proof, but we seem to have a dichotomy between Mrs. Baxter’s revelation in our last section and Jesse’s revelation now. Jesus personally showed Mrs. Baxter that Paradise has been taken over by Satan in hell. Yet now, a few years later we find that Paradise is now sort of the suburbs of heaven. Who are we to believe? Which is it? Is Paradise in hell or in heaven? These two nationally known charismatic teachers both claim to have had genuine experiences but their experiences in no way agree! This is a logical impossibility. Even if their accounts internally agreed with each other they are still at complete variance with the Bible, and must be discounted.

Jesse begins to describe the heavenly scene. He sees children, animals, beautiful flowers, the River of life and trees lining the River of life with thousands of people standing around under the trees. Jesse notices something that again is a totally new insight regarding some sort of caste system in heaven:

Then I saw other people who didn’t have on robes; they were wearing gowns. They started walking toward the city, but they seemed to get weak. I saw them walk over to the trees, pick what looked like fruit and eat it. Then they took some leaves off those trees, put the leaves up to their faces and breathed in, smelling them. I asked the angel, “What’s happening? He said, ‘Some of them have not lived the life they should. They believe in God and love Jesus, but they didn’t live to their fullest potential…Yes God is merciful to them,” he said. “But they have to be prepared to stand in the presence of the Almighty.” (3)

Even in heaven some people will have to work to make themselves ready to stand in the presence of God. They did not live up to their fullest potential on earth, so now they have to do some more works in heaven…then they can face God. The work of Christ is not enough, it obviously is not a finished work, we still have to do our part to make ourselves ready to face God. Hebrews 9:12 tells us that the work Jesus Christ did on the cross obtained for us an eternal redemption. Yet it appears, according to Duplantis, we still have to work on becoming perfected even in heaven.

“Some people don’t live close to God the way they should. They know Jesus as their Savior, but they could do so much better. In heaven they will eventually be able to go to God’s Throne, but it takes more time for them. (4)

Duplantis does not explain what it takes to “live close to God” but it obviously involves some type of work(s) on our part. I have no problem with the fact that one can live a dynamic Christian life or a mediocre one on earth. I have no problem with teaching that people will receive varying degrees of reward from the Master at the Judgment Seat of Christ. I have an extreme problem with people having to do some form of works in order to merit an audience with the God who loved them so much He sent His only Begotten Son to die for us! This insight is a lie because it directly contradicts Biblical teaching.

Romans 3:26

For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 12:23

To the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,

With nothing more than a quick glance through the New Testament anyone can see that the one who has placed their trust in the work of Christ (as opposed to their own works which can never save or justify) and declared to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:17-21). We are exhorted to draw near with confidence (parresia, Greek NAS 3954; from Greek 3956 (pas) and rhesis (speech); freedom of speech, confidence, boldness, boldness of speech, confidently, openly).   (4)

Why then does this change in heaven? Why does one have to eat fruit and smell leaves in (works) in order to approach the throne of our God? The blood of Christ has perfected us in God the Father’s eyes. However, Jesse’s experience gives us what really takes place in heaven.

“When I began to feel weak, the angel walked over to one of those trees picked some of its fruit and brought it back to me…The angel said to me, ‘Eat this fruit so you will be able to withstand the glory of God. (5)

It appears that Jesse himself at this point has not been living as close to God as he should have been, even though in his walk with God thus far he had: (1) God previously appeared to him; (2) he’s seen angels, and (3) been supernaturally teleported to Lafayette, and (4) now is in heaven! Yet, even the highly “favored” Duplantis needs to eat some angelic fruit so he can withstand the glory of God!

Jesse Meets Abraham

After eating the fruit the angel asks if he is thirsty, he is, and lo and behold, father Abraham is close by and he comes with a golden goblet to give Jesse a drink. This wise looking fellow comes over and Jesse asks him who he is. Here is the response:

“I’m Abraham, Paradise is my place…I felt I knew him like I knew my father. I fell down on my face before him; but he said; ‘Stand to your feet. The only One you worship is the Lord God…I meet all the people who come here because Paradise is my bosom.   (6)

Jesse Sees Kids in heaven With Jesus –

After his drink he and the angel keep heading towards his divine appointment with Jehovah God. Then all of the sudden he hears children singing and praising God. What’s more they were carrying little harps (I kid you not). After this insight Jesse and the angel continue their journey to meet Jehovah God. At this point in the story Jesse is given further insight into heaven works system:

“They almost got there; then they stopped, turned around and had to go back. It seems as if they were depressed. I heard someone say, ‘There is no depression here. Just eat of the Tree of Life, smell the leaves for healing and let your spirit grow. You shall stand at the Throne of God.”   (7)

Like my grandfather used to say “close but no cigar.” Obviously these folks had made some progress in their sanctification but still they had to turn back to eating the fruit and smelling the leaves.

Jesse Meets Jesus –

All of the sudden, the angel stopped our chariot and said, ‘Kneel. He’s here.” I felt weak then fell to my knees. The angel handed me some fruit and said, “Eat this.” So I did…Jesus was taller than I thought He would be. I would guess Him to be from five feet eleven inches to six feet one inch…He looked at me and said, “There are many things you shall see and learn here, but I have brought you here so that you will go tell My people I’m coming(8)

Now we know that Jesus is probably just a tad under six feet tall, that He has light brown hair and that He especially wants Jesse Duplantis to tell the Church He is coming. Again, the Bible is not enough, the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy is not enough, we need people to take special trips to heaven and come back to tell us Jesus is coming back for us.

Jesse Meets King David –

Jesus tells Jesse that He wants him to meet another king, king David. David we learn has a read beard and reddish hair. “Jesus said, “Jesse, I want you to meet the king of Israel.” The Lord said, “Take Jesse to his home. Show him what I have prepared for him. Then bring him to My Throne. I must go.”   (9)   David begins to take Jesse to see his heavenly mansion. On the way they go into another home and Jesse meets the Apostle Paul. Of all the questions he could have asked Paul here is what he comes up with:

“I said to Paul, “You went through great persecution.” “Yes”he answered, “but I kept the faith. I focused my life on faith. That’s how you get things done….Never change the message because of the hearers. Speak what God gives you.   (10)

That must have been sweet music indeed to the ears of a Word of Faith teacher like Rev. Duplantis, Paul kept his focus on faith, that is how you get things done! Isn’t that interesting? All this time I thought Paul had said he kept his eyes focused on knowing Christ (Phil 3:10-13).

Now we see that really Paul kept focused on faith, and that it is by the power of faith that things get done! Well the angel has to move Jesse along, he still has an appointment at the Throne of God. However, King David tags along with them to fellowship with Jesse. What Rev. Duplantis shares next is extreme heresy, King David is speaking –

“He did use Psalm 223 as an example as he explained, “I allowed God and the anointing to come through in that song. In other songs I sang strongly about my troubles. I think I should have allowed more of the answer to come through, instead of the complaining. Those weren’t his exact words, but I knew that was what he meant. Then he added, “I wish I had written more songs about God’s answers than about my problem.    (11)

There we have it! David allowed God and the anointing to come through on Psalm 23. Some of the other psalms in the Bible , I guess we cannot be so sure about. Like a good “faith man” David wished he had written more about the answer than the problem. David wished he had allowed more of the answer, i.e. God and the anointing, to come through instead of complaining.

I really do not think that Rev. Duplantis has thought through the ramifications of his alleged encounter with King David and David’s comments. David’s comments imply that what he wrote was not equally inspired. Some psalms he yielded to God and the anointing (as though they are separate from one another) and others, he did not yield as much.

Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

2 Tim. 3:15-17

And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Then after this astounding revelation David takes Jesse into his home where here we learn that in heaven “all desires are met here. Everything has been thought of – all your desires and some that you could not even think of.”   (12)

Jesse Finally Makes it to God’s Throne

“I felt weaker and weaker as we approached the Throne room. It looked to me like millions of people were there…When the light from the Throne hit me I couldn’t stand up; I fell down, and the angel gave me more of the fruit…I look up from the floor in the direction of the overwhelming Light, and I saw Him! I saw Elohim, Jehovah God. Yahweh sitting on the Throne! But I saw His feet – only His feet…He is so big – you can’t describe Him in a dimension. His had is huge! His body, the form if it, is sort of like energy, spirit. There’s a wall around the Throne, but the Throne is higher than the wall – that’s why you can see the Throne from every direction, from a distance. And that power, that energy-like smoke of God, covers all around the chair of the Throne itself.     (13)

Jesse still needs to eat the sanctifying fruit even though he has made it up to the very Throne of god. Like Moses he just to see part of God’s body, and not His face. Yet all-in-all even getting to see the feet of Jehovah is more than any of the rest of us have seen! Also we get the extra-Biblical insight about some type of wall around the Throne, I guess some sort of restraining wall to keep Him from being mobbed by adoring family members.

“There was a cloud that looked like smoke going up from the Throne and I heard that massive sound, “whoosh! It was power like I’ve never experienced in my life. Then I saw God’s finger barely move and when it moved, an angel that was flying near Him was thrown up against a wall. Bam! It didn’t hurt the angel.” (14)

I am reminded about the refrain from an old gospel blues song “when the Lord gets ready, you’ve got to move.” that angel must certainly have that as a revelation after getting splattered against the wall. During this time Jesse comes out of the glory of the Father and begins to preach to the assembled crowds “He was a preacher full of victory, shouting and hollering!”  (15)  Jesse enjoys the sermon and asks the angel “where’s the Holy Spirit?” He is on the earth He said.”  (16)  then he remembers this fact and feels “stupid” for asking such a “dumb question” at the Throne of God. So now we know that as of 1996 the Holy Spirit is not in heaven He is on earth. Now if asked, Jesse will admit that God is Three in One, but obviously the One God is somehow separated spatially. In any event, now you know that the Holy Spirit is not currently “in” heaven but is active here on earth.

“I saw new lives of little babies singing and flying around God’s Throne. It seemed to me that babies just came out of the breath of God. They looked like they were wearing nightgowns…I heard them saying God, “Can I be a spirit? Would You send me to earth so I can be a spirit? I want to be a redeemed person. Can I be a spirit? And while I watched, I heard that might sound of God’s power Whoosh! I saw these babies leave the Throne by the power of God.” (18)

Mrs. Baxter saw baby cherubim flying around the Throne of God kissing his face, feet, and hands while singing holy, holy, holy. Rev. Duplantis does not see these baby cherubim instead he see’s some type of proto-babies who want to become “spirits”. What is more these proto-spirit babies ask to be sent to earth and they ask to be redeemed persons. Who makes the determination to become a redeemed person? Obviously we did in our proto-spirit condition when we, in eternity past, flew around the Throne of God in our little nightgowns!

What utter drivel and heresy!  There is not one shred of Scriptural evidence to even remotely infer this type of theology. In fact, like with everything else Mr. Duplantis sees, the bible refutes it thoroughly. Here are just two verses of many –   

John 15:16

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you

Romans 9:11

“(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

I cannot take time to go into the doctrine of election. Yet the Scriptures are plain that it is always God who does the electing, not man! If we take Mr. Duplantis Throne room vision at face value then are we to assume that some babies want to be damned? After all, some ask to be redeemed people, do others ask to be allowed to be damned people? Even Jesse would admit that not everybody is saved, he does believe some folks do go to hell. So if what he saw is true, then those in hell made this choice before they ever came to earth. It is hard to imagine a preacher of the Gospel would write such things, and expect the readers to accept it as truth.

Before Jesse is sent back home to planet earth Jesus explains how He is dreading the day when He has to send some of the creation He loves to hell. “I wanted to reach out and comfort Him, so I put my hand on the Lord…I could tell that Jesus was hurting.”   (19)   Can you imagine? The One who upholds and sustains all things by His power (Heb. 1:3) feels sad and is hurting and Jesse tries to comfort the Lord God Almighty as best he can. In these closing discourses with Jesus, Jesse comes to believe “we can delay His coming by waiting for a sign before we act on His Word…” (20) Through this supernatural gnosis, we learn that people choose their eternal destiny as proto-babies and we also can delay the return of Christ by our actions or inactions. Earl Paulk, must be correct then when he teaches that it is up the Church as to when Jesus returns. Jesse continues to humanize God by saying;

“I didn’t know before how much He needed me to reach out to other people. I have always thought of how much I needed Him, not how much He needs me…He smiled at me and said, “I chose you. NO one else wanted you, and I need you Jesse.   (21)

Jesus Christ needs Jesse Duplantis! I do not doubt that the Lord Jesus loves Jesse Duplantis, I love him too, but I doubt He “needs” Jesse. If you, me or Jesse dies tomorrow God’s plan will roll on without as much as a hitch.

Jesse Comes Back to Planet Earth

Jesse returns to his body and walks up to the front of the church. “Look at Brother Jesse. He’s shining.” There was a light on my face. I had been in the presence of the glory of God.”  (22)  So like Moses, Jesse Duplantis’ face shines with the very presence of God. “I didn’t even preach that night. I didn’t say anything, but people began falling under the power of God’s Spirit! There was ministry throughout the auditorium without me saying any more.”   (23)

What is the result of this trip to heaven? Mr. Duplantis gets to church but does not even preach the gospel, yet apart from the Word & Sacraments we are supposed to believe the Holy Spirit moved! Instead something even greater transpires than preaching the Word, people begin to fall under the power of God’s Spirit. We are not told if anybody came to faith in Christ at the service, nor are we informed if anybody rededicates themselves to serving Christ. All we know, according to Mr. Duplantis, is that people see his face shining and fall into unconsciousness. However, Duplantis does not supply any COOBBERATING testimony to this alleged event.

I must denounce Heaven, A closer Encounter of the God Kind as a work of fiction masquerading as fact. None of his vision and experience remotely resemble what is revealed in the bible. In fact, Duplantis’ revelations contradict Biblical teaching and doctrine.

Out of Christian charity I am willing to grant that brother Duplantis had some type of experience but it was not of the “God Kind.” This leaves us with one of two possibilities, either his experience is demonically inspired or is the result of his overactive imagination. His concept of the doctrine of God, the inerrancy of Scripture, and salvation are aberrant and heretical according to what he relayed in his vision.

Mr. Duplantis is a well known international speaker in Word of Faith circles and yet none of his fellow charismatic leaders seem to have any problem with is revelations. The editors at Harrison House Publishers did not pick up any doctrinal errors or question the validity of his experiences as they proofread his text. “Christian” bookstores seem to have no qualms about selling a book in which the author says the following is absolutely true:

  • As a sinner, feels God presence continually
  • Hears His voice while high on drugs
  • Is personally visited by God
  • Has 100% of his prayers answered
  • Receives a personal message from the Lord’s angel
  • Has a company of angels knock out his audience for half an hour
  • Has he and his car teleported to Lafayette La and Jesse heals a girl near death.
  • Goes to heaven
  • Meets Abraham, Jonah, King David, Jesus, angels, the Apostle Paul, and the Father.
  • Comes back with his face shining like Moses & everyone this thrown into an altered state of consciousness.

Dear brothers and sisters, I hope you can understand why I am concerned about what is foisted upon the Church as a divine revelation when it obviously is not.

There is wide scale deception taking place and little or nothing is being done about it. A person can say or write just about anything and it will be published, sold nationally, and speaking engagements and television appearances will come from it, not to mention large amounts of money. If anybody dares to raise an objection then they are labeled a heresy-hunter and one who is sowing discord among the brethren, which we are constantly reminded is an abomination to God   (Prov. 6:19).

I agree with the prophet Amos when he says there is a famine in the land, one not of bread, but one of hearing the true Word of the Lord. The sign-gift section of the church really needs to get back to the Word of God and judge every experience by it and unflinchingly correct and rebuke those who err and those who want to propagate error. If they will not receive correction, then we must mark or scope out such false teachers and in love correct them and their hearers of their error. It is the only truly loving response there is. ♦

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Duplantis, Jesse, “Heaven A Close Encounter of the God Kind.” Harrison House, 1996, pg. 68-69

2. Ibid. pg. 70’

3. Ibid. pg 72

4. Ibid. pg 75

5. New American Standard Hebrew & Greek Dictionary, NavPress Dd Rom

6. Duplantis, Jesse. “Heaven a Close Encounter of the God Kind. Harrison House. 1996 pg. 76

7. Ibidpg. 76-77

8. Ibid. pg. 83

9. Ibid pg. 85

10. Ibid. pg.

11. Ibid pg. 93

12. Ibid. pg. 97-98

13. Ibid, pp. 100-1-1

14. Ibid pg. 102

15. Duplantis, Jesse. “Heaven, A Close Encounter of the God Kind.” Harrison House, 1996. Pg. 113-114

16. Ibid. pg. 115

17. Ibid. pg. 117

18. Ibid. pg. 118-119

19. Duplantis, Jesse. “Heaven A Close Encounter of the God Kind.” Harrison House. 1996. Pg. 119

20. Ibid. pg. 127

21. Ibid p. 129

22. Ibid. pg. 131

23. Ibid. pg. 138

24. Ibid. pg. 138

It is an eternally serious matter whenever anyone dares to stand up in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and preach/teach His Word. As James 3:1 reminds us: “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”  Why does the teacher receive a stricter judgment? Because God’s people will inherently trust their words, after all, who would dare speak that which is not in the name of the Living God? DMI will make it our business to send by registered mail this newsletter and a letter to Mr. Duplantis seeking an explanation of his heretical statements. We will let you know how it is received by JDM.





Harp & Bowl “Ministry”

1 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 6 – Harp & Bowl Ministry – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Harp & Bowl “Ministry”

(AKA the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David)

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Before being delivered from the doctrinal morass of today’s charismatic movement Tracy and I began to see some of the fledgling steps being made towards what is called today “Harp and Bowl” ministry. What we originally heard being bandied about by various leaders in the “prophetic” movement was the belief in the need to restore the Tabernacle of David in order to facilitate revival and even the return of Christ.

The Tabernacle of David

Non-charismatic, i.e. low-wattage Christians (such a yourselves) no doubt have less than no understanding of what the Tabernacle of David consists of. You probably are more familiar with the Tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon or the Temple King Herod built. Allow me to enlighten you regarding this interesting, yet often overlooked facet of Biblical history.

About 1,000 B.C. King David commanded that the Ark of the Covenant be brought up to Mount Zion in the midst of Jerusalem. It was carried up upon the shoulders of the Levites with songs and musical instruments. David placed the Ark inside of a tent and appointed 288 singers and 4,000 musicians to minister before the Lord and make petition to the Lord “day and night,” which means 24/7 praise, prayer and worship (see 1 Chron. 15:1-17-27). This was something new and unique in the worship history of Israel. In today’s parlance one could say King David “went contemporary” as opposed to the format used by Moses.

Once Solomon came on the scene and built the temple and the actual Tabernacle of David was superseded by a permanent structure the order of Davidic worship did not change (see 2 Chron. 8:14-15). In fact, the Bible makes known that five (5) subsequent kings who came after David and reintroduced his Davidic worship format experienced breakthrough, deliverance and military victories.

1) King Solomon (2 Chron. 8:14,15), we al know how greatly blessed by God Solomon was.

2) King Jehoshaphat set up singers according to the Davidic order singing the Great Hallel and he reinstated Davidic worship in the temple (2 Chron. 20:20,22,28).

3) king Joash reinstated it too (2 Chron. 23: 1-24,27).

4) King Hezekiah followed suit (2 Chron. 29:1-36, 30:21)

5) King Josiah also was a Davidic worshipper (2 Chron. 35:1-27)

6) Ezra, not a “king” but a very influential prophetic voice (Ezra 3:10).

7) Nehemiah, another prophet (Neh. 12:28-47)

Being the discerning person you have learned to become you immediately say “very interesting Bob, but what does this have to do with the Church?” Thank you for asking, because the Tabernacle of David (TOD) does appear in the New Testament. In order to understand the N.T. reference we need first to read the prophet Amos words concerning the TOD:

In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent (tabernacle). I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the LORD, who will do these things. “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. Amos 9:11-13  (underlining added).

Obviously from the text God is going to restore the TOD and He is going to build it as it used to be. Attached to this restoration is an ingathering of the nations and great prosperity (occasioned by new wine) for God’s people. If God is going to restore the TOD, when is that going to occur? According to our sign-gift brethren it was initially fulfilled in the Book of Acts when the Apostle James stood up in the midst and uttered the following words:

When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The word of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: “after this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things;’ that have been known for ages. Acts 15:13-18   (underlining added)

Before parsing James comments let’s continue with charismaticthink regarding the text. Obviously God is going to restore the TOD and that restoration began with the early Church. They go as far to teach that the TOD format of worship is in fact the model of true New Testament worship. Ergo, it is only logical to assume that the early Church practiced Davidic worship in their gatherings. The Apostle Paul encouraged worshipping with the Psalms (see Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and we know most of the Psalms were penned by David after he established the TOD. The author of Hebrews tells us to offer the sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:5) and at the TOD no animal sacrifices were made (according to our sign-gift brethren). Leaving the scant Biblical record our brothers’ state that Davidic worship has been a part of the great “revivals” in Church history.

Regarding 24/7 prayer and praise one of the founding neo-prophetic voices, Mike Bickle goes as far as to cite early Church history to prove the validity of establishing 24/7 centers of nothing but praise and worship around the world. Bickle cites many monastic examples of perpetual prayer and praise in various Roman Catholic sects. Bickle fails to mention all of the problems associated with monasticism. His next example is Count Zinzendorf who came to faith through one of the founders of Lutheran pietism, Phillipp Spener. According to Bickle Count Zinzendorf and later the Moravian believers were great champions of 24/7 prayer. He tries to tie John Wesley with Zinzendorf to edge his timeline a little closer to today, however his attempt is in vain. There is no evidence that either Charles or John Wesley ever practiced or endorsed 24/7 prayer as a means of “moving the hand of God.” So from the early 1700’s until around 1973 the practice of “Davidic worship” seems to have been silenced.

Along in the early 70’s comes one of the first Asian charismatic superstars, Paul Cho from South Korea. Due to what has happened to the Church under communism in North Korea Cho knew the value of having small “cell groups” as sort of mini congregations. These would join up with the mother church to worship. [As an aside, if your church has small groups, home groups, cell groups, etc. they all have their origin in Paul Cho’s original teachings, not necessarily a bad thing, just a historical factoid].

Cho also strongly believed that prayer can move God or somehow release God to move in the world. He eventually purchased property on what became known around the world as “Prayer Mountain.” It is a small mountain filled with small cells in which people would go and shut themselves “in with God” for protracted periods of time. It is important to know that Paul Cho is an adherent and teacher of Word of Faith heresies. He attributes his success due to positive confession which is synonymous with prayer to WOF cultists. What success? Cho is the pastor of the largest congregation in the world, his church in Seoul has over 780,000 members.

Mike Bickle was influenced by Cho and being a charismatic extremist felt that he needed to be sure that the fire on the altar (prayer) never goes out. So starting on Sept. 19, 1997 Bickle opened up the International House of Prayer  (IHOP) in Kansas City, Mo. Since that day 24/7 prayer and praise has gone forth. With the epiphany of IHOP now other leaders have jumped on board and we are seeing 24/7 centers of prayer and praise being set up on every continent of the earth (according to Bickle).

Harp and Bowl Prayer

 

This is today’s term and now that Bickle and his restored prophets have had a little over ten years to search out proof-texts to attempt to validate their practice we end up with another “movement” under the ever-expanding charismatic umbrella. The title “harp and bowl” comes from the following text in the book of the Revelation:

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8

Isn’t it obvious from this one text that the harp represents musical worship and the bowls represent intercessory prayers, ergo harp and bowl ministry is a combination of intercessory prayer and musical praise/worship to God. Since the church on earth is patterned after the heavenly tabernacle (read Hebrews to see if this is so) then this is really how church is to be conducted on earth!

Not only does intercessory prayer have a powerful effect on a community, but so does the praise and worship of God. The Kingdom is brought down to earth as God’s people worship Him in a community, and a form of spiritual warfare takes place in praise…Music is closely related with prophetic ministry. Spirit-led and prophetic edged prayer is a goal of the Harp and Bowl model.

The above quotation pretty much sums up the theology behind the 24/7 movement. First of all it is based on the belief that prayer causes change to come to communities. Let’s consider this claim, is this really the case? As an example; for over thirty years Cho has had millions of people coming to Prayer Mountain and are things getting better between North & South Korea? Is North Korea closer to being converted to Christianity; are they even open now to the Gospel? The answer is no in every regard. North Korea has become increasingly dangerous to the stability of the region and the world. It is in no way open to evangelism. Evidently the millions of hours of prayer have not changed anything for the better. IHOP has been continually praying for over ten years and now other 24/7 groups have mushroomed around our nation. Is America better off today than it was ten years ago? We have Obama as President, G.M. and Chrysler bankrupt along with many smaller parts companies and car dealers (I know, I live in Detroit and I feel the negative impact daily). Our health car system is in danger of being nationalized like that of England; Social Security is almost bankrupt as well. Is immorality on the decline; is crime, how about homosexuality and abortion? I see no positive changes in any of these areas that can in any way be attributed to charismatic folks yammering away 24/7.

Next these devotees go on to say that praise brings the “Kingdom of God down” and impacts a community. Sorry friends, where the Church is there is the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is here now, not in its final and fullest expression but it is a reality now in each of our lives. There is nothing “mechanical” we can do to make God manifest Himself (which is what they mean by bringing down the kingdom, they mean experiencing some form of emotional experience). There are plenty of things we can do to have emotional experiences such as speaking in other tongues for hours or singing mind-numbing refrains for hours, dancing around, chanting these practices can and do alter people’s consciousness. However, what our sign-gift brethren do is that they attribute these emotional experiences to: the presence of God; the anointing; the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven, etc. As with their prayer, their praises have not changed a thing either.

The claim is also made that both prayer and praise is a form of spiritual warfare. This is no new claim. The so-called prophetic movement has long codified prayer and praise as tools by which we are to wage spiritual warfare. There are entire teaching series and conferences on what is called “Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare, led by Dr. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Bickle and others.

These extremists actually go to different historical site around the world in order to “bind” up the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness (see Eph. 6:11,12) and then “loose” God’s angels, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom to manifest and bring revival and salvation. Naturally the first thing one has to do on these over seas junkets is to discern what exact principality or power is in control of an area. Once this Gnostic insight is revealed via prayer & praise then the spiritual warriors can specifically pray against them and command them in Jesus’ name to come down from their high places and/or bind their operation from hindering the Gospel. Once the binding has taken place then these intrepid warriors can lose the power of God to bring revival and redemption!

The only problem with this practice is simply this — we are never told to do any such thing in the Bible.  This is a novel invention that looks very spiritually and deeply powerful but is totally devoid of any Biblical precedent. We are never told any of the names of demonic forces, only that they exist. Honestly, we are never told to “rebuke the devil (see Zac. 3:2; Jude 1:9) where the Bible says “The Lord rebuke you Satan.” Yes, we do wage spiritual warfare but not in this mystical format. Our warfare is daily against the temptations Satan and demons offer before us.

The 24/7 crowd take verses, such as this: May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Psalms 149:6-9 (underlining added for emphasis).

And interpret it to mean that via the praises of God in our mouths we wage and win spiritual warfare. However, in context (that dreaded word) David being a man of war, a man who had slaughtered so many people that God would not permit him to build His temple meant what he said. As we go into battle we do so with God’s praises in our mouths and a literal sword in our hand. The best analogy I can think of comes from clips of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Film clips showed the mujahideen saying “Allah Akbar” (God is Great) then firing off a RPG 3 at a tank, that is what David is getting at in the text. Our two-edged sword is the Word of God (see Rev. 1:16, 19:15). It is the weapon Jesus used against Satan in the wilderness temptations saying “it is written” to Satan time and time again.

If binding and loosing as taught and practiced by the extremists is a doctrine of God (as opposed to a manmade doctrine or doctrine of devils), then why isn’t it clearly taught in the Scriptures, why isn’t it being practiced by Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts? If it is a restored truth when was it initially practiced and when did the Church lose it? They cannot answer this question because they are without biblical support and historical support.

If binding and loosing as taught and practiced by the extremists worked then where are the results? What genuine quantifiable and verifiable results of true revival, redemption and community restoration can be shown to us? There are no results that can be shown. After over ten years of doing this, if it was indeed directed by the Holy Spirit, then there should be some evidence of change, actually there should be quite a bit of proof. It is like I tell people who believe Benny Hinn has a “miracle ministry.” Hinn has been holding miracle crusades every month for many years and by now he should have a warehouse full of medically documented healing(s) and miracles. Yet he does not have even a half a dozen which can be verified. Why do people follow him by the millions? Because they are deceived. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result.

Those people have made prayer to God and the praising of God a device by which we move God or the devil. God does not need our prayers. We on the other hand need to desperately pray and seek God. The God of the Bible is totally sovereign and He does not need our permission to move in the universe of His own creation.

Our prayer life is to flow out of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Praise is simply our reaction to God’s goodness. We are called to “give thanks” in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). Prayer and praise should fill our hearts and thus be expressed by our mouths as naturally as our breathing. Jesus warned against thinking people would be heard for their “many words” when praying (Matt. 6:7). In that verse Jesus says “do not keep on babbling like the pagans” which is what these meetings are, a small or large group of people babbling away in ecstatic speech. It seems to me that they are engaging in the very thing Jesus warned us not to do.

Personally, I am all for prayer; it is undeniably part of our lives as a royal priesthood and holy nation unto God (1 Pet. 2:9). I wish my Lutheran brethren really knew how to pry from their hearts, as opposed to praying 99% of the time from a book of prayers. Prayer books are fine in their proper place, but you do not grow relationally by praying other people’s prayers all the time. I agree with Paul that we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) but this can easily be done within the context of our vocations in life, it does not mean we must wall ourselves up in a monastery. I firmly believe that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). Yet fervent does not mean long-winded spewing forth of words, it means heart-felt and sincere.

I love to worship God in song also. I would like to see more music and hymns be incorporated into our Sunday services, yet I sing to my Lord because of who He is and what He has done — not to wage spiritual warfare or bring revival. Psalm 92:1 tells us that “It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High.”

In conclusion what are we to make of this 24/7 movement? It cannot be called unbiblical because there is Biblical precedent for it, albeit from the Old Testament. Nor would I say that there is anything wrong with praying to God and offering Him praise 24/7 —IF (and it is a HUGE “if”) there is a proper understanding of what prayer and praise are. Unfortunately, this is where these folks veer off course. Their definition and use of prayer and praise is unbiblical. Their motivation for praying and singing to God 24/7 is unbiblical. The result is a veiled attempt at a form of works righteousness. By their pseudo-spiritual works they see themselves as releasing God to move, if they do not do this then God cannot or will not move in the Church and community. This is simply “foolishness gone to seed” as the dead heretic Ken Hagin used to say. These people have placed both prayer and praise even above the preaching of the Word of God. They also view all the performing arts as acts of praise and prophecy (they get this from Psl.150). Because they have redefined what prayer and praise is biblically and redefined what the purpose is for both expressions I come to the conclusion that what is taking place is nothing other than simply another form of charismatic extremism which will excite many for a season but it will produce nothing of value spiritually, other than another lesson learned in what not to do.♦

Copyright © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Charismaticthink is a word I have coined and it simply refers to reading a text of Scripture without any consideration of its context or historical eschatological setting.

2. See: www.tabernacle-of-david.com/todchurchsmodel4praise.html obtained on 6-11-09

3. Ibid.

4. See: www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID-1000045365 obtained on 06-11-09

5. Ibid.

6. Obtained from http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl on 06-12-09

7. Obtained from http://www.zionsong.org/art-giffting-bibquall.html on 06-12-09

8.ibid





Did I sit on the sidelines while the playing field burned?

25 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2009 – Vol. 14  Issue 5 – Did I sit on the sidelines while the playing field burned? – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Did I sit on the sidelines while the playing field burned?

By Chris Elrod

Last Thursday night I got “the call”. My friend and fellow Lakeland pastor let me know that the news about Todd Bentley…the news that had circulated around Lakeland for weeks…was finally about to break. For months it had been rumors…with very little hard facts to back it up. Local church leaders had been hearing things about Todd…and Ignited Church…that caused us to question even more the validity of the “revival”. Then the truth began to come out bit by bit…first to Lakeland…then the world…and now Todd’s wife was in Canada getting help while he was “floating around” the United States trying to get his head together. Yes Todd had been convicted of molesting a 7-year-old boy in Canada. Yes Todd was legally separating from his wife. Yes there is an another women involved. Yes this was not the first time Todd had been involved with another woman. Yes Todd and Ignited Church had failed to address concerns …many being voiced by their own denomination and people that support such Charismatic outpourings…about the heresy being preached and displayed at the “revival”. Yes there was not one single medical document to prove that any healings had actually taken place. Yes the media could find no one…not one single person…to come forward and say they had been healed during the “revival”.

As the fall out continues and more facts are beginning to emerge about everyone involved with this mess, I have begun to ask myself some pretty hard questions. Did I handle this correctly?

When the first news began to break around here about Todd, healings and the revival…I went to see it for myself. In all I attended four separate “revival” meetings over a two month period. I also watched countless hours of the events on the internet. I witnessed Todd hollering “BAM” a lot. I witnessed “verification teams” in the parking lot carefully choosing people deemed candidates for “healing” while turning many others down. I watched ushers push ill children away from the state area because they had not been reproved for “healing”. I heard stories about pixie-dust spreading angels and conversations with the Apostles in some abstract heavenly cabin. I saw leg drops, high kicks, head punches and every other Wrestlemania cliché under the sun. I heard anonymous crazy stories about people being healed and others being raised from the dead. I heard and saw many strange things…but nothing that even remotely kept with sound doctrine. Every Biblical discerning bone in my body showed me that there was nothing going on at the “revival” that was in keeping with God’s Word.

I began to speak out against the revival, Todd and Ignited church to our people. Mainly it was through our Journey Groups, one-on-one conversations, phone calls and emails. However, I was advised by several other pastors not to speak out against it publicly because “I might be speaking against something that God is actually doing” (I wasn’t questioning God…I was questioning Todd). Therefore I never addressed it from the pulpit because our pod cast is heard by hundreds of people all over the world. I never blogged about it because I get a 1,000+ hits on a normal day. I dodged the questions about the “revival” from other folks all over the world. In essence I protected my flock from the three-ring circus and hoopla…but did nothing to protect the body as a whole.

Hindsight they say is 20/20. It now turns out that all of the rumors were true. It now turns out that the Scriptural discernment was correct. It now turns out that this was the same hyper-Charismatic craziness without accountability that the leadership of the sponsoring church is known for. The three ring circus has been packed up, the tents have been taken down, the moral failure has been announcement, everyone involved is pushing back and thousands of hurting people are left questioning God and their salvation. The question that I now have to ask myself…the question that will haunt me for quite a while is…did I sit on the sideline while the playing field burned? Should have I blogged about it…spoken out about it publicly…done more to get the word out to the rest of the world that this whole thing was about Todd and not God? I took care of my own house…but should I have done more to take care of the entire neighborhood?

______________________________________

Discernment Ministries International rejoices that Pastor Elrod’s vocal cords have been “loosed” to speak the truth and expose error. Sadly, as DMI shared a few months ago, Mr. Bentley is in the process of being “restored” by another self-proclaimed apostle and he will no doubt be unleashed upon the Church to prey on the desperate and ignorant in our midst.

Pastor Elrod’s last sentence is very meaningful to me because he has stated exactly what the problem is within the Church today. Too many pastors are content to feed their flock and DO and SAY nothing about the ravening wolves attacking millions of professing believers. The mindset is sort of like “you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you.

The sad fact is that the heretics and blasphemers are affecting all of us. Oh maybe not directly in our local congregations, but I know very few people who do not have family members, who are “faithfully” being instructed in error by Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and others. There are very few Christian television programs that are doctrinally sound, and very slim pickings on Christian radio as well. Just go to your local Christian bookstore and see whose books they are promoting or how much shelf space is dedicated to the charismatic movement.

John Donne said it best when he said “no man is an island,” and so it is within the church. We are our brother’s keeper and God expects (and will hold us accountable) for us to warn those who are in sin {Eze. 3:18} and error. We are to rebuke those who are misleading others (Titus 2:15}. We are to correct those who err {2 Tim. 4:2}.

Brothers and sisters more than ever with what is transpiring within the Church and politically that “TRUTH MATTERS.” Our voice in Teaching Truth and Exposing Error was almost silenced recently due to a lack of financial support.

Because of a faithful few DMI has been able to get the newsletter back in circulation…BUT our website is still own and we would really like to see it up and running again so that millions of people can have access to literally 1,000’s of pages of documentation showing the abysmal lack of biblical support for the madness infecting millions of professing believers.

WE NEED YOUR FAITHFUL SUPPORT LIKE NEVER BEFORE. PLEASE HELP KEEP OUR “VOICE” FROM BEING SILENCED