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




Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part One

15 03 2012

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

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ibid. p. 50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Ibid, p. 86

17. Ibid . 65

18. Ibid p. 88

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

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

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





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





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

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

Discernment Ministries International

The Birth of God the Son

According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics

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

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

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

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

Luke 1:35-38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lord said to me, “My Word will get people healed and filled with the Holy Ghost the same way that the miraculous conception took place! Any believer can conceive My Word concerning healing in their spirits, and healing will manifest in their physical bodies! They can conceive My Word concerning prosperity of finances, and prosperity will manifest itself in their business affairs. If they will conceive My Word concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it will manifest itself in their spirits  (ibid. p. 83, italics added).

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

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

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

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

 





False Prophets Real Profit$

4 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 9 – False Prophets Real Profit$ – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

False Prophets Real Profit$

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

If it is true that history repeats itself, then the false prophets and false teachers of old must have also reaped great financial rewards. This much is certain with the advent of Pentecostalism in America all those who claimed to be prophets of our Lord had two indisputable things in common: (1) false prophets who delivered lying words that were generated from their own hearts or they were demonically inspired and (2) they all became very wealthy at the expense of those who followed them.

 

A Little Walk through American Prophetic History

Initially after the Azusa “revival of 1906 for the next several years no one came forward and declared they were a restored prophet or apostle. The fledgling Pentecostal movement did have pastors, Bible teachers and evangelists, both male and female.

Father Divine

Possibly the first individual who received the Spirit at Azusa and went off the spiritual rails in a devastating manner was a man named George Baker. The Azusa enthusiasm and the demonic spirit imparted to him led to his damnation.

This was a major turning point in his life. While he spoke in tongues, he felt a stirring, and suddenly, as Baker believed that he had reached a state of ultimate spiritual purification, a condition Fillmore described as the “consciousness of himself as a spiritual being, knowing himself to be the Christ of God, he is IAM, and ready to recreate the world….He had blended New Thought with Methodism, a little Catholicism, Pentecostalism, and African-American storefront theology, and had devised a syncretic belief system.   (1)

After his Azusa experience George Baker became internationally known as “Father Divine” and he and his man followers considered him to be literally god in the flesh. (2)

Sweet Daddy Grace

Once Father Divine (George Baker) got established and garnered quite a following another man jumped into this obvious lucrative pool of gullible folks. This liar went by the name of Sweet Daddy Grace and he formed The United House of Prayer For All People.

His first big success came five years later when he opened a church in Charlotte. The United House of Prayer for All People prided itself on an ecstatic worship style that included speaking in tongues. Grace claimed great powers and developed a line of products including “Daddy Grace” coffee, tea, soaps, and hand creams reputed to have healing properties. By the time of his death in 1960, the church he founded had become a denomination and Grace himself a rich man.   (2)

 

Please keep in mind that many mainline Pentecostals (such as they were back in the early 1900’s ) did not publicly endorse any of these men, yet their members did flock to hear them speak, prophecy, and give them “numbers” to play on the street. The next early false prophet came out of the ranks of the Pentecostal cult my wife and her family was raised in. It was called “Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ” (to separate it from its main contender “The Church of God in Christ.” Triumph people taught complete sanctification in this life. Proof of having attained this exalted level of holiness was simple, such a person would never die physically (naturally, they became know in a pejorative manner as the never die folk).

Prophet Jones Already recognized as a prophet, at the age of six he joined and began preaching sermons to a Birmingham sect known as Triumph the church and Kingdom of God in Christ, similar in character to the one he later founded in Detroit. At 11 he quit school to devote full time to preaching. In 1938 The Triumph sect sent the 21 year-old Jones to Detroit as a missionary where enthusiastic converts soon pressed expensive gifts upon him. The gifts, his superiors ruled, were rightfully the property of the church. Rather than give them up, Jones broke away to launch his own sect. Prophet Jones founded the Church of Universal Triumph, the Dominion of God Inc. in 1938 in Detroit. Originally headquartered in the old Oriole Theater at 8450 Linwood, the church later moved above the Fine Arts Theater at 2940 Woodward. He blessed his inner circle with royal and noble titles, such as “Sir,” “Prince” and “Princess,” “Lord” and “Lady” and other majestic appellations. His mother who died in 1951 was known as Grace Rev. Lady Catherine Jones. Jones reached his peak as a religious leader in the 1940’s and late ‘50s, and lived like a millionaire. He resided in an 18th century-style French castle at 75 Arden Park. The three-story, 54-room graystone chateau had been built in 1917 by Edmund A. Vier, a General Motors Corp. executive, at a cost of $100,000.  (4)

Like several of the more well know false prophet Jones was a homosexual. Another more recent example would be Paul Cain and some others recently “outted.” As an aside I believe the reason why homosexuality goes hand-in-hand with false prophets is simply because God gives them over to dark desires as a punishment for lying in His holy name (read Romans 1-2).

One of the more “flamboyant” false prophets who was an early arrival to the television ministry is Rev. Ike, Whose real name is Frederick Eikerenkoetter. I remember Ike on television as a young boy and is statement to this day is “you can’t lose with the stuff I use…mind science.” He also used to cajole his audiences by telling them he did not want to hear any change in the offering plates when they were passed because it made him nervous.

Rev. Ike formally the Right Reverend Dr. Fredrick J. Eikerenkoetter II stated that he owns a fleet of Rolls-Royces (a different color for every day of the week, appointed in mink), diamond rings, expensive suits, and multiple mansions – far from hiding his wealth, Reverend Ike makes it a point of his preaching. His theology centers around the “Science of Living” and “Thinkenomics,” his own version of economics based on the premise that poverty, a lack of luck, poor health, etc, are the results of incorrect attitudes, a lack of confidence, a lack of faith and a failure to get in touch with the “presence of God within each of us.” (5)

Frankly, I had thought that “Rev.” Ike had long since assumed room temperature but lo-and-behold, one morning a few years back I saw him on BET (6) standing beside a new breed of false prophet, Bishop E. Bernard Jordan whose SINistry is located in New York. Jordan learned his trade as a prophet by attending Dr. Bill Hamon’s “School of the Prophets.” Where anyone who feels led (I sent many of you a sample of felt lead) to become a spokesperson for the Ancient of Days can go and learn the techniques on how to hear from God and accurately deliver His message {for a price} to His paying people. Here is just a short squib on Mr. Jordan:

Bishop E. Bernard Jordan at the age of 15, where he was summoned to prophesy. By the age of 24, he was recognized nationally as a prophet. Rising from the obscurity of the ghetto to his present and current fame he is known to millions as God’s messenger, the Prophet. Bishop Elijah Bernard Jordan is the founder and Senior Pastor of Zoe Ministries since 1983 Bishop Jordan teaches biblical principles and ethics essential to successful living….Bishop Jordan is a modern-day prophet whose ministry is absolutely astounding! Like Nostradamus, Bishop Pike, and Edgar Cayce, the accuracy of the gift that operates in Bishop Jordan will astound you! He is known to predict exact names, dates, and times of events both individually and globally! His visual perception is so exact that he is able to give accurate descriptions of locations that are pertinent to the recipient of the prophecy!   (7)

I have watched and recorded Mr. Jordan many times and he is in fact one very creepy looking dude. Anyone he “speaks” over gives him money either directly or into a collection plate next to him as he prognosticates. Through his SINistry you can buy different kinds of soap which when used can give one dreams, revelations, peace, etc…Probably three of his best known followers are the former thug and rapper “Run DMC” – now known as “Rev.” Run (has his reality television show) and television judge Glenda Hatchett, and of course, Rev. Ike who speaks at Jordan’s meetings. Naturally Jordan is extremely wealthy. My wife and I ministered to a brother from Africa who upon coming to America for an advanced degree foolishly gave Jordan $5,000 (he knows the truth now, thanks be to God). At one point he was offering a fresh word from the Lord each day for a mere $365, sent to you personally. It only takes a couple of thousand dupes to send in their checks and pretty soon, like Ike, Jordan is riding in his own Bentley or Rolls Royce. Another problem with these self-proclaimed profit$ is that those who follow them never mature in their own spiritual walk with Christ. They are totally dependent upon the word of the Lord through their chosen mouthpiece. Not only that when a person has given themselves totally over to the spiritual authority of another sinful person they are prey to become victims of spiritual abuse. There are many recorded cases of “prophets” taking sexual advantage of those submitted to them, both male and female.

 

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland

In light of all of these ostentatious profit$ there are few who are seated at the zenith of prophetic pimpery (my own new word) and those residing at the summit are Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth & Gloria Copeland. Compared to their wealth all these others are just “piker’s” mere “wannabes” Kenneth Copeland Ministries {KCM} are so wealthy that no one outside their tight nepotistic inner circle knows for sure how wealthy they are. To guess close to or just over a billion dollars in probably not far off the mark. KCM is not telling, and they basically told Senator Grassy what he could do with his questions and have remained mum.

Keep in mind that I was a follower to Kenny’s ministry for years, gave to it, still have 100’s of hours of his teachings on cassette and their books in our archives. My wife and I distinctly remember Jerry Savelle speaking at a “Word” conference and how he marveled over all the antique cars that Kenneth had, including an old steam car! From what Savelle shard with us it seemed to be quite an extensive collection.

A few months ago Truth Matters wrote an article dealing with all the airplanes/jets that the various televangelist owned. Who had the most planes? Why Mr. Copeland and why not, some years ago he/KCM purchased Eagle Mountain Army/Air force base in the 1980’s. (8) This defunct airbase is over 1,500 acres and includes a mansion on a lake which only the Copeland’s are allowed to use. KCM’s main headquarters are on the property also.

A recent Associated Press article took the Copeland’s to task concerning their vast financial holdings, after al, KCM is a non-profit corporation yet strangely enough those associated directly with the running of the non-profit have all profited very handsomely.

Here are some excerpts of what Eric Gorski wrote in his July 27, 2008 piece for the AP.

NEWARK, Texas (AP) —Here in the gentle hills of north Texas, televangelist Kenneth Copeland has built a religious empire teaching that God wants his followers to prosper…Over the years, a circle of Copeland’s relatives and friends have done just that, The Associated Press has found. They include the brother-in-law with a lucrative deal to broker Copeland’s television time, the son who acquired church-owned land for his ranching business and saw it more than quadruple in value, and board members who together have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at church events…Kenneth Copland Ministries is organized under the tax code as a church, so it gets a layer of privacy not afforded large secular and religious nonprofit groups that must disclose budgets and salaries. Pastors’ pay must be “reasonable” under the federal tax code, a term that gives churches wide latitude. Copeland’s current salary is not made public by his ministry. However, the church disclosed in a property-tax exemption application that his wages were $364,577 in 1995; Copeland’s wife, Gloria earned $292,593. It’s not clear whether those figures include other earnings, such as special offerings for guest preaching or book royalties. Another 13 Copeland relatives were on the church’s payroll that year. (9)

Nothing like keeping the wealth in the family I suppose. But it does make one take pause to think about the coincidence that the church land sold to John Copeland (his son) turned out to have deposits of oil and natural gas on it! Not to mention that Board of Directors of non-profits are not to be paid any type of salary apart from being reimbursed for their expenses in traveling to board meetings or board related activities. Copeland’s board members rake in hundreds of thousands per year for merely speaking on his anointed behalf! Another thing, you can bet your sweet bippy that Gloria and Kenny earn far more than a paltry $657,170 per year.  Creflo Dollar just gave Kenny a personal check for one million dollars to celebrate his forty years in SINistry, not to mention all the other “love gifts” he receives and the money from his many books, cassettes, videos and dvd’s.

What I find particularly disturbing is that he and so many other televangelists transformed their organizations into “churches” many of them during the turbulent times of the 1980’s when scandal after scandal rocked their empires. Churches do not have to report any of their income to the government. Their annual “take”, peoples salaries, the budgets are never revealed. Copeland is not the only one incorporated as a church. Joyce Meyer’s organization is incorporated as a “church,” as is Benny Hinn’s and Marilyn Hickey and naturally Robert Tilton and the St. Matthew’s scam artists and many other well known evangelists.

None of these people serve as pastors, they do not hold regular church services where congregation members are baptized married and buried. They do not have deacons and /or elders. Most do not even have official separate sanctuaries. Although I will admit Copeland does have a church with a man he hired as a pastor, yet he himself is not a pastor. The dirty little secret is this: these folks became “churches” as a means to hide their excessive wealth, not because God has called them to serve their communities through legitimate church activities.

After all, if people knew exactly how much money these organizations had in their control it would be next to impossible for them to shear the sheep any longer. At the height of his empire Robert Tilton boasted of bringing in over 100 million dollars per year. Mr. Hinn is estimated to bring in around 80 million per year and Mr. Copeland seems to being doing better than either of these frauds.

Why Do People Support These People?

It is no secret that these folks are phenomenally wealthy. This is one of their primary messages and they point to themselves as proof that what they are teaching works. Part of the prosperity doctrine is that one must not speak negatively of their teachers because these negative words will kill the financial “seed” they have planted.

Another aspect of this false teaching is that – you must continue faithfully to give your very best to the false prophet/teacher if you expect to reap an abundant harvest. They teach that one must “cast your bread upon the water” (Ecc. 11:1) and it will return after many days…how many days, years, epochs is not revealed to the devotee. Only one thing is certain KEEP ON GIVING!

The message of financial prosperity, not just enough to meet your needs, but a message of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous is so widely poplar because it panders to the innate greed without our fallen hearts. These heretics simply tie a “biblical bow” around a teaching that God has never endorsed.

Another reason people give is because they believe their favorite heretic has paid their dues (every one of them tells sad stories of their initial poverty until they received the revelation of seed-faith) and now due to their faithfully acting on certain spiritual laws regarding giving and receiving God has blessed them and if the devotee will stay in “faith” and not doubt and keep giving their day will come too! What the poor dupe fails to realize is that very little of what comes into these blasphemous behemoths ever goes out into genuine charitable works. All any charismatic Word of Faith/Positive Confession believer has to do is simply take a step away from the hoopla and the occasional testimony and see that there are no more millionaires within their ranks than anywhere else. One would imagine that after thirty (30) years of proclaiming prosperity and people faithfully acting on these spiritual laws that there should be a plethora of millionaires….yet there are not. The acid test of any false teaching is that it does not produce the results promised.

Copeland, Hinn, Meyer, Tilton, Dollar, Savelle, Price, Osteen, Roberts, Hickey, Hagin, Duplantis and the Crouch’s annual take is estimated at around a billion dollars per year. Where are all the hospitals, orphanages, feeding programs, and clothing programs (see Matt. 25:36). How about helping rebuild farms in Nigeria, Africa’s breadbasket enabling farmers to grow crops and feed themselves. How abut building Christian schools and supplying teachers? The Saudi Muslims are building their Madras’s all over the world, including the United States with their money—-what are these “Christians” doing to actually expand the kingdom of God? NEXT TO NOTHING! Oh yes they preach the law when it comes to tithing, yet, they do not give away 10% off the gross from their offerings. Not to mention they excel at urging their devotees to not only to give tithes but also additional offerings. (Mal. 3:10).

Paul & Jan Crouch TBN

Paul & Jan Crouch love to show pictures of the “hospital” in Haiti and of Jan giving out little blond haired dolls (which look unfortunately like her) to the poor children. Let’s get real people it costs next to nothing to build a hospital and even less a Christian school in Egypt, Haiti, anywhere in Africa or the Philippines. TBN is documented to be worth in excess of billion dollars! To be sure all of these frauds will show some pictures of what great works they are doing with your money (remember Robert Tilton standing in front an orphanage, which was later proven to be a fake), but do not be deceived by their claims, like many politicians you know they are lying when they open their mouths.

The practice of GIVING sacrificially is highly touted by them all, the practice of sacrificial LIVING is a totally alien concept to them. According to their perverted doctrine it is God’s will for them to live in the best homes behind gated communities. As King’s kids they are to drive and own a fleet of the most luxurious cars and to wear nothing “off the rack” unless it comes off the rack on Rodeo Drive or Savile Row. Never forget that Mr. Hinn was documented taking the Concorde to Paris to purchase some ties several years ago. (11)

If these people were truly people of God they would be constantly building Christian schools, educating pastors (naturally since none of these deceivers has any biblical education themselves that might be a stretch), building medical clinics, distributing Bibles by the boatload.

Joyce Meyer

Instead, they buy huge plots of land for themselves and their families upon which they build mansions (remember the expose by the Saint Louis Post Dispatch on the Joyce Meyer compound and the multiple mansions on her land) (12)   They purchase newer and faster private jets (which no one else can use, even to take a kidney across the country I suppose), fleets of Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Bentley and Escalades for themselves, family members and board members. The cost of just one of any of these automobiles could purchase at least a thousand bicycles for Pastors in India, not to mention maybe going as far, GASP, as buying them motor scooters so these true men of God can promote the Gospel more effectively!

It sickens my spirit to see how these false prophets profit mainly off those on fixed income and those who are biblically ignorant. What troubles me is the question of when will God’s people wake up and join the likes of DMI and other apologetic ministries and begin to point their fingers at these people are boldly declare “the emperor has no clothes on!”

We need to organize and get militant when they come to our towns. We need to make signs and picket outside their venues in a peaceful and godly manner. We need to be equipped with solid information to hand out to the people being drawn in by the sirens song of success and excess. We must let these folks know that there are congregations they can attend who will not rape them spiritually and steal from them financially. Lastly, we must let thee false prophets and false teachers know that God has watchmen and we are on the wall crying out a warning to His people. I take comfort in the words of Asaph and underlined what was and is pertinent to me:

Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can god know? Does the Most High have knowledge? This is what the wicked are like–always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into gloryWhom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fall, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

When you’ve made a career out of studying every religious crook, spiritual abuser, false prophet, false teacher, false apostle and blasphemer and they seem to continue to “prosper” and grow in popularity it can be depressing IF you take your eyes off of Jesus and forget that our reward is truly in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6:19) Another text has always kept me centered in this work and I hope it is a comfort to you as well:

Proverbs 36:7-9

“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die; Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

My God has been faithful to manifest this (and other texts) in my life. I used to walk the floors and cry out to God “God I want to know the truth, I want to know the truth God” for hours some times. It took Him some years to break through my stubborn heart but He has finally brought me to the truth and He has delivered my wife and I from falsehood and keep lies far from us. We’ve always had our daily bread, been extremely close to poverty but not quite there. Well as to the riches, He has surely kept those from us for our own benefit. He has been teaching us the lesson the Apostle Paul learned Phil 4:11-13.    Selah 

Copyright ©  2008 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Watts, Jill God Harlem U.S.A. The Father Divine Story, University of California Press 1992, pp. 25-30.

2. The story about Father Divine and what his mission did is exceedingly amazing and you can either purchase the above book mentioned at http://www.abebooks.com or research his life on the internet, a fascinating false prophet.

3. Obtained from http://capeverde-islands.com/grace.html  on 08-07-08

4. Obtained from http://info.detnews.com/redeign/history/story/historytemplate.cfm?id=182&CFID=21077377&CFTOKEN=96371783   on 08-07-2008

5. Obtained from: http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverendike on 08-07-2008

BET is the Black entertainment Television which sells its time to any “Gospel” pimp who can afford it, much to their (BET’s) shame.

6. Obtained from: http://www.bishopjordan.com/whoweare/aboutjordan.htm on 08-07-2008. Underlining added; please note that the three individuals cited as comparisons to Jordan were all damnable heretics by any stretch of the imagination and NOT Christians!

7. http://endtimepropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/kenneth-copeland-eagle-mountain-kcm/

8. Obtained from: http://ap.google.com/article/AlegM5jhLNcxgGPktbbovb1kMFVwo7WK1wD92638KGO on 08-07-2008 underlining added, please note that the bold print was added for emphasis.

9. Obtained from: http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur38455.cfm on 08-12-08

10. Still the best book exposing Mr. Hinn for the liar he is The confusing world of Benny Hinn, Personal Freedom Outreach. www.pfo.org

11.Obtained from: http://www.stltoday.com/stitoday/news/special/joycemeyer.nsf/0/610CC8888098171886256256DDC0080820A? Open Document on 08-12-08





Words of the Profit

10 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 1 – Words of the Profit by Kyle Smith

Discernment Ministries International

Words of the Profit

By Kyle Smith

January 6, 2008 — A holy man in Chuck Palahniuk’s darkly funny 1999 novel “Survivor” sells 200 million copies of a self-help guide called “The Book of Very Common Prayer,” which includes The Prayer to Locate a Lost Contact Lens and The Prayer to Prevent Mildew Stains. The Prayer for a Parking Space goes:

Oh, divine and merciful God,

History is without equal for how much I will adore You,

When you give me today, a place to park…

In Your care will I find respite. With Your

Guidance, will I find peace.

To stop, to rest, to idle, to park

These are Yours to give me. This is what I ask.

Amen.

Just eight years later, the principal difference between Palahniuk’s satire and the most popular preacher in America today, Joel Osteen, is that Osteen’s message is more blasphemous. Osteen’s seven million Christian TV viewers might be interested to learn that Osteen, a college dropout with no formal training, is, literally, a heretic whose message is being called “Satanic,” “occult” and “antichrist” by respected evangelical ministers (See, for instance, the blog of Connecticut River Baptist Church pastor Ken Silva).

Osteen, who wears a deranged flash-frozen-smile – he looks like Martin Short playing the Joker – received a $13 million advance for his new book, “Become a Better You,” and collects $73 million a year in donations at the former home to the Houston Rockets that is now Lakewood “Church.” “Survivor,” not the Bible, seems to be the blueprint for Osteen’s life. Palahniuk’s character Tender Branson is born into a religious cult; Osteen inherited his ministry from his father John, a babbling freak who believed in faith healing and announced, at 77, that God had just given him the okay to keep preaching into his 90s. Two weeks later, Osteen Sr. was dead. Palahniuk’s Tender Branson gets a makeover from agents who pump him up with exercise and steroids; Osteen bench-presses 300 pounds. “People shopping for a Messiah want quality. Nobody is going to follow a loser,” writes Palahniuk. Tender Branson’s agent tells him, “Think of those young people out in the world struggling with outdated religious or with no religions, think of those people as your target market.” Osteen doesn’t stick to outdated religions – his church is non-denominational – or any religion at all. There are no crosses or other religious symbols in his church.

Even Palahniuk, though, doesn’t dare place Man over God on the Who’s Hot in the Cosmos List. Osteen has said, “You can cancel out God’s plan by speaking negative words.” Whoa, there, preacher boy. That ain’t Christianity. Christians don’t believe they can change the will of God, I hope I don’t win the lottery”). Even the Palahniukian prayer says, “These are yours to give me” and leaves the rest up to Him.

Osteen’s favorite code word is “increase,” because that gives a Biblicalish spin to materialist goals, as in “God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions.” When Osteen cites the Bible (note to TV interviewers: Try springing a little Scriptural quiz on Osteen the next time you get him in the chair) he doesn’t merely miss the point, He steers the opposite way. Osteen cites Colossians 3:2 (“Set your mind and keep it on the higher things”) in his book, “Your Best Life Now” (chapter two, page one – or 2:1) as applicable to the situation, “Perhaps you work in sales, and you are scheduled to give an important presentation.” God wants to help you “snag that big contract” if you set your mind to it.

Flip to Colossians 3:2 (King James Version) and you’ll find that the entire verse reads, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:5 warns against “covetousness, which is idolatry.” Osteen’s books are all about covetousness and idolatry. He is a false prophet to whom God is a cosmic waiter. (“Hi! My name is God and I’ll be your deity this evening. Start you off with a bottle of water?”)

The Word-Faith Movement,” of which Osteen is a member, uses God as a Trojan horse to sell the ancient mystic rubbish – picture it and you’ll pocket it – that also drives “The Secret.” doesn’t pretend to be a tax-exempt religion.

If the IRS doesn’t nab Osteen, maybe Palahniuk should sue him for plagiarism. Osteen writes, “Perhaps you’re searching for a parking spot in a crowded lot. Say, ‘Father, I thank You for leading me and guiding me. Your favor will cause me to get a good spot.”

Osteen recalls the time he tasked God with being his personal parking aide, and lo: ‘Just as I steered our car past the front row of parked cars, another car backed out as I approached…it was the premier spot in that parking lot.”

Maybe Osteen didn’t learn all of the lessons of The Gospel According to Chuck, though: “Survivor” climaxes with Tender Branson being chased by an angry mod.





7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

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

Discernment Ministries International

7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Apostle Paul said this about Contentment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

 2. Ibid. p.21

3. Ibid pp. 22 -22

4. Ibid. p. 49

5. Ibid. pp.56,66

6. Ibid. p. 85

7. Ibid. p.86

8. Ibid. pp. 101-102

9. Ibid p. 109

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

11. Ibid. p. 11

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

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

 





THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

23 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 5 – The Toronto Deception By a Former Toronto Vineyard Pastor

Discernment Ministries International

THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

It has taken me nine years to actually come to the place where I would write this story. Part of the reason was because I was not fully convinced that it is appropriate to speak out against weaknesses in the body of Christ publicly. Another reason is because it has taken years of soul searching to become convinced that what happened in the Toronto Airport Church was actually all bad or at least more bad than good!

For the past number of years I have called it a mixed blessing. I think James A. Beverly called it this in his book Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing 1994. Today I would call it a mixed curse concluding that any individual good that came from this experience is far outweighed by much harm and satanic deception. I suppose that therein has been the dilemma. I have tried to live my life in the fear of the Lord and Jesus told us that the unforgivable sin was the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Attributing to Satan what was in fact a work of God. If pressed as to whether or not the Toronto blessing is all God or all Devil I will still be hedgy, but I am convinced that Satan has used this experience to blind people to the historical doctrine of God, to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, to failing to test and discern the spirits and failing to test prophecy.

After three years of being in the thick of the Toronto blessing our Vineyard assembly in Scar bough (East Toronto) just about self destructed. We devoured one another, with gossip, backstabbing, division, sects criticism etc. After three years of “soaking” praying for people, shaking, rolling, laughing, roaring, ministering at TACF on their prayer team, leading worship at TACF, preaching at TACF, basically living at TACF we were the most carnal, immature and deceived Christians that I know. I remember saying to my friend and senior pastor at Scarborough Vineyard Church in 1997 that ever since the Toronto Blessing came we have just about fallen to bits! He agreed!

My experience has been that the manifestation of spiritual gifts mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12 was much more common in our assembly, before January 1994 (when the Toronto blessing started.) than during this period of supposed Holy Spirit visitation. During 1992-1993 when praying for people we would experience what I believe was genuine prophesy, deliverance and much grace and favour from the Lord. After the Toronto Blessing started, all ministry time changed, the only prayers were ‘More Lord MORE’, the shouting of ‘Fire’ the jerky shaking of the body with the ‘ooh ooh OOH WOOOAAH’ prayer. (I kid you not!)

On January 20th 1994 about 15 people from our church traveled over to Toronto Airport Vineyard in order to listen to Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from the USA. John Arnott had called our senior pastor to invite us. He communicated that Randy had been to the Rodney Howard Browne meetings and that the stuff had broke out in his church in the following weeks. John was hoping that something might break out with us too. We were only too happy to travel over. We were a church plant out of the Toronto Airport and we started in 1992. In those days there were three Vineyard Churches in Toronto. One Down Town church, Scarborough vineyard church to the east and the AirPort Church. We were one big happy family. Because we were small in number we did special meetings, conferences etc, together.

The year before most of our leadership teams joined and had headed to Nicaragua for a short term missions trip. We had genuine love and fellowship with each other. Since leaving the Vineyard churches I have read a fair bit of analysis from the critics. Some make out that the Toronto Blessing was one huge conspiracy to lead the body of Christ into heresy. Heresy and apostasy I suspect may well be the result, but none of these destinations were intentional. I am honestly convinced that the leaders in the Vineyard churches are genuine born-again Christians who love the Lord, but have fallen into deception. They have not loved the Lord enough to keep His commandments. They have failed to obey the scriptures and have been led astray by our longing for something bigger and brighter and more exciting and dynamic. I am guilty of this sin also. I have preached renewal in Korea, the United Kingdom, the USA and here in Canada. I am genuinely repentant and in writing this story I would ask you the bride and body of Christ to forgive me. Especially the Pentecostal/charismatic Christians among you, for you are my immediate family theologically. I am an evangelical Christian, I always have been but I do not believe in the cessation of the spiritual gifts at the end of the apostolic era. I believe that it was my evangelical roots (my Family are Baptists and I was born again in the Presbyterian Church) that started to open my eyes to problems with this so called renewal In hindsight I look back and think how could I have been so blind? I laughed at people acting like dogs and pretending to urinate on the columns of the TACF building. I watched people pretend to be animals, bark, roar, cluck, pretend to fly as if they had wings, perpetually act drunk and sing silly songs. How I thought that any of this was from the Holy Spirit of God amazes me today. It was loud irreverent and blasphemous to the Holy God of the Bible. I suppose in my mind I reasoned that as long s they did not teach any thing in direct violation to scripture then it was what we called the exotic. This is a buzzword for manifestations that could not be justified from a biblical perspective. I was taught from the pulpit that we had two options. The order of the nursery full of life and messy or the order of the graveyard, very orderly but dead! As a young immature pastor I wanted life with mess. I failed to remember that God wants us to become mature and grow up in him.

I became disconnected by the prophetic words that came forth especially one by Carol Arnott in which she had her bride experience where she was taken into the very presence of Jesus and said that the love that she experienced was even better than sex! I was shocked in my spirit and thought how can one compare the love of God with sex? When we suspected that demons were running riot in our services John Arnott would teach that we should ask are they coming or going. If they are leaving then that is ok! John would defend the chaos by saying that we ought not be afraid of being deceived, if we have asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill us then how could Satan come and deceive us? This would make Satan very strong and God very weak! He said that we needed to have more faith in a Big God to protect us than in a Big Devil to deceive us. This sounded very convincing but was totally contrary to scripture for Jesus and Paul and Peter and John all warn us about the power of deceiving spirits and especially so in the last days. Again we did not love God enough to obey His Word and the result was that we opened ourselves up to lying spirits. May God have mercy upon us!

Finally the penny dropped for me a I was rolling around one night ’drunk in the Spirit’ as we would say. I started singing and as I rolled around the floor the Nursery the Rhyme ’Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow.’ came to mind. I sang this in a mocking spirit and instantly my heart told me this was a demon. Instantly I repented and was in total shock. How could a demon get into me? Did I not love God? Was I not zealous for the things of God? Was I not nuts about Jesus? I knew that as unclean spirit had just manifested through me and I was guilty of great sin. After this experience I stayed away from TACF. I did not go back there any more. I did not possess the conviction to denounce the whole experience but thought that we were failing to pastor the Blessing well enough.

Even after I stopped going over to TACF, I had to pastor the fruit of it. One example was when some of our people returned from a meeting there asking us if we had all received the golden sword of the Lord? I asked them what they were talking about thinking that it was some prophetic reference to the Holy Scriptures but they said, ’no its not the Bible, it’s an invisible golden sword that only the really pure can receive. If taken in an unrighteous fashion then the Lord would kill you. But if you are holy enough to receive it then you can wield this sword and it will heal aids, Cancer etc. and bring salvation. How one wielded this sword was by pretending to have this invisible sword in your hand and motioning to strike people with it when in prayer! I thought while even in deception at this time that the TACF had become Looney bins! This was purportedly first received by Carol Arnott and then given to the ones holy enough to receive it! Another thing was the golden fillings in the teeth. We had people in our assembly peeping down one another’s throats looking for the gold fillings that God had placed there to show how much he loved them! In all my time there I only heard one message on repentance given by a visiting speaker from Hong Kong named Jackie Pullinger. It went over like a lead balloon. We were not there to repent, we were there to party in the Lord! After one year into the blessing, I spoke out at a pastors meeting and said ‘guys we have shaken, rattled, rolled, laughed cried and bought the tee-shirt. But we have no revival, no salvation, no fruit and no increased evangelism so what’s the deal?” I was soundly rebuked – who was I to expect to see fruit when the Lord was healing his broken people? We had been legalistic long enough and god was spending this time restoring his wounded and freeing us from legalism I was told not push the Lord and the harvest would come in his time.’

So there is my story. I could go on and document much excess, folly, sin and latter day reign teaching that manifest from the prophetic end of this blessing but others have already done that. We sang about Joel’s army and the billion soul revival as if it were one of the Ten Commandments, and as always it was just around the corner. Next month, next year etc. Jesus said that when the son of man returns will he find faith upon the earth ? And if he dies not return when he does no flesh would be saved but for the sake of the elect he comes. This is a far cry fro the dominionism, that is being taught all through the vineyard/prophetic/spiritual warfare movement. I honestly think that they think they are going to take over the whole world! While in the Vineyard I embraced a life verse from the Apostle Paul the phrase do not go beyond what is written!

To finish I just want to say sorry for the damage, that I have personally done by teaching things that are not correct biblically. I repent before men as I already have before God. I will not excuse my falling into deception. I did not bother to test things when the scriptures commanded us to do so. Everyone who was there when this thing started knows that what I write is true, they would just come to different conclusions especially if they are still promoting the ‘river!’

To those in te river I would say swim out, there are things living in the water that will bite you real good! I love the people of TACF and the Vineyard movement but I think that we have much to answer for and may the Lord open your eyes sooner rather than later. I suspect that when this letter goes online I will get bombarded by emails from both camps, some damning me for still believing in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and still walking in deception and some old friends damning me for exposing dirt or being negative about the Lords anointed! Well, the Lord knows my heart and by his grace he will guide me into all truth as I seek to know Christ and him crucified! I would call on all who read this to pray that the Lord would open the eyes of all who have been involved in this deception. Whether leader or follower, we are loved and the Lord is a forgiving God. He says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I believe we are like the church in Laodicea, we think that we are rich, have prospered and need nothing, we do not realize that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. We must take the Counsel of Jesus and buy gold refined in the fire (which is his suffering, not a false spirit!) white garments to clothe our shameful nakedness and salve for our eyes that we might see again. Jesus is calling us to repentance and thank the Lord that he is, for it will lead us to true restoration with our Father! If God has forgiven me and opened my eyes then he can do it for all those caught in deception too. I will finish with a warning from Paul, he says if you think you are standing firm be careful lest you fall.

Sincerely, Paul Gowdy

Personally having been redeemed form charismatic extremism I applaud brother Growdy for his honesty and brokenness to share his testimony. My wife and I were present when Mrs. Arnott gave her infamous “golden sword” prophecy and saw firsthand the effect it had on the thousands present at that service. I pray our gracious Lord continues to restore Paul’s soul and that he has found safe haven in a biblically sound congregation. His testimony simply affirms what DMI has been saying for over the years. Literally hundreds of thousands of professing Christians have bought into a belief system which is not only biblically unsound but also spiritually damaging.

Sadly to date charismatic extremism shows little decrease in momentum and in some of its man facets in growing rapidly. Due to the growth of such gross doctrinal error DMI needs your support more than ever and we ask that you would pleas pray for our portion of Christ’s ministry and to also put “legs” to your prayers by financially supporting our work to His glory.

Rev. Robert S. Liichow





The Discipline of Prayer –Part Two

17 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 3 – The Discipline of Prayer — Part Two – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Prayer — Part Two

By Rev. Bob Liichow

We began to consider the majesty of the Lord’s prayer last month and this month we will briefly look at the remaining six petitions given to us by Jesus in this stunningly rich prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13

 “After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. They will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

On the surface what Jesus gave to His disciples is a seemingly simple prayer. Yet the breath of this prayer is astoundingly wide and encompasses the entirety of man’s existence. I will be citing very heavily from Dr. Martin Luther and his commentary on the Lord’s Prayer as found in the Book of Concord. Whatever you may think about Luther. I believe you will agree that he had great insight into the Lord’s Prayer. My comments are in Blue, Luther’s are in Black.

The Second Petition

“Thy Kingdom Come”

But just as the name of God is in itself holy, and we pray nevertheless that it be holy among us, so also His Kingdom comes of itself without our prayer, yet we pray nevertheless that it may come to us, that is, prevail among us and with us, so that we may be a part of those among whom His name is hallowed and His kingdom prospers. [ Luther’s insight flies in the face of a great deal of current teaching concerning the kingdom of God in charismatic circles. It is commonly taught that we the Church, can either hasten or delay the coming of God’s kingdom. This hastening or delaying is done through either our positive or negative confessions or actions. Those who teach a brand of “Dominion Theology” say that it is up to the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. This false doctrine espouses the belief that we are to Christianize every nation and then hand a restored would back to Jesus at His return. This global restoration and dominion will be allegedly led by a large number of “restored” prophets and apostles. Some of the more well know people who teach this false view include: Earl Paulk, Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Bickle, John Paul Jones, Don Nori, Mahesh Chavda and others.]

But what is the kingdom of God? Answer: Nothing else than what we learned in the Creed, that God sent His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil, and to bring us to Himself, and to govern us as a King of righteousness, life and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience, fro which end He has also bestowed His Holy Ghost, who is to bring these things home to us by His holy Word, and to illumine and strengthen us in the faith by His power.

Therefore we pray here in the first place that this may become effective with us, and that His name be so praised through the holy Word of God and a Christian life that both we who have accepted it may abide and daily grow therein, and that it may gain approbation and adherence among other people and proceed with power throughout the world, that many may fine entrance into the Kingdom of Grace, be made partakers of redemption, being led thereto by the Holy Ghost, in order that thus we may all together remain forever in the one kingdom now begun.

For the coming of God’s kingdom to us occurs in two ways; first, here in time through the Word and faith; and secondly, in eternity forever through revelation Now we pray for both these things, that it may come to those who are not yet in it, and by daily increase, to us who have received the same, and hereafter in eternal life. All this is nothing else than saying: Dear Father, we pray, give us first Thy Word, that the Gospel be preached properly throughout the world; and secondly, that it be received in faith, and work and live in us, so that through the Word and the power of the Holy Ghost Thy Kingdom may prevail among us, and the kingdom of the devil be put down, that he may have no right or power over us, until at last it shall be utterly destroyed, and sin, death, and hell shall be exterminated, that we may live forever in perfect righteousness and blessedness.

From this you perceive that we pray here not for a crust of bread or a temporal, perishable good, but for an eternal inestimable treasure and everything that God Himself possesses; which is far too great for any human heart to think of desiring if He had not Himself commanded us to pray for the same. But because He is God, He also claims the honor of giving much more and more abundantly than any one can comprehend, — like an eternal, unfailing fountain, which the more it pours forth and overflows, the more it continues to give, — and He desires nothing more earnestly of us than that we ask much and great things of Him, and again is angry if we do not ask and pray confidently.

The Third Petition

“They Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven”

Thus far we have prayed that God’s name be honored by us, and that His kingdom prevail among us; in which two points is comprehended all that pertains to the honor of God and to our salvation, that we receive as our own God and all His riches. But now a need just as great arises, namely, that we firmly keep them, and do not suffer ourselves to be torn there from.

For no one believes how the devil opposes and resists them, and cannot suffer that any one teach or believe aright. And it hurts him beyond measure to suffer his lies and abominations, that have been honored under the most specious pretexts of the divine name, to be exposed and to be disgraced himself, and besides, be driven out of the heart, and suffer such a breach to be made in his kingdom. Therefore he chafes and rages as a fierce enemy with all his power and might, and marshals all his subjects and, in addition enlists the world and our own flesh as his allies.

If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and reckon upon having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies, who will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be wanting. And let no one think that he shall have peace; but he must risk what whatever he has upon earth — possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life.

[ Luther taught salvation by grace through faith alone, but it was not a cheap grace, nor was it a faith that does not produce works. Many today hold only to a theology of glory and cannot accept the reality of the theology of the cross. The early evangelicals understood that they would have to suffer attacks fro their stance on the Gospel. Consider well what Luther says here in light of the teachings of Joel Osteen, Paula White or Jesse Duplantis.]

Hence there is just as great a need, as in all the others, that we pray without ceasing: “Dear Father, Thy will be done, not the will of the devil and of our enemies, nor of anything that would persecute and suppress Thy holy Word or hinder Thy kingdom; and grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured on that account, lest our poor flesh yield or fall away from weakness or sluggishness.”

Behold, thus we have in these three petitions, in the simplest manner, the need which relates to God Himself, yet all for our sakes. For whatever we pray concerns only us, namely, as we have said, that what must be done anyway without us, may also be done in us. For as His name must be hallowed and His kingdom come without our prayer, so also His will must be done and succeed although the devil with all his adherents raise a great tumult, are angry and rage against it, and undertake to exterminate the Gospel utterly. But for our own sakes we must pray that even against their fury His will be done without hindrance also among us, that they may not be able to accomplish anything and we remain firm against all violence and persecution, and submit to such will of God.

Such prayer, then, is to be our protection and defense now, is to repel and put down all that the devil, Pope, bishops, tyrants, and heretics can do against our Gospel. Let them all rage and attempt their utmost, and deliberate and resolve how they may suppress and exterminate us, that their will and counsel may prevail: over and against this one or two Christians with this petition alone shall be our wall against which they shall run and dash themselves to pieces. This consolation and confidence we have, that the will and purpose of the devil and of all our enemies shall and must fail and come to naught, however, proud, secure, and powerful they know themselves to be. For if their will were not broken and hindered, the kingdom of God could not abide on earth nor His name be hallowed.

The Fourth Petition

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

[In this petition I want to draw your attention to how marvelously Luther expands this simple petition to encompass every aspect that of life that goes into God providing for us daily bread. Also not how Luther often mentions the negative aspect which are wrapped up in our prayer to our heavenly Father].

Here, now, we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessaries of our body and of the temporal life. It is a brief and simple word, but it has a very wide scope. For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread and, on the other hand, against everything which interferes with it. Therefore you must open wide and extend your thoughts not only to the oven or the flour-bin but to the distant field and the entire land, which bears and brings to us daily bread and every sort of sustenance. For if God did not cause it to grow, and bless and preserve it in the field, we could never take bread from the oven or have any to set upon the table.

To comprise it briefly, this petition includes everything that belongs to our entire life in the world, because on that account alone do we need daily bread. Now for our life it is not only necessary that our body have food and covering and other necessaries, but also that we spend our days in peace and quiet among the people with whom we live and have intercourse in daily business and conversation and all sorts of doings, in short, whatever pertains both to the domestic and to the neighborly or civil relation and government. For where these two things are hindered [intercepted and disturbed] that they do not proper as they ought, the necessaries of life also are impeded, so that ultimately life cannot be maintained. And there is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for temporal authority and government, as that by which most of all God preserves to us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. For though we have received of God all good things in abundance we are not able to retain any of them or use them in security and happiness, if He did not give us a permanent and peaceful government. For where there are dissension, strife, and war, there the daily bread is already taken away, or at least checked.

Let this be a very brief explanation and sketch, showing how far this petition extends through all conditions on earth. Of this any one might indeed make a long prayer, and with many words enumerate all the things that are included therein, as that we pray God to give us food and drink, clothing, house, and home, and health of body; also that He cause the grain and fruits of the field to grow and mature well; furthermore, that He help us at home towards good housekeeping, that He give and preserve to us a godly wife, children, and servants, that He cause our work, trade, or whatever we are engaged in to prosper and succeed, favor us with faithful neighbors and good friends, etc. Likewise, that He give to emperors, Kings, and all estates, and especially to the rulers, of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers, wisdom, strength, and success that they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies; to subjects and the common people, obedience, peace, and harmony in their life with one another, and on the other hand, that He would reserve us from all sorts of calamity to body and livelihood, as lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, pestilence, castle-plague, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, etc. All this it is well to impress upon the simple, namely, that these things come from God, and must be prayed for by us.

But this petition is especially directed also against our chief enemy, the devil. For all his thought and desire is to deprive us of all that we have from God, or to hinder it; and he is not satisfied to obstruct and destroy spiritual government in leading souls astray by his lies and bringing them under his power, but he also prevents and hinders the stability of all government and honorable, peaceable relations on earth. There he causes so much contention, murder, sedition, and war also lightning and hail to destroy grain and cattle, to poison the air, etc. In short, he is sorry that any one has a morsel of bread from God and eats it in peace; and if it were in his power, and our prayer (next to God) did not prevent him, we would not keep a straw in the field, a farthing in the house, yea, not even our life for an hour, especially those who have the Word of God and would like to be Christians.

Behold, thus God wishes to indicate to us how He cares for us in all our need, and faithfully provides also for our temporal support. Although He abundantly grants and preserves these things even to the wicked and knaves, yet He wishes that we pray for them, in order that we may recognize that we receive them from His had, and may feel His paternal goodness toward us therein.

The Fifth Petition

“And Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

This part now relates to our poor miserable life, which although we have and believe the Word of God, and do and submit to His will, and are supported by His gifts and blessings is nevertheless not without sin. For we still stumble daily and transgress because we live in the world among men who do us much harm and give us cause for impatience, anger, revenge, etc. Besides, we have Satan at our back, who sets upon us on every side, and fights (as we have heard) against all the foregoing petitions, so that it is not possible always to stand firm in such a persistent conflict.

[This insight regarding our sinfulness is also rejected by many in the Church today. Among the charismatic and the so-called modern evangelical community is a negation of the reality of sin. Either some form of incipient perfectionism is taught {which gained a foothold in the Church today through that damnable heretic Charles Finney} or sin is simply not preached about because it is a “negative” confession. Luther correctly understood what it meant to be declared righteous in the sight of God and that our righteousness is in fact an alien righteousness, one that is reckoned to our account due to the work of Christ. Many, especially within the word of Faith cult, teach that the Christian actually becomes righteous and can attain sinless perfection in this life.]

Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and to pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and ever before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness. For since the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it neither trusts nor believes God, and is ever active in evil and omission by which the conscience is thrown into unrest, so that it is afraid of the wrath and displeasure of God, and thus loses the comfort and confidence derived from the Gospel; therefore it is ceaselessly necessary that we run hither and obtain consolation to comfort the conscience again.

But this should serve God’s purpose of breaking our pride and keeping us humble. For in case any one should boast of his godliness and despise others, God has reserved this prerogative to Himself, that the person is to consider himself and place this prayer before his eyes, and he will find that he is no better than others, and that in the presence of God all must lower their plumes, and be glad that they can attain forgiveness. And let no one think that as long as we live here he can reach such a position that he will not need such forgiveness. In short, if God does not forgive without ceasing, we are lost.

It is therefore the intent of this petition that God would not regard our sins and hold up to us what we daily deserve, but would deal graciously with us, and forgive, as He has promised, and thus grant us a joyful and confident conscience to stand before Him in prayer. For where the heart is not in right relation towards God, nor can take such confidence, it will nevermore venture to pray. But such a confident and joyful heart can spring from nothing else than the [certain] knowledge of the forgiveness of sin.

But there is here attached a necessary, yet consolatory addition: As we forgive. He has promised that we shall be sure that everything is forgiven and pardoned, yet in the manner that we also forgive our neighbor. For just as we daily sin much against God and ye He forgives everything through grace, so we, too, must ever forgive our neighbor who does us injury, violence, and wrong, shows malice toward us, etc. If, therefore you do not forgive, then do not think that God forgives you; but if you forgive, you have this consolation and assurance, that you are forgiven in heaven, not on account of your forgiving, — for God forgives freely and without condition out of pure grace, because He has so promised, as the Gospel teaches, — but in order that He may set this up for our confirmation and assurance for a sign alongside of the promise which accords with this prayer, Luke 6:37: Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Therefore Christ also repeats it soon after the Lord’s Prayer, and says, Matt 6,14: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, etc.

The Sixth Petition

“And Lead us not into temptation”

We have now heard enough what toil and labor is required to retain all that for which we pray, and to persevere therein, which, however, is not achieved without infirmities and stumbling. Besides, although we have received forgiveness and a good conscience and are entirely acquitted, yet is our life of such a nature that one stands today, and to-morrow falls. Therefore, even though we be godly now and stand before God with a good conscience, we must pray again that He would not suffer us to relapse and yield to trials and temptations.

Temptation, however, or (as our Saxons in olden times used to call it) Bekoerunge, is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil. For in the flesh we dwell and carry the old Adam about our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to in chastity, laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of evil lusts which cleave to us be nature, and to which we are incited by the society, example and what we hear and see of other people, which often would and inflame even an innocent heart.

Next comes the world, which offends us in word and deed, and impels us to anger and impatience. In short, there is nothing but hatred and envy, enmity, violence and wrong, unfaithfulness, vengeance, cursing, raillery slander, pride and haughtiness, with superfluous finery, honor, fame, and power, where no one is willing to be the least, but every one desires to sit at the head and to be seen before all.

Then comes the devil, inciting and provoking in all directions, but especially agitating matters that concern the conscience and spiritual affairs, namely, to induce us to despise and disregard both the Word and works of God to tear us away from faith, hope and love and bring us into misbelief, false security, and obduracy, or, on the other hand, to despair, denial of God, blasphemy, and innumerable other shocking things. These are indeed snares and nets, yea, real fiery darts which are shot most venomously into the heart, not by flesh and blood, but by the devil.

Great and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations which every Christian must bear, even though each one were alone by himself, so that every hour that we are in this vile life where we are attacked on all side, chased and hunted down, we are moved to cry out and to pray that God would not suffer us to become weary and faint and to relapses into sin, shame, and unbelief. For otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

This, then is leading us not into temptation, to wit, when He gives us power and strength to resist, the temptation, however, not being taken away or removed. For while we live in the flesh and have the devil about us, no one can escape temptation and allurements; and it cannot be otherwise than that we must endure trials, yea, he engulfed in them; but we pray for this, that we may not fall and be drowned in them.

Therefore we Christians must be armed and daily expect to be incessantly attacked, in order that no one may go on in security and heedlessly, as though the devil were far from us, but at all times expect and parry his blows. For though I am now chaste, patient, kind, and in firm faith, the devil will this very hour send such an arrow into my heart that I can scarcely stand. For he is an enemy that never desists nor becomes tired, so that when one temptation ceases, there always arise others and fresh ones.

Accordingly, there is no help or comfort except to run hither and to take hold of the Lord’s Prayer, and thus speak to God from the heart: Dear Father, Thou hast bidden me pray; let me not relapse because of temptations. Then you will see that they must desist, and finally acknowledge themselves conquered. Else if you venture to help yourself by your own thoughts and counsel, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil more space. For he has a serpent’s head, which if it gain an opening into which he can slip, the whole body will follow without check. But prayer can prevent him and drive him back.

The Seventh Petition

“But Deliver Us From Evil”

In the Greek text this petition reads thus: Deliver or preserve us from the Evil One, or the Malicious One; and it looks as if He were speaking of the devil, as though He would comprehend everything in one so that the entire substance of all our prayer is directed against our chief enemy. For it is he who hinders among us everything that we pray for the name or honor of God, God’s kingdom and will, our daily bread, a cheerful good conscience, etc.

Therefore we finally sum it all up and say; Dear Father pray, help that we be rid of all these calamities. But there is nevertheless also included whatever evil may happen to us under the devil’s kingdom –poverty, shame, death, and in short, all the agonizing misery and heartache of which there is such an unnumbered multitude on the earth. For since the devil is not only a lair, but also a murderer, he constantly seeks our life, and wreaks his anger whenever he can afflict our bodies with misfortune and harm. Hence it comes that he often breaks men’s necks or drives them to insanity, drowns some, and incites many to commit suicide, and to many other terrible calamities. Therefore, there is nothing for us to do upon earth but to pray against this arch enemy without ceasing. For unless God preserved us, we would not be safe from him even for an hour.

Hence you see again how God wishes us to pray to Him also for all the things which affect our bodily interests, so that we seek and expect help nowhere else except in Him. But this matter He has put last; for if we are to be preserved and delivered from all evil, the name of God must first be hallowed in us, His kingdom must be with us, and His will be done. After that He will finally preserve us from sin and shame, and besides, from everything that may hurt or injure us.

Thus God has briefly placed before us all the distress which may ever come upon us, so that we might have no excuse whatever for not praying. But all depends upon this, that we learn also to say Amen, that is, that we do not doubt that our prayer is surely heard and [what we pray] shall be done. For this is nothing else than the word of undoubting faith, which does not pray at a venture, but knows that God does not lie to him, since He has promised to grant it. Therefore, where there is no such faith, there cannot be ture prayer either.

It is, therefore, a pernicious delusion of those who pray in such a manner that they dare not from the heart say yea and positively conclude that God hears them, but remain in doubt and say, How should I be so bold as to boast that God hears my prayer? For I am but a poor sinner, etc.

The reason for this is, they regard not the promise of God, but their own work and worthiness, whereby they despise God and reproach Him with lying, and therefore they receive nothing. As St. James says [1,6]: But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. Behold, such importance God attaches to the fact that we are sure we do not pray in vain, and that we do not in any way despise our prayer.

I believe it is possible to spend many months mediating on this prayer and all its ramifications and Dr. Luther’s insights have certainly broadened my understanding and increased my appreciation of the Lord’s Prayer. Now during our Sunday services when we as a congregation pray the Lord’s Prayer it mean so much more to me and I hope that this brief exposition on it gie you a solid foundation upon which to build a rich life of prayer.

End Notes

1. Luther, Martin The Book of Concord, This text was prepared by Allen Mulvey for Project Wittenberg. The entire text is in the public domain and can be downloaded or read in its entirely at http://www.icinet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-12.html.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid





The Discipline of Prayer

14 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 2 – The Discipline of Prayer – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Prayer

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Like so many other genuine expressions of Christianity, something as seemingly simply as prayer has been turned into a set of rules, principles, keys, and methods by various aspects of charismatic extremists. Allow me to cite a few examples from the books in the growing DMI archive:

The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinson

Releasing the Ability of God through Prayer, Charles Capps

Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting, Derek Prince

Praying to Get Results, Kenneth E. Hagin

The Interceding Christian, Kenneth E. Hagin

Prevailing Prayer to Peace, Kenneth E. Hagin

The Art of Intercession, Kenneth E. Hagin

I Prayed, He Answered, William L. Vaswig

Prayer Fasting, “Apostle” Kingsley A. Fletcher

Practicing the Prayer of Presence, Adrian van Kaam & Susan Muto

Prayer Your Foundation for Success, Kenneth Copeland

Praying Beyond God’s Ability The Enigma of Unanswered Prayer, Roy Hicks

Prayer Hindrances, Fear Worry Doubt, Charles Capps (3 tape series)

Atomic Power With God Through Prayer & Fasting, Franklin Hall

Moving the Hand of God Putting Memorial Prayer to Work for You, John Avanzini

These books, and many others I did not cite involve techniques which can be condensed into the simple belief that through using these techniques you can get God to do whatever you want Him to as long as you can find a snippet of a Bible text to quote back to Him. The majority of charismatic books on prayer are little more than tracts about confessing the answer you want from God, which makes prayer more or less a practice of positive confession.

Naturally, there are a whole host of books written about the benefits and necessity of “praying” in other tongues. Almost every charismatic Christian believes that it is the will of God for each of His children to have their own prayer language. The emphasis on this is so strong that for fifteen years 90% of my time spent in prayer, was done by me in my private prayer language. I once took some time in seminary to figure out how many hours I had spent praying in other tongues and I came up with over 5,000 hours (keep in mind at one point I was single and used to pray 3-4 hours a day in tongues). The sad reality was brought home to me while studying First Corinthians taught by Dr. H. Wayne House at Michigan Theological Seminary. I learned that exegetically I had no leg to stand on regarding a private prayer language, there simply is no such thing taught by the Apostle Paul. Yet all the prater meetings I attended and led were basically groups of individuals praying loudly or softly in other tongues…because after all we ere speaking mysteries in the spirit realm and thus Satan could not know what we were saying to God, ergo, he could not inhibit God’s work on our behalf. What was troubling to me is that when the scales of ignorance dropped off of my eyes I realized three important facts: First, I did not know either what I was praying about, since it was just as much a mystery to me as it was to the devil and his demons. Secondly, since I really had no idea what I was saying, or who I might have been praying for I had no way of knowing if my prayers were even answered by God. Lastly, even though I’d leave those times of praying in tongues feeling GREAT, the truth was that I was not developing any real communication with my Lord. When I stopped praying in tongues I realized that I was nearly speechless before the Lord as far as genuinely pouring my heart out to Him in prayer. In short, I honestly did not know how to pray much at all. Oh I thought I was pulling down principalities, powers and dominions over neighborhoods and cities. I could go on for hours “in the spirit,” yet when it came to being transparent with myself before my God I was at a loss.

I believe this is the same sort of experience the disciples had being around The Master during His earthly ministry. Jesus was (still is) a man of prayer this is plainly shown throughout all four Gospels.

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, Matthew 14:23

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. Mark 6:46-47

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:35-36

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Luke 9:28,29

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples. Luke 11:1

“Lord Teach Us to Pray”

This is where we begin our consideration of the spiritual discipline of prayer. It seems obvious that the disciples took note of the manner in which our Lord relied upon prayer as His “connection” between Himself and His heavenly Father. They saw their Master often either leaving them to be alone to pray, or rising early in the morning to spend time alone with His Father in prayer. In short, what they noticed was that the prayer life of Jesus was not (1) formal, (2) ritualistic, (3) repetitive, (4) dull and (5) nonproductive. Until the breaking forth of Jesus’ ministry none of the rabbis, scribes, or Pharisees ever referred to Almighty God as “Father” in their prayers or teachings. This was a radical concept which brought our Lord into conflict with the ruling religious minds of His day.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, o that your giving may be in secret. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:3-8

Jesus, in Matthew and other places in the Gospel, hammer’s home a point formerly unstressed to the Israelites, that of God being their “father.” Unlike today, back then most people knew they were sinners and that God was holy, thus their relationship to Him was not seen generally of a father relating to his children. God was wholly “other” to the average Israelite and to dare call Him “Father” was blasphemy and an attempt to rise oneself up to His level. The religious leaders understood perfectly that Jesus was declaring Himself to be God’s Son because of the familial terms He used of Himself and the god the Jews were supposed to be worshipping.

I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you tone me?” We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:30-33

It is vital to understand the times in which Jesus lived in order to realize just how radical the prayer He was about to teach His disciples was and still is today when it is really delved into. What we call “the Lord’s Prayer,” is really better named “the Disciples Prayer,” because they asked our Master to teach them to pray. It is really a very simple prayer which is broken down into seven petitions. Because of its seeming simplicity, the tremendous depth and majesty of what Jesus taught His disciples often goes unappreciated by many in the Church today. Sadly, from my own personal experience I know that the majority of charismatic congregations do not pray the Lord’s Prayer as a part of their worship service and virtually all of the so-called “evangelical” congregations do not do so either. In my studies I have found the commentary of Dr. Martin Luther in his Large Catechism on the Lord’s Prayer to be the best available and I will be citing it almost exclusively.

The First Petition

“Hallowed be Thy name”

Jesus begins by teaching His disciples to pray in the following manner —”Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9). The first two words had to have blown the disciples minds; they had never dared address the Lord God of Israel in such an intimate manner, yet this is exactly how Jesus taught them to pray.

“hallowed” is just an Old English term for “holy.” First and foremost Jesus stresses that His disciples remember the Second Commandment in which we are told to be sure we do not take the Lord’s name in vain or profane His name in any way. God’s name is always holy in its nature, but often in our use it is not holy. So we are directed by God the Son to pray that His name become holy among us. How so?

Answer, as plainly as it can be said: ‘When both our doctrine and life are godly and Christian.’ Since we call God our Father in this prayer, it is our duty to always to act and behave ourselves as godly children, that He may not receive shame, but honor and praise from us…In the first place, then, God’s name is profaned when people preach, teach, and say in God’s name what is false and misleading. They use His name like an ornament and attract a market for falsehood. That is, indeed, the greatest way to profane and dishonor the divine name. Luther’s comments teach us that not much has changed regarding the battles raging around and within the true Church:

To hallow means the same as to praise, magnify, and honor both in word and deed. Here, now, learn what great need there is for such prayer. Because we see how full the world is of sects and false teachers, who all wear the holy name as a cover and a sham for their doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1), we should by all means pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and cry out and call upon God against all people who preach and believe falsely.

Jesus begins by teaching us that God is our Father and as His children we want to do all we can to make sure that our Father’s name is honored and praised by all we do and say. Those who abuse God’s holy name for gain are to be exposed, openly rebuked and if unrepentant then shunned as blasphemers. ♦

To Be CONTINUED NEXT MONTH

Copyright © 2007 Robert S. Liichow





Part Two – The Heretics Promises Of Long Life Fall Short As They Age – Time for A New Paradigm

9 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – August 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 8 – Part Two – The Heretics Promises Of Long Life Fall Short As They Age and Die So Time for A New Paradigm – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Part Two – The Heretics Promise Of Long Life Fall Short As They Age – So, Time for A New Paradigm

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In the July Issue we began to consider the claims made by many of the charismatic extremists regarding their teachings on longevity. Many make the claim that it is God’s will that His people all live to be 120 years old. They base their claim on the fact that Moses lived to be 120 and when he died his eyesight was perfect and he had the strength of a young man (read Deut 34:7). Since we have a better covenant based on better promises, then we should obtain at least as much, if not more, than Moses!

Towards the end of July I had the privilege to have a radio interview conducted by Pastor Emory Moss of Strictly Biblical Teaching Ministry. Pastor Moss is not only a friend of mine, he is one of the few voices boldly speaking out against biblical error and heresy on the radio in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Before the broadcast he asked me to be prepared to answer the Word of Faith claims to the right to live to be 120.

Let me answer his question now (in case you are also asked “why not” by some extremist). The answer is simple. Why just pick on Moses? Since when did His life become the cornerstone for marking longevity? Without a doubt Moses lived to be 120. Why not chose our first father Adam? He lived to be 930 years old (Gen. 5:5). Or why not chose Enos who lived at least 815 years (Gen. 5:10). The fact is there is nothing in the New Testament that guarantees God’s people any certain length of days. People are free to make any claims they wish as long as they do not twist Scripture to make their point. An example of one person known to many of our readers was Jamie Buckingham who received a “divine” revelation from Oral Roberts:

In July 1990, Roberts gave a special “word of wisdom” to Jamie Buckingham who was suffering from cancer, assuring him that he would not die but live to continue his ministry. In 1991, Jamie Buckingham, encouraged by Robert’s “word of wisdom”, claimed that God had told him that he would be given at least another 50 years of life. However, Buckingham died one year later. (1)

Not surprisingly Mr. Roberts was wrong again regarding what he thought was a word from the Lord. Buckingham did not live, he died. If I had been Jamie I would have been highly suspect of anything Roberts uttered because of his abysmal track record of spouting false prophetic words. Then Jamie goes on to say that the Lord told him personally he would live another 50 years, making him 100 years old (not quite hitting the 120 mark). Yet he perished of his illness the next year.

It is this glaring lack of success among the leaders of charismatic extremism that has led to what I call a “mega-shift” in practice within the charismatic camp. Years of positive confessing and not possessing accompanied by the many deaths of charismatic leaders has led many to look for other “keys” to anti-aging and longevity. As we explore some of the ingredients in the new approach please keep in mind they are not negating the former practices. It is simply that positive confession alone was not enough, it seems it was only one side of the long life coin. Today sign-gift believers are being given the missing ingredients. Now we will begin where we left off in July:

PART TWO

It is easy when you are young to boldly declare that doctors exist for the weak in faith as Fred Price teaches. Price continues to teach that true believers can and should live to be 120 years old:

Price boasts of himself “When you have developed your faith to such an extent that you can stand on the promises of God, then you won’t need medicine. That’s the reason, I don’t take medicine.” While he says we don’t allow sickness in his home (Is healing for all?  p. 20 Harrison House 1976) and condemns others for having it. Nor does he personally take medicine somehow it snuck in on his wife. In 1990 she developed cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It was by God’s grace not the law of faith that she was cured. (2)

As all of these people have begun to age and many are in into their middle to late 60’s, some are older a “new” thrust has been added to their agendas, one that is proving very popular. The new thrust is really nothing more than common sense healthy living with a thin veneer of charismatic “dust” sprinkled over it.

Back in the day, no self-respecting televangelist would have medical doctors on their shows, unless they were shilling a fake miracle. TBN has Dr. Reginald Cherry on their network as a regular program. Cherry is a real Board certified medical doctor who heavily endorses alternative forms of treatment. (3) He is the doctor to the charismatic elite, especially Jan Crouch. Naturally on his program and web site he panders his brands of nutritional supplements and makes the following claims concerning them:

God has now given us the knowledge to take extracts from the various substances He created and formulate advanced nutritional supplements to address the major health concerns that threaten us today. God has instructed me to formulate a daily, high potency nutritional supplement along with a family of specialty supplements based on specific conditions to help the body of Christ in these last days. (4)

These are not your average One-A-Day vitamins Cherry is selling, oh no, “God” told him how to formulate each product by divine insight. Statements like these coming from a real Board Certified medical doctor who is on TBN must be true! If God did indeed reveal to Dr. Cherry some form of supercharged vitamin complex then they should work every tie and in every case produce positive results. So far, this does not seem to be the case.

I am sure if tested, Cherry’s products would contain the same ingredients that LifeSource Nutrition offers in all its products. They place a full page advertisement in Charisma magazine almost every month… (5)

The LifeSource people place their tag line “Can Cancer and Disease Be Prevented?” Obviously, the answer to their rhetorical question is yes if you buy and take their products.

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Books are now coming out by the score written by some well known authors, like Joyce Meyer and her latest book entitled Look Great and Feel Great 12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now. (6) Another title sweeping the land is called The Maker’s Diet written by Jordan S. Rubin. Naturally Rubin has a website and sells products that go along with his instructions on how to eat biblically. Who is Rubin and why should anyone listen to him?

After winning his battle with Crohn’s colitis, a disease initially diagnosed as incurable, Jordan has devoted his life to developing solutions to help those who suffer as he did by developing and educating on ways to naturally and nutritionally overcome health challenges. Jordan is also a best selling author, including Restoring Your Digestive Health and The Maker’s Diet. Additionally, Jordan is founder of the nationally reputed Garden of Life and GPRX products available on this website, including outstanding products such as the probiotic, Primal Defense…A faith-filled life is a strong and mighty force against disease and sickness, resulting in significant, long-term health benefits. (7)

This book and the accompanying line of nutritional supplements is taking off like wildfire not only among Christians but in the secular “diet-crazed” world too. What is Rubin’s basic belief and practice? Rubin bases his nutritional concepts on Old Testament teachings about what we should and should not eat. Bacon and pork products are avoided, as are all types of shellfish, etc. There is a long list of required nutritional supplements that must be taken by the dieter. Rubin got into some legal hot water with the FDA over the claims he was making about himself and his supplements:

“Maker’s Diet” author tied to illegal supplement marketing. The FDA has ordered Garden of Life of West Palm Beach, Florida, to stop making unsubstantiated claims for “Q-Zyme, “ “Primal Defense,” “Virgin Coconut Oil,” “Fungal Defense,” FYI (For Your Inflammation),” “RM-10,” “Revivall Classic,” or other products. [Singleton ER Warning letter to Robert U. Craven. May 11, 2004] The company was founded by Jordan S. Rubin, “NMD, phD, CNC,” who claims to have cured himself of “intestinal parasites, severe Candida, extreme anemia, food allergies, diabetes, excruciating abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, poor circulation, liver problems, chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, insomnia, hair loss, prostate and bladder infections, irregular heartbeat, eye inflammation, and chronic depression.” Rubin’s credentials have no legitimate academic or professional standing:

His NMD (naturopathic medical doctor) is from the Peoples University of the Americas School of Natural Medicine, a non-accredited school with no campus.

His Ph.D is from the Academy of Natural Therapies, a non-accredited correspondence school that the State of Hawaii ordered to close last year.

His CND (Certified Nutritional Consultant) comes form the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, whose only requirement for “professional members” status has been payment of a $50 or $60 fee. The CNC requires passage of a test based mainly on the contents of books that promote nutrition quackery.

Rubin’s book, “The Maker’s Diet,” is number 14 on the New York Times list of hardcover advice books. The book’s Web site states that Rubin “uses Biblical and scientific resources to provide a uniquely holistic wellness program.” Entrepreneur Magazine listed Garden of Life as the fifth fastest growing company in America, with 2003 sales of $43.2 million. (8)

In short, Mr. Rubin is a fraud. His degrees are fraudulent, and the claims he was making about his supplements are proven unscientific. Regardless of the facts, his book is number 14 on the New York Times best selling hardback list and it can be found in virtually every Christian bookstore. Why is his book so popular among Christians? Because we are all growing older and if getting back under the yoke of the Old Testament dietary laws will bring health then so be it! If keeping kosher was the answer to long-life then Hasidic Jews ought to be outliving us all, but they are not.

Even the aging charismatic wacko Pat Robertson offers his “age defying shake” on the CBN website:

Where does Pat find the time and energy to host a daily, national TV show, head a world-wide ministry, develop visionary scholars, while traveling the globe as a statesman? One of Pat’s secrets to keeping his energy high and his vitality soaring is his age-defying protein shake. Pat developed a delicious, refreshing shake, filled with energy-producing nutrients. (9)

Inside the “health clinic” aspect of the website he is currently offering two books: 1.) Aging Without Growing Old, by Mary MacFarland, 2.) Health For A Lifetime, by Dr. Julian Whitaker. His age-defying shake although originally offered for free and the recipe can still be obtained for free, he decided to turn it into a profit making venture:

Seems his “age-defying” diet shake isn’t just a philanthropic endeavor anymore. The televangelist is looking to turn a profit from it. After four years of touting the benefits of his weight-loss shake via his nonprofit Christian Broadcasting Network and sending the recipe to any viewer who asked for it, Robertson has licensed the shake for national distribution by General Nutrition Corp. , a Pittsburgh-based health-food chain…Robertson’s weight-loss shake had been turned into a powdered mix in a can: nine servings for $21.99. In large type on the front of the can, the product is labeled “Pat’s Diet Shake.” In smaller type on the back, it is identified as “Dr. Pat Robertson’s Diet Shake.” Robertson is not a medical doctor, but he has a law degree, known formally as a juris doctor, from Yale Law School…The commercialization of Robertson’s shake drew fire from the Trinity Foundation, a Dallas-based religious media watchdog organization. Trinity has been critical of past Robertson business ventures, such as his African gold and diamond mines and Kalo-Vita, a multilevel marketing company that sold vitamins and cosmetics. Ole Anthony, Trinity’s president said Robertson improperly used his tax-exempt, nonprofit ministry to create a market for his shake. “It wouldn’t exist unless it was promoted on the donor-paid-for airtime,” he said. (10)

Robertson’s co-host on the 700 Club, Mr. Ben Kinchlow also got into the healing crazy by serving as an advocate for bee pollen and royal jelly (the bee food only the queen bee eats, and as we all know the queen lives the longest!). Well the company Ben was shilling for suffered the same fate as Mr. Rubin’s regarding the FDA:

In 1992, a federal court ordered destruction of quantities of Bee Alive, a royal jelly and herb combination in honey seized from Bee-Alive Inc. , of Valley Cottage, N.Y. In 1989, the FDA had warned the company that promotional material distributed with a similar product had made illegal statements that the product was useful in treating or preventing chronic Epstein-Barr virus syndrome, gastrointestinal ulcers, colitis, low blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, nervous breakdowns, infertility, impotence, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, asthma, hemorrhoids, migraine headaches, and other problems.

Despite a promise to stop distributing literature making these claims, the company continued to advertise that Regina Royal Jelly could help children resist childhood ailments, “offers daytime vitality and nighttime tranquility,” increases mental and physical stamina, and “seems to improve the immune system.” Company president Madeline Balletta still promotes Bee-Alive as a “super-food” whose users (including herself) have been relieved form severe fatigue [22,23]. (11)

What is amazing to me is that both Pat & Ben are still avid believers in the charismatic doctrine concerning divine healing. Pat still gives out words of knowledge for healing his viewers on television. (I guess he is hedging his bet by drinking his age defying shake and taking his supplements). After all, one never knows when ones faith might falter.

For a mere $23.00 you can purchase the latest Joyce Meyer book which is also a New York Times best seller. On her website store about this book it says:

You are valuable to God! He has a great future planned for you, and you need to be ready for it. In this exciting new release, Joyce shares twelve practical keys that will help you look and feel great. Working these principles into your life is not as hard as you might think and can make all the difference in the world. (12)

Joyce is getting older too. She has medically battled breast cancer and is cancer free today. Yet she looks in the mirror too and knows in her heart-of-hearts that positive confession will not make those age lines go away. There are other methods used to make that happen along with a whole host of techniques used by the leaders in the extremist movement to make their claims of divine life flowing through their veins appear to be true.

Dear brothers and sisters when you see many of these charismatic superstars on television realize that they use the same treatments that Hollywood stars use to keep up a youthful looking façade. Mr. Copeland dyes his hair to keep it that jet black. T.L.Osborn has worn a full wig for many years (at least 20). These folks use liposuction (Jan Crouch even offered a seminar on lipo a few years back). They get laser work done on their eyes. They wear wigs (Jan Crouch and T. L. Osborn). Benny Hinn is the master of the comb-over and hair dying techniques. Tilton admitted to having had a facelift done (a close look at many of the television gals will prove the same is true for them, but those neck lines always give them away). Jan Crouch had a pair of silicon breast implants for that “fuller figure” Dolly Parton look she covets, not to mention the massive amount of make-up she wears. 

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We all remember Tammy Faye Bakker, she was the original “queen” of too much make-up. Both Jan and Tammy have battled cancer and could use our prayers.

Now it seems they have come full circle from once declaring that all we needed was faith in God’s promises of health and long life and we’d have it, to now having faith in eating a kosher diet, taking plenty of expensive nutritional supplements to produce health and a long life. The trick is to confess God’s promises as you take all those dietary pills and thus you’ll be releasing faith in God to use them to bring you to a long long long healthy, wealthy life. In the end hopefully leaving behind a beautiful 120 year old corpse!

This mega-shift towards long life goes beyond mere nutritional supplements. Charisma magazine but a very long article on “Christian Yoga” in the July 2006 issue. Yoga in all its forms comes directly from Hinduism and have no place in the Church. The theory behind every form of yoga is to “yoke” the devotee with their specific god or goddess they are serving. Here is what the leader says in Charisma:

Susan Bondenkircher, developer of a Christian yoga-video series called Out-stretched in Worship (www.Christianyoga.us) says her Christ-centered yoga classes direct participants toward God, not false gods. And the instruction can serve as an evangelistic tool. If someone who’s not a Christian is practicing yoga, we can give them the opportunity to see God through what we’re doing. (13)

“That dog won’t hunt,” in other words her statement is false. You cannot take pagan practices and make them “Christian.” What fellowship has light with darkness (read 2 Cor. 6:14)? The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is —NONE! Yet this does not stop Charisma magazine from promoting Christian-yoga as a valid means for communing with our Lord. The Bible never mentions any form of yoga as being a means of divine communication or a tool for meditation.

I believe it is potentially dangerous for Christians to meddle with eastern practices; possibly opening themselves up for demonic attack.

If yoga is not your thing there is yet another way to climb the ladder of health and long life. I was sent a book by a good friend and ministry supporter some months back (thanks Tom) called “The Holy Movement: Matters of the Colon.” Once I had stopped laughing at the title I realized that Debora Lee Meehan was serious about the astounding benefits of high colonics and enemas. The book is printed by New Century Press, Chula Vista, CA. Here is a blurb from the back cover of her book:

The Holy Movement is the hottest historical and biblical presentation of Colon Hygiene for this new millennium. Presented boldly and quite humorously, Debra Lee Meehan possess the ability to communicate real life situations in a fashion that is easily understood as helpful truth for all. The Holy Movement shows how spiritual principles may be manifested into the physical plane for the purpose of healthy and abundant living. (14)

The book is filled with New Age techniques and lingo, none of which have anything to do with the Bible. There is not one text that directs us to get a high colonic! There may be a medical reason when such a procedure is necessary but it does not help manifest spiritual principles into the physical plane.

I hope this article is opening your eyes to seeing how far out people are willing to go when they begin to realize they are growing older and are seemingly unwilling to meet their Lord in a genuine face-to-face encounter.

Let’s close this article out by considering a few biblical truths. To begin with God is Sovereign, He is the One who is in complete control of our lives and how long we live. James makes this truth plain when he writes:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appearth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:13-15.

What many of our extremist friends have forgotten is that we are the clay and God is the Potter. The Apostle Paul makes the following statement regarding our physical lives:

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

In context Paul is speaking about the reality of heaven when our earthly bodies perish. Try as we might to push back the forces of the fall we must admit that every day we ar a day closer to the grave and our reward. Frankly, we should be living every day or Christ as if it is our last instead of projecting into the future.

Brothers and sisters there is nothing wrong or sinful about taking care of the body God has entrusted to us. We are to be good stewards over it just as we are called to be good stewards over any other possession. I believe the problems begin to enter in when claims are made almost guaranteeing us long life if we will such as Dr. Cherry’s supplements or drink Pat Robertson’s life enhancing age defying shakes.

Really all that is needed is very simple —-eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and meat. Get some exercise daily, which can be as simple as walking in the morning or evening. If you are overweight, lose the weight. If you smoke, stop smoking. Live a life of moderation and dedicate each day to the Lord and strive to serve Him however you can. You may live to be 120, you may live to be 54, it really is immaterial assuming you have lived your allotted time on earth to bring Him glory.  ♦

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.fundamentalbiblechurch.org/Foundation/fbcwhere.htm

2. Obtained from http://www.letusreason.org/Wf27htm on 07-17-06. Underlining and bold type added.

3. To learn more about his history, beliefs, education go visit his web site at:

http://www.drcherry.org/drcherry_bio.htm

4. Obtained from http://www.drcherry.org/supplements.htm

5. Charisma April 2005 p. 15 full page ad for LifeSource Nutrition

6. Charisma, April 2006, p. 21.

7. Obtained from http://www.gprxstore.com/catalog/product-theParentId11id82.html

8. Obtained from http://www.ncahf.org/digest04/04-25.html

9. Obtained from http://www.cbn.com/communitypublic/shake.aspx

10. Sizemore, Bill – Is Anything Wrong With Pat Robertson Making a Killing? The Washington Post, August 25, 2005.

11. Obtained form http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/bee.html

12. Obtained from http://shop.jmmestore.org/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1327.

13. Obtained form http://www.joycemeyer.com on 08-01-06.

14. Charisma, July 2006. P. 30





OSTEEN’S IGNORANCE

13 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 8 – Osteen’s Ignorance by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

OSTEEN’S IGNORANCE

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If there has been one article on our website which has drawn the most criticism is the reprint of “The Leaven of Lakewood.” DMI has received numerous emails from people who believe Joel Osteen is truly one of God’s most anointed servants and a force for good within the Church and world.

Almost all of the complaints and demands for us to take down that article seem to focus on my concern over his lack of theological training. Many people simply cannot see the need to go to seminary in order to be a pastor of a church. The following comments are taken from an interview given on Larry King June 20, 2005. I will let Joel speak for himself and you, the reader, be the Judge whether or not a formal biblical education is of benefit to someone who serves as “pastor” of the largest congregation in America. My comments will be in (Blue) King and Osteen’s will be in (Black type) I have tried to tie the salient points of the interview together, which at best can be described as a stream of consciousness on both King’s and Osteen’s part.

Regarding Sacred Ministry

On Preaching/Pastoring

King: Why are you a Preacher?

Osteen….He tried to get me to minister, I didn’t have it in me…But when my father died, I knew—-I don’t know how to explain it, it sounds kind of odd, but I just knew down in here I was supposed to step up to the plate and pastor the church. And it was odd because I had never preached before.

I do not doubt that one can have a second calling in life and become a pastor after having a career in some other field. However, most men who are engaged in pastoral ministry will almost universally tell you that they always “know” serving as a pastor was what God had for them. In his Charisma interview Joel told the readers that he never wanted to be a pastor/preacher. In fact when his father told him to preach his first message on a Sunday evening, Joel refused at first, then eventually got up and told some stories and found out he liked it and off he went.

Regarding Seminary

King: You didn’t go to seminary?

Osteen: No sir, I didn’t

King: They can just make you a minister?

Osteen: You can, You can.

King: That’s kind of an easy way in.

Osteen: Yeah, but I think it happens more than you think. But I didn’t go to seminary. I have a lot of great friends that did. But I didn’t. But I did study 17 years under my dad.

Sadly, Joel is correct when he says “it happens more then you think.” regarding people leading congregations without any formal education or training whatsoever. Almost every independent charismatic congregation’s pulpit is filled with a man or woman who has little or no accredited biblical education.

The extent of Joel’s education consists of what he was able to gleam from his father’s heretical Word of Faith cultic teachings and those of the other WOF heretics John Osteen had as regular guests in the pulpit at Lakewood Church. Joel has little or no concept of Church History; Systematic Theology; Hermeneutics; Expository Preaching; the Greek and Hebrew languages; Pastoral Counseling, etc…I refer back to his interview in Charisma when he stated that he does not teach theology because the people are really not interested in it! He is the epitome of the blind leading the blind. What little he knows comes from a polluted stream of charismatic extremism, theosophy, and positive thinking. What is sad is that the people who come to hear him do not demand more than pleasant platitudes. The mob welcomes his feel-good message since it in no way points out their shortcomings before a holy God.

Law and Gospel

Regarding Theology

King:….But when the people call you cotton candy theology. Someone said you’re very good but there is no spiritual nourishment. I don’t know what that means….,

Osteen: I think I hear it meaning a lot of different things. One I think a lot of it is that I’m not condemning people

I could have told Larry King what people (like me and others) mean by that statement. We mean that Joel offers people no genuine spiritual “meat” but only gives them spiritual Twinkies. Yes, Joel is engaging; he smiles a lot and is upbeat. Those are good characteristics to have as a public speaker; however they have absolutely nothing to do with the truth of God’s Word.

Joel equates the criticism he receives regarding the abysmal lack of theological content in his message from other ministers to the fact that he is not “condemning people.” This means that Joel does not present the law of God to the people in his messages. The law magnifies God’s perfection, shows forth His righteous standard, and convicts us all of our lack of ability in and of ourselves to fulfill His requirements. This is called the second use of the Law in Evangelical theology “God’s law exposes the really of human sinfulness.

In Latin that was ‘usus theologicus,’ the law’s role in ‘driving us to Christ.” (1) In Joel’s mind he is taking the moral high ground by not “condemning” people. The reality is just the opposite. He is failing to carry out his sacred trust as a pastor by not showing them their desperately sinful condition by presenting the fullness of God’s Word to them. He is doing a grave disservice to the 30,000 people who listen to him at Lakewood and untold multitudes that hear him on television or read his best selling books.

Because Osteen refuses to preach the Law his presentation of the Gospel is anemic at best and not a gospel message at all at its worst. Any sound preaching will present both Law and Gospel in its content.

This difference between the Law and the Gospel is the height of knowledge in Christendom. Every person and all persons who assume or glory in the name of Christian should know and be able to state this difference. If this ability is lacking one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew, of such supreme importance is this differentiation. This is why St. Paul so strongly insists on a clean-cut and proper differentiating of these two doctrines. (2)

The other word of God is not Law or commandment, nor does it require anything of us; but after the first Word, that of the Law, has done this work and distressful misery and poverty have been produced in the heart, God comes and offers his lovely living Word, and promises, pledges, and obligates himself to give grace and help, that we may get out of this misery and that all sins not only be forgiven but also blotted out and that love and delight to fulfill the law may be given besides. See, this divine promise of his grace and of the forgiveness of his is properly called Gospel. And I say again and yet again that you should never understand Gospel to mean anything but the divine promise of his grace and of the forgiveness of sin. For this is why hitherto St. Paul’s epistles were not understood and cannot be understood by our adversaries even now, they do not know what Law and Gospel really are. For they consider Christ a Legislator and the Gospel nothing but the teaching of new laws. This is nothing else but locking up the gospel and obscuring everything. For “Gospel” is Greek and means, “good news,” because in it is proclaimed the saving doctrine of life, of the divine promise, and grace and the forgiveness of sins are offered. Therefore works do not belong to the gospel; for it is not laws but faith alone, because it is nothing whatever but the promise and offer of divine grace. He then, who believes the Gospel and receives grace and the Holy Spirit. Thereby the heart becomes glad and joyful in God and then keeps the Law gladly and freely, without the fear of punishment and without the expectation of reward; for it is sated and satisfied with that grace of God by which the law has been satisfied. (3)

Joel Is A Confused Semi-Pelagian

King: Don’t you ever doubt?

Osteen: No I don’t —- I wouldn’t say that I do. I guess I do and don’t think about it too much.

I’m not trying to be too nit-picky but Joel throughout the interview is constantly contradicting himself. King asks if he ever has doubts regarding spiritual matters. Joel immediately says “no” I don’t “ then he contradicts himself in his next sentence by saying that he guesses he does have doubts at times but that he does not think about it too much.

In the real world it is perfectly normal to have some doubts and questions regarding God’s plan at times. These doubts and questions are part of our fallen nature and they should drive us deeper into God’s Word to seek answers for them. But in the fantasy world of the Word of Faith cult we (and Joel) were taught to  in Kenneth Hagin’s words “doubt our doubts.” Doubt to the cultist is a sign of a lack of faith versus a lack of understanding and any doubt will cut off the blesings of God in their minds.

King:   Well, 9/11

Osteen: Well, yeah,

King:  Didn’t you say what? Why?

Osteen:  You do. You definitely do.

King: And how do you answer?

Osteen: To me it comes back and God’s given us all our own free will. And it’s a shame but people choose….

King: The people in the building didn’t have free will.

Osteen: But the thing is, people can choose to do evil with that will. And that’s unfortunate. But you know, of course you always doubt, I mean, you have to override it.

Since 9/11 Larry King has asked this type of question to every preacher he has had on his show. Billy Graham gave about the same response as Osteen did. King’s real issue is that of the problem of the existence of evil and why do people sin. This is very obvious when you consider his interviews with Graham, Pat Boone, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Robert Schuller, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, etc. None of these people have given King a solid biblical answer. The question has a “simple” answer with exceedingly deep ramifications. The answer is: Due to Adam and Eve’s sin all humanity exists in a fallen condition. We are by nature sinners who love the darkness and hate the light. In the language of the Reformers, we are totally depraved. (4)

Due to Joel’s lack of a biblical education he does not understand that mankind does not have ‘free will’ in the way he conceives of it. Man is not totally free in his choices (to believe humanity is totally free is to follow the heresy of Pelagius). After the fall his will is bound to sin (read all of Romans Chapter 7). A great book to read on this subject is Dr. Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the Will. Joel fails to understand that man is indeed free to choose evil, but he is not equally free to choose to do God’s will apart from the enabling grace of God given through Christ Jesus. Note that Joel slips up and admits (again) that “you always doubt,” but he quickly recovered by saying “I mean, you have to override it.”

On Moral Issues

King: How about issues that the Church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?

Osteen: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just….

King: You have thoughts, though.

Osteen:  I have thoughts. I just you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open to everybody.

Even though the Bible speaks very plainly about these two issues and condemns them as sinful Mr. Osteen simply does not go there when he addresses his congregation and the multitudes on television. Personally he does not believe that same-sex marriage the plan for God, but he apparently lacks sufficient conviction to share his beliefs, which I hope are based on a biblical world-view with his followers. He lacks the same moral fiber concerning abortion. It is poor leadership not to biblically address the tough moral problems in our society. Frankly, we are in the condition we are in because good men kept silent while the plague of immorality grew in our midst.

I agree with Osteen that our role as pastors and Christians is not to condemn people who are homosexuals or women who have had abortions. We are however, to make them acutely aware of what God position is on these issues and the pardon He offers by grace alone in His Son.

King: You don’t call them sinners?

Osteen: I don’t use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don’t ….So I don’t go down the road of condemning.

Jesus called people sinners and taught a great deal about sin. He used the word and concept quite a bit (as do all the biblical writers). Calling someone a “sinner” is not condemning them necessarily it is a statement of fact. We are all sinners in need of the free grace of God in Christ Jesus. To neglect to tell the lost of their condition before God is to send them happily on their way to hell. One caller did challenge Joel regarding salvation by asking if Joel believed that Jesus Christ was the only way to the father. Osteen replied “Yes I would agree with her.” (I’ve combined Osteen’s comments regarding salvation).

King: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

Osteen: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody’s heart, and so— I don’t know. To me, It’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ.

King: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept at all?

Osteen: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven, I don’t know…

King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

Osteen: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong…I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

I hope from these statements you can see the dire need for a sound seminary education. Here Osteen is on a global television show and he either cannot, because he does not know, or will not give a clear message regarding salvation in Christ and in Him alone.

Joel cannot have it both ways. Either Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Him or He isn’t the only way. This is a very confused young man with seemingly no convictions concerning the unique claims that Christ made concerning Himself. All Joel had to do was quote for Mr. King the following text and let the chips fall where they may.

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.   John 3:15-18

Osteen: “But I know they love God.”

Oh really, then I guess the Holy Spirit was wrong when He had Paul cite Isaiah. 41: 6 in his letter to the Romans. As it is written, There is none righteous, no ont one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood ; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace have they not known; There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18

Love God, the natural unconverted man is at enmity with the God of the Bible, which Joel should know and not be ashamed to state clearly. Joel sounds very much like a man who is actually ashamed of the Gospel. When he could be speaking words of life to untold millions of viewers, he balks and refuses to stand up for the truth for the sake of the approval of fallen men. What a shame indeed.

Giving

King: I love to give.

Osteen: I know.

King: Giving is selfish. You get a great reward.

Osteen: I know, you really do. That’s what life is all about. We were not made to be ingrown. I believe, maybe I’m off.

King does give to many charitable works and stated in the interview that according to the Talmud giving is the greatest thing. King admits that he gives out of a selfish motivation, in giving he receives a great reward. Osteen agrees that giving is selfish! There are blessings in giving true enough. I will go as far as to say God does indeed reward our giving, but not in the manner the prosperity pimps teach. Joel did correctly state a little earlier in the interview that giving is the “whole spirit of Christianity.” Please keep in mind that Mr. Osteen is a multi-millionaire and that Lakewood Church receives millions of dollars a year in offerings. Osteen would agree that we “live to give” and with his millions of dollars personally and congregationally the next comments strike me as particularly troubling:

“Fontana, California Hello: Caller: Yes — Joel?

Osteen: Yes.

Caller: I have a question for you. We’re a small congregational church here and we’d like to come and see you next month, but you charge to get in and we’re a very poor congregation. Why do you charge to get in to your appearances?

Osteen: Yes. The only reason we charge—- I hated to charge. The only we charge….

King: Do you charge at the church?

Osteen: No, no never. Never.

King: When you travel?

Osteen: Yes. The only reason we did it is because when we went to New York Madison Square Garden they wouldn’t let us do an event without doing a ticketed event because of the crowds. We sold it out two nights and we turned so many people away in Anaheim and Atlanta, it was just a shame to do that.

When I was viewing the interview I had the exact same question. Osteen’s response was very feeble and dishonest. Billy Graham has held crusades at Madison Square Garden and never charged an admission, how come they “made” Joel charge one? All that Osteen had to do was simply pay the rental fee for the Garden and give away the tickets until the venue was filled. Even Benny Hinn, as money grubbing as he is has never charged for a miracle crusade! What is more after people pay the fee to listen to Joel he has a multitude of tables set up inside of each venue selling his books, tapes and CD’s. So Joel is not only guaranteed a dollar amount per seat, he makes additional money from the sales of his materials on top of it. Whatever happened to holding an event and asking for a donation from those in attendance? If they wish to purchase his materials on the way out then fine and dandy. (5)

Joel:  Hey, you know, you need to write the church, because we’ll make a way that anybody can get in to those events. I don’t like charging.

King: What do you charge?

Osteen: $10.00

I am glad to hear that if one writes Lakewood Church Joel has promised to make a way for anybody to get in. I plan to write them because he is coming to Detroit and I will not pay a cent to hear him or anyone preachMy question is if Joel does not like charging, then why does he do it? Who is running the ship? It is not a question of money, he has enough money personally to bankroll the events and charge nothing at all. I am also curious to know where the proceeds go. Does the profit go to Osteen personally? Does it go to Lakewood Church?

The arena at Madison Square Garden seats 19, 522 people, at $10.00 a person that equals $195,220 per evening. Multiply this by two sold-out evenings you have $390,440, plus add in additional merchandise revenue. So in two evenings Osteen took in around half a million dollars. When he comes to the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mi. we have a seating capacity of 22,076, assuming he sells out this venue (minus the cost of my ticket) he will make a little over a quarter of a million dollars. He has 20 events scheduled for 2005. At a minimum Osteen will take in somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million dollars in appearances alone. When you add this amount to his undoubtedly large salary as senior pastor at Lakewood, plus the income from his best selling books along with the accompanying ‘Journal’ you can understand why Joel is always smiling… smiling all the way to the bank.

I would like to believe Joel is sincere and as down to earth as he attempts to be on television. Yet I am beginning to have my doubts about his sincerity as I begin to do the math and see the marketing. I have always been concerned over his lack of a sound biblical message, but now I am beginning to believe he is just another charismatic star, getting as much money out of sign-seeking people as fast as he can before the next superstar eclipses him. He is a young man and there is time for him to repent and obtain the pastoral training he so desperately needs. He might even wake up one day and see the poverty and suffering of his brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and begin to divest himself of his millions and actually live to give to those in need. Well at least that is my prayer for Mr. Osteen. I will keep you apprised of what happens regarding my ticket request or any other insights regarding the man with America’s largest congregation. ♦ 

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.crossings.org/thursday/Thur121803.htm

2. Luther, Martin, sermon on Galatians in 1532. Underlining added.

3. Luther, Martin, Luther’s Works, Saint Louis edition, 11:81ff. Underlining added.

4. DMI offers a very good CD entitled “Total Depravity” taught by Rev. Liichow and it is available from DMI for $5.00 plus 1.00 for shipping and handling.

5. DMI has no problem with Joel or anyone selling their books or materials at a fair price. There are legitimate costs in production, time and marketing. It is completely another issue to “charge” people to hear one “preach” a message.

As of 08-0105 you could obtain the entire transcript of Osteen’s interview at

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/1k1.01





Sacred Cow Number Four – The Laws of Faith & Confession

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

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Four

The Laws of Faith & Confession

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

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

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

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

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

The Word of Faith’s Concept of “Faith”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. God must use faith in order to create.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Positive Confession Brings Possession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s wrong With This Picture?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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

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

 

 

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

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

End Notes:

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

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

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

4. Ibid. p. 14 ‘

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Ibid. p.7

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

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

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

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

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

26. Ibid. p.41

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

28. Ibid. p.9 Underlining added.

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

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





The “Cruelty” of the Word of Faith Movement –

31 05 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – August 2004 – Vol 8. Issue 8 – The “Cruelty” of the Word of Faith Movement – by Robert S. Liichow

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One of the spiritual truths that have been “restored” to me since being involved in this aspect of Christ’s ministry is the value of people, real people with needs, hurts, joys and wisdom. We are all members of one body and we all have equal value in the eyes of God and none of us is unimportant or unnecessary to the furthering of God’s will in the earth.

In this article I will focus on three aspects which are particularly cruel and abusive which are commonplace in the majority of congregations or ministries within this “movement.”

                            Lords and Not Leaders

Being set free from the miasma of spiritual bondage and heresy I now see very clearly how many times God’s people were (and are) viewed as merely a means to an end by various abusive leaders. I can attest to the fact that within the Word of Faith Movement (WOF) people are often treated as objects, as names without faces on a mailing list whose role is to further the ambitions of the leader of that specific ministry. One former restored “apostle” Ellis Smith stood up before the congregation one Sunday and declared “God doesn’t care about you, He cares about His purpose.”  The congregants were reduced to being pieces on a cosmic chessboard to be moved around according to the divine purpose as revealed to the apostle Smith.

Every WOF ministry and church is ultimately run by one individual. These men and women may carry various titles such as Apostle, Prophet, Pastor or Bishop and they are always at the top of the food-chain and everyone else is subservient to them. If he or she has a church they may have elders and even some deacons, but the ultimate decision maker is going to be the Pastor/Prophet/Apostle, etc.

scan2004fm0001Having served both as a teaching elder and pastor in a couple of WOF congregations I remember a visit we had from a so-called “prophet” who also served as a pastor over a very young college-age congregation. In an elders meeting, he told us the following: “whenever I meet with my elders whoever hears something different from God than what I’ve heard is wrong.”  (1) In other words, even though God had raised up individuals as elders in his local church his insights were the only ones of consequence.

The pastor within any WOF congregation is the supreme potentate. His role is to “hear” from God, cast the vision for the church and direct the people to bring it to pass. These pastors perfectly fit the warnings given through Jeremiah and Ezekiel to the shepherds of Israel in the Old Testament:

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. Jerm 23:1,2  (KJV)

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.  And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].   Exek. 34:2-6 (KJV)

Anyone reading this article with a WOF background knows from their own personal experience how many times people (God’s sheep) were driven out of a congregation because they questioned the pastor. Every WOF pastor is certainly numbered among the wealthiest in their congregation. These men and women literally take care of themselves and their families first and foremost. They sacrifice very little for the sake of their congregations.

In fact the same pastor/prophet told us in the same series of meetings he held at our former church that now since our pastor, Ellis Smith, had been elevated to the role of an “Apostle” we should not expect him to visit the sick in the hospital nor expect him to give people a lift to church who need a ride. His role from now on was simply to get into the Word and fast and pray (see Acts 6:4). Those mundane tasks were for the elders to handle and let the Apostle, do the serious spiritual work!

It was about at this same time, early 1990’s, that a new ministry was being “restored” back to the Church, that of the Armor Bearer. Books began to be published on this topic, and seminars given on how to enter into this exciting role. (2) Some of you reading this may have never heard of such a ministry and maybe some of you who are students of Church History may wonder when such a “ministry” existed within the Church. Allow me to give you a brief description of the role of the armor bearer, according to the blurb on Nance’s second book:

Basically, the theme of this book is to be content to be an faithful “behind the scenes” person, pay your dues, and in God’s time you will be promoted to increased visibility and responsibility. Nance uses the armor bearer analogy to make his point.   (3)

Regarding Nance’s book, Bishop T.D. Jakes says the following:

God’s Armor Bearer is an insightful book at a neglected ministry that needs desperately to be rekindled in the kingdom. I believe it is essential for every sincere Christian to read and apply. That is the reason that I purchased 5,000 of the books for use at our church. The Potter’s House. I would simply be afraid to command any troops into battle that had not read it. (4)

An armor bearer is the person who serves the needs of the pastor/leader. In our former church that included “guarding” the outside door to the pastors office and “vetting” anyone who wanted to inquire of the man-of-God. The armor bearer carried the pastor’s Bible before him as he entered the sanctuary, walked him off the platform (sort of like a body guard) so the people would not drain his anointing (I kid you not). Sometimes the armor bearer drove the pastor’s wife home pre-heated their car in the winter and ran the air conditioning for them in the summer.

Note that the quote states that one must “pay your dues.” In other words, do this menial task and faithfully serve the person of “God” and one day in Gods time you will get spiritually promoted and have someone else serve you.

Within charismatic extremism this role is a coveted one for several reasons. First,  The armor bearer has access to the “anointed” one and has the power to somewhat decide who can or cannot have an audience with the august personage. Secondly, the carrot on the stick is that one day enough of the godly ones anointing will rub off on you that you can launch out into your own ministry! You learn the tricks of the trade so to speak by serving as chauffer, coat holder, Bible bearer, etc…

However, there are problems with this “ministry.” First of all it is not found within the New Testament or the history of the Church. Armor bearers are mentioned briefly in the Old Testament and when it is spoken of it has no spiritual significance. More importantly it violates one of the main teachings of our Lord Jesus regarding leadership in the Church by elevating the slave to the position of being the absolute dictator:

“But Jesus called them [to him], and saith unto them Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45 KJV).

Jesus outlines very dynamically the foremost quality of a biblical leader–that of a servant. The world (Gentiles) exercise lordship over those they lead, “But so shall it not be among you.”  What we have in the WOF cult and other forms of charismatic extremist groups and ministries is exactly the opposite of the commandment given by Jesus. In all honest I cannot say I have ever met a genuine servant-leader while a part of the charismatic movement. Al the pastors/prophets/apostles either had an exalted view of themselves and/or their calling, When they got big enough incorporated “armor bearers” around them to shield them from having much real contact at all with those they say they minister to. For example, try to approach Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, or Fred Price either after a convention meeting or in their church and see how close you can get to these “servants” of Christ. I can assure you the pastors of large WOF congregations do not perform marriages, funerals, visit the sick in the hospitals, clean toilets or take out the trash. There is one exception to this statement; they will marry or bury someone who has been either a big giver (those who give the most always have access to the pastor, whereas others do not) or is a prominent member of the community.

The majority of WOF pastors rule their congregations by spiritual coercion i.e. they misinterpret biblical texts and by doing so place their people in spiritual bondage. (5) These ministers do not allow anyone to question their beliefs, teachings or even their lifestyles. My wife and I have heard countless sermons about the great danger inherent in touching God’s “anointed” after all 1 Ch. 16:22 says: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” This was always interpreted to mean that no one was to ever question the doctrine or direction of our leader(s). We were often reminded of what happened to those who came against Moses. Anyone who was beneath the pastor had one role to fill—simply obey the leader without any questions and in the words of Kenneth Hagin Sr. we were told to “doubt our doubts.”

It has been a longstanding teaching within the WOF cult that as a pastor one cannot allow the sheep to get too close to you as a leader. Mark Barclay, one of the more controlling “Apostles” in Michigan has written many books on this topic including one we had to read titled; “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Familiarity.” So not only were future pastors taught not to allow their congregation to get too close to them as pastors, but the people are also taught not to fall into the sin of becoming too familiar with our pastor! The end result is an exalted view of the ministry of the pastor, a view that is unbiblical and one that lends itself to spiritual abuse. Never forget the old adage : “the best of men are men at best.”

Cruel Confessions

Probably one of the cruelest elements of any aberrant system is rooted in false doctrines. In the case of any charismatic extremist group, their scripture twisting deludes their followers into thinking they will be brought nearer to the Lord through their practice, when in reality the practitioner is carried further from the One whom they seek to know.

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

Just as continuing in the Word of the Lord (i.e. when it is properly taught and understood) proves that one is a disciple of Jesus and the Word rightly taught and understood liberated the one who hears and does the Word. The opposite is just as true. The Word of God taught incorrectly and then misapplied will place people in spiritual bondage, which is what happens to those enmeshed in the WOF cult.

In the cult we were taught that our words had the power to create or destroy, it was up to us. The condition a person was in whether it was financial, martial, physical was generally brought back to their negative words or if things were going well, then to their faith-filled words.

On a pastoral level I could never be sure where someone was in their spiritual walk because we had been programmed to confess only the positive promises found in the Bible. So when I’d ask someone “how are you doing my brother?” The scripted response would be something like “I’m blessed brother, God is good all the time and the devil is a liar!” In reality that individual may have been headed to bankruptcy or divorce court but they could not share this because it would somehow give power to the devil to transmute these negative words into reality.

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Proverbs 6:2 (KJV) Peasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 (KJV).

See! Its right there in the Holy Bible—people are snared by their words and are even taken captive by the devil by their words. On the other had, pleasant words are sweet and can even provide health to our very bones.

WOF people are afraid to speak negative words, their efforts to speak only the positive desired result is really motivated by fear (which as we all know is the opposite of faith) of what will happen to them if they slip up. Can you see how just this one area of false doctrine (which is huge) places people into spiritual bondage? Also, the strain of denying reality by declaring a “greater” spiritual reality into existence is at its very core a doctrine of works and not of grace.

Congregational members do not have the freedom to speak openly and honestly with their pastor (because he will rebuke them, nor can they be honest with others around them (lest they seem less spiritual) and n the end many people end u on the spiritual junk heap due to the strain of being positive in the midst of their pain.

Our words (confession) will either put us over or put us under. Let’s quote Kenneth Copeland, the heir of the WOF throne since the death of Kenneth Hagin Sr.:

“When you discover who you are in Jesus, your entire existence—your health, your financial life your social life—will take on a new meaning. The storms of lie will be stopped a you exert pressure on them with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. You are to reign as a king under your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Hallelujah! God sees you this way. He expects you to take your rightful place and live this kind of life above the beggarly elements of the world… As a born-again child of God, you are to be a superman in the eyes of the world, holding forth the Word of Life! When you cross the rough spots, you won’t knuckle under—you will stand tall and triumph over-them. You will walk hand in hand with Jesus through the storms of life and come out victoriously!  (6)

Every person we knew, including ourselves, was striving to be exactly what Mr. Copeland described in the above passage. Every problem we faced was to be dealt a defeating blow as we boldly declared the promises of God in the power of the Spirit. We were working hard to reign in this life as literal kings! To do any less was to fall far short of our heavenly Father’s expectation for us. To be (or remain) poor or sick was displeasing to God. Nothing less than complete triumph over the storms of life was acceptable to God and our leaders.

Sadly, millions of professing Christians are on the treadmill of works, striving to attain “mastery” over all the beggarly elements of this fallen world through implementing the various sets of spiritual laws and principles taught by Copeland, Price, Duplantis, Meyer, Dollar, Tilton, Capps, Savelle, Hayes, et al.

What is tragic and cruel is that no matter how hard people strive, how many confessions they make, regardless of how much money they give…what they are trying to accomplish simply will not come to fruition because it is all based on a wrong interpretation of the Bible.

The Harm Caused by the WOF View of Divine Healing

My wife has a cousin who is dying of cancer.  Certainly we believe that Jesus still heals His people but today we know that He does so according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will. We may ask for His healing touch, but we must also be humble enough to accept the fact that we do not always receive what we ask for. Sometimes physical healing is not His will in every case. What is cruel is that Chuck, Tracy’s cousin, is surrounded by positive confession friends and family members who are doing nothing but speaking positive affirmations around him. Giving someone a false hope is cruel. Not ministering to a person in real pain with the comfort given to us in the scriptures is cruel. Having an individual question themselves regarding any past or “hidden” sins is cruel. I remember Copeland saying in one of his meetings  “if you play the game right you win.” Sick people are not playing the game correctly! Marilyn Hickey taught me in Robert Tilton’s Bible School that according to Proverbs 26:2 “As the bird by wandering as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.”

Whenever someone is sick there is a cause and the cause is usually found within the sick individual. They sinned, they spoke against God’s anointed, they failed to tithe, they spoke negative fear-filled words and Satan brought them to pass in their life or they just had “head Knowledge” of God’s healing promises versus obtaining “revelation Knowledge.” The burden for obtaining the promised results was (and is) always placed squarely at the feet of the one who is at their weakest point. Fred Price, an internationally know WOF pastor says the following:

“But if I walk rightly, and if I walk in line with the Word of God, I am thoroughly convinced I can be free from sickness and disease. (7)

According to Mr. Price healing is the will of God for all of God’s children, but it is dependent upon them walking “in line” with the Word of God. Thus if one is sick, it is obvious that they have not been walking in line with God’s Word. Further on in the same book Mr. Price makes this declaration:

“If Jesus didn’t want sickness in His boy then, He doesn’t want sickness in His body now. That ought to tell you that it’s not possible that God could want anybody sick. NOT IN HIS BODY! (8)

Price makes the mistake of teaching that we are the literal “body of Christ”. That Jesus is the Head, and we in the Church are His actual body. This view is aberrant and it has never been the view of the Church from its inception. We are no more the literal body of Christ then we are literal branches and Jesus is the literal Vine (see John 15:1-4) The onus of sickness in the body is placed at the feet of the sick person by Price.

“You need to know that Satan can’t put them {sick/disease} on you unless you’re willing to receive them. What Satan does is give you a symptom, then you go to talking. “I guess I’m going to be sick.” When you say that you just “signed for the package.” It’s yours now, “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth… (9)

According to Price, when a person is stricken with any sickness or disease it is because they have accepted the “package” that Satan has delivered by confessing into existence the reality of their symptoms.

I often wonder how Mr. Price explains how it is that his own wife was stricken with cancer. Betty Price has been listening to and confessing the “Word” according to the WOF cult and yet she became sick and even wrote a book about it! (10) Fred’s wife did not receive a divine healing miracle for her pelvic cancer but obtained the best medical care money can afford. Her cancer is in remission, for that we rejoice. However, if what her husband taught was in fact true, then why did his wife Betty “receive the package” {cancer} sent by Satan? Why didn’t she just confess it away from her in Jesus name?

Seriously folks, if what the WOF cult teaches regarding divine healing is true, then those who teach it, hear it, devote their every waking moment to it—ought to be the ones manifesting what has been promised. Yet here we have Betty Price unable to confess away the attack of Satan! Obviously neither could Joyce Meyer when she was treated for breast cancer. Peggy Capps, Charles Capps wife, also could not exert mastery over the beggarly element of liver cancer apart from medical treatment. Mack Timberlake succumbed to disease as did Hagin’s son-in-law Buddy Harrison who also died of cancer despite teaching the WOF doctrine on healing for close to twenty years!

Healing for the WOF devotee is always dependent upon the person’s knowledge (of God’s promises). And /or works (positive confession of these promises). Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Copeland’s wife says the following regarding divine healing:

“You must know that it is God’s will to heal you. Until this fact is settled in your mind and spirit, you cannot approach healing without being double minded and wavering. The Scripture states that the double minded man will receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:6-8). (11)

A person has to receive the gnosis that it is God’s will to heal His children every time and all the time they are sick in order to be healed. If you lack this certainty then you cannot be healed. Again, notice that the burden is placed on the sick person. They are responsible to allowing Satan to afflict them in the first place and since this is so (according to Price) they probably lack the knowledge of God’s will to heal them too. In short, these folks are doomed.

“Many try to reap the healing harvest without first planting the seed. ‘Until the person seeking healing is sure from God’s Word that it is God’s will to heal him, he is trying to reap a harvest where there is no seed planted. “ (12)

According to WOF doctrine, we all reap what we sow. If we sow the healing verses into our heart by confessing them, when Satan brings his symptoms of sickness, we will immediately reject them and confess that we are healed by the stripes of Jesus and we will be. It is that simple according to Copeland and John Osteen (and 100,000’s that follow their false doctrines):

In your heart of hearts, picture yourself completely delivered from sickness, suffering and all trouble. YOU ARE!! Now, take God’s promises without fear and boldly confess them day and night. When people ask you how you feel don’t tell them. TELL THEM WHAT GOD SAYD SNOUY YOU VSDR!! TELL THEM ABOUT THE PROMISES OF GOD!! TELL THEM YOU DON’T GO BY FEELINGS BUT BY WHAT GOD SAYS!!! (13)

I wonder how well this worked for Pastor Osteen, while he was lying in his hospital bed dying of heart problems and other conditions, Did confessing God’s “promises” work when his wife, Dodie, got liver cancer?  Reality has a rude way of bumping into people’s fantasies.

If someone attends a Benny Hinn crusade and does not receive their healing what is Benny’s answer “well you know I am not the healer.” (14) If someone manages to show any improvement then naturally Benny puts it goes on television, when nothing happens and the people later die, as has been proven multiple times, then nothing is said about it.

Tracy and I took a friend, Madelyn who had AIDS to a Hinn miracle crusade, she ended up sitting in the overflow area and to her dying day believed that if she could have only gotten closer to Benny she would have been healed! Talk about cruel!

The reality of living in a fallen world, in bodies that the Apostle Paul says is decaying daily (see 2Cor. 4:16) is ignored by WOF’ers. They want to see nothing but victory, overcoming every obstacle in life by the power of your faith is victory. Anything that might cause their followers to question the validity of their stance must be denied, denigrated, despised and rejected.

Those facing death in the WOF cult are not prepared to die, are not comforted by the promises of God regarding heaven, the work Jesus did on their behalf and that they can rest in His finished work. They are not told to trust in Christ Jesus alone, but are kept on the treadmill of works to their dying breath. No WOF pastor is going to come into the hospital and say “Chuck you are going to die, have you been seeing to the affairs of your life?” To confess he is going to die is to make it a fact! Can you see why I consider this cruelty and a perversion of the Christian faith my brothers and sister?  ♦

Copyright © 2004 by Robert Liichow

End Notes

1. This man’s name was Keith Grayton, he later died from a complication due to having AIDS. Fortunately by the time he came to our congregation my wife and I had just begun to attend seminary and we were on our way out of deception and recognized immediately that this was a dangerous individual to follow and his teaching while visiting our former church were instrumental in hastening our exit.

2. Nance, Terry Gods Armor Bearer (Gods Armorbear), 1980.

3. Ibid, God’s Armor Bearer book ll Shippensburg, PA Destiny Image Publications, 1994. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

4. Charisma magazine, August 2004. P. 95

5. I have dealt with some of the tactics used in our book entitled “Defending the Indefensible.’ which is available through our ministry for the cost.

6. Copeland, Kenneth The Force of Righteousness Forth Worth, TX KCP Publication, p. 16 1992. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

7. Price, Frederick Is Healing For All Tulsa, OK Harrison House Publishing. P. 8 1976.

8. Ibid pg. 31

9. Ibid p. 32.

10. Williford, Stanley O. Through the Fire and Through the Water, How Dr. Betty Price Conquered Cancer. Web site, http://faithdome.org/.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will for Your Healing. Fort Worth, TX. Kenneth Copeland Ministries, p., 3 1972

12. Copeland, Gloria God’s Will For Your Healing. Forth Worth, TX Kenneth Copeland Ministries, p. 8 1972.

13. Osteen, John. There Is A Miracle in Your Mouth. Houston, TX . John Osteen Publications. Pp. 17-18, 1972

14. There are two excellent resources to consider when looking into the world of Mr. Hinn, the first is the book “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn.’ available at http://www.pfo.org or ‘The many faces of Benny Hinn’ video available through the Trinity Foundation.

 





The Leaven of Lakeland-

31 05 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – July 2004 Vol. 8 No. 7 – The Leaven of Lakewood – by Robert Liichow

scanjoelosteen0001I want to begin this article by giving credit where credit is due. When it comes to the Lakewood charismatic mega-church there are aspects of this ministry which must be cited as worthy. To begin with the church was originally started by John Osteen, who was a Southern Baptist pastor but after receiving the “baptism” in/with the Holy Spirit he became enamored with the charismatic renewal movement in its early stage and eventually became associated with the Word of Faith (WOF) cult. The following commentary was taken from the official web site of Lakeland Church.

The late John Osteen served the Lord Jesus Christ as pastor, evangelist, author, and teacher for sixty years. Ordained as a Southern Baptist he received the baptism in the Holy Ghost in 1958, an experience which revolutionized his ministry into a worldwide outreach…John Osteen began Lakewood Church in a dusty, abandoned feed store on Mother’s Day 1959…John Osteen was driven by an amazing love for people of all ages, races, nationalities and walks of life. (1)

One thing is certain in a time of racial division John Osteen opened wide the doors of his church to all people, and all shades and classes of people came. John, even though he had rejected his Baptist theology (he did actually earn a Masters degree from Northern Baptist Seminary) he never lost sight of the need for foreign missions and his congregation supported and still supports a great deal of foreign mission work. At the time of his death Lakewood Church has risen to 8,000 members.

However, I am under no illusion regarding the WOF “leaven” which John propagated and is unfortunately being further magnified through his son Joel Osteen who took over as Pastor when his father died in 1999. John was a big crusader for the error of positive confession.  This is a metaphysical belief that we can either create or change our reality by the power of our words, for example he stated the following:

When they say like they did to Smith Wigglesworth, “How are you feeling today?” He said “Listen, I don’t ask my body how it’s feeling; I tell it how to feel” And your words should not be to describe the situation; your words should be given to change the situation. And so, read it mediate upon it, and speak it (2)

I am the sum total of what I have been confessing through the years. My children are the best children that ever lived on the face of the earth. They are blessed of God. They are the sum total of what Dodie and I have confessed and loved them into being  (3)

Osteen is on record as fully endorsing the WOF errant concepts surrounding financial prosperity:  It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life. (4)

In the above sermon we can see the Health & Wealth “gospel” summed up three sentences. So despite the good things that John Osteen did as a Pastor he got ensnared by the subtlety of false teaching and ended up misleading millions  before his death. Jesus in speaking to His disciples warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees in the following discussion:

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

Even though it seems to us that His disciples were a little slow on the “uptake” at times Jesus makes His point crystal clear to them — He was warning them to beware (6) to be on guard against the danger of their doctrinal errors, which Jesus likens to leaven in bread. Jesus knew that if left unchecked , like leaven in bread, their doctrinal error would spread.  The leaven of false doctrines which he instilled in his son are now expanding and misleading more people than John Osteen could have ever imagined.

The Concerns: John Osteen Master of Marketeering

Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor. Charismatic pulpits are filled with people who feel “called” to the pastorate and that is enough for them and those who follow them. They attempt to build congregations on the “strength of their calling. Some charismatic leaders may go on to an unaccredited “Bible School” for a year or two, such as Rhema Bible Training Center started by the late Kenny Hagin. None of the large group of ministers  that we were ever acquainted over the years attended any legitimate seminary.

Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt “called” to be a surgeon as a child, but never went on to medical school? Or would you allow someone to build your house who firmly believed God had called him to be an architect yet had never gone on to college to study architectural design? Of course not, it would be the height of foolishness!

Yet millions of professing Christians are more then willing to follow a man (or woman) who says “God” has called them and has supernaturally equipped them to be ministers. These especially anointed men and woman have no need to study Church History, hermeneutics, systematic theology and struggle through Greek and Hebrew as other ministers do. They hear directly from God (this is especially true for the sign-gift  (7)  pastors, most seeker-sensitive churches are lead by seminary educated individuals).

So my first main concern is that we have a man in the pulpit of the largest congregation in America, being beamed around the world that has no biblical education or training for the vocation he says he has! To me we have a clear case of the blind leading the blind (read Luke 6:39) with the end result being mases of people falling into the ditch of spiritual ignorance, abuse and/or extremism.

Joel Osteen made the following statement which ought to be enough to drive 1,000’s of people away from his church:

“Osteen’s upbeat style is deliberate and authentic. ’Make church relevant,” he says, ’Give them something to be able to take away. I find today people are not looking for theology. There’s a place for it, [But] in your every day life you need to know how to live.” (8)

That statement is loaded with seeker-sensitive “code”. My wife and I left a North American Baptist church of over 1,000 members which had as its acronym “GPARS” which stood for (1) Grace; (2) People; (3) Authenticity; (4) Relevance and (5) small groups.

Of course Osteen’s “style” is upbeat, would you expect negativity from a positive confession devotee? No! Deliberate, absolutely, he really believes much of the WOF nonsense his father taught him all his life, not to mention whatever offbeat spirituality he may have gleaned from his two years at Oral Roberts University. Authentic?  Without a doubt!  What you see is what you get. Joel Osteen is a man without any biblical education but an admitted talent for marketing.

To be a success in marketing you have to know where people itch and scratch it. Or, you have to create a desire in them by creating a hunger for something they currently do not have nor formerly knew they needed. All commercials can be condensed down to one of these two truths.

So to become a mega-church a pastor has to make church relevant. He has to give the people what they want, something that soothes that spiritual itch. In order to be a “success” ( i.e. large masses of people and money) pastors must preach unchallenging messages that uplift rather than convict. He must pander to the lowest common denominator and make sure that whatever is taught does not offend anyone at anytime. What we are seeing is really nothing new, it is simply a  fulfillment of Paul’s warning to Timothy in 1 Tim 4:3-4,

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim 4:3-4

This is exactly where multitudes of people are spiritually today. The above text also helps explain the phenomena of people like Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and now, Joel Osteen.

Osteen goes on to say that “I find today that people are not looking for theology.” Well that is obvious because if they were they would not find any sound theology at Lakewood! Although he does not reveal to the readers where he found this astonishing fact out, it appears the folks he has talked to have no interest in theology.

Lest you think me a bit harsh let me remind you that theology simply means: “the knowledge of God.” In essence Osteen has said that people are really not interested in learning about God. Somehow (undoubtedly due to his lack of biblical education) he has made a distinction between knowing the God of the bible via sound biblical theology and “knowing how to live.”

Brothers and sisters, my wife and I can testify to you that the more accurately you understand God within the biblical context the better life you will live before Him. Tracy and I have a daughter, she does not like to eat certain vegetables, but we MAKE her eat them from time to time. Why? As her parents, even though somewhat distasteful to her we know that eating them will be beneficial.

The same is true for every man who mounts a pulpit! God does not tell us to feed the sheep what they want to eat. Jesus told Peter “feed My sheep,” (see John 21:16). Jesus said “feed” the sheep not “entertain” them! We are to give them the Word of God in its totality. Any pastor can fall into the trap of becoming a people pleaser. This is why Paul, through the Holy Ghost warned young Timothy in the verse just above the one I cited:

“I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Tim. 4:2

Timothy is WARNED to be steadfast in his proclamation of the Gospel to be ready and in his preaching to (1) REPROVE; (2) REBUKE; (3) EXHORT the people according to the Scriptures. How? We are to preach with all longsuffering (because such preaching is unpleasant to people’s carnal nature) and with doctrine. GASP! Doctrine? I can hear the seeker-sensitive pundits saying “oh come now, Rev. Liichow, surely you know preaching doctrinal messages is passé ?”  Osteen would do well to heed the word of the Lord from a genuine prophet who stated:

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

There are many biblical themes which are very “unpopular” and even politically “incorrect” yet the faithful pastor/teacher will expound on these topics as well so that the flock undr his care is receiving a balanced spiritual diet and is able to walk in the full light of God’s Word and not in the shadows.

What is Joel’s educational background and experience? Since we know his training is not theological what is it? He did attend Oral Roberts University for two years, but his area of study had to do with television production and marketing.

“Meanwhile, son Joel, one of six children, was learning the business of television…’Growing up, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be involved in TV production, ‘ he says. “That was just my passion,’ In 1981 he came home from Oral Roberts University (ORU) to start the Lakeword TV ministry. (9)

For seventeen (17) years Joel was behind the scenes handling all the television and marketing of his father’s ministry. The next statement from the Charisma article is very revealing:

‘The younger Osteen’s television-marketing talents and his dad’s preaching skills resulted eventually in the church churches being aired on stations nationwide and in more then 100 countries. (10)

Joel Osteen had the ability to get his father’s heavily WOF influenced message out all over America and into 100 foreign markets. Due to this dynamic-duo of folksy preaching/teaching and highly visible presence on television Lakewood Church grew to close to 8,000 members at the time of John Osteen’s death in 1999.

With his father sick in the hospital, John asks his son, Joel, to preach for him that Sunday. Initially Joel balked at the idea and said “no,” He then relented and here are Joel’s own words concerning his preaching that day:

“I just got up there and told stories. I was so glad when it was over, I said, ‘I’ll never do this again in my life.’  (11)

That was the beginning of his public ministry; he just got up and told “stories,” Joel has been telling stories that have been tickling the ears of the multitudes ever since. Here is how the article describes Joel’s style of preaching:

“The appealing style of Osteen’s personality in the pulpit is unmistakable. It is part of the reason for the Lakewood’s current level of success. (12) Everyone agrees Osteen’s preaching is a key ingredient. Descriptions of his style include ‘simple,’ ‘down-to-earth,’ ‘practical’ ‘relatable,’ ‘easy,’ ‘folksy,’ ‘humble,’. (13)

It’s 10 a.m. when he began his sermon. The theme is practical as he gives example after example of the importance of following God’s timing rather then one’s own. He keeps the tone cheerful, optimistic, ‘God doesn’t want anybody walking out of here today heavy-hearted and downcast,” Osteen says. (14)

Joel Osteen is charismatic in his personality. He is not a bad looking man, his delivery is as non-threatening as the positive messages he delivers. Perhaps, I am reading in to much yet when I read “practical” it makes me think that he believes teaching theology is somehow “impractical.” The example after example simply means he tells a lot of stories and anecdotes that somehow relate to the message in which he may cite one or two proof texts to make his point.

It also concerns me what a pastor can make the statement that God does not want anybody walking out of here “heavy-hearted”. My Bible says “godly sorrow worketh repentance…” (see 2 Cor. 7:10).  At times God does want us to walk out of a service “heavy-hearted” if we have been sinning against His will. We should allow the Word (when properly expounded) and the Spirit (when genuinely present) to break us, to convict us of sinful attitudes and practices.

However, if all you hear is “upbeat,” “cheerful,” and “optimistic” messages there is little opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work conviction in the hearts of the hearers. This folksy down home non-confrontational type of message also goes a long way in explaining the huge crowds that gather to be entertained.

Entertained? Oh, yes, it is not only Joel’s preaching style but the music of Lakewood is an important ingredient in drawing large hoards of people. Once Joel took command of Lakewood’s already large congregation (between 6,000 to 8,000 members) he began to expand the musical talent as well.

Four years ago, when Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff—became Lakewood’s minister of music, the church had only one Sunday morning service….Soon after Cruse-Ratcliff arrived Lakwood expanded when two Sunday morning services were added…’The growth was extremely rapid,’ says Cruse-Ratcliff, who still serves on the 200-member Lakewood Staff. (15)

“Star power” brings people to churches as well, especially musical stars and Joel is not ignorant of this fact. As minister of music Ms. Ratcliff knows people in the contemporary music scene and she no doubt help add to the musical strength of this mega-church by helping bring in some more musical talent:

Helping to spice up the mix are two of the most prominent names in worship music. Maros Witt, who fills stadiums in Latin America for worship concerts was tapped in 2002 to pastor Lakewood’s 3,000 member Hispanic congregation. Also adding diversity to the Lakewood staff is Israel Houghton, whose soulful worship anthems are sung around the world. ( 16)

The music at Lakewood is contemporary. They have musical stars that appeal to Hispanic (Witt), African-American (Houghton) and Caucasian members (Ratcliff). The musical team writes many of their own songs and nothing in the article is ever mentioned about hymns.

This is not surprising when you consider that (to our knowledge) no seeker-sensitive or WOF congregation use hymnals at all, apart from the occasional singing of Amazing Grace. The charismatic movement’s brand of music has infiltrated almost all evangelical congregations that have forsaken the use of the historic hymns. At our former seeker-sensitive Baptist church we sang songs that originated from the Toronto “revival” and from the Vineyard movement, two examples of some of the wildest expressions within the renewal movement.

Musically speaking there is a method “to their madness” at Lakewood and other mega-churches. They have a strong emphasis to cut all ties with traditional Christianity. The classic, highly theological hymns and hymnals virtually scream out the dreaded word “TRADITIONAL.”

                    Out With the Old, In With the New

Lakewood an all seeker congregations do not want to be associated with any denominational trappings or any forms of liturgical worship. Many of these churches have even removed crosses from behind their pulpits lest they appear to be too churchy  to the seeker.

In all our time spent among both Pentecostal believers and seeker-sensitive groups we never recited the Lord’s prayer as part of our worship. We never recited any of the historic creeds of the orthodox Church. I doubt there are three people who attend Lakewood who could recite the Apostles or Nicene Creeds, probably few know the Lord’s Prayer. Catechism classes? You’ve got to be kidding! In it’s place some groups may offer a new member’s class, but these classes are usually just general introductions to what the church has to offer the “seeker.” Osteen being a sign-gift believer offers classes which promote the concept of a second baptism in/with/by the Holy Spirit, but this aspect seems to be soft-peddled as well. 

                  What Is the Key to Osteen’s Success?

Osteen I believe is probably the first of many WOF devotee’s who has melded the successful marketing techniques of the seeker-sensitive mega-churches with their positive confession health & wealth message. The blend becomes a potent hybrid that appeals to both sign-gift believers (sort of “charismatic lite”) and baby-boomer seekers.

The message that God wants to bless His children with complete physical health, to give them great financial wealth and to demand little of them regarding their spiritual life is a highly appealing message. When you combine this with well know Gospel singers, highly orchestrated praise and worship teams in a decidedly non-church atmosphere it will appeal to even a wider audience.

We cannot forget to mix in the vast television footprint that Lakewood Church promotes, along with its web site, daddy John Osteen’s books are still in almost all Christian bookstores so it is not difficult to understand how it can gather 30,000 people in Lakewood’s rented 16,000 seat arena, formerly the home of the Houston Rockets.

What Saddens me the most is that one hears little, if any, Law & Gospel proclaimed by Joel at Lakewood Church. To quote something I remember hearing “dad” Hagin say: “how do you poison a dog? You put the poison in with the good meat,” I do not want to press the analogy too far but the reality is that 30,000 people are not being biblically fed a balanced spiritual diet that will promote true growth in their lives. What you do hear is a synthesis of WOF concepts wrapped up in a seeker-friendly environment by a young man with a winsome smile.

Lastly, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a certain synergy builds with any church when it beings to reach such a size. People, who have no solid doctrinal foundation, will want to attend the place here “something” is happening (throw in a coffee bar, ice rink and gym does not hurt either). In America, bigger is better. After all, many posit, if Joel was not being used of the Lord then why would God allow all these people to come to Lakewood church?

Could it be a sign of God’s judgment on His people who have forsaken His ways? Often we think of God’s judgment as some divine catastrophe, yet often, and just as catastrophic, is when He simply allows people to have their own way. I believe the words of Jeremiah are applicable to many in the Church today;

Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jer. 2:12-13

As much as Joel no doubt believes the growth they’ve experienced is due to the blessing of God it really boils down to three simple things, which have nothing to do with God at all:

1. His father’s legacy and an already existing mega-church;

2. Joel’s slick marketing abilities

3. A biblically errant, but hugely popular message which appeals to the masses seeking to have their ears tickled and experience a “good time” in church.

Please pray for Joel Osteen, like it or not, he currently has a tremendous impact on many people. Pray the Lord opens his eyes to biblical truth and may he take as bold a stand to expose error.  ♦

coperight © 2004 by Robert Liichow

End Notes

1. http://www.lakewood.cc/john_tribute.htm

2. Osteen, John Sermon entitled Developing Miracle Working Faith, FA-006. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from http://www.myfortress.org/JohnOsteen.html on 06-10-04

4. Osteen, John. Sermon, The Holy Spirit Part 1 HS-001

5. :to be in a continuous state of readiness to learn of any future danger, need, or error, and to respond appropriately -’to pay attention to, to keep on the lookout for, to be alert for, to be on one’s guard against.’ Taken from the Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon, Silver Mountain Software, ver 5.0

6. I purposefully use the term sign-gift in place of charismatic because all Christians are charismatic believers in that each one of us have been gifted with some gifts from the Holy Spirit (read 1 Cor. 12:7).

 7. Charisma, June 2004, pp. 44-45. Bold type added for emphasis.

8. Ibid., June 2004, p. 44

9. Ibid, p. 44.

10. Ibid p. 44. Underlining added for emphasis

11. Ibid p. 46.

12. Ibid. p. 45

13. Ibid, p. 49 Italics and underlining added for emphasis.

14. Ibid p. 44

15. Ibid. p. 46

16. It is interesting as hard as they have tried to distance themselves from established “traditional” forms of Christian worship they have created their own liturgies of a sort. They have banners which are marched around, they have praise dancers (we called them “Glory Dancers”). They have alter calls, and other aspects which have become standard practices and thus traditions.