THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11

31 12 2011

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 THE CALL DETROIT 11.11.11

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

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

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

 A Little History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Meeting Itself

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

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

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

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

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

 STATEWIDE GOALS THAT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

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

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

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

4. Ibid

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

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

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

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

10. Lutherans will get the ‘vest’ comment.

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

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

 

 

 

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The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God Prayer, Fasting and Worship

2 11 2011

The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God

Prayer, Fasting and Worship

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 In this final article on the International House of Prayer (IHOP) phenomena we will consider the three spiritual ingredients that when utilized properly will bring about global change in the Church and also in the world system (“cosmos”).

 Harp & Bowl Intercessory Prayer

Now when He has taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8

 The harps here represent music and worship, while the bowls represent intercessory prayers. In the Harp and Bowl model there is a combination of intercessory prayer with worship and music, reflecting the scene before God’s very throne in Heaven itself. “On earth as it is in heaven” is a goal of Harp and Bowl prayer.  Spirit-led music is constantly playing as people pray. There is a flowing together between the worship leader, instrumentalists, vocalists, prayer leaders, and intercessors in antiphonal prayer and praise. 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. (1)

 What you’ve never heard of Harp & Bowl ministry? If you search that phrase on the internet you will discover that Google brings up over two million six hundred thousand results (2,600,000+ ) which means that this concept of worship has gone viral in net-speak. Tens of thousands of professing Christians have bought into the above interpretation of Revelation chapter five. This interpretation is naturally buttressed with other proof-texts to paint a picture of 24/7 prayer and worship services.

 In the past three articles we’ve demonstrated that the very foundational concept of IHOP is unbiblical. The text in Acts 15:16 is not a doctrinal statement commanding the Church to “rebuild” the tabernacle of David and go backwards to his form of worship. (2) Sazyc (a former good friend of the author) draws doctrinal support for this novel form of enthusiasm from the Book of the Revelation, another book that is not a source of doctrine for the Church, being it is apocalyptic literature. Our brother Sazyc cites the line in our Lord’s Prayer “Thy will be done on earth” as support for these never ending prayer meetings. If he is correct then it must be that the wheel of divine response grind at an exceedingly slow pace. For two thousand years God’s people have prayed the prayer our Lord gave to His Church and until the last twenty years (give or take) there has never been 24/7 prayer as a component of the Church’s life. The scene in Revelation chapter five is not a pattern for church prayer services but it does give us some insight into heavenly worship. We do see that singing, prostrating ourselves, incense and musical instruments are part of heavenly worship and thus have a place in our worship on earth. (3) Joe (Sazyc’s first name) goes onto to explain the close relationship between music and prophetic ministry (prophetic prayer (4) ):

 Music is also closely connected with prophetic ministry. Spirit-led and prophetic-edged prayer is a goal of the Harp and Bowl model. King David set up this kind of praise as a constant offering before the Lord in the Temple. (5)

 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord. As for Herman, from his sons: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael and Jerimoth; Hannaniah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti and Romamti-Ezer; Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth. All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives–all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord–they numbered 288. 1 Chronicles 25:1-7

First of all these were not God ordained prophets. (6) David with his close commanders set apart some of the sons for “the ministry of prophesying.” Some can argue that David was being led by the Holy Spirit in the choices made. The Scripture is silent regarding any divine direction in the appointment of these men by David and I think it is important that we make a distinction between these musicians and that of the named biblical prophets. God called His prophets and in this case David calls men into the ministry of prophesying.

 I labor this point because the charismatic teachers have twisted this text and declare that it means that these men prophesied either as they played their music or while music was being played. The enthusiasts teach that these people were prophets in the order of a Daniel or Zachariah. There is nothing regarding this family of singers written of any of their prophetic utterances, i.e. there is no “Book of Asaph” or “First Herman.” How are we to understand the ministry of prophesying if they were not being oracular in their playing?

 The Teacher’s Bible Commentary says the following:

 In verse 1 prophesying with musical instruments is mentioned. Many of the Old Testament prophecies are preserved in poetic form. By the same token, some of the poetry (Psalms) in prophetic in nature. Music played an important part in the Hebrews’ worship of God. This can be seen by the different instruments which were used in worship. (7)

 It seems because these men did not receive any sort of supernatural “call” into the office of the prophet that their role was to give voice to what had already been prophesied and recorded in the divine scroll. Naturally their ministry would include the Psalms that King David wrote and was possibly composing at that time; many of these Psalms are unarguably prophetic in content. Ergo to sing these divinely penned words is to prophesy in a sense. The text itself goes on to validate what I have written because in vs. 8 of that same text we read that these men prophesied under the direction of Asaph who prophesied under the direction of the king.

 Obviously God was not directing them. The source seems to have been the King, David, who did receive revelation from the Lord, penned the psalm(s) and he directed Asaph (possibly they went over the music together) and then Asaph went and directed the musicians who then proclaimed prophetically if you will, to those in attendance. There is nothing deep or mystical about this at all when you consider it in its context. There is no hermeneutical justification to call these Levites “prophets” in the accepted understanding of the word.

 This is probably going to shock you (and Brother Joe) but there is no mention of anyone in heaven praying for us on earth. (8) The bowl contains the prayers of the saints on earth which ascend as incense before the throne of grace. Grandma and Papoo are not praying for you in heaven, nor is Mary or Joseph. (9) Prayer requires faith; faith is based on what is not seen (see Hebrews 11:1) but promised by God. In heaven when people are standing in the unveiled glory of the Ancient of Days no faith per se will be required so no prayers will be offered by the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). Sorry, if this offends anyone’s pietistic sentiments about the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews (Hebrews 12:1). But nothing is said about them praying for us nor we to them. Oh yes we do see glorious worship in heaven, but worship is not prayer. No one is seen petitioning the throne for those left on earth, apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Intercessor and High Priest (Hebrews 7:25). Prayer is designed for those who are living, not the glorified. Prayer and its attending answers are needed on this earth not in heaven.

Prayer is not a means by which we can manipulate God and get Him to do whatever we want or think is right. One of the principles of charismatic extremist prayer is based on a twisting of the following verse:

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. (10) Isaiah 45:11

Extremists believe this text gives them a Divine “fiat” by which they can literally “command” Almighty God concerning the work of His hands, i.e. all of created reality. The Hebrew word for “command” means to cry aloud and does not refer to people commanding God to do anything. All the attempts at playing God, or telling God what to do have always ended badly for those who would usurp God’s sovereign authority. Yet this is what Bickle seems to be involved in with this IHOP experiment.

Bickle teaches that Jesus’ second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church’s spiritual maturity and readiness. He declared that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return, when in actuality, Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ and to ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory. Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God’s sovereign power, but that the end-times church will actually cause God’s judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer. In other words, the end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation; it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrist’s global evil empire. (12)

The above statement is a succinct explanation of charismatic extremist eschatological thought. Bickle and the so-called Apostolic/Prophetic movement are “dominionists.” There is nothing new in what Bickle is proclaiming; this victorious and overcoming Church view prior to the return of Christ Jesus has plagued the church for a long time. Originally this view of world history got its real start in America among hardline Calvinists. (13) In 1973 Rousas John Rushdoony wrote a long book on the Ten Commandments and started a movement called “ Christian reconstructionism. “ Rushdoony’s son-in-law, Gary North also has written a lot about this novel idea of needing to Christianize the world by enforcing the O.T. legal code to cover every area of all people’s lives.

What started off as a staunchly Calvinistic theocratic approach to enforcing the Law of God throughout the world has morphed into today’s Apostles/Prophets movement. Their goal is the same — to Christianize the world and then after fully dominating every sphere of culture (government, social morality, the arts, education, and religion) the overcomers will hand it to the returning Christ as a gift.

In the minds of the enthusiasts they probably think that Rushdoony had the right idea, but lacked the “power” and authority that can only come through the restored Apostles & Prophets — this missing power and authority naturally resides within the rank ranks of them claiming The Spirit.

To Bickle Jesus is sitting and waiting for the church to mature and get herself ready to be used as God’s instrument to effect global transformation. It is up to us to decide when Jesus returns. We can either speed up His return or we can hinder it (see Acts 3:18). Obviously, the Church has been hindering His return over those last two thousand years so now we need to hasten His return.

According to Bickle Jesus is waiting for the Church, who like a Bride must get busy and prepare herself for her Bridegroom. What exactly is Jesus waiting for? He is waiting for the Church to prepare herself, i.e. come into spiritual maturity (become a manifested son). To what end? So that the Church, composed of super-anointed end-time saints will “…launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory.” (14)   The role of the church is to be the instrument that will by engaging in spiritual warfare (divine war) drive evil from the earth and cleanse it. Why? So that it can then be filled with God’s love and glory. Does this mean that he will be driving all the evil out of people too? If words mean anything, then this is what he means. Satan is the Tempter (1 Thess 3:5) but humanity at its core is evil (Luke 11:39) and in order to get rid of evil you have to get rid of the all sinful people as well as Satan and his demons.

This last phase of divine war was entered into when IHOP got going. Bickle teaches we will release God’s end-time judgments (written about in The Revelation) because of the power of prophetic prayer. Bickle has never been one to let context get in his way. It does not matter that the context of Rev. 8 plainly states that it is anangel that God uses to release His judgments (Rev. 8:1-5) not some army of super-saints.

It all boils down to human works.   Bickle and his followers are trying as hard as they can to work the various so-called spiritual laws and principles they have attached to prayer, fasting and worship. Concerning spiritual law let me just say this — it is the belief that God Himself operates by universal laws He Himself created. The Bible is somewhat of a code book that when properly understood reveals various universal laws which will work for anyone when they are applied. There are laws that govern financial prosperity, physical healing, fasting, prayer, etc. Visit any “Christian” bookstore and simply look at the titles in their charismatic section, which is probably the largest section in the store, and you will see how many focus on these “laws.”

I hope you noted who does the work in Bickle’s scheme of thinking. We do the work, poor Jesus is just sitting on the right hand of His Father (Hebrews 8:1) in the throne room of heaven waiting for us to grow up and act right. Since Bickle and his entire ilk believe that the Church is either hastening or delaying the return of Christ then they must believe that Jesus lied when He stated:

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (15) Mark 13:32

There is a fixed time when Christ Jesus will return. Jesus came on an appointed hour (Galatians 4:4) and He will return on the exact moment set for Him to do so by the Father. Bickle seems to think we are in control and that if enough of us will get in line and follow his directions and get working. . . Then Jesus can come back quicker. One of those necessary works to bring Christ back is the principle of fasting.

One of the laws that activates prayer to a higher realm is fasting. Adding the fasting aspect to prayer kicks prayer up a bunch of notches on the esoteric “fervency” scale in God’s eyes, right?   Taking time out to pray is one thing, but when you don’t eat too, WOW that really impresses God (not)! Now combine these two practices with hundreds of hungry people all gathered together crying out at full volume in ecstatic speech at the same time. Surely that must get heaven’s attention.

Like prayer fasting is a completely biblical practice and is something that should be practiced by all of God’s children. Jesus told His disciples “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16) not “if you fast.” I believe Jesus expects His disciples to fast in accordance with His Word. Five times in the Book of Acts fasting is mentioned, twice prayer and fasting are mentioned together. Fine and dandy. Without belaboring the point suffice it to say that if one fasts with the goal of obtaining spiritual power (aka “anointing”) or to help elevate himself into a mystical realm then the devil is close at hand to grant pseudo-power and a plethora of quasi mystical experiences. Fasting does not impress God. It is a method He has given us for our benefit in helping us focus on Him and to help set our minds on things above. It is a discipline of the flesh and as such it has its proper place in our spiritual lives.

Fasting when abused can lead people into great deception.   DMI has extensively covered the heretical writings of Mrs. Mary K. Baxter. After prolonged fasting she alleged Jesus took her on a personal 40 day tour of hell in her globally best-selling book “The Divine Revelation of Hell.” Baxter writes in the beginning of her book (a novel really) that she was praying in tongues and fasting when her version of Jesus appeared to her and transported her to the mystical realms of the damned. A.A. Allen regaled crowds in the Latter Rain revival of post WWII with how he shut himself away in a closet and refused to come out until God came and revealed to him what he, Allen, had to do to work miracles. After many days without food and water, God came down and revealed to Allen 12 things, 11 of which he shared but the twelfth secret he never shared. (16)

Around 1916 Howard Carter alleges to have fasted in prison while the Lord personally revealed to him all the nine sign gifts of the Spirit and how they operated and he also humbly received all 9 himself. Throughout history both within and without Christianity there are reports of people fasting and praying for protracted periods and the experiences they had. A camel herder named Mohammad went into a cave to fast and pray — he saw an “angel” and look at the fruit of his long prayers and fast today, modern Islam. A rich kid in India named Siddartha decided to fast and meditate under a Bodhi tree. After many days of fasting, Siddartha vanished and lord Buddha was brought forth with his Eight-fold Path. Consider all the misery caused by the false religions of Islam and Buddhism, both of which were birthed out of prayer and fasting. What is my point?  Simply this, going on long fasts can open people up to demonic influences. This is especially true when the long fasts are combined with the mind-numbing effect of praying in ecstatic speech.

The synergistic effect of both on body and mind can be profound. There are two specific dangers facing the extremists: (1) such practices have and can lead to direct demonic influence in the participants lives, and (2) such practices place the participants in a compliant semi-hypnotic state where they are susceptible to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous SINisters.

If while enacting the above a large hungry very vocal semi-hypnotized party of prayer warriors do not seem to be breaking through the brassy heavens then they need to add the third ingredient of an IHOP prayer meeting. . . {drum roll please} the ministers of music! (17) Prayer and fasting, while two necessary ingredients simply don’t mean a thing without that swing that the prophetic saophone and trumpet players bring. In the enthusiasts congregations and meetings the minister(s) of music has as much, of not more authority than the pastor during the service. NOW heaven must hear them. After all, we’ve got people praying, fasting, clapping, dancing, running around, weeping, laughing, calling down principalities and powers, loosing and binding — all at once. The louder and sweatier one gets the better the meeting is. In most of these type of meetings, and I have participated in many in the past, there is little or no proclamation of the Gospel, in fact I’ve heard it said many times that the Holy Spirit was moving so powerfully there was no need for preaching!

Music has a very powerful role in any so-called revival meeting. The power of music on people’s emotions and behavior is thoroughly documented.

Change in consciousness can be triggered when the brain is overloaded by an excess of sensory input. A simple method of overloading the brain’s ability to follow melodic patterns is through polyphony, the use of multiple independent melodies. The average person can consciously attend to one or two melodies at a time, but not to, say, four simultaneous melodies, as in the counterpoint of J.S. Bach. (18)

Throughout history, traditional and modern cultures have sought to generate trance-like states using music with short, repeated phrases and a hypnotic beat, so that time seems to slow down or stop.

The incremental repetition of brief, non-developing phrases, with or without intelligible words, generates and at the same time is generated by an unremitting [sic] beat. The continuity of the beat destroys the sense of temporal progression, so that one lives once more in mythological, rather than in chronological, Time [Mellers, p. 29.]

Repetitive, hypnotic sounds can induce trance-like states y focusing the brain’s attention n a minimal set of sensory inputs: Music has become such a commonplace that its effects may pass unnoticed, but when recordings of African or other unfamiliar music is listened to, it is realized that the rhythms are “fascinating.” The repetition of phrase and motif, the complicated rhythm within a rhythm that is characteristic of much of this music, may explain why man throughout recorded history and in the multiplicity of modern cultures has used music, both instrumental and vocal, for inducing the trance. When these phenomena are subjected to experimental study, some forms of music will be found to be much more hypnogenetic than others, and some persons will be more susceptible than others. For example, Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ can hardly fail to induce definit trances in some listeners. Ancient man knew of the trance-inducing qualities of music and used it for this purpose. The Druids, at the beginning of the Christian Era, were versatile in their use of hypnosis and music was one of their chief ways of inducing “magical sleep.” [Williams, p. 6] (19)

The role of music and musicians has been given prominence because of David’s use of both in his worship. In any enthusiasts gathering the music and the songs sung create the spiritual atmosphere (20)  in which God literally inhabits and thus He is enabled to flow through His yielded vessels the restored apostles and prophets working signs and wonders in their midst.

What I’m going to write now I ask that you take my word for it being true. Space simply does not permit me to verify what I am sharing, which no one else either knows about or is fearful of sharing. Before his death in 1990 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was using his disciples in his large gatherings for a specific purpose. Through his use of music, mind-numbing chanting, physical animations (jumping, jerking about, etc) he was attempting to create in his words “the Buddha field” through releasing the psychic energy residing within his disciples. Rajneesh was a real Nosferatu, vampire, but on the psychic level, he literally fed off the energy of his followers and probably was as close to being totally demon possessed as one can be.

IHOP’s meetings are in essence little different from the Bhagwan’s experiments. (21) Bhagwan was seeking god-like miracle working power and so were his followers. Bickle and his people are seeking power. Everything they do is about the “anointing” or alleged spiritual power. Prayer is about power, fasting is to increase power, music creates the zone where one can tap into God’s power. After all it is going to take massive amounts of spiritual power to cleanse the world from all evil. (Just something to ponder when considering God’s power — when was God most powerful?  When He died on the cross for our sins, think about this power in relation to the sign-gift view of power).

Bickle knows full well that the type of experiences occurring in their meetings cannot take place without all of the ingredients we’ve been looking at for the last several months. Music plays such a vital role in manipulating human emotions and a skillful musician can turn a crowd into psychic putty to be shaped as they please. Combine this fact with a group of hungry folks loudly engaged in song, in ecstatic speech, physical animations and loud repetitive music and you have created a platform for mind control.

In this charged atmosphere people routinely report finding precious gem stones, people covered in gold dust and even angel feathers after intense sessions of so-called worship. (22)   There are many videos on YouTube given by obviously “blissed out” sign-gift robots that you can view demonstrating the susceptibility to deception by those who’ve checked their minds at the door. The fact is that to charismatic believers there is a clear distinction between spirit, soul and body. So much so that they favor turning down or off their minds so as to feed their spirits, albeit they do this unconsciously via prayer, fasting, worship but the subtle underpinning philosophy beind these practices has been sown by their deceitful teachers.

With a little practice one learns how to enter into this altered state quite easily, the zenith of perfection being able to walk in and out of the “spirit” at will. Prior to the 24/7 experiment our former congregation in Detroit, Jubilee Christian Church under the false apostle Ellis Smith, were leaders regarding worship warfare due to our highly skilled musicians. The praise and worship portion of our services were over an hour. We’d start off “hot” with praise songs (animated songs that were suited to dancing) than after a long while (get good and sweaty) then the lights would dim and the music would shift th worship songs (slow songs, equally repetitive as the fast ones) often giving way to instrumental music following by singing in tongues by the congregation. . . . Then after a long while the lights would go up and the apostle/prophet/pastor/flavor of the moment was standing behind the Lucite podium ready to spoon feed our neutralized minds present day truths and whatever the vision (marching orders) of our anointed leader(s) were.  (23)

At Jubilee and throughout charismania we had “warfare” praise songs; songs that when sung literally were an engagement in fighting the principalities, powers and dominions. What scriptural basis did we have? Here goes:

Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD! (24)  Psalm 149:6-9

Enthusiasts interpret this text to mean: “as we praise God fervently we are executing vengeance on the forces of spiritual darkness that enslave the nations. We bind prince demons and execute the judgment written about them in Jesus name. Praise the Lord!”

Set aside the context and think back to Bickle’s concept of ridding the world of evil. This is part of how it is going to be done through the high prophetic prayer/praises of God’s overcoming remnant of prayer warriors who manifested into sons and joined Joel’s Army.

Make no mistake about it; thee folks are serious in their efforts. It is obvious, when you can actually get people to PAY YOU to come pray at their center. They are working so very hard, just like hamsters on the wheel in their cage. Happily running as fast and as hard as they can, but getting nowhere fast all the while thinking they have made great strides spiritually.

Probably the saddest part of Bickle’s experiment is the deception that these people have willingly submitted themselves to. They have been skillfully manipulated by some very crafty people into thinking they are encountering the Living God when in reality they are far from Him. The degree of brain washing is extremely disturbing to observe. What do you make of people who refuse to believe that the “gold dust” found in the meeting is really nothing but plastic mirco flake when you show them the truth? Sai Baba, one of India’s premier perverted power gurus used to materialize gold dust, ask, gems, Rolex watches out of seemingly thin air. How hard is it to scatter some mini-semi-precious gem stones around the floor while everyone’s eyes are closed? What about the total lack of any contextual biblical support for Bickle’s activities and teachings? Bickle says the “manifest sons” will cleanse the whole world of evil prior to and without Jesus Christ’s direct personal involvement? Come on, what thinking Christian could believe such things? I know who, a person who has been brainwashed. Doubt me? Simply find someone who buys into this belief system and ask them some simple questions. How about this one — “since IHOP has been praying 24/7 for over 10 years now what results have you seen?”

I’d love to confront Bickle and ask him to cite the fruit from his experiment thus far. Is the world any closer to Christ? Is there any less evil, more glory and love? No in questioning these folks they will respond in anger and accusation. You will feel what Paul felt when he exclaimed — “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 6:4) Some of these folks seem to be embodying the dire condition related in the following passages of text:

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall detroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (25)  (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12)

It is very sobering to me when I present the truth of God’s Word to someone who professes to be a Christian and yet they vehemently denies God’s truth and embraces obvious fallacy. I’m not speaking about some esoteric obscure doctrinal position that the Church has never agreed upon, no I am referring to simple basic foundational truths which must be believed in order to be a Christian. (26) When someone denies these central truths and debates them with me versus humbly bowing their fallen minds to the authority of God’s Word then I do doubt their salvation and would at that point steer the conversation towards Christ Jesus and His redemptive work. Jesus said “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (27) (John 8:27).  Paul said “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (28) (1 Cor. 2:14-16)

The only thing that will be spiritually accomplished by Bickle and his IHOP experiment will be the numbers of spiritually abused, broken and disheartened people, many of whom will be (and possibly already are) scanning the sunny horizon for the next move of the Spirit. Well, that and the millions of dollars gathered by Bickle through IHOP participants, music sales, books, and conferences. In effect the devil has sidetracked thousands of people, getting them involved in seemingly spiritual activity and siphoned off millions of dollars that could have been used for legitimate Christian work.

Like all of the prior enthusiastically inspired visions of power and glory (read in: “I will be like the Most High”) IHOP will dwindle down and fizzle out and trust me all the SINisters in the movement will have left long before the lights are turned out. May God have mercy on their souls and may He continue to send witnesses across their paths proclaiming God’s Word with boldness, accuracy and love.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Written by Rev. Joe Sazyc located at http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ on 9/28/11 Underlining added for emphasis.

2. As I have previously written concerning the Eternality of the Divine Liturgy, the Church does bring forward some of the O.T. worship practices but at no time are we to come back under the yoke of the Old Covenant and its laws.

3. I am not contradicting myself my saying this about this text; in that incense, musical instruments, prostrations before the Lord are all found in numerous other texts and when viewed in their context it becomes evident that they are bone fide worship activities. I am not forming doctrine from the book of the Rev.

4. Prophetic Prayer: Allegedly prayer that is led by the Holy Spirit, predictive in nature, very declarative “thus saith the Lord I will bring great joy….” This is another invention by our sign-gift enthusiasts. The Bible does not denote any specific type or form of prayer as prophetic per se.

5. Obtained from http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ .

6. Let me cover myself and quick — God is sovereign, everything that exists is under His direct and complete control nothing happens apart from His divine permission so in that sense these men were ordained by God to fill these roles. The distinction I make is between the divine calls on the biblical prophets by name — versus 288 men chosen by David and his cronies to fill this role.

7. Franklin H. Paschall and Herschel H. Hobbs, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary: A Concise, Though Interpretation of the Entire Bible Designed Especially for Sunday School Teachers (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1972), 228-229

8. Notwithstanding our Lord Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession on our behalf (see Hebrews 7:25)

9. Just a word of friendly advice, not only are they not praying for us, but I hope you do know that you are not to pray for them either, they are not listening to you.

10. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Is 45:11.

11. In an earlier article in the series I denoted several historic examples of charismatic extremists “experiments.” The 24/7 prayer model is another such experiment, it will remain in effect as long as the money flows into it. Keep in mind that those on “staff” actually pay for the privilege of being spiritually abused & used.

12. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology .

13. History records what Calvin attempted in Geneva, it didn’t work then and won’t work now. However, let me add that I have GREAT respect for Calvin, anyone who at age 21 wrote The Institutes of the Christian Religion is not a lightweight. As an Evangelical Lutheran, I can appreciate some of his thoughts, but not all f them.

14. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology . Italic added for emphasis by this author.

15. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Mk. 13:32.

16. A.A. Allen died of an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. Prior to his death in CA he was arrested in TN, for DUI. His co-SINisters bailed Allen out and they fled the state never to return. His cohorts were R.W. Schambach and Don Stewart, both televangelists today, both fed from Allen’s addiction and did nothing to help him.

17. It drives my fellow Lutheran pastors crazy when they keep learning of new “ministries” apart from that of the pastoral office. Charismatic sign-gift folks have ministries for everything and everyone, regardless if it has ever been a part of the Church at any time in 2,000 years.

18. http://www.sfxmachine.com/docs/musicandconsciousness.html Underlining and bold typed added.

19. Ibid.

20. “Spiritual” is what the sign-gift folks call it, the atmosphere is a result of a form of mass hypnosis and susceptibility.

21. He was kicked out of India and other countries due to the unsavory sexual escapades he and his followers involved themselves in plus the several strange deaths, suicides and commitments to mental institutions of those unable to keep up caused him to be persona non grata.

22. DMI has the only books in publication that deal with the gold dust phenomena and supernatural gold teeth, etc….contact our office if you are interested in : Does the bible Support A Doctrine of Gold Teeth?

23. Worship to most of same Christendom refers to the entirety of the service. Sign-gift folks delineate music as either being praise or worship. Both genres of music create specific responses and crafty leaders know which buttons to push. Sorry if it seems I am beating this point to death — but it really is a very hideous form of spiritual abuse.

24. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard bible Society, 2001), Ps. 149:6-9.

25. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), 2 Th. 2: 6-12. Underlining and bold type added

26. Want to know what “must” be believed? Read The Athanasian Creed, it makes a beautiful chant as well.

***





Worship Abuses & The Tabernacle of David

4 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 7 – Worship Abuses & The Tabernacle of David – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

WORSHIP ABUSES & THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Some of you may be thinking that I am being fickle by calling for tolerance regarding worship styles in the fist article and now decrying worship “abuses” in this article. As you read on you will se that I am consistent.

In the prior article the question revolves around whether or not someone is engaged in a biblical form of worship. If it is, even though it may not be our preferred manner of expression, we should not decry what others are doing. However, if what is being done under the guise of “worship” violates the biblical precedent than it must be rebuked and considered a false practice.

Regardless of style all praise and worship is directed solely to God. It is not meant to entertain the congregation nor is it meant to uplift the individual’s soul per se. Let me quickly state that as a result of genuine worship to God our souls are uplifted, but that is the result and not the purpose.

Error #1 – Praise creates a place for God to dwell

Psalm 22:3 “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.”

The KJV reads that “O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” and charismatic extremists take that to mean that God actually inhabits our praise and worship. “If you study out the Hebrew words in Psl. 22:3 you understand that it says that praise creates a place for God to come and sit as a judge.” (1)

This explains why such an emphasis is placed on praise and worship expression in charismatic meetings. They believe that what they are doing is actually creating an actual location in the spiritual realm for Almighty God to dwell. Once this place has been created (you know it has occurred by the various subjective experiences of the leaders during this time) then things can really begin to happen!

As prayer, praise and worship create a place for God to dwell a number of things occur. First, the word of the Lord is easier to be heard and answers arrive quicker (Dan. 10). The prophets or those standing prayer watch will hear the strategies of the enemy like Elisha did in 2 Kings 6. The leaders will also take the spiritual intelligence before the Lord like King Hezekiah did in order to determine what they should do (Isa. 37). Second there is power that can be projected (Psl. 149:2). (2)

Here is how I would dialog with the author of this quote (I can easily play both sides, having been on both of them).

First question: How does one know when the temporary spiritual home for God has been created?

Answer: The leaders will know by subjectively discerning a change in the spiritual atmosphere in the meeting. This change is interpreted as the presence of the Lord.

Second question: Didn’t Daniel fast and pray for three weeks before the angel came to him and explained why he had to wait so long?

Answer: Yes, but that was Daniel, our praise dispels the enemy and thus under an “open heaven” we can clearly and easily receive the word of the Lord.

Third question: I thought the Bible was the complete and infallible “word of the Lord,” which word are you looking for apart from the Holy Bible?

Answer: We absolutely believe that the Bible is the Word of God, yet we also know that God is still revealing present day truth (2 Peter 1:12) and we must feed off today’s manna and not yesterdays.

Fourth question: Didn’t the O.T. prophet actually listen in on what Israel’s human enemies were planning and not demonic spirits? Wasn’t this done to prove to Israel’s enemies that there was indeed a “god” the Living God in Israel whom they should fear? Lastly, what strategies of Satan have any of you uncovered thus far? What spiritual, economic; societal or political plots have been foiled by your people during praise and worship?

Answer: Well a good many things have been accomplished and the works of the enemy bound up by our praise and worship!

Follow-up question: Name one!

Answer: Oh, you’ve got a pharisaical spirit and whatever I say you will dispute, let us move on.

Question: You state that power can be “projected” via praise and worship and you cite Psalm 149 as your proof of this. I have read the entire Psalm and it does tell us to praise the Lord with dance and make music with various instruments (vs.3), all well and good. But nowhere do I find the Church projecting power (your words) in the Psalm.

Answer: You miss the obvious; it is found in vs. 6&7 where we are to have the high praises of God in our mouths and the two-edged sword in our hands to inflict vengeance on the heathen. Via our high praises of God we are waging spiritual warfare against principalities, powers, dominions and the rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). While we praise and worship God we are binding up the demons and loosing the angels of God to carry out His divine justice in the world.

Follow-up question: When did praise and worship turn into a form of spiritual warfare? Praise has always been directed to God alone and never against Satan or demons throughout the entire Bible.

Answer: Obviously you are stuck with the letter of the law and not the spirit because it is apparent that you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. If you were you would plainly see that this text proves that God uses our praise and worship to judge His enemies End of discussion.

I give the charismatic movement high marks in their restoration of ancient praise and worship formats. Unfortunately, they take this good thing too far and twist it into something it was never meant to be.

They have made praise and worship a means to an end. Instead of simply being the emotive expression of love-filled hearts towards their God they have turned it into a mechanism by which all sorts of mystical transactions are alleged to occur. We do not praise our Lord in order to hear some “new” revelation from Him, we adore Him because He is our God and we are His people. Nor do we praise Him in order to discover what Satan and his demonic forces are up to. There is absolutely no biblical support for viewing praise and worship in that light. Lastly, while one might feel empowered after taking time to genuinely worship the Lord thee is nothing in scripture that says the very act of praising God releases or projects some form of spiritual power.

Error #2   Prophetic Praise?

All of the charismatic extremists teach that there is such a thing as prophetic praise.

Through prophetic praise God speaks or sings changes that manifest to the earth in the form of restoration for His people and defeat for the enemy. Through prophecy in song people are healed, delivered and given direction as individuals. God also sings prophecy to the church body as direction, comfort, rebuke, warning etc. (3).

The belief that music is prophetic is tied into the belief that God has (and is) restoring apostles and prophets back to the Church. If one accepts the premise that God has placed prophets and apostles in our midst to guide us to perfection it is only a small step to believe that God speaks prophetically through praise and worship led by these restored leaders. Books have been written and conferences given around the world to help train-up people to release their prophetic gift and if such a person either sings or plays an instrument then they are encouraged to “prophesy” via their singing or playing!

There are greater governing sounds, and songs, coming from the Church: music that carries the glory of God, rending opens the heavens, music that breaks strongholds over churches, cities, and nations—this is the power of Apostolic music. (4)

The music the writer is speaking about is the music used for praise and worship not some other form or setting of music. Note how the focus has shifted from the simple heartfelt adoration of our God to something else completely. “Music that carries the glory of God.” there’s no such music in the Bible. “Music that rends open te heavens”. I did not know the heavens were closed! There is no such intimation of a “closed heaven” in the entire New Testament. We have full access to the throne of God 24/7 through Jesus Christ. Sad to say the congregations that my wife and I were a part while we were extremists did not experience the breaking of “strongholds” over those churches. Truthfully the warfare congregations of Detroit have all experienced breakdowns and church splits not breakthroughs. Detroit is in the worst shape it has ever been in economically, socially, educationally, , health-wise and on just about every level…where is the apostolic breakthrough that has been being prophetically sung for years into the heavenlies above Detroit by restored prophetic psalmists? Like the old lady in the Wendy’s commercial I feel like shouting “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” People can make all manner of claims and declarations but the FACT remains — what they are teaching and practicing is not coming to pass in any way shape or form.

The idea that through praising God evil spirits are sent running is not a biblical teaching at all. One can see such practices on the Discovery channel where they do documentaries on pagan societies in the Amazon or Africa. Pagans have always used their music and dance as a means to drive out evil spirits and invite their gods to bless them. Unfortunately this raw form of paganism has crept into the many charismatic extremist groups because they use praise and worship to achieve these same ends. Not only are songs and music used as vehicles to discombobulate the Devil but they also claim that singing and music can heal the sick! If this were so, then the health rate among charismatic’s would be extremely high and Benny Hinn’s miracle crusade attendance very low (since mostly charismatic believers healed via “anointed” music. I have met many people who Jesus has healed, but not through music. There is not one example of anyone being healed by music in the New Testament.

Error # 3   Prophetic Praise Dancing

In the previous article we saw that it is possible to dance before the Lord as a legitimate form of worship. I have seen some very artistic interpretative dancing to worship songs, but since I am watching and not dancing it does not bring me closer to my Lord in a worship sense, but maybe that is just me.

Even though dancing before the Lord may at times be a genuine expression of praise it too has been pulled out of its setting and made to be “prophetic” by the extremists. There are a multitude of web sites dedicated to so-called prophetic dancing, all touting the prophetic significant and benefit of dancing. (5) Some of these dancing prophets declare that “He [Jesus] wants to express himself in us through the dance.” (6)

Not only is dancing taken on prophetic significance among these people, like the pagans dance is now a means of intercession.

“As intercessors, we must be willing to bear in our bodies that which the Lord is trying to release.” (7)

There are specific dances for intercession, specific dances for healing and for warfare. This paganism run amok in these congregations, utter foolishness! Dancing before the Lord in worship can be a beautiful expression of joy between the worshipper and God. Yet now it has been abused and has been hijacked out of its pure setting and changed into something that it was never meant to be.

In closing let me reiterate that personally I am all for the various biblical forms of expressing our praise and worship to God. I have experienced every thing from the solemnity of singing the ancient hymns to the enthusiastic dancing and shouting of wild Pentecostalism and “experienced” the presence of God in it all. However when you take anything biblical out its context and make it into something it was never meant to be then it becomes carnal and misleading.

The charismatic extremists have done this to worship. They have taken something good and made it aberrant and thus turned it into something God will not honor. The entire Tabernacle of David 24/7 prayer, praise and worship is nothing more than excited ignorance and is an attempt to make God ‘move” because of their enthusiasm. God is sovereign and His will cannot be thwarted nor His timetable changed by human activity. It is enough of a supreme privilege for me to be allowed to know and worship the True God. I rejoice in the liberty I have in Christ but I do not abuse that liberty and turn it into license.

Copyright  © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.watchmanministries.org/tabernacle_of_david.html on July 2, 2009

2. Ibid.

3. http://www.trumpetoftruth.com/lect_files/what%20is%prophetic%20praise.html on 07-02-09

4. www.awesomecitymusic.com a quote from their book The Power of Apostolic Music by Stephen Bennett.

5. Some of these sites include http://www.dancingforhim.com; http://www.thefoolishthings.homestead.com

6. Ibid. the foolish things.homestead.com

7. Ibid





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 Axis of Evil

14 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 2 – The Axis of Evil – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Axis of Evil

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

(KJV)

One thing that is missing in my seminary experience thus far is any real discussion of spiritual warfare.

There is a thing called “victory” in living this Christian life. I am not referring to our ultimate victory when our bodies are fully redeemed from death and glorified. No, I am referring to living a victorious life in the midst of our fallenness. I readily acknowledge that I am a saved “sinner” or in good Lutheran parlance “simil Justus et pecator” (justified at the same time a sinner). Yet to me there seems to be an inordinate concentration on the reality of our “old man” and our fallen condition. The other side of the “coin” is just as real, i.e. our ability in and by Christ to be victorious over what I am calling in this article “the Axis of Evil”

In order to be a victor in a war, one has to understand who the enemy is, what are his tactics and discover his weaknesses and exploit them to the fullest. Too many Christians are simply ignorant of Satan and his devices when the Bible tells us not to be (see 2 Cor. 2:11). It is a fact that Jesus defeated Satan on the cross making an open show of him:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col. 2:14-15

Yet the New Testament is clear that we still have to contend with Satan and his forces in this life. We need to realize that although we have been delivered out of the dominion of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col 1:13) through the life giving waters of our Baptism and through faith in Gospel message of the cross of Christ; we still have an enemy to fight. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we need to:

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph. 6:11-13

Many Christians get no further then “we wrestle not” in their lives when it comes to contending with the enemies of their faith. It is my hope that as we begin this new year we all will stand victorious in God’s armor and by His power and to His glory over all the works of the evil one.

Some time back President Bush shocked the world and the politically correct by declaring North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as comprising an “axis of evil.” What the President meant was that these three nations were in league together to expand terrorism and increase their own power.

As Christians we too face an axis of evil comprised of (1) the world, (2) the flesh and (3) the devil. All three work in concert to keep us from growing spiritually and effectively shining as lights amidst a wicked and perverse generation. (Phil. 2:15).

Enemy Number One: The Devil

Satan marshals these forces together against us to keep us ineffective and shames us into silence about our Christian faith. For example, when you are at home and ou see your neighbors and you think “I should go and invite them to church this Sunday.” Immediately the thoughts come faster than machine gun bullets — “you can’t do that, who do you think you are? Religion is a private concern. What if they got offended?

Brothers and sisters let me tell you those thoughts come from Satan and his minions. Remember what Jesus said of him? Jesus in John 6 says “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” In Rev. 12:10 Satan is called “the ACCUSER of the brethren.” So when Satan and his demons speak to your mind telling you, that you can’t or that you are not a good enough Christian to share Christ with others…simply remind the hosts of wickedness of a few things, one of my favorite verses is:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col. 2:15

Remind this LIAR that he has been disarmed and that Christ Jesus has triumphed over all his hosts by the cross! Tell him that you are baptized into Christ, and in Him you can do all things INCLUDING sharing your faith with your neighbors and friends. REMEMBER Satan goes about as a roaring lion, but he is not one! (1 Peter 5:8). He is a defeated foe whose ONLY POWER is to get you to believe the lies he tells you.

Usually Satan works along these lines, first he tempts us (he is called the “Tempter” in Matt 4:3) with some sins, when we give into his temptation he then immediately accuses us. In these cases his accusations are not lies because we did give into temptation and sinned. At this point most Christians are silenced by shame. The correct response is to immediately turn to Christ and confess our sin knowing that when we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our transgressions and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jh. 1:9). The author of the book of Hebrews reminds us:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:14-16

As we grow spiritually and learn to depend upon God’s grace more and more Satan must employ other, sometimes more subtle means in order to attempt to defeat us. He must call upon another one of his “partners” in his axis to assist him in the battle.

Enemy Number Two: The World

The world, cosmos in the Greek and this term refers to everything that adorns this world-system and that is against the Kingdom of God. Our opening text tells us that the cosmos is comprised of (1) the lust of the flesh, (2) the lust of the eyes, and (3) the pride of life.

We all succumb to the Tempter (1 Thess 3:5) from time to time when he offers up the baubles of this decaying world before our eyes. Think about the programs and commercials on television almost all of which are directly opposed to godly living. The images projected tell us that we’d be happier with a new car, new husband or wife, bigger house, more money, etc…Satan uses the manifold pleasures of the world to blind us to that fact that we as the people of God are not “of” this world, we are “in” it but not of it. This world is not our home an our lives are to be lived as stewards of what God graciously gives us.

Yes we all fail and give into our sinful fleshly desire for the world but read what Jesus says of US!

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth John 17:14-17

Let me ask you one question — do you believe that the Father answered Jesus’ prayer? ABSOLUTELY! Jesus says we are not of the world any more than He is! In fact, He says that TWICE! We have to begin to see ourselves as Jesus does. Yes we are IN the world but we are NOT of it! Let us echo our brother Paul when faced with the enticements of the fading system of sin and say with him:

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal 6:14

Our attitude towards the world is this: We are not it! We are set apart from it by the POWER inherent in God’s Word and by the means of His grace! Our boast is not in fleshly achievements bt only in the cross of our Lord Jesus through whose sacrifice the world has been CRUCIFED and I have been CRUCIFIED to the world!

As we renew our mind through the power of God’s Word (Rom 12:2-3) and allow His Word to set us apart from the world we begin to become bolder witnesses for our Lord and vessels fit for honor. (2 Tim. 2:21).

Enemy Number Three: our Flesh

The last axis of evil Satan calls upon is our fallen flesh. We all carry about with us that fallen man who was drowned in the waters of our baptism…yet as the late Professor Marquart said “the old man is a great swimmer.” Nonetheless what Paul says to us in Romans is true:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Rom. 6:4-6

This is the ongoing power of our baptism. Our old man WAS and IS crucified with Christ and henceforth we should not serve sin. Paul goes on to encourage us in the same chapter saying:

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Rom. 6:11-14

We all carry with us the fallen nature. Yet it is equally true that the old man died a real death just as we have received NEWNESS of LIFE through faith in Christ. I believe the new man recreated in Christ is stronger than the old man who is easily led by Satan.

The devil has no power over us at all! Jesus defeated him and his forces on the cross openly! The victory Jesus won on the cross was for YOU and for ME! We are in Christ and we share His Triumph! Never lose sight of the fact that Jesus won the victory for us, He had no need of victory He had not lost anything to the devil.

The world is not our home, we are to wear it as a very loose garment, knowing that we brought nothing into this life and we will take nothing with us when we leave apart from what we did for Christ. We are now citizens of God’s household (Eph. 2:19). Our joy is to shine as lights amidst this wicked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).

The flesh is with us, but we MUST reckon it DEAD, because it really is. It will try to resurrect itself in the face of Satan’s temptations…but we are not to yield to its desires. The good news is by the virtue of our Baptism into Christ we are now empowered to be what God says we are in:

No, in ALL these things we are MORE then conquerors through HIM who loved us. Rom. 8:37

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:30

 

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow  





The Discipline of Fasting

29 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 6 – The Discipline of Fasting – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Fasting

By Robert S. Liichow

A few months ago I began a short series concerning the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life and I take up that “baton” again this month and most likely next month as well. By way of a reminder it is important to keep in mind that all of the spiritual disciplines are meant to be tools for transformation in our fellowship with our Lord. These disciplines have been used by God’s people in both the Old and the New Testament and they are all plainly seen in the Scriptures. It is very important for me to stress that these disciplines are not “laws” or “promises” or a means to make God do something for us. Biblical mediation, daily prayer, service to others, Bible study and fasting are simply ways in which we can draw closer to the One who loves us the most and through our communion with the Lord, hopefully we will reflect His light back to those around us.

In the past, as a charismatic extremist we were taught a great deal about fasting and we used to fast for considerable periods of time. Sadly most of our efforts were unrewarded. Even though we were involved in an activity which is deeply rooted in the Scripture, our motives for fasting were incorrect and the goals we were seeking were not those that our Lord would have had us seek after. Most books on the subject of fasting deal with fasting as a means to gain spiritual power (aka an increased anointing) or as a means to seek the other 8 sign-gifts the Apostle Paul mentioned in First Corinthians 12. (1) Let me cite a few book title on the topic of fasting from the charismatic camp:

Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting; Franklin Hall (2)

Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting by Derek Prince

Commonsense Guide to Fasting by Kenneth E. Hagin

Destroying the Works of Witchcraft Through Fasting; Ruth Brown

The Miracle Results of Fasting  Dave Williams

The Power of Prayer and Fasting (10 Secrets of Spiritual Strength). Ronnie Floyd

Keys to God’s Grace: The Hidden Joy of Prayer, Fasting, and Almgiving (Practical Christian Living), Word Among Us Press

God’s Chosen Fast, Authur Wallis

Prayer and Fasting: The Master Key to the Impossible. Gordon Lindsey

Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, Elmer L. Towns

The charismatic movement has long attached claims of everything from divine revelations, supernatural powers, strategic level spiritual warfare to every changing the course of history through the discipline of fasting and yet none of these claims can be supported biblically.

Since fasting concerns food, it behooves us to begin our consideration of this often neglected spiritual discipline by looking at how God considers food itself. Let me share four aspects of food that we usually don’t consciously think about when we sit down to “nosh.”

Enjoyment — The variety of tastes found in creation is not an accident. God gave us such a wide variety of food and a highly developed taste system, so that man would find pleasure in eating. Sometimes Christians, especially when we have been raised in more legalistic churches, have a hard time believing that we are allowed to enjoy anything! Food is meant to be a source of joy (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; 5:18). And so are a lot of other things in God’s creation. We are allowed to enjoy our food.

Sustenance— Even in the garden of Eden, Adam needed food to sustain his life and give him energy to do the tasks God had assigned him (sorry Word of Faith supporters, Adam was not a “god”). Plants were given to Adam and Eve for this purpose; Genesis 1:30. Later on (after the flood) man was allowed to eat the flesh of animals for the same purpose: Genesis 9:3. Both plants and animals are God’s provision for our nourishment. I might add, that there is nothing spiritual in the Christian sense about being a vegetarian.

Fellowship –Genesis 18:1-8 gives us one of the first examples of fellowship and food. All through the Old Testament the people of God came together for fellowship over food. God made food for fellowship. He even commanded that some of the sacrifices offered to Him at the temple were to be shared with others. These were communal meals –meals in which the whole community sat down and ate together (see Deuteronomy 12:6,7,18) Families still find a resource of love, fellowship, discussion, and understanding when they come together to eat.

Worship– Food also is a source of worship. We should be very conscious of the fact that food is a gift from God (Matthew 6:11 & 1 Timothy 4:3b-4). In fact, Paul says that every bit of food “should be received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:3). Hence, every meal becomes an occasion for thanksgiving. When we put food to our mouths at the beginning of the meal (Acts 27:35) and when we sit back in our chair with satisfaction (Deuteronomy 8:10), our natural reaction should be a God-ward gratitude. According to the Bible one of the aspects of food was that it was created to be a reason for thanksgiving and worship.

As you can see, food has a central place in our daily existence. The fourth petition in the Lord’s Prayer is “give us this day our daily bread,” and we are told of an upcoming wedding feast that all believers will participate in according to Rev. 19:9. Today cook books abound in every bookstore. There are not just cooking programs but now entire channels devoted to cooking. I remember one Pentecostal pastor preaching about how growing up due to all the legalism folks could not do anything…but eat, which probably explains why many of us (myself included) are overweight today. Hold this thought as we look at what fasting is not!

What Fasting Is Not!

First, Biblical fasting is not mere abstinence from eating. Certainly one forgoes eating food during a fast, but if that is all one does then one has not truly fasted.

Secondly, fasting is not a physical or psychological discipline; it is a spiritual discipline that does engage both mind and body.

Thirdly, fasting is not dieting. I am not denying that Fasting can have a physical and possibly some psychological benefits, but that is not the purpose behind why believers fast.

Fourth, God never encouraged fasting for solely discipline or self-denial reasons. Some of the monks and spiritual hermits used fasting in this manner, some people within the church still misuse fasting this way. However, that is not a Biblical reason for fasting. God has a higher purpose in mind for fasting.

Fifth, fasting is not a manipulative tool –Sometimes fasting is viewed as an attempt to twist God’s arm or to win His approval. But God doesn’t respond to pressure. An example: “In the morning some of the Jews made a plan to kill Paul, and they took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they had killed him. They went to the leading priests and the older-Jewish leaders and said, ”We have taken an oath not to eat or drink until we have killed Paul” (Acts 23:12,14). Using fasting in a manipulative way was done by the people in Jeremiah’s day too. God said, “Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; through they offer burn offerings and grain offering I will not accept them. I will destroy them with the sword, famine, and plague” (Jeremiah 14:12). Fasting didn’t move God one iota. A.A. Allen is an example of someone who claimed to have told God that he would fast until God came and personally spoke to him. (3)

Lastly, fasting is not meant to be a hypocritical religious exercise. By Jesus’ time fasting had become a very important part of the Jewish life. Perhaps overly important would be a better way of saying it. According to the account in Luke 18:12a we know that the Pharisees fasted twice a week. Historically the Jewish market day in Jerusalem was on the 2nd and 5th day. Everyone from the countryside came to town on those days to buy and sell their produce and animals. Naturally, it was on these two days that the Pharisees chose to hold their fasts.

The Pharisees would walk through the streets with their hair disheveled; wearing old clothes and at times they would cover themselves with dirt. They’d also cover their faces with white chalk in order to look pale; and they would dump ashes over their head as a sign of their humility! For the Pharisees fasting had become a “look-at-how-spiritual-I-am” exercise. It was hypocrisy. Remember, there was and is nothing wrong with fasting, but the attitude of the heart of those engaged in this (or any spiritual practice) is of supreme importance.

What Fasting Is

We looked at what fasting is not, lets focus on what is actually is according to the Scriptures. The Greek word for fasting is isnesteia — a compound of ne (a negative prefix) and esthio which means “to eat,” ergo in its widest sense fasting means to not eat.

Why did people in the bible, “not eat?” Leviticus 16:29 says that fasting is synonymous with “afflicting one’s soul.” We gain some insight here about how the Hebrews viewed fasting. Fasting is more than just “afflicting one’s body”, It is “afflicting one’s soul.” In other words, fasting to the Hebraic mind fasting is something that our soul participates in Fasting is denying my “self” with the fullest concept of self being considered. It is denying not only my own body, but also my own wants. It is a way of saying that Food and my desires are secondary to something else. Fasting is “afflicting one’s soul” —a willful act of self-denial. But it is not only an act of self-denial and here is where the monks and hermits were wrong.

Biblical fasting is “not eating” with spiritual communication in mind. We know this because fasting is always connected with prayer in the Bible. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast (biblically speaking) without praying. A good working definition for fasting would be the following. Biblical fasting is the deliberate abstinence form food for a spiritual reason. The biblical reason for fasting is communication and fellowship with the Father through prayer. (4)

Why Fast?

To begin with Jesus expects His disciples to fast, and when we do so we are to be sure our motives are correct.

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen, and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18

Jesus says “when” and not “if” you fast, He assumes His followers will fast from time to time in their spiritual lives. The fasting that is approved to God is that which is done in secret and without any outward display of piety. When we fast in accordance with God’s will we are also given a promise by our Lord “your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” What type of reward? Considering the context of what our Master is saying the reward will be regarding the matter you are seeking God about during your fast.

God said, “When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you” (Jer. 29:13-14) When a man or woman is willing to set aside the legitimate appetites of the body to concentrate on the work of praying, they are demonstrating that they mean business, that they are seeking God with all their heart. It is all too easy to get caught up in the affairs of this life and become sidetracked from seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). We are reminded in Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Fasting is one of the tools in our spiritual toolbox to help us refocus on what matters most, our walk with Christ.

When we deny ourselves food to focus on God and His will for our lives demonstrates humility on our part. Fasting graphically reminds us of how dependent we are upon our Lord for not only daily “bread” but spiritual manna too. This is why fasting is equivalent to the phrase “to humble oneself before the Lord” (Psalm 35:13; 1 Kings 21:29; Ezra 8:21). When a person is really concerned about the things of God, he will humble himself before the Lord.

Sometimes people will ask “how do I know when to pray and fast versus when to just pray”? That is not a question that someone else can always answer for you. In God’s word we find fasting connected with a very troubled spirit or an anxious heart before the Lord. In the Old Testament fasting was also a form of grieving over the death of someone. Here are a few biblical examples of when and why people fasted in the Bible:

1). The Israelites fasted, in the conflict between the other tribes with the tribe of Benjamin, on account of the wrong suffered by a Levite’s concubine. (Jug. 20:26).

2). Ahab fasted when Elijah prophesied the destruction of himself and his house. (1 Kings 21:27).

3). Jehoshaphat fasted at the time of the invasion of the confederated armies of the Canaanites and Syrians (2Ch. 20:3).

4). People fasted in times of bereavement, the people of Jabesh Gilead, for Saul and his sons (1 Sa 31:13; 1Ch. 10:12).

5). At times all the nation would fast on occasions of public calamities (2Sa 1:12, Ac 27:33).

6). The believing Jews fasted in Babylon, with prayer for divine deliverance and guidance. (Ezr 8:21,23).

7). Daniel fasted on several occasions; one example is the account of the captivity of the people, with prayer for their deliverance (Da 9:3).

8). The Apostle Paul fasted, at the time of his conversion (Ac 9:9).

9). The disciples fasted at the time of the consecration of Barnabas and Saul (Ac 13:2-3).

10). Fasting occurred with the consecration of the elders (Ac 14:23).

As you can see there are biblically many reasons why people fasted. The Occasion for a Fast is Voluntary: Surprisingly, a particular day for fasting was commanded in Scripture only once– on a Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). The fast on the Day of Atonement was connected with a deep mournful spirit in confessing sin. Now in the New Covenant, Jesus Christ has become our atonement offering, so we no longer even need to observe the Leviticus 16 Day of Atonement! In all the rest of the bible there are no other Scriptures which command fasting at a specific time or on a specific occasion. There is no hard and fast “rule” to when it does seem that whatever the reason it is generally a serious matter that requires your focus on prayer and Bible study.

Naturally when the topic of fasting is brought up people often ask how long they should fast. I have met some individuals who’ve claimed to have fasted for forty days but I sincerely doubt their truthfulness, There are only three people in the entire history of God’s dealing with mankind who went on a forty day fast; there was Moses (Ex.24:18; 34:28; Dt 9:9, 18) Elijah (1 Kings 19:8) and our Lord Jesus (Mt. 4:2; Mk 1:12,13; Lk. 4:1-2). These were supernatural fasts, miraculous events in and of themselves. Interestingly it was Moses and Elijah who appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. The prophet Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks (Dan. 10:2-3) and the end results of his fasting and praying was a panoramic vision of history. These are all well known examples of extraordinary fasting and not the common experience of God’s people.

As a general principle Christian should fast when he or she feels the Spirit of God leading them to fast. The Length of a Fast is Voluntary: In addition to the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:32) you can see examples of one day fasts in Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 14:24; 2 Samuel 1:12; and 2 Samuel 3:35. The Jewish day was counted from sunset to sunset, so this meant that the fast would be broken that is, food could be eaten) after sundown.

The Biblical principle here is that the length of time you fast is determined by your own desires and the occasion or purpose of the fast. The duration can be that which the individual or group feels led to set. There is a great deal of freedom in the Lord here. However, the more common practice of a “normal fast” appears to be one-day.

How You Spend Your Time While Fasting is a Personal Decision Too: In the bible, fasting often occurs as something you do while carrying on your everyday activities! We have an example of soldiers involved in the activity of warfare sometimes fasting (1 Samuel 14:24). Also we read about the sailors on the ship with Paul fasting (Acts 27:33).

Lastly, fasting does not negate our responsibility to be obedient to God. We cannot fast and pray expecting God to bless when there is known sin in our lives. Genuine fasting will always cause us to examine our hearts. Fasting will never cause God to love you one bit more, however it is a tool that can be used to help us love Him more!

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Looking back on past experiences it is interesting when I consider that I never met anyone who desperately sought the gifts of hospitality (Romans 12:13), or of governments (1 Cor. 12:28) or helps in the same texts. No people always sought POWER, either the working of miracles, a specific gift of healing, the gift of supernatural faith, the word of knowledge or word of wisdom or of prophecy

2. Hall’s book on prayer and fasting was greatly responsible for what was originally know as the New Order of the Latter Rain movement of post World War II. Every major charismatic leader of the late 1940’s and 1950’s was influenced by Hall’s unbiblical teaching regarding fasting and prayer. Most of today’s charismatic extremist practices can be traced back to many of Franklin Hall’s teachings. Although his book have long been out-of-print DMI does offer the in PDF format or on a CD.

3. A.A. Allen, as well as Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsey, T.L. Osborn all claimed that their long fasts resulted in God granting them what they wanted which in their cases was ‘miracle working power,” yet history has proved all of these en to be liars regarding having any supernatural miracle working power.

4. When I say “communication” with the Father I am not implying the Almighty God will directly speak to you. God communicated His will to us through His Word and sacraments period. It is right to expect God to speak to us through His Word which His Spirit will illuminate to us while we pray and fast.

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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